Aulani Day 10: Coconut Shrimp, Acai Bowl, and Roys

Part I: Aulani by Day (Written by Sara)

IMG_2012 Sigh . . . our last full beach day.

We spent our time truly relaxing – enjoying the ocean breeze, hanging out in the lazy river, and paddle boarding.  It was our first time, but it was a success.  It’s actually a lot more relaxing than it looks like it might be.

Here is Christine:

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And me.  Isn’t the sky really something?

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Then, of course, it was lunch time.  For me, the salty sea water always makes me crave either pizza or fried food.  We went with two orders of coconut shrimp with fries from the food stand by the hotel pool. They definitely hit the spot for any fried food craving.  The shrimp were big and juicy, and the crust on the outside was perfectly crispy without being too oily.  It came with a sweet chili dipping sauce, which was the perfect complement to the fried coconut.  And the fries were perfect as well – crisp but soft on the inside.
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Next we were on the search for our first acai bowls.  We ventured across the street from the hotel to Island Vintage Coffee.  Then we experienced the amazingness of the acai bowl.

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An acai bowl is like a thick smoothie topped with fruit, granola, honey, and whatever else you’d like to put on it.  I saw some versions online that serve chunks of cookie dough, or toasted coconut, or chocolate chips on top.  As you can see, ours featured bananas, blueberries, strawberries, and local organic honey.  The verdict: AMAZING.  I love coming to Hawaii because we always discover new absolutely delicious things to eat.  Last time it was poke and malasadas, this time it’s the acai bowl.  Luckily, I don’t think acai bowls are limited to Hawaii.  Even if we can’t find them back in New Jersey, Christine and I were thinking that we could probably make our own version at home.

Part II: Fine Dining by Night (Written by Christine)

After managing to go all vacation without eating out for dinner, the final night arrived, and with it the weighty decision of where we would eat out for our last dinner in Hawaii. To paraphrase what was in actuality a series of complicated discussions, arguments, and comparisons of menus and trip advisor posts, our family decided to dine at Monkeypod, a restaurant within walking distance. Little did my mom and I know that my dad and Sara were secretly scheming behind our backs, canceling the Monkeypod reservation and making a new one at Roy’s. The surprise was such a treat! The menu was extensive and diverse but we all ended up choosing to order from the prix fixe menu (which included an appetizer sampler, entree, and dessert choice). As does happen once in a while, each member of the family chose identical meals, allowing us to enjoy and compare each dish simultaneously.

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The appetizer sampler included a crispy spring roll, fresh ahi tuna over a bed of cabbage with mustard sauce, and Asian style BBQ spareribs with wasabi drizzle on the side. The star of the plate ended up being the spareribs, which were sweet and fell off the bone in extreme tenderness.

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The entree was a very generous helping of honey mustard braised short ribs over a potato-cauliflower au gratin with a side of poi. The short ribs did not disappoint, they were perfectly cooked, allowing us to pull the meat apart easily without even the use of a knife. Poi is a traditional Hawaiian dish made from the taro plant, a native purple root vegetable. It is both sticky and creamy in consistency, but lacks any truly strong flavor. Instead, its cool temperature and consistency provide a contrast to the richer and slightly fattier short ribs.

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 Although the chocolate souffle pictured above looks to be a petite portion of sweetness to end the meal on a light note, do not be deceived. It was intensely rich and had a lava cake-like consistency that overflowed with melted chocolate when cut into. Essentially, it was another meal in and of itself. Despite its decadence, the souffle was light and puffy on the outside and moist on the inside, making it dense but not overly heavy. Combined with the raspberry coulis and vanilla bean ice cream to provide cool and tart foils to the warm chocolate, the souffle at Roy’s brought the meal full circle in its excellence.

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