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?
- 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.
- 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.