eating our way through hawaii: the sweet

theromanticTo be honest, dessert is just not the way to my heart. Flowers are better than chocolates and mozz sticks are better than cupcakes. It’s just a fact.

Lucky for you, in the name of research, the hubs and I still tested out our fair share of sweets while in Oahu & Kauai.

Ted’s Bakery, North Shore, Oahu


Ah yes, another Oahu staple: Ted’s Chocolate Haupia Pie. If I am forced to eat dessert, I’ll always go pie over cake. I even tried to implement a pie bar at our wedding instead of a traditional wedding cake, but our venue was all “psh, extra $$ please” and we were all “well, cake it is!”

The best way I can describe this? A more solid version of a chocolate and vanilla Jello pudding cup with a yummy flaky crust and a top layer of coconut cream. Usually coconut makes me want to die (IT TASTES LIKE SUNSCREEN), but I didn’t even mind it here. It was a miracle.

Shave Ice, Matsumoto’s, Haleiwa, Oahu

I wanted to like shave ice. I wanted to LOVE shave ice. I wanted it to replace Rita’s Water Ice as my summer dream treat and change my life forever.

Perhaps it was my absurdly high standards, but it did not do that. It did the opposite of that. And the worst part? It was my own fault.


Apparently, blue = pineapple?

Let’s review:

  1. When picking up our rental car, our extremely helpful attendant said Matsumoto’s is the place to go, and you HAVE to get ice cream and you HAVE to get beans. Beans? Beans. Ice cream, sure. But beans?! When we placed our order, I asked about said beans… and the girl said they were sweet and frozen. I assumed they would be, like, the Hawaiian version of adding nuts or pretzels to a sundae. Just a little added crunch and maybe some salt. HA, yeah, no. They’re like… straight up burrito beans. In a beany flavored sauce. With ice cream and a snow cone on top? Does not compute.
  2. Wanting to go with a tropical treat of a flavor, I picked pineapple. When it came out, it was BRIGHT BLUE. I’m sorry, mind of matter and all that, but I am physically incapable of tasting something that color and thinking “ah, yes, pineapple!” Instead, it tasted like bubblegum. Bubblegum with black beans.

So, later I heard “no no, ice cream and sweet milk on top.” I think that maybe I would have liked it better this way… or at least enjoyed a different flavor and sans beans but? I don’t know. Sorry, shave ice. I don’t think it’s going to work out between us.

Also, I kept calling it “shaved ice.” Apologies if you saw that on Instagram or Twitter and it made you twitch. The correct name was just the least of my problems, but I now know: shave ice.

Anyway, Rita’s, I’ll be paying you a visit come July. It’s a promise.

Leonard’s Bakery, Waikiki, Oahu

I’d read about Leonard’s a ton before Hawaii was even a glimmer in our eye—it’s one of the biggest things that pops up when you look into food in Oahu—and they’re most famous for their malasadas. If, like me, you have no idea what a malasada is other than a fun new word to say (especially when you elongate all the vowels… maaassaaalaaadaaaaaaa), they are basically Portuguese donuts… and they. are. heaven.


The hubs felt differently—he didn’t think they were anything particularly revolutionary. But he also finds joy in donuts of the Dunkin variety and they’re not really my jam, so to each his own. My own just happens to come in the more refined, fancy version as offered by Leonard’s. It doesn’t mean I’m better, it just means I’m cooler.

We got one original, which is just a big, doughy piece of heaven covered in sugar, and one malasada puff. This is confusing as they’re both puffs, really, but the ones that are specifically called puffs are filled with happiness. There are a few flavor options, and we decided to go with dobash… don’t be scared, it’s just fancy speak for chocolate.

Kountry Kitchen, Kapaa, Kauai

When we first arrived in Hawaii, we saw macadamia nuts all over the place. I knew they’d be at the top of the hubs’s list of things to try, as macadamia nut cookies are his fave. I, on the other hand, could take or leave that nonsense. I’m actually starting to think that maybe my indifference to sweets stems from the fact that the hubs and I like ZERO of the same kind of treats?

