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CITY FOR TASTE OF HAWAII FAVORITES!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

BARCELONA CITY TOUR

BARCELONA CITY TOUR
BARCELONA, SPAIN

We hopped aboard a double decker tour bus and enjoyed a two hour drive through the city of Barcelona. This is a great way to see the sights without taking a cab. I enjoyed seeing the Olympic Stadium and other venues that are at the top of a hill overlooking the city. There are hundreds of sidewalk cafe's all around the city. You can enjoy a coffee, soft drink, beer, wine and snacks or full meal while sitting outside watching the people go by. This is a great way to spend time.

BARCELONA TRAM RIDE

BARCELONA TRAM RIDE
BARCELONA, SPAIN

After being stranded by our cab driver, we found the only way off the mountain was by tram. The ride was quick, smooth and comfortable. We arrived at the base and caught a city bus to a location where we could catch a cab back to our hotel.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

TOP OF BARCELONA

TOP OF BARCELONA
BARCELONA, SPAIN

We jumped in a Taxi and asked the driver to take us to the top of the city where a great cathedral sits. The driver who spoke almost no english sped us up the hill. When we arrived the area was almost empty of tourists. We asked the driver to stay and wait for us. He said he would be back in half hour in very broken english. We thought we agreed on a time and place. We entered a restaurant to enjoy some hot chocolate and a cold beer for Drew. We walked through the church and grounds and waited for our driver. And waited.....and waited.....
Finally we asked the bartender to call our driver as he had left his card. She would not make the call and instructed a waiter not to call for us. A bus came by and we could not communicate with the driver. We waited some more. Finally I asked another girl at a ticket window how we could get off the mountain and down into the city of Barcelona. She said in very broken english that there was a tram right behind us. None of us had even noticed the tram. We bought tickets and made it down in minutes. Never did see that driver again. My advice when visiting Barcelona is to take a Spanish book or some language classes and speak their language instead of trying to get them to speak english.

CATHEDRAL BARCELONA

CATHEDRAL BARCELONA
BARCELONA, SPAIN

PARK GUELL - BARCELONA, SPAIN

PARK GUELL
BARCELONA, SPAIN

Keli was so excited to visit this park in Barcelona. She had seen it many times in a movie by the Cheeta Girls or some other girl group. Keli described the entire area to us before we got here. Here main goal was to touch the sculpture of the large lizard that is near the entrance. The park was created by famed architect Gaudi and was the place of his home for many years. We toured his home and walked the grounds overlooking the city.

BARCELONA DELI

BARCELONA DELI
BARCELONA, SPAIN

We were told that many homes in Europe do not have refrigerators. Most families visit the market, butcher and deli each day to purchase food for the daily meals. We were amazed with the number of fish shops, meat shops, vegetable stands and deli's that are all over the city. Some of the best and freshest ingredients in the world. I walked into this deli and was in pure heaven. Wanted to sample everything!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

GAUIDI RESTAURANT - BARCELONA, SPAIN

GAUDI RESTAURANT
BARCELONA, SPAIN

We found a little neighborhood restaurant, coffee house/bar right around the corner from our Barcelona apartment. There are hundreds of these type of restaurants all over the city. While Keli dined on traditional eggs and bacon, we decided to try the Paella. This is a rice dish served with seafood. The dish was a bit bland and was very light on the seafood. Most people in Spain do not eat this for breakfast, but we just had to try it while we were in Barcelona. It was nice to sit and watch the locals enjoy their coffee before work. There is a lot of smoking in Barcelona. We found it difficult to stay in this place because everyone around us was smoking. We would have eaten outside but it was a little too cold. Most restaurants in the city have tons of outdoor seating. The entire city is filled with outdoor cafe's. Would love to visit here during the warmer months. The people of Barcelona are not early risers. Most shops do not open until 9:00/10:00 am. The streets are completely empty from 7:00 to 8:30 am. This is a really nice time to walk around. The language here is Spanish. We found that most people working in the restaurants, cab drivers and vendors do not speak too much english. You definitely want to bring a Spanish book or study the language before coming to Barcelona. The people are friendly but can only do so much if they do not understand you. The currency of Barcelona is the Euro. We found the best way to obtain Euro's was from standard ATM machines.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

ORIO RESTAURANT, BARCELONA, SPAIN

ORIO RESTAURANT
BARCELONA, SPAIN

While taking a stroll in the rain trough the charming Gothic section of Barcelona we stubbled upon a Tapa Bar that featured seafood. The place looked clean and fresh so we entered and sat at one of the large communal type tables in the middle of the space. Along the bar there were dozens of small size plates of food to sample. The waiter explained that it was ($1.95 Euro's) each for a plate. Kind of like going out for Genki Sushi in Honolulu but instead of counting the plates these folks count the toothpicks. We tried a variety of seafood toppings placed on a nice piece of french bread. I liked the tuna with pimento best. The Chorizo Sausage was good and so was the tuna with fried leeks. One with hot peppers, anchovie and olive was good too. Keli liked the simple salami with cheese best. We ate until we were full but were not totally impressed with the flavors. Everything is served with bread so you get full quite quickly. The waiter was friendly and gladly served a Spanish Champagne that was great. One of the reasons we ended up eating here is that it was one of the only restaurants open around 12:00 pm. Most restaurants don't open for lunch until 1:30. We had picked the oldest restaurant in Barcelona to dine at this day, but it turned out they did not open until 1:30. My girls wanted to eat NOW as they did not have dinner the night before. We also found that restaurants open around 8:30 for dinner. Typical dinner time is 9:00 to 11:00 pm which is our family sleep time. We ended up missing dinner today because the girls fell asleep. This was good because we all need a good rest after our adventure to get here.

SAGRADA FAMILIA - BARCELONA, SPAIN

SAGRADA FAMILIA
BARCELONA, SPAIN

Barcelona's most famous architect named Gaudi designed but not complete this great structure. He was hit by a trolly car and died during it's construction. Barcelona is filled with beautiful buildings that are both modern and old. The streets are clean and are filled with sidewalk cafe's. A great place to sit, drink, eat and people watch.







6 HOURS ON THE RUNWAY

6 HOURS ON THE RUNWAY
HEATHROW AIRPORT, LONDON

Delayed overnight in Los Angeles was heaven compared to what we endured in London. We arrived after a 10 1/2 hour flight to snowfall and and an airport that perhaps is not prepared too well for snow. After being huddled up in a small lounge we were told that our flight was delayed because of the snow. We waited over an hour and then were placed on buses to drive to the plane which was not near the terminal. When we departed the bus, it was snowing. We had to walk up stairs to the plane in the snow. Keli liked this but it was cold. We stuck our tongues out to catch the snow and had some fun. We got settled in to our seats and found that we were surrounded by a certain ethnic group that loved to talk loud amongst each other. They had a dozen children and just had to scream across the isles to talk. After a while the pilot came on the intercom and announced that we would be delayed one hour so they plane could be de-iced. I tried to sleep but a two year old in front of me was hanging off the back of his seat screaming. The lady behind seemed happy to continually grab my seat back and bounce me around a bit. Our one hour delay soon turned to two. Then three, then four, then five hours. Thankfully the crew busted out free wine and beer. The loud got louder and the quiet got drunk. We learned the life stories of the people in back of us and a little bit about the drug cartel in Mexico that forced our friends on the other side of the isle to move to Arizona. Everyone was yapping in a dozen different languages. The bathrooms ran out of water, the wine ran out and there was no food. After six hours of this crap the plane finally departed for Barcelona. SIX HOURS ON THE RUNWAY GOING NOWHERE. Got to hand it to the British Airlines crew. They were really relaxed and treated everyone well. They kept the booze flowing until they were completely out of stock. The flight to Barcelona was two hours. We arrived after midnight and got to our hotel around 2:00 am.

