Sunday, July 20, 2014

Maui: Where You Swim with Fish and then Eat Them

I love Maui. Everything about it makes me happy: the food, the people, and the views.

We started off by making a pit stop in the Haiku shopping center, with promises of tacos, but apparently Island Taco is not always a taco stand - on certain days it serves Indian food. A little disappointing since I wanted tacos, but the dosa itself was decent.
Not the fish tacos Gags promised me.
If you're staying a week in Maui, I'd split my time between Haiku and Lahaina. We only had a couple days so we stayed at the Windward Garden B&B in Haiku, which I highly recommend. The downside is that they're "off-the-grid" so there's no air conditioning (to be fair its only hot during the day and theoretically you're out exploring), but the upside is that it's "off-the-grid" so it's peaceful and cozy and Susan and Chris (the owners) make you feel at home.

The first day we explored the grounds. Chris had told us we might find some passion fruit we could pick and eat so we were on the look out! On our walk to the cliff that overlooks the water, we found some passion fruit! We're not sure we ate it correctly, but the juice was fragrant and delicious.

Gags checking out some unripe passion fruit (which we originally thought were limes).

The inside of a passion fruit.
That night for dinner we went into the town of Paia, which is about 20-25 minutes from Haiku. It's a small town, but filled with cute little stores and great eats. We ended up at the Paia Fish Market for dinner, which was delicious and made friends with some locals, JW and Cliff, who gave us recommendations for things to do and see while we were in town.
My grilled fish tacos with Mahi Mahi, very simple but super fresh and delicious.

Joe got the Charbroiled Fish Plate with Opah and went 1/2 & 1/2  on the Cajun rice and home fries. Great choice because the home fries were delicious.

I know this isn't the best quality photo, but I promised my new friends that they would make my blog. JW, Cliff, if you're reading this: HELLO!
JW told me he swears by the seafood salad at Paia Fish Market, but I had already ordered my food so there was no going back.

The next morning we were met with an amazing breakfast prepared by Chris. Sometimes the breakfast at B&Bs are only so-so, but at Windward, we couldn't wait for them every morning!
Homemade banana bread and fresh pineapple from the garden (see next photo for proof)!
Cute little pineapples on the property, ready to be picked and eaten!

The best yogurt parfait: vanilla yogurt topped with fresh fruit, granola, and coconut flakes. So addicting that Joe and I started trying to recreate this at home.
Side note: I hate the taste of papaya, but it is awesome in a yogurt parfait.

Red pepper and corn frittata served with taro English muffins. I usually hate when my eggs are scrambled but the texture  was good and flavor was delicious. 
After our amazing breakfast, we headed towards Lahaina for the day. Before we really took off, we stopped by Twin Falls which was right outside our B&B for some views and some fresh pressed sugar cane juice from the farm stand.

Enjoying my deliciously refreshing sugar cane juice!

Despite being full, we had to stop by Leoda's for lunch. It wasn't amazing, but it was pretty good. I'd recommend the seared ahi sandwich and the mini mac nut pie! The Lahaina dog was ok and the corn hand held pie was decent as well. 
I'm not much for sweets so we didn't get a larger slice, but this was surprisingly very good.

Lahaina Dog. I don't do hot dogs. Joe said it was good, but nothing special.
The Seared Ahi Sandwich - great combination of flavors.

We picked up some snorkel gear and made our way over to Napili Bay. I love that in Hawaii you don't pay to get on the beach, you just walk up, find a spot, and go for a swim. This was particularly fun because we got to swim with turtles! Not sure if you can always see them here, but a local didn't seem too impressed when I pointed out where I had seen our sea friend. Following that, we went over to Kaanapali Beach. I didn't go in, but this was Joe's favorite spot to snorkel and he noted that he also saw turtles here.

After a day of playing in the water, we headed over to the Old Lahaina Luau, which I would recommend for anyone who has never done a luau. It's done very well. There's lots of food (not great, but pretty good for a buffet) and the show is amazing! It's not flashy, but it definitely keeps you engaged.

