I forget how convenient frozen shrimp can be. I buy the frozen wild shrimp that’s already peeled and deveined from Trader Joe’s and I just dump them in a strainer (straight from the ice box) and run cold tap water on it for ~ 5 minutes to defrost them. Then, I toss the shrimp with some olive oil, salt, and pepper and fry them up in some butter and ghee. When I plate them, I squeeze on some lemon or lime and sprinkle on some chopped parsley (if I’m feeling fancy).
Here’s my second attempt at making cauliflower rice. My first attempt was a little too involved, but this time I adapted this recipe from Elana’s Pantry. This version doesn’t require you to nuke the cauliflower and then fry it. Any way I can save steps is fricking awesome when I’m trying to get food on the table quickly.
Here is what I assembled:
a small head of organic cauliflower, chopped coarsely
1 small onion, chopped finely in a food processor
2 tablespoons of butter
1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil
Aleppo chile finishing salt
Trader Joe’s 21 seasoning salute
salt and pepper
After chopping up the cauliflower…
I threw the pieces into my Cuisinart food processor.
I pulsed the contents until they were reduced to the size of couscous or rice grains.
Then, I sauteed the onions in the melted butter and coconut oil over medium heat until they were translucent.
When the onions were softened, I dumped in the cauliflower and stirred everything around to evenly distribute the fat and onions.
I seasoned the “rice” with some Aleppo chile finishing salt and pepper.
Then, I covered the skillet and cooked the cauliflower for 5-10 minutes until softened. I tasted for seasoning and added some Trader Joe’s 21 seasoning salute and additional salt and pepper.
You can totally change up the seasoning and customize it to your tastes. A head of cauliflower makes a lot of rice (~ 6 servings) so I have a base for a bunch of packed lunches. Yay!
Inspired by Jaden Hair’srecipe for roasted cauliflower and bacon, I made some roasted broccoli with bacon tonight.
Here’s what you need:
2 bunches of broccoli
5 peeled cloves of garlic
4 slices of bacon cut into bite-size pieces
a few good glugs of macadamia nut oil, avocado oil, melted ghee, or melted lard
salt and pepper
First things first: I cut up my broccoli into florets. No, I don’t normally wash ‘em unless they’re really dirty, but I do inspect for bugs and I toss the florets that are super-infested. Organic broccoli often features small crowns and large stems so I normally trim the tough skins from the stems and throw them in as well.
Then, I tossed the broccoli, bacon, and garlic cloves in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag to store in the fridge until I was ready to roast them.
When it came time to roast off the broccoli, I preheated the oven to 400 F and added some fat in the Ziploc bag along with a generous amount of salt and freshly ground black pepper. I sealed the bag up and shook it vigorously, and then I dumped the contents on a foil lined baking tray.
Make sure it all fits in one layer or the broccoli won’t brown properly. I oven-roasted the broccoli for 30-35 minutes, rotating the tray and flipping the contents every 10 minutes or so.
Really tasty. For variation, I think this dish tastes great with a bit of acid (a squeeze of lemon or a splash of your favorite vinegar) and/or a shower of microplane-grated parmesan cheese.
We don’t normally dine out during my work week but tonight was a special occasion: Fitbomb’s mom’s birthday! Fitbomb’s parents aren’t into food and it can’t be too wild and crazy. They do like their prime rib, though, so we opted to eat at Los Altos Grill. Although this place is part of a chain, the atmosphere is lively and the food is mondo-portioned, crowd-pleasing comfort fare. Los Altos Grill is hopping all the time. We had to wait for a table, despite calling ahead for a reservation, on a Thursday night at 5:30 p.m.
For starters, I ordered the famous cornbread in the skillet (for the kids and grandparents), deviled eggs, and the seasonal vegetable platter. Who knew the seasonal vegetable platter would have a big ass piece of cornbread and some tabouli salad? Plus, the veggies on the platter (carrots, peas, and brussels sprouts) were definitely seasoned with a good sprinkling of sugar. Paleo fail. Here’s what Fitbomb and I ate from the selection of apps:
For our mains, Fitbomb and I shared the rotisserie pork chop and grilled loup de mer (a type of seabass). The pork chop came with mashed potatoes colcannon so I asked to sub out the mashed potatoes with some brussels sprouts. As you can see we still got potatoes. No biggie — we just left them uneaten on the plate.
Both in-laws ordered the prime rib (surprise, surprise) and they loved the tender, fatty, corn-fed slab of beef. I had a bite of beef and, I hate to admit it, but cornfed beef really is tastier than grassfed. Yes, I know factory farming is evil.
Everyone enjoyed their meal and it was nice having the night off from cooking. I don’t think the food here is spectacular but it definitely appeals to picky grandparents (as evidenced by the sea of gray hair across the dining room).
