Hawaii Mom Blog




June 6, 2023

Mr. Sangria Bar in Pearlridge

Cheers! Hawaiian Blend and Hydration Therapy (gin, coconut syrup, lemon, soda).

I am a huge sangria fan so I when I found out a new business called Mr. Sangria Bar was opening in Pearlridge, I couldn't wait to check it out. After two failed attempts, I finally got to try the Hawaiian Blend (Mr. Sangria original Red Blend).  

Mr. Sangria Bar specializes in sangria blends including red, white, sangria specialties, and soft serve!  They have a full bar offering cocktails as well as beers and ciders and use local Hawaiian liquors like Kohana rums and Kapahi bourbon.  

Granted we had our drinks before dinner, but boy we thought our drinks packed quite a punch. We could only handle one drink each, but they were delicious and we found sitting at the bar to be fun.  Located in Pearlridge Mauka (Macy's Uptown) first level next to Cookie Corner, they are open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11am.  Can't wait to return for their soft serve!  

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Weekend Tasty Tidbits: donuts, sushi, musubis, coco puffs, pancakes & waffles


National Donut Day is celebrated on the first Friday in June of every year. We left the house extra early so that we could make a pit stop at Purve Donut Stop to get some fresh, made to order donuts for National Donut Day.  

The boys like to watch the assembly line. Today one of the owners was working line because of how busy it was.  And this was at 7 am!

The boys always order the Unicorn Butt Sneeze (left) and Smurf Balls (right).

And because it was National Donut Day and there were three of us, we got three FREE Liliko'i Pour Over Donuts! 

1234 Kona Street

On Saturday morning, we went to Got'z Grinds to pick up musubis and snacks for a all-day camp for the Boy Scouts. 

At 7 am, Got'z was fully stocked with their large selection of musubis, bentos, and other local favorites. 

I always feel like a kid in a candy store when I first walk in.

The musubi sampler is a great option for those who want a variety of musubis!

The salmon patty is one of my favorite non-musubi items to buy here. 

45-726 Kamehameha Hwy

We enjoyed a late lunch at Kuru Kuru Sushi in Pearl Kai Shopping Center. I used to come here often after tennis matches and practices. They now have two locations (the other location is in Kahala Mall), and they no longer run the conveyor belt. You place your order with the server and they deliver your selections to your table. 


It's still a great place for affordable, casual sushi. 


I always have to order the salmon at these sushi places.


The boys like the udon (they are not seafood lovers, yet ...)

french fries

and french fries. :)

98-199 Kamehameha Hwy

We celebrated a special birthday in the family, and instead of a birthday cake, the family ordered a Coco Puff Cake from Liliha Bakery!

What a great alternative to a traditional cake! Everyone was amused by the concept - Liliha Bakery's famous coco puffs, pieced together by a THICK layer of Chantilly.  

Just look at how much Chantilly is used as the frosting. I had to actually scrape it off from my coco puff because it was just too much. But what a tasty way to celebrate a special occasion. I believe you can order this cake with green tea puffs or cream puffs as well. 

1000 Kamehameha Highway 

Our final tasty meal for the weekend - breakfast at Liliha Bakery! We met up with a few families and thankfully they placed us in the back of the restaurant in a semi-secluded area because the five boys made a lot of noise! Must have been the sugar rush from the pancakes and waffles! Liliha Bakery's Nimitz location was the perfect gathering spot for us because it's very large, can accommodate large parties (we had 11 in our party), and they don't mind issuing separate checks. They are always very accommodating and the service is always great.

waffles and chicken karaage


580 N. Nimitz Highway

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Visit Alabama: Buc-ee's

Even though we've been to a Buc-ee's in Texas, we couldn't resist stopping at a Buc-ee's while driving through Alabama.

This gas station / convenience store chain is known for being a one-stop-shop for food and drink, souvenirs, and necessities, as well as having the cleanest restrooms ever.

They have a bakery, as well as fresh fudge and hot sandwiches, but we stocked up on snacks.

We bought a bunch of snacks for omiyage and for our road trips.

Most foods are Buc-ee's-branded, but you'll still find some of your favorite national brands of snacks and drinks throughout the store.

And of course we used the restroom, which was very clean.  Don't be deterred by long lines for the restroom - they move very quickly!

