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June 21, 2003

An Acquired Taste

I don't have too much fond memories of the Taste of Honolulu Festival: my first visit involved my temperamental ex and I getting into a huge argument. Bad experience. The next visit seemed like a horrible cosmic mistake: it was with a guy that seemed like he was interested in nothing I had to offer. He wasn't someone I'd choose to remember. The most recent visit was with Scott. Thankfully, Scott and I didn't get into an argument, but if he had said "The Taste of Honolulu is the best and most fun event ever!" I think I would've had to lay the smack-down on him...because it wasn't.

The event was uneventful at it's best. It followed through with it's promise of food and entertainment, what with the hawaiian entertainers and plethora of food booths readily available, but sadly, it didn't really cater to much more. I guess I'm just not the right audience member for this type of event. Scott and I agreed that had we been a family of four or five, we probably would have enjoyed the atmosphere and would have probably stayed longer than the 45 minutes we spent there.

The food wasn't phenomenal, but worth a try. As we browsed the giant menus that fronted each of the awaiting tents, our stomachs yawned. Nothing really jumped out as something you gotta-gotta-gotta try. After two revolutions of the park grounds, we stood in our respectful lines to get our food.

The way how the festival is setup is that you pay a $3 fee to enter. From there, it's straight to the Scrip booth where you can purchase 9 Scrips for $5. After you decide what takes your fancy, you trade the appropriate number of Scrips for the food. The trouble with this system is that you have to be pretty rich to be able to fully enjoy the experience, or extremely picky. Scott's shrimp scampi dish (which was such a small portion!) cost 7 Scrips. That's one tiny meal for close to $4. After you do the math, the only thing that would make a sane person stay there is the fact that it benefits the Easter Seals foundation.

Despite bringing along a few friends and some bug spray, the only other reccommendation I have is to try the Carmelized Banana Lumpia with orange poi...it's delicious, but watch out for the guy at the booth who was picking his nose with his gloved hand.

Posted by at June 21, 2003 05:17 PM


Posted by lisa on June 22, 2003 9:40 AM:

Eww, that's wrong! I of course went with the old favorite, Gordon Biersch's banana lumpia with haupia and chocolate sauce, even if it is a ripoff at 8.

Food wise, last year was better than this year. I think there were fewer restaurants participating- at any rate, it seemed smaller.

This year, my favorites were Pipeline's hoisin lamb chop & garlic mashed potatoes and the Colony pepper steak with mashed potatoes and gravy (skip the Oreo cheesecake).

The Willows' bacon-wrapped prawns were good, but last year they had much better food. Whatever it was, we got two.

We're yuppie food snobs, though (probably should've done the Yuppie Food Snob Chefs du Jour Sat. night instead) so we enjoy trying new things and critiquing them.

If you're smart, though, you can get some really good deals.. Marian's Catering was offering a Hawaiian/local plate with things like kalua pig and mahi tempura for 9, and it was HUGE.

The best looking dessert (sadly, didn't try it) was the Hilton Hawaiian Village's Chocolate Marquise with Caramelized Macadamia Nuts topped with Tahitian Vanilla Sauce.

Last year we went with a group of friends, which is a great idea because, if you're good enough friends, they don't mind your fork stabbing something off their plate, you know, just to try.

Next year, though, I think I'm going to try something new, and go all desserts. Can't go wrong with dessert!

Posted by Albert on June 22, 2003 1:45 PM:

I knew someone who worked at a booth one year and brought lots of leftovers afterwards to share with me and some other friends.

That's the only year I ever got a bargain from "Taste of Honolulu".

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