BRIDGE BAR - HEATHROW AIRPORT, LONDON

BRIDGE BAR
HEATHROW AIRPORT, LONDON

Heathrow Airport in London is a very busy place. Travelers from all over the world make their way through this international hub. Unlike most airports, Heathrow really controls when you go to your gate. They do not post the gate numbers for flights until the flight is actually boarding. This keeps everyone in the main lounge area. Everyone is eating, drinking or just looking at the boards waiting for their flight number and gate to show up. When it is time for your plane to board, the gate number appears. The lounge area is large with a mall of stores and restaurants. We opted for one of the only sit down restaurants in the lounge. It is called the Bridge Bar in Terminal 3. The place was crowded with travelers enjoying a pint of beer or a quick meal. We sat near the bar area and quickly learned that there is no waiter to take your order. You need to go up to the bar and order. Then someone brings the food to your table. I had the house specialty which is fish and chips ($10.45 Euro's). This was a big chunk of beer battered fish served with fries and smashed peas. The fish was actually good and so were the peas. Shirley and a BLT ($5.95 Euro's) which was not too good she said. Keli had a ham and cheese sandwich and seemed to like it. I tried a pint of Carling beer ($3.10 Euro's). It was cold and refreshing. Tasted pretty good too.

Monday, December 21, 2009

DELAYED IN LOS ANGELES

LOS ANGELES DELAY
THE TWO DAY FLIGHT TO BARCELONA

Five hour flight to Los Angeles was smooth and uneventful. Upon arrival in L.A., we were told that our connection to New York was cancelled. The gate agent attempted to book us on a flight out the next morning and then in the middle of doing this decided he had to go somewhere else. He handed us off to the gal next to him who quickly explained that there was a flight out tomorrow she could put us on standby. It was around 1o:00 pm. We were tired and decided to pull our thoughts together in the American Airlines lounge. We sat down very relaxed and asked ourselves what we were going to do. Sleep in the airport and go for the standby flight to New York (which may be cancelled again) or attempt something else. Shirley approached the agent in the lounge and explained that we needed to get to Barcelona. I sat back with Keli and enjoyed a glass of wine and some complimentary sandwiches, cheese and crackers. After about two hours were were first booked on an Air France flight the next morning. Then that flight was not available so they switched us to British Airways flying into London. No guarantees we were told, just be at the terminal first thing in the morning. We left the airport and grabbed a shuttle to the Crown Plaza Hotel. Arrived after midnight to a clean room and slept. We were the very first in line (waited 5 hours) at British Airlines. We were ticketed and got our seats for London. I grabbed a couple of Carne Asada Taco's from the El Paseo Cafe stand above the ticketing counter. Two tacos ($7.80) were quite good. I ate them while standing over our bags at the ticket counter. After a few more hours waiting we were finally in the air for over 10 hours. When we arrived in London, snow was falling and the airport was going into cancellation mode. We had over six hours layover and decided to enjoy lunch in a British Pub.
Heathrow Airport is filled with people from all over the world. People watching at its best here.

TEQUILERIA AT HONOLULU AIRPORT

TEQUILERIA
HONOLULU AIRPORT

You can imagine my surprise when we stumbled upon a Tequileria (Taco Stand) at the Honolulu airport. The placed looked nice and clean so we went in searching for a good Mexican meal before our takeoff to Barcelona. The restaurant overlooks the terminal and many airplanes can be seen from the window. The menu is very limited. Only about 10 or so items total. I asked for chips and salsa and was politely told that it would cost $10. No chips for me. I ordered the Chicken Enchilada Verde which is the house specialty. Two pretty bland chicken tacos served with a green salsa, rice and beans ($12.99). The dish had no cheese which I thought was different. The rice was like Uncle Bens and the Beans were canned. Keli tried the Chicken Quesadillas. These were large chicken and cheese filled tortillas served with some sour creme and frozen quacamole ($11.49). Way too much cheese in these things. Should have just ordered a cold beer here. They looked good and refreshing.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

D.K STEAK HOUSE - HONOLULU, HAWAII

D.K STEAK HOUSE
MARRIOTT HOTEL
HONOLULU, HI

Morton's, Ruth Chris, Wolfgangs......who serves the best steak in Hawaii? After trying them all several times, the verdict is in. The winner is D.K STEAK HOUSE. I have been here many times and twice in the last two weeks. I mixed it up with a visit to Ruth Chris in between my last two visits. While Ruth Chris is good, it does not compare with D.K. The dry aged Paniolo Rib Eye is the most flavorful piece of meat on the Island. Hands down winner. The bomb.


When you enter D.K you are always greeted by smiling employees who quickly seat you. The wait staff is professional. I was seated at the bar waiting for my guests. I ordered a glass of chardonnay. When I took a few drinks of the wine, I made a face because the wine did not taste good. Without hesitation one of the waiters standing in the well asked me how the wine was. I said terrible. He quickly instructed the bartender to give me another drink on the house. I had a cold beer. Back to the steak. There are some very good appetizers on the D.K menu. I love the Black and Blue Ahi ($12.95). Rare seared ahi tuna dusted with cajun spices and served with and hot and spicy mustard sauce. The Steakhouse Crab Cakes are also very good. My problem is that the steak is so big I never have room for appetizers or sides here. I did enjoy the "Ultimate" Caesar Salad as it is called on the menu ($5.95 half order). This is a good Caesar served cold and crisp with shaved parmesan-reggiano cheese on top. We had a plate of anchovies on the side. The Entree menu is quite extensive and features dry aged steaks that are aged 30 days at the restaurant. You can go surf and turf at D.K. They have shrimp, lobster and crab combination plates. The Surf and Turf dinners include soup or salad, vegetable and choice of potato. Prices range from $45 to $65 for the complete meal. Our entire table of four opted for the 22 oz. Paniolo Rib Eye ($39.95). The steak is prepared with a dry rub and served on the bone. The steak comes with two large pieces of grilled Maui onions and creme corn. The flavor is off the hook. The steak cuts like butter and then the flavors explode in your mouth. The combination of the steak, dry rub and Maui onion is heavenly. Every time I eat this steak I don't want to stop. The taste is that good. I have never finished an entire rib eye here. Always take half home. Our entire table was impressed with the rib eye. All four said it was the best steak they have ever eaten. As we completed our meal, the Manager (Ivy) greeted our table and sent over some complimentary home made brownies. Nice finish to a fantastic meal.
TASTE OF HAWAII FAVORITE.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

ANNIVERSARY DINNER

ANNIVERSARY DINNER
DECEMBER 8, 2009
AT HOME WITH KELI

We celebrated our 11th Wedding Anniversary with a quiet dinner at home. This is exactly what we wanted. A relaxing night with family and good food. Shirley did a great job with the lobster tail. It was cooked perfectly and delicious. Our sides included glazed carrots with thyme and sage, lima beans with bacon and shallots and a taboule salad with cucumber, tomato and parsley. I am so blessed to have a wife for 11 years and a beautiful daughter that is the center of our lives.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

