At first, I thought it was Thursday and folks were posting #throwbackthursday pics of the Little Oven on Instagram.
Turns out, the elusive little dessert shop on King Street — with a devoutly loyal cult following — actually did re-open.
I immediately texted fellow blogger Melissa Chang (@melissa808).
“Is Little Oven open tomorrow?”
“Yes! You going?”
And that’s all it took.
The next evening, I picked up my gal pal Rona Bennett — of Fighting Eel fame (top) — and headed to the little shop in Moiliili. And even though I had been there before, I still had to sloooooow doooown on King Street to find it. (There’s no real visible sign save for the neon “OPEN” at the front door.)
Here’s the back story: Always passionate about dessert, Joyce Harada traveled to Europe and was inspired by the pastries and desserts she ate there. She returned to Oahu and, in 2007, she opened Little Oven. But she didn’t tell anyone, really, that it was open. You had to walk past it — almost by accident — to even notice it was there. Two years later, word started to spread, thanks to social media. And once Melissa and other social media foodies discovered her delightful desserts, that was it. Little Oven had reached total cult status.
Then she up and closed it. For two years. And now it’s back.
Let’s hope for good.
What I love about this place is the care she takes into every dessert. I mean, look at this menu (above). Brownie Fluff, Peach Melba, Fresh Fruit Pies. And she tries, as much as possible, to use local ingredients in her desserts.
Her desserts are as delicious as they look, too. (Above: A meyer lemon ume kanten with fresh fruit and the peach melba.) But expect to wait. There’s almost always a line outside — there aren’t too many seats inside and people tend to linger — and each dessert is made to order. So don’t come starving.
I ordered two desserts. (Of course!) The first was this brownie fluff (above), a decadent and rich brownie topped with a marshmallow topping that’s perfectly browned — just like a toasted marshmallow — and paired with a little whipped cream, chocolate drizzle and fresh strawberries.
For my second dessert, I got the chocolate tapioca pudding (above), which was exactly what it sounds like. In a little glass cup were layers of chocolate pudding and little tapioca balls and topped with cream, mini chocolate balls and fresh fruits. It was actually a little too easy to eat!
Rona ordered one of the fresh fruit pies (above), this one with strawberries from Kula, Maui. It wasn’t overly sweet — which was nice — and the pie crust was perfectly golden brown with a nice layer of sugar on it. It arrived warm — meaning, not too hot you can’t eat it — and it was like a mini strawberry pie in hand-held form.
I love places like this, off the radar and delivers on delicious goods. It’s even fun to wait in line for these tasty treats — it’s part of the experience.
It’s a great place to meet up with friends, to take your date after dinner, to hit up your mom for money. (Just kidding on that last part.) Just one bit of advice: eat and go. People really are waiting for your seat!
The Little Oven, 1467 South King St., Unit 1-A. Hours: 7-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday only. Phone: (808) 947-6836 Free street parking; $2 in the lot. Follow @liloven and on Facebook.