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July 1, 2022

Crumbl Cookies in Kapolei


Crumbl Cookies opened their highly anticipated first location in the islands a couple months ago in the Kapolei Commons.  Locally owned and operated, the cookie shop serves up their extra large cookies every day except Sunday from 8am.  Their cookie menu changes weekly and offers 4-5 different specialty flavors, but you'll always find their Milk Chocolate Chip in the cookie line-up.

My daughter, Lauren, favors Crumbl's chilled cookies, but I am not a fan of the texture.  She also really likes cookie dough and I do not so maybe that is the correlation.  I like the served warm cookies much better, but they are also hit or miss for me.  At the same time, I enjoy trying them all to see what I like.  This time, I really enjoyed their Maple Cinnamon Roll and the Buckeye Brownie that was topped with buckeye peanut butter and melted semi-sweet chocolate.  YUM!

To skip the long lines, you can download their app and order ahead for pick up.  We picked up mid-week in the evening and got through the line in no time.  You can purchase single cookies and they also come in their signature pink boxes of 4, 6, or 12.  They also offer a mini size for catering orders.  

Crumbl might not be for you if you don't like soft, super sweet cookies, but they sure are fun to try and fun to gift.  I just wish the Kapolei location served their ice cream, Crumbl cream, which is the real star of the show.

Crumbl Cookies
4450 Kapolei Parkway, Suite 277
Kapolei, HI 96707

  



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Liliha Bakery - Ala Moana Center

I recently met my former bosses at Liliha Bakery in Ala Moana Center.  Although I have been by a few times to pick up treats, I haven't dined in since they first opened in early 2019. 

Grilled Corn Bread & Jelly


Cobb Salad

I ordered the Cobb Salad, which came with the famous Grilled Corn Bread and "atomic" Jelly.  The salad was huge and just so delicious!  It came with all of my faves - bacon, avocado, egg, tomatoes, and grilled chicken.  I had leftovers for dinner!
Coco and Chocolate Cream Puffs

I couldn't leave without getting some of the signature Coco Puffs!  I just love the chantilly topping and chocolate cream center!

The service was a bit on the slow side, but I'd definitely return and have the Cobb Salad again (and get more Coco Puffs to go!).

Liliha Bakery
Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96814


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June 30, 2022

Visit Austin: Round Rock Donuts

A friend of mine had mentioned Round Rock Donuts is a must-stop, and since it was right near the hotel we were staying at, we thought we may as well go and try the popular glazed donuts and kolaches.

We got there and I was shocked to see a large number of people at the shop, and a very long line of cars for a drive-thru.  I did not want to stand outside in the chilly weather, so we waited in the comfort of the car.  It took 26 minutes to get our donuts, but the process was very efficient, as employees would come to the car to take your order via touch screen (look up the menu online on their website), and you could pay via the mobile terminal as well. 

By the time you drive up to the window, your order of fresh, hot baked goods will be ready!

We ordered: Round Rock Glazed Donuts, Chocolate Iced with Sprinkles, Strawberry Iced with Sprinkles, Strawberry Kolaches, and Sausage Kolaches with Cheese.

Everyone ate up the donuts and the kolaches (I enjoyed the sausage kolaches the most).

Definitely give Round Rock Donuts a try for sweet and savory treats!


Round Rock Donuts
106 W Liberty Ave
Round Rock, TX 78664
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June 29, 2022

Visit Texas: H-E-B

A must-visit in Texas is H-E-B.  That's right, the grocery store (plus so much more), with numerous locations throughout Texas (headquartered in San Antonio) as well as Mexico. 

We stopped by to get omiyage, and found H-E-B has an abundance of branded snacks that are perfect for gift-giving!  




 They have a great bakery section as well!

I also bought some ice cream to indulge in while in Texas.  I loved the state-specific and regional flavors!






The amount of omiyage options were overwhelming, but I left with a nice haul!

Definitely stop by H-E-B to get some Texas goodies to bring back home!
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June 28, 2022

Visit Hilo: Leung's Chop Suey

Ever since my first visit to Leung's Chop Suey last year, it has been a go-to for reliable Chinese food.

Leung's Special Cake Noodle

My go-to is the Leung's Special Cake Noodle.  It's loaded with veggies, chicken, pork, and more.  So filling - it takes multiple meals to finish!


My friend's go-to is the Roast Pork.  He always gets noodles, roast pork, and veggies.

There are so many delicious looking items for you to choose from if you opt for a 2- or 3-choice plate, but I don't know if I'll ever stray from the Leung's Special Cake Noodle.  It's that good!

  

Leung's Chop Suey House
530 E Lanikaula St,
Hilo, HI 96720

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June 27, 2022

Visit Texas: Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

On the way back from San Antonio to Austin, we came across a billboard for Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, and we made a spontaneous decision to visit.  

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch is a drive-through safari park, where most animals roam freely, and you drive through their habitats.  You even get to toss food for them to eat (you buy food upon buying your tickets - I highly suggest buying only 1 bag of food, as it goes a long way; we bought 3 bags of food for each of the kids, and we had so much leftover!  Even other guests were trying to give their leftovers to us).

It was a bit of a gamble, however, as while making the detour, I looked up reviews online and almost all previous visitors said early morning is the best time to visit (we were visiting in the late afternoon), since the animals tend to sleep during the heat of the day.

Turns out, we ended up seeing lots of wild animals!

We saw giraffes, sable antelopes, axis deer, and so much more!







We had some deer and ostrich come up very close to our car - it was quite cool!  One of the funniest and most memorable moments was when an ostrich literally peered inside our car. 


Mostly the deer were hungry - other animals we tossed food at showed little to no interest.  

The entire drive took a little over an hour.   A lot of the timing depends on how many animals are up and about, as you have to drive very slowly, and it also depends on how slow the car in front of you is (eg if the car stops for a while to feed animals or waits for them to move around and there is no room to pass the car).  

What I did find a little disturbing, however, was how so many families had kids perched on windows of their vehicles (yes, windows) as they drove around, so half their bodies were hanging outside.  I thought this was pretty dangerous in terms of being around wildlife and the possibility of the kids falling out the window. 

In any case, our kids had a lot of fun seeing all the different types of animals roaming around, especially when they approached the car. 

It was a pricey visit for admission, but worth it in terms of the memories!

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
26515 Natural Bridge Caverns Rd
San Antonio, TX 78266
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June 24, 2022

Visit Texas: Buc-ees

If you visit Texas and stumble upon a Buc-ees, make a visit to stop in!  This multi-state chain known for its enormous gas stations, abundance of food, and clean bathrooms is a one-stop shop for souvenirs, clothing, snacks, and even alcohol!

We stopped at one on the way to Waco, and it was quite overwhelming.

There were Buc-ees snacks, walls of beef jerky and gummies, Buc-ees tees, a hot meal station, fudge, and so much more!







We picked up some eats to-go for our drive to Waco.


We bought some breakfast tacos, as well as sweet and savory kolaches.

And yes - the bathrooms are as clean as they boast.  



I've been on many road trips and stopped at many gas stations, and Buc-ees rightfully earns the title of cleanest gas station restrooms.

We stopped at Buc-ees again on the way back to Austin, and it was three times as crowded as it was in the morning, with a super long line for the restroom, but don't let a long line deter you, as the restroom is so huge, the line goes by quickly.

Buc-ees is definitely a must-stop if you come across one!

My omiyage haul

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