Oahu 2.0

This week’s eats were like a mini vacation; the highlights were mostly things we brought back from Hawaii!

Coconut creme coffee with coconut cream. The cream was a terrible idea – it was too fatty and it clumped in the cold coffee – but the coffee with plain skim milk was dreamy.

Local jellies.

I made a yogurt bowl with passionfruit butter, banana, and vanilla almond granola.

And a killer drink with guava jelly, vodka, lime, and ginger seltzer.

The last of our 7-11 candy stash. The creamy peach seeds (basically candied peaches with li hing) were my favoite.

I didn’t bring this jelly sake drink back from Hawaii but that is where I discovered them. So thrilled to have found them close to home now too – they are definitely in my top five favorite drinks. They are sweet and fizzy and loaded with jelly (think grass jelly consistency from boba shops).

Finally, this dinner has nothing to do with Hawaii but it was too good not to share. Roasted riced cauliflower / locally made lamb sausage / topping made with deglet dates, pistachio, lemon juice and zest, olive oil, and parsley.

Hawaii 2022

Adam and I just returned from six fantastically glorious days in Oahu! Best vacation we have taken yet.

Everything was beautiful (of course!), we got incredibly lucky with the weather, we loved our hotel (Hotel La Croix – amazing staff, beautiful views, and perfectly walkable to the beach and downtown), and we swooned over every activity and meal! And we saw a seal!! I did not pack a camera but couldn’t stop myself from Instagramming incessantly.

Some of our favorite activities – – –

Hiking. We went on four hikes this visit. Makapu’u Light House Trail / Kuliouou Ridge Trail / Diamond Head / Ka’ena Point State Park.

We went to Green World Coffee Farm and walked through the coffee plants. We also got a fantastic tour (with tastes) of the Old Sugar Mill Brand Waialua Coffee where they grow coffee and cacao.

Some of our favorite bites – – –

Flavor themes of the week – ahi, malasada, mochi, musubi, passionfruit, poke, taro, and yuzu. I lost my photo but we had a wonderful traditional meal at Helena’s – my first time trying poi!

We walked over to Kona Coffee Purveyors several times. Also to the Starbucks Reserve for this delicious americano con crema with demura sugar and cinnamon.

Guava malasada from Leonards. Also my favorite thing I ate all trip was a taro mochi malasada from a convenience store.

There was a great Japanese store near our hotel and between that and the well-stocked 7-11 I tried some very exciting things.

Passionfruit mochi bar.

Salted cod roe and cheese musubi.

Halo halo.

Local fruits from a roadside stand. Starfruit, passionfruit, and coconut.

Shave Ice! We went to Waiola Shave Ice and Matsumoto Shave Ice. The boring looking one was actually white cake and yuzu (!!!) with vanilla ice cream and sweetened condensed milk.

Poke! So much fresh tuna. We went to Maguro Brothers and Ono Seafood.

Dinner at O’Kims. Fried chicken and purple rice with the best kimchi I’ve ever eaten.

Lunch at Piggy Smalls was our favorite meal of the trip! And dinner at Pig and the Lady was a close second. Twice fried brussel sprouts, tea leaf salad, brisket with pancakes and eggs, great cocktails (Adam had a POG slushie!), and an egg coffee.

A perfect trip!

Rainbow, Sprinkle

Highlights from a quite tasty weekend —

Whistle and Fizz. We got a black sesame latte and a yuzu mint lemonade.

Fantastic espresso pain au chocolat from Librae Bakery.

Banana bars. I hated the Misfits one (I tried another flavor from them and hated that too, will not buy again) but loved the Bob’s Red Mill.

Tuna snack plate. Crackers, bell pepper, and a packet of spicy thai chili tuna.

Our first trip (of hopefully many!) to Lady Wong. We loved the coconut pandan steamed rainbow cake.

More rainbow – I added sprinkles to my epic Hanoi Dessert Shop sundae. Bright Eyes: vanilla soft serve, hot fudge, egg custard, chocolate sesame crunch, and Vietnamese coffee over crushed ice.

Cheese plate dinner! Mini brie / bell pepper / feta dip / cheddar crisps / seasoned pretzels / chocolate sea salt almonds / beef bacon / apple pie rice cakes / extra-sharp cheddar / smoked almonds / crackers / dried apples.

Plant-based chicken tenders plus chicken-based chips with roasted green beans and honey mustard.

A feast at Au Za’atar. We shared fried halloum with garlic, honey, and olive oil.

Plus Dalaa Mahshi, braised lamb shoulder with seasoned rice. The meat was amazing, particularly when paired with the complimentary pickles and garlic tahini.

