Thirsty Thursday Luau Edition

0

In trying to find pictures for Throwback Thursday, I realized I have a lot of pictures of adult beverages (that is said with pride, by the way!). As such, I’ve decided that rather than share pictures of me with bad 80s hair and glasses that legitimately covered half my face, I could easily share glasses of a much tastier kind. So without further ado, I present to you: Thirsty Thursday!

You cannot go to Hawaii and not go to a Luau.  Even if you don’t like pork or BBQ or don’t eat [insert random item here]. YOU’RE IN HAWAII–GO TO A LUAU!

We went to the Smith’s Garden Luau on Kauai–I can’t remember exactly why we picked that one, other than the fact that the Smith Family also conveniently ran the boat tours to the Fern Grotto.

It was very much a touristy place and the luau accommodated a large number of people, but it was such a fun evening: the after dinner show was entertaining, the pork was AMAZING!, and the drinks were flowing–especially the mai tais!

Plus we got big chunks of pineapple in our Mai Tais….how can you go wrong with that?!?!

IMG_4604

We laughed. A lot. We got lei’d.  We saw hula dancing.  We learned how to hula dance (much easier after a few Mai Tais, btw!).  And there was a plethora of food items from which to choose (I mean, you know how I am about food!).  Also, if I didn’t already mention it–the Kalua pig was divine!  I may have gone back for thirds.  We were good little tourists and tried the poi–it was interesting, I’m so glad we tried it…but THE PORK! I’m drooling just thinking about it!

Yes, it was touristy and there were a lot of people–but it was such a great way to spend an evening.  Here are a just few more pictures:

Aloha!

Advertisements

Third Time’s A Charm!

6

Despite my first two ill fated attempts at snorkeling, I was willing to try again.  I figured if there was anywhere in the world where I might have a good snorkeling experience, it was Hawaii.

Just FYI:  if you’re searching for snorkeling in Hawaii, there are a plethora of options.  We chose one that included more than just a boat ride to the snorkeling spot and back.  Instead, it included a boat trip up to the Nā Pali Coast.  April wasn’t interested in the snorkeling–just the boat ride, but promised to take lots of pictures of any shark attacks us snorkeling.

This extended tour was definitely the right decision!

The snorkeling was fun.  I saw lots of fish, I didn’t have a panic attack, and I missed seeing the shark Christi saw.  YAY me!

After snorkeling, we continued north up along the western coast. Along the way, we were joined by a curious tortoise and later by a pod of dolphins, who swam along with and played around the boat for quite awhile.

img_0135

As the boat sped along, we were treated with some of the most spectacular coastline views of the famed Nā Pali Coast.  As I mentioned before, some of the cliffs are over 2500ft high!


All too soon, it was time to turn around and head back–giving us one last good look at the coast on one side and the expanse of nothingness on the other.

 


It was a great excursion and I highly recommend that if you’re going to take a snorkeling tour, opt for one that includes a bit of sightseeing around the island–it does take up a bigger chunk of your day, but trust me, you won’t regret it.

Aloha!

Uncle’s!

0

In addition to tubing, another thing you must do in Kauai is go to Uncle’s Shave Ice and get, well, shave ice!

img_5985

Cool and refreshing shave ice is something that is a must-do when you’re in Hawaii (regardless of which island you visit!) and Uncle’s definitely offered up some tasty flavors.  Okay, yes, it looks like a snow cone.  But an awesome snow cone.  An awesome snow cone that you are eating WHILE IN HAWAII.

Don’t argue, just go–you’ll be thanking me half way through your first bite!

img_5988

Despite the name, Uncle’s offers up more than just shave ice.  And one of the most interesting things on the menu was shave snow.  Shave snow is similar to shave ice but rather than adding flavoring to ice, shave snow is a mix of flavoring, milk, water, and sugar which is then frozen and shaved into ribbons and served topped with condensed milk.  They liken it to Taiwanese shave ice and it tastes like the shaved ice you get here in Koreatown.  But honestly, they had us at “topped with condensed milk.”

img_5986

Uncle’s has two locations: Lihue & Koloa.  Since we were staying about a 6 minute drive from Koloa, that’s where we went..and I’d be lying if I said we only went once!

