Gelati at Valentino’s (Auckland, NZ)


You don’t have to live in Italy anymore to have gelato. It seems that this dessert has taken the world by storm.

As we were walking around Auckland’s beautiful waterfront area, Valentino’s seemed like a very popular place. There were crowds of people in the store. Never being ones to willingly forego gelato, we slipped in. It offers the standard Italian flavors, but the ones that stood out to us were made with fruits native to New Zealand—passionfruit and feijoa. How could we resist? Delizioso.

Passionfruit and feijoa gelati

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Adobe Room (Taos, NM)


Like Doc Martin’s, the Adobe Room is part of the Taos Inn, a bar where you can also order snacks. Since we weren’t too hungry, we just decided on a basket of tortilla chips and margaritas. The salsa (☆☆☆) was pretty good, thick, tomatoey and spicy. The chips also came with a side of nice guacamolé. There were many margaritas from which to choose. We went all-out with the Grand Reserve (☆☆☆½) made with Cuervo Reserva Familia, Grand Marnier, agave nectar and lime juice—a bracing, potent and delicious cocktail, pricey enough to seem like we paid for dinner.

Turquoise Room, La Posada Inn (Winslow, AZ)


Along the long I-40 stretch that cuts through the middle of the Southwest, there aren’t too many notable places to have a nice meal. Lots of little places with good, even great food, but not a sit-down dining experience, complete with ambience, good service and fresh ingredients, with a great cocktail or two thrown in for good measure.

To some food writers, the Turquoise Room at the La Posada Inn in Winslow is regarded as the best restaurant in the Southwest. We’re not ready to make such a claim, our regional experiences so far being extremely limited, but much of this enthusiasm might have to do with its location seemingly in the middle of nowhere, its elegant yet casual Southwest motif, and the fact that it isn’t the typical “joint” that is hugely popular along the Route 66 corridor.

Lunchtime is a terrific way to sample many of TR’s signature dishes at reduced prices. At just past 3 p.m., we had no problem getting immediately seated either, generally a greater challenge at normal dinner hours.

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Idle Isle Cafe (Brigham City, UT)


Idle Isle Cafe’s idleberry pie (a la mode)

Michael and Jane Stern’s 500 Things to Eat Before It’s Too Late lists Idle Isle Cafe’s idleberry pie as one of them. Idleberry is a trade name of theirs and consists of a combination of blueberries, blackberries and boysenberries, a worthy competitor of Springdale’s bumbleberry pie. Located in Brigham City, the cafe also serves other scrumptious entrées. We had a very nice lunch here. The pan-fried mountain trout was very good, served with superb french fries. The rolls are homemade, very yeasty and chewy. Spread with butter and the cafe’s excellent apricot jam, the rolls were gone in no time. We ordered our idleberry pie a la mode, of course.

Pan-fried trout with fries

Homemade rolls with butter and apricot jam

 
Idle Isle Cafe
24 S Main St
Brigham City, UT 84302
435.734.2468
 

ANZAC Biscuits


ANZAC Day is observed in New Zealand and Australia to commemorate the troops who lost their lives at Gallipoli during World War I. ANZAC stands for Australia New Zealand Army Corps. One story is that the families sent the troops these biscuits (known in the U.S. as cookies) that resisted spoilage because of their lack of eggs as an ingredient, but their undisputed origin is still a mystery. In any case, these are really good cookies, quite crispy, almost as hard as a biscotti. I have a preference for a soft, chewy cookie, so before the first bite, a red flag was raised. But, the hesitation was only brief; the combination of rolled oats, shredded coconut, butter and a sweetener called golden syrup (which is hard to find in the States, though I found some at Whole Foods) was irresistible. And, when dipped in a cup of long black, they were even better.

I found a recipe on the internet, which I’ll try when we get home.

Matsumoto Shave Ice (Hale’iwa, HI)


Lychee/pina colada and lychee/lilikoi shave ices

It was good fortune that we were able to compare not only shrimp trucks but shave ice as well. Earlier on our trip, we sampled shave ice at Waiola store in Honolulu. Matsumoto’s is a destination stop for many fans, including busloads of Japanese tourists. Waiola draws mostly locals. The lines at both can get quite long, though I suspect that it’s more of a problem at M’s throughout the day.

Because the ice here is a bit grainier than Waiola’s, it holds its shape better when topped with syrups. There is a good selection of syrup flavors, including two of my favorites: lychee and lilikoi, though for the life of me, I can’t figure out why the latter should be so bright red. Then again, part of the fun and eye appeal of shave ice are the bright artificial colors. My wife’s piña colada syrup was very tasty, very coconut-y. Vanilla ice cream and kintoki are two extras you can add. I’ve never developed an appreciation for sweet azuki (adzuki) beans, but the ice cream that I added for the first time last year, right here at Matsumoto’s, is something I perhaps can’t live without. The photo above shows lychee/pina colada and lychee/lilikoi combinations.

Matsumoto Shave Ice
66-087 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa, HI
808.637.4827
Flavors and accompaniments

Bubbies (Honolulu)


bubbies
Bubbies is a premium ice cream store that has been doing business on Oahu since the late 1980s. They are based in Aiea and have two outlets on Oahu, including one on University Avenue between Waikiki and the university. Oprah’s “O” Magazine featured their island-favorite mochi ice creams. They are served in many hotels and a few Japanese restaurants on the island. We even bought one at Coffee Bean on Lewers. There are many flavors to choose from, including several tropical ones.

On our way to southeast Oahu and the North Shore, we stopped at Koko Marina Shopping Center where Bubbies has a store. The picture at the top shows guava and lilikoi mochi ice creams. We also had a lychee one at Coffee Bean last Sunday. These are really delicious. The guava flavor is more muted than lychee or lilikoi. With their tropical flavors, these are our favorite mochi ice creams (☆☆☆☆).

Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream and Desserts
Koko Marina Shopping Center
7192 Kalanianaole Hwy, D103
808.396.8722