Hawaii Mom Blog






April 19, 2019

Just Desserts at Mina's Fish House

After attending a fabulous event to celebrate the 1-year anniversary of Mina's Fish House, I was craving dessert.  I was saying my goodbyes, and I told the GM of Mina's Fish House that I was going to go to the restaurant to get dessert.  I didn't want him to think I was prematurely leaving the event - I wanted to show my support for the restaurant (which I really do love - I dine there often!) and treat myself and @wanderlustyle to dessert. 

He so graciously walked us to the restaurant, and he ended up treating us to four fabulous desserts, including a couple of new ones that will be on the menu soon!


Haupia & Lilikoi Sorbet

Yuzu Creme Fraiche Cheesecake

I've had the Yuzu Creme Fraiche Cheesecake before, and it's actually one of my faves.  It's light compared to the rich, dense style of cheesecake.

The PB&J was a fave of @wanderlustyle.  If you love peanut butter and jelly, you'll definitely love this iteration!

My favorite was the Semifreddo.  I just couldn't resist all of that chocolate! 

Do not skip dessert at Mina's Fish House!

Mina's Fish House
Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
92-1001 Olani St, Kapolei, HI 96707
(808) 679-0079
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Visit New Zealand: Ruakuri Cave

While planning our trip to New Zealand, we knew we wanted to see the glowworms.  We decided to book two different tours, one of which was the Ruakuri Cave Tour.

This approximately two-hour tour will take you through the amazing Ruakuri Cave to get up close and personal with spectacular formations.

The spiral entrance itself is pretty amazing, and once you enter Ruakuri Cave, you are treated to some amazing stalactite and stalagmite formations

It's pretty incredible how a single drop of water can produce such beautiful structures over thousands and thousands of years.

The different textures and colors, all created by nature, were quite a sight to see!

At times it was a bit trepidatious walking beneath jagged and pointed limestone formations.  Careless and selfish visitors have tarnished and even broken off parts of the cave, but be forewarned - there is absolutely no touching of any parts of the cave or you could be fined!

Other features of the cave looked graceful, such as the crystalline drapes (or bacon, as some have called them!).

Our guide did a fantastic job in explaining how the stalactites and stalagmites formed, as well as telling stories behind different parts of the cave.

The Mirror Pool was one of my favorites. It's also known as Gollum's pool (from Lord of the Rings fame!).

Another highlight was being able to see the glowworms.  The glowworms are actually maggots (glowworms sound so much nicer!).

Gloworms are actually suspended from a sticky fiber of mucus, which attracts food.  Once the guide turns on the lights, you'll be able to see these interesting, and somewhat pretty filaments.  

You're able to take photos of the glowworms at Ruakuri Cave.  It was quite difficult, as you can tell by my photo below, but if you have an amazing camera you should be able to capture spectacular photos.
At the end of our tour, upon our ascent up the spiral, our guide went into song.  It was such an enchanting and, dare I say - spiritual, end to an amazing tour through Ruakuri Cave!

Ruakuri Cave
205 Ruakuri Rd
Waitomo 3985
+64 7 878 6219

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April 18, 2019

New Eats at Square Barrels

Last week @melissa808 invited me to join her and a couple of friends to try out some new menu items at Square Barrels.

Chef Aneil Luhan has brought his extensive background in culinary and travel to the menu at Square Barrels, resulting in diverse offerings sure to please a variety of palates.

Kimchi Bacon Mac & Cheese
I'm no stranger to Bacon Mac & Cheese, but Kimchi Bacon Mac & Cheese - now that is new to me.  And it was actually quite good.  I thought this dish was a nice way to combine two popular foods, and that the kimchi gave this comfort food staple a nice bit of heat.  However, if I had to choose, I'd do without the kimchi and just go with the bacon.  Bacon makes everything better!