We all got different flavors and then shared so we could try as many flavors as possible.  We stuck to mostly flavors that reminded us of Hawaii: Blue Hawaiian, coconut, pineapple, and piña colada to name a few.  It was hard to narrow down the flavors (thus multiple trips and sharing!), but regardless of what you order–it’s going to be great!

img_5987

Aloha!

 

A Sugary Float

7

The most fun we had (in my humble opinion) on any excursion during our entire trip was visiting the Lihue Plantation, an old sugar plantation on Kauai.

I know you’re thinking: what is so fun about visiting an old sugar plantation unless it is now a rum factory?  Alas no rum–what we did was float down part of the irrigation system on tubes.

A little bit of history on the Lihue Plantation: construction started on the irrigation system in 1856 with the Rice Ditch (created by William Harrison Rice). It wasn’t quite what they needed it to be, so in 1870 the Hanama‘ulu Ditch was built–by hand (well, and shovels, sledge hammers, etc!). It is said that it took up to 1,000 workers at one time to build each section of the ditch and it took two years to finish all the sections.  All in all, the Lihue Plantation’s water system is made up of 51 miles of ditches!  You can read more about it here.

We booked our tubing tour with Kauai Backcountry Adventures, who would be guiding us down part of the Hanama‘ulu Ditch.  After checking in, we were weighed (yep….weighed!  I probably should have had less malasadas for breakfast!!).  After weigh-in, we were handed hard hats, headlamps, and gloves.  We were then herded into large vans (nicer than the ones in Ka Lae) and we drove down some tiny backroads until we reached a clearing where we were dumped out and watched helplessly as the vans drove away.

Just as we were about to panic that we had been abandoned in some Hawaiian Lord of the Flies experiment, we were greeted by a younger version of The Rock (that would be Dwayne Johnson, not Rockefeller Plaza or Alcatraz), who explained the rules:

  1. Stay in your tube
  2. If you’re having issues, let one of the guides know
  3. Stick together as a group
  4. Do NOT say the water is cold

We were then given a series of directional code words and what they meant, which were mostly for when we were in the tunnels and couldn’t see.

Everyone in the group (about 20 in total) agreed to all the rules and dutifully practiced our code words while we lined up and proceeded down a little ramp where the younger version of The Rock would select a tube for us and help us into it.

DSCN0115

April was the first in our group, who declared the water to be refreshing.  Although she is from Minnesota and the fact that the water was in liquid form meant that it wasn’t the c-word.

DSCN0154

I walked up and–with all the grace of a hippopotamus learning ballet–managed to get into my tube aaaaand HOLYFUCKINGSHIT the water is uh, uh, brisk/refreshing/invigorating/bracing.  I sounded a little like Rainman with a thesaurus, but I did not say the c-word (yay me!).

I can’t quite remember what the punishment for saying the c-word was, but when someone who looks like the younger version of The Rock tells you not to do something, you listen!

However as I floated by the younger version of The Rock, he noticed that I couldn’t get comfortable, so he called me over.  After a couple of seconds of watching me struggle to paddle back to him, he walked over and towed me back to the shore.  All of this time, mind you, no one else has gotten in the water and were all watching us.  He very politely and quietly whispers, “I think you need a slightly bigger tube.”  At which point, I start laughing hysterically.

Christi, who was next in line, had a worried look on her face “what’s wrong? what’s wrong?”

Through the laughter I roared “my ass is too big!!”

The younger version of The Rock looked slightly mortified and said “I didn’t say that!  I just think a different tube would be more comfortable.”

And he was right, of course…but I couldn’t stop giggling.

DSCN0152

Once everyone was in their tube, we set off–stopping periodically to let the stragglers catch up to the group.

DSCN0147

The irrigation system had a current moving fast enough to keep pushing us along, but not so fast that we felt like we were in white water rapids.  Along the way we came to 4 different tunnels.  At each tunnel entrance we’d turn on our lights, which afforded us to see things nearby our tube, but little else.

DSCN0130

We laughed, we floated, we got to know other people in our group, and along the way saw some spectacular views.  Once we were finished navigating our section of the irrigation ditch, we had a picnic lunch and were offered up in sacrifice to the mosquitos.

