Hawaii Mom Blog






November 12, 2019

Visit Minneapolis: Mills Ruins Park

Mills Ruins Park was built amongst ruins of old mills of powerful businesses such as General Mills and Pillsbury.  It is adjacent to the Stone Arch Bridge, and exposed waterpower features give a glimpse of an historic era.

I thought it was really cool to see the old mill ruins, as I imagined what life was like in the area when the flour mills were in operation.  

The crumbling walls and vacant buildings alongside the river that once powered the mills were both fascinating and a bit eerie at the same time.

There is a museum for those who wish to learn more about the flour mills, but unfortunately we did not have time to make a visit.

Strolling through the park to take a peek into history was still a nice way to spend some time in Minneapolis!

Mills Ruins Park
102 Portland Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55401
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Warabi Salad

A recent trip to the Farmers Market resulted in me buying a bunch of warabi (aka fiddlehead ferns, hō`i`o), along with a few other veggies, so I made an easy Warabi Salad.  

I found a lot of recipes online and simply tweaked one based on the ingredients I had on hand, and I also used a store-bought dressing versus shoyu / sesame oil / patis as a sauce. 

It was a very light, refreshing, and tasty salad that I will definitely make again!

Warabi Salad

  • 1 bunch warabi, cleaned and chopped into 1-inch pieces (discard the hard stems).  
  • 1 medium onion, sliced 
  • 1 package kamaboko, julienned 
  • 1 package dried opae
  • 2-3 T of your favorite sesame- / soy- / miso-based dressing
  • Sesame seeds
  • Place warabi in a boiling pot of water for 1-2 minutes.
  • Immediately transfer to a bowl filled with ice water.  
  • Cool warabi for approximately 20 minutes.
  • Transfer warabi to a large bowl, add remaining ingredients, and toss.
  • Chill for 1-2 hours before serving.
You can find the original recipe here on Oahu Fresh. 
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November 11, 2019

Restaurant Kuni

One of my favorite restaurants in Waipahu, which also happens to be one of my favorite spots to get Chicken Katsu from, is Restaurant Kuni.


Oyako Don
I ordered my "usual" - Chicken Katsu & Chicken Teri Teishoku (teishokus come with tsukemono, miso soup, morashi, and salad).
Miso Soup, Tsukemono, Salad, Morashi

Chicken Katsu

Chicken Teri

A keiki plate is offered for just $9.95, with choice of an entree, plus miso soup, fries, mac salad, and a drink.
Chicken Katsu

Tofu Steak
Both the food and service are consistently good, and are reasons why I keep going back to Restaurant Kuni.

Restaurant Kuni
94-210 Leokane St
Waipahu, HI 96797
(808) 671-7270
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Visit Minneapolis: Mall of America

The Mall of America was the highlight of our recent trip to the Midwest.

We ate, played, and shopped there, and every morning, when the mall opened at 6am, I walked the entire mall for an hour to get my daily exercise (1 floor is 1.15 miles). 

The attractions we visited included FlyOver America, SEA LIFE Aquarium, Moose Mountain Adventure Golf, Dutchman's Deck Adventure Course, and of course, Nickelodeon Universe (air-conditioned theme-park FTW!). 

With over 520 stores, a theme park, and numerous dining options, there is just so much to do at Mall of America!

Which also means so many opportunities to get lost.  But thankfully, there are handy interactive maps found throughout the mall which make it easy for you to find your destination. 

You can easily spend multiple days at Mall of America (like we did) and not be able to do everything you want or eat at every restaurant you want to try.  It's just that huge!

Even if you only have one day to visit, it's worth it to see what the nation's largest entertainment and retail complex has to offer.

Mall of America
60 E Broadway
Bloomington, MN 55425
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November 8, 2019

The Pacific Plate at Ward Village

Last night kicked off The Pacific Plate at Ward Village, a 3-night event featuring some of the country's most amazing culinary talent, led by Ward Village's Culinary Director, Chris Kajioka of Senia. 

The six-course meal showcased Pacific ingredients and flavors from Chris Kajioka, as well as Mei Lin of Nightshade in LA and 2015 Top Chef winner, Matt Lambert of the Michelin-starred The Musket Room in NYC, and Jon Yao of the Michelin-starred Kato Restaurant in LA. 

From top left, clockwise:
Smoked Tuna "Nigiri," Crispy Pa`i`ai (Chris Kajioka)
Uni and Brown Butter Toast (Jon Yao)
Kusshi Oyster, Lilikoi Leche de Tigre, Charred Garlic Oil (Mei Lin)
Caviar Tart (Matt Lambert)
The starters were amazing!   The Uni and Brown Butter Toast was such a decadent bite, and I loved the Crispy Pa`i`ai paired with the soft Smoked Tuna.  The Caviar Tart was just sublime, and I really enjoyed the Kusshi Oyster.
New Zealand Salmon, Apple, Yogurt, Kale (Matt Lambert)
Everyone on our table raved about the salmon, commenting that it was the best salmon that they've ever had.  The presentation was just beautiful!
From top, clockwise:
Chicken Liver Mousse, "Everything" Spiced Financier (Chris Kajioka)
3 Cup Abalone (Jon Yao)
Crab Toast, Agrodolce, Green Curry Spice (Mei Lin)
"Mince and Cheese" Croquette (Matt Lambert)
The bites on this course were so good - I wanted seconds of each! 

