babymoon adventures pt III

Even though I am a creature of habit, I had to try out some new restaurants on our trip to Hawai’i. Luckily, Chef Morimoto opened an absolutely stunning restaurant in Waikiki last fall inside the new Waikiki Edition hotel so that made our decision easy.


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The actual restaurant was everything you imagine it to be. Understated, clean, but gorgeous. Think white everything with splashes of purple and light green.  If you are stylish and not almost 8 months pregnant, this is definitely the place to have drinks and hang out on a Friday night. I had water. And lots of really good food.


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Did you know Morimoto brews his own beer? I had no idea! Obviously I can’t drink alcohol so you will have to take my husband’s word for it but he absolutely loved this particular brew.


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To start, we ordered the pork gyoza which sat on a fresh tomato sauce and was enclosed in a bacon foam. The doughy gyoza was complimented nicely by the bright flavor of the tomato sauce. The bacon foam added the perfect hint of smokiness.


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For my meal, I ordered the lamb rack with a yuzu glaze, ratatouille, and spam onigiri–which was a fun take on spam musubi. The lamb was cooked to perfection and not the least bit gamey. The ratatouille was quite light in texture but the bold flavors stood up to the rich meat and complimented the dish perfectly.

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Reg “pulled a Jenna” and read the menu ahead of time and already knew what he wanted to order. I was so proud. He picked the loco moto which is Morimoto’s take on the local classic loco moco. Chef certainly elevated this dish by using Wagyu beef and the result was absolutely delicious and certainly honored the inspiration.


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For dessert, we ordered something new and off menu–a sea salt chocolate, caramel tart. This was served with vanilla bean ice cream, chocolate crumbles (their words, not mine), and crushed vanilla meringues. This was incredibly rich but that did not stop us from cleaning our plate. I loved the salty and sweet combination.

This was our last night in Hawai’i and I am so glad we ended our trip with such a great meal. I will never forget this trip. It was truly like a second honeymoon. I know this will sound cliche but I love my husband more today than the day I married him. He is such an incredible partner and I know he is going to be the best father.



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xo
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babymoon adventures pt II

I could not come back from a vacation and not talk about the food. Truthfully, I plan out not only all of the restaurants I am going to visit but also what I am going to order (but keep an open mind if there are specials). Everyone does this right? 😉

So when we made this last trip we only had about 5 days and we wanted to make sure we visited some of our favorite spots and tried out a couple new spots as well.

Old Favorites

Our absolute favorite place to get breakfast in Waikiki has to be Eggs ‘N Things. The wait can be extremely long—even at 8 am so the earlier you get there, the better. We were on California time so I needed breakfast around the time they opened so we were just fine. No long waits. No pregnancy hunger meltdowns. Good times.


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Can you find me?

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Homemade Guava Juice

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Spinach Bacon & Cheese Omelette with a side of their homemade salsa <——so good!

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And a side of their Macadamia Nut Pancakes. Folks, these are the stuff dreams are made of. Seriously, I dreamt about these babies after having them the first time and that is why I ordered them again. So fluffy with just a little crunch from the macadamia nuts. And you must top them with the homemade coconut syrup. You must. I happily shared these with Reg.

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Speaking of Reg, he ordered his favorite breakfast of all time: Eggs, Portuguese Sausage, and Rice. Before I met him I would never have thought of eating rice for breakfast but now I love it! The sausage was crispy and flavorful without being overly greasy.


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Another old favorite is also a local favorite: Rainbow’s Drive Inn. My husband grew up going to Rainbow’s every time he was on the Islands so it was the first place he took me years ago on our first trip. Rumor has it that President Obama loves Rainbow’s as well.

Most of the food served at Rainbow’s is considered plate lunch. The exact history behind plate lunch is often disputed. However, the general consensus is that plate lunch began in the 1880’s when plantation workers were in high demand for sugar and fruit companies in Hawai’i. Laborers came from all over the world including China, Japan, Portugal, and the Phillipines and would share various proteins (think canned meat, teriyaki, cold meat) and rice for lunch. So the plate lunches themselves are a mix of food from different cultures. Eventually, the macaroni salad and gravy was added into the mix.

I am a total creature of habit and I usually order hamburger steak (thin hamburger patties smothered in gravy) or loco moco (same as hamburger steak topped with two eggs) plate lunch every time I go. This time I decided to try something new.

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Boneless chicken with (the best) gravy! Served with macaroni salad and two scoops of rice.

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Reg is like me when it comes to Rainbow’s and usually orders the same thing. Instead, he branched out a bit and ordered the Rainbow Royale burger. The special sauce that comes on the burger is very similar to deviled egg filling but thinned out. Delicious!

