Friday, December 19, 2014

Garlic Shrimp and Shaved Ice on Oahu


Guess where we just came back from? Yes, Oahu. Yes, again. We were only there last year. Just before we decided to move to the USA, actually. With everything that had happened since then, it feels like ages ago! Going to Hawaii is an easy vacation from where we live since it's only a 5 hr plane ride away and affordable. Plus it was great to leave winter behind and go back to summer for a week :)

Unlike most of our previous vacations, this trip wasn't planned out very much. We went back to the same resort and we were already familiar with a lot of the things and places on the island from our last trip. Basically, I went back to my old notes and decided we were going to do everything that we didn't have time to do last time we were there. Easy peasy. I updated the list of restaurants I wanted us to try and added the address for Costco, since we're members now.

The Beet Box Cafe once again did not disappoint. It always surprises me how great the food looks and tastes when it arrives at our table. I mean look at the place! It's a whole in the wall and everything about it feels a little dirty and uncomfortable. But the food is healthy and delicious. Just like last time, this was our first restaurant stop shortly after arriving on the island. Makes total sense for us to come here for a good hearty meal after not eating very well on the plane and travel here. We feel satisfied every time we leave :)






One of the restaurants we wanted to try last time was not open when we arrived on the last trip. It had such strange operating hours that I decided to write down all the operating hours for all the restaurants I had on my list. Hawaii is a bit weird that way. Then again, I tend to pick shrimp trucks, whole in the walls and odd places to eat since that seems to be where the locals eat too. Ha!


Garlic Shrimp at Tita's Grill.


Kalbi ribs.

So the restaurant we finally got to try in the North Shore was Tita's Grill & Catering. The best garlic shrimp we ever had! Omg. Sure we ate there late after a day of hiking and going to the beach but I actually had high expectations from the place. We made it just an hour before their closing and we sat outside eating in a covered lit area in the dark. We ordered three platters: the garlic shrimp, the kalbi ribs, and the combo with the garlic shrimp and poupou chicken (something like that). They were all delicious. For $13 to $15 a platter, all the portions were quite generous. The ribs reminded me of Korean barbecue ribs. The chicken was deep fried, boneless and also very tasty. The shrimp was large and amazing. It's not just the seasoning on them but they tasted sweet and fresh like they were cooked live. It reminded me of the time I used to go shrimping in Victoria late at night. We caught shrimp and then went back home to cook them right away in boiling water. That's all we did and they tasted amazing on their own. Nothing beats fresh shrimp! Tita's Grill & Catering is now our favorite shrimp stop on Oahu :) Oh and their Polynesian bread isn't bad either. We bought a loaf for our breakfast.



There are so many great hiking trails on Oahu. Many of the family friendly ones are on the east side like Koko Head Crater, Diamond Head, and Makapu’u Point Lighthouse. Fortunately for us, our new favorite shaved ice stop is also nearby :) Uncle Clay's House of Pure Aloha at the Aina Haina shopping center serves shaved ice with homemade fruit syrup. That's right! It's syrup made from fresh fruit and there are no artificial flavors or colors. It's a pretty simple concept really but so many shaved ice places still use the artificial stuff. The real stuff tastes way better. Uncle Clay's has all the great flavors as well. Not a gazillion favors like Matsumoto's Shave Ice but maybe a dozen of the most popular local flavors. We particularly liked pineapple, coconut, guava, strawberry and liliko'i (or passionfruit). They also have interesting flavors like green tea and chocolate. Toppings like fresh fruit, beans, mochi and ice cream also made an interesting treat with the shaved ice.



We were very fortunate to have a resort with a full kitchen. We went out to eat for the first few days but then ended up packing snacks and eating in our room for the rest of the week. It was really nice to just go to Costco and then come back to the resort and cook or barbecue our dinner. We met up with some friends and ate at their place one night and then invited them for a barbecue at our resort later in the week. We did the same thing on the last trip too! But with different friends. Lol.

Hawaii always makes a nice and relaxing vacation. Now we have friends with kids there too and that makes it all the better. It's great for my 6 year old to hang out with other kids when we go on vacation. But even without anyone though, he's perfectly happy swimming in the pool, snorkeling at the beach and playing in the sand all day long. Even in the winter. Those lucky Hawaiians!
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