I can’t wait to try the herb gravy. I love that it’s thickened with pureed onions as opposed to some weird ass gluten-free starch.
Over at Serious Eats, there is a great recipe for cooking a cut-up turkey that makes sure all parts are cooked to perfection. And they have a shitload of links to awesome veggie sides on this page.
I’m really happy that I won’t be working on Thanksgiving this year. I’m even more thankful that I won’t be hosting! We’ll be attending a potluck buffet at Fitbomb’s parents’ house and we’ll be bringing veggie sides. And maybe some cupcakes.
Sous Vide Grass Fed Top Sirloin (And Lots O' Veggies)
Tonight I’m lagging because I’m returning to work after having 3 weeks off. Argh! As a result, for dinner I made lots of veggies and a big sous vide grass fed top sirloin steak so I’d have lots of leftovers to pack for work.
In preparation for my workweek, I started sous viding like a mad woman on Tuesday morning. I layed out all my proteins on my kitchen counter and seasoned and vacuum sealed them with my Foodsaver. I try to combine as many meats as possible that cook at the same temp, so I set my SousVide Supreme to 140 F and plopped in 4 seasoned pork chops and 2 bone-in, skin on chicken breasts. After they had cooked for 2.5 hours, I took them out and placed them in an ice bath so I could store them in the fridge for later in the week. I added cold water and turned down the temp to 120 F to cook my frozen wild sockeye salmon for lunch. After taking out the salmon, I increased the water temp to 130 F and dunked in my grass fed top sirloin steak which I seasoned with Sagemary finishing salt and pepper.
The steak was going to cook in the SousVide Supreme for about 30 hours and I was going to take it out at dinner time on Wednesday.
On Wednesday morning, I cooked the world’s best braised cabbage and prepared some cauliflower, garlic, and bacon that I was going to roast off when I woke up. I stored the vege and swine bits in a Ziploc bag in the fridge.
When I awoke, I took out the steak and dropped in two bags of Cascadian farm winter squash puree in the Sous Vide Supreme. These puree packs float in the water bath so I always weigh them down with a rack. I tossed some olive oil in my Ziploc filled with cauliflower, bacon, and garlic and seasoned it all with salt and pepper. After giving the sealed bag a nice shake, I poured it all out on a foil lined baking sheet and baked at 375 F for ~30-35 minutes. Jaden’s recipe says that it only takes 20 minutes in the oven, but mine definitely took longer. While the cauliflower was in the oven, I prepped some portobello mushroom packs and popped them in the oven with the cauliflower and let those cook for ~25 minutes.
Then I pulled the winter squash puree out of the SousVide Supreme and stirred in some butter, salt, and pepper. I took the steak out of its bag, dried it off, and seared it in some lard in my cast iron skillet. I seared the steak for ~2 minutes per side per the tips on Kamikaze cookery. Last of all, I microwaved the cabbage and cut up the mushrooms and drizzled the ‘shrooms with my aged balsamic vinegar.
Voila! All of this was on the table within 1 hour and I have 3 boxes of lunch in the fridge (plus, leftover steak).
I was a bad food blogger this morning and forgot to take a picture of breakfast at Café Borrone. I was too damn hungry and Fitbomb wasn’t there to remind me. When the two of us go out to eat, he is always taking beautiful pics of our food (well-lit, great composition, etc.) while I’m impatiently waiting to chow down. I gotta work on being a better food paparazzo.
Café Borrone is a relaxing place to grab some nosh and drinks with your pals. I’ve been coming here since high school, so for more than 20 years. Jesus. I used to always order their Belgian waffle with strawberries and whipped cream chased down with a frosted mocha. Damn, that’s a good combination.
Today, I ordered Scramble #6 (eggs scrambled with bacon and Swiss chard) with a side of chicken apple sausage. Very tasty and we enjoyed it out in the sun by the fountain. I almost forgot I had to go to work tonight.
Quick Ground Pork Stir-Fry For When I Don’t Wanna Cook
I had some defrosted ground pork in the fridge that I needed to cook up but I had no fricking idea what I wanted to do with it. Correction. I had a ton of ideas for what I could make (e.g. skinless gyoza , pork larb, meatballs) but I was too lazy to make anything too involved.
Inspired by this pork and shrimp lettuce wraps recipe over at www.cavemengourmet.com, I decided to make a quick stir-fry with items in my fridge and pantry. I’ve cut back on cooking Asian dishes because all my favorite condiments are decidedly not Paleo – oyster sauce, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, mirin, seasoned rice vinegar, any store-bought Asian sauce/marinade. How the hell can I make Asian food taste right? You need the right balance of sweet, savory, sour, and umami.
