Monday, January 31, 2011

Zov's Oatmeal Brûlée

Ya'll know how I love my baked oatmeal. For the longest time ever, I've been a self-proclaimed lover of the stuff (just check my recipe index). I guess all of those bad experiences with gooey, syrupy packaged oatmeals turned me off thin oatmeal. Baked oatmeal on the other hand, has this hearty texture which I love, but, after trying this oatmeal, I can now say I love all the textures that oatmeal has to offer - as long as it's homemade!
This oatmeal has a thinner consistency but is still perfectly hearty. It's unbelievably creamy and I love how the only sugar in it is actually on top of it - in the brulee! That way, you can control how much sugar you want depending on how you're feeling: decadent or healthful. Either way, the brulee is a delicious touch that you should not skip!

Zov's Oatmeal Brûlée
Yields: 4 servings
Original recipe from Simple Zov: Rustic Classics with a Mediterranean Twist.

5 cups 2% milk
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup golden raisins
4 tbsn. coarse turbinado sugar
1/2 cup mixed berries

In a large sauce pot, combine the milk, oats and salt and heat over medium heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the raisins and cinnamon and continue to cook over medium heat for 3 minutes until the milk is mostly absorbed and the oats are tender. If the mixture is too dry for you, you can add more milk to your preference. Divide the oatmeal among 4 bowls, then top each bowl with 1 tbsn. of the coarse sugar. Using a blow torch or your oven's broil setting, caramelize the sugar until it creates a crispy shell. Top with fresh berries and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Waiola Shave Ice {Honolulu, HI}

Mmmm I love all kinds of ice. Shaved ice, shave ice, shaved snow - give me all of it! And yes, all of those things are different from each other. Hawaiian shave ice is probably one of the most delicious things to eat on a sunny, tropical island. It's like butter, baby. Melts in your mouth the instant it hits your tounge! 
You have tons of options: what to flavor you ice with, what add-ins you want, what you want to top it off with, what size, oy vey! It's hard to choose when everything looks so damn delicious!
Oh, and the little market inside has a plethora of li-hing candy - which, I must say, I am quite obsessed with. Li-hing is salty plum and li-hing candy has this tangy-salty-sweet taste to it which I love. It reminds me a lot of Mexican candy, which I also have a soft spot for. If you're an adventurous eater, I'd recommend trying some!
Okay, on to the ice. First up: root beer topped with condensed milk. Ideally, we should have gotten ice cream with this but in an attempt to restrain ourselves, we got the condensed milk and it was delicious none the less. I really think that no matter which flavor you choose, the ice will always be spectacular.
This one is flavored with lychee and haupia (coconut) and we topped it with some lilikoi (passionfruit) cream. Ugh. To die for. Seriously so refreshing, delicious, amazing!

Mana Bu's {Honolulu, HI}

You know how obsessed I am with "The Best Thing I've Ever Ate" and "Diners, Drive Ins and Dives." They are like my foodie guide to the United States. They led me to some of the best food I've ever had in New York, so of course, why not use them to guide me through Hawaii?
Mana Bu's has to be the cutest musubi shop you'll ever encounter. It's a teeny little boutique of precious musubis with the nicest staff ever! Needless to say, we ended up with a basket full of goodies. 
Mana Bu focuses on using fresh ingredients and healthy ones too. Although I liked Mana Bu's, it was a bit too plain for my taste. I guess I just enjoy full-fat musubi! I did love their baked teriyaki musubi though, it was like a mini delicious pocket of teriyaki fried rice.
Baked teri-yaki musubi:
Seaweed Kombu musubi:
You must though, if you do visit Mana Bu's, get your hands on their fresh made mochi! It was one of the most tender mochi I've had and filled with the juiciest and freshest blueberries on the island. Not to mention, it was filled with sweet adzuki bean too, mmmm!

Diamond Head Market & Grill {Honolulu, HI}

I think if I lived in Hawaii, my go-to place would be Diamond Head Market & Grill. It's like a fantasy food land for me, filled with all kinds of delicious gourmet treats, fresh hot lunches and delicious baked-on-site goodies. My eyes were going banazas over all the take out food, perfect for an island picnic!

I grabbed three musubis to go for the plane ride home since apparently airlines don't provide meals anymore... womp womp. But on the upside, I bet these musubis were way more delicious than anything the airline could have given me. I got three varieties: salmon musubi with brown rice, char sui musubi and a traditional spam musubi with tamago mmmm! The spam-tamago was my favorite and had the most flavor, the tamago was a great addition! The salmon one was a bit flavorless to me, maybe if it came with some kind of sauce it would have been perfect.
As a last send-off treat, we decided to nom on some loco moco. I opted for brown rice which I liked cause it added a bit more texture. The hamburger patty was perfectly charred and so flavorful. Loco moco = heaven. 
But true heaven? These blueberry-cream cheese scones. All the locals told us we HAD TO get our hands on their scones and I am so thankful that I did because these scones were a revelation. Unlike any scone I've ever had... so moist, flaky, tender with pockets of delicious cream cheese and bursts of juicy blueberries. I was in heaven. They also had banana-cream cheese scones, but they already sold out by the time I got there... sadness because those sounded amazing!

