Monthly Archives

February 2016

Life, Travel

Exploring Hawaii: Part 1

February 27, 2016

I am super late with this Hawaii trip recap but better late than never right? I went to Honolulu for work and then met my dad on the Big Island for a little vacation time.

I started my first morning how everyone should, with a fresh papaya from the Sheraton Waikiki hotel restaurant. It was perfectly ripe and a dash of lime made it the best welcome I could ask for to Hawaii. I also got a undocumented undercooked egg white omelet which my coworker and I had to send back :/ and the service was extremely slow (almost 1.5 hours for a papaya and two omelets!). The manager was super nice and came out with an apology and two new omelets though.


Then we worked all day. Nothing to document there! The next morning we had learned our lesson eating at the hotel and went to find a good breakfast spot nearby. After a quick Yelp search, we decided on Heavenly, a healthy, local ingredient place with great reviews. I love that they show where their ingredients come from on the menu:


My coworker and I started with the obligatory papaya and lime:


How cute are their tables?


I got a sort of rice and veggie has with an egg and salmon on top and a green smoothie. It was very good!


Then we went to work again so no picture until the next morning when we went back to Heavenly! This was really the only healthy breakfast place within walking distance of the Sheraton Waikiki (that we found) so I wasn’t feeling guilty about going back again. This time I got the eggs Benedict with avocado and a kale side salad, papaya and a green smoothie. THIS IS MY DREAM BREAKFAST. I wish I could eat this everyday.


I love plumeria flowers (the heart is covering my company’s name on my work polo). Did you know if you wear it behind your left ear it means you are taken and behind the right ear means you are available?


The view from my hotel room which I hardly spent any time in!


Most of our dinners during this work week was subway or granola bars but we had time to go out to dinner one night so we decided on the Hula Grill, which sounds pretty cheesy but it had really good reviews!


We started with some delicious moscow mules with ginger beer in some appropriate tiki mugs:


Our table had a great view of the sunset


 Then we got a delicious raw ahi appetizer:


For my entree I got the coconut seafood chowder with lobster, shrimp, scallop, a Hawaiian fish I can’t remember and peanuts, coconut cilantro broth. This definitely fulfilled my seafood cravings. I savored every bite!




Our waiter told us we should try their famous “hula pie” so we had to, right? I can see why it’s famous, this pie is the It has a chocolate cookie crust, macadamia nut ice cream, hot fudge, toasted mac nuts & whipped cream…drool! My pics aren’t that great because of lighting + iPhone. We almost finished this enormous dessert but couldn’t get the last few bites in. Nothing like a good sugar coma!


After the next day of work, it was time for me to leave my coworker and fly to the Big Island to take some vacation time and hang out with my dad and our family friends that live in Hilo, HI.

We stayed at my dad’s friend’s house and they have kids of a mini farm going. This is their cutie dog:


A baby sheep was just born (in the back) so we tried were trying to hold it but big daddy (front and center) wouldn’t allow it and kept trying to charge us! He is pretty scary!


One day I want to live somewhere where I can just pick fruit in my yard!


My daily papaya:


My dad’s friend Marcos picked some oranges for us and made fresh juice, such pretty colors!


The first day we went to visit my dad’s other friend who lives in the mountains in a sort of commune he has built. It’s pretty cool since he has set up his own water system, cabins and gardens. This is his turtle:


This is a chocolate (cacao) tree!


This guy also makes his own chocolate from the cacao he grows. This the cacao fruit, looks strange huh? He cracked this one in  half, gave me a spoon and said to spoon out the seeds and suck off the white residue on them. Hesitantly, I did and was pleasantly surprised by the taste. It tasted kind of like a slightly sour grape but was very good, like a candy, not like chocolate at all of course.



He also has his own private waterfall/swimming hole



Once we got back to my dad’s friends house, I helped make some fresh hibiscus tea. This was a fun activity. You just cut around the bulb and remove the skin and then soak the skins in hot water for a while, add some honey and you have some delicious tea!


This is the part you don’t use:


The part you use for the tea:


Whew, that was a long post! I have a lot more photos but I should probably stop here. I’ll do another post soon. I hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Life, Travel

Visiting San Francisco

February 26, 2016

Last weekend I went to San Francisco to see my boyfriend. I left on Friday and came back Monday (President’s Day). Usually G comes up to see me in Seattle so it’s more exciting for me when I go visit him! I made some banana chips in my dehydrator for a plane snack (below), actually, I made them for G too but I ate them all before I got there…typical. They’re so good though, super chewy and sweet! I just learned that most store-bought banana chips are actually deep-fried. I wondered why they are so different from the homemade version!


