A Wee Bit O’ Easter Haggis

Jo McGarry
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Wednesday - April 12, 2006
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There’s no Easter Bunny in Scotland. I mention this only because I’ll be there this year on Easter Sunday, and as we make plans to take our sons to visit their Scottish grandparents for the first time, I’m already starting to think about the food.

So, no Easter Bunny, no baskets and no little fluorescent marshmallow Peeps for us this Easter Sunday. Instead we’ll be wrapping up in at least three layers of clothing, donning caps and gloves, and heading out for a hearty hike with bags of boiled eggs to roll down the nearest hill. The eggs will be decorated by our children, and the hope is that they crack on the way down the hill. ( The eggs, that is. We’re trying to keep the children intact the whole vacation).

That’s pretty much Easter brunch, Scottish style. At some point, as we’re sitting atop an impossibly windy and freezing summit, someone will produce a musty old flask of hot tea and, if we’re really lucky, there will be sandwiches (white bread with boiled eggs, of course), but that’s about it. So the usual roundup of Easter brunch and dinner buffets look particularly attractive to me this year as we get ready to head on out.

The Hyatt probably has the most popular Easter deal in Honolulu. Its complete meal-to-go package includes a 6- to 7-pound ham with honey mustard glaze, pineapple raisin sauce, Portuguese bean soup, mashed potatoes, gravy, cucumber namasu, green beans with almonds, peach and blueberry cobbler, and hot cross buns. The dinner feeds a family of four to six people and costs $70. There’s a convenient drive-up location at the hotel in Waikiki between 9 and 11 a.m., so you don’t have to worry about parking. If you’d rather go out and celebrate with family and friends, then there are numerous buffet lunches available.

At the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Easter brunch includes a buffet featuring roast prime rib, roasted suckling pig, seafood, salads and a wealth of entrees and desserts for $49.50 per person. There’s an Easter egg hunt on the front lawn at 9 a.m., and special pricing for children.

I always enjoy the Sunday brunch at Sam Choy’s Diamond Head, where the buffet includes so many items I’m not sure any one person can actually try them all. Easter brunch includes the usual array of excellent poke, salads, seafood and local-style entrees as well as a carving station where garlic-crusted prime rib and spice-rubbed leg of lamb will be carved to order. Buffet prices are $32.95 for adults and $15.95 for keiki ages 5-12.

Want to wait until dinnertime to splurge? Then d.k’s Steakhouse has a great menu that includes Scottish smoked salmon, escargot or ahi, soup, salad, and entrees that include herb-marinated rack of lamb, roast duck breast or their amazing 30-day, dry-aged, slow-roasted prime rib, grilled and served with blue cheese butter. The complete menu, including dessert is $50.

But if you really want to see how a different culture celebrates Easter, then my advice would be to head over to Yanni’s Restaurant, where owner Yanni Trainedes will be offering his mom’s traditional recipes. Greek Easter is a huge celebration of food and family, and with dishes as perfect as the grilled marinated lamb Yanni serves, along with beautifully executed desserts like baklava dripping with lemon and honey, you’ll not find a better place to experience the wonderful food of Easter.

That is, unless you come to Scotland, where we’ll be eating cold boiled eggs. And haggis.

Happy eating!

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