ANYWAY, upon landing in Kauai, we took our ravenous selves to Kountry Kitchen in Kapaa (owned by Kris Kardashian) (I KID) (see what I did there?) (travel fatigue may be kicking in) (ok, I’m done). Macadamia nut pancakes called out to the hubs like a beacon from heaven.


Why hello, pancake the size of the moon!

Ok, first of all, at our table was a bottle of coconut syrup. Seriously, I don’t know what happened to me but I also found this delicious!! Maybe my coconut-hating days are over? I don’t know, but these pancakes + that syrup = giant cookie from above. My eggs were a giant disappoint in comparison.

All in all? Thanks for the pleasant food surprises, Hawaii! You’re ok in my book, and someday I’ll be back to do shave ice RIGHT.


the romantic



  1. April 17, 2013 / 14:12

    Awww, yum!!! I love hearing about what others think of malasadas and shave ice since they are two of my favorite treats.

    I’m heading to Kauai in Sept. Adding Kountry Kitchen to the list thanks to your recommendation.

    Going to seek out your other Hawaii posts now. 🙂
    Kimmy @ AfterGlobe recently posted..When You Hit a Life RoadblockMy Profile

  2. April 17, 2013 / 16:12

    I have to agree with your review of the shaved ice! We flew via Ohau to Australia and stopped off on the island for a week. When cruising around we saw so many people eating shaved ice that we had to try it ourselves! All I can say is WTF!!! It was like eating cold E numbers. I will not be sampling that particular culinary delight again!
    Charli l Wanderlusters recently posted..Darwin to Gove: Sailing The Arafura SeaMy Profile

    • April 18, 2013 / 23:16

      THANK YOU! even though i probably will sample it again because i did it so terribly wrong, but i secretly have a feeling i will still be on the “meh” team when it comes to shave ice.
      Lazy Travelers recently travel requiredMy Profile

  3. April 18, 2013 / 18:16

    GAH! Ice cream on the bottom and condensed milk on top of Matsumoto’s in the way to go! Pshh beans! 😉 You’ll just have to go back. I recommend the tropical blend of flavors. It’s da best. Seriously.

    I’m absolutely thrilled to see that you made it to some of my favorite places on Oahu. I’m longing for some of that ono food right now!
    Tawny of Captain and Clark recently posted..Love and fun at the Prater in Vienna.My Profile

  4. April 18, 2013 / 18:20

    Hahaha, number 1, love that you think coconut takes like sunscreen. Never thought about it that way, but now I will. 2 obsessed with your beans and bubblebum…pineapple, “shaved” ice. Hilarious. BTW dessert is TOTALLY the key to my heart…if you were curious… xx
    The World Wanderer recently posted..The Girl’s Guide for Looking Good Outdoors: Spring.My Profile

    • April 18, 2013 / 23:20

      i have the hardest life. and dessert is the key to, like, everyone’s heart. give me cheese and fried food any day.
      Lazy Travelers recently travel requiredMy Profile

    • April 18, 2013 / 23:21

      sure! will throw off my route a little, but i’m all for taste testing on other people’s behalf!
      Lazy Travelers recently travel requiredMy Profile

  5. April 20, 2013 / 19:33

    I love a good dessert but now I am afraid to try any in Hawaii: the beans thing sounds not that good, too much plastic wasted on that blue shave ice serving, and despite growing up in the tropics, I really, really do not like coconut!! The doughnut from Leonard’s, though, sounds good to me!
    Raul (@ilivetotravel) recently posted..Top 6 Reasons Why It Is Hard to Break Up with Washington, D.C.My Profile

    • April 21, 2013 / 03:10

      re: plastic serving contraption…. RIGHT?! i don’t know why it needs to be so aggressive. trust me, though, that masalada will make up for ANY reservations you may have about the other dessert options in hawaii 🙂
      Lazy Travelers recently travel requiredMy Profile

  6. April 22, 2013 / 13:27

    i think i like the looks of that slushy!

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