Somehow, I've ended up with 4 posts about one day. Probably complete overkill, but after all, one of the reasons we keep this blog is to document travel, so welcome back to Saturday!
Market, then poke, then Dole hWhip, then shave ice, then the beach, then shrimp, then:
More driving. A couple of weeks ago was the 50th anniversary of Hawaii's being made a state. There are still some people who are emphatically NOT happy about this.
And you know, in reading more about Hawaii's history, especially during the latter half of the 19th century, I can understand why they'd be angry. This is just the tip of the iceberg, if you'd like to read more.
(Keiki means children.)
This isn't a political blog, and I'm not aware of all of the facets of this issue, so I'm just going to segue quietly back into showing you pretty stuff.
We kept driving south down the east coast of Oahu and stopped at a beach park with a great view of Mokolii Island, also known as Chinaman's Hat. You can see why in this picture. Men were fishing and a cool breeze blew off the ocean.
The sun was starting to go down in earnest, so we turned the car on a more direct route back to Honolulu. First we passed this poi factory, which wouldn't have looked out of place in some New Mexican or Arizonan frontier town - that is, if you change the sign. "Waiahole Poi Factory" just doesn't have a Tombstone or Deadwood-type ring to it.
We got back to the hotel in full darkness and parked in the Hyatt's totally awful parking garage. Man, I hated that place! The ramps weren't big enough for two cars to pass, and it was impossible to see around the corners, so we were in constant danger of ramming into someone or being rammed as we came around a curve.
We ended up doing a pretty late dinner, since our day had been pretty freaking eventful, as well as full of food. Logan was craving miso-grilled butterfish, so I texted Crystal to get info on whose version she'd liked the most when she and Justin were in Honolulu. I can't believe we ended up randomly going to Hawaii within a week of each other!
This is how we ended up at Sansei Seafood, which had the added benefit of being an easy walk from our hotel. Perfect.
And Crystal and Justin didn't steer us wrong, either - the miso butterfish was really good - so rich!
Sansei was a little strange. Starting at 10 PM on the weekends, they turn into a crazy late-night karaoke bar with half-off most of the menu. We arrived at 9:15, and the hostesses almost wouldn't seat us because they wanted us to wait for 10.
By 9:45, there was a line way out the door and snaking down the stairs. We were oblivious and kept ordering and eating.
Sansei had a couple of dishes we'd seen profiled in a Hawaii dining magazine, so we had to get them. First was a fried (the menu would prefer we say "panko-crusted") ahi surrounded by spinach and arugula and served with a soy-wasabi butter sauce. I actually really liked this - the greenery kept all that frying from cooking the ahi at all, and the textures were fun. Thumbs up.
We also tried their foie gras nigiri, to which I say NO. The mango it was served with was way underripe, the caramelized onions combined with the sauce (I think it was eel sauce?) were way too sweet, and there was too much rice. Just no. Maybe it was a bad night for this dish, because they get a lot of good press about it, and I found this picture that looks like a better version of it - though that eater apparently didn't much care for the nigiri either.
We also got the Yellow Submarine roll, which was nice and refreshing (shrimp, pickled ginger, kanpyo gourd, flying fish roe, and sprouts). It was cute, too, wrapped in yellow paper. Clever name.
Right after this was delivered, everything went crazy. It was 10:00, and the house lights were dimmed, the disco lights came up, the karaoke DJ began testing his mic, and the burgeoning crowd of people outside were let in. The place rapidly became a madhouse. And even though we were full, we couldn't pass up half-price sushi, so we ordered two more rolls for a total of $5.50.
These were not nearly as complicated as the other ones, though - one with just Japanese pickled radish, and one with superfresh scallops, cucumbers, and a bit of masago aioli to bring things together. The simple rolls may have been my favorite (besides that miso butterfish, of course!), but that's usually the case with sushi.
We liked Sansei and its odd schizophrenia, and they sure were convenient - thanks again for the rec, Crystal!
Sansei Seafood: Waikiki Beach Marriot Resort and Spa. 2552 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu. 808.931.6286. There are other locations around the state.
Plus, I enjoyed their stick figure ladies, clad in lovely flowered dresses.
We walked back towards our hotel and had to stop for a mai tai along the way. It wasn't nearly as good as the Royal Hawaiian's on the first night, but what is?
Next day: Our last day on Oahu. Pearl Harbor, crazy ramen, and a disappointing encounter with a uniquely Hawaiian fast-food joint.