HAWAII FOOTBALL TAILGATE PARTY - DEC 5, 2009


U.H. TAILGATE PARTY

ALOHA STADIUM
DEC 5, 2009
HAWAII VS WISCONSIN

We lost the game 51 to 10 but had a great time in the parking lot. How can you go wrong with lobster tails, beef skewers and champagne. The food was delicious.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

ASSAGGIO RISTORANTE ITALIANO - HONOLULU, HAWAII


ASSAGGIO RISTORANTE ITALIANO

HONOLULU, HI

Assaggio is probably one of the best and most consistent Italian restaurants in Hawaii.
I have eaten here dozen of times and really never had a bad meal. The service is always good and the portions are huge. Most entree's run around $16 to $19 bucks for a large portion. I usually opt for the Boneless Julienne Chicken with vegetables served over linguine ($19). I ask for the spicy garlic marinara sauce. It is delicious. We also enjoy the cold Antipasti salad ($9) on every visit. This is a nice salad topped with prosciutto, salami, cheese, picked vegetables, peppers, olives and anchovies. The salad is big and can serve two to three people. The Home Made Vinaigrette dressing is delicious and a perfect compliment to the salad. Shirley always gets the Seafood Combination ($23 Large). Clams, mussels, shrimp and calamari served over a bed of linguine. I have also had some of the best steamed clams here. Fresh Clams Scampi Style goes for $13. Our friend tried the Sicilian Chicken ($17 small). Boneless chicken thighs, pan fried in olive oil and garlic, with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and a light white wine sauce. Served with roasted potatoes. This looked great and our friend said it was delicious.
Our friend Arlene who was enjoying her 71st Birthday enjoyed the Chicken Alla Saltimbocca Romano ($18 small). Boneless chicken breast lightly breaded pan fried in olive oil and then topped with spinach, melted mozzarella cheese, prosciutto ham in a mushroom white wine butter sauce. The Assaggio menu is large and includes everything Italian including steak and veal dishes. There is no pizza.  The wine list is very affordable with most bottles around $30. Assaggio is a sure bet for a good meal at affordable prices. TASTE OF HAWAII FAVORITE.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

HAWAII VS NAVY - TAILGATE PARTY


HAWAII VS NAVY

TAILGATE PARTY
ALOHA STADIUM

You could feel the excitement in the air at this years Hawaii vs Navy Football Game.
Our little tailgate party started off the day with good food and good friends. The menu on this clear and sunny 80 degree day in November consisted of Drew's (now famous) Spicy Chile,
BBQ Pork Ribs, Hot Wings, Spicy Sausage, BBQ Char Siu, Grilled Spicy Shrimp, Fresh Fruit Salad, Shrimp, Crab Salad w/Mango, Sushi Platter and Home Made Apple Pie and Cranberry Bread. Food was great, but the game was better. Hawaii beat Navy 24-17 in one of the best games I have ever seen at Aloha Stadium. Hawaii's defense came to play and impressed everyone who had almost given up on them. GO BOWS!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

HIMALAYAN KITCHEN

HIMALAYAN KITCHEN
HONOLULU, HI

While eating our takeout BBQ from the new Hog Island BBQ joint, a young waiter or manager from an adjoining restaurant approached our table and offered us his business card. He said that we should try Himalayan Kitchen sometime. Since we were not eating the BBQ due to poor taste, I asked to see a menu. Authentic Nepali and Indian Cuisine it proclaimed. Traditional Tandoori Clay Oven cooking, Naan Breads, Curries and lots of Vegetarian Dishes. Since we ate a little of the BBQ I ordered a couple appetizers just to sample the flavors. We had the Naan Bread with garlic and jalapenos, Samosa and a chicken and vegetable dish. The Naan Bread was delicious and served with a cilantro and mint dipping sauce. The bread was spicy and cooked to perfection. The Samosa was like a large Won Ton filled with potatoes, chick peas and curry. It was awesome. The three appetizers cost $20. I would go back here for another order of these. The other dish was also very good, but we were so full we could not eat much. I am going back here again and will try some entree dishes and get better descriptions of the food.

FIVE PALMS - WAILEA MAUI

FIVE PALMS
WAILEA, MAUI

I have been lucky to dine at the Five Palms dozens of times over the past years. It is my #1 spot for lunch with customers on Maui. My friends and I call this place the "Secret Spot" because it is located in a condo complex on one of the most beautiful beaches on Maui. The restaurant is indoor/outdoor (we always sit outdoors) overlooking a beautiful beach and Molokini. In the winter you can watch the humpback whales while enjoying a cold beer. I have had most things on the menu here. My friends say the breakfast is the best on Maui. It is very good. Lunch last week was incredible. I ordered the corn beef sandwich with braised cabbage and swiss cheese. This was hands down one of the best sandwiches I have ever had in my life. Watch the video. I don't want to write about this thing. I just want to go back to Maui and order another one.
A trip to Maui must include a trip to the "Secret Spot". The food, view and service are all great.

HOG ISLAND BBQ - HONOLULU, HAWAII

HOG ISLAND BBQ
HONOLULU, HI

Hawaii really needs a good BBQ restaurant. After 20 years here, I have not found a place for bbq brisket, pulled pork or ribs that would make me go back a second time. When Hog Island BBQ opened just minutes from our house I was excited. I had read several reviews that proclaimed Hog Island as the best BBQ in Hawaii. Four star ratings for food, service, ambiance and value. After reading this we had to try it. First off this is not really a restaurant. Rather a cramped counter with a small wood smoker sitting behind you. There are not seats, no waiters and no beer. Hog Island is basically a take-out window with seating upstairs on a deck. We ordered the Beef Brisket Plate Meal ($8.25). Wood fired Beef Brisket with choice of two sides. I opted for the Pitmaster's Baked Beans which are dried beans soaked over night and then slow cooked with homemade bbq sauce along with brisket and pulled pork bark. My other side was the Cole Slaw w/dried cranberries. Review: the Brisket was a bit dry and lacked a lot of flavor. I dipped the brisket into the bbq sauce and this really helped the flavor. There is a certain spice in the rub that I cannot pick out, but it does not do well with my taste buds. This flavor overwhelms the beef. The sauce is good. The beans were a bit bland and the cole slaw was very good. We also tried a full rack of Baby Back Ribs ($24.75). These ribs are dry rubbed with a spice mixture that includes 29 herbs and spices and then are slow cooked for 12 hours. The verdict on these was mixed. The two children dining loved them. The parents could not eat more than one rib each. The ribs were dry and had that one spice that I don't like. Even dipping them in the bbq sauce didn't save these ribs. Costco ribs are better I am very sad to say. We tried the Chef's Scallop Potatoes with the ribs. Fresh potatoes thinly sliced and then slow cooked for over 2 hours with cream and a blend of 23 spices. To my surprise they use "no cheese" in the potatoes. I liked the Scalloped Potatoes, but would not make a special trip to eat them. Hog Island also sells BBQ Sandwiches; Beef Brisket, Pulled Pork, Chicken Breast and a Philly Style Beef Brisket. These run around $7 to $9. Will try the pulled pork on my next visit.
Dining here is nice because you take your food upstairs to a rooftop deck. There are about four tables.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

KELI THIRD GRADE

KELI IS OFF TO THIRD GRADE
HONOLULU, HAWAII

When we first brought Keli home from the hospital after being born, everyone that saw her told us to enjoy every moment of her childhood because it goes by so fast. How right they are. Eight years seems like an instant and here we are taking her off to Third Grade class.

