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May 24, 2017

Mauna Loa's New Macadamia Nut Flavors + Enter to Win a Trip to Las Vegas

Mauna Loa®, a brand under the Hawaiian Host, Inc. company umbrella, is excited to announce that two new flavor additions, Honey Sriracha and Mango Chipotle, are now available for purchase exclusively in Hawai’i at all major island retailers. To celebrate the product launch, Mauna Loa is also giving Hawai’i residents the opportunity to win a grand prize trip for two to the biggest music festival in Las Vegas!

Over 40 years ago, Mauna Loa set out to perfect Hawaii’s most beloved nut and, today, is proud to be the leading brand and producer of premium macadamias. The new Honey Sriracha flavor blends sweet honey and spicy sriracha flavors with Mauna Loa’s signature crunch and buttery richness, while the Mango Chipotle seasoning combines fruity mango and smoky chipotle with the brand’s premium macadamias, for two exciting palate experiences. Currently available in Hawai’i only, these new flavors are slow roasted to perfection and packaged in re-sealable 11-ounce bags, making them convenient for everyday snacking and sharing. With over 40 unique products available online and internationally, Mauna Loa is excited to add these two new flavors to the brand’s growing list of favorites.

“As an iconic Hawaiian brand, we thought it was fitting to introduce Mauna Loa’s two new flavors to our loyal fans in Hawai’i. The Honey Sriracha and Mango Chipotle products are a fantastic representation of our passion for creating unique flavor experiences, and we’re confident mac nut-enthusiasts on the islands will love them!” said Helen Liew, Vice President of Marketing at Hawaiian Host, Inc. “Mauna Loa’s new tagline is ‘Crunch to a Different Beat’ because no other nut compares to ours! So, to really have some fun with our Hawai’i fans, we’re giving them the opportunity to rock their taste buds with a music-filled trip to Las Vegas!”

Through July 2, 2017, Mauna Loa invites Hawai’i residents to enter for a chance to win a trip for two, including airfare and hotel accommodations, to attend the biggest music festival in Las Vegas! For official rules and entry guidelines, visit www.maunaloa.com/crunch*. Fans can also register through Mauna Loa’s Facebook page or at select events throughout Hawai’i. The grand prize winner will be announced the week of July 10, 2017.

* No purchase to enter, some restrictions apply. Limit of three (3) entries per person for the contest regardless of method of entry.
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Freedom Japanese Market - A Japanese Snack Subscription Service

Disclosure:  Complimentary products were received for review purposes.  All opinions are entirely my own.

The April Original Pack (missing 2) combined a great balance of sweet and savory snacks! 


Japan is famous for their delicious snacks and it's no surprise visitors will take home with them bags and bags of their Japan favorites that they can't buy back at home.  In Hawaii, we're lucky that we have quite a few stores to purchase snacks from Japan, but we can't always get our hands on new limited editions that the Japanese love to create.  

Freedom Japanese Market, a Japanese based subscription box service, provides a solution to anyone wanting original, made-in-Japan snacks delivered to their door.  A family business, their goal is to bring the Japanese snacks they love to the rest of the world.  A typical box will often include many limited edition snacks only available to the Japanese market for a limited amount of time; an English content list with color pictures; a short explanation about what Japan is like during each season; and a handmade, seasonal origami (with English explanation).

I was excited to receive my box from Japan, but was sad to discover a couple of items with pork extract were seized by the Department of Agriculture.  Otherwise, my box was overflowing with both sweet and savory snacks and it felt like Christmas when the kids went through the contents.  Some of the snacks we were familiar with, but most of the sweets were new to us.  We enjoyed it all!

