Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mahalo for the Sun...

The T-Ball gods smiled upon us last weekend for picture/ game.  I'm no pro but I did get a couple of cute shots. I also got a lovely sunburn. Always happens in May. I'm always sure the sun's not hot enough to do any real damage yet after weeks of cool weather, and end up with a nasty surprise as a result. So note to self: sunblock for the rest of the summer.  And a hat.  And sleeves.

Mother's Day was wonderfully relaxing.  The Monkey made me a picture, Daddy took me out for dinner at Patrick's Hawaiian Cafe  then a movie to see Iron Man 2 at Cinetopia (just a few blocks away). Patrick's had live Hawaiian music (as they do every Fri/Sat & Sun nights, and hula dancers on special occassions...) and the Coconut Shrimp and Kal Bi Ribs were melt-in-your mouth amazing!  Everything was, actually.

While most people think of the wide range of Asian cuisine available in the Northwest (Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Lao, Japanese, Malay to name a few...) we tend to forget that Hawaiians were some of the very earliest pioneers here in the Pac. NW. thanks to the old shipping days when Pacific ports were main stops on the way to/from the Sandwich Islands.  

According to the Ke Kukui Foundation, a mainland-based Polynesian group devoted to preserving Polynesian culture and language for descendents of displaced Polynesians, Hawaiians arrived in the Oregon Territory in 1811, settled near Fort Vancouver in the 1830'sduring the Fur Trade and then in California during the Gold Rush in the 1850's at "Kanaka" Villages.  Several Oregon and Washington place names were named by or for these early Hawaiians (like Kalama).  When the states refused to grant them U.S. citizenship (even though Hawaii was a U.S. territory by this time....) many returned to Hawaii.  But many stayed, and of course many native Hawaiians are moving to the mainland again as the cost of living there skyrockets.  As of the 2000 census, in fact it appears there are more people of native Hawaiian ancestry now living on the mainland than in the state of Hawaii. 

And lucky for us, many of those are opening restaurants with fantastic "home cooking" style marinated meat, macaroni salad and Spam derivatives (I don't get it, but Mr. Stang loves his Spam and eggs...). Then there is the quintessential "fusion" of Asian, Polynesian and NW flavors that simmered for decades in those volcanic islands at the Crossroads of the Pacific, generation after generation.  The seafood, of course (drool), and the  Teriyaki/ Yakisoba, sushi, Korean BBQ, and .....
Besides Patrick's Hawaiian Cafe, Vancouver boasts the Hula Boy Charbroil (now with two locations... one on 4th Plain and a new one Downtown).  And Portland has the famous Noho's (original location on SE Clinton St., new location in Medford and according to their website, FRANCHISES coming soon!); and the Mamboo Grove Hawaiian Grille on Macadam which was one of my fave lunching spots when our office was down on the River.

And a few I haven't been to (yet):  Ohana Hawaiian Cafe (two locations:  one on NE Sandy Blvd and one in Milwaukie).  and Tommy O's (two locations as well: East Vancouver and Downtown Vancouver).  Urban Spoon has a much more extensive listing for the Portland/Vancouver area. 

In recent years, the Ke Kukui Foundation has launched an annual Hawaiian Festival at Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver where you can experience a little piece of the Aloha Spirit without having to buy an expensive plane ticket. Hula dancing, music, arts and crafts..... and of course, the FOOD.  This year it's scheduled for July 31st. And it's FREE!!!

1 comment:

Sofiya said...

You know, I had always assumed that Spam was the most horrid thing in the world, and I never touched it. But then I went to dinner at an Indian friend's house, and she made fried Spam as an appetizer (which apparently is quite traditional in some parts of India), and it was delicious. I was astonished, but it really was!