After looking at my pantry, I found some good replacement items. For umami flavor, fish sauce is great. Although Fitbomb likes to avoid soy products, I do have some wheat-free tamari on hand for savory and umami flavoring. To add some sour flavor, I have a variety of vinegars and some lemons/limes in my fridge.
For my pork stir-fry tonight, these are the ingredients I wrangled up:
· 1 lb of pasture raised ground pork
· 2 cups of thinly sliced cremini mushrooms
· 1 onion chopped finely in my mini-prep
· 1 inch knob of ginger grated on a microplane (I keep my ginger in the freezer)
· 3 garlic cloves squeezed through my garlic press
· 4 cups of pre-washed baby spinach
· 1-2 tablespoons of fish sauce
· 1 tablespoon of wheat-free tamari
· 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
· 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil
· kosher salt and pepper to taste
Here’s how I threw it all together:
I heated up some coconut oil in my skillet over medium-high heat. Then I added the onion and once they were translucent, I threw in the mushrooms. Once the vegetables cooked down, I put in the ground pork, garlic, and ginger. I added the fish sauce, tamari, and vinegar (all the measurements above are estimations). Once the sauces were mixed in, I added the spinach and stirred them around until they wilted. I tasted for seasoning and added salt and pepper as needed.
I just scooped up the sir-fry and plopped it in a bowl and chowed down. Yummy, but in the future, I’ll serve it with some cauliflower fried “rice.”
This morning, I returned home from Costco with some frozen, individually quick frozen, wild Alaskan sockeye salmon filets. I love Costco and knew that it wouldn’t let me down again.
In preparation for my upcoming workweek, I already had some pork chops and chicken breasts cooking in my Sous Vide Supreme when I returned. After I removed the cooked meat and submerged them in an ice bath (I’m storing then in the fridge and serving them later in the week), I started thinking about what I else I could make in my SousVide Supreme. Ding! Ding! Ding! I’ll make some salmon!
But can I just throw a frozen pre-vacuum sealed salmon filet directly from the bag into the SousVide Supreme? Damn it, I’m gonna try. I knew the salmon wouldn’t be seasoned in the bag but I didn’t want to go through the trouble of defrosting, seasoning, and re-vacuum sealing. I decided to set the temp of my SousVide Supreme to 120 F for medium rare (I actually had to add some ice and cold water to bring the temp down from 140 F). In terms of how long to leave the salmon in the bath, Douglas Baldwin recommends 15-20 minutes for a thawed refrigerated filet so I opted to leave the salmon in the bath for 25 minutes. It was a small 5 ounce filet that was about 1/2 inch thick so I was comfortable with 25 minutes.
When I removed the filet from the bath, I dried it off and sprinkled it with freshly ground black pepper and Aleppo chile finishing salt. I heated up my little cast iron skillet on high and added a blob of ghee. When the ghee started smoking, I quickly seared both sides of the filet. When I plated the salmon, I added one last sprinkle of Aleppo chile finishing salt. I served it up with some nuked frozen green beans and squeezed half a lime over everything.
How’d it taste? Not bad – especially for how easy it was! I’m sure it would be tastier if I’d seasoned it first but finishing salts are pretty awesome.
The texture and doneness was great and all I fricking did was dump a vacuum sealed filet DIRECTLY FROM THE FREEZER into my SousVide Supreme, quickly sear it, and sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Does this make up for the tilapia from yesterday?
After yesterday morning’s tilapia disaster, I wanted to redeem myself with a better fish choice. But I needed to eat ASAP. Luckily, our pantry is filled with a bunch of different brands of canned sardines. I picked this one:
I cracked it open and served it alongside some chopped cherry tomatoes and a dollop of Wholly Guacamole.
Yes, it’s an ugly looking breakfast but fast, tasty, and healthy.
Okay, I know this dinner looks like a few piles of blah but it was tasty and quick: seasoned ground beef with homemade taco seasoning, sautéed Bull’s Blood Beet greens with shallots and coconut oil, nuked frozen broccoli sprinkled with Aleppo chile finishing salt (I used this seasoning for all three meals today), and a dollop of Wholly Guacamole.
Although I had gone to the grocery store this morning, I didn’t have any pre-cooked protein at the ready for me to throw together a quick lunch. Luckily, we always have eggs in the fridge, so I made myself an open-faced puffy omelet with three eggs and topped it with a sprinkle of Aleppo chile finishing salt, some chopped avocado, and cherry tomatoes. I served it with some nuked frozen green beans on the side.
