13 Mar

Ke Ono!

Ono Pops!

I had been hearing through the local foodie blogs and the newspaper how yummy Ono Pops were, so when we saw the tent at the Haleiwa farmer’s market today, I dragged the family over and insisted we try some. And yes, they are delicious! Left to right are Lilikoi 50/50, Green Gingetanical, Pineapple Li Hing, and Creamy Pink Lemonade.

Remember 50/50 bars with orange on the outside and vanilla in the middle — that’s the basis of the Lilikoi 50/50, except that it’s been island-ified with lilikoi (passionfruit) sherbet on the outside and homemade vanilla ice cream on the inside. Sweet, creamy, and a little tangy, I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t like this popsicle.

With all the outrageous flavor combinations, my mom decided she’d go all the way and try the strangest. It’s made with the unlikely combination of fresh ginger, honey, thai basil, sea asparagus (AKA sea beans or glasswort for Chopped and Top Chef fans), lime, and maybe a few other interesting ingredients we can’t remember. It was very gingery and herby, not too sweet, very unusual. Weird, but good. Also on the menu was a Yellow Gingetanical which replaces the fresh ginger with candied, the honey with cane sugar, and the lime with lemon. The funny part though is that Ono-maker Josh said these two flavors were inspired by the liqueur Chartreuse!! I’m not clear as to whether he was under the influence of Chartreuse while inventing these pops, or if it was just the color he was emulating, but I thought it was an interesting coincidence that Chartreuse would pop up during our Twelve by Twelve Chartreuse challenge! What are the chances?

Pineapple Li Hing was a must for me since I am on a mission to try Li Hing powder in all it’s applications. This is far and away my favorite! Cold and pineappley with a hint of sweet sour salty to cut the acid and give some depth. You can give me Li Hing in Ono Pop form any day!

Finally, my lover of pink lemonade chose the Creamy Pink Lemonade pop. It must have been good as his was finished first. The Pop maker said it’s a bit tricky to achieve the right balance of creamy and tart, but I think he’s done a wonderful job. If you like pink lemonade (and who doesn’t?) you’ll enjoy this popsicle.

There’s even a vegan chocolate apple banana pop, but we couldn’t convince the vegan member of our group to try it — too soon after breakfast.

30 Oct

Local Food

I’m afraid my blog has turned into exactly one of those blogs “real” bloggers complain about (just like some parts of America are apparently more “real” than others). So, sorry about all the “my kids are so cute,” “this is what I had for lunch today,” and “look at my fabulous shoes” posts. The upside of all the mundane-ity around here is that I am sitting on the couch a lot, hand quilting. Today, I was watching Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and he was in Hawaii. It reminded me that I had yet to share one of the typical local foods here.

And this big ole display of Spam at the regular grocery store near us has nothing on the entire canned meat aisle at the Asian market by the laundromat. Spam was a wartime food, and since Hawaii was a war zone in WWII, the locals ate what the soldiers ate. Apparently it stuck and Hawaiians eat four million cans of Spam a year.

I jumped right in and tried a Spam Musubi (essentially Spam sushi) at the family festival we went to. Actually, it’s pretty good. Robin told me that she sometimes slips these in her kids’ lunch boxes. I wish my kids would let me do that too, because they’re pretty easy to make and a nice change from PB&J.

Saimin is another local food. It’s like fat ramen noodles and comes with a variety of toppings. In addition to the classic variety with that crazy pink fish cake, I’ve also had a bowl with fried pork, teriaki beef and wontons. I have yet to try Saimin with Spam, but here it is on a menu. I’ve heard that garlic Spam is the best.

In case this asian influence is too foreign, even the chains have gotten on the Spam train. Check out this ad in our local paper:

Note that it comes with rice, not hash browns. I meant to get a photo of a similar plate from local restaurant Zippy’s, but we don’t get out much (remember — mundane). If Spam and eggs doesn’t excite you, maybe the Spam croissanwich I saw on TV will:

There’s lots of other local food too — a fusion of food plantation workers brought with them from around the world and adapted to local ingredients.

On my list to try is Pok√©, but since it’s raw fish, kind of like the bastard child of sashimi and ceviche, I’m the only one one in the family that would be remotely willing to eat it.

I see lots of Lau lau too, but fatty pork and fish steamed in a leaf doesn’t appeal to me.