HAWAII' I PONO' I

HAWAI' I PONO 'I
OFFICIAL SONG OF THE STATE OF HAWAII
STAN SHERIFF CENTER, UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII
HONOLULU, HI

We caught this rendition of the Hawaii State Song at a recent University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine Volleyball Game at the the Stan Sheriff Center. This 13 year old did a nice job.
Hawai 'I Pono 'I was written by King David Kalakaua and is played at most sporting events along with our National Anthem.

Hawaii ponoi Nana ikou, mai
kalani Alii, ke Alii
Makua Lani e Kamehameha e
Na kaua e pale Me ka i he

Translation:

Hawaii's own true sons, be loyal to your chief
Your country's liege and lord, the Alii
Father above us all, Kamehameha
Who guarded in the war with this ihe

Alii (ah-lee-ee) sovereign
ihe (ee-hay) spear

Saturday, September 26, 2009

VINO ITALIAN TAPAS & WINE BAR

VINO ITALIAN TAPAS & WINE BAR
HONOLULU, HAWAII

VINO ITALIAN TAPAS & WINE BAR - PART 2

VINO ITALIAN TAPAS AND WINE BAR
HONOLULU, HAWAII

VINO ITALIAN TAPAS & WINE BAR - PART 3

VINO ITALIAN TAPAS AND WINE BAR
HONOLULU, HAWAII

VINO ITALIAN TAPAS & WINE BAR - PART 4

VINO ITALIAN TAPAS & WINE BAR
HONOLULU, HAWAII

NOODLE ASIA - VENETIAN HOTEL, LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

NOODLE ASIA
VENETIAN HOTEL
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

LA SALSA CANTINA - LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

LA SALSA CANTINA
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

We were cruising through the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas looking for something to eat for lunch. As we turned a corner I saw Mexican food and had to go in.
I tried the Chicken Enchiladas and my friend had the Burrito. Both were huge and pretty good but the prices were high. About $15 each. The four salsa's with chips was a great side for $5.

Monday, September 21, 2009

CARNEVINO RESTAURANT - LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

CARNEVINO - PART 2
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

CARNEVINO RESTAURANT - LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

CARNEVINO
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

Mario Batali opened an Italian Steakhouse in Las Vegas called Carnevino. I saw a review on the place and it looked fantastic. There are dozens of great steakhouses in Las Vegas. To choose this place for friends and have it not be great would be a disaster. We made the reservation and hoped for the best. The restaurant is located in the Venetian Hotel Pallazo. This is a beautiful section of shops and restaurants adjacent to the hotel. Carnevino is pretty big in size. There are several different dining rooms. We were seated in the back area where there is very little ambiance. The service was o.k., but lacked total organization and inconsistent. For example, the waiters poured olive oil and sprinkled salt on some of the steaks but not on the others. The wine guy seemed not to know the menu too well. This was sad because the lowest priced wines start above $200 per bottle. This means your wine tab may easily exceed your food tab. The wine list is very extensive and showcases dozens of Italian wines. The prices go up to $5000 per bottle. The wine is decanted and served in beautiful large stemware. Wine service was good. The food here really made the meal. We all ordered the Dry Aged Ribeye ($65 per person). This steak was served on a large chopping block at the table. The steak is on the bone and the bone is huge. The waiter cuts the steak at the table and serves each person. The bone is left on the table with enough meat on it to serve another person. This was hands down the best steak I have ever eaten. It was charred to perfection on the outside and pink and moist on the inside. Pure heaven. The steak on the bone was awesome. I cut pieces off and enjoyed the charred and fatty meat off the bone. The meat is seasoned with sea salt, black pepper and fresh rosemary. We also enjoyed the Chopped Salad. This was an o.k. salad with beans, pepperocini and parmigiano cheese. For sides we had the mashed potatoes. These are served with an egg and sliced bacon. This was delicious. The green beans were standard. I HIGHLY recommend Carnevino. Show up here with a big appetite and bigger wallet.
Click link below for Part 2:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

HOT AND JUICY CRAWFISH - LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

HOT AND JUICY CRAWFISH
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

Hot & Juicy Crawfish was featured on the Travel Channel series called Man VS Food. In this episode the t.v. host went back into the kitchen to show how the crawfish were prepared. I was glued to the television as the chef/owner prepared the crawfish in a super secret blend of spices. The process is slow and ends with the crawfish being placed in a bag to steam in all the flavor as it is delivered to the table. When the crawfish were served they looked amazing and the host explained the intense flavor and heat. After having the best crawfish in my life in Beijing, I told myself that I must go to this place if ever in Las Vegas. Well, the University of Hawaii just happened to have a football against Las Vegas this week. I wrote down the address and phone number of this restaurant and headed for Sin City. When I arrived I told my two friends that I wanted to go to a crawfish restaurant. One said he would pass and the other said lets go. We jumped a cab from the Bellagio hotel and around 15 minutes later we ended up in a strip mall just past Chinatown in Las Vegas. There was the sign: Hot & Juicy Crawfish. My heart was pounding. Half of me was excited and the other was thinking that my friend Corey would be disappointed and hate me for bringing him here. Oh well, we are here and have to give it a try. We entered the place to find a half empty restaurant with people wearing bibs. To my surprise we were greeted by the same waitress that was on the Man VS Food episode on television. I told her that I saw the show and she said that she was the one teaching the host how to eat the crawfish. She then explained the menu in detail. We ordered a couple of beers and then the food that would forever remain in our minds and stomach. In a sentence, this is one of the best meals of my entire life. Pure two hours of shellfish heaven. My pal Corey agreed and we enjoyed a bounty of seafood fit for a King. We had two pounds of King Crab Legs ($41.90), two pounds of crawfish ($19.98), two pounds of Blue Crab ($19.98), a half dozen Oysters ($7.99) plus some sausage ($2.75) and corn and potatoes. The two pounds of crawfish was amazing. Soaked in hot sauce and garlic and served in a bag steaming with flavor. We ordered our dishes with the Hot & Juicy Special seasoning. This is a combination of Louisiana Style, Juicy Cajun, Garlic Butter and Lemon Pepper. You can order with the combination of sauces or just on sauce. We went for the gusto and were very happy. Just enough heat to keep the beer flowing and enough flavor to keep you coming back for more. The King Crab was soaked in the combination sauce. The legs were large and meaty. Hands down the best crab ever. Corey loved the Blue Crab. While it took a lot of work to get the meat out, when you did the flavor was fantastic. I found myself picking up the smallest pieces of Blue Crab and savoring the flavor. The bag of crawfish included pieces of corn and potato that were soaked in the spicy sauce. This was the best corn in the world. Wow...this was an amazing meal that I wish everyone who loves seafood could enjoy. When in Las Vegas you must visit Hot & Juicy Crawfish.

HOT AND JUICY CRAWFISH - LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

HOT AND JUICY CRAWFISH - PART 2
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

HOT AND JUICY CRAWFISH - LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

HOT AND JUICY  SPICY CRAWFISH - PART 3
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

HOT AND JUICY CRAWFISH - LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

HOT AND JUICY CRAWFISH - PART 4
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

Sunday, September 13, 2009

SIDE STREET INN


SIDE STREET INN

HONOLULU, HI

Side Street is one of the best hidden gems in Honolulu. This popular bar/restaurant is the bomb if you like to eat family style and enjoy a lot of different plates with a cold beer or glass of wine. The Fried Rice alone is worth a visit. It is filled with meat and hands down the best in town. The Spinach Salad is also the best in town. Everyone loves Fried Pork Chops, huge steaks and the Kalua Pork Sliders. Pork with a slice of pineapple sandwiched between two buns and topped with a sweet sauce. We tried a whole fresh fish and it was fantastic on this visit. Side Street is always busy but the veteran wait staff is friendly and on the ball. They keep bringing the dishes and beverages with a smile. I love to take out of town guests here. They all seem to love the local atmosphere and great food.