When inquiring about the name "3 Cup Abalone," I learned all about 3 Cup Chicken, which is a popular Taiwanese dish. Jon Yao's interpretation of this classic dish was so delish! 
Seared Foie Gras, Asian Pear, Crispy Seaweed, Black Truffle Rice, Peppercorn Sauce (Chris Kajioka)
The Foie Gras was my favorite dish of the dinner.  I could've eaten a bowl of just the Black Truffle Rice and have been very happy, but combined with the melt-in-your-mouth Foie Gras and the Peppercorn Sauce - it was one of the best dishes I've had all year!
Onaga "If Chris were Chinese" Style (Jon Yao)
The Onaga was delightful, and this dish also had many raves from our table.
Black Garlic Wagyu Short Rib, Pickled Vegetables, Bonito Habanero Emulsion (Mei Lin)

The Black Garlic Wagyu Short Rib was so tender and just packed with flavor.  It was another favorite of mine.  
"Creamsicle," Yuzu Curd, White Chocolate Yogurt Sorbet, Coconut Water Granita, Meringue (Chris Kajioka)
The "Creamsicle" dessert was the perfect ending - light, refreshing, and so yummy!  The combination of textures was perfect!

Guests for the next two nights of The Pacific Plate are in for a treat!

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Halekulani Bakery & Restaurant

Grilled fish sandwich.

After attending the Halepuna’s preview, all I could think about was how I was going to squeeze in lunch at the new Halekulani Bakery and Restaurant over a busy weekend. So when the matinee showing of The Illusionists ended earlier than expected, I knew it was fate and made a beeline for a late lunch.

While the bakery and the restaurant are connected, each has its own entrance.  You can access the bakery from the street and enter the restaurant through Halepuna’s lobby.  I just love the aesthetics of the restaurant.  I think it is so pretty with its picture windows and wood paneling.  Given a choice, we opted to sit against the wall with the sofa style seating.

Opt to sit by the window for a sunny view. 

We chose to sit in the comfy sofa seating and gained a great view of the chocolate kitchen. 

My kids both ordered the grilled cheese off the keiki menu which comes with a juice or milk and either ice cream or fruit.  My daughter said it was the best grilled cheese ever. I asked, even better than mine? I got a loud, YESSS!

My daughter was very impressed by the grilled cheese!

Both kids enjoyed the ice cream that is included in the keiki meal. 

I started with the Halepuna rose served with candied hibiscus and a pink ladyfinger and ordered the grilled fish sandwich.  The sandwich was excellent! I especially liked the jalapeño salsa and the brioche bun. They both complimented the fish so well! All the entrees were served with potato wedges which were fine, but I hope they will offer french fries like the yummy ones from House Without a Key.

I loved this feminine drink. 

Halekulani Bakery and Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are also participating in this year’s Restaurant Week! You can easily make a reservation on Open Table.

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Atlantis Adventures - Majestic Sunset Cocktail Cruise

I was fortunate to have experienced Atlantis Adventures' new Majestic Sunset Cocktail Cruise, which just launched last month.

The 150-foot Majestic offers two indoor, air-conditioned decks, along with an open air top deck, each with large, panoramic windows to soak in the exceptional views of Honolulu.

I was quit impressed with the elegant decor!  I felt as if I were in a fine dining restaurant!

The Majestic offers the only full-service bar and lounge on a cruise vessel in Hawaii!

Once onboard the Majestic, we were greeted with champagne (orange juice also available for those who prefer non-alcoholic drinks), and enjoyed a selection of appetizers.


Edamame with Garlic & Chili

Chicken Satay with Thai Peanut Sauce

Andouille Sausage with Onions and Peppers

Teriyaki Meatballs

Our hosted beverage package included all-you-can drink cocktails, beer, wine, and champagne, as well as soft drinks, coffee, tea, and juice. 

Majestic Mele

Blue Hawaii
As live entertainment filled the decks, we enjoyed our drinks while cruising past the Waikiki skyline, towards Diamond Head.

The sky changed colors as we cruised along.

We had prime viewing of the sunset!

Although I do wish there was a starch and/or dessert component to the food selection, the drink selection was plentiful, and the two-hour cruise was relaxing.

It was such a nice way to see the sights and city lights of Waikiki.

Atlantis Adventures also offers a Friday Night Fireworks Cruise, allowing guests to watch the dazzling weekly fireworks show from the ship!

Service was excellent onboard, and the Majestic Sunset Cocktail Cruise lived up to its name!

Free validated parking is offered for the first hour.

Round trip transportation is offered from select hotels in Waikiki. 

For more information or to make reservations, visit AtlantisAdventures.com. Kama`aina discounts available.
Mahalo to Atlantis Adventures for hosting our cruise.
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