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    Hawaii Care Package Ideas

    • Hawaiian Salt and Liquid Smoke. That’s pretty much all you need to make Kalua Pork at home. One of the easiest and tastiest Hawaiian dishes you can make, Kalua with or without cabbage, will give your loved one a little taste of home.
    • NOH seasoning packets. We love the Hawaiian Poke Mix and the Hawaiian Style Curry. The poke mix comes with Ogo seaweed and chili pepper. All you need is some fresh fish and green onion and you’re good to go. The Curry seasoning is the only one around that doesn’t have MSG. Tastes just like L&L!

    • Kona Coffee. Whether you get Vanilla Mac Nut or 100% Kona, you can’t go wrong. It’s the tastiest coffee around, and nothing compares to it.

    • Cuttlefish or Dried Ahi Jerky. The stinkier the fish, the better. Warn non-Hawaiians before opening a bag though!
    • Hawaiian calendars. A little cheesy, but still one of the best gifts around. It’s lightweight, easy to pack, and costs less than a $1. Also, it’s nice to show your office mates that you come from the most beautiful place on earth.

    • Li Hing Mui anything! A little bag of Li Hing powder lasts for quite a while if sprinkled on fruit or added to margaritas. As for Li Hing gummy candies, get the large bag. A small bag will usually be inhaled in under a minute.

    • Hawaiian Sun Juice mix. Everyone drank Hawaiian Sun as a kid, and none of us will ever forget the taste of Passion Orange or Pass-O-Guava. One packet makes about a quart, just enough to bring back memories of the Manapua man or the little mom and pop store you used to buy it at as a kid.

    • Kakimochi and Furikake. You can buy microwave popcorn just about anywhere, but it won’t be complete without the kakimochi! With these two ingredients, anyone can make Hurricane Popcorn at home!

    Best Coffee Spots in Kona

    Starbucks, shmarbucks. Hawaii is the only state in which you can drink a cup of coffee that is locally farmed, roasted, and brewed. In the tiny town of Kona, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, java junkies can trace each cup of joe to the actual mountainside it grew upon.

    Making up just 1% of worldwide coffee production, Kona coffee is the rarest in the world, and in our opinion some of the best tasting. So in this town built on beans, just where can you go to get the perfect cup of Joe? Here are our picks.

    Kaya’s. Seriously THE best iced coffee around, and they use coffee ice cubes!  Each cup is made with organic beans and brewed to perfection. Not acidic or bitter, just smooth and delicious. Kaya’s consistently makes good coffee. They also offer a wide range of organic, gluten free, and vegan food options. So if you’re looking for seriously good coffee served up in a funky, hippie-ish, creative atmosphere, this is the place for you.

    Holuakoa Café. Located on the slopes of Mt. Hualalai, this quaint coffee shop and restaurant sits amongst historical buildings so cute and picturesque, you’ll expect a horse and carriage to go by at any moment. Whether you like plain black coffee, lattes, macchiatos, or Americanos you can’t go wrong here. Adjacent to the coffee shop, sits a beautiful garden restaurant which serves gourmet quality food. They claim to be part of the slow food movement, meaning your food won’t be out lickety split, but will be made with fresh, local ingredients. The menu changes often, but be on the lookout for their eggs benedict and brisket.

    Daylight Mind Coffee Company. Their Ali’I Drive location has a gorgeous view of the ocean, while their Waikaloa location is adorably charming. One of the owners is an actual coffee scientist, with a Ph.D. in coffee studies. So if you want to geek out over how to brew the perfect cup, this is the place for you. The staff is not only extremely friendly, but also very knowledgeable. The baked goods are amazing, and this place just does coffee right. Make sure you get the pour over done at your table.

    Kona Mountain Coffee

    Kona Mountain Coffee. Sitting behind the barista bar is an unassuming plastic tower, where their ground coffee sits at room temperature for 24 hours. We’re not sure about the magic that happens during this time, but what comes out of that container is the smoothest, most flavorful cold brew around. We’ve heard some people complain that cold brew lacks flavor. Try Kona Mountain’s Bold Cold Brew, and be prepared to be blown away.

    You Might Be From Hawaii If You...

    1. Take your food to the next level. For example, shave alone just doesn’t cut it. You gotta add azuki beans, ice cream, mochi, li hing mui powder, and a snow cap before you’re satisfied.

    2. Take off your shoes before entering someone’s home, and hope no one takes your black slippers by accident when they leave. When we go to the mainland, yes the mainland, we silently judge everyone who doesn’t take off their shoes. Think of all the dirt and germs you’re tracking into your home!!

    3. Give directions based on landmarks. “Turn right at the bakery. Head Makai, then take a left by the big mango tree.”

    4. Call everyone older than you Uncle or Aunty. It’s a sign of respect, and stems from the belief that we are all related somehow.

    Sherwoods Beach Waimanalo

    5. Argue over which beach to go to. Each spot has its pros and cons. Sherwoods is gorgeous, but not on a windy day. Near the Natatorium is great if you’ve got kids, but not when there’s a full moon, because that means the jellyfish are out. You know the drill.

    6. Think toilet paper, water, spam and rice are the most important hurricane supplies. Seriously, Walmart, Target and all the supermarkets put that stuff out front whenever there’s a storm alert.

    7. Know someone named Boy or Tita. Raise your hand if you know a Billy Boy or have at least one Tita in your phone.

    8. Use the terms Shoyu, Nori, and Saimin. Not soy sauce, seaweed paper, or ramen. Bonus point if you also have one of these plastic bowls in your house!

    9. Think anything below 75 degrees is freezing. It’s hoodie and sweater wearing weather brah!

    10. Start salivating at just the mention of Li Hing Mui!

    Coconut Taro Mochi Recipe

    We recently bought some frozen poi from Waipio Valley on the Big Island. Never tried the brand before, and didn't know how to mix it once it came out of the microwave, so it turned into a lumpy mess. Nobody wanted to eat it, so we came up with this new mochi recipe, which is Oishii Kata! It's a variation of a Chi Chi Dango recipe my mom has been using for years. It's super easy to make and if you don't have poi, you can omit it and still make soft, pillowy mochi at home.

    INGREDIENTS

    INSTRUCTIONS

    1. Mix first three dry ingredients together. Then add the wet ingredients, including the poi. Mix well.
    2. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 60 minutes.
    3. Uncover, cool overnight. (We couldn't wait and ate ours right away. Don't do this if you make this recipe WITHOUT the poi. It will be the wrong texture. For some weird reason, WITH the poi the mochi was soft and delicious.)
    4. Cut and sprinkle with potato starch.
    That's it. Seriously so easy to make, and so delicious.