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February 27, 2024

Visit Kona: Big Island Abalone

If you're looking for something interesting and educational to do while on the Kona coast, book a tour with Big Island Abalone!  

We were hosted for a tour as part of Na‘au, and there turned out to be several tourists who joined the tour, and they were very interested in abalone, asking a lot of questions and taking lots of pictures!

We learned about how the access to deep sea water and the abundance of sunlight creates an ideal environment for abalone production.  Big Island Abalone produces over 100 tons of abalone a year!



We saw lots of live abalone of all different sizes.
Big Island Abalone producers Ezo abalone, a type of abalone found off the Hokkaido coast, and they feed on dulse, which Big Island Abalone also produces.
At the end of the tour, we got to taste some abalone.

During the week, they have a truck from which you can order abalone dishes!

Big Island Abalone
73-357 Makako Bay Dr
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
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February 26, 2024

Moani Waikiki

Ahi Nachos

This past weekend we celebrated a couple of birthdays at Moani Waikiki located in the International Market Place. Moani Waikiki is the sister restaurant to Moani Island Bistro and Bar in Kapolei and both restaurants are locally owned and specialize in local style food and live entertainment. 

Our group of 11 was seated comfortably in their outdoor seating area. We dined family style and ordered mainly pupus and a few entrees. The food was delicious, portions were generous, and the service was great which made for a really fun night. We left before the live music began, but the restaurant was already lively and great for groups.

Make sure to order dessert! We really enjoyed the Kona Coffee gelato and mud pies!


Smoked Meat

Calamari

Bacon Truffle Cheese Fries

Moani Fried Rice

Seffers Sliders

Kanaka Kalbi

Moani Waikiki
2330 Kalakaua Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96815



  

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Visit Atlanta: Mellow Mushroom

While on the plane to Charlotte, North Carolina, I overheard someone say Mellow Mushroom had some of the best pizzas.  We did see Mellow Mushroom while in Charlotte, but we decided to wait until we got to Atlanta to try Mellow Mushroom, since it originated in Atlanta. 

It was New Year's Day, and we were glad they were still open for dinner.  

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Merry Prankster

The Merry Prankster had an herb aioli base, chicken, Italian sausage, garlic roasted red peppers, green bell peppers, mozzarella, Wisconsin aged white cheddar, and herb aioli drizzle.

Funky Q Chicken
The Funky Q Chicken was topped with shredded mozzarella, BBQ chicken, sharp cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, applewood-smoked bacon, and BBQ sauce.

House Special
The House Special consisted of red sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, Italian sausage, ground beef, honey ham, applewood-smoked bacon, black olives, sliced mushrooms, Roma tomatoes, green peppers, sweet onions and more mozzarella.
 
Everything was delicious!  The Spinach Artichoke Dip was so creamy and cheesy, and the crust on all of the pizzas was just perfect - thin and crispy, but with a nice char and chew.  

All of the pizzas were good and loaded, but if I had to choose a fave, it would be the House Special.  You just can't go wrong with classic pizza toppings!  

It was a busy night, and they were short-staffed because they let staffing go early thinking it would be a slow night, but we didn't mind the wait for our food, since we were just so happy that we found a place that could seat us.

Highly recommend Mellow Mushroom if you love pizza!  There are locations Nationwide!
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February 23, 2024

Khao and Papas

It was Friday early evening and I had to stop by Target Windward Mall to pick up a few things. As I got to the mall I noticed there was a food truck event going on in the parking lot of the mall, near the corner of Kamehameha Highway and Haiku Road. After picking up my Target order, I walked over to the food trucks to check it out. The aroma from the food trucks was irrisitable .. I knew I would need to buy something for dinner from here.

Every second Friday of the month from 5 pm - 9 pm, you can find food trucks and other local purveyors at the Koolau Night Market, hosted by Island Craft Fairs. There were a lot of enticing food vendors here, it was hard to decide which one to order food from. Since I was short on time, I stopped at one of the first trucks I saw, and it happened to be Khao and Papas, which specializes in Peruvian & Laotian cuisine.