MENCHIES FROZEN YOGURT

MENCHIES FROZEN YOGURT
HONOLULU, HI

JOSE'S MEXICAN RESTAURANT

JOSE'S MEXICAN RESTAURANT
HONOLULU, HI

Finding good Mexican food in Hawaii is nearly impossible. No one gets it quite right. Joses is close to home and does a pretty good job. I like the taco's, but they are a bit expensive. ($13) for three. They seem to have gotten smaller over the years. I get the shredded chicken and beef. We also tried the fish taco this visit. It was just o.k. Joses is a great place for a cold beer, chips and salsa and some Mexican food. I would go here more often if my family would let me. They can only take so much Mexican. I could eat it every day and be happy.
Click links below for more posts on Jose's Mexican Restaurant;

TREETOPS AT PARADISE PARK


TREETOPS RESTAURANT

PARADISE PARK, HI

When the little woman suggested we take a hike on Labor Day, I suggested Manoa Falls and Paradise Park which are only a few short miles from our home near the University of Hawaii. After we finished the hike which is approximately two hours we decided to have lunch at the base of the trail. There is a restaurant called Treetops overlooking the dense forrest in a park that was called Paradise many years ago. The park has been closed for many years but the restaurant remains. The place is old and dated. The space is huge and mostly empty. It was difficult to get seated because there are only a handful of employees that do everything. Once we found the manager/owner he quickly greeted us with a smile and sat us at a window seat. He brought us a picture of water and directed us to the buffet. The lunch consists of an all you can eat buffet for $11.50. Our favorite items were the bbq ribs and tempura. The ribs were meaty and fell off the bone delicious. Everyone loved the tempura. A very light batter over shrimp and fresh vegetables. There was also fish, salads, sweet and sour pork, noodles and fried rice. Not a bad spread for eleven bucks. The owner was a really nice guy who is working his tail off to keep this place open. I want to go back just to support him and his family, but the food is good too.

BUCCA DI BEPPO - HONOLULU, HAWAII

BUCCA DI BEPPO
HONOLULU, HI

One of my favorite places for pizza and a salad. The Antipasto Salad and Pizza Margherita are my favorites. The Chopped Antipasto ($12.99 small) is filled with provolone cheese, pepperoni, red onion, peppers and feta and gorgonzola cheese. The Pizza Margherita ($12.99 small) is my all time favorite in Hawaii. Thin crust with sauce, mozzarella cheese and basil. That is it. Pure and simple. DELICIOUS. This meal serves a family of three for around $25. Not bad in Hawaii.

Monday, September 7, 2009

PEKING DUCK IN BEIJING - BEIJING, CHINA

PEKING DUCK IN BEIJING - PART 2

PEKING DUCK IN BEIJING - PART 3

PEKING DUCK IN BEIJING - PART 5

PEKING DUCK IN BEIJING - PART 7

PEKING DUCK IN BEIJING - PART 8

PEKING DUCK IN BEIJING - PART 9

PEKING DUCK IN BEIJING - PART 10

PEKING DUCK IN BEIJING - PART 11

PEKING DUCK IN BEIJING - PART 12

PEKING DUCK IN BEIJING - THE END

PEKING DUCK IN BEIJING

Saturday, August 29, 2009

THE SILK MARKET - BEIJING, CHINA

THE SILK MARKET
BEIJING, CHINA

THE SILK MARKET - BEIJING, CHINA

THE SILK MARKET
BEIJING, CHINA

THE SILK MARKET - BEIJING, CHINA

THE SILK MARKET
BEIJING, CHINA

THE SILK MARKET - BEIJING, CHINA

THE SILK MARKET
BEIJING, CHINA

PIZZA IN BEIJING - THE SILK MARKET

PIZZA IN BEIJING
LUNCH AT THE SILK MARKET

CHINESE TOILET

CHINESE TOILET


Words cannot describe some of the toilets in China. They are holes in the ground. You must squat down and do your business in the hole. The area around the hole is usually filthy and there is no toilet paper. 

PENINSULA BEIJING ROOM SERVICE

ROOM SERVICE
PENINSULA HOTEL, BEIJING

OUTBACK STEAK HOUSE - BEIJING, CHINA

SEARCHING FOR A STEAK
IN BEIJING, CHINA

OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE - BEIJING, CHINA

OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE
BEIJING, CHINA

BEIJING STREET FOOD

BEIJING STREET FOOD

COLD BEER IN BEIJING

COLD BEER IN BEIJING

COLD BEER AND LOUSY PUPU'S

COLD BEERS AND LOUSY PUPU'S
BEIJING MALL

THE GREAT WALL - PART 4

THE GREAT WALL
PART 4

THE GREAT WALL - PART 3

THE GREAT WALL
PART 3

THE GREAT WALL - PART 2

THE GREAT WALL
PART 2

Monday, August 24, 2009

WORLD'S GREATEST CRAWFISH - BEIJING, CHINA

WORLD'S GREATEST CRAWFISH - BEIJING, CHINA

WORLD'S GREATEST AND HOTTEST CRAWFISH
MAD DOG & DINA FALL IN LOVE

WORLD'S GREATEST CRAWFISH - BEIJING, CHINA

WORLD'S GREATEST AND HOTTEST CRAWFISH
PART 3

WORLD'S GREATEST CRAWFISH - BEIJING, CHINA

WORLD'S GREATEST AND HOTTEST CRAWFISH
PART 2

WORLD'S GREATEST CRAWFISH - BEIJING, CHINA

WORLD'S GREATEST AND HOTTEST CRAWFISH
BEIJING, CHINA

This was one of the best and hottest meals of my life. The crawfish were filled with flavor and a very hot and addicting spice. These things made your face burn from your nose down to your chin. Even with the pain you could not stop eating them. Simply fantastic. The crawfish were served in a spicy sauce filled with garlic, ginger and peppers. To accompany the meal we had a huge order of crab and a vegetable dish with mushrooms. The veggies were fresh and also very spicy. The local tap beer here was also great and the perfect companion to the spicy crawfish. We spent several hours consuming our huge pan of crawfish. The huge order cost about US$18. This served three, but could have easily served six. We forced ourselves to eat them all because they were so good. Mad Dog went crazy eating these babies. After I threw in the towel, the Dog stepped up and downed the last fifteen crawfish solo. I cannot wait to return to this restaurant. One of the best meals ever!

DINNER ON GHOST STREET

DINNER ON GHOST STREET
BEIJING, CHINA

Thursday, August 20, 2009

GREAT LUNCH IN BEIJING

GREAT LUNCH IN BEIJING
NEAR FORBIDDEN CITY

OLYMPIC VILLAGE - BEIJING, CHINA

OLYMPIC VILLAGE
BEIJING, CHINA

THE WATER CUBE - CHINESE HOT DOG

THE WATER CUBE - CHINESE HOT DOG
BEIJING, CHINA

After being denied water, soda and a dog at the Bird's Nest, it was pure heaven to find hot dogs at the Water Cube. The Chinese way of serving is great. They spread a little ketchup and mustard on the dog and hand it to you. Everyone gets the same dog. There is no choice. This speeds up service and eliminates a condiment stand. The dog was not half bad. As we left the Water Cube a huge rain storm erupted. People were packed into the cube waiting for the rain to stop. Our guide had some umbrellas so we took a chance and ran out of the place to hail down a cab. We got soaked. There was 3 inches of rain on the ground so all of our shoes and socks got wet. We ran across the street and were lucky to grab a cab. The rain stopped shortly thereafter as we arrived at the hotel.

