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By Steven Li on 2006-05-27

May 27, 2006

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Some random munchings for the day…

One of my mom’s co-agents gave us a trio of Lindt’s Bantons Kirsch. Now I know Lindt’s a pretty common household chocolate you can find at Longs and Safeway, but this baby is sold exclusively in Switzerland (or so I’m told). The thin narrow tube of bitter chocolate is dusted in cocoa and filled with Kirsch. Separating the liquor from the chocolate is a brittle sugar shell, slightly caramelized. I don’t drink and my mom’s on an eternal diet so I bit off the top, mom drank the Kirsch and I finished off the chocolate. A perfect compromise, no?

A family of four and a dozen Beard Papa cream puffs? Oh dear, we are sweet pigs. So much for mom’s diet. I find Hawaii’s craze over Beard Papa a bit obsessive. I think it has to do with the fact that our generation has been raised on one type of cream puff alone: THE LILHA COCO PUFFS. Present at every potluck, bbq and grad party, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call them the foundation of Hawaii’s sweet tooth. But since Beard Papa rapidly opened all over Honolulu I’ve noticed that our dear coco puffs have been replaced at parties with these lighter, crispier puffs.

In addition to the original vanilla, a “special” flavor is offered each day, today was “Matcha Day.” My dad’s sold on Beard Papa because of it’s “famous” double-shell, an inner shell of choux pastry is surrounded by an outer piecrust-like layer. In contrast, coco puff shells are pretty much soft throughout. And instead of Liliha’s chocolate pudding filling and a generous dab of chantilly, you get a lightly whipped custard with a dusting of powdered sugar. Surely Beard Papa is far more refined than Liliha could every hope to be. But even after rising prices and shrinking coco puffs I still cling onto the nostalgia of running into the bakery while mom waits in the car (cause there’s never any parking space!) to pick up a dozen coco puffs for dinner at grandmas.

There’s no denying that Beard Papa creates a better than average cream puff but a part of me prays that this is just a fad. I miss seeing the smears of rich chantilly on the brown cardboard boxes with the Liliha logo stamped outside and the stains of the chocolate pudding-like filling on the mouths of little kids. Nostalgia aside, the price of a Beard Papa puff is nearly double that of Liliha’s! So there. If not for memory and supporting local business, it’s a lot cheaper :)

And for the car ride, a little salmon onigiri to nibble on. I like to purchase mine from the Marukai in Dillingham. Maybe it’s only me, but the rice there is just perfect. A little sweet with the tang of rice vinegar, even Shirokiya hasn’t been able to duplicate this balance of flavor consistently. Like many Japanese “little meals” or snacks, the onigiri is such a basic treat that quality of ingredients and the simple know-how gained through experience is key in creating a quality dish.

PS
My favorite part about coming home for summer?
1. Everyone is so much nicer and happier in Hawaii.
2. Frequent visits to Saint Germain for ham rolls and strawberry shortcake.
3. Home cooking!
5. Awesome bread pudding everywhere you turn (Mandarin, Kakaako, 12th Ave, Covenant Cafe, Onjin’s, 3660…you bet it goes on!)
4. No California kine freeways. Can’t we just be content with the H-1,2 and 3? What
is this 10, 405 and all those crazy numbers?!
5. Family, friends and supermarket ice cream sandwiches.

Ok. Now back to Hawaiiand and Chemistry homework. Lab quiz and oral presentation tomorrow. Yipee. No, really, yipee…lol Oh and dad’s come back from China tomorrow! He gets the funniest American fast food cravings after every trip to Asia – you’d think the Big Mac was the greatest culinary invention ever. No worries though, it dies down after an extra value meal or two.



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