Tres Leches Latte

Such a good week of meals! Highlights include…

Coconut tres leches iced latte! Espresso with a blend of coconut milk, condensed milk, and half and half. I was making a rose coffee syup at the same time so I went ahead and dyed it pink!

Yogurt bowl. Plain Greek with chia seeds and strawberry jam, yellow peach, passionfruit, and praline granola.

My birthday is this weekend so these felt appropriate. We have loved every single thing we’ve tried from Made Good.

Boozy grape slushie – grape soda ice cubes blended with vodka. <– my best idea of the summer

A take on callaloo. Collard greens, turkey bacon, and crab meat cooked with coconut milk, onion, scotch bonnet pepper, ginger, and chili flakes.

Adam paired his with rice like an adult and I paired mine with pizza like a winner.

Creamy, spicy, peanut noodles. Ramen noodles + stir-fried cabbage and red bell pepper + a sauce with cream cheese, peanut butter, and gojuchang.

I gussied up store-bought marinara to make a delicious meat sauce – turkey bacon, ground turkey, onion, chili flake, urfa pepper, fish sauce, and tons of garlic. Served on Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocci with a side of garlic bok choy.

We also used meat sauce on homemade pizza. Plus sauteed broccoli with butter, chili flake, and garlic.

Watermelon Pop Rocks

This past week was a crazy grueling work-week for both Adam and me (obviously his schedule was immeasurably worse than mine) and we ended up eating a ton of take-out (and candy!). The homemade meals I did manage to cook came out wonderfully though. Highlights included…

I am having a love affair with summer fruits. Doughnut peach + green plucot. My stone fruit preference goes plucot > plum > nectarine > peach > apricot and sometimes I forget how wonderful peaches are.

My mom sent us Pop Rocks to eat on watermelon, which was a great idea! Somehow it extended the fizziness.

Mango and dark cherry smoothie with almond milk and Greek yogurt.

We are officially all-in on alcoholic seltzers. These were two of the best we’ve tried so far.

Take-out win shout-out: this insane fried chicken sandwich from Roast. On sourdough bread with ranch, hot honey, pickles, and cheddar. Plus I made spicy cucumber salad.

Our favorite chicken salad – shredded chicken breasts with slivered almonds, kimchi, mayo, and horseradish. Plus sauteed rainbow chard with green onion, chili flake, and garlic.

Curried chicken thighs (baked after a marinade in goat milk yogurt, evoo, Jamaican curry powder, salt, and ginger) with baked cauliflower and coconut beans and rice (brown rice cooked with coconut milk, black beans, yellow onion, and habanero pepper).

Lattes, The Tyger, and Bambina Blue, Oh My

Highlights from an exceptionally yummy weekend…

We made dalgona iced lattes with chocolate milk. This is my favorite coffee texture.

Iced cinnamon roll from Mel The Bakery, aka the best cinnamon roll we’ve ever eaten. We regretted not buying more things and want to go back immediately.

Tres Leches x3 doughnut ice cream sandwich (tres leches ice cream sandwiched in a tres leches cake doughnut and dipped in tres leches chocolate coating!) from Doughnut Plant.

Hazelnut crunch gelato at Bambina Blue. We thought we weren’t big gelato fans but this spot has changed our tune.

Topo Chico has officially 100% sold me on alcoholic seltzers. These cans are delicious.

We had a wonderfully good lunch at The Tyger.

I had a Tyger Strype Slushee – Espolòn tequila, Shoumei white tea, peach, lemon, and smoke layered with Espolòn tequila, mango, lemon, honey, and cardamon.

Also a non-alcoholic Green Woods Laugh – mint, pandan, cucumber, and lemon – with Tito’s.

We shared hamachi crudo with Vietnamese salsa verde, coconut, microgreens, and cherry tomato.

Chicken satay with the most interesting/layered peanut sauce I’ve ever tasted.

Stir-fried water spinach with chili, garlic, and shrimp paste.

And Pad See Ew with Chinese broccoli and tofu. The tofu was a salt and pepper crusted silken tofu and it was fantastic.

Plus a Thai coffee tart with a bruleed top for dessert.

Dinner salads. Local butter lettuce with balsamic vinaigrette, mint, peas, lamb sausage, and raw milk aged cheddar. I see why the lamb + mint + pea pairing is a classic.

Coconut Caramel

Hi, there! It was a great week in snacks and eclectic dinners. We also ate an obscene amount of late-night pizza take-out but I took no pictures.

Highlights included…

Fruit salad! Fresh blackberries and Golden Nugget Mandarins dressed in maple and key lime juice.

Peanut-themed bars. Both were great.

Sparkly beverages. Both were good but not unmissable; surprisingly I prefer the original hibiscus water.

