Diary of a Travel Guide Junkie: Alan Wong is a Rock Star January 10, 2008Posted by smooregasbord in Food, Travel.
Hands down, two of the best meals we ate in Honolulu came from restaurants owned by Alan Wong.
After a visit to Pearl Harbor, we were frantically trying to decide where to have lunch. Frommer’s rated The Pineapple Room very highly, so I called and was able to get a reservation. Ok, so before foody purists slaughter me, I will go ahead and tell you that The Pineapple Room is located inside of Macy’s department store at Ala Moana Center. However, Frommer’s rarely lets me down and with two stars we bravely decided to give it a try. We started with beverages: Plantation Iced Tea, a nice combination of tea and pineapple juice. Delicious. They brought out bread and a roasted red pepper aioli instead of butter…yum. For entrees, I ordered the kalua pig BLT (as recommended by Frommer’s) and Casey had the Pineapple Room Burger. I have never had a more delicious sandwich in my life. Casey’s burger was equally delicious piled high with an onion ring and avocado salsa. Now for dessert. I went with an unexpected option only because the lady next to me ordered it and it looked scrumptious: Haupia Tapioca “Halo Halo”. It was basically tapioca layered with fresh fruit (apple bananas, pineapple, hawaiian sweet corn, azuki beans, strawberries, mangoes) and topped with coconut shaved ice. A very refreshing dessert. Casey on the other hand went with a less healthy option: Peanut Butter Sesame Crunch. It was a fancy hawaiian peanut butter cup and was quite tasty.
With this meal being so awesome, we thought how can we leave Hawaii without trying his signature restaurant, Alan Wong’s Hawaii. We made a reservation for Saturday night. We decided to walk from our hotel which ended up being further than anticipated and also through a neighborhood with very few pedestrians. We turned onto King Street and began looking for the building. We happened upon the address which was a plain building with nothing but a shoebox-sized lobby and an elevator. Casey looks at me and says, “This better be good.” He presses the button for the third floor and the elevator doors opened to an unexpected and pleasant surprise…it was a beautifully laid out restaurant with an amazing view of the kitchen. We cozy-ed up to the bar while we waited for our table. The signature drink is a pineapple martini called the Big Bully Martini. They basically take Skyy Vodka and infuse it with pineapple for a few days. The drink is served straight up with a skewer of pineapples. I’m normally not a fan of martinis, but this was a pineapple party in my mouth! We decided to skip appetizers in order to save room for dessert. We both ordered from their specials menu which changes daily. I opted for the pan roasted moi served with sauteed lobster, potato gnocchi, hamakua mushrooms, and lobster truffle sauce. I have NEVER eaten anything so wonderful in my entire life! Had there been more privacy I would’ve totally licked the plate!! Casey went with the kona coffee crusted striploin served over goat cheese mashed potatoes with a foie gras bubble, mini garlic burger, and vegetable gratin. His steak was cooked to perfection and how can you go wrong with goat cheese and potatoes! We then gazed at the coffee and dessert menu in awe. At most restaurants if you want a cup of coffee, you say “I’d like a cup of coffee.” Not at Alan Wong’s. His menu features all locally grown coffee from the various islands of Hawaii….at least six different varieties. We went with Chef Wong’s current favorite, Rusty’s Hawaiian. It’s a 100% Ka’u coffee grown and roasted by Lorie Obra on the Big Island in Pahala. All of the coffees at Alan Wong’s are brewed and served in a french press. I’ve never smelled, much less tasted, anything so decadent. WOW! We actually purchased a 1 lb bag to bring home with us despite the outrageous price tag! Not much could top the coffee in our minds (and mouths), but we decided to order the chocolate sampler for dessert. It was more than we could eat. It came with chocolate espresso beans, chocolate creme brulee, chocolate mousse, chocolate crunch ice cream, some type of chocolate gel (a specialty from Japan), and a chocolate crunch bar. To end it all, they provide you with a caramel and chocolate covered macadamia nut dusted in powder sugar. It was the macadamia nut that broke the camel’s back!
Stick a fork in me cuz I’m done.