I can't think of anyone that wouldn't enjoy a subscription service like this and it would make the best gift for someone that has moved away from Japan or Hawaii for that matter.  Freedom Japanese Market offers 1, 3, 6, and 12 month recurring packages that give the optimum amount of flexibility and subscriptions can be canceled at any time.  They offer 3 types of boxes: Puchi Pack $14.99 (5-8 full size and sample snacks), Original Pack $24.99 (12-16 full size and sample snacks), and Family Pack $45.99 (24-32 full size and sample snacks).  If you aren't ready to make a subscription, you can also order a sample pack of any of their packs.  All prices include shipping to anywhere in the world!

This was a super fun experience for my entire family and made my kids even more excited about our upcoming trip to Japan!
 


Delivered right to your door!

Box is full of snacks!
My kids loved discovering the snacks together.  Of course the best part was the taste testing!
 
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Reese's Peanut Butter Cup-Stuffed Chocolate Chip + Reese's Pieces Cookies

I love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, so I decided to make Reese's Peanut Butter Cup-Stuffed cookies.

For the cookie, I made a combo chocolate chip + Reese's Pieces cookie.


You can make the cookie as big or as little as you want (I made them pretty big).  I also chilled the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups ahead of time so they wouldn't melt as I prepped the cookies.

The Reese's Peanut Butter Cup center is such a sweet surprise!

 
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup-Stuffed Chocolate Chip + Reese's Pieces Cookies 

Ingredients:
  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 c brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1 c semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c Reese's Pieces
  • 24 Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures (chilled and unwrapped)
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars.
  • Beat in egg and vanilla.
  • In a separate medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  • Slowly stir the flour mixture into the sugar mixture.
  • Mix in chocolate chips and Reese's Pieces
  • For each cookie, take 2 teaspoonfuls of dough and wrap around Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures.
  • Place onto parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake approximately 13 to 15 minutes.


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Mahaloha Burger in Kailua

Mondays are usually crazy, but this past Monday was super crazy for personal reasons, and I just needed something to relieve the stress, so before I picked up the boys from school I headed to Hekili Street in Kailua for a pick me up. After shopping at one of my favorite local retail shops in Kailua (which I will share with you in a future post), I stopped at Mahaloha Burger for a burger to-go.  After all, it is National Hamburger Month!!

Mahaloha Burger uses grass-fed beef from the Big Island and quality ingredients for their burgers, resulting in one great-tasting burger.



I opted for the mushroom swiss burger, and since it was only $1.30 more to make it a double, I ordered the double mushroom swiss burger to share with the hubby.  


Every bite was simply amazing.

My only regret was not getting a side of onion rings to go with it!

Read Gem's review to see the other mouth-watering offerings at Mahaloha Burger.



Mahaloha Burger
143 Hekili Street, #150
(808) 263-2777




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Visit Tokyo: Gundam Cafe


There are many character-themed restaurants throughout Tokyo, and one that we visited was Gundam Cafe in Akihabara.

Based on the TV series about futuristic robots, the cafe is decked out with robot displays and toys, and also features a TV screen on which customers can watch the series.  Even the restrooms are super cool!

Of course, the menu revolves around this popular Japanese series.

Gundam Cafe Original Butter Chicken Curry

Hyaku-Shiki Omelette Rice

Intertwining Beasts

Sha Mi and Lewis's Love Tactics Pizza

Coward and Female Spy
Not being familiar with Gundam at all, I have no idea what all of the interesting menu names referred to, but I enjoyed the presentation!

I ordered the Butter Chicken Curry.  The cheese-topped curry was delicious, but I thought the portion of chicken in the curry was not enough.  There were just a few tiny pieces.

My husband had the Intertwining Beasts - Parmesan Penne with a Hamburger Steak with Squid Ink Sauce, and Fried Fish with a Basil sauce.

My middle son ate up the Omelette Rice, which was covered in Beef Stew.  My oldest and youngest son shared the Bacon and Cheese Pizza and basket of Fried Fish and Chicken.

We also tried a couple of beverages:

Strawberry Calpis

Strawberry Lassie Wind

The Strawberry Lassie Wind was refreshing - like a strawberry milk!

