June 21, 2012

The "Baked" Brownie

I have made a lot of brownies in my life. Brownies from mix, from scratch, one-bowl brownies, stovetop brownies. Blondies with chocolate chips and coconut, boozy brownies, and sober brownies. Brownies are becoming so outrageous that some modern concoctions don't even fall in the category of "brownie." Orange brownies? Lemon? Come on now. It's as if baking cowboys/cowgirls are using the old adage "a rose by any other name would not smell as sweet"...or, a brownie by any other name apparently doesn't taste as good. To me, brownies are chocolate through and through. The rest are bar cookies. I'll give a pass to brownies with accompaniments like peanut butter and creme de menthe. But brownies should be made with good dark chocolate and really, they should be as simple as possible. Adding adjectives to brownies doesn't make them any more brownie.

June 13, 2012

Magnolia Travels, Part III: Maui

Two eating establishments captured our attention on the island of Maui: Honu Seafood and Pizza in Lahaina and Flatbread Company in Paia, on East Maui.
The seaside town of Lahaina buzzes happily with tourists and is almost too full of food choices. Lahaina was a far cry from the tiny town of Hanalei in Kauai: there are the obligatory chain restaurants and a smattering of touristy seafood and burger joints that entices streetwalkers with advertisements of drinks and party music. Front Street in Lahaina has everything the heart could possibly want - shopping, eating, and good-time beach patios. The place we settled on for lunch was far from the main drag of Front Street and closer to the famous Old Lahaina Luau, on the north side of Lahiana. Honu Seafood has a plank patio that runs into a rocky beach. From our seaside table, we watched seagulls and the occasional sea turtle bobbing in the harbor. Honu's menu was a mix of flatbread pizzas and seafood dishes, sandwiches, and Asian-style fish dishes. Here at Honu's we got our first taste of fried pig's ear.

June 11, 2012

Magnolia Travels, Part II: From Kauai to Maui

Small Town Coffee, Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii

I would like to dedicate the second part of my travel posts to one exceptionally spectacular day spent on the islands of Kauai and Maui. The morning after our adventure at Hanalei Pizza, we said a somewhat sad goodbye to our beautiful Princeville dwelling and headed south, hoping to catch some views of the stunning Waimea Canyons before our flight to Maui. For breakfast, we stopped in Kapaa at the tiniest, earthiest, chillest coffee shop possible: Small Town Coffee. This place was everything we dreamed of. Sitting comfortably in a gravel lot, STC was built around a miniature Japanese garden, complete with miniature koi pond and ceramic knick-knacks. Chickens and bikes cluttered the courtyard and to the side was a lean-to housing a table of very chill regulars chatting over cigarettes. In the shop were tiny mosaic tables, clutters of wall art, and an ad for housemade hemp milk. Vegan pastries and muffins sat underneath the glass display and a chalkboard of drink options stood behind the counter. My man immediately lit on the item appropriately titled "The Andrew" and the concoction was just about as perfect as Andrew himself: iced tea and mango juice.

June 5, 2012

Magnolia Travels, Part I: Kauai, Hawaii

Friends, I must step out of the South for a moment. My heart for the past week has been in the middle of the North Pacific, on the balmy and graceful islands of Hawaii. Now, I'm not sure what kind of food destination Hawaii is, but Andrew and I got along just fine with the help of yelp and urbanspoon. From the fancy sunset dinner in Princeville to charcoal-grilled burgers at roadside stands, we tried it all. We had fresh Pacific fish and huge coconut shrimp, Maui Brewing Company lagers and poolside mai tais, macadamia nuts by the multi-handful and daily cups of hot local coffee. So what I miss about Hawaii is not just the lush mountains, the beach, the turquoise waters, the rainbows, the lunchtime cocktails. What I miss is being in that slice of paradise and turning every mealtime into an adventure of local cuisine hunting. We did not settle for the tourist spots or the obligatory fish-for-every-meal island fare. Rather, we went for pizza, burgers, fish and chips, and anything with grilled pineapple.