Every time I come home to visit, there are certain unspoken “must do’s” in the family.
We “must do” this, we “must do” that. No one actually ever says it must be done, because it already assumed.
Ahhh, the “round the island trip.” It’s a funny sort of trip. Unlike other families, we don’t stop at the beach to tan or swim (save for my sister, we’ve never been a “go to the beach” type family). The whole objective is to simply drive around the entire island, and nothing more (aside from good food stops along the way). These trips usually take place on a Sunday. We’ll wake up a bit earlier than other Sundays and start our journey off with breakfast at the Kapiolani location of the Original Pancake House. Blueberry pancakes for dad, Banana pancakes for mom, pancake & spam for sister, and the Sweedish pancakes for myself. Family tradition.
Then, with bellies packed full of sweet starchy goodness, we all pile back into the car (with a truck filled with cold bottled water and plenty of napkins) and head towards Kaimuki, then past Hawai’i Kai and Hanauma Bay, through Waimanalo and many more neighborhoods. Finally we see the first of many Kahuku Shrimp Trucks lining along Kamehameha Highways. Many have few or no customers, but Giovanni is packed to the brims as usual. Giovanni’s is the most popular of trucks with tourists, and while we’ve given it a few tries, I prefer Romy’s when it comes to Kahuku shrimps and prawns.
There’s always a steady crowd at Romy’s, but the line on that particular Sunday was insane, super insane. We arrived there around noon, but it was nearly two hours later before we had received our food! There was a good 30 minute wait in line to order the food, and after that, 90 minutes of hanging out in the sun waiting for the plate lunches. Lucky one of the staff workers was walking around handing out tons of li hing pineapple samples – so refreshing.
My sister and I went for the sweet & spicy prawns, done extra spicy. They were a bit off this time (perhaps due to the obscenely large crowds of people?), barely any of the spicy heat was detected, the sweet aspect overly done. Nonetheless the crisp and succulent prawns were a quite a sight for the eyes and tongue.
Mom and dad went for the butter garlic combo – I always regret not getting this one whenever I order the sweet & spicy…in the ideal world you would be able to order a 1/2 and 1/2 plate lunch, heheh. The blanket of rice come in rather good handy when you need a vehicle to soak up all that garlic laced butter at the bottom of the dish.
It took two hours for the food to come, and only ten minutes for us to eat it all. Go figure! ^_^
We get back into the car and after a short drive down Haleiwa, we make a sharp left into Ted’s Bakery, aka, the BEST PIES IN HAWAI’I EVER.
I’m not kidding! Every local citizen knows about Ted’s Bakery, best known for his Chocolate Haupia Pies. Reid over at ‘Ono Kine Grindz has an awesome post on Ted’s over at his blog. The bakery became famous many years past (it must have been when I was in middle school, 1998-ish), and now you can find their pies at every local supermarket around town. In addition to Chocolate Haupia, other pie flavours such as Macadamia Nut Cream, Pumpkin Haupia, and even Strawberry Guava Cream have a equally dedicated fan base.
But somehow, for some reason, the pies always taste best when you buy them straight from the original Ted’s store. We only make it out here during the “round the island” trips, otherwise it’s a incredibly long drive (by Hawai’i standards) for just a pie. At this Haleiwa location, theres a full menu of breakfast foods and plate lunches in addition to pies…I was particularly tempted by the loco moco fried rice…
But with my head on straight (and a tummy already packed with pancakes, rice, and prawns), we stuck to plan and got pie. And cake. And then another slice of cake. No sense in self-control when it comes to sweets. Just make sure to brush and floss well, and everything shall be a-okay :)
First, Ted’s classic Chocolate Haupia Pie. If you’ve never had Ted’s before, you must try this flavour before any of the others. A flakey pie shell filled with a based of thick chocolate pudding. Only, it’s so much more than simply pudding, oh yes, this one is a touch more dark than your usual pudding, a bit more on the custardy size, and ridiculously luxurious. The pudding is topped with an equally tall layer of summery light haupia pudding. It’s the ultimate summer treat, winter treat, fall treat, oh hell, what does it matter, our weather is same all year round, so there’s no excuse to not eat your share (and a tad more) of Ted’s Chocolate Haupia Pie whenever you get the chance.
Sometime early last year Ted started making cakes. It scared me at first, after all, he’s known for his pies, and so shouldn’t he stick to what he knows best? Any worries however, soon dissipated the moment I had a taste of his Dream Cake at Shirokiya’s cake sampling. Oooooh goodness, it was a heavely light cake true to it’s name…I had three samples and brought an entire cake home for dinner, and another to grandma’s the following week, and have been dreaming about it ever since. We didn’t spot the Dream Cake at the bakery on this visit, but did find a Chocolate Haupia Cake, Ted’s class pie turned into a cake. A fluffy light cocoa cake, (with an egg white base), and alternating layers of the same chocolate pudding and haupia found in the pie. In the Chocolate-Haupia question of cake versus pie, I’d go for the pie if I could only have one, but the cake is definitely worth a return visit…or as a second dessert ;).
With that said, because we had one cake, I decided there was no harm in another, so we dived straight for the Pineapple Macadamia Nut Cheesecake. The spice cake base (think carrot cake minus the carrots, plus pineapples and chopped macadamia nuts), is topped with a meltingly rich layer of “cheesecake” (really just cream cheese whipped with heavy cream, whole eggs, and sugar ;), and then a final layer of what is best thought of as a pineapple compote. Quite a lethal combination, no?
Romy’s Kahuku Prawns & Shrimp
56-781 Kamehameha Hwy
Kahuku, HI 96731
59-024 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa, HI 96712