One of my favorite things to do when I travel is, of course, eat. My husband and I were very lucky to take a trip to Maui a few weeks ago, where we met up with two of my sisters, a bunch of cousins and my aunt and uncle (20 Buckwalters invade Maui!). It is so easy to eat well in a tropical location–fresh fruit and vegetables are in abundance, and all you need to do is grill some kind of meat, toss together a salad, and you have dinner. If you want to go out to eat, though, there’s plenty of great places. The photo above was taken at Mala Ocean Tavern in Lahaina, Maui. We first heard about this place in the NY Times Travel Section, and then we discovered that my husband’s co-worker’s brother is a bartender there! So of course we had to go. Look closely at the dessert in the middle of the table there–it was called “Caramel Miranda,” and here I will quote from the menu: “A melted dark chocolate and caramel sauce covered plate with layered and broiled island fruit, including raspberries, Maui Gold pineapple, and baby coconuts and topped with vanilla macadamia nut brittle ice cream.” Oh yum. Between the five of us, we cleaned the plate very quickly.
Speaking of Maui Gold pineapple, it was the star in the meal that my sisters and I made for the family. During the week that we were in Maui, we all took turns cooking and hosting meals for the big group. Friday night was our night to host, and I wanted to grill some kind of meat and serve it with a fresh salsa featuring the fresh pineapple that we had been eating all week (it was 58 cents a pound, which worked out to $1-2 dollars for a whole pineapple). I found a recipe on epicurious for Grilled Pork Loin with Fire-Roasted Pineapple Salsa which we quadrupled and made for everyone that night. It was truly a collaborative effort–Bradley grilled, Martha made the fresh salsa, I made a Greek couscous salad to go on the side, my cousin Joe’s wife Sera made a green salad, and my sister Janna made two huge bowls of trifle for dessert (once again including the fresh pineapple, with strawberries, bananas and I think some guava). I wish someone had taken a picture of the spread before it got devoured, but no one did. Take my word for it–it was pretty to look at and delicious to eat. (A quick shout-out here to Krestia’s beer choice for the meal: Kona Pipeline Porter. I didn’t drink any, but I heard it was well-liked.)
Switching from the tropics back to Alaska was a bit tough, but coming back with spring on the way and Daylight Savings to extend our sunny evenings has helped. Also, I took a quick work trip to Kodiak this week. While there, I ate lunch twice at what is fast becoming my favorite little coffeeshop: Monk’s Rock. This place is a bookstore, coffeeshop and gift shop, and it’s associated with St. Innocent’s Academy on Kodiak, an Orthodox school. So–you can order lunch, and while they are making your sandwich, you can browse the selection of icons, psalters and books about St. Herman of Alaska. My first meal there was a pastrami and swiss sandwich on dark rye bread, with lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo and mustard. I came back two days later and had their bacon and brie panini–quite an indulgent sandwich, but thoughtfully served with a spinach salad to balance out all the fat and salt.
I am laughing a bit to myself that I combined a Hawaiian ocean tavern and an Orthodox coffeeshop in the same post, but there you have it. Two recent delicious experiences. After all the traveling, though, I am glad to be home and cooking my own delicious meals again. I just made the Greek Fennel Skillet from Simply in Season for dinner, since we got a bulb of fennel in our CSA box this week. I added some diced chicken breast to the sauce, and served it with buttered orzo. Hooray for a good, home-cooked meal!