A Yo Ho Ho Thirsty Thursday

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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!

I know, I know: I’ve already featured the Koloa Rum Company on Thirsty Thursday before…and yes, I’m featuring them again.  I mean, is there such a thing as too much rum?  I think not.

Please note that any and all complaints will be actively ignored while drinking from my stash of Koloa…

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Here we are congregated at the tasting bar as our lovely bartender took us through all the rums that Koloa offered: White, Gold, Spiced, Dark, and Coconut.  We all graciously took turns finishing April’s tastes, as she would take a small sip of each for prosperity’s sake and then would slide her glass down to each of us in turn–we couldn’t let delicious rum go to waste!

After running through the line-up, we got a brief lesson on the Mai Tai and Koloa’s version for anyone who wanted one (yes, please!).

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Tastings are daily–but there are a limited number of slots per tasting, so the first thing you need to do when you get there (of course you’re going to go–why wouldn’t you?!?) is sign up for a tasting.  After that, do take the time to walk around the picturesque grounds and visit the gift shop (just don’t miss your tasting!).

For the store and tasting room hours–not to mention directions, recipes, descriptions of their current rum selections, and their e-gift shop can all be found on their website.

The best part of perusing their website is that I noticed that they’ve added a new rum to their collection since we visited: coffee.  Helllllllloooo gorgeous!!!!  Could there be a more perfect rum for me?

My only question (because the previous one was rhetorical) is: who wants to go to Kauai?!?

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Aloha!

Uncle’s!

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

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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!

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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.”

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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!

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Aloha!

 

A Sugary Float

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

Aloha!

 

The Garden Isle

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The last Hawaiian island that we visited was Kauai.  It is the northernmost island in the archipelago, as well as the oldest–some sites say 5.8 million, other say over 6 million years old, I say potato, potahto!  We stayed there the longest of all three islands–and for good reason, there was a lot to see and do!

But before I get into our activities, I thought I’d share some fun/interesting facts about Kauai!  My sources can be found here, here, and here.  For full disclosure, I pretty much just copied and pasted the points–so do check out the source sites because I will be ignoring any and all accusations of plagiarism!

  • Known as the Garden Isle, it is the fourth largest island and has a population of about 65,000 people.
  • Kauai covers 552.3 square miles of land and is so small it is measured in acres = 401,280 in total.
  • Kauai’s coastline is 111 miles and over 50% of those miles are sandy beaches.

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  • Over 97% of the land on Kauai is used for conservation and agriculture.
  • 70% of the island is inaccessible by foot
  • Kauai Coffee is the largest coffee plantation in the United States.
  • Kauai grows more taro than any other island.
  • Some of the cliffs along the spectacular Napali Coast reach heights of 2,500 feet.

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  • More than 60 movies and tv shows have filmed on Kauai.
  • Kauai is the legendary home of the Menehune, a mythical race of very small people who performed legendary feats of construction and engineering.
  • By law, no building on Kauai is allowed to be built taller than a coconut palm tree.
  • Kauai has the only navigable rivers in the state of Hawaii.

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  • Kauai’s official color is purple and the official flower is Mokihana.
  • It has 7 (yes–7!) microclimates throughout the island.
  • Mount Waialeale (elevation 5,148 ft) is one of the wettest spots on Earth, averaging about 450 inches of rain each year!

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Aloha!

A Hawaiian T.G.I.F.

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I don’t know about you, but it has been one of those weeks and I am so very glad the weekend is here!  I’m looking forward to doing a whole lotta nothing and adding in a few trips down to the pool.

Naturally at 4 minutes to midnight, I remembered that I didn’t actually schedule anything to post today.  And then of course my laptop picked that very moment to randomly freeze and had to be restarted.  And in not wanting to miss out on the fun, my phone was blatantly refusing to connect to the interwebs…so yes, this post is a little late, but since I’m posting a picture of Hawaii and it’s still early evening in Hawaii (thank you time zones!), I’m totally proclaiming it still to be Friday!

Furthermore, I totally know that you stopped whatever you were doing to read this–so I’m going to keep it short & sweet in order for you to go back to drinking/eating/dancing/sleeping/dozing on the couch while pretending to watch a movie.  This is the view from our balcony in Kauai…and perhaps the moment when I decided that I wanted to stay in Hawaii forever (spoiler alert: I had to come back–no one was willing to send the pupcicle to me!).  Have a great weekend!

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Aloha!

A Virgin Thirsty Thursday

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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!

Remember last week when I said that you couldn’t go to Hawaii and not have a Mai Tai (or Man Tai, if you’re autocorrect!)?  Well, I’d also like to say that you cannot–under ANY circumstances–go to Hawaii and not have pineapple.

Unless you’re allergic.

Even if you think you hate pineapple, eating them in Hawaii just might change your mind…or your life.

Pineapple in Hawaii is like nothing you’ve ever tasted before.  Even the sweetest, best tasting pineapple you’ve ever had stateside pales in comparison.  In fact, if pineapple is your favorite fruit, you definitely want to make a trip (or yearly trip) to Hawaii.