I was strategic with how I assembled my plate so that i could try everything. The highlights were the purple yam and Kahlua pork. The little girl next to me asked for white rice, needless to say - she missed out.

Beautiful views of the water - and how handsome does Joe look in that shirt!

The pig after they dug it up. Delicious Kahlua Pork. The fun fact I learned is that they actually season the meat after they shred it!

I will never tire of a Maui sunset.
Great show!

Our second morning there we drove a little down the road for a hike in the bamboo forest. It's not marked by a sign, but can by located by the little army of parked cars right after mile marker 6. The trail is muddy and requires a little bit of climbing so pack shoes you are willing to get very dirty and bring some water as well. As a note of caution, check the weather for flash floods as you can get stranded and do a little research before you head out. I can tell you to hug the river, but someone told us that, too and we took a short, but very difficult detour.
I'm still smiling here, but that's because I didn't know Joe had taken us on a detour...up this very steep hill.

Even though it's not an official trail, someone added a ladder here for people like me (no upper body strength).
After a fairly good workout we stopped by a small stand on the side of the road to enjoy our first Acai Bowl, which we also got hooked on, and now try to recreate at home all the time.

Acai smoothie topped with honey, granola, and bananas. Refreshing.
Following that we went back to the B&B to wash off all the mud we had accumulated and headed out to Haleakalā. On the way we stopped for some grub at Kula Bistro, which had some solid food. Not pictured is the grilled fish salad Joe had, which was good because the fish was fresh, but nothing to report.
Kahlua Egg Rolls - very good. Let's face it - Kahlua anything is good.

Their take on the Loco Moco. I loved the mushrooms in the sauce.
I fell asleep for the ride up to Haleakala, but when I arrived, I was greeted with beautiful views.
In case you couldn't tell by looking down.

Absolutely breathtaking (literally as well because you're up so high it's harder to breathe).
My final meal in Maui was at the Hali'imaile General Store, where I met up with my friend Tracy. Highly recommended by many people, this was the biggest let down in Maui. I thought it was going to be low key with a local feel since it was called a general store, but it ended up feeling like a tourist trap. Food looked good, but was a bit sweet and not worth the trip or price.

Overall though, Joe and I loved Maui and can't wait to go back. There are so many places we are excited to go see. As a bonus, does one ever get tired of seeing rainbows?
One of the many beautiful rainbows we saw.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Celebration of the Original Fat Kid: Mom

Disclaimer: Mom is not actually fat at all, in fact, she recently lost some weight and is in great shape. Mom is the original Fat Kid because she taught me how to cook, how to handle heat (you haven't had spicy until you've eaten with a Kung!), and most importantly, how to really enjoy food.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

For Mom's birthday we went to Bradley Beach Lobster Festival, which overall was a bit of a let down because there wasn't a ton of lobster. We thought there would be lobster EVERYTHING, but really most places that had lobster (and there weren't that many) had a lobster roll, a lobster quesadilla, or lobster mac and cheese. I wanted craziness, but madness did not ensue (lobster tacos? lobster sushi? lobster ice-cream?! C'mon people, let's get creative)!

Even so, we had a great time walking by the shore and taking in the lovely beach smell.

While there wasn't a ton of lobster, we did our best to get our fill of it.
Lobster Mac and Cheese, this could theoretically have been delicious, but it wasn't.

Warm butter lobster roll from Luke's, probably the best item we had all day.

One of the places ran out of rolls, so we just got lobster. How does this happen?
Dad and Mom enjoying Luke's lobster rolls.
 Then we saw this, and Dad was intrigued so we got one to share:
Dad: "Wow, you can make money selling anything!"

Mom and Dad with the potato chip stick. Once again, theoretically could've been really good, but the chips weren't crispy and seasoning was just so-so.
Finally at night we sang happy birthday (including Liz via Facetime!) to Mom and all had a mini slice of a McCaffrey's Fruit Tart (we were lazy, it's close).

Overall, a fantastic day to celebrate Mom's birthday, even if it was a couple days early.

Thanks for being my best friend, my favorite person to eat with (sorry Joe!), and the sweetest, most loving mother a girl could ask for. Happy Birthday, Mom. I hope all your wishes come true this year.