Leonard's Bakery {Honolulu, HI}

Give me a donut, and I'm a happy girl. Give me a box full of delicious masaladas, I'm ecstatic. After hearing about all the hype about Leonard's, I was on a mission to get my hands on their goodies. After a long, tedious, but totally satisfying hike to Koko head (look it up, it's insane), we really needed to eat some major fat.

We got one of each flavor: original, cinnamon sugar, li-hing powder, custard filled, haupia custard filled, chocolate custard filled, and macadamia nut custard filled. I know.... excessive much? I loved almost every single one! They were tender, puffy, divine. The custard was impossibly smooth and the haupia and macadamia nut had nice flavor. I didn't love the dobash or chocolate one, it had this weird taste to it for some reason. Although I did like the li-hing sugar one, it definitely is a preferred taste, as no one else liked it haha!

Giovanni's Shrimp Truck {North Shore, HI}

Shrimp. It's a tricky thing for me. I love shrimp, sometimes that is. I don't know why but for some reason I only like shrimp when it is cooked certain ways. I seriously cannot stand them just boiled, don't ask my why. I ask myself why all the time, and no conclusions have surfaced thus far. But, smothered in a delicious garlic sauce? Oh man, I'm all over that!!

Above and below is their famous Shrimp Scampi plate. Twelve juicy, succulent shrimps in the most heavenly garlic sauce served with two huge scoops of rice and topped with a mountain of fried garlic. Come on now, how can I not like that?! I died and went to garlic heaven.

We also tried their 'Hot & Spicy' plate which they warn you about since its supposed to be hellish hot, but actually it wasn't too bad for me. I guess I can handle the heat! Although it was seriously delicious, it can't really compare to garlic for me haha!

Finger lickin' good!

Tamura's Fine Wine & Liquor {Honolulu, HI}

One thing I love about Hawaii is their abundance of fresh seafood - most particularly in the form of poke! It's like a more delicious version of sashimi, marinated in all this goodness and perfect when topped on top of steaming rice!
Above is the ahi poke in 'Tamura's sauce' which was my favorite: super flavorful and so, so fresh. It's weird to think that a place that specializes in liquors and wines makes some of the best poke on the island - but believe it, I sure do! Below is the ocean salad which is basically seaweed in a sesame dressing, which is to diiiie for. A bit salty, a bit toothy, wholly awesome.

We also got some kimchi tako/ octopus poke. This was tasty beyond belief, I mean kimchi marinated? Come on. It was a bit too salty though, even when mixed with rice. But I ignored the saltiness because it was so delicious. Below is the shoyu ahi poke which came with a soy dipping sauce, and it was perfect as well. Seriously, so fresh. You can't get any better than that!
Mmmm mmm mmmm.

Yama's Fish Market {Honolulu, HI}

My trip to Hawaii wouldn't have been complete without a full array of Hawaiian eats: poke up the wazoo, kalua pork, lomi lomi salmon, lau lau and more! After hearing many reviews on how great the traditional Hawaiian food is at Yama's - I had to try it!

Unfortunately, I think I have come to the conclusion that I don't really love Hawaiian food. The kalua pork and lau lau was fork tender, like literally, it just fell apart upon impact with the fork. I enjoyed the kalua but the lau lau was a bit too salty for me. Although, I must say though, I love poke!! I chose to try their Shoyu poke which was fresh, and perfectly velvety!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Slater's 50/50

Slater's 50/50 is a straightforward place, which I can appreciate. They explain their whole concept in their name: 50/50, meaning half ground beef, half ground bacon burgers. Yep, it's officially been done.
This place is probably a glorified temple to bacon. Bacon salt, bacon mayonnaise, bacon burger patty's. It's a man's idea of heaven! For appetizers, we decided on the sweet potato fries served with cinnamon marshmallow dip, fried artichokes and vampire garlic-cheese dip.
The sweet potatoes were satisfying but nothing too special, and unfortunately served a bit lukewarm and not piping hot like i like my french fries. The fried artichokes were awfully greasy and made me feel a bit sick upon first bite - not the best feeling. But the vampire dip, was exactly as you'd expect a dip called vampire dip to be. It was garlic heaven! It was super greasy as well though, but the deep garlic flavor made up for it. 
Look at that stretchy, garlicky goodness:
My sister and I opted for their 'Flaming Hot' burger which had a spicy beef burger and crispy onion strings. Right when the waiter plopped it in front of me, I could smell the spiciness. Have you ever smelled spiciness? I never had either, but this thing was so hot I could literally feel it burning my nose. I was definitely afraid to taste it... and when I did... I deeply regretted burning off what was left of my tongue. I love spicy food but I've never had something so fiery in my life! I couldn't even finish the burger...
If you do go to Slater's, I recommend their Thanksgiving Burger which has all the traditional trimmings: stuffing, cranberry sauce, etc. It was definitely the highlight of the night!
My friend made up her own custom burger. Let's just say anything with an egg on top is delicious, no matter what it is! She also opted for their famous 50/50 burger and it was deliciously moist, a bit salty, and a bit smoky - everything that you love about bacon!