I like my scrambled eggs, omelet style and well-done. When I have more than two scrambled eggs to fry, I like to finish the eggs off under the broiler in the toaster oven. Since I cook the egg in my little cast iron skillet, the eggs can go from stove to oven directly and the eggs are cooked through and the bottom isn’t overdone.
This morning I was pretty smug and self-satisfied about coming up with a 7 minute breakfast that would include fish and veggies AND no frying pan to clean up. Then, I started looking up information about the fish I made and I was ashamed of myself. What did I make? Frozen tilapia that I had gotten from Costco. Yes, it’s cheap and super convenient (vacuum-sealed, individual portions that are skinned and de-boned) but like most things, it was too good to be true.
Hey, isn’t farmed tilapia one of the “best choices” on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch List? Well, yes, but ONLY if it’s farmed in the US and less than 10% of tilapia consumed in the U.S. is the domestic stuff. If the farmed tilapia is from Asia (which mine was), it’s on the red “Avoid” list because of the terrible pollution and weak management of the farms. Great.
So what am I gonna do with the 10-pack of frozen tilapia loins in my freezer? I’m hesitant to chuck it so when I do finish off the rest of my tilapia, I’ll chase it down with a shot of fish oil. How ironic is that?
After all this info, if you guys are interested in my quickie recipe, here goes:
Place the frozen filet in a microwave safe dish, dot with butter, grind on some ground pepper and sprinkle on the Aleppo chile finishing salt. Cover the dish with a lid and nuke for 4-5 minutes. Then let stand for 2 minutes. Serve with nuked frozen veggies.
I feel dirty for even posting this recipe but it did taste good.
It sure is nice to be home again. Don’t get me wrong, I love Maui and spending time with my family but air travel with kids is the pits. There is nothing worse than leaving paradise – except the messed up experience of being herded through airport security and then the agriculture checkpoint with two cranky kids and a ton of carry-on luggage. It’s like having Gilbert Gottfried scream in your face, “HA! HA! VACATION IS OVER!”
To gird ourselves for our long flight, we stopped at the Whole Paycheck to pick up some take out to eat on the plane.
We got a pound of carnitas:
Mmmm mmmm mmmm. Very tasty and well-seasoned. It did taste more like kahlua pig than carnitas, though.
A medium container of roasted squash (winter and summer) with sage:
This dish was way too heavy on the sage and oil. I wouldn’t order it again.
A small container of curried broccoli salad:
The salad was tasty but not really Paleo because it has canola oil based mayo and sugar in the ingredients.
Despite the squash snafu, this was a nice meal for the plane ride home. Since the Whole Paycheck is near the airport, we’re definitely going to stock up here the next time we arrive in Maui and pick up to-go goodies when we depart.
Fourth Time’s Not the Charm: Mala Ocean Tavern (Lahaina, HI)
I guess going to Mala for brunch two days in a row was a little too much. After our meal here this morning, I’ve fallen a little out of love with Mala. Why, you ask? Well, we discovered the hard way that if you decide to order things separately (eggs, bacon, etc.), you’ll get ripped off. For example, I ordered the Great Start Breakfast ($12): 2 eggs cooked to order, hash browns, grilled health bread, jam, butter, and your choice of bacon, prosciutto, or lamb sausage.
I chose 2 eggs over medium, lamb sausage, and subbed out the hash browns with some fruit salad (for an additional $2 charge) so my final cost for this breakfast was $14. Expensive, but a price I’m willing to pay for good food.
Fitbomb didn’t want to the hash browns or bread so he ordered a side of bacon ($7), a side of 2 eggs ($5), and Alii mushrooms ($12).
Yes, we should have asked how much the items would cost by themselves (it wasn’t listed on the menu) but we didn’t think his breakfast would be $24! Next time, we’ll just get the Great Start Breakfast and waste the hash browns and bread.
Plus, we had to wait a long time for our food, our portions were smaller, and our waitress was really ditzy. Maybe we were cranky because we were leaving Maui but our final experience here left a bad taste in my mouth.
Oh well, all will be forgotten when we return in a year.
I’m happy to report that we ate at Star Noodle three times during our stay in West Maui and we didn’t eat noodles once! We definitely have a crush on this restaurant so we chose it as our last dinner on the island.
I spied Sheldon Simeon in the kitchen (I don’t think he was there our other two times) and wondered if dinner would be even better tonight given his presence. I was happy to say that it was, and the platings were especially nice and polished.
Tonight, the new dishes we ordered were:
Spicy Namasu (cucumber, daikon, and carrot with a spicy, Vietnamese-y vinaigrette):
Charbroiled Miso Salmon (alas, a tad over-cooked for my taste):
Yep, this is the third time this week we’ve dined at Mala Ocean Tavern. This time we came for brunch and the setting and vibe were perfect for a lazy Saturday in paradise. Before leaving the Bay Area, we had checked the 10-day forecast and had braced ourselves for rain on our last two days here. Lo and behold, today we have nothing but sun and clear skies. Woo hoo!
