Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Lumihai BeachWhen this post goes live J. and I will be lying on a beach in Hawaii. We have 7 days and nights of relaxation planned or not planned as the case may be in Kauai. Though we don’t have any activities planned, besides lying on the beach, we do have our food plans well and truly under control.

As I have mentioned previously, J. is more often than not in charge of our eating arrangements when we travel. He researches, reads, studies and discusses all the possibilities. He has been responsible for finding some of the most unique, out of the way, hole in the wall, restaurants/foodtrucks/shacks that we have ever been lucky enough to try. He is always organized for our trips but when it comes to Kauai he has taken it to an entirely new level!

Here is the evidence – THE SPREADSHEET!

THE SPREADSHEET

Puka DogA comprehensive document, organizing possible food choice by local. It details opening hours, location, whether they take cash only or credit card and possibly most importantly what kind of cuisine they serve. We have choices of traditional Hawaiian plate lunches, poke, seafood, burgers, Japanese and who knows what else. He has found us so many to choose from there is no way we will get to all of them!

We went to Kauai back in 2009 and discovered some amazing places to eat. They have made it Mark's Placeonto the spreadsheet, along with some of J’s new discoveries. The places I am looking forward to revisiting are Shrimp Station, Puka Dog, Mark’s Place and Hamura’s Saimin and a few others. The shrimp at Shrimp Station were delicious and amazing. I had never tasted anything like the hot dogs from Puka Dog. Mark’s Place and Hamura’s Saimin were just cool, low key locals joints.

Shrimp StationOf course J. has found us a whole new  group of places to try out. When we travel we try to stay away from the touristy places (although Puka Dog is definitely a popular destination) and go where the locals eat. Kauai, the second time around will be no different. I’m really looking forward to trying out Koloa Fish Market and also Chicken in a Barrel but there are so many other delicious options who knows what we will actually eat!

Hamura's Saimin

I’m sure as you are reading this we are either lying on a beach or eating some fabulously tastyfood! Stay tuned for Live from Kauai posts later this week!

ALOHA!

We’re back!

We haven’t really been anywhere but it seems as though life got in the way of the blogging for the last few months… However just because we were too busy to blog doesn’t mean we were too busy to eat.

We have been eating as hard as always. The last few months have been a combination of travelling, delicious tastes, addictive drink and great cooking home!

So stay tuned for some tales, recipes, photos and FOOD!

We’re happy to be back…

Italian Thick Chocolate.jpgAustralia is in the middle of summer right now, when we arrived in Brisbane back on the 21st it was hot, steamy and overcast. We had our lunch out with friends and had decided to explore the city center a little. We jumped on a bus and trundled into the city and watched the rain clouds gather…

Now this preamble is leading to a food adventure but I need to set the scene…

We arrive in the city and wander down the Queen Street Mall, the rain starts falling gently… we walk further… across the river to Southbank and the “beach”. Those of you who don’t know Brisbane, they have created a man-made beach right in the center of town on the south bank of the river. I am pretty soaked at this stage and even though it is hot and muggy the last thing I want to do is risk getting sick on our first day of vacation.

Then I saw it, an oasis from the rain… Max Brenner. This is a chain of “restaurants”/ “cafes”/ Spicy Mexican Chocolate.jpg“chocolate shops” that can be found around Australia… actually when I was just googling I found that there are some here in the US too, including Vegas – How did I not know this!?! They do some decadent waffles and sweets not to mention delicious chocolates. I suddenly wanted a hot chocolate! J had never been to Max Brenner for some reason so I suggested a short respite from the rain and a cup of hot chocolate to share!

So in we went to dry off and order a cup to share… well as if that was ever going to happen… we ended up ordering 2 cups, because we could! I wanted what I have always had, the Mexican Spicy Chocolate with Milk Chocolate and then J ordered the Italian Thick Chocolate with Dark Chocolate.

We sat down and sipped away at our mugs of steaming hot chocolate… they were so delicious and I have to say that J’s Italian Thick Chocolate is now my new favorite… (that sounds dodgy). Anyway, the chocolate wasn’t too sweet and was nice and hot. My Mexican Spicy one could have been a bit spicier but it was delicious anyway. J was pretty pleased with his choice and he would normally stay away from a hot drink in that kind of weather.

After we had dried off and consumed our drinks we were ready to get back out walking again! When I say consumed, I mean licked the cups clean…

What a way to force ourselves to stay awake and avoid jetlag. Hot chocolate in the middle of summer, I think hot chocolate anytime works really!

