Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Roy's Waikiki

One of our favorite, if not the favorite, meals from vacation was at Roy's Waikiki. We made reservations for a Friday evening before we left Pittsburgh. It was a 10-15 minute walk from the hotel along the beach. Here's what we enjoyed:
This bowl of spicy edamame was waiting at our table. I didn't eat any (spicy) but SP thought they were fantastic. He ate two bowls of them.
SP started with Iichiko Blu Shochu while I opted for chardonnay. Later on he had some Hakutake Shochu.
We shared Sweet Home Waima-Nalo Salad (Nalo Mesclun Greens, Creamy Herb Dressing). The dressing was fantastic.
SP chose what I thought was a small meal but it's what he wanted: Tetsuyaki - Big Eye ‘Ahi Poke-Yaki (Hamakua Mushrooms, Topped with Peppercorn Soy). He said it was excellent.
I chose Shellfish Orzo “Mac & Cheese” (Kona Lobster Tail, Crab Stuffed Jumbo Shrimp, Prosciutto, Lemon, Tarragon). This is many of my favorite flavors/food on one plate. Delicious creamy, cheesy orzo mac & cheese. Roasted tomato. Zucchini. Shrimp stuffed with crab. Finally shellfish paired with mac & cheese that wasn't overcooked, tough, rubbery. It was so darn good. Not to mention the prosciutto, the lemon, and tarragon, one of my favorite herbs. I allowed SP 2 small bites of orzo and he was allowed to have the shrimp tails because I don't like trying to pry out the bit of shrimp under the tail shell. This was a "keep your fork off my plate because it's so darn good I'm not sharing" meal.
Post dinner tea: mango peach for me, some kind of green tea for SP.
SP was all about the Pineapple Upside-down Cake dessert. I don't like pineapple, so this was all for him and he ate all of it.
I didn't really want dessert, I was pretty full, but pineapple cake wasn't going to cut it and I couldn't just sit there, sipping tea, while SP enjoyed a dessert. So I opted for Roy’s Melting Hot Chocolate SoufflĂ© with Vanilla Ice cream & Raspberry Coulis.
It was good, a little rich and decadent for my tastes these days, and I couldn't finish it. I wish I could have shared it with someone.

Everyone at Roy's was friendly, helpful, attentive - terrific service. Delicious food. Relaxing atmosphere. We had some other delicious dinners, but for some reason, this is the one we keep saying was our best meal of vacation. I'd go back to Hawaii just for that shellfish mac & cheese.

Roy's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Missing Bag & Blue Water Shrimp

We got up very early the day we left for vacation. Our flight was at 7:30 am. It was 5 hours to San Francisco, then a 3 hour layover, and then 5 hours to Honolulu. Once we arrived in HI, we trudged through the airport looking for the rental car area. Honolulu is not, in our opinion & experience, a very nice, easy to navigate airport compared to others. We got lost, had to ask for help twice, it was hot & stuffy because it seems, from our experience, that only the "boarding gate rooms" are air conditioned, but finally we found the rental car place. I can't remember what kind of car they gave us at first, but it just wasn't going to work for us for a week. The passenger seat was not a good height for me to transfer into from the wheelchair.
So we spent time asking for a different car. SP got the keys, transferred the luggage from one car to the other, got me in, and off we went, 30 minutes through traffic to our hotel. A very cheery valet greeted us and unloaded our bags. He said to us,"Just these 3 bags, right?"

Uh, no. There should be 4 bags. He and SP searched the car. Frantically. One bag was missing. My personal carry on. With the passports. And my prescriptions/vitamins for 2 weeks. And other items I did not want to be without. The only bag without a luggage tag. The brand new bag that was on its very first trip. Thank goodness I had taken out my small, travel crossbody with my sunglasses, credit cards, cash, and cell phone.
The stress level was high. Way high. As SP drove back to the rental car place, I frantically tried calling them but of course, no one answered any of the options. We finally got there, he slammed the car in park and ran to the first guy he saw. They went into the building. I waited in the car, at maximum stress level, wondering why was it my bag that got lost (as if another bag would have been any better)? About 10 minutes later SP returned with my bag. Thank goodness it was still in the original rental car. Thank goodness in that hour no one else had been given that rental car. SP claims he simply didn't see it in the black trunk because it's a black bag.
Crisis averted. Not a great start to vacation. We drove another 30 minutes back to the hotel, spent 30 minutes checking in, dumped our stuff in the room, and since it was 7 pm Honolulu time (which was 1 am for us), went in search of dinner. We went to Blue Water Shrimp. Super casual. Order at a counter, take a seat, they bring your food to you. I think they started as a food truck and while there is still a food truck, there also is this stand at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort.
Since it was 1 am for our minds and bodies and since we weren't super hungry, we shared the calamari. A large calamari steak that was delicious, breaded with panko, covered in lemon butter caper sauce, served with some brown rice, corn, and salad. Feeling the need to hydrate after a day of air travel, we drank lots of water with the meal.