After a lazy morning spent snorkeling at the beach and building sand castles under the direction of a very pitiless taskmaster (5 year-olds are real slave masters), we headed to Mala for some grub. Here’s what we ordered this time:
Fresh Maui Gold pineapple boat with baby coconuts and balsamic vinegar:
Teddy’s Loco Moco: Kobe beef patty, 2 eggs fried over easy, green onion, and mushroom gravy. Fitbomb requested no organic brown rice and the server visibly balked.
Omelette of the day filled with Kula cherry tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese. I asked to sub out the hash browns with a small side salad.
Side of house made lamb sausage:
I found these patties a tad under-seasoned but I’m a salt fiend.
Our favorite side on the island: BRUSSEL SPROUTS!
Mala really is one of favorite spots here in West Maui. We’ll definitely return – maybe one last time tomorrow for brunch!
Make Your Own Paleo Kalua Pork Salad @ Aloha Mixed Plate (Lahaina, HI)
It’s nearing the end of our weeklong stay in Maui so we’re re-visiting a bunch of our favorite restaurants for second (and third) meals. Tonight, our kids seemed too punchy to eat out at a restaurant so we opted for take out from Aloha Mixed Plate. I’m not sure why we were being so selfless. If our kids are shits we ain’t coming back for another year anyway.
In all honesty, the food at Aloha Mixed plate is really only mediocre at best. Most of their items are really sweet (e.g. teriyaki beef) or too tough (e.g. kalbi) but one item that really shines is their kalua pig. It’s tender, moist, and seasoned just right. I thought the only way to order it was to get the Hawaiian plate lunch but then you get a bunch of stuff I don’t like (e.g. poi, tough haupia, rice, macaroni salad). When I called in my order tonight, I learned that you can order just the kalua pig as a side and it would only cost around $5. As a result, we cobbled together our own Paleo kalua pork salad with some take out items and things in our fridge/freezer.
From Aloha Mixed Plate, we ordered a garden salad (split between Fitbomb and I):
Three sides of kalua pig (split amongst 3 of us):
Add some nuked frozen broccoli and sliced avocado and VOILA:
What to Order When Your Non-Paleo Friends Wanna Go Get Pizza: Matteo’s Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant (Wailea, HI)
We are currently in Maui with our best friends, who happen to eat decidedly non-Paleo. They are some of our favorite people in the world and the thing we love to do the most is eat out together. Now that Fitbomb and I have changed our diet, eating out with them is not as simple as it used to be. It’s hard to share everything like we did in the past and choosing a restaurant to eat at is more complicated because they LOVE Italian. I don’t WANT to eat pasta and pizza but I still crave them sometimes. Especially if someone is oooohing and aaaaaaahing across the table from me while enjoying a bitchin’ dish of papparadelle with pork sugo at Delfina. But I digress.
Besides Sansei, the only other restaurant our friends wanted to try in Maui was Matteo’s Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant in Wailea. Again, since I’ve been a total food dictator when it comes to choosing where to eat this week, I relented and we dined at this pizzeria today after our morning trip to the Maui Ocean Center.
WTF did Fitbomb and I eat?
Antipasto Platter with salumi, mixed greens, olives, and a mini Caprese salad:
Beef carpaccio with mixed greens, capers, and a lemon dressing:
House salad with added chicken:
House salad with added shrimp:
The food was fresh, delicious, and reasonably priced and you have a beautiful view of the ocean and golf course when you dine out on the patio. I was glad that the salads and apps were really well-composed and carefully prepared — and not some half-assed concessions for non-pizza eating folks. See? You can eat something filling and delicious and decidedly non-carby at pizza place!
Yes, A Tourist Trap Can Be Tasty And A Good Deal: Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar(Lahaina, HI)
I was not looking forward to dinner at Sansei because our dinner there was really disappointing last year. We ordered all their “signature” dishes and it was a bunch of crazy-ass fried cream cheese filled sushi rolls or dishes topped with sickly sweet sauces. Icky.
Our friends really wanted to eat here this week so I relented and reluctantly agreed to go. I’ve been dictating where we’ve all been eating this vacay, so I suppose it was time I let someone else have a say. And boy, was I glad I did.
