Still thankfully on Eastern Time, we woke up bright (still dark, actually) and early and headed off for our adventure on the other side of Oahu. Our first stop was at Leonard’s Bakery on Kapahulu Ave in Honolulu. This place is an institution for a reason.
They make all kinds of fabulous looking cakes, breads and pastries, but they are most beloved for their Malasadas, a Portuguese, hole-less donut. Your Malasadas are delivered to you light, fluffy and burn-your-mouth hot in adorable pink boxes. They are open all day and there is always a line. We hit this place 4 times (yes 4, and I don’t really even like donuts!) while on Oahu, and I sampled 5 of the 6 Malasadas offered: plain sugar (nice), cinnamon sugar (my fave), Li Hing sugar (a salty, sour sugar that everyone but me loved), chocolate cream filled (too much!) and haupia filled (a Hawaiian coconut pudding made with coconut milk that YES! is my new fave thing).
Sufficiently stuffed and sticky, we hopped on the H1 to the H2 and headed north. We passed through beautiful pineapple fields and made a quickie stop at the Dole Pineapple Plantation. You can take a tour there, which we did not do, but we did enjoy their pineapple display garden. It demonstrates the various stages in the life-cycle of a pineapple as well as showcasing a diverse array of pineapple varieties (altho they only grow one kind commercially in HI). We learned that to propagate a pineapple you lop off the leafy top of the fruit, plant it and wait 2o months. 2o months! The plant will give one more fruit in another 14-16 months, and then you rip it up. And those prickly suckers are harvested by hand! I’m never going to complain about the price of pineapple again.
Fortunately we left just as busloads of tourists arrived (another advantage to getting an early start!) and headed off for some beach time on the North Shore. The North Shore is known for its spectacular wave action, especially in winter, so it is a popular area for surfers. We stopped at Ehukai Beach to watch the surfers and work up an appetite for some shrimp truck shrimp.
Wind-blasted and hungry, we headed back to Haleiwa to sample the offerings at Macky’s Sweet Shrimp Truck. I know that Giovanni’s is the most famous truck up there, but I read a ton of great reviews of Macky’s, so I wanted to give it a try. The day before we met a nice local couple at Sweet Home Waimanalo who highly recommended Camaron’s near Turtle Bay, so we planned on stopping there too. At Macky’s we split an order of garlic shrimp and it was worth the drive and the wait. Piping hot, perfectly cooked jumbo shrimp, dripping with garlicy, salty butter, perched on two scoops of rice and accompanied by a small salad and a wedge of pineapple. Amazing, and yes, I’m going to figure out how to make them!
We suffered through some serious President’s Day traffic (there is but one two lane road that arcs around the north side of Oahu) to continue our little adventure. The next stop was a quick photo op at yet another Charlie’s Angels/Five-O filming site at the Turtle Bay Resort. One cool thing about Hawaii is that there are no private beaches. Even at this nice resort there is free day parking and beach access.
After exploring some tidepools at Turtle Bay (no easy feat in flip flops, thank you very much!) we worked up enough of an appetite for Shrimp Truck Round 2 at Camarons. We tried the spicy shrimp, which were served in a creamy, spicy, tomato-y sauce, accompanied by the ubiquitous two scoops of rice, salad and pineapple wedge. Very rich and very delicious. We did pass Giovannis which was a madhouse, teeming with busloads of tourists. I’m sure it’s great, but that is not my scene! Macky’s and Camaron’s had excellent offerings and I would highly recommend them.
We continued on Hwy 83 (Kamehameha Hwy) around to the Windward side of Oahu and enjoyed stopping at several of the beaches on the way.
By the time we got back to Honolulu we were pretty wiped so John hit the hay early. I curled up in the courtyard of the Ilikai and amused myself by flicking thru the Five-O episodes I put on my iPad to see how much the places I’d visited in the last 2 days had changed in 40 years. A sweet older lady who lives at the Ilikai (not a bad retirement!) came up and introduced herself to me and apologized profusely for the weird weather. She said she’s been in Hawaii 30 years and never seen that much wind. Hmmmm. Glad I packed so many sweaters and fleecies…
Early tomorrow we head for Kauai. Aloha!