It was quite crowded during the time of day that we went (mid-day), as was expected, but it's a neat experience to visit Buc-ee's and it's abundance of foods, drink, and goods to choose from!  

And don't forget to check out the restroom!

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June 5, 2023

Visit Kona - Umekes Fish Market Bar and Grill

Ahi Katsu - panko crusted ahi with unagi drizzle and garlic or spicy aioli

On our last day in Kona, my friends and I were in search of an eatery near the airport and found Umekes Fish Market Bar and Grill in Kailua-Kona.  Headed by Chef Nakoa Pabre, Umekes features a variety of popular traditional Hawaiian food creations with a modern twist. The menu is extensive and offers fresh ahi poke bowls, veggie options, and their take on local favorites like loco moco and lau lau.   

I called ahead and was able to make a reservation for our large party. They have a semi-private room right in the front that fit our group of 15.  Service was very friendly and we all enjoyed our meals.  If you are kama'aina, be sure to ask for the 10% discount!  For even more savings, you can pick up discounted Umekes gift cards at the Kona Costco.   

Fish Tacos (3 tacos tempura fried or cajun grilled with avocado, pineapple lomi salsa, pickled slaw, fried onions and garlic aioli on flour tortillas).


74-5599 Pawai Place,
Kailua-Kona, Hawaii 96740

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Visit Maui: Makaluapuna

While at The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua, @melissa808 told me about the Kapalua Labyrinth at Makaluapuna, otherwise known as Dragon's Teeth due to the unique rock formations.

I went on a solo hike just after sunrise and got to enjoy the peacefulness of the area.

The rock formations were pretty incredible, and I could easily see why the area was called "Dragon's Teeth."  

A labyrinth was formed in the area.

Makaluapuna is actually an integral part of Hawaiian culture - a place of tradition, spirituality, and power.  The path borders a golf course and villas, but it is also alongside an ancient burial ground.  

I went solo just after sunrise and felt safe.  I had an unusual mix of emotions while at Makaluapuna - fear, happiness, sadness, calm . . . whether it was from the whirlwind weekend of The Celebration of the Arts, being in such a spiritual place, immersing myself in nature, or just reflecting on life - whatever it was, I think about Makaluapuna often.

The trail to access the area is of course public, and it is indeed a beautiful place to visit, but if you visit, do so respectfully and responsibly with an intention to learn and reflect.

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June 3, 2023

Panya Bistro & Bakery

We weren't planning to dine at Panya Bistro for dinner, but the place that we wanted to go to was closed for the day (we weren't aware until we got to the door and saw the "closed for cleaning" sign!), and so we decided to walk a block to Panya, which turned out to be the best meal I had all week!

Here's what we ordered:

Garlic Toast Crostini with Panya crab salad

Sauteed Cubed Steak w/Onion

Fried Chicken

Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti

Garlic Butter Pasta

Plain Ramen

 You could probably tell the garlic butter pasta and plain ramen were for the kids. These were on the "side order" menu and priced at $10 and $9 respectively. I like that they offer plain versions of these noodle dishes for a lower price, because my kids (like most kids) prefer noodles to be plain and simple. 

Everything else was delicious and I would recommend them all! I wish we had ordered dessert .. Panya is known for their desserts! But, the kids wanted something more simple, so we skipped the dessert.  

They have a great outdoor seating area, and customer parking in the Hokua building. Take-out is available!

Closed on Mondays.


1288 Ala Moana Blvd.

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June 2, 2023

Visit Pensacola: Graffiti Bridge

Pensacola has a peculiar tourist attraction - the Graffiti Bridge!

For decades, artists, residents, and even visitors have expressed themselves, spray painting whatever their hearts desire - animals, random designs, quotes, political opinions, or congratulatory messages.   We even saw quite a few sexually explicit objects!

This colorful landmark is in a precarious place, as cars and trucks are constantly speeding by, so be careful when taking a close look at the art, or even taking photos.

Around the little parking lot there were cans of spray paint so you could make a contribution if you wanted.

We walked up to the train tracks above, which was covered in even more graffiti.  

Note - after reading The Graffiti Bridge website, I discovered it's illegal to walk up the tracks or even spray paint there (or spray paint anywhere else besides the bridge), so do so at your own risk!
It was an interesting attraction, and definitely neat to see how people expressed themselves through art.

Graffiti Bridge
N 17th Ave
Pensacola, FL 32502
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