We both enjoyed trying something new but we missed our “usual” order and made sure we ordered it on our last day when we visited Rainbow’s again. If you are ever on Oahu, this place is a must try!

Next up: some new finds, including Morimoto’s new Waikiki restaurant!

xo

babymoon adventures

Reg and I both love to travel. Since we wouldn’t be traveling for a while–you know, given that we will have a newborn in around two months, we wanted to take one final big vacation before our son arrives. And since I have gained over 20 lbs (so far), all I wanted to do was float in the ocean on a beach in Hawai’i.

You see, Hawai’i has a special place in both our hearts. My husband is Native Hawaiian and despite the fact that his dad was in the Army and that moved his family around a lot, he still managed to make it home to the islands as often as could. After meeting his family and learning more about the culture, I became enthralled with Hawai’i as well. In fact, most of my research in graduate school covered the Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement. So Hawai’i seemed like the perfect place to take one last vacation before our life changes. Plus, we both loved the thought of him going to our beloved islands before he is even born.

This time around we decided to stay in Waikiki. Usually when we visit Oahu, we stay on the North Shore because there are far less tourists and that part of the island is usually more quiet. Waikiki made a bit more sense for us this trip because we didn’t want to rent a car and preferred to walk everywhere, which is something you really can’t do on the North Shore. We really lucked out too. For Waikiki in April, the crowds were not bad at all and the whole trip felt really peaceful and relaxing. Staying at this beautiful place didn’t hurt either…


Sheraton Moana Surfrider


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Built in 1901 and full of charm

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Loved sitting in those rocking chairs during the evening, feeling the cool breeze.
Plus people watching was ah-mazing.


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Gorgeous Banyan tree
This tree was originally planted in 1904 when it was only 7 feet tall.
Now it over 75 feet tall and spans the 150 ft. courtyard.


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Private beach with crystal clear water.
Fun fact about me: I was so scared of swimming as a kid that I would scream if you came next to me in the pool. I didn’t swim in the ocean until I was 16. Now, at almost 27, you can’t get me out of the ocean. Seriously, I could swim all day. I didn’t even freak out when a baby sea turtle swam up next to me.


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Clear view of Diamond Head


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With delicious fruity (non-alcoholic) beverages


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And a handsome husband


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Followed by the face most people made when they realized I was pregnant…in a bikini. The reaction made me laugh but I owned it.

Part II coming up tomorrow…

xo

to my mother

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To the woman who taught me how to be the type of mother I want to be–a true mama bear that would do anything for her babies.

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Thank you for giving me the best sisters anybody could ask for. I never laugh more than when the four of us are together.

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Thank you for welcoming the love of my life into our family with such open arms. Your marriage has set an example of perseverance and commitment. I learned that true love isn’t always the easiest path but the payoff is unbeatable. I am forever grateful for that lesson.
Finally, thank you for being there throughout my entire pregnancy–to support me, laugh with me, and tell me when I just need to relax and trust my instincts. You are going to make a fantastic grandmother.
I wish we could have been together yesterday but I cannot wait to see you later this week for some baby shower fun.
xo

time in a bottle

Please excuse me because  I am feeling particularly weepy today (ahhhh good morning pregnancy hormones) but this pregnancy is going by way too fast. It feels like I just found out I was pregnant and now he is going to be here in just 10 weeks.

Truly, I love everything about being pregnant–my round belly, how his kicks get harder each day, hell, even the nausea. All of those things remind me he is growing and is strong.  And the truth is, I am feeling a bit selfish. I like that we are so connected–like I am the only one that knows him at this point. Once he is born, I have to share him with the world and that feels overwhelming. Has anyone else felt like that? I can’t even imagine what it will feel like once he starts walking and talking. But if I focus on all of the what ifs, the next two months are going to be gone before I know it. So for the next 10 weeks, I am trying to truly enjoy each moment of this pregnancy and take it all in. Listening to Jim Croce along the way doesn’t hurt either…

i miss food trucks <3

In addition to visiting Bruxie , I had to make a stop at some of my beloved food trucks when I was visiting my family in Southern California. We have food trucks up here in the Bay Area but there are not nearly as many. Plus, I can never seem to track them down when I am in the mood! Back at home, my mom has become food truck obsessed and pretty much always knows where a group of trucks is gathered on any given day. I wonder where I got my love of food…hmmm?

