For Thanksgiving 2022, King’s Hawaiian decided to show off exactly how versatile their Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls are, as well as give travelers a once-in-a-lifetime experience on their way home to their families. In train cars clad with cheery orange King’s imagery, riders had several options to choose from: a trip from Philly to NYC or NYC to Boston for those that wished to make it back home with a twist, or for those that did not need to journey inter-city, an in-station event at each city. In any case, the traveller would be treated to a proper three-course Thanksgiving meal, each with a Hawaiian roll spin. I visited the in-station event in NYC’s Penn Station and experienced it first hand.
First, I was treated to quite a sight as I strolled onto the station platform: King’s had had the audacity to completely wrap an entire train with their signature orange color, peppered with their logo and several images of their classic sweet rolls. I chuckled to myself at the absurdity of what I was seeing, and couldn’t help but imagine the cheery bright train traveling through the countryside, Hogwarts Express-esque. It was certain that there were no half measures taken in preparing this event, and I appreciated King’s confidence.
Once I boarded, I was directed to my seat, where Thanksgiving was in full bloom. The decor was unimposing but impossible to miss, with little vases of bright orange flowers and tiny pumpkins placed atop a classic orange-plaid tablecloth. Waiting for each guest was a basket of sweet rolls and a plate of butter, this first bite serving as the most simple rendition of the increasingly complex sweet roll creations King’s would soon offer.
The first course was an airy arugula salad with mushrooms, pineapple, and croutons, doused in a mustard dressing (bacon was also part of the toppings, but being vegetarian, I had it removed, and they were happy to accommodate). At first, I was perplexed as to how the Hawaiian rolls would be incorporated into the dish, but after tasting the mildly sweet croutons, I quickly found out.
The main course was a Thanksgiving “Leftovers” Sandwich with turkey, fontina cheese, cranberry sauce, and arugula, with a side of sweet potato fries. I was given the option to replace the turkey with vegan chicken, which I gladly accepted. I was presented with a delectable wine pairing that consisted of a red wine-apple cider fusion, with a medley of mix-ins including honey, cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, brandy, and a garnish of cranberry and orange. Having just come from the cold outdoors, the was quick to warm me up.
The sandwich itself was simply indulgent, and truly did taste like a Thanksgiving meal that had been put together at home without precision, but with intent and love.
Sweet notes from the cranberry sauce gave it the “leftover” quality, and the Hawaiian rolls tied it all together. I’m not kidding, this tasted like what Grandma’s house feels like.
Last was the desert course, which was comprised of a Pumpkin Bread Pudding (utilizing King’s own Hawaiian rolls, of course). Unfortunately, the event had started late and thus had to complete before desert could be served, so I was given the bread pudding to take home (I did eventually eat it amongst family, as I imagine it was originally intended, and it was simply delicious).
Finally, to take home, I was given a King’s branded picnic basket, filled to the brim with goodies: glimmering silverware, a branded tote bag, a classy wooden pop socket for my phone, and finally, two packs of King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls. I felt like I had just received presents from a Thanksgiving Santa Claus.
I had an amazing experience with King’s Hawaiian, and the careful decor, succulent meal, and charming staff all proved they care about their customers, as well as the role their rolls have at the Thanksgiving dinner table. After all this, it would be unfortunate if their rolls were not up to par; however, I am happy to say they are simply delicious and cannot recommend them enough, and I will definitely be purchasing more for this holiday season.