This time, we steered away from the stuff that was noted as crowd pleasers and simply chose items that looked delicious and not overly complicated. Here’s what we had:
Cajun seared white tuna sashimi with shaved Maui onion, red jalapeno and Yukke sauce:
Roasted Japanese eggplant with sweet miso-sake sauce:
Grilled Upcountry shiitake mushrooms with tangy soy-ponzu sauce:
Ahi tataki salad:
“Kenny G”: thinly sliced fresh sashimi grade shiromi with shiso, minced garlic, and masago in a tangy ponzu vinaigrette:
Delicious but what’s the deal with the name? How is this a homage to the easy listening smooth jazz King?
Shichimi Seared Fresh Atlantic Salmon and Tiger Prawn served with asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, and soy butter sauce:
The salmon (which wasn’t local) was a tad over-cooked but the soy butter sauce was pretty amazing.
If any of you are interested in totally blowing your Paleo diet, order the tempura fried ice cream. It’s vanilla ice cream wrapped in buttery pound cake, rolled in roasted macadamia nuts, flash-fried and served with chocolate sauce and whipped cream.
This dessert is the sole reason our friend wanted to eat here. It was not cheat-worthy in my book so I abstained.
Our meal was great and it cost HALF of what we paid the night before at Mama’s Fish House. The fish here is super fresh and I definitely preferred the raw preparations to the cooked ones. If you order before 6 pm, your bill is 25% off – so go be like an old lady and come in early!
It’s Déjà vu All Over Again, Part 2: Star Noodle (Lahaina, HI)
No, we didn’t go to Mala again (we’re going for brunch this weekend) but we made a second appearance at Star Noodle. Hey, pickings are slim here in Maui! So if you like a place, you should stick with it. Life’s too short to waste a meal on something shitty.
Today for lunch we ordered the following items:
Pan roasted local mushrooms:
Mmmmmm. Umami goodness. I liked this mushroom dish better than the similar one we ate at Mala the other day.
Special of the day: balsamic marinated grilled beef over local greens:
The beef was well-seasoned and served rare – just the way I like it. The dressing also had a nice kick to it.
Garlic steak served sizzling with onions and scallions:
This steak was tasty but a tad over-cooked for my taste. Fitbomb also found it a bit too sweet.
All in all, the food was nom nom-approved and it’s not just good for Maui — I wish this place was located back where we live! However, like all Asian places, it’s hard to eat truly Paleo at Star Noodle because there’s sugar, cornstarch, soy, etc. in almost everything even when you are avoiding the obvious carb-y things like noodles, rice, and dessert. But I’m on vacation so eff all that stuff!
While the rest of our house ate freshly made pancakes, Fitbomb fasted, and I ate my Paleo breakfast platter: pork breakfast sausage, raw kale salad from Farmers Market Maui, and chopped Kula cherry tomatoes.
Where do you get your coconut flakes/what brand do you use? I can only find sweetened flakes. Thanks!
I try to buy the unsweetened coconut flakes in the bulk bins at Whole Foods or natural food stores. This is your cheapest option because you can get a pound of flakes (which is a lot) for $2-5/lb). However, I feel your pain about the lack of unsweetened flakes at normal grocery stores. While vacationing in Hawaii, it’s been a real bitch finding unsweetened coconut flakes despite the fact that coconut trees are fricking everywhere! We finally found some unsweetened flakes at the Farmers Market Maui (but they stocked packaged Bob’s Red Mill coconut flakes — not local coconut, nor fresh stuff in bulk bins). Some packaged brands I’ve bought in the past at home are Bob’s Red Mill, Let’s Do Organic, and Nutiva Raw Organic Coconut Chips (but I think Nutiva may have discontinued its line of packaged coconut flakes).
Okay, I’d heard about Mama’s Fish House for a long fricking time but I always resisted coming here. Apparently, the fish was super fresh, the prices sky high, and the setting was old school Hawaiian. I also knew that it was a total tourist trap and I was skeptical about going to such a popular place. But can 580+ Yelpers be wrong? Well, my curiosity got the best of me and I booked us a table here tonight.
What did we eat? Our first taste was a freebie shot glass filled with tomato ginger bisque:
My appetizer was Ono marinated in coconut milk and lime, Tahitian style. You know how I love my coconut.
Fitbomb ordered the blue prawns in Tahitian vanilla beans and coconut milk sauce:
These prawns were super tasty. Maybe because they were coconut-y.
I was going to order their signature dish, macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi stuffed with lobster, crab, and Maui onion, but the server informed me that it wasn’t gluten free. Instead, she steered towards the Lehi fish that could be served gluten free. The Lehi fish was sautéed with tomatoes, white wine, garlic, and capers. I subbed out the lemongrass rice pilaf for some mixed vegetables.
My dish was fine but not mind blowing and there were some bitter zucchini in my mixed veggies.
Fitbomb ordered the Mahi Mahi Hawaiian style which came with a coconut butter sauce, Kalua pig, grilled Hana banana, sweet potato, star fruit, and poi:
Again, it was good but not $40+ good.
