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Eating Through Hawai'i: Puka Dogs & Cookies

I’ve come to bring you a bit of sunshine and sexy cool weather with this post! Some of us have been getting hit hard with snowstorms and unwavering winter weather. It’s beautiful really, but a bit of virtual warmth won’t hurt!

In my last recap of our super relaxing time in Hawai’i,  I chatted up how wonderful it was cooking in our cozy rented condo. We saved a bit of money creating our own food from fresh finds at the lackluster Chinatown. It was all great and experimental, but there were those crunch times when we did deviate and break our commitment to eating at home. Those long days spent galavanting around the city and exploring the sights required some killer fuel.

One day in particular ended up in serious disconnect and no one could agree on what to eat. Bro, sis and I ended up at Puka Dog for an early lunch–a seemingly popular super hot dog joint that boasts overly sweet and thick sauces to dress your dog.

I was quite pleased after choosing my two sauces: Mild, pineapple relish with lilikoi.  Thankfully the dog was grossly huge enough to keep me full. Not sure that’d I go back, but it worked until it was time for dinner which also ended up in a night eating out. Thanks to my iPhone, it didn’t take us too long to decide on a place.

Okay, truth be told– it was getting late, we’d all been rippin’ and runnin’, no one was on the same — again– and the closest thing to us was on the adjacent corner… A Thai place. An easy enough decision as we figured there’d be something for everyone.

I’m going to reserve my opinion for that restaurant in my Resto Review section for later this month as I suspect little has changed! It’s almost not deserving of a review, but I do think it’s fair to share with my readers and anyone potentially traveling there what you/they can expect.

That particular experience reminded me how traveling is best enjoyed when you get to your destination with no major expectation, rather an open mind to recieve all the good and bad the place has to offer. For me, talking to the locals, freely walking around and sneaking my head into unassuming spots and ending up wherever the sun leads me will result in finding fabulous (and sometimes not so much) treasures. It’s all part of the experience and story!

It’s almost like dating that guy that has all the physical yumminess, but the more you explore, the more you see that really makes you happy. And if you keep digging you’ll find some things you’re not so crazy about. Yeah, I just compared exotic travel to dating a fine man. It’s the getting to know part that keeps you intrigued, ya know!

So, in this last trip, we did just that. We loved walking around and enjoying all the corners Waikiki had on exhibit. Some worked, some didn’t, like the International Market. Great for shopping but not at all for food. Not even if you’re starving would I suggest eating there. But I would stick around and enjoy a live evening hula show which promises some great free entertainment and giggles (something about a straight man flourishing his arms in gentle motion toward the open sky, donning bright flowers and paper skirts causes a serious eruption of laughter).

As we made our way through the orderly streets, we couldn’t help but enjoy the breezy sky and super friendly people. A mishap here and there in street food didn’t keep me from loving the culture and lifestyle.

Evenings were the best as the crowds gathered to relish in stunning sunsets. The streets were subsequently packed with artists selling their wares, kids dancing to bucket bangers and horse drawn carriages carrying new romantics…

The haute shopping had me gawking and inspired me to continue grinding it out ’til I could easily afford these luvlies… at $1050.

I’d kind of seen everything I wanted until we went to  Ala Moana. A fashionista at every hour of the day, no matter where in the world I am, I had to make my way to the massive outdoor mall.  I spent 90 minutes in one shoe store and walked out with 5 pairs (had to hide them from my dad who would have ripped me a new one!). Mami and papi were with me so we pranced around and ended up at the food court where we found all kinds of treats I seldom get to enjoy in ATL or DC.

Like these lovely mochi balls.

LOVE! Mami wasn’t too adventurous and left them to me. Papi wasn’t quite feeling the texture so he just grinned and took to seating himself as I continued to peruse. I saw the whitest dumplings ever which I passed on. When I look at this picture I sadly admit that for $1, I should at least tried one.

Everything else was typical and uneventful until I found these cookies! **Cookie orgasm alert!** I’d heard my bro’s fiancée mention how good they were when she decided to place them in her wedding favor boxes. The only evil thing this divine Honolulu Cookie Company could do was leave sample boxes out for anyone to enjoy. I took my sweet time nibbling on every single flavor until I was nauseous and ready to pass out. It didn’t help that I bumped into a full out retail store later that evening while we walked on the beach.

Sis and I stared at the walls and decided we were too greedy to buy any to gift!

Shame, I  know, but they were that good with the right amount of ingredients like Kona coffee, macadamia nuts, coconut, lilikoi–all the native flavors to the island.  Somehow we knew they weren’t going to last past the 1st leg of our return trip.

