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Oahu March 2013 – Day 2

Day 2: The Farmer’s Market and more eating

Usually with the time difference we wake up before sunrise the first few days but I guess being sick and tired meant we needed more rest so we didn’t wake up until close to 7am. Steve was feeling (slightly) better so we stuck to our plan of going to the KCC Farmer’s market which happens every Saturday morning. I was beginning to feel congested myself, so we both loaded up on the Sudafed and headed out.

Kapiolani Community College is right by Diamond Head so on the way there I had to stop by the Diamond Head Market for one of their delicious blueberry cream cheese scones.

signature scones

blueberry cream cheese is my favorite

At the KCC farmer’s market, we joined both locals and tourists in sampling fresh island products and prepared foods from local vendors. I’ve noticed that the tourists seem to outnumber the locals on Saturday. There is now a weekday farmers market near the Blaisdell arena which is more frequented by locals. One day I will check that out too. We made a quick survey to see what we wanted to eat, and I definitely wanted to get a meal at The Pig and the Lady, which is a Vietnamese/SE Asian vendor who often does pop-up restaurants around Honolulu. I had a meal at this vendor last time and loved it. But first we got a freshly made Portuguese sausage, grilled on a stick, by the Kunio sausage company. Yum yum, you can definitely taste the difference between the Portuguese sausage you get at the supermarket and a fresh one. It’s almost like a hot dog because you can feel the “snap” of the casing as you bite into it, but much more flavor packed into each bite.

portugese sausage on a stick from Kukui Sausage co.

We settled down for a meal at The Pig and the Lady. This is one of the few vendors that actually has a few tables set up in their stall so you can enjoy your meal sitting down. I started with a Vietnamese iced coffee, and got their savory Vietnamese crepe – which is more like an omelet, filled with shrimp, vegetables, and pork. It’s all bound together with a savory mung-bean filled batter and includes a delicious nuoc cham dipping sauce. I also sprinkled on some of the chili pepper water which they had as condiments at their table. Ono!

mmm, hot steaming bowl of chicken soup – Vietnamese style

My husband who could barely breathe settled for a comforting hot chicken ~pho~ – which is much like the traditional Vietnamese pho made with beef, but this one had a chicken-based broth instead. It had noodles, shredded chicken, and served with sides of bean sprouts, mint, Asian basil and lime which you add to the broth as desired. Paired with some hot sauce, this was definitely helping to clear his sinuses!

Here’s some other scenes from the KCC Farmer’s Market. I really enjoy coming here on Saturday mornings but it does get crowded. Next time I’m going to check out the Wednesday night market at Blaisdell.

mochi and other treats

I’ve tried the ginger cooler before and it’s very refreshing!

After breakfast, we headed back to the condo to change for the beach. Our condo was equipped with beach chairs, towels and coolers which was great, however we prefer the bamboo mats and they didn’t have any this time. Not to worry since they are cheap and easily available everywhere so we picked up a few at the ABC store. We headed out to Kuhio beach park, which is one of my favorite areas in Waikiki for swimming because of the wall which breaks the waves. The wind, however, was picking up that day and there were some waves which came in over the wall. There were a lot of people at the beach, which is to be expected with Waikiki, but it is not close to the crowds I had seen at one point. The water was COLD! This is our first time visiting in March – and definitely the coldest water we’ve experienced. It wasn’t too bad though as you got used to it. The sun and saltwater were definitely helping clear out the congestion for my husband although it wasn’t helping me all that much but I enjoy swimming so spent as much time in the water as I could.

