Friday, February 19, 2010

Sausages growing on trees? This IS paradise! (and other random discoveries)

It's true: I saw them at the Foster Botanical Garden. Okay, it's not actual sausage, but it sure looks like it, and that's really what the trees are called. The garden boasts quite a few actual culinary specimens, including taro, tamarind, black pepper, and guava.

We went to the garden with my mom and aunt, who were visiting for a few days. They also treated us to a luau. It was actually pretty fun, and the food was better than I expected. My favorite part was, after two hours in slow-moving traffic to get there,* being greeted by giant punch bowls of Mai Tais. One taste and I could tell there was hardly any booze in there, but they nonetheless had a Pavlovian effect and soothed my crankiness almost as well as a properly spiked one would.

The KCC Farmer's Market, now part of our Saturday routine has also proven to be a treasure trove of discoveries:
 
Not at the market, but on the way, is a tree full of tiny, bean-like baby mangoes. Just hanging out in someone's yard. Aren't they cute?

And though we have long been loyal to the Kukui Sausage Company's grilled kimchee sausage for our market breakfast, I think there's a new sheriff in town. It's called the KCC Culinary Arts Program. Why? Three words for you: kalua pork sliders. These people know what's up. Slow-roasted pig with citrus slaw on a taro bun. One is just $3, and it's the perfect size for me. Okay, it leaves a tiny bit of room...perhaps for...
Chicken skin chicharrones! I seriously don't know why it's taken me this long to encounter these. They're so deliciously awesome. An Okinawan family sells them, along with omelets and other made-to-order hot food using the chickens and ducks that they raise. But between an omelet and these chicharrones, I know which one I'd choose (hmm, unless they could be combined...)

Papayas, my favorite fruit. Lots of them. Delicious and cheap. And also, the flowers are insane. But you can't eat them, and I hate how you end up with dry petals and pollen all over the place, so I just enjoy them from afar.  
 * Full disclosure: it's not like I actually had to drive in that traffic. We took the luau company's shuttle, on which our escort "Cousin Bill" made us shout "Aloha" about a thousand times during his little spiel. So yes, it would have been worse to drive ourselves, but it was nonetheless a test of my patience (and blood sugar levels). Having said that, it was a fun experience overall and I certainly don't want to come off as ungrateful to my mom and aunt who were so generous to treat us. (Good lord, I think all their Southern hospitality and "I wouldn't dream of putting you out" attitude is wearing off on me)

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