Lucky in Love With Lilikoi
For first-timers to Hawaii, a land of paradise, they experience a rush and a thrill inconceivable to a local girl like myself, born and raised in the Islands. It’s a somewhat incomprehensible thought that when visitors gush over the sweet aroma of the air and pristine views of the Pacific Ocean, I’ll never experience it the exact same way. The “thrill” visitors speak of is a part of everyday life for kamaaina in Hawaii.
Of course, I have an innate love for everything the Islands have to offer, but earlier this week, a friend of mine was in town visiting from the Mainland. As she was telling me about her amazing experiences, I wished that I could partake in the beauty of my island home through her eyes.
“I tried a passion fruit for the first time,” she recalled, all smiles, her voice full of excitement. “It was amazing, so refreshing!” I stood there in disbelief. How foreign was a passion fruit? Here in Hawaii, lilikoi is just as common as apples and oranges. Yet, in that short moment I broke free of my ignorance and realized how blessed I really am. To have lilikoi — one of my favorite tropical fruits — readily available to me is something I shouldn’t take for granted.
This week, I decided to appreciate the wonders of lilikoi in a whole new light. Here at the following OYK establishments, I sampled passion fruit creations like never before — my palate attune to each and every bite, the invigorating flavors dancing freely upon my taste buds. I can honestly say that I fell in love with this sweet, tart, vibrantly yellow fruit all over again.
In essence, “Don’t take for granted what you have today, you may not be lucky enough to have it tomorrow. And always be thankful for all you have because no matter what, there always is someone who wishes they could be in your shoes.” Great words to live by! Lucky we live Hawaii!
Eggs ‘n Things
Eggs ‘n Things on Saratoga Road in Waikiki is a place for breakfast lovers. Waves of kamaaina and visitors around the world frequent this hot spot everyday for extravagant portions of pancakes, Paniolo Loco Mocos and, of course, fresh, local USDA certified eggs, just to name a few. The list goes on, and so does the wait time — on any given day, it takes an average of 40 minutes just to be seated. But during primetime breakfast hours, you don’t have to “hurry up and wait.” Here at Eggs ‘n Things, the waiting game has been a thing of the past ever since the restaurant introduced its cafe.
“We wanted to make the complete dining experience a positive one, and the cafe gives patrons a comfortable place to relax while they wait to be seated. We serve smoothies, juice, coffee, bubble drinks and more,” says manager Damien Zukeran.
On my most recent visit to the establishment, I remember it being a hot and humid, absolutely muggy day. Not the best weather. In fact, the mere act of sitting outdoors for a span of five minutes resulted in mild perspiration. Although you could cut through the humidity with a knife, the heat didn’t faze me once I wrapped my hands around a glass of chilled Lilikoi Juice ($3.95 small, $4.95 large).
Made from locally sourced, freshly squeezed passion fruit, Lilikoi Juice is like liquid gold, featuring the perfect combination of sweet and tangy.
“Locals are very familiar with lilikoi juice, but for tourists, many don’t even know what lilikoi is. They have no pre-conceived notion of what the juice tastes like, and the majority of them end up loving it,” Zukeran says.
So, why be pressed for time when you can leisurely sip away for the love of lilikoi?
Eggs ‘n Things
343 Saratoga Road
Deep in the heart of lush Manoa Valley is Manoa Marketplace on Woodlawn Drive, the home of quaint bake shop Fendu Boulangerie. Owner and chef Niel Koep opened the establishment in 2009, and he’s at the top of his game, baking up a storm just to keep up with the demand for European-style confections, such as pastries, oven-baked pizzas, sandwiches and more.
I’ve been a Fendu fanatic for years, and not only am I impressed by the gorgeous presentation of baked goods and sweets, but they are insanely good!
Luscious spoonfuls of Lilikoi Chocolate Mousse ($5.85), with a lilikoi base topped with Valrohna créme chocolate mousse and adorned with cocoa nibs and chocolate pearls, is swoon worthy. The lilikoi sauce speaks for itself, and the Valrohna chocolate cocoa bean traces its origins back to the Caribbean.
Lilikoi Cheesecake ($4.60) goes without saying. This best-seller is flaky, sweet, light deliciousness comprised of cream cheese and mascarpone cheese laced with lilikoi puree. Almond crust provides a strong foundation for the cheesecake, which is finished with a fruity lilikoi glaze.
My latest obsession is Fendu Boulangerie’s Pate de Fruit. Priced at 99 cents, each slice tastes similar to a genuine lilikoi fruit, but in the form of a fruit chew. French lilikoi puree is infused with vanilla bean for a nice finish, along with all-natural thickener. Once boiled, the finished product is left to cool, then cut into precise squares with a confectionary cutter called guitar. Finally, sugar crystals are sprinkled on top.
Fendu Boulangerie is perfection all around.
2752 Woodlawn Drive
Feel the warm and cozy embrace of Ocean House, a Waikiki eatery adjacent to a white sand beach and azure waters. Situated in Outrigger Reef Hotel, Ocean House presents its signature American cuisine and exotic Pacific fusion fare to its droves of patrons. Prime rib always is a show stopper here, but now’s the time to rave about Lilikoi Miso Butterfish ($36.95). This marvelous entree will reel you in with a bed of warm sushi rice topped off with a moist slab of lilikoi miso butterfish (Alaskan black cod).
“The fish is marinated in miso-based sauce and then oven-roasted. Lilikoi adds a nice acidic ‘pop’ to the dish and complements the flavor of miso quite well,” says chef Ricky Goings. “When in season, we prefer to source local lilikoi for the dish.”
The 7 ounces of fish is a prime choice when wanting to eat healthy (Hooray for omega 3 fatty acids!), and the flavor isn’t sacrificed one bit. Lilikoi Miso Butterfish exudes rich, sweet and savory tastes that are guaranteed to rejuvenate the palate.
Outrigger Reef Hotel
2169 Kalia Road