Some nights when I’m up late, I’ll get up to the roof of my apartment to unwind before bed. I like to watch the planes fly by and peek at all the little cars below. I wonder where everyone’s going and where they’ve been and what kind of lives they might have. I think about how there are so many people in the world and how we’re all different but yet so fundamentally similar. We laugh and cry and love and think and feel and as I look down at the city, I can imagine all these strings tethering us to one another, sometimes in ways we don’t really even know.
The population of O’ahu is approximately just under 1 million. 1,000,000 people living on 597 mi² of land. Basically, what this means is when people I meet learn I’m from Hawaii and ask: “Oh, do you know -insert random friend who is also from Hawaii’s name here-?”… chances are I probably do or at least know someone who definitely does.
Before I started F2B, I was a huge fan of Two Red Bowls and Cynthia, the wonderful person behind it. She’s a full-time lawyer, who also somehow finds time to run a blog, and takes these insanely gorgeous photos of meals that make me want to head to the grocery store and attempt myself the second I see a new post. She’s kind of superwoman. *no kidding* I kind of fan-girled out the first time Cynthia left a comment on one of my posts… OKAY get it together me. But getting back to what I was saying, one morning I was on Facebook and saw a few wedding photos that a friend from highschool had posted. Days later, I saw Cynthia’s blog post on her wedding, put two and two together and realized that said highschool friend’s brother is Andy aka B2 aka Cynthia’s husband. I told you! I don’t know how I didn’t realize it earlier, after Cynthia’s posts of spam musubi and malasadas and chicken katsu. It drives me bananas how there are so many people on the planet yet this world can feel so small after moments like these. Who woulda thunk it.
Today we’re celebrating some more big news for Cynthia and Andy, which is the newest addition to their sweet little family, dear Luke aka B3 aka the cutest little thing ever! And in honor of both of their love (and I’m sure soon, Luke’s too) for Hawaii, I’m sharing this big ol’ fruit platter filled with some of my favorite local fruits! I’m sure most of you are all familiar with strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, and perhaps dragonfruit so I won’t spend time discussing those as you can easily find them in most grocery stores. The main stars are these that are grown in Hawaii and expensive AF to purchase if you ever see the same thing on the mainland.
Papaya is just about my favorite fruit in all the land. I love slicing it in half and seeing the bright orange fruit surrounding a bed of dozens of strange black seeds. If it’s ripe, all you need is a spoon and maybe a little squeeze of lemon and you’re on your way to heaven. If I could take a 10 lb bag of them with me on the plane, oh I would. Hey remember how we were talking about how incredibly small this world is? My first trip to the grocery store back in LA, I had zero desire to eat any of the food I saw as I was still coming off my poke and acai bowls everyday high. Then, hidden away under the bottom row of bananas, I saw three big glorious papayas. ALSO, they were from Diamondhead Papayas, meaning grown in Hawaii and had been shipped all the way over to the very Whole Foods I shop at in DTLA (I have never seen papaya at a grocery store other than at home), and not from Mexico or Asia.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Courtney, you can find Pineapple and Mango almost anywhere. Yes, except the ones grown in Hawaii are the best. They’re so sweet and such a vibrant color and you also don’t have to spend a fortune. Also mango trees are kind of everywhere. My parents helped out with making mango chutney for my highschool one year and my Dad walked around Manoa to find mango trees and ask the homeowners if we could pick them. And I am all also all about lihing pineapple.
Lastly, Lilikoi/Passionfruit. I don’t know what else to say about this that I haven’t said already. I’ve made passion fruit curd, passion fruit tarts, passion fruit eclairs – when I think of home I think of lilikoi. If you haven’t had it before, I’m like 99.78% sure you’ll love it.
PS: Here’s some photos of the stuff I ate while I was home ’cause ya know, food blog. I’m also trying to prove that yes, I did mean what I said about eating raw fish for almost every meal.
PPS: I learned how to make every letter of the alphabet in pretzels and sorry in advance for potato quality on some of the iPhone photos.