The last post ended with us finishing up the Road to Hana and the next day we drove up to Haleakala, a huge shield volcano, to watch the sun set over this otherworldly place. Then we waited in the car until the last little bit of orange slipped from the hems of the sky and we were greeted with absolute darkness and a million billion stars. I turned my camera up to its longest exposure and you can even see the blotted copper swirl of the Milky Way in the sky. It was crazy beautiful but also crazy cold. When the park website clearly states that it can be below freezing at Haleakala do not shrug and bring a rain jacket but still wear a t-shirt and neon short shorts. The tops of your ears and your legs will be freezing in the icy cold wind and you will have to run around hopping up and down to keep warm while you stand outside and attempt to star gaze. People will look at you funny.
And then the next day, proving to be true people of the SoCal we sought out some tacos in Hawaii. To be fair though tacos are a thing there and there were many taco trucks and most of them used Hawaiian seafood/had a Hawaiian twist like papaya salsa. To be less fair I ended up going with traditional birria instead of seafood but the taco man recommended it/I love birria so what was I going to do.
We got the Shredded Beef Taco (Birria) and Shrimp Tacos.
As well as a Shrimp Burrito. These were all tasty, the quality of the seafood in Hawaii in general kind of blew us away. And I love that they have pickled red onions as a self-serve condiment because those are the best.
After that we went back to Napili Bay because beach.
And then for lunch we went to Local Food. We had been wanting to go since day one but we were on dat island lyfe time and would wake up pretty late unless we had something to do soo…by the time we were hungry for lunch Local Food was inevitably always closed. Finally we made it here on time. This little shack serves inexpensive and no-frills Hawaiian food. We were very happy to finally get our kahlua pork fix. Bf ordered the Kahlua Pork Plate.
And then proceeded to drown it in sriracha as per usual.
We wished there were some larger chunks of pork but the subtle smoky taste was pretty good. I ordered Lau Lau Pork which is pork that is wrapped in taro leaves and then steamed. The taro leaves impart the slightest bitter edge and the pork was very moist due to lots of very fatty bits. Oh and I got the Spam Musubi. I liked the one at Da Kitchen better but its hard for spam musubi to not taste good.
Of course we had to finish off this meal with some Ululani’s shaved ice. Bf just got grape so I shall show you my creation. I started with the Haleakala which is coconut and leche flavor topped with sweetened condensed cream & cream mix then added lilikoi (passionfruit) syrup, toasted coconut, li hing mui (dried sour plum) powder and then mochi. They use lovely fresh mochi that comes in a huge powdery blob that they gently tear into chewy large chunks to top your shaved ice with. I think I literally squealed with joy when I saw how much mochi you get.
In Part 1 we had Mai Tai’s and a not-so-great Hula Pie from Japengo. Well I am here to tell you their malasadas are where its at. I was trying to go to a more local bakery to get malasadas but we were always too full or the place was closed. So on the last morning we sat by the pool and I ordered the ones at Japengo’s which was conveniently located inside our hotel, by the pool.
These were poi and sweet bread swirled and came with three dipping sauces: kona coffee ganache, guava compote, and salted caramel. I really wanted to love the ganache but the coffee just made it too bitter. And although I love salted caramel in ice cream form (particularly Berthillon if I’m getting specific) on its own its not my favorite. So I was happy to finish all of the yummy guava sauce. Although truth be told the malasadas we’re good enough on their own to not require any dipping sauce.
And then it was time to eat and then head to the airport. We had driven by Leoda’s a couple times and I had heard great things about their pies. But turns out the food is pretty stellar as well.
I ordered the Fried Salad (seasonal) which is the perfect compromise between getting a salad and not getting a salad (because fried). This was crunchy golden deep-fried brussels sprout leaves, a sweet burnt orange vinaigrette, celery leaves, mixed hydroponic greens, radish, and local mint. It was AMAZING.
We also got their Mushroom Burger which comes with butter lettuce, Kula onions, tomato, sauteed mushrooms, and Swiss cheese. This was good, the fries were good. We were happy kids.
And then the pie! Oh the pie. Loved that it was small because I was fairly stuffed. Real vanilla beans in fluffy whipped cream, lots of rich coconut custard, and a graham cracker crust. I want to try the lime one next time.
And then we drove to the airport….only to get there an hour early! What to do: eat moar. More specifically a parade of appetizers at Da Kitchen: BBQ Beef Sticks, Lumpia, Spam Musubi, and Lomi Lomi Salmon with Salad.
And that’s it! We really loved Maui. As someone who grew up with a dad who abhors all-inclusive packages, cruises and guided tours I was a bit worried Maui would be a bit too ‘resort-y’ but it really does have something for everyone. Whether you want to lounge by the hotel pool and sip on umbrella-garnished blended drinks or wake up in the middle of the night and go hike in a freezing cold volcanic crater that resembles the surface of Mars. You can have either. Or both.