The Pineapple Room

20 Jan

My mom and I went to The Pineapple Room for lunch the other day. The Pineapple Room is the slightly more budget-conscious offering fromAlan Wong’s , Obama’s favorite restaurant in Honolulu, which I have never had the opportunity to visit. (I’ve never been to Spiaggia, either, which is Obama’s Chicago fave.)

Alan Wong was one of the first chefs in Hawaii to incorporate local flavors and cooking styles in a refined restaurant menu. Here’s a sample of the menu to give you an idea of what I mean:

The specials

Somehow I managed to live in Hawaii without eating a loco moco. I thought Alan Wong’s version, aka the world’s fanciest loco moco, would be a good start.

Fancy-pants loco moco

This was a daily special, so the patty is made from kalua pork hash, rather than the classic hamburger patty (which, at The Pineapple Room, is made from local grass-fed beef, of course). The gravy is actually a (local, humanely raised) veal au jus, which is a little like using truffles in a Swiss mushroom burger. A delicious concoction, but one I fear is not representative of the loco moco genre.

Tart of the day, Nalo greens salad, and Hamakua tomato soup

My mom went a little lighter, with a quiche/salad/soup combo. Most of the ingredients, and all of the vegetables, are locally sourced, which was pretty rare until about five to ten years ago. (You’d think that people living in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, thousands of miles from anything, would be the first to jump on the eating local bandwagon, but no.) The quiche was great — fresh corn and spinach — but the soup was the most interesting, sort of a mashup of gazpacho and tomato bisque.

Haupia halo halo

Yes, despite polishing off a plate of fried rice, topped by pork hash and two eggs, I still managed to have dessert. This one was a creative twist on halo-halo, the Filipino version of shave ice. Like ais cendol, it combines shave ice with fruit, sweet beans, jelly bits, corn, and a sweet syrup. This version used coconut syrup and a classic Hawaiian sweet called haupia, which is basically a coconut jelly. Despite all the ingredients, the halo-halo came off as refined, almost restrained; a fitting end to an elegant riff on local food.

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One Response to “The Pineapple Room”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Oahu’s North Shore: Shrimp Trucks and Shave Ice « Straight Out of Kampung - February 9, 2011

    […] add a “snow cap,” which is sweetened condensed milk poured on top. Sounds a lot like halo-halo, doesn’t it? Japan has a similar dessert as well, called anmitsu, that involves jelly, azuki […]

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