And sure enough, they didn’t. In fact, on the eve of my brother’s wedding, we just about left nothing to add to the Tiffany blue wedding favor boxes which were so beautifully tied in chocolate ribbons.

I’d do some serious damage if that cookie company were closer. And, if shipping weren’t so crazy expensive, I’d order some and treat myself and some of you to my favorite flavors: Dark chocolate Kona coffee, coconut, dark chocolate lilikoi.

Yet again, forgettable street food mishaps were made whole with these delightful treats. They were truly a bite of heaven.

The day before my brother’s wedding was also spent tearing the town apart. We hit parasailing first, then some sunbathing before we girls got our mani’s and pedi’s and the fella’s rented the car and picked up lei’s….you know the real fun stuff.  Mami had made it clear  early that morning (and I had 2nd’d her decision) she wasn’t going to cook lunch; nor were we going to pack any goodies.  If you read the last post, you know how rehearsal dinner went down later that night!

Ha.

But, before all that family drama and after all that beautifying, we came to a little spot on the corner of our street to eat burgers and what not. Nothing too special but perfect for our needs at the time. In fact, we  ate there courtesy of our temporary landlady whom had given us a $100 gift card to the joint for the inconveience of the AC being out for 2 days.  That worked out just fine.

This was the sexiest the menu had to offer: A Mai Thai!

Isn’t she super pretty and enticing!! I only took one sip, though. It was my mom’s and she sipped the hell out of it. Everything else was standard but it didn’t take away from enjoying the house rules and taking in the bluest sky and greenest tropical trees I’ve laid my eyes on.

Hawai’i really did bring us happy days and uber relaxing energy. Everything was in sync, perfect and sexy. Even our misfortunes with eating out made our visit a memorable one. The wedding was absolutely gorgeous, romantic, private and everything my brother and his wife wanted it to be. I’ll share pics of the reception sometime soon! The luau was spectacular and the buffet was undoubtedly the best we had outside or home!

Here’s to traveling and enjoying what the world has to offer! There’s so much in it to see and take in!

Aloha!

Honolulu Cookie Company

Ala Moana Center (Kiosk)
Makai Market Food Court
(Diamond Head side)
Ph: 808-945-0787
Fax: 808-945-0788
Mon-Sat 8am-9pm
Sun 9am-7pm

Waikiki Beach Walk
227 Lewers St
Honolulu, HI 96815
Ph/Fax: 808-924-6651
Mon-Sun 9am-11pm

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0 thoughts on “Eating Through Hawai'i: Puka Dogs & Cookies

  1. Ah, you have this gift of bringing places, sights, sounds, flavors and scents alive!! Thank you; I needed this, particularly today when we are expecting a not so great weather system, to put it mildly. Yeah, like you said, occasional food mishaps notwithstanding, I’d go back to paradise in a heartbeat. However, I’d have to disagree on your description of the food at the burger joint: they had one of the best burgers I’ve ever had (expensive, though) and in general the place/food was better than anything we had had up to that moment… and yes, the Mai Tai was definitely a killer. Aaah, the good life!!

  2. Rosa: yes, that place is dreamlike. all the things you want a vacation to be!

    Paula: Thanks! The trip was lovely and wonderful in every way!

    Papi: I know, I know it was the best, but remember I only nibbled on Missy’s chicken tenders. Didn’t they mess up my order so I ended up canceling it? Either way, the day was gorgeous so the fails were redeemed in the weather! 😉 We must go back soon!

    Val: Yes there is and you have the right attitude — have fun seeing it; at least trying to see it all!

  3. omgoodness sister why are you doing this to me.. I SO want to be in Hawaii right now drinking a mai tai and eating a puka dog. geez.. pictures do so much.

  4. Looks like you had such a wonderful time in Hawaii! LOVE that you got 5 pairs of shoes in one store…my kind of girl. 😉 The cookies sound to die for!

  5. I love that pic of the sun setting over the ocean. What a beautiful place. Got to make it out there soon.

  6. Jonathan: oopsie! sorry broski… you know how it goes! the grass is always greener on the other side! 🙂 we just have to go back!

    Juliana: Thanks, hun! I love that place. I think we need to get a 3rd home there! How fabulous would that be!?

    Faith: I know, right! How over the top is that!?!?

    5 Star Foodie: The Puka was def. good but I wouldn’t do it again. Way too heavy!

    DuoDishes: Gots to get to HI!

    Dullah: The sunset picture is stunning! Did you see the nigh-tscape one taken from my bro’s balcony? A total postcard!

  7. Great pictures and food. Hawai’i is on my list of places I MUST visit before I leave this Earth.

  8. Wow! We have been in HI for almost two years now and just found those cookies last month! OMG they are the best cookies in the world! 🙂

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