Pictures and text by Lindsey Rose Johnson
We were fortunate to be able to travel to Oahu for Easter 2011 to spend time with my husband’s Aunt Robin. She rented a condo in Ko Olina for a month (!) and we flew down on some buddy passes her daughter had. We hadn’t taken a vacation sans kids ever. We didn’t even really go on a honeymoon. So it was nice to get away for awhile and enjoy the warmth. The Spring/Summer of 2011 was pretty chilly, so we joked it was good we made it to Hawaii so we could enjoy summer in the 6 days we were there. :)
One of the reasons Aunt Robin and I get along so very well is that we both love cooking (and eating). In preparation for the trip, we kind of drew up some plans of what we’d like to do. Then my husband cut his knee so badly on coral our first day at the beach (4 giant stitches later–it doesn’t sound bad, but trust me, it was), we spent the rest of our trip eating our way around the island. Doesn’t that sound nice?
Aunt Robbie knows Oahu backwards and forwards. We were out one day and she said something about Coco Puffs and wanting to try to find Liliha Bakery. We didn’t really have an address with us, so we tried our luck. And we found it thanks to her awesome memory.
What a fun bakery! Everything looked absolutely delicious. We could have easily bought one of everything. A lot of the desserts had flavors of the Pacific Isles–lillikoi (passion fruit), coconut, pineapple, etc. the green rolls in the picture below are matcha flavored. Mmm.
The specialty is the Coco Puffs. Basically they are cream puffs filled with a rich chocolate pastry cream, but the frosting is what makes them special. It’s kind of like that coconut-pecan frosting you make to go with German chocolate cake, only without the coconut and pecans. (Now that I’m thinking about it though, that would be soooo good on top of the Coco Puffs.)
They sell between 4800 to 7200 Coco Puffs each day. Whoa! They have a special case devoted just to CP, so you can easily just pick up a box or four to take with you. It’s crazy how much people love them!
I was eating gluten-free on that trip, so I only had the tiniest taste of the coco puffs. I left that to my husband, and was totally fine having my share. Ha!
I also had a tiny taste of another island specialty–Malasadas. Malasadas are basically filled doughnuts. It’s something brought to Hawaii from Portuguese immigrants that stayed on when other customs faded away. (I’ve been reading Hawaiian History and I’ve been learning about the influx of Portuguese immigrants and their influence in Hawaiian culture.So interesting!)
These are filled with lillikoi (passion fruit). You’ll see carts or food trucks along the highway or in the parking lot of shopping centers selling malasadas warm from the deep fryer. Honestly, doughnuts don’t usually tempt me, but these were delicious and I’m sure it would be easy to put away a two or three in a sitting.
If you have more time and want to stop for lunch or dinner, there’s a diner right inside too with a classic diner menu with Hawaiian twists. It’s open 24 hours a day for anyone who needs a quick meal and a place to sit and chat.