I’ve decided that each month, I’m going to do a post of random note-worthy stuff we consume. This is for a number of reasons:

  1. When I started this blog, I decided that I didn’t want it to be the type of blog where I review places or products. If I like something, I might want to write about it, but the point isn’t to pass judgment or offer critique. But while I don’t particularly want to devote whole posts to places we eat, I do find that I want to share some of the things we enjoy without having to explain everything.
  2. We encounter a lot of stuff that’s great, but it’s really not “worth” an entire post. Meaning, if I put it up, you’d be bored to tears because it would be, “Um, we ate this. It was yummy. Get it here.” Somehow, though, I’m justifying putting together a half-dozen of those and that’s OK. Whatever. It’s my blog.
  3. Sometimes we buy (or are given) things that are interesting, or seem tasty, but I don’t really have a clue what to do with them. Sometimes we get it and I take pretty pictures long before I make anything with it. I’m hoping that by posting these things, you’ll give me suggestions on what to do with them.
  4. I’m kind of sucking at blogging regularly. Partly, I procrastinate. Partly, I over-think the writing part. (I’m an English major and I took a lot of Victorian lit classes. I think it’s embedded in my brain that I should be tortured.) I’m hoping that a self-imposed mandatory exercise will be good for me.

So there you have it. This will be a monthly thing. Hope it doesn’t bore you to tears times a half-dozen.

Products like these smoked sea salts are precisely the kind of thing these round-ups are perfect for. We found these at the Farmers’ Market in Waimea. Hawaiian Volcano Sea Salt offers this cute sampler ($15) of Kiawe Smoked, Guava Smoked and Natural, plus bigger sizes in individual packages.

Hawaiian Volcano Sea Salt sampler (clockwise from top): Kiawe Smoked, Guava Smoked and Natural. We found these folks at the Kamuela Farmers’ Market. © 2012 Sugar + Shake

We chatted with the owner, and learned that they use Kona deep-ocean sea water (it’s pulled up from 2,200 feet down) and locally-sourced Hawaiian woods. We sampled the salts with a little butter on soda crackers. Holy crap. I could sit around eating that all day! I’ve tried the Guava Smoked on beef that I indoor-grilled on the stove-top grill pan to create a smoky flavor. I think it would’ve worked better if I hadn’t topped the steaks with an intense garlic-parsley-cilantro sauce.

Also at the Waimea Farmers Market, we had these incredible waffles from a vendor called Iron Cake Waffles.

Sort of surprising, but this is the first food photo from the trip. We went up to the Waimea Farmers Market and had the most incredible waffles from a vendor called Iron Cake Waffles. They make Liège waffles, which are made with a different kind of batter than regular waffles. The one we had was covered in Waimea strawberries, fresh whipped cream and Nutella — it was sooooo good; so good we forgot to think about taking a photo. These were the sample pieces Iron Cake was giving out. © 2012 Sugar + Shake

They make Liège waffles, which are made with a different kind of batter than regular waffles. The one we had was covered in Waimea strawberries, fresh whipped cream and Nutella — it was sooooo good; so good we forgot to think about taking a photo. This photo is actually of the sample pieces Iron Cake was giving out. After having these, Shake’s been on a waffle kick and also convinced that we shouldn’t have exchanged the waffle maker my great-aunt gave us one Christmas. (We got a blender/food processor, which I think is infinitely more useful.)

This is The Whole Ox Deli’s “Pineapple and Ham” (Malama Farms Tasso over Maui Gold Pineapple w/ Chicharrones).

The Whole Ox Deli’s “Pineapple and Ham” (Malama Farms Tasso over Maui Gold Pineapple w/ Chicharrones). © 2012 Sugar + Shake

I like this photo because the frisee lettuce looks like it’s a hermit crab crawling out of the pork rinds. Shake and our friend (who happens to be a magazine art director) both liked the other version I shot better, but I think it’s because that one was more chicharrones-focused. Anyway, this was quite fantastic! Mahalo to Whole Ox’s Bob McGee for sending it over.

After the ham (which most people eat as an appetizer, but we had as a post-dinner “palate cleanser” of sorts) we didn’t stop. We got dessert. We were going to share, but then everyone decided they wanted their own. Less bloodshed that way.

Shake and the other gentleman in our party both had the Kiawe-Smoked Brownie with BBQ chips & whipped cream. The brownies get smoked in the same smoker Whole Ox uses for the meat. Awesome. Bob says it’s a pain in the ass, but sorry, dude. You better keep making these.

The Whole Ox Deli’s Kiawe-Smoked Brownie with BBQ chips & whipped cream. © 2012 Sugar + Shake

Our art director friend and I had the other dessert choice, Jasmine Rice Panna Cotta with Almond Crumble, topped with oranges and mint. Sooooooo good. The Almond Crumble was just like Chinese almond cookies crushed up. But better. Unfortunately, my shots did not come out well enough for me to post here. I don’t normally like to talk about things I don’t post photos of ’cause it seems stupid to talk about something you can’t see, but this was so good, I want to tell you about it in case you see it on the menu. You have to get it.

At the end of the month, we went to Maui for the Kā‘anapali Fresh Food & Wine Festival. This was the inaugural occasion of what they hope will be a yearly event. The event spanned the end of August and beginning of September, so you’ll see bits of it in both months’ round-ups. Plus, I plan a complete post for it, too.

This was a highlight of the first night’s Progressive Kā‘anapali tasting: Poke Tacos. Not quite sure where they came from, but it’s one of the restaurants on the Hyatt Regency Maui property. Edit 9/25/12: Learned that these Poke Tacos are from Hula Grill Kā‘anapali.

Poke Tacos at Progressive Kā‘anapali, a Kā‘anapali Fresh Food & Wine Festival event. One of our favorite dishes of the evening. © 2012 Sugar + Shake

And our other favorite from the Progressive Tasting: Crispy Kalua Pork Belly & Poi with Lomi Kula Tomato from the Westin Maui Resort & Spa.

Another Progressive Kā‘anapali favorite: Crispy Kalua Pork Belly & Poi with Lomi Kula Tomato from the Westin Maui Resort & Spa. © 2012 Sugar + Shake

I’m not a big fan of poi, but, hey, pork belly! (Shake does enjoy poi, though, and he said it was really good — it was actually fresh-pounded. As in, there was a woman pounding it RIGHT THERE, which was pretty cool.)

I probably would have enjoyed this even more if we hadn’t walked from the first venue to the second. We thought it would help us digest the appetizer round, but it just made me really hot and thirsty, and my feet hurt.

So there you go! The high and/or interesting points of our month. We ate all that. Are you bored?

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