DSCN0119

All too soon, we found ourselves back in the van navigating the windy roads back to Lihue.  It was so much fun! And if you find yourself on the island of Kauai, tubing should be on top of your Things To Do List–just don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray!

DSCN0155

For more information or to book your tubing adventure, click here: Kauai Backcountry Adventure.

Aloha!

 

Eggs ‘N Lava Java

6

If you are thinking I’m going to talk about eggs or maybe even coffee, you would be wrong.  Today I’m going to talk about pancakes.

For the record, I don’t think I’ve ever met a pancake that I didn’t like.  But, OMG, Hawaiian pancakes are just absofuckinglutely amazing.

You might say that it’s just the scenery.  And I can’t argue, the views are spectacular–and we did make it a point to visit as many restaurants with an ocean view as possible.

But no, you would be wrong.  What makes them so scrumptious are macadamia nuts + coconut syrup.

That’s right, macadamia nuts and coconut syrup.

Like these that we got on the Big Island at Island Lava Java in Kailua-Kona.  The pancakes were light and fluffy and the macadamia nuts and bananas and coconut syrup just made them sing!

IMG_3925

But ever so slightly better are the Macadamia Pancakes at Eggs ‘N Things in Honolulu.  The macadamia nuts are cooked into the pancakes, which make them taste even creamier.  Apparently they were so good that we totally didn’t get a picture of them!  But I don’t want to leave you hanging, so I went to their website and pulled this picture.

eggs and things

You would think (I thought) that the coconut syrup would be too sweet and cloying, but it wasn’t.  However, you do have to like coconut.  If not, both places offered a variety of fruit syrups, which we also tried and liked.  We just thought the macadamia + coconut combo worked the best together, which then led to a hunt for the perfect coconut syrup to bring back stateside…

If you asked me, I don’t think I could actually choose which breakfast spot I preferred.  They were both delicious and thankfully, they are on different islands (Oahu and Hawaii), so I don’t actually have to choose!!  😉

Aloha!

 

 

More Than One Way To Devil An Egg

0

I don’t know about you, but there are a handful of required food items at any given social gathering in my family.  Vying for the most important are: queso and deviled eggs.  Since tomorrow is a holiday and I haven’t shared any recipes in awhile, I thought now might be a good time–you know, in case you’re stymied for ideas of what to take to the obligatory July 4th BBQ you’re invited to attend.

In trying to pick which of the two VIP food items I wanted to talk about, I decided to go with deviled eggs because I was chatting with Christi the other day about side dishes for her July 4th BBQ and since then I’ve been pondering all the ways you can make them.  If you google “deviled eggs,” Google will kindly return with “about 3,460,000 results” in 0.42 seconds (Google is a bit of a show-off) and if you search for “deviled eggs” on Pinterest, you could scroll down for 3 days and not run out of pins from which to choose!

I know that I’ve already shared my recipe for deviled eggs with you.

IMG_1454

But as both Google and Pinterest show, there is more than one way to devil an egg.  Probably the only thing harder than keeping your self control in check, is picking a recipe.  I mean, do you want classic or something more creamy or something with a kick or something eye-catching and holiday-themed?  The possibilities are endless!

Here are a few that caught my eye (note: few is a relative term, as you’re about to see):

Since tomorrow is the 4th of July, I feel like I should definitely start with these Fourth of July Deviled Eggs from Kathryn at Singing Through The Rain.

deviled eggs 1

The recipe that sounds the best to me are the Bacon Jalapeño Deviled Eggs from Aubrey at Real Housemoms.  Hellllllo bacon + jalapeño!  In fact, they sounded so good to me, I actually pinned them twice!! 🙈

deviled eggs 2

Another recipe that sounds tasty are the Chorizo Deviled Eggs from Kevin at Kevin Is Cooking.  Like the bacon in the recipe above, the chorizo adds a nice bit of crunch.

deviled eggs 3

Of course, if you want reeeeeeeeeally creamy eggs, add avocado–like Gina at Skinny Taste in her Guacamole Deviled Eggs.