This time around, she picked a great food truck gathering in Anaheim that had some trucks I really wanted to try! Here is what we sampled:

Louks

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I have pretty much been in love with Greek food from the moment I tried it. In fact, my husband and I love Greek food so much that we went to Greece for our honeymoon! The food from Louks is so fresh and comes pretty darn close to the street food we ate while we were in Greece. Plus, the guys that run the truck are so much fun. They are dancing and just keeping the energy up the whole time. In fact, I started dancing while I was waiting for my food which was probably pretty awkward considering I am 7 1/2 months pregnant. I have no shame! 🙂


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Speaking of no shame, here is my dad ordering his food. Here he is talking (which involves moving his hands really fast) while trying to order something that probably isn’t on the menu. He likes to “invent” things everything time we order at a restaurant. It is adorable, hilarious, and he usually gets his way.


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One thing that is on the menu that is a must try has to be the Honey Feta Fries. These are incredible! The combo of salty and sweet is ridiculously addictive!


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The beef and lamb gyro was delicious as well. I love that they put fries inside just like when we were in Greece!


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My sister and I split the chicken burrito gyro which was significantly larger than the other wrap and came with spicy feta cheese and grilled onions in addition to everything that came with the regular gyro. I actually liked the chicken more than the beef and lamb which is hardly ever the case but seriously this was delicious and really fresh tasting! After trying Louks, I can definitely see why it is my sister’s favorite out of all of the trucks she has tried. Great experience!



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Piaggio is the one and only Argentine food truck in Southern California. Love that! I had tried Argentine food a couple times in the past but this was my first time trying this particular truck. We only tried a few items but the ones we tried were fantastic!


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My sister and I split the chicken empanadas which came with a side of chimichurri sauce. I absolutely loved these. The crust was flaky and the filling was flavorful. I particularly loved the chimichurri sauce that accompanied it because it added a light, cooling contrast to the hot flaky dough. Yum!


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Next up was the the pulled pork sliders which were shared by Reg and my dad. They let me have a bite and the pork was juicy and accented nicely with that delicious chimichurri. Plus anything served on a Hawaiian sweet roll is a win in my book. I definitely look forward to trying more from Piaggio next time I am in the area.


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I have made no secret on this blog of how much I love shave ice. Not shaved ice–shave ice. Very important distinction there. Shave ice is light and fluffy. There should be no crunchy pieces. Thankfully, Tropical Shave Ice gets it right.


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I tried the Tiger’s Blood, Pineapple, and Lilikoi with ice cream of course. So so good. Fluffy ice and perfectly sweet syrups. Plus, the people that worked on this truck were SO nice and patient with our large group. I will definitely be tracking them down again next time I am in Southern Cal.

I highly recommend trying all three of these trucks if you are in the area!

xo

hello, i love…Bruxie

Okay, now onto the fun stuff. What have I been up to? I am not very good at actually blogging while I am on vacation. Since I don’t get to see my family that much, at the end of the day, I would rather spend more time with the ones I love than behind the computer. So, I decided to wait until I came back from all of my little vacations to update the blog.

When I knew I was traveling down to Southern Cal, I had a list of restaurants I wanted to try. Is that weird? Probably. Moving on…

My sister Gingi (real name: Lindsey) told me about this place called Bruxie in Old Towne Orange that serves sandwiches in…WAFFLES! I had to try this place and we made plans to go as soon as I got down there.


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First, I have to add that I am in love with Old Towne Orange. I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire and I am hopelessly nostalgic so I am charmed by the quaint feeling of the downtown area. There are great restaurants and shopping, especially antique stores. If we move back down to Southern Cal, this is where I want to live. And maybe eat at Bruxie once (errr twice?) a week.


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To begin, Gingi and I ordered the seasonal milkshake which was made with fresh California Strawberries. So refreshing. And see that strawberry sauce on top? Jamie Oliver would be proud to know that it is also made with real strawberries and not high fructose corn syrup. I liked this place already. Real. Delicious. Food.


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Next up–our sandwiches. I am not sure when my love affair with chicken and waffles began but it is safe to say we have been going strong for many years. And now I am pretty sure it is going to continue for many more. Think lightly breaded boneless chicken breast covered in a chili-honey glaze and mayo-free coleslaw folded into a light Belgium waffle. Served with real maple syrup, naturally. We all couldn’t believe how juicy the chicken was considering fried boneless chicken is usually dry…like really dry. Not at Bruxie. This is a must order if you stop by.

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Since Gingi and I ordered the same thing, Reg wanted to be different so he went with the “grilled” cheese with melted Gruyere and Cheddar. He is a genius and added avocado and bacon. So glad I married that one. The waffle fries that were served with his sandwich were perfect as well. Yum!

Overall, I would highly recommend Bruxie. The service was really impressive. Everyone that worked there was friendly and talkative but none of the employees came off phony or inauthentic. That alone made me love the place a bit more. Seating is limited though so I wouldn’t go with a big group. But if you ever find yourself in Orange, I highly recommend stopping by.

xo