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December 15, 2017

Hawaii's Best Hawaiian Haupia

There are 10 days until Christmas, and if you're still searching for the perfect give, consider gifting Hawaii's Best Hawaiian Haupia mixes!



I recently won a box full of mixes from them on Instagram (thanks so much @hawaiisbesthawaiianhaupia!) and was amazed at how many different products and flavors they have - from tapioca to butter mochi to bread pudding to coconut syrup ... even mochiko chicken mix!



What's great is that these mixes are easy to make. Some just require water, some call for staples such as butter, milk, and/or eggs. 

I recently hosted a dinner for my in-laws and made the Creamy Coconut Bread Pudding Mix for dessert. I received so many compliments about how delicious it was and everyone could not believe that I made it from a package mix.



Hawaii's Best Hawaiian Haupia mixes are available at most retailers in Hawaii, or you can purchase them on the website at: www.hawaiisbesthawaiianhaupia.com.


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Visit Nashville: Mike's Ice Cream & Coffee Bar

Our Tennessee ice cream stop brought us to Mike's Ice Cream & Coffee Bar in Downtown Nashville.
Cookies and Cream

Chocolate Overload

Tennessee Fudge
Of course since we were in Tennessee we just had to try the Tennessee Fudge - vanilla ice cream with swirls of fudge throughout - so creamy and delish!

Mike's Ice Cream offers a nice variety of flavors to choose from, but I wouldn't hesitate to get the Tennessee Fudge again!

Mike's Ice Cream & Coffee Bar
129 2nd Ave N
Nashville, TN 37201
(615) 742-6453
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December 14, 2017

Newly Opened J+P Café Adds Another Option for Fresh and Healthy Meals in Waikiki

J+P Café (pronounced “J P Cafe”) will open on the first floor of the Aqua Aloha Surf Hotel on December 15, 2017.  Taking its name from the initials of owner Jun Matsumoto’s company’s name—J Proof—the humble eatery will serve sandwiches, fruit bowls, juices, smoothies, and alcoholic drinks. 

Taking a departure from his specialized field of construction in Japan, Matsumoto hopes that the eatery will represent his first successful business venture in Hawaii, not to mention his initial foray into the food and beverage world.  His ambition is to establish the 500-square foot café as a popular gathering place for locals and visitors.

J+P Café’s menu will be greatly comprised of sandwiches—some of which include avocado, egg salad, tuna salad, and veggie—with open-faced toast renditions for the carbohydrate-conscious.  Gluten-free bread will be made available to appeal to those adhering to stricter diets. Then, an impressive roster of fruit bowls (and similar smoothie incarnations) will make for lighter meals, with bases incorporating matcha, mango, avocado, acai, pitaya, yogurt, awa, or berries combined with customizable fruit, nut, seed, or natural sweetener-type toppings.  Special pineapple boats and papaya bowls will give Instagrammers a few post-worthy aesthetics.  For those preferring juices, inspired concoctions such as “Green Matcha,” “Guts Away,” and “Glow” allude to potential cosmetic health benefits for the consumer.  There will also be a salmon avocado toast produced by former The French Laundry and Vintage Cave chef Jonathan Mizukami to remain on the menu for a limited period of three months.  Prices range the gamut, with a simple Nutella toast going for $3.50 on the extremely affordable end to the pineapple boat capping the menu prices at $18.

The beachy café will have a service counter replete with an espresso machine and a refrigerated food display case situated opposite a 12-seat counter that spans the entire length of the establishment.  A textured painted white brick wall in the kitchen area acts as a contrasting point to the smooth black magnetic chalkboard back wall that will display artwork sketched in chalk.  White and black wooden panels resembling repurposed timber will line the other facets of the interior, including the floors.  Natural wooden shelves, potted plants, and floor-to-ceiling planter pillars will add splashes of color, softening the drama of the interior palette.  At the entrance of the café will be the words “Aloha” and “Love” arranged in round black and white floor tiles.  A lanai area—currently under construction—will seat an additional 18 people when completed, possibly as early as this month.
  
