We just returned from a magical week on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. From a four-generation family gathering to a beachfront hotel used as the set for two recent Hollywood movies to a chance encounter with the Dalai Lama (really!), it was a wet, wild, wacky, wonderful seven days.
Of course we were constantly on the hunt for enticing local fare but even more satisfying were the adventures, stories, and friendships that developed while seeking out this tasty nourishment.
So in the spirit of Aloha, I am kicking off an occasional series called “Talking Story”. In the Hawaiian creole dialect of Pidgin, “talking story” means chatting amongst friends but more deeply, it implies storytelling to express yourself, a deep-rooted tradition in Hawaii. I am so enamored of this phrase, especially when it comes to food stories that I purchased the painting you see below entitled “Talking Story”, by Juno Galang in the Tabora Gallery in Haleiwa, Oahu.
We spent the first five days of the trip on the fabled, frequently forgotten, fabulous north shore of Oahu, considered the surfing capital of the world. It is a quiet, uncrowded, undervisited strip of coastline that I’m almost hesitant to share with you. But twist my arm a little and I’ll tell you more.
Ok , ok. Near our ocean front hotel, The Turtle Bay Resort, was the small town of Haleiwa (pronounce every letter and the “w” is a “v” sound – Ha Lay E Va). On our first trip into town, we found an eclectic mix of surfer shops, art galleries, and fascinating local eateries including the Waialua Bakery.
We happened upon this little restaurant with the old-time Hawaiian storefront just beckoning us to drop in. Turned out to be a locally-sourced bakery, sandwich, and smoothie shop. They proudly display their history and philosophy on a surfboard sign when you enter:
We are a family run café, and in the 12 years we’ve been here, we found that the best way to ensure top-notch quality is to grow it ourselves! The family farm out in Mokuleia provides papaya, banana, mango, avocado, sprouts, basil, lettuce, tomato, eggplant, carrot, pepper, lime, lemon, and wheatgrass.
Here at the bakery everything is homemade and FRESH! We make our own bread, cookies, granola, ice cream, lemonade, veggie burgers, pesto and hummus from scratch daily, as well as roast our own turkey and deep-fry our own bacon. Made with love and passed from our hands to yours – Enjoy!
Though still full from our morning stop at Ted’s Bakery, we just had to order something. Look at this kitchen and the homemade bread she is kneading. How could we pass this up? We could even hear the chickens in the back yard who surely supplied the eggs used in their baking.
As we shared a sandwich stuffed with their own roasted turkey, fried bacon, homegrown greens all on a fresh baked roll and downed our smoothies, a woman saw @gregorytlee checking in on FourSquare and asked him if this was a recommended food stop and if he had other suggestions. We all started chatting and soon discovered that these two families live in a neighboring town to San Jose, that one of the daughters knows friends from @gregorytlee’s high school, and one of the mom’s was born and raised in the same small town I was in Massachusetts. We all became fast friends and continued to hang out and talk story the whole week, including as it turned out, on the shared plane ride home!
The world is a very small place indeed.
Have you run into people you know in far off places or met people far away that turn out to be practically your neighbors back home? Please talk story in the comments below and share your favorite “small world” travel adventure.
Stay tuned for the next Talking Story when we’ll likely be heading up the road to Ted’s Bakery for some malasadas, portuguese sausage, and chocolate haupia pie!
Mahalo and Aloha Nui Loa!
Thanks to @gregorytlee, @dormantchef and cake-baking teen for many of the photos snapped on this Hawaiian adventure.