Regrettably, sadly, unfortunately, forcibly… and all of those other negative adjectives I could use to express my disdain for my vacation being over. From an island paradise back to an urban jungle; 78 degrees to 60 degrees; tradewinds to traffic jams. While I love being back with my kittens, boy, friends and belongings, it was remarkably difficult to force myself onto a plane back.
After acclimating myself to semi-regular 12 hour workdays, the 10 ½ hour flight to
was a lot more bearable than I expected. My seatmate was a Japanese fellow somewhere between the ages of 14 and 35; he was polite, but kept to himself and slept most of the time. Although I was exhausted, I managed to not sleep a wink. Honolulu
Despite the long flight with a magazine too large to look at comfortably and a lazy old man in front of me with his seat reclined most of the trip… I got two free meals! Hawaiian Airlines is evidently the only domestic airline that still offers complimentary meals to passengers in coach class. Airplane food always seems to get a bad rap, but these were tasty, free, and accompanied with a glass of wine.
During the initial beverage service one hour in, a small bag of “Pau Hana” snack mix accompanied the drink – almonds and a variety of salty rice crisps (think a healthier, tastier version of the Munchies mix which includes Cheetos and Doritos).
The first meal was a hot dish featuring chicken, rice, carrots and peas with a ginger teriyaki sauce. A small side salad comprised of romaine, shredded red cabbage and carrots was dressed in Italian dressing, and dessert was an iced chocolate cake. Did I mention a free glass of wine?
About two hours prior to arrival, everyone was served a snack box with another bag of Pau Hana mix, a white chocolate chip cookie, and a cold turkey and swiss sandwich on a hoagie style roll. Both meals may not be what you crave for dinner at home, but they sure were surprisingly appetizing and much needed.
I survived the flight to
Honolulu, but still had a small layover and short flight to my final destination of Maui.
|One last flight, one last beverage.|
Sixteen hours after leaving my
apartment, I arrived to paradise with my family! Manhattan
|Beautiful Kihei. Purely Paradise.|
That first night, I was absolutely exhausted. I forced myself to stay up until a reasonable hour (which ended up being 9 o’clock anyway), but desperately wanted to curl into a fetal position on the couch and sleep. So while my parents went to pick up dinner, I enjoyed a Pipeline Porter from the Maui Brewing Company and settled in to my new “home” with the kittens. They brought back a fish chowder and a fish tacos from Coconuts Fish Café.
|Yes, that's Restaurant Stakeout on Food Network in the background.|
This would not be the last time we indulged during my trip.
BEST fish chowder. Ever. I love New England clam chowder, and all the bowls I’ve had don’t even come close to Coconut’s. Chunks of fish, clam, potatoes, mushrooms and peppers in a hearty, but light, spicy broth… perfection. The fish taco had layer upon layer of fresh ingredients – mango, red onion, cabbage, tomato and blackened mahi mahi on a corn tortilla. I’m sold on fish tacos.
One of the things I was most looking forward to about the trip? Grocery stores.
|I love you, Safeway.|
Like I’ve said before – I love shopping for foodstuffs, especially in parts of the country where there are distinguishing brands and products that are distinctively regional.
offers some of the most diverse, ethnic goodies you could possibly imagine. Due to immigrations from all over Asia during the past hundred-ish years, the Hawaii China, Japan, , and a handful of other cultures have left their marks on the Hawaiian food scene. Thailand
|A plethora of locally grown fruits.|
Guava jam, Portuguese sausage, Maui onion jelly, shrimp crackers (don’t… just, don’t), local fruit and vegetables, dried every-fish-you-could-imagine, frozen teriyaki burgers, wasabi potato chips, dragonfruit, Spam flavored macadamia nuts, shoyu sauce by the gallon… I could go on forever.
|Some of the lesser appetizing local snacks.|
So my quest in acquiring souvenirs was limited to things I could send back to
to eat. I already went through the phase (twice) of wanting to bring back everything I could to remind me of the islands – t-shirts that ended up shrinking, jewelry sitting in a box tarnishing, flowers never to be worn in your hair, etc. This time I was focused and filled only a small box with yummies to greet me to a few days after my return home. New York
We ate a majority of our meals at home, indulging in locally grown and produced products. Breakfasts started with either
Maui coffee or POG (passion-orange-guava juice… heaven) and usually included croissants with passionfruit jelly or poha jam, Portuguese sausage (similar to chorizo), and papaya, pineapple or berries. You haven’t tasted what fruit is supposed to taste like until you’ve been to . Hawaii
|POG, Portuguese sausage, fruit, and croissant with passionfruit cream cheese.|
Part II to come soon!