Please raise your hand if you love you some Hawaii.
See? That’s an image of every single person raising their hands. Probably both arms, actually.
And we all know why.
As a traveler, there are many places I enjoy visiting throughout the world, and each place has it’s unmistakable, unique quality that makes it a destination. When I think of my travels through Asia, I think of technology and food. Argentina? Wine and culture. And with Hawaii?
It’s One Big Giant Hug.
It’s One Big Giant Hug from your family and your grandmother.
It’s Love. This is the way of Aloha, the concept which transcends a physical state and manner to a way of life, a way of being with yourself and others. You feel it the second you land on any island. It’s in the generosity and smiles of those you encounter, it’s a sparkle in the eye, a loving touch from a local, and a feeling that you are welcomed, cared for, loved. It’s these reasons why we visit Hawaii when we can, and of course having a brother-in-law on the North Shore of Oahu always helps, too! (Hey Ryan!)
Our days spent in Hawaii are like no other, and for this I’m thankful. For starters, I wake up extremely relaxed, a million miles away from my everyday responsibilities. After admiring the view or starting with a run on the beach, I always begin to think about food. And it’s always a casual effort, eating as much local food as possible, and I’m not satisfied unless there’s a plate lunch involved. Or two. Or Four. I’m not keeping track. One thing I always seek out is Loco Moco. While there are many variations, its main components involve rice, a hamburger patty, eggs and brown gravy. Maybe there’s another food so filling and satisfying, but I sure can’t think of it right now.
Like any regional favorite (I’m reminded of my childhood favorite Frito Pie), its origin is debatable, but it’s clear that it’s a Hawaiian original, hands down. Rumor has it that it was first served at Lincoln Grill in Hilo, which is no longer there. Luckily living in Southern California means I can get this dish right up the street from me, but you know what? It’s just not the same. Nothing compares to filling up on this satisfying dish surrounded by locals, great friends, and tons of the Aloha spirit. When I’m on the big island, Blaine’s DriveIn in HIlo is fantastic, and I hear that Cafe 100 does the dish right, including dozens of varieties. Maybe one day I’ll have to work my waythrough all the variations. A guy can dream, right?
The beauty of this dish is that nothing needs to be terribly exact. Rice, patties, eggs, gravy. That’s it. If you can cook rice then you’re already there, as patties get fried in a pan with the drippings saved for gravy. Add beef broth to the drippings and season, then create a roux with flour. Too tricky you say? You could always use pre-made gravy. Fry your eggs. To assemble, top the rice with the meat patty, top with the fried egg and then with gravy. Prepare to be in heaven.
Of course, if you are the type that needs a recipe, these are always good sources:
And since we’re on the topic of food, I do indeed have favorite spots throughout Hawaii for food, including Poke at Fresh Catch, Malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery, cheese and chocolate from Surfing Goat Dairy, and fish tacos from Coconut’s Fish Cafe. Let’s just say those fish tacos in particular rival anything over here, that’s for sure!
Brought to you by The Hawaiian Islands.
So tell me, where are your favorite places to eat in Hawaii? I’d love to know and start my list for our next visit!