In the past I have chased trains, planes and automobiles to get to that next food story and now have added kayaks, jet skis, fishing boats and yachts to the mix. Throw in some volcanic islands for good measure! Crooks never sleep and neither does The Food Stalker so bring on the cocoa butter and cool shades. Not content to watch reruns of Baywatch, I jumped on a plane and headed to Waikiki.
Not long after my arrival I attended dinner, joined by friendly faces from around the globe to savor a delicious 5 course meal at Morimoto’s Restaurant. This is a dining destination not to be missed, nor are the great shops at Ala Moana Center. Hey, how could I resist? You can almost live on Iron Chef Morimoto’s exquisite food alone. Almost, but not quite. Good stalking requires good food and good fashion. In an attempt to be stylish, I tucked a blossom behind my right ear and soon realized I was the one being stalked by cute Hawaiian boys. I quickly learned the flower behind my right ear indicated I was “available” and the blossom behind the left ear means “I am taken.” Let’s get one thing straight, I’m taken, but not dead!
Sure I’m one of those espionage types, darting through Neiman Marcus Sale racks, but that particular evening I was dreaming about pulled pork and garlic shrimp. Holiday crowds tend to cluster around Waikiki, so I rented a car and drove to the less developed Kahalu’u where the gorgeous shoreline and beautiful blue ocean have caused many a shipwreck. The key is to get out of the touristy areas (ahem, Waikiki Beach) to eat where the locals do. (Sorry Duke, while we do love seeing your striking athletic surf bod all over town, it was time to get out of Dodge.) There are neighborhood stores like Kalapawai Market and my personal favorite, the food trucks. Lo and behold I found followed the scent right to Mike’s Huli chicken. This is real island food drenched in history.
Speaking of food and you can’t not think of fish and then, of course, the official state fish. The reef triggerfish is also known by it’s Hawaiian name, humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa (try saying that after even one Mai Tai) or just humuhumu for short; meaning “fish that grunts like a pig” for the sound it makes when cornered or caught. Humuhumu to you too! On the way back to the hotel I visited Chinatown and met Chef Glen Chu of Indigo Restaurant. Other highlights included Chef Nico Chaize of Nico’s at Pier 38. The Furikake pan seared Ahi is fresh from the auction at the pier. You’ve got to get up at the crack of dawn to meet those boats coming in, baby. In town, Whole Ox Deli burgers have been touted the best in the state and their pastrami sandwiches are to die for. Chef Alan Wong’s pork sandwich at The Pineapple Room was perfection on a bun. Each bite of pork shined through while enhancing its smokey flavor. The chefs and mixologists at Halekulani Resort are quite imaginative. Draw the shades, crank up that thermostat, throw on that sarong and conjure up the sound of the surf. Libations on the Veranda are enough to melt your molars and their lychee martini transported me to a state of island bliss. Dibs on the diving board!