A Trip to Hawaii and A “Re-Entry” Family Dish

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Coming back from vacation is tough. No matter how good it feels to be home, it also feels kind of bad.

One day you’re lolling on the beach, or body surfing off the coast of Oahu, or enjoying a coconut cocktail at the famously pink Royal Hawaiian Hotel. The next day you’re wading not through the foamy blue water of the Pacific, but through an ocean of laundry and emails, and piles of bills. Yes, vacation is over.

It helps if there is something to soften the blow. My husband’s aunt and uncle knew this, so whenever they went on vacation they always flew coach on the way to their destination and first class on the way back.

Such luxury is beyond our budget. Instead, we have what we call our “re-entry” dish—the first thing we cook when we return from a trip. It is almost always the same dish: Spaghetti Aglio, Olio, e Acciughe, or Spaghetti with Garlic, Oil, and Anchovies. It’s easy to make and can be assembled entirely from ingredients in the pantry.

After days of chasing Hawaiian food, of chowing down on malasadas and spam musubis, poke and plate lunches, there is something comforting about coming home to the simplicity and utter familiarity of a re-entry dish such as this one (you may have your own re-entry dish, and if so I’d love to hear about it).

To read the rest of this Family Dish post, and to get the recipe for Spaghetti Aglio, Olio, e Acciughe, click over to The Washington Post’s food blog, All We Can Eat. If you’d like to stick around here a little longer, below are a few pictures highlighting our trip, which took us to San Francisco and then on to Oahu, where we celebrated my brothers-in-law’s wedding. Enjoy these last few weeks of summer. All too soon they will be but a memory.

San Francisco was chilly so we warmed up with lots of Blue Bottle Coffee.


My favorite landmark in San Francisco is not the Golden Gate Bridge.

The weather on Oahu, where we went to celebrate my brothers-in-law’s wedding, was perfect. Every day.

We had malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts) from Leonard’s Bakery for breakfast.

And Hawaiian shave ice for dessert.

We talked to a man who restores old canoes.

It was windy along the Pali Highway,

but the view was spectacular.

We hiked the Makapu’u Lighthouse trail.

At the top of the trail.

The day before the wedding, this rainbow appeared over the hotel where the celebration took place.

The dashing grooms and their even more dashing son.

The cake.

The remains of the leis.

Aloha Hawaii. Until next time.

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21 Responses to A Trip to Hawaii and A “Re-Entry” Family Dish

  1. LiztheChef August 15, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

    Lovely post – I’m ready to hop on a plane! There is nothing like a Hawaiian vacation – welcome home! Speaking of SF, I picked up an autographed copy of your book at Omnivore Books a week ago on our visit there…

    • Domenica August 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

      Isn’t Omnivore Books fabulous?? Let me know what you make from the book, Liz

  2. Darren August 15, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    What a wonderful post, Domenica –

    • Domenica August 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

      It was a wonderful trip, bro

  3. Mary Beth Regan August 15, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    Great post! And it sounds like something even I could whip up!! Also, if you decide to give up writing, you could always become a photog!! 🙂

    • Domenica August 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

      Mary Beth, you are way too kind. I love taking pictures but have a lot to learn, especially when it comes to shooting food!

  4. Isabelle @ Crumb August 15, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    Gorgous photos, Domenica! My better half and I are planning to do your trip in October, only in reverse (a week and a half on Oahu, plus four days in San Fran on the way home) I’ve just started plotting out our must-eats for the trip, but thanks to your post, a box of those drool-worthy malasadas just went straight to the top of my list. 🙂
    BTW, I’m ashamed to admit that my re-entry dish is usually a large order of won ton soup from the local Chinese takeout. No cooking, no dirty dishes, and no hassle besides dialing a phone. It takes the edge off having to make my own bed the next morning. 🙂

    • Domenica August 15, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

      Yes, the malasadas are a must, Isabelle. In fact, as good as they look, they taste even better. Try the ones coated in li hing sugar–li hing is a red powder extracted from dried plums. When mixed with sugar it has a wonderful sweet, salty flavor. We couldn’t get enough of those li hing malasadas!

      • Domenica August 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

        Oh, and absolutely nothing wrong with Chinese takeout as a re-entry dish. If only we had a decent place close by that is probably what we would do, too. : )

  5. Sarah August 15, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

    It looks like you had an amazing time! I too am back from vacation and totally have the blues…cooking up something nostalgic sounds like just the ticket! Anything with anchovies works for me 🙂

    • Domenica August 15, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

      Another anchovy lover. Hurray!

  6. Kelly August 15, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    Huloo Domenica! It looks like you had a fabulous trip to Hawaii. And what a shock to see your kids so VERY grown up. Congrats to Darren and his hubby! I love checking in with you via this wonderful website.

    • Domenica August 15, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

      Kellyyy! I owe you an email, or better yet a phone call, my friend. Thank you for checking in. xox

  7. Alicia Sokol August 16, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    Aloha! Funny that I was just a hop-skip-jump away on Kauai at the same time enjoying similarly gorgeous blue water, oceanside umbrella drinks, shave ice and of course, stunning lighthouse views! Oh, the re-entry is tough indeed. In the winter, I like to make a lentil soup as our re-entry dish. It’s critical that everything be in the cabinet! And I typically have a stalk of celery, a carrot and an onion sitting around to add. And how we loooove Blue Bottle Coffee! We didn’t spend any time in CA this trip, but my brother-in-law lives in SF and we always hit Blue Bottle. I’m sure people tell you your son looks just like you. Wow.

  8. Alicia Sokol August 16, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    Oh, and I almost forgot! This was the first thing to hit my lips after I stepped off the redeye:

    • Domenica August 16, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

      Alicia, thanks so much for sharing that link. That smoothie looks like just the thing to help cure the severe case of jet lag that I seem to be suffering from (or maybe it’s just end-of-summer doldrums). I’m going to pick up smoothie ingredients at the farmers market tomorrow.

  9. Cynthia Sasaki September 17, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    What a pleasure to meet you at your book signing at Omnivore Books and to cook Gabriella’s Pot Roast (known at our house now as the perfectly wonderful Domenica’s Pot Roast) – Mahalo. Leftover sauce cooked down to gravy goes on pasta tonight. Congratulations to the brothers-in-laws!

    • Domenica September 17, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

      Cynthia, the pleasure was mine. Thank you for coming out to Omnivore. So glad you are enjoying the pot roast recipe. It’s a favorite in our house, too. Cheers & Mahalo!

  10. Elizabeth of AsianinAmericamag September 19, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    Love this post! I get what you mean about coming home from vacations….it is hard to regroup. And yes, you’re right, our food favorites are very comforting. Going over now to check on the Pasta with Anchovies….it’s one of my faves and I can’t seem to find the right recipe. It always tastes better when someone else makes it. But I hope to find the right one here on your post! Thanks for sharing….love the Hawaii photos. I loved Hawaii…would go back in a heartbeat for a vacation again!

  11. elisa September 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    I just found out about your website after buying your book “Rustic Italian” (yes, I am the one mentioning the Italian spelling) and I love it! I will give the link to all my clients who study Italian with me, I am sure they’ll love it too!

    • Domenica September 22, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

      Mille grazie! So glad you clicked over. Enjoy the book (misspellings notwithstanding) and the site. I try to post on the blog at least once a week, but I admit I have a tendency to fall behind…Cheers, D

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