We arrived at Honolulu airport, and after loading up our luggage and some beach chairs, our hostess Sandra drove us to the Windward Shore area about 45 minutes away. We were fortunate to snag a great house to share, just a few blocks from the ocean.
A second floor balcony took up the length of the house. And since were were on Los Angeles time, we usually got up with the sunrise and had our coffee and fresh fruit overlooking the ocean.
In my video you can see our balcony view, along with a lush backyard of tropical flowers, and avocado, mango and breadfruit trees.
We made short sightseeing excursions driving along scenic Kamehameha Highway - which had views of the ocean on one side and foliage-covered volcanic mountains on the other.
Sandra, my wife's friend from university days, took us to uncrowded beaches to sightsee sea turtles, or just lounge around on our beach chairs.
Amy & the Cheap$kate
A nearby town called Haleiwa is a tourist destination. While a bit crowded, it was easy to walk the main street for window shopping and grabbing a quick bite. We had exoticly flavored Shaved Ice cones. A highlight for my wife was getting a Hawaiian Lomilomi Massage at North Shore Therapeutic Massage (click on any names for links.)
Sandra with Shaved Ice Cone.
I was on hunt for a Kalua Pig Lunch Plate. I found one in Haleiwa. While it was tasty, the Kalua Pig serving was a bit too fatty. A typical plate lunch has 2 scoops of Sticky White Rice and a scoop of Macaroni Salad. You can get it with steamed cabbage mixed in, or on the side. It's just basic comfort food.
Tradition Kalua Pig is prepared in an underground oven. Really, just hot rocks surround taro or banana leaf wrapped meat, that's buried under a layer of burlap and dirt. It's slow-cooked until tender. Hawaiians know how to throw a party called a Luau. And food is a centerpiece.
I guess Kalua Pig comes closest to Mainland Southern BBQ Pulled Pork (my recipe is here.) The main difference is the infused flavor that comes from banana, palm, or taro leaves. The pork (chicken and fish is prepared this way, too) picks up an aromatic green tea-like flavor.
I'm sure most roadside eateries go the easy route with liquid smoke, and just roast or steam the pork wrapped in banana leaves. It's still delicious. And I have my own Mainland Kalua Pig recipe coming soon, so do check back for that.
I found a nearby roadhouse that served a perfect Kalua Pig Lunch Plate. Located in Punalu'u, Keneke's Grill is a locals favorite dining destination. This is not the place for you if you're a neatnik and fussy. But if you just want delish, unpretentious food in a casual setting, then park your boogie board and come on in.
There are two dining rooms, one in the front, and the one in the back has a large screen television. It's super casual with bench seating. And the walls are covered in hand lettered bible scripture.
Click on any photo to see larger.
They have a large menu to choose from. I zeroed in on the Plate Lunch of Pork, Hapa Rice and Mac Salad for $8.95. It's a large plate of food, and my kind of cheap$kate meal. I got it to go, so I could eat on our patio with an ocean view. On the way back we stopped for a six pack of local beer called Primo.
The Kalua Pig was cooked perfectly. The pork is shredded and very lean. The serving is large. You smell the smoky aroma when the container is opened, and the pork is moist and tender. If the pork is wrapped in banana leaves when cooked, then any green tea-like flavor is very mild. The meat is slightly sweet and smoky slow-cooked pork.
As for the sides, the steamed Sticky Hapa Rice is a mix of white and brown rice, and is mainly there to scoop up with the pork. "Hapa" is the Hawaiian Pidgin word for "half," referring to a person with 2 races.
I like Hawaiian-style Macaroni Salad. There's nothing too it really, just a lot of mayo, tender macaroni, a little shredded carrot, and salt and pepper. Simply delicious.
And finally, buried under the Kalua Pork, is a little sauteed and chopped cabbage. It's a welcome veggie addition. Often cabbage is mixed into Kalua Pork, but I prefer it on the side, or in one buried clump, like it was done here.
Keneke's Grill does a great Kalua Pig Plate Lunch. So, on my Cheap$kate Dining Scale of 1 to 9, 9 being best, I give this local plate lunch a perfect 9! I wish I had the time and appetite to go through more menu items, but that's for a return visit....one day.
Check out my Windward Shore & Keneke Grill Travelogue video below. And do come back for more food-centric and scenic videos. I also have many Hawaiian-style cheap$kate recipes sprinkled throughout, during the next two months of blog posts, including: Lau Lau (Mainland-style,) Spam Musubi, Kalua Pork, Macaroni Salad, Sticky Rice, Loco Moco, and Poke.
Windward Shore & Keneke Grill - VIDEO
Play it here, video runs 4 minutes, 36 seconds.
My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.
99 thanks to:
Our hostess Sandra & the Keneke's Grill.
Keneke's Grill at Punalu'u
53-138 Kamehemeha Highway
Punalu'u, Hawai'i 96717
Open 9am - 8pm
Phone: 808) 237-1010
And the musicians on the beach of Waikiki that I recorded live for this travelogue video. I wish I had got their names for a credit, but was enjoying the music too much in the moment, to get the band and bandleaders name.
To see other Hawaii Travelogue blog posts with video, photos, text & GIFs, just click on any link below:
Visit to O'ahu, Hawai'i - intro
The Road to Waikiki & a Lau Lau Truck
Waikiki Beach & The Rainbow Drive-In
Waikiki & The Musubi Cafe
Breakfast in Honolulu
7-Eleven Span Musubi
Macaroni Salad & Sticky Rice
Kalua Pig & Cabbage
Mainland Lau Lau with Pork
Loco Moco (eggs, hamburger, gravy & rice)
Teriyaki Spam Musubi