I was debating on ordering either the Lomo Steak Fries or the Sticky Rice/Beef Skewers Plate. Since I would be taking this home to eat, I decided to get the Sticky Rice/Beef Skewers plate, since the rice would hold up better than fries. 


This did not disappoint! The meats were sliced fairly thin and were very well seasoned. It tasted even better with the spicy salsa. I could not stop eating the purple sticky rice. 



 I was planning to eat just one skewer and half the rice and saving the rest for the next day's lunch, but I ended up mopping the entire plate. 

I will definitely re-visit Khao and Papas to try more of their menu, including the fries!

Follow them on Instagram @khaoandpapas to see where they'll be next

The next Koolau Night Market at Windward Mall will be on March 12, 2024 and every second Friday of the month.

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Visit Atlanta: Sugar Daddy Cookies

We were in the mood for something sweet after lunch, so we headed to Sugar Daddy Cookies.   Sugar Daddy Cookies was born out of the COVID pandemic, with a nice variety of cookies.  

We couldn't decide on which flavors to get, so we got them all!

Mr. Jones - Dairy Free Cinnamon Drumoll Coolie


Mr. Larry - Lemon Cookie

Mr. Randolf - Vegan Oatmeal Raisin

Mr. Samuels - Sugar Cookie


Mr. Roosevelt - Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip

Mr. Barry - White Chocolate Cranberry


Mr. Clifford - Chocolate Chip

Mr. Walter - White Chocolate Chip Macadamia


Mr. Percy - Chocolate Chip Pecan

Mr. Raymond - Peanut Butter

Sugar Daddy even has a brownie!


Mr. Brown - Chocolate Brownie

I am a purist, so I went for the Chocolate Chip.  Although it was more on the crispy side, and I'm team chewy, I thought it was good!  I liked the classic flavors and combinations, and the flavor names are fun!
 

Sugar Daddy Cookies
3393 Peachtree Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30326
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February 22, 2024

Visit Hilo: Nori's Saimin and Snacks

Ever since the pandemic, Nori's Saimin and Snacks has been take-out only, and we recently picked up lunch there.

Fried Saimin

The Fried Saimin has kamaboko, luncheon meat, and green onions incorporated, and comes with a yakitori stick.

I thought the Fried Saimin was pretty good, but I have had tastier elsewhere.  I did appreciate how it came with a yakitori stick, although the chicken was pretty dry.  

Hamburger Steak


My friend had the Hamburger Steak, which he liked, and I thought it was great how they put "gravy all over."

Prices are on the higher side compared to similar places.

I do hope they re-open for dine-in, because take-out saimin is just not the same . . . 


Nori's Saimin and Snacks
688 Kinoole St
Hilo, HI 96720
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February 21, 2024

Fusion Cafe + Wine

Kaimuki is home to quite a number of small, cozy cafes that offer fresh coffees and delicious pastries.  One of the newbies to the neighborhood is Fusion Cafe + Wine. 



I stopped by one morning to try a cup of coffee and a couple of their pastries. It did not disappoint!




A display of fresh scones and other baked goods greets you when you enter the front door.







You can grab n go or enjoy your coffee and baked goodies in house.





I took a moment to enjoy a cup of Americano while nibbling on a blueberry scone and Olive Oil Cake.











The Olive Oil Cake with Calamansi Curd and Chantilly is a must-try. The cake was super moist (due to the olive oil) and the calamansi curd was so refreshing. And this item is gluten-free too!


The blueberry scone was good too - not overly dry and it was filled with a decent amount of blueberries. I would like to try the other flavors on my next visit.

They also have sandwiches, salads, and bubbles & wine (4 PM - 7 PM Thursday - Saturday evenings).

Closed on Sundays.

_____________________

FUSION CAFE + WINE
3457 WAIALAE AVE
(808) 675-6091
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