At the end of the meal, we got some free haupia (coconut jello):
What’s my verdict? It’s tasty and tiki-tastic but too damn expensive. I liked the Hawaiian theme, the friendly service,and the beautiful postcard views of the Pacific. However, it’s waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay over-priced, an hour drive from where we were staying, and maybe a little too kitschy. Plus, I like my food prepared more simply. If you have a super fresh fish caught within 24 hours, why is it necessary to drench it with a thick, heavy ass sauce? Would we return? Fitbomb says “NO!” but I say maybe. It appeals to a wide swath of the population for a reason so it’s a good place to take grandparents, picky eaters, kids, etc. if you’re willing to pay through your nose. But you better be willing to treat them, or you’ll be in the doghouse.
Paleo Take Out: The Fish Market Maui (Lahaina, HI)
After a leisurely morning at the beach making sand castles with the kids and snorkeling in the ocean, we just wanted to get some take out for lunch to eat at our digs. We called up one of our old standbys, The Fish Market Maui in Honokowai and our order was ready to pick up in 10 minutes.
The Fish Market Maui is both a fish market and a sandwich place and the food is great and reasonable for Maui. Unfortunately, up until this visit, we’d only ordered the sammies and weren’t sure we could get anything here that was Paleo-friendly. Thankfully, we were wrong.
I ordered the house salad with added grilled ahi (hold the croutons):
The salad greens were really crisp and fresh and the ahi was tasty but a bit more well-done than I like. I’d definitely get this again but with shrimp as my protein because my friend’s Caesar with shrimp had some big ass poached shrimp (not shrimpy shrimps).
Fitbomb got the taco platter with Cajun mahi, Cajun shrimp, and Kahlua pork (3 different tacos):
We requested no tortillas but that was too difficult for the order taker so Fitbomb just ate around them. He topped the tacos with guacamole we had purchased earlier today from the Farmers Market Maui. His favorite filling was the Kahlua pork so he’ll just get three porcine tacos next time.
The food at Fish Market Maui is fresh and tasty. Plus, you can get their “Fresh Catch Card” where you buy seven items and you get your 8th free. Since we had a completed card from last year, we got the tacos for free and we are two away from a freebie on the new card (we ordered some non-Paleo items for our friends and kids).
It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again : Another Lunch at Mala Ocean Tavern (Lahaina, HI)
I knew we’d be back but I didn’t think it would be within 24 hours. What can I say? We love Mala! I tried not to order the same stuff as last time but we had to get another order of Brussels sprouts because they’re damn good.
(To clarify, when I say that I’m eating Paleo when dining out I’m just trying to avoid grains, starches, and refined sugars. I know that most restaurants use sugar, starches, and soy in their marinades and sauces but I just pretend I don’t know.)
Here’s what we ate at lunch today:
Cucumber salad with furikake:
Stir fried Brussels sprouts with sesame seeds, fresh mint, and crispy wontons (we ate around the wontons):
Ahi Burger (house made) with romaine, tomato, tartar sauce, and fries. I asked them to hold the bun and my kids ate my fries. Bad paleo mommy!
Avalon seared sashimi with spicy shiitake ginger sauce:
I have to admit that the sashimi was not one of my favorite dishes. I expected it to be more Japanese-y instead of Chinese-y. Plus, there was a huge dollop of mashed potatoes on my plate that wasn’t advertised on the menu. WTF? Who pairs sashimi with mashed potatoes? I forgive you, Mala, but it better not happen again.
Who am I kidding? We’ll probably be back in the next few days.
Thanks for the links about coconut oil. Why do you and fitbomb eat mac nuts as your snacks? I was under the impression that almonds where the best choice for snacking when it came to nuts. Also, do you limit the serving of mac nuts per day? - Steve
Because I LOVE mac nuts! Also, mac nuts are supposed to be lower in Omega-6 (the undesirable) fatty acids than other nuts. I try to limit my servings of mac nuts to 1/4 cup per day but I definitely go over.
Can You Eat Paleo At A Place Named Star Noodle (Lahaina, HI)?
This place may supersede Mala Ocean Tavern as one of my favorite places to eat on Maui. It’s my new crush, no doubt. Hubs likes that it’s down the street from the Crossfit affiliate he’s been visiting. I like that it’s at the end of a windy road in an industrial part of Lahaina and our friends thought we were leading them to a quiet, deserted spot so they would get “lost” and we’d have our lodging all to ourselves. Heh heh.
Star Noodle is a casual and lively pan-Asian place that serves Asian shared small plates and different noodle dishes. I normally dislike fusion places but Star Noodle is different in that the food is authentic and tasty. Like most places on the island, this place is kid-friendly and they take reservations if your party is 5 and larger. Plus, the food is affordable for Maui.
