Friday, January 27, 2012

Malasadas at Leonard's Bakery in Honolulu

Leonard's Bakery in Honolulu

After poke at Ono Seafood, we were ready for some dessert, so we headed up to Leonard's Bakery for some malasadas. Malasadas are a style of yeast doughnut brought to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants.

Leonard's Bakery in Honolulu

Leonard's Bakery is all about the malasadas. They are made hot and fresh to order, come with a variety of sugar toppings, and can be filled with an assortment of fillings.

The bakery does sell items other than malasadas, however. We tried one of their sausage wraps - a Portuguese sausage encased in Pão Doce (Portuguese sweet bread):

Portuguese Sausage Wrap at Leonard's Bakery

It was tasty, but nothing particularly special.

The malasadas, on the other hand, were very good. Our favorite was the original, plain sugar version:

Original Malasada at Leonard's Bakery

Hot, fluffy soft dough topped with sugar. Simple, but perfect.

We also tried a malasada "puff" stuffed with custard:

Custard Malasada Puff at Leonard's Bakery

I love anything filled with custard, but in this case it was a bit too overwhelmingly sweet.

To round out our malasada sampling, we tried the cinnamon sugar flavor, which we weren't too fond of, and this version with "Li Hing Mui" (salty dried plum) sugar, which we liked:

Li Hing Mui Malasada at Leonard's Bakery

But the real winner was the "original" malasada with plain sugar. Sometimes simple is the best.

We had a few left over the next day, and the were pale shadows of their former selves - you really need to eat them hot out of the frier. If you go to Leonard's (and you should!), be sure to only order as many malasadas as you can immediately consume.

Leonard's Bakery
933 Kapahulu Ave.
Honolulu, Hawaii

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ono Seafood - Poke in Honolulu

Ono Seafood - Hawaiian Style Ahi and Shoyu Tako

We'd had a few pokes already on Kauai, but we still wanted more when we got to Honolulu. Research indicated the Ono Seafood was a good bet, and it was in easy walking distance from where we were staying.

Ono Seafood in Honolulu

Ono Seafood is a little shop tucked away on Kapahulu Avenue with the entrance faceing sideways rather than out onto the street. We had walked right past a number of times previously and never noticed it.

The place was being run by two ladies - one taking orders, and one filling them:

Ono Seafood in Honolulu

We got a two-poke bowl with Hawaiian Ahi and Shoyu Taco:

Ono Seafood - Hawaiian Style Ahi and Shoyu Tako

The Hawaiian Ahi was easily the best poke we had during our trip. Beautiful, rosy-red color. Soft, but not mushy texture. Great flavors. We also liked the generous quantity of Limu.

The Taco poke was less good. It was better than the Taco poke we got from Koloa Fish Market, but was still pretty chewy.

Ono Seafood in Honolulu

We also browsed through their cold cases full of goodies and got some smoked marlin, which provided a very tasty snack as we waited in the airport for our flight home a few days later.

Ono Seafood
747 Kapahulu Ave. Apt 4
Honolulu, Hawaii

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Char Hung Sut - Manapua and More in Honolulu

Making Manapua at Char Hung Sut in Honolulu

One of the things we knew we wanted to try while in Honolulu was Manapua - the local take on a Char Siu Bao - so we hopped on a bus to Chinatown to visit Char Hung Sut.

It doesn't look like much from the outside:

Char Hung Sut in Honolulu

but once we got inside, the tiny shop was a bustle of activity. We crowded into the line of people waiting to order, and watched the assembly line at work.

Making Manapua at Char Hung Sut in Honolulu

They definitely do a good business here, as evidenced by the large stacks of boxes waiting to be filled:

The line moved quickly, and soon we were at the front and a bit bewildered about what to order - even after finding the little menu tucked away on a side wall:

Menu at Char Hung Sut in Honolulu

Fortunately, the lady taking our order was nice and patient with us and we were soon off with our little box of treasures.

Char Hung Sut in Honolulu

Now for the unboxing!

The big guy on the left is the headliner - the manapua. As mentioned before, it is a style of Char Siu Bao - a steamed bun with a pork filling.

Super good. The bun bread had perfect texture, and the pork filling was a satisfying mix of savory flavor with a hint of sweet.

