North shore snack report - matsumotos, romy's, kua aina
i know these places aren't new and hidden by any means, but i'm new so cut me some slack - gotta hit the big playas, right? (this got kind of long)
went on a 30 mile bike ride along the north shore/kam hwy saturday morning - what could be better afterwards than some shave ice? checked out matsumoto's. around 10:45 or so, tiny line. got the li hing mui flavor with beans and ice cream. The li hing mui flavor was there enough. i probably wouldnt guess it was li hing on a blind taste test, but it was pretty damn tasty...texture of the ice was really nice, not chunky, just melts right when it hits the mouth. normally, i like soft sweet azuki beans, but they get a little hard between the shave ice and ice cream - didnt love those in there. i did like like the transition from the ice to the creamy ice cream...you get a layer of sort of congealy ice slush on your way down to the ice cream, which i didnt mind but i can imagine it would turn some off. kind of unavoidable i suppose. nice to have that little straw to slurp up the goodness at the bottom of the cone (and who buys those gaudy plastic holders? lame - get messy!). all in all, good stuff. i have nothing yet to compare it to, so it sets the standard. i hear aoki's a few shops down is just as good, just less crowded -- any opinions out there?
after some killer body surfing in waimea bay, i trekked up to romy's shrimp shack...read about romy's on this blog (http://apassionforfood.blogspot.com/s...) and opted for romy's over giovanni's or other more popular joints. ANYBODY LOYAL TO OTHER SHACKS/TRUCKS? WHY? got there around 12:30, only about 4-5 parties in front of me, waited about 5-10 min to order....sweet and extra spicy prawns, rice, and a side of li hing mui pineapple (i freakin love the li hing mui!) -- pineapple was right on and refreshing. i crushed the fairly generous serving ($3) in about 2 minutes flat. i can wield a toothpick if i must. the prawns were really cooked perfectly, soft, just a little snap to 'em. i love getting messy when i eat so i was happy to peel the shells off (shrimp come shell on too). the sauce was thick so it stuck nicely to, well, everything. extra spicy is a bit of a misnomer - had some kick, no doubt, got some burn going on but it had plenty of room to be extra spicier. but they were delish, the rice was there, always tasty as much as it can be. you eat under roadside tents in front of their shrimp farms, and there's a sink to wash up. i will 100% return. just plain good. plate lunch was $11 for about 8 prawns. the shrimp plates looked like way more than 8. they also have a card - buy 10 plates get one free. not too shabby.
chillin', swimmin, beers and a perfect sunset on keiki beach. lovin' life. and starving again. needed a quick fix and hit up kua aina burger in haleiwa town. i got the mahi/ortega/cheese that i added bacon too (why not). comes with grilled onion, let, tom, mayo and tartar. i can hardly complain, besides wishing my bun was just slightly grilled on the inside halves to give some buttery crunch and stability. it was a messy delight, though, fish was cooked perfect and the flavors meshed well (thank you, bacon). shared fries. second time i've had them (1st was at ward) and second time they didnt do too much for me. this may sound dumb, but they taste more potato-y than french fry-y for my tastes. maybe a quick drop back in the fryer for 30 sec to 1 min. then they'd be $$$$. had a few bites of my friend's avocado/bacon/cheese burger and it was good, maybe very good. but based on my burger i had at ward (grilled pinapple burger) their burgers are very good but lack that certain something. they're nice and big and juicy and messy, but i dunno, cant put my finger on it. that being said, i'll certainly eat them again.
sorry so long, just been in town for a few weeks and i'm lovin life and the transition to the hawaiin diet.