Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Just to be clear: I haven't lost my job and become a vagabond or won the lottery and become independently wealthy. My Colorado trip was planned a year ago and it was only for a long weekend...and this Hawaii trip that just so happened to come on the heels of it was a last minute work trip. (Yes, work!) I don't normally traipse around from mountain peaks to oceanic islands. Anyhoo...
I was fortunate enough to be included on a trip to and a tour of O'ahu that the fabulous people of Starwood Hotels and Resorts put together (they have three properties on Waikiki: Sheraton Waikiki, The Royal Hawaiian, Moana Surfrider - something for everyone!). Mahalo! Officially I was researching an amazing family vacation destination for my day job, but personally I was blown away not only by the location but by the food culture as well.
On Friday we enjoyed a tour of the island while visiting local farms and food destinations. It was awesome!!! I took a gazillion photos so am going to break the tour into two posts: the morning and afternoon (or the east coast and the north shore?).
We left Waikiki in the morning driving north along the east coast. The first stop was Nalo Farms in Waimanalo, a family farm that has been in operation since 1953. It is described as a "chef's farm" not only because they supply 130 restaurants with fresh greens and herbs, but because everything planted is to order. They don't wait to figure out how to sell their produce after it is fully grown. They won't even put the seeds in the ground until they get the order from the chef! Talk about fresh!
Gorgeous greens in front of the Ko'olau Range.
Bushy basil plants just waiting to be made into pesto...or included in Roy Yamaguchi's Hawaiian Fusion cuisine!
Corn sprouts from popcorn kernels. Seriously. I've never seen them or tasted them before. They're really sweet!
The misty Ko'olau Range.
Delicate pea shoots.
Purple basil. That actually would make some interesting pesto...
We were on a schedule (and hungry!) so after the Nalo Farm tour we beat it up to Kahuku for some shrimp from Romy's Prawns & Shrimp. This isn't just any old shrimp. This is roadside fare that is harvested daily from the shrimp ponds(?) out back and then cooked live! Oh, yeah. I hear that there are local debates about whose shrimp truck is the best, but I was quite pleased with my lunch. By the way, it's pretty messy and they don't give you wet naps, but you can feel free to dive right in because there is a sink with soap standing by.
Roadside sign in the back of a pickup. Awesome.
The menu. Decisions, decisions...
Kahuku sweet corn.
Butter and garlic sauteed (with brown rice - the healthy option to offset the fried selection). Get in my belly!
Tomorrow's O'ahu tour post continues along the north shore...with dessert!