When I was a kid our family vacations usually involved driving somewhere. After all, plane tickets for five people were expensive. Finally, the summer after I graduated from high school, we all took a trip to Maui along with my aunt and uncle. We were so excited to finally be going on a plane, and we were thrilled that that plane would be taking us to Hawaii. That is until we all got food poisoning on the second day of the trip. Yep, five of seven of usgot it and we were violently ill for the rest of the week. We were so disappointed. The trip we had longed for was basically a waste.

Fortunately, Roy and I were in our friends' wedding on Oahu in 2005, so I finally got to enjoy a nice Hawaiian vacation. During that trip I remained food poisoning-free, and I discovered how much good food was to be had in Hawaii. Roy and I have always talked about going back.

We had the chance to go back last week thanks to the generosity of Roy's company. We spent three days on Oahu in Honolulu and four days on Maui in Lahaina.

Daily view of Lanai while drinking coffee at Ono Gelato Company

The North Shore


I must have been too excited to eat because I didn't take a single picture of all the great food I ate. Nevertheless, here is a list of my favorite eateries:


Ono Gelato Company - They make both great coffee and delicious gelato, so this is a good stop anytime of the day. I enjoyed a macadamia coconut latte all four days that we were in Lahina and two of the days I had to stop back in for an afternoon gelato.

Star Noodle - We went for dinner on our last night in Lahaina and wished we had more time there to go again. They have a great variety of ramen-style soups, other asian noodles and small plates to share. We loved every dish we had.

The Fish Market Maui - They cook up fish that was caught that morning making all their selections incredibly fresh. Get the ahi sandwhich. I would have never thought of seared ahi as a sandwhich, but let me tell you this was the best tuna sandwhich I ever ate. With a thick steak of seared ahi, wasabi aioli, caramelized onions, cabbage and tomatoes, you can't go wrong.


Fort Ruger Market - A friend who was born and raised on Oahu took us to this little market when we visited seven years ago. The plate lunches were so good we knew we had to go back this time around. We loved the kalua pig and lomi salmon plate lunch. Be sure to order ocean salad, macaroni salad, and poke to get a good sampling of everything. And be sure to share.

Matsumoto Shave Ice - Perhaps one of the most well known shave ice joints on the island, it's easy to see why this north shore establishment has been in business since 1951.

Liliha Bakery - we sampled the eclair (because I can never pass up an eclair), a cream puff and a coco puff (a cream puff filled with chocolate pudding and topped with Chantilly cream). All were delicious.

Leonard's Bakery - The place to go to get malasadas (Portuguese-style doughnuts). Get the original which is simply a ball of dough deep fried and rolled in sugar. They are so fresh and so perfectly fried that we managed to make them our morning snack each day.

Back at home I wanted to make something coconut macadamia flavored inspired by my daily latte so I came up with this muffin. I think these will tide me over until my next trip.

Coconut Macadamia Nut Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light coconut milk
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, divided
3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts, divided
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in middle position. Line 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl whisk together flours, baking powder, salt, and granulated sugar. In a separate bowl whisk together coconut milk, coconut oil, egg, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until barely combined (a few streaks of flour remaining are okay). Add 1/2 cup sweetened coconut and 1/2 cup macadamia nuts and fold until just incorporated. Do not overmix the batter. Divide batter among the 12 muffins cups. In a small bowl mix together the brown sugar and remaining coconut and macadamia nuts. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the muffins. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes. Then carefully remove muffins from tin and allow to cool completely on rack.

Makes 12 muffins.

Notes: coconut oil is solid at room temperature like butter. Simply melt a small scoop for a few seconds in the microwave and then measure 1/4 cup of the liquid. Store the muffins in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to two days or wrap each in plastic wrap and freeze for up to one month.