Then we walked around a bit, went back to the room, got settled in, and went to sleep by 9:30 pm.

Tip #1: ALWAYS do a bag count. Every time you move them. That's what we did the rest of the trip. I probably annoyed the heck out of SP with the bag checks and counts. It got especially annoying once we moved from Oahu to the Big Island because then we also had a small cooler and a bag of car snacks.

Tip #2: Even if it's your personal carry on, attach a luggage tag. We spent the trip looking for a souvenir luggage tag and finally found one at Blue Hawaiian Helicopter after our helicopter tour. It is now attached to my black bag. Also, next time, I think I'll tie an obnoxiously bright scarf or bandanna on the bag like I did with our black carry on suitcase.

Tip #3: Blue Water Shrimp is a yummy first night meal.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Home From Hawaii

View of Diamond Head from Puu Ulalakaa Park
We've been home for 6 days from our 2 week trip to Hawaii. Sunday was the first day we woke up and were not still exhausted. It was a fabulous 13 days, but the 14th day, the travel home day, was a nightmare and left us the most exhausted we've ever felt.
View from Makapu'u Point (I think)
I was never much interested in traveling to Hawaii. It was where, it seemed for a while, everyone went for their honeymoon, ugh. We don't swim, suntan, surf, paddleboard, kayak, hike, fish - what would we do? Turns out there is plenty for us to enjoy - we ended up feeling like we wanted an additional 1-2 days in each place.
Walking along Waikiki Beach
We started off our trip in Honolulu. We stayed in Waikiki at Hilton Hawaiian Village. I think this was an excellent location. We had a lovely room view, our own private balcony, and we were right on the beach/the paved walkway along the beach. On the other hand, it took a very long time to check in, to check out, to get an elevator going down, and to get the car from the valet. It seemed as if the lobby was in perpetual chaos. And for the last 3 nights there were four loud, inconsiderate 20-somethings in the adjoining room (those doors to join 2 rooms do not keep out noise; we could hear everything).
La'ie Point
Here's what we did/saw on Oahu:
Sunset, Waikiki Beach
 After a week, we flew to Kona and drove via Saddle Road to Hilo where we spent 3 days seeing:

View from our room in Hilo (Grand Naniloa Doubletree)

Ahalanui Park
Next we drove along the Hamakua Heritage Corridor to get to our hotel on the Kohala Coast. Along the way we stopped at Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden and we tried to see Kahuna & Akaka Falls but the falls are not wheelchair accessible and SP didn't want to leave me sitting in the hot sun while he hiked it.
Onomea Falls
Our first full day in Kona we took a helicopter tour of the entire island with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. It was amazing, even if I did have to take some of airplane meds to handle the helicopter ride! After the helicopter tour, we drove around the northwest/Kohala area.
Lava and steam from Halema'uma'u crater, seen from Jaggar Museum & Overlook
The next day was our final day in Hawaii. We drove south to Kona, through town, all the way down to Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park. The park is not wheelchair accessible. I sat in a pavilion and listened to a park ranger presentation while SP toured the park. He got super sweaty and hot while I stayed relatively cool! After that, we drove through coffee country, and the rain, and it rained all the way back to the hotel so we didn't stop anywhere else. When I say it rained, I mean it really poured. Neither of us wanted to stop to pop into a shop or coffee tour. The pier in Kona was even closed off.
Sunset view during dinner at Kamuela Provision Company
The next day was the nightmare trip home, which I'll write about later.

It was an amazing trip and I'm so glad I finally changed my mind about traveling to Hawaii.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts: Hawaii! We are back from a 2 week trip to Hawaii. We spent one week on Oahu and one week on the Big Island. 

I am still exhausted today. We arrived home yesterday morning at 6:39 am. We spent the day walking around half awake but managing to grill chicken, make salad, unpack, and do 6 loads of laundry. No grass mowing (yes, after 2+ weeks of neglect, our yard is the overgrown, ugly yard). Thankfully SP's mom did grocery shopping for us and brought it over. 

We had a fantastic trip, but there were a few major mishaps. I'm too tired to take the time now to write about them in detail but here's what I spent today doing (in addition to sorting through 2 weeks of mail and paying bills):

1. I created an "Airline Totaled My Wheelchair" file. Yes. That happened.The airline on the 1st of 3 legs of flights on Tuesday totaled my wheelchair. Unable to be used in any useful way. It was a very long, very stressful, very difficult, very uncomfortable day of getting from Honolulu to San Francisco to Pittsburgh and then home to the house. I now hate Kona and refuse to go back to that airport.