THE WATER CUBE - INSIDE

THE WATER CUBE - INSIDE
BEIJING, CHINA

Once inside the Water Cube you can stroll around and sit in the seats. There is a large souvenir shop and several concession stands. Much better than the Bird's Nest that has nothing. The Water Cube is impressive even without swimmers or divers. The colors are beautiful. You can actually swim in the warm up pool that is adjacent to the main pool where Michael Phelps won his eight gold medals. They play some Olympic highlight videos on the wide screens but it would be better if they showed the actual swimming and diving events.

THE WATER CUBE - BEIJING, CHINA

THE WATER CUBE
BEIJING, CHINA

The Water Cube is an awesome structure whether you see it during the day or at night. We did both and loved it. The crowds entering the Cube during the day are huge. Ticket lines are long and hot. Once you have the ticket you can jet right in and spend as much time as you want viewing the swimming and diving pools. The Cube is located between the Bird's Nest and Olympic Stadium where the gymnastics were held.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

THE WATER CUBE AT NIGHT

THE WATER CUBE AT NIGHT
BEIJING, CHINA

The Water Cube at night is absolutely beautiful. It is a rare architectural wonder that comes to life when the sun goes down. The crowds in the square surrounding the Cube are huge. Streets are blocked off to vehicle traffic so the entire Olympic square becomes a pedestrian area. Really nice.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

THE BIRD'S NEST - OLYMPIC STADIUM AT NIGHT

THE BIRD'S NEST
INSIDE THE OLYMPIC STADIUM

THE BIRD'S NEST - OLYMPIC STADIUM

THE BIRD'S NEST
OLYMPIC STADIUM

The Bird's Nest is a sight to behold. It is an awesome structure. After watching the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics the Bird's Nest was forever forged in my mind and spirit. Being here was a true experience that I will never forget. The world fell in love with the Bird's Nest and so did I. To have the opportunity to walk into the stadium and watch a sporting event was a blessing. We were in the Bird's Nest one year to the day of the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics. The event was a soccer game between two legendary teams from Italy. The sights and sounds were beautiful, but the feeling was so uncomfortable. The Bird's Nest has no ventilation or airflow. It was hot and humid with no air. The seats are small and pressed together with less than 12" isles. You literally cannot walk through the isles unless everyone stands up. The place is far worse than the Swamp in Florida. It was difficult to sit down. Everyone stood up to attempt to get air and not touch the person next to them. They do not serve food at the Bird's Nest. No food, no soda and very little water. They sell a chinese version of Red Bull at a few stands. You would have to wait in line over an hour to get a bottle of the stuff or a water. There are no stands to buy souvenirs. No hot dogs, no beer, no coke, no nachos, no dim sum. NOTHING. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Everyone who watched the Olympics from their home was lucky. Believe me, you would not want to be in this joint for 3-4 hours. Looks good on t.v., but in reality is a torture chamber.

THE PENINSULA HOTEL - BEIJING, CHINA

THE PENINSULA HOTEL
BEIJING, CHINA

The Peninsula Beijing is a luxury sanctuary in the heart of Beijing. This five star hotel includes their own mini-mall of luxury high end stores. The clientele is upscale Beijing locals and tourists from around the world. While the front desk and concierge are a bit too stuck up, I find this place to be comfortable and relaxing. The lobby bar has music in the late afternoon and evening and after a day or two the waitress knew me by name and drink preference. She brought me a cold towel and the Asian Wall Street Journal daily and treated me with the upmost respect. The upscale shops take up three floors and people are actually buying things. The well dressed Beijing crowd seem to love this place. We enjoyed many cocktails and some sandwiches in the lobby. The prices are a bit high. You can walk two blocks down the street to a great mall with beautiful walkways and outdoor bars. There is a Whole Foods type market where we purchased beer, wine and snacks for our rooms. You can walk to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.  The hotel has a beautiful spa and large indoor pool.

TRAIN FROM SHANGHAI TO NINGBO AND THE CHICKEN

SHANGHAI TO NINGBO
THE TRAIN RIDE

We traveled from Shanghai to Ningbo by train. The trip began at 5:30 a.m. which meant we had to be up and out of the hotel by 4:30 a.m. This meant basically staying up all night. The train ride took over four hours. We were tired when we arrived in Ningbo but still attended a business meeting and lunch that lasted most of the day. Ningbo is a very nice city. Only wish we could have spent more time here.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Y'S TABLE - LUNCH IN SHANGHAI, CHINA 2

Y'S TABLE
SHANGHAI, CHINA
PART 2

Y'S TABLE - LUNCH IN SHANGHAI, CHINA

YI'S TABLE
SHANGHAI, CHINA

While walking around the Pudong area of Shanghai we wanted to visit the World Financial Center which is the tallest building in the City and one of the tallest in the world. The building is spectacular with a huge arch on the top. Truly a sight to behold. In the basement is a food court where we enjoyed one of our best meals in China. The Caesar Salad was the best. A build your own venture with fresh lettuce, anchovies and parmesan cheese. The dressing was light and tasty. The absolute perfect combination for a Caesar. The chicken dish we enjoyed was out of this world. One of the best chicken dishes ever. The chef would not give us the recipe. We met some highly educated liberals from California here. Even they could not spoil this great meal.

MC DONALDS BIG MAC IN SHANGHAI

BIG MAC
SHANGHAI, CHINA

I have visited China four times now. After three days maximum, I must eat a Big Mac. The feeling of enjoying an American burger is beautiful. You have to live in the smells and tastes of Asia to know this feeling. In 10 days this trip I consumed three Big Macs. This is more than I eat in a year in Hawaii.

JIN MAO TOWER - SHANGHAI, CHINA

JIN MAO TOWER
SHANGHAI, CHINA

Built in 1998 as a China/American joint venture the Jin Mao Tower is the third tallest building in China at 1379 feet. This is one of the most stunning architectural structures I have ever seen. I can look at this building for hours and not get bored. I was in Shanghai during it's construction and could not believe the beauty of the design. This building is a wonder. We ventured to the top and could not see two feet in front of us. We were literally in the clouds with absolutely zero visibility. It did not matter that we could not enjoy the view. Just being in this building was a treat. It is without question an architectural gem not to be missed.

PEARL OF THE ORIENT TOWER, SHANGHAI, CHINA 3

PEARL OF THE ORIENT TOWER, SHANGHAI, CHINA 2

PEARL OF THE ORIENT TV TOWER
SHANGHAI CHINA - PART 2

ORIENTAL PEARL TV TOWER - SHANGHAI, CHINA

ORIENTAL PEARL TV TOWER
SHANGHAI, CHINA

Built in 1994 at a height of 1550 feet, this grey tower with pink spheres (meant to resemble pearls) is hailed as Asia's tallest TV tower and the third tallest in the world. The view from above is awesome and the restaurant serves some nice cold brews and good food. We enjoyed the views for hours. The top tower rotates so you can see all of the city, rivers and stunning architecture.

