Post by: Joseph Mains
Photos by: @hopeisafeather
There’s no better way to immerse yourself in a new culture than through its cuisine — or at least that’s what we tell ourselves while inhaling our fourth (or fifth!) meal of the day in Oahu. In truth, eating our way across Hawaii is one of our favorite ways to explore the diversity of cultures and people who live on the island.
At dinner at Town in Honolulu, we chat as a family about the food adventure we’ve planned for tomorrow over plates of freshly caught fish topped with locally sourced cremini mushrooms and green salads straight from the fields of Waianae’s Mao Organic Farm. Returning to ‘Alohilani, we tuck the kids into bed for the night and take a moment to relax on our room’s lanai. We take in the stars as the cool ocean breeze carries with it the sounds of Waikiki Beach below.
In the morning, we begin our journey close to home at Kai Coffee, right on the beachside of ‘Alohilani. With coffee and scones in hand, we decide to take a quick pre-brunch dip in the pool. Before long, we’re headed to our destination: Koko Head Cafe. The menu is a delicious mix of old school diner fare and local specialties with something tasty to satisfy every palate. When the food arrives, the kids dig into their pancakes, while we share a delectable Breakfast Congee and island favorite, the Loco Moco Skillet.
Full and happy, we set out for our 40-minute journey to the North Shore. Morning clouds give way to clear afternoon skies, the sunlight falls across the kids in the backseat, where the warmth and rhythm of the road has lulled them both to sleep. We drive straight to Haleʻiwa Aliʻi Beach Park and let the kids race the ocean waves while we rest under the shade of a palm tree.
The sun climbs as we head off. Lunch at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. Everyone knows the speciality: Giovanni’s take on the classic Shrimp Scampi, a dozen shrimp bathed in a deliriously fragrant garlic, lemon butter, and olive oil sauce atop two scoops of white rice. We chat and eat and then fall silent for a spell, reflecting on how place shapes our meals.
Next, we explore North Shore shops and scenery. We stop at cheery Rainbow House Shave Ice for a coconut pineapple and an acai bowl, then take 83 around the eastside of the island for an early dinner at Waiahole Poi Factory, where we start with the Kalua pork and move on to the Kanaka Plate, a favorite of the native Hawaiian owners, that we all love.
We head home, reflecting on our discoveries: the tastes and sights, locals and fellow travelers and the beauty of Oahu we’ve experienced. Back at ‘Alohilani, we head to the pool just in time to enjoy local video artist Joseph Pa’ahana’s evocative, meditative video-based art series “Light Monument” projected on the ‘Alohilani tower. The film and night ocean in the background was the perfect mood to crown our adventure.