Blogging from my new apple iPad

Just set up my iPad with the WordPress app on the iPad and pretty excited about the possibilities of blogging without having to sit in front of my iMac!

To fully enable it, you have to go into your Writing options under Settings and click the box under Remote Publishing for XML-RPC for “Enable the WordPress, Movable Type, MetaWeblog and Blogger XML-RPC publishing protocols”. That seems to be it and it’s working for me already! Now I just have to figure out why I keep getting a 500 internal server error with WordPress 3.0….

Betsy Curtis at Boston Basils in Kona

We enjoyed some great entertainment this week at Boston Basil’s in Kailua-Kona when we went to listen to the jazz-stylings of Betsy Curtis. She was a famous singer in the late sixties, part of Betsy and Chris—think Marcia and Jan Brady singing folk songs in Japan—who were so popular they made lunchboxes and stockings with their brand!

She covered a wide variety of songs at Boston Basils—mostly jazz standards, plus a little Aretha Franklin to get the audience and crowds of people on the sidewalk of Alii Drive excited! Keep your eyes open, we think she may be making a comeback in Japan sometime soon…

Oh, and we enjoyed our orders of lasagna and cheese ravioli, although another one of the other guests at our table, thought her spaghetti was a little over-cooked. The atmosphere of the live music was fantastic, the open air lounge upstairs had a great view of the water, and overall our visit there made life a little bit more fun. Cheers!

Betsy

Hale Kai at the Fairmont Orchid

IMG_4535Tonight we toasted to new beginnings for our business at the Hale Kai Restaurant, located at the Fairmont Orchid Resort on the Kohala Coast. The Hale Kai, or House by the Ocean, has a primo location right next to the beach and the pool.  The “floor” of the restaurant is actually sand (although they still have a “footwear required” rule posted on their Web site) and the overall atmosphere is casual.

Our family on the mainland can’t imagine any reason for buying a $16 hamburger, but they haven’t been to the Hale Kai, or the Ocean Grill Restaurant at the Mauna Lani (which is our usual favorite spot for a burger along the coast). It’s all about the atmosphere. The resorts provide such gorgeous surroundings, and having dinner while the sun sets over the ocean with palm trees swaying all around you makes you feel like royalty, and this makes life a little bit more fun.

That leads us to the food. We shared two different meals because we both wanted a little bit of each. First up was the Longboard Ale Battered Snapper which came with Preserved Papaya and Lemon Tartar Sauce, Green Papaya Coleslaw and French Fries. The second meal we shared was the Hale Kai Da Kine Surfer Burger which was “Grilled Ground Sirloin Topped with Cheddar Cheese, Sundried Tomato Aioli, Smoked Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Onion on an Onion Parmesan Kaiser” and was also served with Papaya Coleslaw and French Fries.

Did I mention that it was really windy? That comes into play a bit here as it cooled down the fish considerably before I could fully enjoy it. It was tasty, but I would have preferred a little more crispness to the batter, as it all seemed a little soggy by the time I ate it. The coleslaw (very unique) and french fries however were excellent. And the burger was fantastic; cooked perfectly, really tasty bun, and the sundried tomato aioli—yummy! We were really pleased with the service, although there was quite a waiting list by 6:30pm, so get there early if you want to eat during the sunset.

If you are a Hawaii resident, don’t forget to show your license for 10% off your bill. The reason they even offered for us was because Jim pronounced the “Hale Kai Da Kine” so well! If you are not staying in the resort you’ll also want to get  your parking validated by the valet (keep your receipt) to avoid the $17 parking fee that they recently instituted.

Greenwell Farms Coffee Tour

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As part of our anniversary getaway to the south of Kona, we decided to tour a coffee farm. It was time to fuel my coffee addiction a little more by gaining a true appreciation of how that little bean gets into my cup every morning. We chose Greenwell Farms, because our trusty travel bible The Big Island Revealed said good things about them and we were so pleased that we did.

We were essentially the only visitors when we arrived, so we go a private tour of the farm— tours are free by the way, although we would recommend giving a nice donation. Our guide was well informed, passionate about the process of growing coffee, and very enthusiastic about having us touch every stage of the coffee “cherry” or “bean”. I learned so much about coffee! (And being well-informed about the things you love can make life a little bit more fun.)

