Thursday, August 21, 2008

Exploring Haleiwa and Enjoying Shave Ice!

The condo we stayed in on the North Shore was about 1 mile from the charming town of Haleiwa. Haleiwa was founded in 1898 by a businessman named Benjamin Dillingham. In the Hawaiian language, hale means "house," and the ╩╗iwa is a Frigatebird. As of 2000, Haleiwa had a population of 2,225, making it the largest town on the North Shore. Its old plantation town character is preserved in many of the buildings.

We loved having a condo at which we could prepare and eat one to two meals a day. For the third meal, we checked out a variety of restaurants in the area. One day we went to one of Haleiwa's nicer restaurants, Haleiwa Joe's, for lunch (less expensive than dinner!). The restaurant overlooks the harbor and has a nice ambience, although Mike and I agreed that the quality of the food was matched by less-expensive restaurants in the area (such as the Mexican restaurant, Cholo's, which we all really liked!). The other downside of Haleiwa Joe's is that it has a real fly problem. It definitely detracts from the dining experience when it is necessary to bat away flies from your food!

Nicholas at Haleiwa Joe's

We were inside, but we had flies too!
(Note the pile of red onions next to my plate--I abhor them!)

The BEST thing to eat in Haleiwa is shave ice. The most famous shave ice spot in Haleiwa is Matsumoto's, but we have never been there because the line is always way too long. We prefer Aoki's, which people in the know report is just as good...yet the line is never as long.

According to Aoki's web site, "shave ice" was first introduced to the islands during the plantation days when hot, exhausted workers needed a way to cool off. They would shave a block of ice with a hand plainer and flavor it with juice. It's essentially like a much more flavorful version of a sno cone. Aoki's shave ice is the best because you can have ice cream at the bottom. Yum! My personal favorite flavor combination was the Local Mix: mango, pineapple, and li hing mui (Hawaiian sweet-salty plum). During the week we were in Haleiwa, we had shave ice a record three times!

The other benefit is that it's very cheap...$2.25 for a small shave ice with ice cream on the bottom. I tried the azuki beans one time, and I didn't like that feature much. I feel the same way about red beans as I do about garbanzo beans: love the paste (or hummous) but don't like the texture or feel of them whole.

A typical weekend line at Aoki's--
we never waited in a line this long!

Chris and Nicholas with their shave ice

Kieran is the big shave ice fanatic in our family!

Happy and well-fed shave ice customers!

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