Friday, December 30, 2011

I Didn't Eat One Pineapple at the Pineapple Room

Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding with lots of fun extras
And that's a good thing.  Being from Hawaii, you'd think I love pineapple.  But I don't.  In college, my friends would order the "Hawaiian Pizza," thrilled that I'd be able to experience a taste from home.  Here's the thing: I hate pineapple on pizza.  And "Canadian Bacon" (which is just a fancy way of saying "ham", by the way), is kinda ewww.  So pineapple plus fake bacon?  Double ewww.

But I'm a fan of Alan Wong's and I've never been to his highly-rated Pineapple Room, so my family and I visited one night.  And I'm so glad we did, because we all agreed: this was one of the best meals we've ever had on Oahu.

The Pineapple Room is a casual yet beautiful restaurant located in Ala Moana, one of the largest outdoor malls in the world, and my favorite shopping mall on the island.  Simple yet cozy, the focus is the quality of the food--a wonderful mix of Asian cuisine with a Hawaiian twist. 
Chinese Style Pan Steamed Onaga, so pretty and so tasty

The real food was all delicious (the Onaga was perfectly steamed and bursting with flavor), but of course I was giddy about the desserts!  All of the choices looked incredible, and I wanted them all.  But that would just be silly.  So so silly.  (Note: I will be back. Oh yes, I will be back).

The vanilla ice cream slowly melting into a pool of creamy goodness
We were set on ordering 2, and then our lovely and very charming waitress twisted my arm and convinced me to go with 3 (what she said: "I also recommend the Japanese strawberry cheesecake...".  Me, interrupting: "OK!").  The Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding with Peanut Butter Vanilla Anglaise, Vanilla Ice Cream and Carmelized Bananas were an obvious choice (Note: it contains peanut butter.  Enough said).  This decadent treat was a tasty combination of moist, light chocolate cake, doused in a creamy vanilla ice cream, topped with a light peanut butter glaze (I would have been happy with a bowl of that peanut butter sauce by itself), and topped with delicately carmelized bananas.  Such a wonderful mix of flavors, textures, and temperatures!

Then there was the Japanese-style strawberry cheesecake.  This delicate masterpiece was light and fluffy with a crunchy cookie-like crust, and topped with fresh strawberries.  A sweet strawberry salsa complemented this lovely little dish.
A yummy and healthy (remember, strawberries are a fruit) dessert.
The most fun dessert, and my favorite of the 3, was the Haupia Tapioca Halo Halo.  The fact that this dessert was on the menu was completely unexpected.  Since I'm a giant sucker for anything a bit different from the norm, I was intrigued.  Halo Halo is a Filipino dessert that usually involves shave ice, evaporated milk, and fruits or beans.  Alan Wong took this traditional dessert to a new level by making it gourmet, Hawaiian-style.

Halo Halo!
The Halo Halo begins with a base of coconut shave ice, haupia tapioca, and mango kanten.  Icy, creamy, and jelly-ish, it's an explosion of yummy differences. Sweet corn and azuki beans are infused throughout.  And sprinkled on top, a fruity mix of bananas, melon, strawberries and pineapple (I skipped the pineapple).  So many different flavors blended together for a refreshing, fruity treat.

And to top off this perfect meal?  A bit of shopping, of course! 

The Pineapple Room by Alan Wong
1450 Ala Moana Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96814

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