I wish I had taken a few notes, but my basic understanding is that Greenwell Farms has been doing this for a LONG time (mid 1800′s) and that they were one of the first (if not the first) farm to begin exporting coffee to Europe and the Americas. It was founded by Henry Nicholas Greenwell and his wife Elizabeth Caroline. The farm is located on the Hawaii Belt Highway (State Highway 11) between mile marker 112 and 111 (oceanside). For more info, you might want to visit their web site at http://www.greenwellfarms.com/

Honolulu Coffee Company

IMG_0334Years before we moved to Hawaii we heard about the Honolulu Coffee Company from our friend Rick. “They serve your coffee in a real mug!” he would always tell us. And they certainly do. Look at this beauty of a presentation for my breve latte.

I don’t know what it is about their coffee, but it far surpasses any other coffee that we’ve had across the islands. Perhaps it is the heart-shaped foam. Perhaps it is because we are always on vacation when we have it, since we have to fly to Oahu to partake.  Perhaps it is because the farmers they buy the coffee from hand deliver it to them in the mornings. I don’t know if that’s a fact across the board, but on one of the mornings that we were there, Jim was nearly run over by one of the coffee farmers bringing in his delivery. The tub that he was carrying the coffee in, caught Jim’s arm and cut it open. It was an accident of course, but if we hadn’t already been so well caffeinated we might have pressed for a free coffee.

On the occasion when this photo was taken (isn’t it a cool photo?) we were at the Waikiki location next to the Moana Surfrider Resort. This is simply our favorite Honolulu Coffee Company location. Get your coffee in a ceramic mug, take a seat by the window, and watch the morning scene in Honolulu—it’s fascinating. I am a relatively new convert to drinking coffee—I used to chastise my husband for doing so—but I must say that coffee definitely makes life a little bit more fun, and so does the Honolulu Coffee Company.

A True Hawaiian Lu’au Pizza at Kona Brewery

We didn’t try a new restaurant tonight, but tried four different things that we’d never ordered before from one of our favorite pizza places on the island, the Kona Brewery.

We were stoked to learn that you can mix two specialty pizzas on the same pie. Half and half, no extra cost. So we tried Kaloko Alfredo and Hawaiian Lu’au, two completely non-traditional pizzas.

The Kaloko Alfredo had a homemade alfredo sauce (slightly spicy), fresh spinach, mozzarella, herb chicken, roasted garlic and tomatoes. It was divine. When they say garlic, they mean garlic. One piece had 6 cloves on it, full cloves!

Our server suggested a couple substitutes to the Hawaiian Lu’au. Traditionally it has Canadian Bacon and Tomato sauce, but we added Imu Pork, smoked mozzarella, and a BBQ sauce base, plus the usual ricotta, fresh pineapple, and roasted onions. It was truly hard to determine a winner. The first night the Hawaiian Lu’au pizza won out, but reheated the next day, the Alfredo was better.
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The Kona Brew is just as flexible with their beers as their pizza, as they have the sampler, so since we couldn’t decide between our favorites, The Wailua Wheat (a passion-fruit flavored light ale), and the Pipeline Porter (with 100% Kona coffee), and the two new limited releases, a Coconut Brown Ale, and a Ginger-based light ale, we had the opportunity to have a sample of all of them (4- 6 oz glasses). We circled through the various flavors from coffee, to lilikoi (passion fruit), to ginger to coconut. I still think the Wailua Wheat is my favorite, but I really liked the coconut beer as well.

Pear in a Taco Salad?

Blake's_Pride_pearsMaybe we were just trying to get rid of our expired fruit or maybe it was a stroke of genius.. We’ll never truly know, but today Jim added pear to our taco salad. Yes, pear.

I came running downstairs excited about the salad he was making, then he said “I added pear as our new thing today.” And I was like “Pear? That’s the weirdest thing I think you could add to a taco salad.” But I must admit it was surprisingly good.

