Tropical Treats are My Kind of Candy

As the kids are dreaming of candy and getting ready to wear their costumes for a cold, dark, likely rainy Halloween, I’m thinking about warm, bright, and sunny Hawaii.  Maybe going as a Happy Hawaiian Tourist, with tropical print sarong, purple orchid lei, sunglasses.  Naw, too cold.  This is where my head is though, probably because of the chilly autumn air that is suddenly upon us.  

Whether you are planning your next Hawaiian vacation or simply wouldn't mind going there virtually, I'm letting you know about some of the treats we found while we were in Hawaii this past summer.  

My husband and I had been dreaming about taking the kids to Hawaii basically since they were born — well, really before that — and our dream came true when my parents had their 50th wedding anniversary and generously invited us to Hawaii with them to celebrate.  Seeing the tropical landscape through the kids' eyes was incredibly fun!

There were many tasty treats in Hawaii, even when we were mostly looking for vegan and/or whole foods.  One treat we weren't going to pass up in the Hawaiian heat was shave ice (my husband had to keep correcting me, for some reason I couldn't stop calling it “shaved ice”).  

Tobi's Shave Ice in Pa'ia and Matsumoto Shave Ice in Hale'iwa, so refreshing!  Guava, papaya and lilikoi combo was my go-to.   There were at least a few flavors with natural coloring and flavors, like lilikoi.  I wasn't sure whether I liked the mochi balls or not.  Have you tried them?  What do you think?  Kind of like flavorless gum that takes on the flavor of the ice, the chewiness somewhat satisfying.

Tobi's Shave Ice in Pa'ia and Matsumoto Shave Ice in Hale'iwa, so refreshing!  Guava, papaya and lilikoi combo was my go-to.   There were at least a few flavors with natural coloring and flavors, like lilikoi.  I wasn't sure whether I liked the mochi balls or not.  Have you tried them?  What do you think?  Kind of like flavorless gum that takes on the flavor of the ice, the chewiness somewhat satisfying.

And the fruit!  We found beautiful tropical fruit all over and had to try everything that was new to us, like dragon fruit, lychee, and lilikoi. 

Dragon fruit at Whole Foods on Maui, Hale'iwa Fruit Stand.

Dragon fruit at Whole Foods on Maui, Hale'iwa Fruit Stand.

We also came across this awesome roadside stand on North Shore, where they cracked open a coconut for us and gave us tastes of their super sweet mango.

Oh, and then the pineapple!  We were surrounded by pineapple pleasantness at the Dole Plantation and were not disappointed in the famous dairy-free Dole Whip.  We had to eat it very quickly under the hot sun!

I may have enjoyed my fair share of tropical drinks.  Here are a few....

I don't eat a lot of butter anymore, but who can resist the beloved Honolulu Cookie Company?  The cookies are too cute.  The dark chocolate dipped lilikoi...oh my...

While not everything was really a "whole food," I was pleasantly surprised that quite a few places had vegan options.  Everything we ate was delicious.  Lots of fresh yummy food.

From far left, clockwise:  Hula Dog food truck in Hale'iwa had giant veggie dogs with lots of different toppings like tropical fruit relishes - so good!  Kihei's Cafe O'Lei's grilled vegetable flatbread and salad; awesome sautéed veggie fajitas at the Milagros Food Company in Pa'ia; the veggie portion of the bento at Wailea's Ama Bar & Grill.

From far left, clockwise:  Hula Dog food truck in Hale'iwa had giant veggie dogs with lots of different toppings like tropical fruit relishes - so good!  Kihei's Cafe O'Lei's grilled vegetable flatbread and salad; awesome sautéed veggie fajitas at the Milagros Food Company in Pa'ia; the veggie portion of the bento at Wailea's Ama Bar & Grill.

Honolulu's Lanikai Juice had great oatmeal bowls and smoothies.

Oatmeal bowl with the works at Lanikai Juice in Honolulu.

Oatmeal bowl with the works at Lanikai Juice in Honolulu.

I was happy to see that there were places like Honolulu's Goofy, mindful of their footprint.

And there is so much e y e  c a n d y  in Hawaii!  Like being in a dream.  Lots of stopping and staring for long periods of time.  The water, sands, flowers, trees, wildlife...

Amazing hibiscus bloom.

Amazing hibiscus bloom.

On both Maui and Oahu, we saw sea turtles everywhere.  A beautiful sight.  We couldn't get enough.  One kept swimming under us when we were snorkeling!

These sea turtles, or Honu, were sunbathing right next to this seal just past Pa'ia on Ho'okipa beach.  Right along the beach walk at Waikiki, turtles like the one on the far right were bobbing all around.

These sea turtles, or Honu, were sunbathing right next to this seal just past Pa'ia on Ho'okipa beach.  Right along the beach walk at Waikiki, turtles like the one on the far right were bobbing all around.

We saw - and ate - so many wonderful things in Hawaii.  There was one spot that stood out leaps and bounds above all the rest, though: 

Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade.

This unassuming place, you ask?  Yes.  Definitely.  And we went to some really nice restaurants in fancy hotels.  But this unassuming place had:

My daughter and I were looking to try our first acai bowl, and we were not disappointed.  I ordered the Da Kine Bowl, mostly because its base was raw chocolate breadfruit custard.  There were so many other goodies in there, too - divine!  These bowls can easily be shared.   The Arnold Palmer was made with lilikoi black tea - OMG!  Such an exotic, full blast of fruitiness.  I was thankful the tea cut the sweetness down a bit, bringing the flavor to the forefront.  So many lemonade flavor possibilities, like Alii Lavender Blackberry, Guava Limeade, Strawberry Papaya.  There were too many things we wanted to try, like the large selection of smoothies, so we'll definitely have to go back.  I love that Wow Wow gives a % of their profits back to their community, too.

My daughter and I were looking to try our first acai bowl, and we were not disappointed.  I ordered the Da Kine Bowl, mostly because its base was raw chocolate breadfruit custard.  There were so many other goodies in there, too - divine!  These bowls can easily be shared.   The Arnold Palmer was made with lilikoi black tea - OMG!  Such an exotic, full blast of fruitiness.  I was thankful the tea cut the sweetness down a bit, bringing the flavor to the forefront.  So many lemonade flavor possibilities, like Alii Lavender Blackberry, Guava Limeade, Strawberry Papaya.  There were too many things we wanted to try, like the large selection of smoothies, so we'll definitely have to go back.  I love that Wow Wow gives a % of their profits back to their community, too.

Recognize the glass on the left from last week's post?  Yes, that's my favorite drink jar.  

I love the happy spirit and sense of humor of the place.  Of course Spam plant pots!

Hawaiian greeting at Wow Wow Lemonade.

Hawaiian greeting at Wow Wow Lemonade.

So after I trudge through neighborhoods with my skeleton warrior and his buddies and all the festivities are over this Halloween, I will be sure to have my Wow Wow jar all ready for an honorary mango pineapple smoothie, if not Halloween night (perhaps with a shot of Grand Marnier?), then the next morning.  A satisfying sweet in place of traditional Halloween candy.  Whenever I see my favorite jar, I dream of going back to Wow Wow.  OK, I'm ready to leap into autumn with warm memories of summer.