Next up, the Half Moon:

The flavor of the filling was similar to the manapua, but with a different texture - more chopped pieces rather than shreds. Also very good.

The "Pork Hash", seen below, is a purse-shaped bun with a much denser filling than the previous two.

Next we had another pork-filled bun - Ma Tai Soo. This one was baked rather than steamed like the others, resulting in a more flaky dough. I enjoyed it, but both the filling and the dough were a bit sweet for me.

Now onto dessert. First up, Rice Cake:

It had a fun, squiggly texture and was sweet, but not too sweet.

Our final item was the Black Sugar Mochi:

I was pretty texturally challenged with this one - it just isn't my thing. Still, it was fun to have tried it.

After going through our box of goodies, we were still a bit hungry so we stopped back into Char Hung Sut to get a couple more manapua - much to the amusement of the woman taking our order for the second time. She thought we were crazy for having only gotten one to share the first time around, and she was right!

Char Hung Sut
64 N Pauahi St.
Honolulu, Hawaii

Monday, January 2, 2012

Feast of the Seven Fishes 2011

Swordfish with Romanesco and Romesco

Each Christmas Eve, we go a bit mad and cook up a multi-course "Feast of the Seven Fishes" - just for the two of us. It is fun, and gives us the inspiration to try out some new recipes.

This year our dishes ranged throughout the globe - from Italy and Spain to Vietnam, Korea and the Middle East.

Bay Scallop and Tomato Gratin
Bay Scallop and Tomato Gratin

Our feast started out with a bay scallop and tomato gratin - a simple recipe from Daniel Boulud's Café Boulud Cookbook. The tomato and the breadcrumb topping added great flavor, but still let the sweet scallops shine through.

Egg, Shrimp and Scallion Pancakes
Egg, Shrimp and Scallion Pancakes

This dish, from Andrea Nguyen's Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, has become a favorite of ours. Shrimp and egg go so well together. Dipped into some salty fish sauce, these pancakes are pure heaven.

Sculpin Jun
Sculpin Jun

We paired the shrimp pancakes with a similar dish, but from another country. Jun (or Jeon) are Korean egg pancakes. We had our first Fish Jun last month at a little Korean joint in Honolulu, and we immediately fell in love. The way the texture of the fish and the texture of the egg compliment each other is fantastic. We served the Jun with a vinegary garlic-soy dipping sauce.

Gary's Smoked Alaskan Red Salmon Dip
Smoked Salmon Dip

Sherry's sister lives in Alaska, and she and her fiance sent us the makings of this dish (the key ingredient being smoked sockeye salmon they caught themselves). The salmon gets mixed with jalepeños and cream cheese (we used homemade cream cheese, of course!).

Smoked Salmon Dip

To eat it, you put some on a fork, dip it in Worcestershire sauce and put it on a Ritz cracker. It is a pretty crazy combination of flavors, but it works.

Quilcene and Malpeque Oysters

Roughly midway through our feast, we paused for a palate cleanser of oysters - Quilcene and Malpeque - from The Fishery. In past years, we've done a variety of mignonettes, but this year we had them simply plain.

We slurped as we shucked, but I managed to snap a quick picture before they were all gone. Both varieties of oysters were good, but I preferred the Quilcene - they were sweeter and less briny.

Swordfish with Romanesco and Romesco
Swordfish with Romanesco and Romesco

For me, swordfish has historically been uninspiring - I picture boring, dry steaks coming off the grill. The swordfish we get from Catalina Offshore Products is a different story altogether - consistently beautiful pieces of fish that cook up nicely moist and full of flavor.

For this dish, we paired it with Romanesco cauliflower from our garden, and a Romesco sauce. It was our first time making Romesco. A blend of almonds and roasted red pepper, it is interesting stuff - very rich and intense. A little bit goes a long way.

Fish Stew with Onions and Saffron

This dish is from Claudia Roden's The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, a cookbook that is getting increasingly used in our kitchen lately. The fish is Mahi Mahi from Catalina Offshore. The caramelized onions and saffron gave the broth a lovely burnished color.

And that was our Feast of the Seven Fishes for 2011. Our numbers came out right on the nose this year - seven dishes, seven fishes.