The ingredients in the salad were:

lettuce
Rosarito refried beans
red onions
Kirkland Signature organic salsa
Kirkland Signature tortilla chips (no, we don’t work for Costco)
sour cream
pear

Costco Organic Raisin Bran

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Now buying cereal may not seem earth-shattering to you, but Jim and I are pretty religious oatmeal eaters. We used to eat cereal as kids and through college, but after we received a cookbook called Nourishing Traditions published by an organization called The Weston A Price Foundation, we stopped cereal and began eating oatmeal, thinking that it was easier to digest and better for you. Also living in Hawaii, oatmeal was a lot cheaper (Jim’s mom always packs her own boxes of cereal when she comes to visit us, and sometimes will stuff them in packages she sends as filler).

In the spirit of trying something new, we thought we’d give oatmeal a break and try the  Kirkland Signature Organic Raisin Bran from Costco, and we’ve been pleasantly re-united with the ease of eating cereal. No 30 minute cooking times (we usually use steel cut oats), no soaking overnight (a Nourishing Traditions suggestion), no heartburn for Jim. So quick and easy. As for the cereal itself, we found it to be nice and crunchy (even when soaked with milk), tons of raisins, and huge flakes (almost so big you can’t fit some in your mouth). Two thumbs up!

We use Costco’s organic milk as well, regular cow’s milk, as we are not big soy fans because we’ve read some frightening facts about having soy in your diet. If you are interested in learning more about this, check out the dangers of soy at www.westonaprice.org.

I’m sure we will return to eating oatmeal at some point, but it has been nice to take a little break.

What to Make with a Pumpkin?

My friend Kelly brought me a quarter of a pumpkin (I think it was a Japanese variety) the other day and it sat in my fridge for over a week, because what do you do with pumpkin? Finally out of guilt and motivation to try something new, I found a squash recipe in my “Beyond the Moon Cookbook” that I thought would work well with my pumpkin. Most of the recipes you find for pumpkin imply that you are going to pop it out of a can.

cookbook

Notice the charred upper edges where my cookbook caught fire years ago!

Harvest Mexican Squash

Here are the ingredients:
1 large butternut squash (or part of a pumpkin!)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 1/2 cups zucchini
4 large garlic cloves
1 med jalapeno (I excluded this upon learning that it cost $4 for 1 jalapeno at our local Foodland)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup corn
1/4 cup fresh basil
3 med tomatoes
1 cup chopped kale
1 cup sour cream (I put in more than this)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
Pinch of ground cloves
Pinch of cayenne
1 1/2 cups pepper jack cheese (we only had sharp chedder)
Paprika

Harvest Mexican Pumpkin (sorry it's not the best picture in the world- we'd already eaten half of it!)

Harvest Mexican Pumpkin (sorry it's not the best picture in the world)

Bake squash/pumpkin for 45-50 minutes at 425. Reduce oven to 375. Saute the onion, green pepper, zucchini, garlic, jalapeno and oregano under tender. Pretty much mix everything else together in a bowl, transfer to a baking dish and cover with the sliced tomatoes (I accidently cut mine up and put them inside the disk because I’m really bad at reading recipes), cheese, and paprika. Bake for 30 minutes.

The verdict: it was really yummy! It fed the two of us for 4 dinners, and that was with a big serving.

Ben & Jerry’s “Dublin Mudslide”

IMG_3737Today Beth and I ate a pint of Ben & Jerry’s “dublin mudslide” all in one sitting! 

While I love all of the constituent parts, Irish Cream liqueur, a java fudge swirl, and chocolaty cookies, the flavor didn’t bowl me over. Maybe it was because it was a little freezer-burnt (it is a long trip from Vermont to Hawaii for a poor little ice cream pint) or maybe I have just been completely spoiled by the overwhelming flavors of the “mix-ins” at places like Cold Stone or the Marble Slab Creamery.

Either way, I think I am going to keep my Irish Cream flavor either in my morning coffee (non-alcoholic, of course) or my evening desert drink or nightcap (alcoholic, of course), and give a different Ben and Jerry’s flavor a try during my next “day off from work due to lack of interest.”