“I wanted my own place to spend time with friends, so I thought to build out J+P Café as a venue where others will want to gather over coffee, tea, or a meal,” says owner Jun Matsumoto.  “Also, since I have a passion for sake, shochu, and whiskey, it seemed befitting to serve alcohol.  As a result, we have a nice selection of sake, including some rare selections, as well as shochu, beer, and craft cocktails.  After all, I truly believe that happiness is the key to good health.”
J+P Café is located on the first floor of the Aqua Aloha Surf Hotel, located at 444 Kanekapolei Avenue.  Complimentary parking is available in the open-air parking lot adjacent to the property, at the corner of Ala Wai Boulevard and Kanekapolei Avenue.  The café is open from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily, with the menu served all day.  For more information, visit the website at www.jpcafehawaii.com.  
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2018 HPU Girls & Women in Sports Day



Signups are currently open for the 2018 HPU Girls and Women in Sport Day event presented by HPU Athletics.  The free event will be held at HPU's Hawaii Loa Campus on January 21, 2018 and girls ages 4-14 will get to try their hand at golf, volleyball, tennis, acrobatics and tumbling, and more!  But, hurry!  The event is limited to 200 girls. 

I've taken my daughter for the past five years and she has really enjoyed the event.  It was wonderful exposure for her since she only played volleyball at the time.  I find the clinics, which are run by the female student-athletes at HPU, empowers our girls as well as encourages and motivates them to play sports.   
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Visit Tokyo: Shinagawa Prince Hotel



When we were planning for our first family trip to Japan, several of my friends recommended the Shinagawa Prince Hotel.  The hotel fronts Shinagawa Station which is a major railway station in Tokyo and also a stop for the Shinkasen.  The Shinagawa Prince Hotel has four towers as well as movie theaters, bowling, The Aqua Park Shinagawa, tennis, golf, swimming pools and other entertainment facilities.

The location was very convenient as we took the train daily and the food choices around the hotel as well as inside the station were plentiful.  As expected, our room with two twin beds was small.  However, it was clean and we even had a sofa and a small refrigerator.  The service at the hotel was excellent.    

On the last night of our stay, I wish I had booked our hotel for an extra night or at least until 5pm (half the daily rate) because our flight was at 11:55pm.  I also found that the airport limousines that you can book through the hotel didn't have a time to accommodate our departure time to Haneda.  Instead, we caught a taxi which was probably more convenient. 

We went bowling after we checked out!


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Visit Maui: Ono Gelato Kihei

The first time I tried Ono Gelato was about a year ago at the Grand Wailea, and I loved it.  At Ono Gelato, they strive to use fresh, natural, local and organic ingredients, and the end result is amazing gelato!

I was recently on Maui again, and I was so excited to have been invited to the Ono Gelato in Kihei to meet the lovely owners, James and Nicol Bradley, and to try some of the new seasonal flavors!

I was also very fortunate to try the Candy Cane Mint Tea Boba Drink.  It was so refreshing and delicious!  Perfect for the season!

We also tried the following gelato and sorbetto flavors:

Bubble Gum

Strawberry

Hawaiian Punch

Ono Sandy Beach
The Ono Sandy Beach is one of the most popular flavors offered (I loved the pb and sea salt combo!).

Ono Gelato also offers milkshakes, affogato, and other treats (perfect for omiyage!).
It's always a good time for gelato, so be sure to visit Ono Gelato the next time you're on Maui!

Ono Gelato
Azeka Shopping Center
1280 S Kihei Rd
Kihei, HI 96753
(808) 495-0287

Our family was generously treated to gelato, sorbetto, and the boba drink!
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Takumi Japanese Restaurant & Bar


About a year-and-a-half ago we visited Takumi Japanese Restaurant & Bar for the first time, shortly after they had opened.

We recently visited again when our East Coast family and friends were in town and they wanted to go to a Japanese restaurant.
Potato, Bacon, and Cheese Okonomiyaki

Seafood Okonomiyaki
The first time we visited I loved the Potato, Bacon, and Cheese Okonomiyaki, so I decided to get that again.  It did not disappoint!  The savory cabbage pancake's housemade sauce and mayo really made the dish shine, in my opinion.

The Seafood Okonomiyaki included calmari, madako tako, scallop, and shrimp.

Fried Gyoza

Seafood Fried Rice

Salad, Miso Soup

Teriyaki Chicken

Furikake Salmon

Miso Butterfish
Entrees come with grilled veggies, miso soup, and a salad.

Karaage Chicken Kids Bento

Fried Gyoza Kids Bento

Teri Beef Kids Bento
Kid Bento Sets offer quite a bit of food at a reasonable price.  The bentos come with rice, corn, milk pudding, and strawberries, in addition to the entree.

Everyone ate up their meals, and we had very few leftovers.

Service was good, and the Japanese food craving was satisfied!


Takumi Japanese Restaurant & Bar
4850 Kapolei Parkway Suite 401
Kapolei Hawaii 96707
(808) 674-1999
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