Well, oops. This was supposed to be the how-I-got-to-go-to-Hokule'a's-unannounced-arrival post, but I forgot to add the pictures I uploaded before I hit save, so here's some onolicious CHOCOLATE HAUPIA PIE instead. Just like Ted's Bakery, only right here in NYC on Vesey Street! Arrival pix in the next post. Everybody OK with that? Hope so!
This was served at a great little 'Iolani School alumni function that was put together a couple of weeks ago when the alumni office approached some of us NYC area alumni with the idea - there are a few folks from 'Iolani on the Hokule'a crew and of course the Polynesian Voyaging Society has strong ties with all of the Hawai'i schools (I went to an educator workshop last year and loved seeing all the ways voyaging can be worked into the curriculum), so they thought it would be great to have a little gathering! I was tickled to get that and then ESPECIALLY tickled, when I checked in quite a bit after the initial email went around, to find out that one of us NYC folks works at Blue Smoke Barbecue and had arranged for the event to be held there. That's a restaurant I've always wanted to try, I looooove barbecue and I've heard good things about the place.
It was a great get-together - always fun meeting NYC-based 'Iolani folks (we're not as organized as Punahou, there's one friend from my class, who also happens to be a blogger, who I'm in touch with regularly, other than that I mostly just see people when there's an alumni get-together) and we were all very excited about the Hokule'a's visit. The 'Iolani/Polynesian Voyaging Society folks brought these great little wooden coasters that current students had made as gifts for the voyage at the school's spectacular new Sullivan Center for Innovation and Leadership. I'd gotten a tour of that new facility when I went home last year for my 30th reunion and it's really amazing - check it out here if you like. I think I'm more inclined to put a loop on the back of my coaster and hang it on the wall than use it as a coaster, it's so cute, says "Home is where the heart is" with a laser-cut miniature map of the Hawaiian islands. They also had a raffle with commemorative stuff from the voyage, patches and books and such - I ended up winning a keychain made out of an actual piece of one of the sails that was used during the No Nā Mamo (For the Children) Voyage for Education - I can't imagine a better souvenir!
The food was great; the chefs are not from Hawai'i, but they consulted with Claire, their colleague from 'Iolani, and ended up making us delicious grillled shrimp (for the shrimp wagons of Kahuku), pork belly sliders with pickled onions (I missed the Hawai'i tie for that one, but does pork belly really need a reason?) and they cooked a suckling pig for us, which they served with smoked cabbage. All absolutely delicious, and then for dessert, Claire had told the pastry chef about chocolate haupia pie. And when it was brought out, we were all SO HAPPY! :D
Now, chocolate haupia pie didn't make my list of personal favorites from childhood for the simple reason that Ted's Bakery, where baker Ted Nakamura invented the stuff, didn't open until four years after my family had left for the mainland (same with the shrimp trucks, the first one didn't get popular until the 90's), but it is delicious stuff - a rich chocolate pudding topped with haupia, the delicious Hawaiian-style coconut pudding, and whipped cream on top. The pastry chef wasn't from Hawai'i either, but armed with Claire's description and a couple of sample recipes, he came through beautifully - everybody there agreed it was just like at home! Absolutely delicious. Or as one might say back in da 'aina -
"Broke da' mout', bra!"
Wanna try? Here you go!
Fun cocktail list too - I tried their frozen Dark n' Stormy. Imagine an Icee that went to graduate school and moved to the big city and became all sophistimacated. It was a hot and sticky day outside and this was very tasty.
And then we got to take the leftovers home. Yay!
I still want to go back sometime and actually order off the menu, but glad to have finally been there.
Would've been a wonderful afternoon even without the big surprise...
TO BE CONTINUED!