2. I created a "Car Incident in Hilo" file. Our rental car was parked, legally, while we were in the Visitors Center at a National Park when some foreign tourists "creamed" it (words of a witness who came, with others, rushing up to the center to find the people driving the white car in the handicap spot). We'll see how this plays out. We are not at all at fault, we weren't even in the car (thank goodness) but I'm not super optimistic given that witnesses told us they had to go after & stop the driver, the 2 people who hit us acted kind of sketchy and like they wanted to somehow slink away without being noticed, and they were very agitated and huffy when I insisted on documenting possible, unseen damage that may exist because of what witnesses said happened when they hit us. I'm not being billed by our rental company/paying through my car insurance and having my rates go up for their idiocy. Official Park Ranger Police reports were filed and 1+ hour of my vacation was wasted because of an idiot driver.

It wasn't until after we were back on our way that I started shaking and freaking out over "what could have been" had we still been in the car, seatbelts off, munching on our snacks when they hit the car, which is what we were doing about 10 minutes before it happened. 

I haven't even looked at our photos yet! 

I'm sure there will be many Hawaii posts in the future. I wish I was still there!

Monday, May 8, 2017

General Porpoise

We've been planning a vacation and I realized I never finished writing about our Seattle trip. That was last October! I looked at my drafts and this one caught my eye: General Porpoise.
We made a special trip to get these doughnuts, found street parking, paid to park to run in and buy 4 doughnuts. I think the flavors were vanilla, lemon, rhubarb-lemon (or strawberry?), and chocolate marshmallow.
Mmmmm chocolate marshmallow. I remember the doughnut being really, really, really good, worth the price (almost $4 each).
Vanilla. Also super tasty. I would go back to Seattle just for these doughnuts. They might have been tastier than Better Maid doughnuts or Party Cake paczki.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

It's that time of year: the yard is mowed and 2-3 days later it's a dandelion field. Our shrubs are already at jungle stage! But I like green overgrowth better than dead & brown or snowy & slushy gray.

Meals This Week:

  • Leftovers. We had lunch with friends (Max & Erma's) and dinner out (Downey's House) this past weekend, so there were lots of leftovers.
  • Grilled chicken and roasted cauliflower. Simple.
  • Dessert: popcorn or Easter candy. We're still finishing the chocolate eggs and then there's the chocolate bunny.

What We're Watching:

  • American Crime ended. I really like the show but it's so different from the usual network fare. There's actually nuances and things left unsaid, it doesn't wrap up with a happy ending, and there is some great acting.
  • I thought last week's Scandal was disappointing and boring. I hope it picks up this week.
  • Otherwise, the usual shows, nothing new. We decided to just let Fargo, Silicon Valley, & Genius record and watch them over the summer.
  • Movies: I watched Lion and Fences. Both were excellent. We watched Nocturnal Animals. At first, we couldn't get into the movie. I also was a little too creeped out by the early scenes in the novel (yes, it's a movie, but, well, I don't want to be too specific and spoilery, and saying novel might not make sense, but it will if you see the movie). I found those scenes much scarier than any scary/horror movie.

What I'm Reading:
I read the latest John Sandford, Golden Prey. Another great Lucas book.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

Hockey tonight! Pens vs Capitals.

SP spent a lot of time last weekend fixing up the garden boxes. Winter always causes the chicken wire part to sag and fall crooked so every year they need to be rebuilt. Our garden plants are slowly growing in the dining room. This year we aren't using grow lights in the dining light. We went back to everything on a table in front of a window. Hopefully, maybe, we'll get a cucumber this year. And lots more tomatoes.

He also mowed but of course 2 days later we had a dandelion field. This time of year yard work is annoying!

We grilled again - lots of veggies, a flank steak, and some chicken. Yum!

Meals This Week:

What We're Watching:

  • We watched all 10 episodes of Season 3 of Bosch on Amazon. Such a good show! Can't wait for Season 4 and for the next Bosch book in the fall.
  • We are recording Fargo & Genius, but have not started watching either yet.
  • We are enjoying The Americans (can't wait to see what happens with Oleg's storyline) & Designated Survivor a lot. 

What I'm Reading:

  • I finished  The Blood Strand: A Faroes Novel by Chris Ould and am looking forward to the next book in the series.
  • I also read Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis. If you enjoy mysteries/suspense, this is a very good one. I had a hard time putting it down. I haven't read any of his other books, but I might start. This one was set north of Pittsburgh and the areas were familiar so it was a little extra enjoyable since I could really picture the areas he wrote about.