Malasadas at Super Six

The malasada is a must-eat in Hawaii. The dessert is just as popular on the islands as the doughnut on the mainland, if not more so. I could easily forego the other foods of Hawaii (with the exception of poké), but not malasadas. Their defining characteristics vis-à-vis doughnuts are their relative crispiness and eggier texture, but otherwise these yeasty superfoods go down with coffee just as easily. They come either plain or filled (with some sort of custard) and are simply dusted with sugar. If you’ve read my Hawaii posts, you’ll know that I love Leonard’s Bakery because their malasadas are the best. I personally am fond of their filled ones. No trip to Honolulu would be complete without at least one visit to Leonard’s.

In the Seattle area, a few restaurants make these pastries. I’ve not had anything close to Leonard’s quality, but neither have I actively sought them out. Yesterday, my wife and I had lunch with friends at Super Six, the newest addition to the Marination family, located in Columbia City. Since the chain is known for its fusion of Hawaiian-Asian-Mexican foods, it isn’t so surprising that malasadas should appear on all Super Six menus (except happy hour). Two of the lunch entreés were agreeable (Chinese Chicken SaladPork Katsu Sandwich), but the pastry was quite good (☆☆☆). Made-to-order (it took about 15-20 minutes to get), the malasada was served piping hot, sprinkled with lots of granulated sugar and shaped like a sphere slightly flattened. If you want a filling, choices are limited to coconut or Nutella. The outer part of the puff was very crispy, the inside tender and eggy. At $2.50 for plain ($4 for filled), they aren’t as economical as Leonard’s nor are they as memorable, but they’ll do nicely when I crave them. And another thing, at dinnertime Super Six has lilikoi chiffon pie that is the pride and joy of Kauai.

Super Six
3714 S. Hudson St.
Seattle, WA 98118

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Surprises at the Crossroads Food Truck Snackdown

The latest Food Truck Snackdown at the Crossroads Shopping Center happened today, so we were sure to see what was cookin’. Two things were on the radar for this trip.

One was a shiksa, a pork stew that was described in ZAGAT. Sandwich-style, Napkin Friends puts everything between two “slices” of latke, which suggests influences from Jewish cooking. Revealingly, there is matzoh ball soup on the menu. Even the stew’s name is a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgment of its meat ingredient as straying from the non-Jewish arena. Unfortunately, shiksa wasn’t on the menu, so I went to Peasant Food Manifesto instead and got their Inigo Montoya, a spicy tomato-based dish that is labeled a shakshuka. Hey, I recognized that name. Inigo Montoya was that famous character in “Princess Bride.” (“Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die.”) The other items have similarly idiosyncratic names and show PFM’s preference for global fusion food. The shakshuka had lots of tomatoes, which almost qualifies it as a tomato stew, heavy on the chard, and Spanish chorizo from by Uli’s. A fried egg was served on top. The entrée was a hearty dish, spicy and definitely healthier than fried food. (☆☆☆)


Peasant Food Manifesto’s shakshuka

Here’s a novelty—British-inspired food served from a food truck, appropriately named Nosh. Looking over the menu, I wasn’t sure anymore what constituted English food. Some day, I might be adventurous enough to spring for fried rabbit or roasted bone marrow, but for now, it was fish and chips, reputedly one of the best served in the Seattle area and another item that was on my list. The Pacific cod piece was enormous, the biggest we’ve eaten since New Zealand. And it was fresh, not having seen the inside of a freezer. To ensure lightness, the batter is mixed with beer, apparently a local microbrew. The result was, according to my wife, the best fish and chips she’s ever had in the States thus far. And I agree. We did differ on the chip quality slightly, but they were equally top-notch, stubby little pieces with skin still attached. Supremely flaky with very little grease on crispy, thinly applied batter, a little tub of tasty tartar sauce, this was magnificent fried fish. A side order of refreshing mint mushy peas was included, not in the least overcooked as it sounds. To add to the British air, the works were served on “newspaper,” which in reality was a clever reproduction on parchment paper. (☆☆☆☆)

Nosh's British fish and chips with mint mushy peas

Nosh’s British fish and chips with mint mushy peas

Off to the side of the truck pod was a business that was serving malasadas. Hawaii’s Donut only had three kinds, plain, raspberry and Bavarian cream. The server asked if we were Hawaiians (no, we weren’t), but we told him that we love Leonard’s in Honolulu. “Never heard of Leonard’s,” he said, a strange admission coming from a guy whose wife is Hawaiian. A look at Yelp reviews of the brick-and-mortar store in Northgate later revealed many reviewers (several of them Hawaiian and familiar with Leonard’s) who were very disappointed in the donuts. Words like “dry,” “came out of a plastic bag”, “cold” and “instructions for microwaving” were used, uncomplimentary remarks applied to any business making them on the Islands. These were all at odds with the incredible malasadas we had today, hot from frying oil, dusted to order with granulated sugar and carefully put in paper bags. Can it be that the store doesn’t have an in-house fryer while the mobile operation does? These were not comparable to Leonard’s only because they were smaller and lacked in filling variety. They were minuscule, no more than 3″ across. But they were the equal of Leonard’s otherwise, tender, puffy, hot and sweet. Both my wife and I preferred the Bavarian cream, but the malasadas with both fillings had us harking back to Kapahulu. (☆☆☆½)


Bavarian cream and raspberry malasadas (from Hawaii's Donut)

Bavarian cream and raspberry malasadas (from Hawaii’s Donut)

Malasadas at Tex’s Drive-In (Honoka’a, HI)

The word is that Tex’s Drive-In has the best malasadas on the Big Island. We were only a short distance away from where we started on our guided tour down to the Waipio Valley. There’s more here than Portuguese donuts: breakfasts (including Hawaiian-style), burgers, musubi, salads, loco moco, and Hawaiian plates. Our Bavarian cream and mango malasadas came hot from the oven. Inevitably, comparisons must be made to Leonard’s, and both my wife and I gave the nod to Leonard’s. Their dough is lighter and they have more fillings, Tex’s only having a half dozen. Still, the malasadas there are no slouch. The Bavarian cream is justifiably their most popular.

Tex’s Drive In
45-690 Pakalana St #19 (Highway 19, mile marker 43)
Honoka’a, HI 96727
(808) 775-0598

Leonard’s (Honolulu)

Custard-filled malasada

Custard-filled malasada

Among the island’s favorite pastries are Portuguese malasadas. Leonard’s is generally regarded as Oahu’s best, and for good reason. Our visit here last year hooked us. My favorite malasadas are those filled with custard. Why are they so good? First of all, they are served warm out of the oven. Their yeasty shell is slightly crispy on the outside, achingly tender and slightly doughy inside. One bite will release the creamy and not-too-sweet custard filling, available in a variety of flavors. The flavor of the month was lilikoi. We ordered it and coconut. Wow!

Leonard’s is a bakery, so it actually does sell other pastries as well as a few savory items, including pao doce, which looks like a sausage with a wrap.

Pao doce

Pao doce

Leonard’s Bakery
933 Kapahulu Ave