If you really haaaate cilantro, I guess you can leave it out…. 😉

deviled eggs 4

Looking for a good brunch deviled egg?  McCormick has a recipe for Spicy Bloody Mary Deviled Eggs!

deviled eggs 5

If you wanna be extra faaancy with your deviled eggs, how about these Uptown Caviar Deviled Eggs from Chef Kenny Giambalvo at the Bluehour Restaurant in Portland, OR?  Shared by What’s Cooking America

deviled eggs 6

If you’re looking for a completely different flavor profile, perhaps you might like these Deviled Eggs with Beets and Smoked Salmon from Katya at Little Broken?

deviled eggs 7

If salmon/beets/dill aren’t you thing, how about Mexican street corn? Melanie at Melanie Makes combines the fun of Mexican street corn with the deliciousness of deviled eggs in her Mexican Street Corn Deviled Eggs.

deviled eggs 8

And finally–while it’s still 4 months away–it’s never to soon to be planning your Halloween party food with the Deliciously Rotten Deviled Eggs from Stephanie at Parenting Chaos.

deviled eggs 9

Any pique your interest?  Honesty I could probably spend another 4 hours sharing deviled eggs recipes, but I’m starting to get hungry and for some strange reason, eggs sound good 😉

But before I leave, I want to hear from you.  Which recipe sounds the best?  Vote below!  And if you can’t decide between two, I’ve left you the option to pick’em both! 😉

Happy deviling!

Green Sand

6

It sounds like something you could only see in the Emerald City or along the yellow brick road, but in fact, all you have to do is go to Hawaii, Guam, Norway, or the Galapagos Islands.  As fortune would have it (although at this point it shouldn’t be a shocker), we were on the island of Hawaii.  Along its southern shores near Nā‘ālehu is Papakolea Beach, better known as the green sand beach.

img_4042.jpg

And yes, the sand is actually green.  The green hue comes from olivine and, while it’s not the easiest beach to get to, it is totally worth the effort!

As you will recall in the last post, we were heading south down the western part of the Big Island and turned off the main highway to follow signs to the green sand beach and Ka Lae.

sign

A few winding turns and suddenly we found ourselves at the green sands parking lot.  But here’s the thing: the parking lot is about 3 miles away from the beach.  The general public is not allowed to drive directly there.  You can totally hike it, however if that’s what you want to do, you need come prepared and make sure you carve out a good chunk of time because it is a lot more rugged than the yellow brick road!

OR you could buy a ride to the beach in a van from a kid who looks about 14, but assures us he’s 16.  Trust me when I say that it’s the best $15 you’re going to spend in Hawaii.

THE BEST $15 YOU’RE GOING TO SPEND IN HAWAII.

IMG_4035

So we paid the kid $15 each and piled into a dodgy van packed with other tourists.  We were hoping beyond hope that we didn’t just spend $90 to be kidnapped and sold into slavery.

I liken the trip to driving in the back pasture of the ranch–despite being on some sort of semblance of ruts that look like a road–you will hit every bump along the way.  And our driver liked to drive fast.  Not 85 mph fast, but when you’re bouncing around on a makeshift road in the middle of rugged terrain even 15 mph feels like 85 mph and like we were making jumps even the General Lee would have problems navigating!

Despite only being 3 miles away, the drive was a jolting, bumpy, sometimes laughing, sometimes praying 30-40 minutes.  When the van stopped,  we were let out at the top to a stunning view.

IMG_4036

But of course, we weren’t happy just standing at the overlook point–we had to go down and check it out.  So we carefully made our way down, down, down the steep path to the green sands below.

IMG_4040green beach 2

We made it to the bottom and hit pay dirt, uh, sand!

Sure enough, it wasn’t an optical illusion–it was green!

green sand 4

We cooled off by wading around in the water, especially April who got splashed by a wave that was deceptively big.  There were a few people swimming the rough waters, but for the most part everyone was there to take a gander at the green.

We eventually trudged back to the top where our ride was thankfully still waiting and the driver was happily taking what he called “the money shot” for everyone.

green beach

The ride back was just as bumpy and laughter-and-prayer filled as the ride out.  We passed several groups of hikers and as we bumped along discussed if they’d make the hike all the way there and back or if they would cave and ask for a ride.  There were several in each group, especially the latter as their dress code suggested that they were in for a painful walk.

