When we’re craving a little bit of Hawaii, one sure remedy is a trip to Takahashi Market in San Mateo, CA. We discovered this place a few months ago when we were planning a day of sunshine down the peninsula to escape the fog back at home. Such a fun place to stop off for a plate lunch or browse for some Island goodies to stock up your pantry. If you’re looking for fresh taro, frozen poi, seaweed and spices to flavor up your poke (Hawaiian-style diced raw fish), you’ll find it all here.
Sachi’s Kitchen, which is located right inside the market is the real deal for Hawaiian plate lunches and eating out front at the picnic tables somehow feels just as authentic as the food itself (although no stunning beach views unfortunately). Get your mac salad and scoop of rice with kalua pork, teriyaki or kalbi; dive into a plate loco moco; nibble on a variety of poke or musubi (kind of like giant sushi rolls); and finish off with some tropical mochi. My kids were all over the linguica musubi (they’re part Portuguese after all) and have been asking me for a return trip to Takahashi Market. I guess it’s time to head back, oh darn! The only thing I found myself wishing for at Sachi’s Kitchen was a refreshing mound of shave ice to complete my island cravings. They don’t make shave ice, but the good news is that they do sell the syrups in case you happen to have a shave ice maker at home.
This is our very favorite kind of food adventure, there’s absolutely nothing fancy or high maintenance about it — just good grub made by very nice people that makes everyone smile.
You might also like these Hawaiian favorites: Two Ladies Mochi (Hilo); All Natural DIY Shave Ice; Big Island Food Adventure; Big Island Food Adventure (Video Post); Crazy for Loco Moco
This is the mochi that will spoil you for all others. On our recent trip to the Big Island we munched our way through this gorgeous assortment of island-style mochi treats from Two Ladies Kitchen in Hilo. Aren’t they just beautiful to look at? They’re as pretty as any petit four and their appeal goes way beyond good looks. The texture Two Ladies manages to achieve with their mochi is just so light and delicate that it’s almost hard to compare it to any other mochi we’ve had before. It’s in a completely different league. Our favorite was one of their house specialties: giant, juicy strawberries surrounded by a delicate layer of tsubushi an (mashed red azuki bean filling) all snugly wrapped in freshly steamed mochi. And the fact that Two Ladies Kitchen is a down-home, family operation is just one more reason to love it.
With all it’s Japanese influences Hawaii is big on mochi, especially at the New Year when many families and communities get together to ring in the year with Mochitsuki (mochi pounding) celebrations like the one in this video. It looks like a lot of fun as long as you manage not to get pounded by the giant wooden mallet! Another foodie adventure to add to the to do list!
You might also like these Hawaii and mochi-related posts: Mochi Adventure at Benkyo-Do in San Francisco; Shoyu Poke, Kona Coffee and Poha Berries: Big Island Food Adventure, Big Island Food Adventure (video)
After a recent, first visit to Hawaii, I came back “just a little bit” obsessed with loco moco (and the Hawaiian plate lunch, but that’s another story). What first drew me to the dish was it’s name. I am a sucker for anything that rhymes and has a somewhat silly name. Plus, a silly name makes a dish easier to “sell” to kids. Ria and I were singing our made up “loco-moco song” for weeks after our trip.
Loco moco is a somewhat genius dish if you are someone who likes rice (everyone in our household is a little “loco” for white rice). It is essentially rice, topped with a hamburger patty, topped with a runny fried egg bound together with gravy. Many variations exist that include fried rice instead of white, spam, bacon, sausage etc. but the fundamental concept is the same. In our world, it’s a burger with rice. I am still trying to figure out why I did not “invent” this dish and why I had to go all the way to Hawaii to discover it. Mainland USA needs more loco moco joints. Perhaps a loco-moco food truck! Someone out there, feel free to steal my idea since no one is buying me a food truck for my birthday any time soon. 🙂
Back home, with Hawaii on our mind, we hosted a loco-moco brunch party. Tim, Stacie’s hubby makes a killer gravy and that was his very important contribution to our loco-moco party. I seasoned up some pork (vs. beef) with some teriyaki and other spices and whipped up some fried eggs from some amazing pasture raised eggs that I tracked down. Our loco moco may almost have been better than anything we had on the islands. The portion was definitely more manageable and Tim’s gravy made it out-of-this-world good. Tim, I need that recipe!
The kids gobbled it up. The adults went back for seconds and thirds (eating Hawaiian portions at the end of the day). Tim is right – “What’s not to like?”
Thank you Hawaii for the inspiration!