In early August we took one of our frequent trips to Las Vegas. We went for a weekend to celebrate J’s birthday and as always ate up a storm. We went to some of our favorite places but thought we would try a new burger place that we had read great things about, Bachi Burger.

Now these aren’t your regular cheeseburgers or hamburgers, these are burgers with a twist and one specific burger with a bit higher price tag. We mainly went to this place to try their famous Shogun Burger which is a $25 burger.

We started out sharing an order of truffle parmesan fries that were served with a sun dried tomato aioli. These were very addictive… perfectly crispy and salted with the cheese and truffles just adding a little kick. The aioli was a great accompaniment to the fries, sweet and tangy.

I knew J. would order the Shogun burger so I studied the menu while we waited in line and decided on the Kiki’s Burger. This had an angus beef burger (cooked perfectly to medium), a mix of sautéed mushrooms (Shiitake, Enoki & Eryngii), melted gruyere cheese, caramelized bacon and a sweet onion marmalade. The burger came with a side of garlic chili aioli that I didn’t need to use because the burger was full of flavor.

This was an AMAZING burger. The meat was juicy and the sweetness of the marmalade combined with the cheese and saltiness of the bacon was just unbelievable. Usually I can’t finish one of these big gourmet burgers but this was sooooo good I ate every bite, except one or two that I gave J. just for a taste.

J. of course ordered the Shogun Burger… Wagyu beef burger with unagi (eel), pan seared foie gras (we have an obsession with foie gras and get it whenever we see it on a menu), poached asian pear, miso butter and yamamomo peach. Such an interesting combination of ingredients for a burger, how could we resist.

J. loved this and it was worth every dollar! Again the burger was cooked perfectly but it was the combination of flavors on this that made it rich and delicious. I had a couple of bites of this and am sure I probably couldn’t have eaten the entire burger because it was so rich. Even so it was amazing and J. did polish it off.

We are heading back to Vegas in a couple of months so we are hoping to get back to this place again. It was worth the 40 minute wait and it was worth every penny. What inspired burgers they have!

Most people may not consider dim sum to be breakfast or brunch food, but one of our favorite Sunday destinations is C-Fu Gourmet Restaurant and some of the best dim sum I have eaten outside of Hong Kong.

We have our routine down and the servers and trolley attendees know both us and our favourites. We sit and wait with anticipation for the trollies laden with all kinds of deliciousness to weave their way through the tables to us. One they arrive in quick succession one after the other J. gets to work.

Staples we have each visit are shumai, hargao, baked and steamed BBQ pork buns, chickens feet, shark fin dumplings (this refers to the shape not the contents) and we always finish off with some delicious egg custard in flaky pastry. Each dumpling is filled with juicy, yummy goodness and J. spends a great deal of time nibbling away on the chickens feet to make sure he doesn’t miss a bit.

We do have a lot of other things we love at this place. We substitute in shrimp in rice noodles, calamari, BBQ pork, sesame balls, Shanghai dumplings and so much more. We haven’t made a bad choice here yet.

Sunday around noon is the best time to get the freshest and widest assortment of dim sum and more Sundays than not you can find us there with a stack of plates and steamers. C-Fu Gourmet Restaurant is definitely one of our all time favourite places in Phoenix and perfect for a great Sunday brunch!

We are huge fans of Mexico and Mexican food and when I say Mexican food, I mean “real” Mexican food unlike anything I was ever able to get in Australia. Whenever we are in Mexico we survive on Limonadas to drink on the beach, in the restaurants and even in the bars between margharitas and bottles of Sol. With the endless heat of the Phoenix summer stretching on into September I decided I need to make our own refreshing Limonada Mineral to cool us down for the Labor Day holiday weekend.

I did a bunch of research looking for what I thought would be a common recipe. Every recipe I found was different, including one that actually said to puree the entire lime and not just the lime juice. I chose to forego this option since I didn’t want to break our blender. Every other recipe had different ratios for sugar to lime juice to sparkling water. So the following is my own recipe which was worked out by taste.

Combine 1/2 a cup of sugar and 1 1/2 cups of lime juice (this was 8 medium limes for me – though mine were very juicy). Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add 4 cups of sparkling water, taste and continue adding extra sugar to own taste. I only added a spoonful extra to take a little more of the zing out of the limes. Then just pour over ice and garnish with a slice of lime.

We were really happy with this though not quite like the ones we drank on the beach on Isla Mujeres but that may have something to do with our surroundings. We are going to keep playing with the ratios to get it just right but either way it is refreshing on a 100+ degree day!