I love you.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mosquito Buffet: Sarah & Josh

Before I return to the usual programming of food, food, and more food (reviews of Maui and Oahu coming to a blog post near you) - I have to dedicate a blog post to one of my best friends: Sarah Huang (or actually Sarah Fan now!)

Wedding 2 of 8: Sarah Huang & Josh Fan
Kualoa Ranch - Paliku Gardens
June 28, 2014

I've known Sarah for about 9 years now and she has become, over the years, one of my best friends and a second sister to me (don't worry Liz, no one could ever replace you). My parents have thought of her as a third daughter and she's been there through thick and thin. Always checking in to see how I'm doing and always there when I need someone to listen. Josh is really one "lucky dog" (which is what Mr. Huang told him when he gave Josh his bride) as Sarah is one of the most beautiful people I know both inside and out.

Get ready for my longest blog post EVER.

Right across from Kualoa Ranch before the rehearsal - we took in the sight.

The beginning of us constantly saying, "Hawaii is so beautiful".

Our fearless leader and bride directing wedding traffic.

Bridesmaids selfie (so many more to come).

Charlotte wants to be part of the gang, too.

Obviously, I take everything very seriously.

I imagine in this photo Mr. Huang is saying, "Hold on, let me take a photo of where I need to stand."

Groomsmen looking dapper. They were so much more well behaved.

Wedding party + Groom!

Uncle Bo's for the Rehearsal Dinner (review to come with Oahu post).


Bride with the Maid of Honor.
Goodies from Nene (pronounced NAY-NAY) Goose. Can't start someone else's wedding day without some FOOD.

Big Bro dishing out some last minute advice.

Laura apparently secretly runs a nail salon. Look at Jordan getting pampered. Free watermelon! The service is good here!

Maid of Honor, Jordan, getting her hair done - which I totally copied for mine.

Sarah becoming even more beautiful!

Nice rock, dude. Good job Josh!

And the couple of the year award goes to... Laura & Phil!

Now that we're no longer ugly - let's take a selfie.

Obviously gotta get Mama Huang in on the action!

Charlotte- always ready for a selfie and always armed with cardboard-like cereal (she hesitated before finally offering me one, baby food is terrible).

I kind of love this photo.

"Mirror, mirror in my hand, who is the fairest in the land? Damn right it's me!"

BC '09 Ladies

Bridesmaid selfie #305

Emergency bouquet fixing. Might of lost a couple flowers when we tossed them into the air.

Good thing Jeremy has long arms or we would've never all got into this one. Bridesmaids and Groomsmen!

Fan family looking "Fan"tastic!

Mama Huang looking good escorted by Peter!

Boys looking really serious! Did I miss something?

Yours truly.



Jordan aka MOH

First adorable ring bearer!

Here comes his brother - a little less focused on the task at hand...

The adorable Charlotte with her flower and her pom pom.

Everyone stand for the bride please! Looking amazing!
No photos from the ceremony because I was standing at the front and Joe wanted to enjoy the ceremony vs. be paparazzi (like I asked him to be).
Just married! Congrats guys! Now let's party!

Off we go! To the party!

Let's get this party started!

J Lin and I totally rocked that fishing dance.

Laura and J Chou showing off the lawn mower!

Sarah catching her Pokemon: Joshmander!

Couple's first dance.

Looking so happy and beautiful.

Any break obviously needed a group photo.

Bridesmaid + Bride selfie.
Fun fact - at this point we all smelled like bug spray. Heavy heavy bug spray.

A beautiful sunset with the hubby.

Edmonds 321 love.

Married BC couples! What can I say, we '09 ladies are amazing.
Edmonds 321 + Josh

Love you guys :)

Well I guess nothing has changed in the last 8 years. Dance parties all day every day.

Looking lovely with the ladies.
What a fantastic day and a fun party. The weather was great, and despite getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, I had an amazing time celebrating my best friend's special day.

Love you both Sarah and Josh, wishing you all the happiness in the world (and for J Lin to come play on the east coast so that we can hang out all the time).