Burl Burlingame posted today on Facebook a better shot of a sunset from Schooners, the restaurant right on Pearl Harbor where he took us to dinner after giving us the tour of Ford Island. In this shot, Ford Island (where Burl “works”) is between us and the sun going down behind the Waianae mountains. Off to the left is the causeway out to the island. To the right is McGrew Point Navy officer housing, where my family lived briefly just before I left for college.
He said he was there celebrating National Beer Day. Probably with a Newcastle, I’m guessing.
My second greatest regret from our time on the island (the greatest being that we couldn’t stay longer) is that I didn’t get a Primo. I had never had Primo. During my very brief time as a legal drinker in the islands (that week or so I was there over Christmas vacation, 1971), I never had a Primo. It was considered cooler to drink Olympia, so I did. Nor did I ever eat poi, strangely enough.
I rectified that, at least. The last thing we did before heading to the airport to leave was to have lunch at Ono Hawaiian Foods, a wonderfully downhome, unpretentious, authentic eatery. We had da kine pig and poi, and it was great. Pictures of the food and the place are below.
No, not as beautiful as what Burl posted, but it was good. We ordered and shared the Combination Plate — kalua pig and laulau, pipikaula, lomi salmon, haupia, and poi. (The poi is the purplish-gray stuff in the blue bowl.}
Yeah, but have him tell you about the traffic in Honolulu. Due a malfunction in the machine that helps them switch two of the HOV lanes from inbound to outbound last Tuesday, they experienced their worst traffic jam in history… we got stuck for 2.5 hours trying to go less than 10 miles. Others closer to downtown were stuck for six. And the only guy who could fix the machine was on the mainland so he didn’t arrive until that evening.
The thing to do is get off the highway and spend rush hour having a beer at Schooners, and looking at this scenery.
As for wherever you needed to go, consider the important Hawaiian phrase, “We get ’em later…”
I was at Ono Hawaiian Foods a couple of times in visits in the late 1980s and 1999 (I was there for Y2K New Years) to Honolulu, glad to know the restaurant is still there. —did you eat the poi this time? Stuff tastes like the way a bottle of multivitamins smells if you stick your nose in it. I had a hard time with it, but I know it’s supposed to be the single-most-healthy-food-per-ounce that you can possibly eat on planet earth.
But the pork dishes are delicious, and no problem for anybody used to carolina-style ‘cue.
Oh, I thought the poi was great!
I had always avoided it because of my food allergies — I had never been tested for it. And some of my allergies are potentially life-threatening, so why take a chance?
But a couple of years after we left the islands, I heard someone on a talk show on TV say that poi is hypoallergenic — you CAN’T be allergic to it.
So ever since then, for something like 40 years, I’ve waited to get back there and try it.
And I liked it.
The proprietor had his doubts, though. You can get either rice or poi with that dish. He recommended that dish as the best for getting a taste of several traditional Hawaiian foods. But when he asked whether we wanted rice or poi and I said poi, he asked whether I’d ever had it. When I answered truthfully, he looked at me and my equally haole wife, and without a word went and fetched a bowl with enough to taste, and let us try it.
I liked it and told him so. Not sure he believed me, but he brought us more poi…
Probably the best part of the Combination Plate is that greenish mass in the upper left-hand corner of the picture.
That’s a big hunk of roast pork encased in taro greens. So we got to sample the whole plant (poi being from the root)!
It compares very favorably to kale, mustard and other greens you may have had…
It’s not really Hawaii eatin’ unless there’s some SPAM involved.
Poi is unfairly maligned. My kids grew up on it. Haggis is also quite good but has a bad rap that’s unfair.
But Primo is awful. Gimme a Newcastle any time.
Oh just another quotidian work day.
In the far distance in the sunset picture, you can see the $2 billion boondoggle known as the SDX radar. It quietly slunk into the harbor a few days ago.