Just a tip if you’re planning on hiking it to Papakolea beach: take water and wear appropriate footwear (hint: wedges are NOT appropriate footwear).

Regardless of how you get there, it’s definitely worth the trek!

green beach 3

And with one more thing crossed off our To-Do in Hawaii list, we were ready to get back on the road and tackle the next one!

Aloha!

A Little Geography Lesson

2

I don’t know about you, but when I think of the location of the Hawaiian Islands I tend to think of it as smack dab in the middle of the Pacific Ocean due west of California.

However, it is actually a little bit further south than “due west of California.”  Okay, quite a bit south of “due west of California.”

The Hawaiian Islands lie just below of the Tropic of Cancer–so if you want a “due west of” think Southern Mexico. To put it in USA geography terms, Key West (the Southernmost point in the continental United States) lies north of the Tropic of Cancer.  In fact, Hawaii is so remote that it is not even considered part of the North American continent (see the map from World Atlas below)!

USA map

The reason I’m mentioning this is because we decided to split our trip to the Big Island by spending a couple of nights in Kona and then a night in Hilo.  April & I were in charge of selecting the route and finding fun things to do along the way to Hilo.  We opted for the Southern Route, which afforded us options to drive through the mountainous terrain of Kona, the overlook of Kealakekua Bay (where the fate of Captain Cook was decided), the volcano lava fields, the Mauna Loa macadamia nut company, a green sand beach, and the actual southernmost point in the United States.

After we left Greenwell Farms, we headed south down the main “highway.”  Actually, highway was a bit of a stretch–much like our “yacht” in Greece.  Winding, narrow two lane road is a bit more accurate, but it was scenic, so we didn’t care!  Or perhaps Tracy did, since he was the one driving….but we girls didn’t mind one bit!  😉

Our first stop came only a few minutes down the road when we drove by the South Kona Fruit Stand.  We decided that smoothies were the perfect thing for our trip south, along with some very interesting fruit we had never heard of…or heard of but never tried, like lilikoi, star fruit, and dragon fruit!

IMG_4034

With smoothies in hand and fruit in the trunk, we continued south along the Mamalahoa Highway taking in the picturesque coastline views on one side and the lush mountain on the other side.  Our next destination was Nā‘ālehu, home to both a green sand beach (more about that later) and Ka Lae, the southernmost point on the Big Island, which is the southernmost island, thus is the southernmost point in the United States.

Why, yes, I do like saying southernmost–thankyouverymuch!

So we turned off the “highway” onto an even smaller road and wound our way here and there whilst following signs to the green sand beach and Ka Lae.  We actually went to the beach first but it is deserving of its own post.  After our trek to the beach, we stopped at Ka Lae for a glimpse of what seemed to be the edge of the world.

IMG_4057

For those of you who would love the chance to jump off the edge of the world, there was even a platform–and a group of people willing.

IMG_4058

And just in case you didn’t feel like scaling the steep wall back up or drifting out to sea (although I don’t see why not, after all the Kiribati Atolls are only 1200 miles away!), there was even a ladder to help you.

IMG_4064

I peeked over and decided I was perfectly happy not jumping and drifting off to sea and/or climbing the ladder of death back up.

IMG_4055

A few more quick shots and then we were on our way–having crossed off another item on our Hawaiian to-do list!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Thirsty Thursday Beer Flights!

0

In trying to find pictures for Throwback Thursday, I realized I have a lot of pictures of adult beverages (that is said with pride, by the way!). As such, I’ve decided that rather than share pictures of me with bad 80s hair and glasses that legitimately covered half my face, I could easily share glasses of a much tastier kind. So without further ado, I present to you: Thirsty Thursday!