I’m pretty sure we had fresh pineapple juice nearly every morning we ate out for breakfast.  I’m not sure you “squeeze” a pineapple, but whatever they did, it was pretty damn delicious!


This one is from Island Java Lava (home of amazing pancakes and deeeeeeelicious coffee!) and the hardest part was trying to make it last through breakfast because really, I just wanted to do this:

Aloha!

Day 32

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I just realized that I’m approaching the ⅓ mark of my 100 Days of Blogging Challenge and I can’t believe it’s already been a month since I’ve started!

Today I’m finding myself short on words (aka what I really want to work on are posts for other days, like Thirsty Thursday or Sunday Comics), so I thought it might be a good day to share with you some (or perhaps a lot of) pictures of Waikiki.

 

Aloha!

 

Eggs ‘N Lava Java

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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!

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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.

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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!

 

 

Margarita Monday: Hawaiian Style!

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I wasn’t actually planning on Margarita Monday to be a regular thing, but I figured what the heck–who doesn’t like margaritas?!?!?  Btw, if you’d like a picture of your tasty margarita to appear here for Margarita Mondays, please tweet it to me @epicurioustexan or send me a message on FB!

I know, I know…it’s been awhile since I’ve posted for Margarita Monday and honestly, I didn’t think I’d have a margarita post whilst posting about Hawaii.  But in looking through all the pictures, I realized that we did have margaritas while we were there.  And by “we,” I mean Christi and Tracy–but I had a tasty sip, or perhaps two…or maybe four.  I mean how could you not when pineapple margaritas are on the menu?!?

These are from the Goofy Cafe & Dine in Honolulu, where we stopped to indulge in a bit of poke, bibimbap, and corn penne before we departed for the Big Island.  Goofy doesn’t have an extensive menu, but everything was fresh, delicious, and locally sourced!

Aloha!

Rainy Days

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Ugh.  Rain.  I don’t mean I hate rain–I love rain!  It’s just that I love it even more when I can stay at home and watch old movies while lounging on the couch with the pupcicle.  But not when I have to be out in it schlepping things for work and especially not when it ruins perfectly nice plans to visit the USS Arizona.

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If you google “hurricanes that have hit Hawaii” there is a long list starting in the mid 1800’s, however, relatively few of them have actually hit the islands of Hawaii.  Apparently, that is a thing.  And by “that” I mean that the islands do not receive many direct hits and by “direct hits” I mean where the eye of the hurricane makes landfall.  Hurricanes usually tend to divert course at the last minute or dramatically downgrade to a tropical storm just before they hit.

There are several reasons theorized as to why, but I’m not going to get into any of them today (sorry–but here is a google search you can click on to read all about it!).  The only reason I’m mentioning it is because our vacation fell at the end of hurricane season and while we were there, there were a couple of hurricanes passing by (and by “by” I mean close enough to increase the rainfall, but far enough that we didn’t have to hunker down in our rooms with provisions for several days).

In fact, the only time it really interfered with our plans was Day 2.  We were scheduled to go to Pearl Harbor in the morning and then fly out later that afternoon to the Big Island.  So as not to have to arrive at the crack of dawn and wait in line for tickets, we booked a combo city bus tour + Pearl Harbor packet, which first took us on a tour of Honolulu and then dropped us off at Pearl Harbor so that we could explore the museum, go visit the USS Arizona, and then it would pick us up to take us back to our hotel.

Along the tour we saw the Hawaii State Capitol building, Iolani Palace, King Kamehameha statue, and Punchbowl National Cemetery (not to mention great views overlooking of Honolulu!).

 

After the tour, we headed to Pearl Harbor.  At this point, it was raining intermittently.  We signed up for a slot on the boat out to the USS Arizona and then wound our way through the museum.

As it neared our appointed boat slot time, we went to stand in line.  Alas, we were delivered saddening news: the US Navy had cancelled all trips to the USS Arizona.

We were devastated.

Having grown up in Fredericksburg, home of the Nimitz Museum–the only WWII museum in the continental US solely dedicated to the Pacific War–visiting Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona has been on my bucket list for a very long time.  And visiting Pearl Harbor was the main reason we decided to stay a bit longer in Honolulu.  We knew that Day 2 was our only chance to go see it, as we would not be coming back to Oahu in this trip.  After moping around for a few minutes, we realized that, while disappointing, it was a very legitimate reason to come back!

We did get to to see the USS Missouri, which is now permanently docked at Pearl Harbor.  And the highlight of the day (IMHO) was meeting Uncle Herb, a survivor of the surprise attack.  During the early morning of December 7, 2941 the Japanese sent over 350 planes to attack the US Naval Base, damaging 170 aircraft and 16 ships, sinking 3 ships, and claiming the lives of 3,700 Americans.  Despite the weather and the change in plans, it was a humbling experience and should you find yourself in Hawaii, it it definitely worth the trip.

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Aloha!