January 4, 2016

Hawaii Wrap-Up

We agreed, it had been at least 5 years since we'd been as relaxed as we were as we headed to the airport after our final hike.  (I'd done a nice 6ish run/walk in the AM to lead into the final exit.)

Iao State Park -- The Iao Needle (or "phallic stone" if you want to go with the local signage)

The hike rewarded our relaxation with not much in the way of physical demands at all.  This was kind of funny, because, I'm a freak about getting to the airport with enough time, so I'd built in all sorts of spare hours and assumed the hike would take at least an hour (and we'd packed clothes to change into after the hike before the flights...).  Despite our preparations, the Garmin informed us that it took less than 25 minutes from parking, to hiking all available trails and taking photos, and exiting.  We changed into our long pants and other plane-appropriate attire, but not because of the hike -- I didn't even bother to change socks...

One of the many river views - refreshing spray and cover, a rarity on Maui.
For once, we actually managed a very solid selfie with a view in the background!

It's all about the front lighting!
After the hike, we headed to the Kahului Ale House for lunch.  It was a wait, but I had the best Saimin (and E loved his buffalo boneless chicken wings)!

Dashi-based broth, fish cake, mushrooms, cabbage, hawaiian chashiu, spam, 2 hard-boiled eggs, AMAZING.

I'd done about 2 days worth of research re: saimin and I was committed to getting some authentic saimin before we left. (We'd already returned to last visit's ramen winner for a dinner of Agu Ramen after watching The Big Short thanks to mahalo Tuesday at the Ward Center.)

This option did not disappoint.  Our server informed us that they often run out - because while they are a sports pub, people just come in and order their Saimin 'cause it's that good.  And it was.

Overall, given this singular exposure to the dish, my take is that the noodles are thicker than ramen, and have more fat (possibly egg noodles?), but shockingly, for Hawai'i, the basic broth and soup is actually lighter than what I associate with the Japanese version.  The preparation was a DELICIOUS broth.  I forced E to taste some (despite his focus on his boneless buffalo wings...a man has to have his vices), and he agreed, it was delicious -- light, protein heavy, but flavorful and easy to drink.  In addition to the broth and all the other soup components,  I was surprised to find that in addition to the fish cake (which I know I love), I enjoyed the sliced spam that had obviously been stewed into the dashi more than I expected - it was delicious, which is not something I've ever said about Spam before...

Anyways, that was it for us.  After this visit to the Ale House, we went to the airport and despite airline delays, eventually ended up at home.  So the Saimin was my final Hawaiian meal this visit, and I think I'm totally cool with that outcome.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Um... YUM.