The Chivito is a popular sandwich in Uruguay.  Stuffed with steak, ham, bacon, egg, deep-fried mozzarella, spicy goat cheese, roasted red peppers, olive tapenade, duxelles, and a horseradish mayo, the sandwich was enormous.  I thought the mix of ingredients was quite interesting, but it worked!
Chorizo Chipotle Burger
The Chorizo Chipotle Burger was one of my faves.  I loved the spiciness of the chorizo, and the deep fried kale and caramelized shallots gave the burger extra dimensions of texture and flavor.
Blue-Brie Chicken Sandwich
I loved the Blue-Brie Chicken Sandwich!  Juicy, tender chicken was combined with arugula, house-made blueberry preserve, and brie, to create a simple, yet really delicious sandwich.  I actually want to try and replicate this at home!
I've had the Cubano before, and it did not disappoint.  Braised pork, ham, soppressata, pickles, and Swiss stuffed between ciabatta - so good!
2nd Row
If you love In-N-Out, you'll have to try the 2nd Row.  This was a fave amongst our group.  The burger was oozing with American cheese and 2nd Row sauce.  
Panna Cotta
We were beyond stuffed after eating the burgers and sandwiches, but there is always room for dessert!

We opted for the light, yet flavorful Vanilla Panna Cotta. 

If you haven't been to Square Barrels in a while, or at all, head on down there to try the new menu items!

Square Barrels
1001 Bishop Street
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Visit Auckland: Kreem Bake Cook

Kreem is a deli cafe franchise throughout New Zealand that offers sweet and savory grab-and-go eats, as well as made-to-order dishes.

Italian Sugar Doughnut

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Doughnut

Custard and Caramel Doughnut

Bacon, Spinach, Feta & Sundried Tomato Fold Over

Chicken & Caramelized Onion Savoury

Bacon & Cream Cheese Savoury

Cajun Spiced Pork Sausage Rolls
As expected, my kids could not resist the sugary, chocolaty, creamy confections.  I don't blame them!

I, however, opted for savory options, since I prefer savory over sweet breakfasts.  Savory pies are popular in New Zealand, so I ordered a couple to try.  They were both very delicious, filled with an egg base and yummy ingredients mixed in.  My fave of the two was the Chicken & Caramelized Onions.

I also really liked the Bacon, Spinach, Feta & Sundried Tomato Fold Over, and my kids loved it too.  All of the fillings were so tasty!

Because we ordered all grab-and-go eats, the total price was very, very low compared to if we had ordered off the menu. 

Breakfast at Kreem Bake Cook was inexpensive, and very satisfying!

Kreem Bake Cook
231 Universal Dr, Henderson
Auckland 0610, New Zealand
 +64 9-835 9221
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April 17, 2019

Par Hawaii’s Fueling Dreams Returns to Fuel Awareness for Special Olympics Hawaii

It’s time to get pumped up! Par Hawaii’s 14th Annual Fueling Dreams campaign returns to fuel support and awareness for Special Olympics Hawaii athletes and programs across the state. From April 17 through May 21, when drivers fill up at any of the 45 participating Hele and 76 Hawaii stations on Oahu, Hawaii Island, and Maui, they can make a donation to steer the dreams of Special Olympics Hawaii athletes.  

To kick off the campaign, drivers are invited to fuel up with low gas prices on April 17, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Hele station at Mililani Town Center. Customers can also take advantage of low gas prices again at the Hele station in Palama on May 10, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

During Fueling Dreams, drivers can also enter to win one of three $500 gift cards. The more entry blanks you submit, the better your chances to win a $500 Hele or 76 Hawaii gift card. A donation is not required to enter the drawing. For a free entry blank, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Special Olympics Hawaii, P.O. Box 3295, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96801.

“It has been an honor to see first-hand how Special Olympics Hawaii has provided so many life-changing opportunities for athletes across our islands,” said Eric Lee, Par Hawaii’s Vice President – Retail. “Special Olympics Hawaii’s vision to provide opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities in the community and sports is one that we at Par Hawaii support and are proud to be a part of.”

Par Hawaii, marketer of Hele and 76 Hawaii fuel brands, has been a strong supporter of Special Olympics Hawaii for well over two decades. To date, the Fueling Dreams campaign has raised more than $795,000 for Special Olympics Hawaii athletes and programs.

“The relationship that we’ve built with Par Hawaii over the years plays a valuable role in creating once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for our athletes,” said Nancy Bottelo, Special Olympics Hawaii’s President and CEO. “We are truly grateful for the annual Fueling Dreams campaign and the support of those in the community, who contribute to our athletes’ success.”

