Honeymoon Eats - Culinary Adventures in Oahu, Hawaii - Part 5

 Going to House Without a Key lounge in Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu was definitely a treat. We spoiled ourselves here. This lounge is part of the gorgeous Halekulani hotel and sits exactly where the famous House Without a Key once stood. For those of you who are not familiar with House Without a Key it's the name of the first Charlie Chan novel written by Earl Derr Biggers. It started the Charlie Chan sensation that would last decades in book and movie form. Halekulani hotel created a half indoor half outdoor lounge at the very spot.

We had the most amazing waitress who recommended wonderful drinks to us. I don't remember any of the names except for one. This was Carlos' drink and the best one we had. It had coconut, pineapple and rum.

This was my first drink which I believe was Guava and Strawberry with some rum. I love how every drink came with a fresh orchid.

We had soft whipped butter, bread rolls and whole wheat salted crackers to start.

Our appetizer was Grilled Asparagus with Hardboiled Egg, Radishes, Pipikaula (Hawaiian Dried Beef Short Ribs sliced thin) and Shaved Parmesan topped with a Mustard Vinaigrette. The Pipikaula was kind of strange but overall it was a good dish.

When you visit House Without a Key, you can opt for lunch or dinner in the main dining area or just drinks and appetizers in the bar area. We got to sit outside with a great view of the live entertainment they had. There was a musical group which consisted of 2 sisters and a brother playing traditional Hawaiian music. Also, a former Miss Hawaii did some Hula dancing. It was wonderful to eat, drink, listen to the live music all under the big tree with Waikiki and Diamond Head in the background.

See Diamond Head poking through in the background?

There was a wedding reception happening in the neighboring restaurant.

While in Hawaii, I went on a fish bender. I ordered it whenever I could. I got the Catch of the Day which came with a delicious sauce, scallions and baby bok choy. I think the fish was Opa but I can't remember.

It came with a side of white rice which I shared with Carlos.

Carlos got the Striploin Steak which was served on top of a bed of grilled asparagus and topped with a Chimichuri Sauce.

It came with a side of perfectly crispy hot French Fries.

Carlos got another Coconut drink. I really wish I had written down the names!

This is the only one we remember. It was a Mango Mint Cocktail with Rum. It was served with a dried mango slice which I thought was a very nice touch.

It's not a Lava Flo but Carlos still loved it.

While the drinks were delicious, they were pricey, very light on any alcohol and super sweet. I drank lots of water to balance out the sweetness. Also, after two cocktails I felt no buzz which is unusual considering one strong Mai Tai can make me quite loopy. 

For dessert, we split a slice of House Without a Key's specialty Coconut Cake which came with a little pool of fresh Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise and a raspberry on top. Wow! This was amazing. It came recommended by the nice waitress.

With four drinks, 1 appetizer, two plates and a dessert, this dinner was definitely a splurge. But it was worth it as it was a nice farewell to Honolulu and we had a wonderful time soaking up the ambiance. 

Now from a gorgeous Waikiki lounge, to a down and dirty Shrimp Truck.

There are food trucks all over Oahu but Giovanni's Original White Shrimp Truck is by far the most well-known of them all. Lots of celebrities come here and they tag the truck too. There is always a line at the truck so come early and bring cash!

The truck is in an area of various food trucks and small gift huts. There is a big dining area with large picnic benches.

While I waited for my Giovanni's Shrimp Truck order and was saving us some seats, Carlos picked up some grilled corn.

Carlos doesn't eat Shrimp, so he stopped by a Korean BBQ truck and got this Steak plate with rice, macaroni salad and a mystery salad which I think was made up of clear rice noodles.

I got the famous Giovanni's Shrimp Scampi which has 12 shrimp sautéed in lemon butter and garlic and served with a side of rice. See the rice? That's caramelized garlic on top. They put GARLIC ON THE RICE! Woah. I love me some garlic so I was having a field day with this shrimp. Someone on Foursquare mentioned that the shrimp is from Indonesia but a source online says it's local. Whatever it was, it was delicious. It was messy for sure. Sucking off al the garlic and peeling the shrimp made for messy hands.

Good thing there was an outdoor sink nearby to wash it all off.

You can skip this paragraph if you have a queazy stomach:

WARNING : While I absolutely loved eating the Shrimp Scampi from Giovanni's Shrimp Truck, I got very sick a few hours afterwards. I may have overdosed on garlic because there was simply way too much of it on the plate. Every part of me from my skin to my breath stunk of garlic. And it was not pleasant going to the bathroom either. It was painful and smelly (i.e. rancid) and the discomfort lasted at least 2 days. I am not 100% sure it was worth the inevitable pain.

It wasn't Matsumoto's but this half-Pineapple half-Coconut Shave Ice (light on the syrup per my request) was very refreshing.

Our last big dinner in Oahu was at Leonardo's at Turtle Bay Resort. It's basically the Palm Terrace breakfast buffet turned Italian restaurant at night. It was kind of odd having dinner there when we had had breakfast there several times before.