Gundam Cafe was a cool spot to dine at!

Gundam Cafe
Atre Akihabara 2, 1-1 Kanda Hanaokacho
Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0028, Japan
 +81 3-3251-0078
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May 23, 2017

Aloha Ice Now Open at The Street - A Michael Mina Social House

Strawberry Hibiscus

I am a HUGE fan of the desserts by Michelle Karr-Ueoka of MW Restaurant and Artizen so I made it a priority to check out Aloha Ice on their opening day.  Aloha Ice is one of the many new eateries that are a part of The Street - A Michael Mina Social House located on the ground floor of the International Market Place.

Aloha Ice serves up shave ice made from compressed 100% fresh seasonal fruits and are shaved to order.  On the menu are 5 offerings of shave ice at $9.99 each:  Strawberry Hibiscus, Ka'u Coffee and Cream, Tropical Fruit Salad, Asian Mojito, and Brownie or Cookie of the Day Sundae.  Aloha Ice also offers mochi, drinks, and Michelle's famous cookies.

My daughter and I shared the Strawberry Hibiscus - made with haupia tapioca, li-hing strawberries, tokachi azuki beans, strawberry yuzu sorbet, mochi ice cream, and shaved strawberry hibiscus.  It's definitely a good size and enough to share for 2 or more.  I really enjoyed it and loved the combination of flavors of the dessert.  The shave ice was especially refreshing and not overly sweet.

It might have been a little too grown up for my daughter's tastes, but she enjoyed the mochi ice cream, azuki beans, and tapioca.  Her favorite from Aloha Ice was the warm fudge brownie cookie.  Like its name it's served warm and the fudge literally oozed out when I broke off a piece.  That cookie did not last long in my daughter's hands.

We are looking forward to returning to work our way through the menu!



Aloha Ice is now open at The Street!
 
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Dinner at Fish House Ko Olina

Fish House at the Four Seasons Resort Oahu Ko Olina is my favorite restaurant on the island.  I've been there for brunchlunch, and just for dessert, so it was only fitting that I went there for dinner for my birthday.

I initially was going to order the mahi, but I couldn't resist ordering the Fried Chicken.

Fried Chicken

Bacon Biscuits

Garlic Mash
Whoa - talk about a huge platter of comfort food!  Four pieces of extra crispy chicken were served with a creamy Garlic Mash and some flaky, buttery Bacon Biscuits.  The chicken was on the sweet side, and it paired nicely with the savory gravy.

I also ordered a side of the West Side Corn on the Cobb.  Corn was slathered in a lime smoked paprika aioli and covered in scallions.  It was delicious!

West Side Corn on the Cobb

Opah Simmer
My husband had the Opah Simmer, which came with Hamakua Mushrooms in a Bok Choy Seaweed Dashi.  He thought it was just okay.

Kids meals come with sliced Watermelon as a starter, and include a side and dessert!
Watermelon Slices

All Beef Hot Dog

Mini Cheeseburger

Side Mac 'n' Cheese

Chocolate Brownie
The Mac 'n' Cheese is actually made with a veggie puree instead of cream!  The kids sure loved the brownies that were served with sprinkles and M&M's!

For my birthday dessert, I was presented with a beautiful platter of decadent treats!  The Chocolate Cream Pie was so rich and indulgent!  It was honestly the most amazing birthday dessert I've ever received!

And just when I thought the night couldn't have ended on a sweeter note, our server told me someone paid for my dinner!  It was a woman from Colorado visiting with a couple of other people.  Isn't that amazing?  I had to go and give the visitor a big hug (thank you again Laura!!).

I had such an awesome evening, enjoying a fabulous meal with my family while being surrounded by the most beautiful views.

No-filter needed when you're in Ko Olina!
It was the best birthday yet!

Fish House
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
92-1001 Olani St, Kapolei, HI 96707
(808) 679-0079
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