All donations raised from Fueling Dreams will support opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities to train and compete in year-round sport activities, free of charge. Hawaii athletes compete in state, regional, national and international competitions. Just last month, local athletes Khiry “Rainie Jade” Thompson and Tyler Morimoto traveled to Abu Dhabi to represent Hawaii and the United States at the 2019 Special Olympics World Games.

For more information on the 14th Annual Fueling Dreams or on Special Olympics Hawaii, please contact (808) 695-3528 or visit www.sohawaii.org.
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ANA Successfully Completes First Test Flight for A380 FLYING HONU

A blessing ceremony took place Wednesday morning after All Nippon Airways (ANA) A380 FLYING HONU landed at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport for the first time. The flight from Tokyo’s Narita International Airport was the first of two test flights ANA will conduct before launching its A380 FLYING HONU service on May 24, 2019. With the launch of the A380 FLYING HONU, ANA plans to double the number of seats connecting Honolulu with Tokyo by 2020.

“After a successful test flight, we are more excited than ever to serve Honolulu with our A380 FLYING HONU service,” said Hiroshi Shibata, General Manager of ANA Hawaii. “This aircraft not only offers a unique in-flight experience, but represents ANA’s commitment to sustainability, and most importantly, Hawaii’s communities.”

The three A380 FLYING HONU aircraft are decorated with blue, green and orange sea turtles, inspired by Hawaii’s blue sky, ocean and sunset. ANA chose to name the aircraft after the honu, because it is believed that those who catch a glimpse of a honu will be blessed with good fortune and prosperity. To celebrate the launch of the A380 FLYING HONU, ANA is donating 520 milo trees to the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative (HLRI). The trees symbolize the 520 spacious seats on each aircraft.

Each aircraft offers First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy Class seats across two decks. In-flight menus for First Class passengers are produced in collaboration with Noe, an award-winning Italian restaurant at the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina. Each menu will be overseen by the restaurant’s Michelin-starred head chef Ryo Takatsuka. The initial menu will be served from May 24, 2019 through the end of August 2019. In addition, ANA will offer an exclusive Blue Hawaii cocktail en route.

Since the Honolulu route is popular with families, ANA also enhanced services for children. For passengers who order baby or children’s meals on flights departing from Japan, ANA will provide specialty-branded silverware from “EDISONmama.” ANA tote bags and inflatable “FLYING HONU” also will be available for young passengers and their families. Model planes and a HONU doll will be available for purchase en route.

The A380 FLYING HONU features ANA COUCHii, the very first couch seats offered by a Japanese airline. Each seat also comes with its own bedding, making it ideal for family trips. ANA COUCHii seats are available in the Economy Class section on the main deck.

As ANA prepares to expand service in Hawaii, the airline also is preparing to open a new lounge that will be the largest at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

Ticket sales for the Airbus A380 FLYING HONU began on January 10, 2019. To celebrate this route, ANA is running special campaigns for those flying Premium Economy, Economy Class and ANA COUCHii. The campaigns include offering a discount up to 50% on the ANA COUCHii and allowing ANA Mileage Club members unlimited access to available seats in Premium Economy and Economy Class to book their award tickets.
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Sugarlina Bakeshop

Sugarlina Bakeshop has been baking up sweet treats for several years now in Aiea.

Although they are primarily known for their cupcakes, they also serve colorful macarons, and even banana pudding!

I recently stopped by and was treated to some of their yummy cupcakes!

Lemon Toffee Crunch

Cotton Candy

Vanilla Chocolate

Salted Caramel

Lemon Toffee Crunch is a popular flavor, but I couldn't resist the Salted Caramel.  I love all things Salted Caramel, and this moist cupcake had such a buttery frosting with just the right amount of salted caramel.

You can't go wrong with a fave like Vanilla Chocolate, and kids will love the fun Cotton Candy cupcake.

There are so many other yummy flavors to choose from at Sugarlina Bakeshop!

Sugarlina Bakeshop
Pearl Kai Shopping Center
98-199 Kamehameha Hwy F4
Aiea, HI 96701
(808) 312-3173
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