Pampered by a fried egg sandwich

27 09 2011

It’s easy for me to feel pampered down at the fishing pier.

10:30, after my workout in Kāneoʻhe, in the mood for a late breakfast, I stop at He‘eia Pier once again. I’m monitoring my food intake for several reasons, but today, after reading the menu, I feel I can have an egg: Fried Egg Sandwich $4.

But like I said, I’m pampered.

In a few moments Chef Mark calls out: Rebekah, would you like anything else on it? Some cheese?

Me: Um, no, do you have any lettuce?

Chef: Tomato would be good.

Me: Okay!

Chef: A little mayonnaise?

Me: No thanks, and please hold the cheese.

Now why, you might ask, don’t I just fix my own egg sandwich at home?

On a beautiful day in Hawaii like today, I can sit at the outdoor picnic table on the waterfront and be mesmerized by the Ko‘olau Mountains I love to paint and the sound of the sea lapping the shore. I can eavesdrop on the old-time regulars and watch the boats come and go to drop off and pick up polite Japanese tourists. It’s peaceful.

When my order comes out, I see beautiful food art neatly cut in two triangles. I don’t have to step up to the pick-up window for my plate. Chef delivers it personally to the table.

Bread toasted perfectly, just how I like it. Egg fried perfectly, but not greasy, with just the tiniest bit of runny yolk. Tomato slice and sprigs of . . . purslane!

I would have shown two thumbs up when Mark checked back—it seems he always makes it a point to acknowledge the customers—but one hand was putting the sandwich in my mouth. And I’m sorry, I ate everything before I thought of taking a picture.


• Be willing to park on the far side of the boat ramp and walk if there are no spaces closer. The Deli is open for breakfast and lunch, closed on Monday.

• Have no expectations except to expect to wait for your order. Allow yourself to be surprised. He‘eia Pier Deli is not a fast food joint. It’s the most welcome addition to local cuisine kicked up a couple notches where the chef and crew take care of windward Oahu residents.

• Feel good that you are supporting the local Hawaiian economy.

Copyright 2011 Rebekah Luke

Feel better by looking toward the stars

9 08 2011

You'll likely be pleasantly surprised at the food from this hut at the end of Heeia Pier.

Sometimes life makes me grouchy. Other times it feels like the stars are aligned. Today my lucky stars aligned.

My frequent route from the studio takes me to Kaneohe for water exercise at Pohai Nani’s heated pool.

Last month I was sidelined with a physical pain that I can only be sure is a characteristic of aging, as neither my physician, naturopath, physical therapist nor radiologist can pinpoint anything else.

Just because something shows up in a test doesn’t mean it’s the cause of pain, they concurred.

My trainer Malia (I call her my trainer, but her correct title is exercise specialist) at Pohai Nani said, “It could be anything.” She suggested a visit to the doctor. A couple days later, my cousin in his 80s assured me, after I mentioned my problem, “You know, this is just the beginning.”

This “problem” made me grouchy. All I felt like doing was … well, I didn’t feel like doing much of anything.

With the various therapies and time, including Reiki on myself, I’m improving, feeling finer. Hallelujah! Still, though, as the saying goes, there are some good days and some bad days.

This morning Malia said she was outfitting her bicycle and planned to add some cycling to her exercise routine. She was also in a competition to lose some weight. On an impulse I said I’d join her.

Bicycling on the tandem is something I can do with DH. We used to do that a lot when he raced, even taking our bicycle on neighbor-island and continental trips. We were our thinnest then.

Malia’s goal is to shed 30 pounds. Mine is to reduce by 20. That’s a total of 50 pounds between us, all by Thanksgiving Day.

I reloaded the free Lose It! ap to my iPhone to show I was serious. All I do is program my goal, enter what I eat and my daily activity, and it automatically calculates the remaining calories I may have. I think I have a good chance of meeting my goal because I’ve already started to change my diet after reading the book Anticancer. Please see my previous post.

After the pool and some errands, I swung by Heeia Pier for lunch and scored a good parking place, step one. The place has become popular with the breakfast/lunch crowd, and sometimes I have to park on the far side of the boat ramp. Looking at the menu board and considering food choices and my lack of cash — pay day for me is tomorrow, and I robbed my parking meter fund of quarters today — I picked “stir-fried veggies” for $3 and an honest cup of coffee for 50 cents.

Chef Mark Noguchi, formerly of the restaurant Town in Honolulu, is a hard worker. He prepares food fresh and from scratch, so usually there’s a wait. Darn it, I wasn’t quick enough to put in my order ahead of five firefighters (firefighters — that in itself is complimentary of the good grinds at Heeia Pier), and when it became my turn, the word was “no more.”

Gooch — that’s his nickname — must have seen my face fall. Or I must have looked hungry. He said the vegetables didn’t look good enough to serve, so he’d just pulled the item from the menu. “What kind of vegetables do you want?” he asked. “Anything. If they’re fresh,” I said.

Returning from the reefer he said he’d make me some. Before the firefighters got their plates, Gooch brought me a light and tasty medley of eggplant, turnip, onion all from JAWS (Just Add Water, a CSA community-supported agriculture group) in Waimanalo, and watercress from his relative’s farm.

Watercress stir fried with eggplant, turnip, and onion

Half way into it he brought out—on the house—another dish on a real ceramic plate, not a disposable plate: a slice of pan-fried pa‘i‘ai (hand-pounded taro from Daniel Anthony and Anuenue Punua of Mana Ai), topped with a fresh salad of chilled local tomato and cucumber, very very lightly dressed in a barely sweet sesame vinaigrette,  and sprinkled with a little pepper and sea salt.

Taro tomato cucumber salad

Can you believe it?!  Now that’s classy. Not just the food, but the customer service too!

Committed to serving organic and/or locally grown food as much as possible, Chef Noguchi sometimes goes into the field to harvest the ingredients personally.

If you go to Heeia Pier and he’s not busy, ask if there is anything else not on the regular menu that’s being served up that day. You never know!

I think if you caught a fish out there from the pier, he might cook it for you too (if you cleaned it first ;-)), just like it used to be local style.

So healthy. So delicious. So unprocessed. Thank you for bringing beautiful food to the windward side. Thanks to the local farmers (we can patronize the farm bureau-sponsored farmers markets). And thanks to all who support local farmers by buying organic or locally grown fruits, vegetables and meats.

The stars align, but I suspect intention helps.

Copyright 2011 Rebekah Luke

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