Well of course we couldn’t go alllllll the way to Hawaii AND make the trek to the Big Island and NOT go to the Kona Brewing Company.  I mean, that would be nearly as sacrilegious as skipping out on the coffee plantation tour.

img_3957-1

Besides, we all love beer–especially Tracy and I (okay, not April–she only likes, on exceedingly rare occasions, scotch).  It’s our (Tracy & my) thing.  For example this year I got him a home brewing kit for his birthday.   At this point, I’m sure Christi wants to kill us both.  Don’t bother writing in to defend her–she’s already told me as much (which is EXACTLY why I forgot to mention to her what I sending for his present!).

Point being that we couldn’t miss out on an opportunity to imbibe in some delicious Hawaiian beer–and tasty food to boot (get the fish tacos!)!

Of course as soon as we sat down and opened the menu, we realized that our biggest problem was going to be narrowing down our beer choices.

With so many beers on the menu, we knew that we had only one option: the sampler.  And by “the sampler” I mean we got two samplers because we wanted to try as many as possible–besides we were all sharing (aside from April).

Our selections were the following (in no particular order):

  • Fire Rock Ale
  • Koko Brown
  • Wailua Wheat
  • Pipeline Porter
  • Lavaman Red
  • Duke’s Blonde
  • Lemongrass Lu’au
  • Longboard Lager (alas they were out of the Hula Hefe–I’m mentioning here because we selected this to replace it when our waitress delivered the sad news)

Also a great time to make a public service announcement: if you think you might want to write about something in the future TAKE NOTES.  Because I distinctly remember thinking “these are so fabulous, I won’t forget….” and then here I am frantically trying to remember (although some might point out that if I had written about this a little closer to the trip, it might not have been an issue).

We all tasted and compared and tasted and discussed and tasted and swapped glasses around and tasted and bartered to finish off our favorites.  In the end–because we couldn’t just sample the beer, we had to also drink it!–I chose the Wailua Wheat, hoping that the fruity wheat beer would pair nicely with my fish tacos (it did!).

My final rankings were as follows (hey, I’m doing good to remember mine, there is no way I can remember Christi or Tracy’s–although I’m fairly certain that the Porter was Tracy’s favorite and the Brown was also Christi’s least favorite):

  • Pipeline Porter
  • Wailua Wheat
  • Lavaman Red
  • Duke’s Blonde
  • Longboard Lager
  • Fire Rock Ale
  • Lemongrass Lu’au
  • Koko Brown

What I enjoyed about the first three is how smooth they were.  The porter tasted like silk and coffee and it was magical.  The only reason I didn’t get a pint of it was because after two samplers, I was starting to get full and I need to save room for a pint + tacos!  Plus it would have totally overpowered the tacos.

The Lemongrass Lu’au was interesting.  It was crisp and clean and the ginger and lemongrass added a very different flavor profile.  I’m very glad we tried it, however, I don’t know that I could have finished a pint of it.

Yes, I deliberately left a lot of space before the Koko Brown.  I disliked it immensely.  Now before you start yelling and screaming at me, I fully and proudly admit that I am biased. I HATE BROWN ALES.  Based on the other beers we tasted, I’m sure it’s a good brown ale–I just hate them.  So if you’re one of those weird people (I’m not judging…much) who enjoy brown ales, pleeeeeeeease don’t let my dislike stop you from trying it.

All in all, we had (at least I had) such a great time and if you enjoy beer, the Kona Brewing Company should absolutely be on your list of things to do in Hawaii!

Hipahipa!

 

 

 

My Cup Runneth Over for Thirsty Thursday

1

In trying to find pictures for Throwback Thursday, I realized I have a lot of pictures of adult beverages (that is said with pride, by the way!). As such, I’ve decided that rather than share pictures of me with bad 80s hair and glasses that legitimately covered half my face, I could easily share glasses of a much tastier kind. So without further ado, I present to you Thirsty Thursday!

Of course, we all had some amazing drinks while in Hawaii, however, I realized that I have already spoken about a number of them already–so I thought I would repost them for you again on this Thirsty Thursday.

Hipahipa!

Whiskey Wipeout from Duke’s

IMG_3836

Coconut Mojito from Duke’s

IMG_3835

Koloa Rum Company Mai Tai Shot

IMG_4332

The Best Piña Colada in my life–MY LIFE–from Huggo’s On The Rocks

IMG_3966

Nani Moon Meadery

IMG_4511