Panorama of Waikiki Beach

After a few hours on the beach, we returned to Rainbow Drive-In so I could finally get some shoyu chicken. Luckily they weren’t sold out yet. We split the shoyu chicken and also a slush float since I had never tried it before. It’s basically a strawberry slurpee with vanilla ice cream in it. Definitely too much sugar for me, good thing we shared it. I like how everything is still served old school at Rainbow – plate lunches served in cardboard boxes with a piece of wax paper covering the food. The shoyu chicken was good – super buying lamisil online tender fall-off-the bone chicken in a delicious sauce. I wish I had asked for more sauce on the rice!

the famed Rainbow Drive-In, great for cheap eats near Waikiki

food is served old school style, paper plates in a cardboard box with wax paper “lid”

After lunch we went to the Ala Moana Center, a.k.a. the best mall in the world. I just love walking around there. I love the fact that it is open to the elements, and I love all the different stores, some of which are not available on the Mainland, such as Q-pot, which is a quirky Japanese jewelry store where their designs resemble realistic edibles such as cupcakes, macaroons, ice cream sundaes and even hamburgers. I have long stared at the hamburger necklace. The steep price tag is what prevents me from purchasing it.

We stopped at Patisserie La Palme D’Or, which is a French/Japanese bakery, for a “coffee jelly” drink. It’s basically coffee flavored jello which fills up a cup halfway, and then the other half is topped with milk (choice of soy or whole). You then use your straw to break up the jelly into little bits and you sip the whole concoction through the straw. It ends up tasting like a milk coffee. It’s very popular in Asia, and you can also get this in some places which sell Asian bubble tea (if you’ve ever had grass jelly, it’s very similar). It was quite yummy!

coffee jelly drink. pic from Yelp

 

Dinner that night was one that I had been anticipating for a while…the much lauded Sushi Sasabune in Honolulu. I was ready for omakase all week, but of course when we sat down at our table, I had concerns that I wouldn’t be able to do much of the tasting menu because I was beginning to feel much more under the weather than I had been all day. Maybe we should have rescheduled this dinner for later in the week – but we kept to our plan. Honestly, it was a great dinner, although we could only go through 7 of the usual 13 omakase courses. The fish was extremely fresh, and prepared with care and unique flavors. Some highlights were a tuna tasting, including the yummy fatty parts of the toro, a baby squid stuffed with blue crab, and an order of Hokkaido uni (sea urchin), which has now ruined all uni for me. Most uni that is served is Santa Barbara uni which is what I usually eat at sushi restaurants, but this uni…holy cow, delectable, creamy, buttery goodness with a flavor that tasted fresh from the ocean with a clean finish…now THAT is what I call uni!! How will I ever eat regular Uni again!?!

looking forward to this meal even though we’re sick

The hubs was a trooper throughout the meal…he said it was all good, although I knew he didn’t taste much, and this is by no means a cheap meal. Luckily we called it quits after the 7th course so it didn’t cost us too much as we knew all 13 courses would have. As sick as we were, we still had a great time, and service was wonderful. We didn’t sit at the sushi bar which is where I hear you get the most chef-centric experience – so we’ll save that for another trip, one where we are up for doing the whole omakase. If anyone is interested, there are 2 types of omakase, an American and a Japanese. The Japanese one is much more traditional but the American one is typically more popular so that is the one that we chose, although uni is not offered on the American one and that’s why I ordered it extra. There is also a Sushi Sasabune in Los Angeles and New York but I have heard differing opinions on them. If you’ve been to either one, please let me know what you think!

Most of the sushi is meant to be eaten a certain way, so the server will tell you whether or not soy sauce and/or wasabi is needed.

I honestly am not sure what this was…was too sick to remember much but everything was extremely fresh and flavorful

this was baby squid with a crab stuffing

fatty tuna…two ways

I think this was…yellowtail?

This was good too

oyster three ways. obviously the ikura-topped one was the best. obviously.

hokkaido uni….you have spoiled me

It was chilly that night too! Definitely remember to pack a jacket and cardigans if you go in winter! The temp dips low during the morning and evening hours, although the afternoons are nice and toasty.

When we got back to the condo I started myself on a regimen of antibiotics, nasal sprays, and cold medicine which I keep in my travel bag. I was hoping to beat the symptoms before it ballooned into a full blown cold like Steve. Let’s see if this works…

Until Day 3…

 

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