YAN'AN DONG LU TUNNEL - SHANGHAI, CHINA

YAN'AN DONG LU TUNNEL
SHANGHAI, CHINA

We stayed on the Bund in Shanghai. Directly across the Huangpu River is the Pudong area. This is a new and vibrant part of the city with some of the most beautiful buildings in the world. To get across the river we jumped in a people mover for the quick ten minute or less ride to Pundong.

HOOTERS - SHANGHAI, CHINA

HOOTERS
SHANGHAI, CHINA

We ventured into a huge mall in the Pudong (New Area) in East Shanghai. To get to Pudong, you must go over a bridge, through a tunnel or cross the Huangpu River by boat. We opted for the underwater tram and were in total awe when we emerged into one of the coolest cities on earth. Among our finds was a Hooters. We stepped in for a cold brew and some hot wings. They offer a "chinese hot" wing that is unlike anything you get in the States. The wings are served skinless or with skin on. We went skinless and ordered them up with the "chinese hot" sauce. This is a dry type rub of hot peppers that taste great. The heat was more intense than any hot wing I have ever eaten. Super hot with great flavor. Me and the Dog could not finish them off. We were burning up.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

WORLD'S BEST DUMPLINGS IN SHANGHAI

WORLD'S BEST DUMPLINGS
SOMEWHERE IN SHANGHAI

We were given a note from the employees of a Shanghai Coffee house. The note contained the name and address of a very famous dumpling restaurant in Shanghai. We went there not knowing what to expect. Once we arrived some locals assisted us in ordering. The cost was 20 yuan for two. This equates to about $3.50. After observing our lack of knowledge, the people next to us told us to pop a hole in the dumpling and drink the juice. This was all by hand gestures because no one in the joint spoke english. We were in a totally different world and loved it. We would have stayed and ate more, but they did not serve beer. Hands down the best dumpling I have ever eaten in my life.

THE COPA COFFEE HOUSE - SHANGHAI, CHINA

COPA COFFEE HOUSE
SHANGHAI, CHINA

Me and Mad Dog were walking down the street near the Westin Bund Center. We saw a sign that said "bar" so we walked on over. Upon further examination of the sign it read "coffee bar". Laughing out loud we walked in and found warm beer and some good wine from Chile. The staff spoke little english. there were four male coffee tenders and a few waitresses. Me and Dog were the only customers so we enjoyed great service. We attempted to communicate but there was very little english spoken among the staff. We did get a piece of paper with the name and address of the worlds best dumplings restaurant written in chinese. We handed the note to a cab driver and ended up in dumpling heaven. We tipped the four boys heavily because they stood at attention behind the bar for over an hour. We returned the next day to have lunch and thank them for the dumpling restaurant tip. Again it was difficult to communicate but we had a great time. They make a great club sandwich here. They add an egg to the standard version.

THE BUND BREWERY - SHANGHAI, CHINA

THE BUND BREWERY
SHANGHAI, CHINA

We literally stumbled into this place and found a good cold brew that was perfect for the hot and humid Shanghai nights.

THE WESTIN SHANGHAI, CHINA

THE WESTIN
SHANGHAI, CHINA

The Westin Shanghai is a great hotel located near the Bund. It is a five star property with four star service. The rooms are nice and clean. My only complaint is that the employees do not give the attention or service like the Peninsula Manila. There is a great wine tasting party on the first Tuesday of each month. For about US$15 you can drink from 6 or 7 different wine booths. The price includes heavy pupu's and a chance to meet the hotel manager, food and beverage manager, executive chef and other employees. The wine flows freely from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Me and the Dog wore aloha shirts and shorts while others were wearing suits and their Sunday best. I enjoyed our stay at the Westin and would stay here again in the future

PHILIPPINE AIRLINES - MANILA TO BEIJING

PHILIPPINE AIRLINES
MANILA TO SHANGHAI

i

JOHN AND YOKU RESTAURANT - MAKATI, PHILIPPINES

JOHN AND YOKO
MAKATI, MANILA

This place was actually discovered by Shirley as she was walking through the mall in Makati. She saw good looking girls in boots and mini skirts and thought it would be the perfect hang out for Mad Dog. Boy was she correct. John and Yoko serves great sushi, but it is the servers who get your attention. We dined on a variety of sushi. The best was a grilled mango wrapped with a thinly sliced and seared piece of ahi sashimi. The combination of mango and ahi was incredible. We all loved the dish. This type of hip and cool sushi restaurant would do well in Hawaii. Especially if they kept the uniforms and the gals.

PIADINA PIZZA - MAKATI, MANILA

PIADINA PIZZA
MAKATI, MANILA

I have been eating at Piadina every trip to Manila for about ten years. It is located in the Glorietta Mall across from the Peninsula Hotel. A quick walk across the street and you are in an air conditioned mall with many food choices. I choose Piadina because they make a great Pizza and serve cold beer for cheap. The pizza is around $5. The Pizza Mahgerita consists of a thin crust, tomato sauce and basil. That is it. The tables are outside on the mall which gives you a great view of the shoppers. It is a great place to people watch and spend some time in Manila. The place gets packed during lunch where the locals enjoy a chicken and pasta combo for about $3.




PENINSULA HOTEL MANILA - SONG FOR SHIRLEY

PENINSULA HOTEL
SONG FOR SHIRLEY

While dating Shirley I would always ask the band to play the Oceans Apart song. It really had meaning when we lived thousands of miles from each other in two different countries. We played the song at our wedding reception at the Peninsula. Here it is over ten years later and I asked the band to play our song. They did it without question and brought tears to my eyes.

THE PENINSULA HOTEL - SEAFOOD BUFFET 2

THE PENINSULA HOTEL - SEAFOOD BUFFET

THE PENINSULA HOTEL
SEAFOOD BUFFET

WOW......If you are in Manila on Friday or Saturday night, you must try the Seafood Buffet at the Peninsula Hotel. Just the cold section of salads, seafood and sushi are worth the price of around US$30. There are oysters, shrimp, lobster, sushi, salads, cheeses and much more. Me and Dog loved the cheese platter. The smoked fish was also terrific. The hot line had everything from ribs, steak, fish, chicken, salmon and prime rib. There is so much to choose from plus absolutely terrific deserts. The spread is simply amazing. We stayed at the buffet for several hours and enjoyed the symphony of music and a bottle of wine. One of the greatest evenings of my life.

THE PENINSULA HOTEL - LUNCH

THE PENINSULA HOTEL
LUNCH IN THE LOBBY

The Pen serves up a large selection of lunch items. Everything from Rack of Lamb, to burgers, dogs, pasta, sandwiches, salads, steak, pizza and many Filipino favorites. Throw in a ice cold Super Dry Beer and you have the perfect lunch in a beautiful place. The live solo piano player during lunch is fantastic. Plays all the favorites and fills the lobby with happiness.

THE PENINSULA HOTEL - BREAKFAST 2

THE PENINSULA HOTEL - BREAKFAST

PENINSULA MANILA
BREAKFAST BUFFET

Most room packages include a free buffet breakfast for two each day during your stay. Whether you want just coffee and fruit or a full blown breakfast with made to order egg and omelet bar, the Peninsula Buffet has it all. The breakfast is very international to accommodate the many nationalities of the hotel visitors.

THE PENINSULA HOTEL - LOBBY

PENINSULA HOTEL LOBBY
MANILA, PHILIPPINES

The lobby of the Peninsula Manila is one of the greatest places on earth. It is truly one of my favorite spots to hang out. This is the lobby where Shirley worked when we first met over tens years ago. We held our wedding reception in the upper lobby. I can spend days in this hotel without ever leaving. It is just that good.