We had a great waiter who served us a nice bowl of Foccacia bread with a garlic tomato dipping sauce. I tried to avoid the garlic especially after my recent incident with Giovanni's.

Our waiter recommend the Kona Big Wave Golden Ale which is a great pineapple infused beer. Don't let the fruity beer stigma get to you. This was an amazing beer and I don't even like beers!

To start we had some crispy calamari with a Marinara sauce and chopped fresh parsley. It was not the best calamari we've ever had but it was still good.

Carlos ordered the Braised Pork Shank which was absolute divine. It's cooked up Osso Bucco style and served on top of creamy polenta and vegetables and topped with a Chianti Sauce. WOW! I had to help Carlos out with this. He was worried that the portion would be too small but the waiter assured us it was a good size and it really was.

Hungry man!

I had a really difficult time deciding. At the end of our trip, I was really tired of spending too much money so I opted for a moderately priced Clam Linguine. This was a mistake. The clams were terrible and the pasta and sauce were so-so.

Carlos was very sad to leave Hawaii. See that pout? That's real. Not fake. He was almost in tears our last night there.

While I had fun in Hawaii, I was happy to go home, to wear make-up again and to stop spending so much darn money! We'd love to go back to Hawaii but won't be going on as many culinary adventures as we did during our honeymoon.

I hoped you enjoyed my Honeymoon Eats series! Aloha!

Honeymoon Eats - Culinary Adventures in Oahu, Hawaii - Part 4

Friend recommendations are key when you go on vacation. Our friend Gina recommend Liliha Bakery in Honolulu especially their famous Coco Puffs!

Liliha is a Bakery/Diner and boy was it packed. It was a tiny little space and there was a long line for then baked goods.

Clockwise from the top left: 2 Coco Puffs, Butter Roll, Chocolate Donut, Lemon Cake and Malasada.

We were so hungry that we decided to have lunch at the diner. It was a long wait for both the baked goods and the diner but two things helped us out. A lady gave us her bakery line ticket because she couldn't wait any longer. This moved us up in the line. And while I waited at the bakery, Carlos waited in line at the Diner which saved us a lot of time. The diner is open 24/7 and the bakery is open 6am - 8pm every day except Monday when it's closed.

What I loved about Liliha Bakery was that everything was reasonably priced! We got tons of pastries for about $12 and a good sized lunch for just about $25. What a steal!

Liliha Diner is famous for their bright red Guava Jelly which you can put on hot buttered toast.

I wanted to make room for those Coco Puffs so I just had a simple tuna sandwich with a side of sweet pickles. The price was just right too! 

Carlos went a bit overboard with his order which included 2 ginormous chocolate chip pancakes the size of Carlos' head. Even he was shocked by how big they were. And he ordered a short stack!

In addition to his pancakes, he got this delicious Portuguese Sausage and Mixed Veg Omelet which came with hockey puck sized home fries.

We had Coco Puffs for dessert. Check out the Chantilly frosting on top! These were divine. In fact, we should have just ordered a box of these and nothing else. (justJenn Recipes has a fun post about how to make these Coco Puffs at home.)

Near Turtle Bay Resort is this fruit stand. We stopped by to pick up some pineapple and fresh coconut.

Carlos had never had fresh coconut before so this was a real treat for him.

Drinking fresh coconut reminded me of my family trips to the Dominican Republic. The fruit stand labeled this coconuts as "ice cold" but they were "sun hot". Oh well, still delicious though.

And don't forget the fresh coconut meat! It's soft and tender and delicious. Absolutely unlike dried coconut in both texture and flavor. We asked for spoons and we scooped out all the tender meat. Delicious! 

Those are some photos from our kayaking adventures at Kuillima Cove on the North Shore. 

We headed back to Haleiwa to find a new eatery and stumbled upon Haleiwa Joe's Seafood Grill which had relatively mixed reviews on Foursquare.

Carlos ordered the Chipotle-Grilled Pork Chop which he ordered with rice instead of mashed potatoes. This portion was quite small for him.

I got the Local Style Shrimp which is whole shrimp dipped in a chili-tamarind sauce and deep fried. It's served with a Chinese style coleslaw and white rice. The problem with this dish was the amount of work that was required to get the shell and heads off the shrimp . Also all the flavor was on the outside. It was relatively flavorless inside. And there was no way I could suck on the shell for extra flavor. Just wasn't happening. I used a bottle of soy sauce at the table to add flavor to the meal. It was so-so and I wished I had gotten their Crunchy Coconut Shrimp instead.

We were both still hungry from our meals so we got two desserts which is unusual for us. It's more common for us to skip dessert or to share just one. Carlos got the Key Lime pie which was absolutely delicious!

I had the Macadamia Nut Sundae which was topped with a Belgian Chocolate Sauce, whipped cream, nuts and a cherry. This was out-of-this-world delicious. While dinner was quite disappointing, the amazing desserts made up for it.

Stay tuned for Part 5, the last in my Honeymoon Eats series.
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