January 20, 2011

everything new and crazy

Culinary school has begun, but before I delve into that I just wanted to recap the craziness that has been the new year.

My first week was spent being sick, leftover from December and all the stress that came with packing my life up and moving. After sleeping through days and drinking tea on repeat, I finally caved to antibiotics, which was just as well since I had an sinus/ear infection. Luckily I got better to go room-hunting in San Francisco for a day, and was able to find a room right by campus.

Spent a week in Hawaii, most of which was spent visiting my best friend on the Big Island. Made sure to indulge in some local Hawaiian cuisine, which is meat and starch heavy, something which I think is shared by many physical labor-intensive countries (Latin American rice/beans/pork/plantains, African corn/cassava/dough/fried stuff, etc.).

Helena's Hawaiian Foods
This is the kind of food that would be at a lu'au, even though I didn't get to attend one.

I finally eat a loco moco
Loco Moco: a traditional plate usually consisting of hamburger patty and fried egg served over rice and drenched in gravy (though this had the addition of mushrooms and onions).

Spaghetti Chicken Combo
A fast food fried chicken and spaghetti combo.

It's interesting that Hawaii's food is composed of many different cuisines: Japanese, Thai, Filipino, Korean (kalbi in the first picture of this post), Chinese (won ton noodles are even offered on fast food menus), etc.

You can see the influences in the desserts as well:

And it is delicious
Shaved ice: usually topped with crack seeds, pickled plums and the like (Japanese/Chinese).

Mochi ice cream (Japanese).

Their famed sweetbreads (in different
flavors like guava and taro)
Sweetbreads (Filipino).

But what I really wanted to talk about, besides the exploration of Hawaiian cuisine, is the discovery of novel cooking methods, like the way they toast hot dogs in Hawaii. They have these nail-like irons that they stick the uncut buns on, which toasts the inside of the bread and gives it a toasty crispness that you wouldn't expect with hot dogs.

Bun Irons & Mustard Taps
I can just imagine using that for other purposes, like maybe a creme brulee puff with the crispy top actually inside. Crazy, I know.

But anyway, after a week in Hawaii I flew back, immediately moved in to that room I found, and started classes the next day at 6:30 in the morning. I still haven't recovered, and probably won't for a bit since I have class 40 hours a week, but I'll try to post again soon.


  1. what an adventure! thanks for sharing with us. hope are enjoying the newness of it all!

  2. Love the photos... Good luck in school, Jo!! Rest up & enjoy your new life chapter. :) Miss you!

  3. This sounds amazing! I'm so excited to read more about your journey :) -Shikha

  4. Thank you all for being my first blog-followers :)