THE PENINSULA HOTEL - MANILA

THE PENINSULA HOTEL
MANILA, PHILIPPINES

In my opinion, The Peninsula Hotel in Manila is the finest hotel in the World. It is a sanctuary of relaxation in the middle of a very large and sometimes dirty city. Located in Makati, The Peninsula is walking distance to some of the best shopping and dining spots in the city. What I like most about the Peninsula is the great service. Every employee in the hotel recognizes you and says hello or goodbye 24 hours a day. Service here is genuine and at a level not seen at any other Peninsula or five star hotel in America or Asia. I love the grand lobby with it's towering ceiling and open air feel. Most of the day and night there is live music that fills the lobby with sounds of joy. I can sit in the lobby for hours. Eating, reading, talking or just people watching. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and super ice cream creations are served in the lobby. It is the gathering place for the Manila elite and for common folks who just want to enjoy the beauty of one of the greatest hotels on earth. I love the Peninsula Manila. This is where I stayed all the years I was courting and visiting Shirley. Our wedding reception was held on the second story of the lobby. Truly magical then and now.  Security is very tight in all of Manila. All vehicles are screened by security and bomb sniffing dogs prior to entering the driveway fronting the lobby. Prior to entering the hotel more bomb sniffing dogs check you and your bags. There is then a metal detector, body scan and search of hand held items. The entire process is quick and efficient. You encounter the same type of security when entering malls in Manila. Guards and metal detectors are everywhere.

THRILLA IN MANILA - THE FLIGHT

THE THRILLA IN MANILA
AUGUST 2009

Honolulu to Manila, Philippines via Hawaiian Airlines. This is a 10 hour direct flight that was made enjoyable by fantastic flight attendants and upgrades from years of saving up Hawaiian Airlines miles. This trip included several days at the Peninsula Hotel in Manila and a ten day visit to Shanghai, Ningbo and Beijing in China. Joining us on the trip is Gary "Mad Dog" Derks.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

KELI IN TRAINING

KELI IN TRAINING
July 2009 Swimming Lesson
Oahu Club, Hawaii

SIDE STREET INN - HONOLULU

SIDE STREET INN
HONOLULU, HI

Welcome to a new version of my blog complete with video. I picked up a Flip Video Device that is about the size off a cell phone. It fits in your pocket and shoots high definition video with a touch of a button. The video is easily downloaded onto the computer. You can make and send a video in a matter of minutes. There are no tapes or memory cards either. This will allow me to shoot video clips when we travel and dine.  Turn down a back street near Ala Moana Center and you find a little gem housed between a bunch of seedy bars. Forget about parking here. There just is not much around. Lucky they offer a valet right in front for $5.00. The valet workers are courteous and fast. Once you enter Side Street you will notice that it is an odd shaped place. The tables go from room to room in different shapes. There are flat screen tv's everywhere playing sports. You can sit at the bar and order food or drinks. I like the booths for a little privacy. This is a hot spot with people constantly coming in and going out. The waitresses are all veterans and know how to work in a fast paced environment. They smile and really provide excellent service given how busy they are. The food is without compare. Most of the items are large portions and are meant to be shared. At Side Street you just order a bunch of plates and eat family style with everyone having a little bit of everything. This trip we ordered the Spinach Salad. A huge mound of spinach topped with large chunks of bacon, onion, egg and shredded mozzarella cheese. Add a great tasting dressing and you have what could be the best spinach salad in town. The fried rice is definitely the best in town. A huge bowl of perfectly cooked rice jam packed with ham, pork, portuguese sausage, carrots, onions and then topped with sliced green onion. Simply amazing and always enough to bring home extra for tomorrows breakfast. We tried the Escargot with puff pastry. Large snails stuffed into a mushroom cap and then smothered in garlic and cheese. Sinful but delicious. The Pork Sliders were off the hook good. Kalua Pork stuffed in a chinese style bun and topped with bbq sauce and a slice of pineapple. You get three for around $9. Awesome! If you just want to enjoy a cold beer and some stick to your ribs local food. This is the place to go.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

BUFFALO WILD WINGS - HONOLULU, HAWAII




BUFFALO WILD WINGS
HONOLULU, HI

I have been waiting a year for Buffalo Wild Wings to open. While I have never been to one on the mainland, the thought of a good beer and wing joint in Hawaii was exciting. We ventured out on a Saturday night (5:00) to get our first taste of a Buffalo Wild Wing. The Honolulu location is on Ala Moana Boulevard on the second story of Discovery Bay. A tough location for any restaurant. Parking in the building is $1.00 for four hours. The lot is very tight and not meant for large trucks or SUV's. Despite the parking we arrived to find a line out the door. The wait was over one hour we were told by the host. I was not going to stand around for an hour just to try some wings so we left and returned on a Sunday around noon. Much better. There was no wait and the place was about half empty. We were seated in a booth surrounded by flat screen t.v.'s. There must be 40-50 flat screens in the joint. They are everywhere. Sports of all kinds to watch while you sip your cold brew and chew on some wings. The restaurant is very large with a small bar in the back. The ceilings and floor are black and lighting is minimal. This is probably so you can see the t.v.'s without glare. It works. The pictures are great. We reviewed the menu which includes burgers, ribs, fried shrimp, salads, pulled pork and chicken sandwiches, flatbreads and other fried bar food. I was here for the wings and went directly to the wing choices. You can order your wings standard or boneless. There are 14 different wing sauces to choose from: Sweet BBQ, Teriyaki, Mild, Parmesan Garlic, Medium, Honey BBQ, Spicy Garlic, Asian Zing, Caribbean Jerk, Hot BBQ, Hot, Mango Habanero, Wild and Blazin. We went for the hot wings and ordered (6) each of the Hot, Mango Habanero and Wild. I held back on the hottest version until I sampled these. The wings are about $1 each. They come with bleu cheese or ranch dressing and celery according to the menu. We did not receive any celery on any of our orders. The wings are very small with just a little bit of meat. The Hot wings were covered in a red sauce and had the best flavor and a late kick heat that was good. The Mango Habanero had some heat but were really sweet. I did not like the sweet taste and moved onto the "Wild" wings. The Wild wings differ from the "Hot" wings a bit because there is not as much sauce on the Wild version. The heat comes slowly. With these three versions down, I asked the waitress to bring six of the "Blazin" wings. These are the hottest available and come with a warning to keep away from your eyes, pets and body parts. There is a warning sticker on the paper basket they serve them in. The waitress said good luck and I dug in with a knife and fork. You could smell the heat on these babies. The first bite reminded me of habanero peppers. The heat came fast and continued. After two I was hot. My mouth was on fire. The third one went down and I threw in the towel. I had met my heat limit for the day. Next time I will stick to the "Hot" and "Wild" and go at night so I can enjoy some of the ice cold Coors they were pushing on special. UPDATE: Went back on week night and had terrific service. The wings came out fast and included celery. Knocked back a few cold brews and they were great. Tried the flatbread. It is like a pizza served on a flour tortilla. We had it with chicken and wing sauce. It was good but had way too much cheese on it. Three people at the table could not take all the cheese. We left 3/4 of the thing on the table. Not worth taking home. I would order again but tell the waiter to go very easy on the cheese. The wings were really good the second time. I decided that the "hot" wings were the perfect combo of flavor and heat.