Beowabbit (beowabbit) wrote,

New Year's Day in Honolulu

(First an addendum to my previous posting - the park is called Nu'uanu Pali State Park, in case anyone cares. I don't seem to be able to edit the entry; livejournal gives me an error about the character encoding.)

The morning of the 1st, Tom and I went out for coffee and bagels near the bed-and-no-breakfast we were staying at before Tigris woke up, and then came back and puttered around for a while (and I started this journal entry). When Tigris woke up, we went out for juice, and then, after a very brief stop to show me Kailua Beach, went to the Pali Lookout in a state park (whose name I don't remember), where the cliffs, the (cliché warning) mist-covered mountains in the distance and bright sun-dappled green mountains nearer-by, and one improbable-looking peak like an axe-blade turned upwards mean that there's beauty everywhere you look. Of course, I took lots of pictures, both of the scenery and of Tom and Tigris.

After that, we headed towards the airport via a restaurant called Sam Choy's. Sam and his family live in Kona and have a restaurant there as well. When Tom and Tigris moved (sniff!) from Boston to Kona, our friends mattlistener and Brandi organized a collection to get them some gift certificates and did some research to find good restaurants in Kona, and Sam Choy's is one of the two they settled on. I've eaten at the Sam Choy's in Kona a few times. The food there is excellent and plentiful, but the atmosphere of the place (which is open for breakfast and lunch only) is relaxed and unpretentious, the tables are formica, and the menu includes such local items as spam and egg musubi as well as more gourmet fare. It has the atmosphere of a diner, with excellent gourmet food as well as the occasional diner fare.

The Sam Choy's "Breakfast, Lunch and Crab" restaurant in Honolulu is a different experience. The decor, while informal, is elaborate, including tile frescoes of seafood along the floor, and a fishing boat in the middle of the dining room. The food was as excellent as at the one in Kona, though. We had coconut shrimp (elaborately presented) and fried poke for appetizers; Tom had a humongous sai-min noodle soup (which came with crab legs), Tigris had fish-and-chips, and I had the Kona Flaming Wok beef, which was excellent. The fries Tigris got with her fish were average, and my steamed rice was about what you expect steamed rice to be. Everything else in our meals ranged from really really good to excellent.

Oh, did I mention that the place is also an active brewery? Tigris' fish was fried in a beer batter made with beer made on the premises. I wanted to be as clear-headed as possible to enjoy my last few hours with Tigris and Tom, but I want to go back there and try their beer.

At the front of the restaurant they had a few T-shirts on display, including one that says "Never trust a skinny chef." Sam is fond of his own wares. :-) He's also (by reputation and in Tom's experience) a cheerful, funny, down-to-earth guy.

After dinner we had to take me to the airport and say our goodbyes (which we could do in leisurely fashion because we'd left lots of extra time and there were no lines for checck-in). I'm going to miss them, and am really looking forward to my next visit, by which time they'll be living in Honolulu.

One final vignette: As I was sitting at the gate waiting to board, I noticed a small dog being led around on a leash by a woman in a white uniform (but not a TSA uniform). On closer inspection, the dog had a little uniform of her own, in the form of a sign she was wearing that said "USDA Beagle", and she was running along the rows of seats sniffing passengers carry-on luggage. Most unprocessed agricultural products (and also soil) can't be brought from Hawai'i to the mainland, and those that are permitted have to be declared inspected for agricultural pests. Baggage to be checked has to be scanned in big machines that detect raw agricultural products run by USDA (Department of Agriculture) agents before being you check it, and I guess the four-footed USDA agents are how they detect fruits and vegetables in carry-on luggage, although this was the first time I remember noticing one. She was cute. :-)


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