G told me that, in order to enter California, you must eat In & Out within an hour of arrival so after he picked me up from the airport -in his new very loud 1965 mustang- we headed straight there. I got a veggie burger (literally tomato, onion and lettuce) and some fries. I don’t miss the burger at all and it’s quite tasty actually!


Later we headed out in the city with the plan of seeing the Ferry Building market and walking around until we met G’s friend for a dinner.

The market in the building is cute, unfortunately we weren’t hungry so we didn’t try any of the food shops but we did stop at Blue Bottle Coffee which is G’s favorite and got two New Orlean’s iced coffees which has chicory. I don’t generally like coffee at all but this coffee was very good. I can’t really describe the flavor but I highly recommend it!



Then we made our way to Union street and met with G’s friend at The Italian Homemade Company. This is a legit Italian place where they speak Italian and make their own pasta!



I got the veggie lasagna which was really good, it could have used a little salt though, to make the flavor pop.


G got the pesto pasta. I stole a bite and it was very good, better than my lasagna, darn it!


We decided to be really gluttonous and get the very highly rated Bi-Rite Creamery ice cream after dinner. We got to the shop around 10pm and the line was pretty long but we decided to wait it out. It ended up taking only about 10-15 minutes but I can see why the line is so long, this place is teeny!


We went all out since it was our first time there. G got a brownie sundae with vanilla ice cream and a spicy chocolate sauce. I got the most AMAZING creme brulee and cookies and cream. The creme brulee was my favorite! Obviously I took some bites of G’s monster sundae, and I have to say, I didn’t really like the spicy chocolate sauce on top, but the rest was delish!


The next morning, I tried to make-up for the night before with an egg-white veggie omelet and fruit at a little breakfast joint in Pleasanton.


After breakfast, we headed up to G’s family cabin for some quality time and spent the evening on a double date and watching Stargate SG1, our nerdy show 🙂

The next morning was Valentines Day! We each ate a few aussie bites for breakfast (delicious little muffin granola bites from Costco – find them, buy them!) and drove out to Yosemite National Park for a romantic day hike.


This was my first time at Yosemite and it is absolutely beautiful!



I can’t imagine someone climbing up the side of these rocks!



It was really nice outside that day, we got lucky!



Maybe I should get a selfie stick so I can get more pictures of both of us instead of just me haha



We left at around 5:30 and caught this perfect sunset


The net day we headed back to G’s house as I had a flight to catch that evening 🙁 I did convince G to stop at Meadowlark Dairy in Pleasanton on the way back, really good soft-serve there! I got a vanilla chocolate swirl. It’s super cheap too!


I also got to love on G’s dog Abby. Isn’t she the cutest?


G made sure I left with a purse full of fresh oranges from his tree. Nothing like a homegrown orange just plucked off a tree! Usually I don’t even buy oranges because it’s always a 50/50 chance of getting a dried up or bad one but every single orange on this tree tastes amazing!


That’s a wrap! I had a lot of fun this visit and I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Have a good weekend!


Have you ever been to San Francisco? If so, any good restaurant suggestions?


Holiday, Recipes

Valentines Day Dinner Menu

February 8, 2016

Some people hate Valentines Day.  I can see why they might since it is a very commercialized holiday, but really every holiday is now and it doesn’t have to be about your bf/gf (or lack thereof), you can celebrate Galentines Day with your friends or make treats for family members or co-workers. I think it’s fun to celebrate love (even though it should be done every day!) and I like hearts and the color pink so the decor is right up my alley.

The history of Valentines Day is quite interesting as no one really knows who St. Valentine was. There are three recognized saints in the Catholic church named Valentine or Valentinus, all of them were martyred. One legend says Valentine was a priest in Rome during the third century. Emperor Claudius II decided that single males would be better soldiers if they were not married with families so he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine believed this was an injustice so he defied Claudius’s  order and married young lovers in secret. When Claudius discovered this, he had Valentine be put to death.

There are other legends that always involve an aspect of romance. By the Middles Ages, stories like this made Valentine one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Anyways, here is a menu that might kick your V-day up a notch:

First Course:  Green Salad with Pink Goat Cheese Hearts by Joy the Baker


Main Course: Gnocchi Mac and Cheese or for seafood lovers, this Creamy Pesto Pasta with Garlic Butter Shrimp is calling my name!

Gnocchi Mac and Cheese -- rich and creamy, easy to make, and unbelievably good | gimmesomeoven.comCreamy Pesto Pasta with Garlic Butter Shrimp |

Dessert: for the health nuts, try this cute heart fruit salad and for the gluttons (AKA me), Ina Garten’s Outrageous Brownies will be sure to delight (add a pink cream cheese frosting for extra decor and sugar coma)


Also, if you start with this breakfast, you will definitely have a great day!