I recently bought coconut caramel from a Filipino store and, of course, it featured heavily in this week’s snacks.

Like kaya toast – whole wheat toast with coconut caramel, banana, and cinnamon.

And in yogurt bowls with blackberries and Whole Food’s Vietnamese coffee granola.

Boba milk tea mochi. These had just enough sweetness and just enough chew, I would definitely buy them again.

Adam is pretty sure he loved this Whole Food’s cinnamon bun kettle corn but he can’t be certain because I ate all of my portion and the majority of his too!

Cheeseburger inspired pasta bowls. Whole-wheat rotini / ground turkey cooked in a sauce that included tomato paste and yellow mustard / roasted baby tomatoes / baby spinach / chopped pickles / chopped white onion / smoked cheddar cubes.

Insanely good turkey meatloaf seasoned with hoisin sauce, cheddar cubes, and roasted sweet onion. Plus roasted purple and orange cauliflower.

Daring vegan chicken nuggets (10/10!) / roasted zucchini and brussel sprouts sautéed with a spicy black bean and nut butter sauce / homemade honey mustard.

Oreos And Mung Beans

I worked six of the last seven days so we’ve eaten a lot of take-out chicken nuggets but also managed to go on a few nice dates! Highlights from the past week include…

Mint pour-over with chocolate sweetened condensed milk.

This week’s probiotic beverages – tamarind citrus tepache / hibiscus rhubarb kefir.

Sparkling calamansi matchas. I’m not sure why that photo is so swampy, it was lovely in real life.

I am still very into these Kishu mandarins. I used to love Cara Cara oranges but I tried one recently and it paled in comparision.

Newly into these Crunchsters sprouted mung beans which are perfectly savory and crunchy.

And no one is surprised that I am excited about these limited edition confetti cake Oreos.

They are sprinkled!

Also impressed with this new Noosa chocolate gelato.

Drinks and snacks at The Linwood. I had a cocktail with tequila, sage, honey, lime, blood orange, and grapefruit soda.

Plus housemade chips with onion ranch dip.

Caribbean-inspired food at Coastal. My jerk chicken rice bowl was great.

But we were there for the drinks! Like a painkiller made with Soggy Dollar Bar rum (aka rum from the place that invented painkillers).

I also had a lovely drink with vodka, butterfly pea flower, chamomile, guava, pineapple, lemon, and soda.

Homemade chilaquiles with Trader Joe’s guajillo salsa, tortilla chips, shredded chicken, sweet onion, and bell peppers. Topped with sharp cheddar, sour cream, hot sauce, and a fried egg.

We made the best salads. Local lettuce with dijon balsamic dressing / stir-fried/charred snap peas / crunchy mung beans / cheddar / bbq chicken – shredded chicken breast and thighs from the crockpot tossed with homemade bbq sauce and roasted in the oven.

Vegan buffalo chick’n sliders with roasted green beans. The sandwiches were good but the green beans were great.

Weekend Treats

Some weekend highlights in sugar and caffeine include…

Coffee concentrate + a protein shake. I’m still not totally sold on the concentrate but it was perfect for this application.

We made a trip to Astoria for Greek coffees. I loved the aesthetic of Mikel and their giant paper cups. We got a Greek frappe and a freddo cappuccino.

Plus stopped at The Grand for their freddo cappuccino, aka my favorite coffee in NYC.

We scored coconut brigadero at a Portuguese store near our apartment!

And a quatro leches cake cup from Hanoli Cakes.

It’s Beginning To Taste A Lot Like Christmas

Eggnog and peppermint are two of my all-time favorite flavors so naturally December is one of my favorite food months. Here are some of the items I’ve been stockpiling for the celebration –

On-theme things from this week include…

Coffee combo. The chobani oat nog is the best vegan egg nog I’ve tried but not as good as the traditional stuff.

Holiday kombucha with a holiday crisp barebell and a Lady Alice apple.

Hanco’s peppermint iced tea! With herbal jelly and strawberry jelly hearts (aka the best bubble tea combo).

Holiday ice creams at Ample Hills. Coquito and Co – coquito ice cream with rum, cinnamon, and nutmeg and homemade coconut cheesecake chunks // Festival of Lights – cream cheese ice cream with raspberry rugelach.

Dinner and drinks at Sleyenda, Leyenda‘s holiday pop-up! They decorate to the nines and serve a specialty cocktail menu all month.

We had coquito, obviously, plus my favorite drink of all-time – The Candy Striper – a frozen blend of Novo Fogo silver cachaça, coconut, maple, vanilla, lemon, peppermint, and cardamom.

Bonus – Coffee with cardamom and amazing Yemeni pastries at Diwan Cafe. This was stuffed with cheese and smothered in honey!