Here’s what we ordered for dinner last night:
Ahi Avo with lemon pressed olive oil, sambal, usukuchi:
Star Kim Chee with won bok cabbage, ginger, and garlic:
Pohole Salad with Hana fiddle head fern, Maui onion, ebi, and kombu:
Steamed Pork Buns with pressed pork, hoisin, shiitake, and cucumber:
(In case you’re wondering, we didn’t eat the bun.)
Chicken Yakitori with teriyaki glaze, scallion, and sesame seeds:
Seared Scallops and Asparagus with yuzu miso vinaigrette:
Rib Eye served sizzling with Makawao mushrooms and negi:
Mala Ocean Tavern is one of our favorite places to eat in Maui. The vibe is super chill, the food is yummy, and you literally can eat right next to the water. In fact, my kid was complaining about how the ocean mist from the crashing waves kept spraying his face. This place is packed at dinner but it’s pretty empty for lunch and brunch so call for reservations at dinner time and request a table near the water.
Up until this year, we used to love their seared ahi bruschetta, assorted dips with lavosh and grilled pita bread, and assorted flatbreads. Do you sense a theme here? CARBS!
Today, we returned for lunch (and after studying the menu ahead of time of the website), this is what we ordered for lunch:
Big Island Hamakua Ali Mushrooms with garlic and parsley a la plancha:
Stir fried brussels sprouts with sesame seeds, fresh mint, and crispy wontons (that I didn’t eat):
Farmer’s salad with added grilled mahi mahi (with dressing on the side):
Snake River Farms Kobe beef cheeseburger with smoked apple wood bacon, carmelized onion, romaine,and tomato (hold the bun):
I love this place. We’ll probably return later this week.
1. Stay somewhere with a kitchen so you can cook breakfast and stock up your fridge with Paleo/Primal-friendly treats. Here on Maui, we’re staying in a place with a full kitchen and gas grills outside. This way, we can always eat breakfast in (or not eat it if you’re Fitbomb) and cook one or two nights during our stay.
2. Find grocery stores that offer good local and/or organic produce and proteins to stock up your fridge.Yelp and Chowhound are my top two resources for finding great local shops. On our first night, one of us always goes to the grocery store to stock up on essentials after the rugrats are sleeping. Our favorite store used to be one nearby called Lahaina Farms. Yes, it was expensive but it was a local, Hawaiian version of Whole Paycheck/Bristol Farms. The produce was impeccable and the meat and fish counters offered really phenomenal stuff. But since our last visit, it’s been bought out by Foodland and renamed Foodland Farms. It kind of sucks now. It’s still expensive but the pickings are really slim — with very little in the way of organic or local products. And no coconut products except for the sweetened stuff. Wha? I left disappointed.
This morning, I took a walk to one of our old standbys, Farmers Market and Deli Store in Honokwai, and was happy to find it was still as hippy-dippy as ever, and stocked with coconut butter, coconut oil, coconut flakes, organic produce, and yummy homemade guacamole. No meat in sight since this is strictly a vegan/vegetarian place, but at least you can stock up on some basics.
3. When going out to eat, check out the menu on the restaurant’s website first so you have a game plan before you even get there. I did this pre-Paleo because I’m food-obsessed, but nowadays I do it to make sure that the places we do go to have enough options that are Paleo AND tasty.
4. If you want to order something with no grains or potatoes, ask if you can sub them out with veggies or salad. Most places are very accomodating.
5. Enjoy yourself! But make sure the cheats are worth it. You know what I’m talking about. Back away from the chocolate molten lava cake. That’s so fricking early-’90s, Roy Yamaguchi.
We were all pretty tired and exhausted after our flight from SFO to OGG so we opted to pick up some take out from Aloha Mixed Plate on our way to our hotel tonight. At first I was sad that many of our favorite places to eat would be off limits because the food is so carb-intensive. But, you know what? I’m determined to forge ahead and report back my successes and failures eating Paleo on Maui.
One place I was sure we couldn’t go back to was Aloha Mixed Plate. I mean, come on, almost everything comes with 2 scoops of rice and macaroni salad. What did I order? The grilled mahi mahi plate and they happily subbed in a salad for the french fries and cole slaw.
Fitbomb ordered the Hawaiian plate and polished off the Kahlua pig and lomi lomi salmon. Our carb-addicted kids scarfed down the rice and macaroni salad. No one touched the poi. I like Aloha Mixed Plate because it’s affordable and has a great view of the beach when you dine in. Is it the best food ever? No, but my standards are lower when I’m eating on Maui.