Hawaii Mom Blog






October 21, 2016

Visit San Francisco: Wipeout Bar & Grill

Offering pizzas, salads, burgers, and more, Wipeout Bar & Grill on PIER 39 is a popular spot to grab a drink or get a bite for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Whenever we walked past the restaurant, the outdoor patio was filled with customers drinking a cocktail or devouring a burger, so I was eager to have lunch there with the family.

The Wipeout Burger

Grilled Chicken Burrito

Kids Fish & Chips

Kids Mac & Cheese with Fries
I ordered the Grilled Chicken Burrito. A huge burrito was filled with chicken, black beans, and rice, and served with a tomato salsa and a really yummy jalapeno cream. It was tasty, but I felt as if there was too much beans and rice, and not enough chicken.

My husband enjoyed The Wipeout Burger, which was topped with bacon, blue cheese, and fried onions.

Kids meals are reasonably-priced at just $6.95 each, and comes with a side, but no drink.

We all thought our dishes were delicious and the portion sizes were generous.  Definitely bring your appetite, or be prepared to take home lots of leftovers.

Overall service was good - we were pleasantly greeted, and the food came out quite quickly. However, our server did not refill our drinks promptly, and often times we waited for long periods with empty cups.

Despite that, we had a very nice lunch at Wipeout Bar & Grill.

There's plenty of seating indoors and out, so you can gaze at the water or people watch.

Whether you're hungry for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or just thirsty for a drink, check out Wipeout Bar & Grill the next time you're visiting PIER 39 in San Francisco!

Wipeout Bar & Grill

PIER 39, Building A Level 1
Pier 39 Concourse
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 986-5966

Mahalo to Wipeout Bar & Grill for hosting our meal.  Gratuity was paid on our own.
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My Disney California Adventure Bucket List

There were precisely three things I wanted to do at Disney California Adventure park.  In no particular order, they were: watch Frozen Live at the Hyperion, ride the Tower of Terror, and order one of the secret drinks at the Cove Bar. 

This was easier said than done.  When we arrived at the park, fast passes to both Frozen and Tower of Terror were already gone and the line to the Cove Bar was cruelly long with no signs of movement.  It was quite depressing. 

After dinner, we decided to commit the time and wait in the estimated 120 minute line for Tower of Terror.  The line was especially long due to only 2 of the 3 elevators working.  The third was being overhauled in preparation for the new Guardians of Galaxy ride slated for next year.  Adding to the ride's popularity was being able to ride it for the first time in complete darkness.  It definitely made the ride scarier! 

Since we were staying at the one of the Disney properties, we had access to the park an hour before the park opened.  With only the Frozen Fast Pass on my mind, I got up early the next morning and was first in the fast pass line.  My excitement was soon crushed when I learned that I wouldn't be able to get fast passes for the rest of my family since their tickets had not been scanned yet as they were still dreaming away in their hotel beds.  Feeling defeated, I rode the Tower of Terror to cheer me up.  

I went back to the hotel and dressed the child I could carry and we headed back to the park for the fast passes.  When we arrived, fast passes were still available for the 11:30am show.  I decided to wait until those fast passes ran out so I could get better seating for the next show.  When fast passes opened up for the 1:30pm show, we got orchestra seating!  The fast pass gives you a time to return and the earlier you are, the better seating choices you'll have in your designated section.  The show was fantastic and great to watch!  I'm glad I didn't miss it. 

Finally, only the Cove Bar was left on my list!  It says it opens daily at 11am, but I arrived at 10:30am and was able to get a table.  While we waited for the rest of the family to meet us, my son kept busy watching the California Screamin' take off and I enjoyed my Mickey's Fun Wheel drink - a super pretty variation of the long island iced tea.  The menu items are somewhat limited, but we loved the lobster nachos!  Service was great and was the best meal we had in the park on this visit. 

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Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting from Rise and Shine Cafe

Rise and Shine Cafe is a great spot for breakfast, lunch, and dessert.

On a recent visit, my kids kept begging for something sweet from the display case, so I let my oldest son pick something out.

He chose the Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting.

Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Since I'm not a fan of cakes, this would not have been my first choice, but I'm so glad my son picked it out.  The cake was so moist, and the peanut butter frosting + chocolate cake combination was divine!

Rise and Shine Cafe offers a lot of great desserts, but this is a no-brainer for those who love chocolate + PB!

Rise and Shine Cafe 
95-1057 Ainamakua Dr Ste F-6
Mililani, HI 96789
(808) 260-9312
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October 20, 2016

Visit San Francisco: Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure

One of the highlights of our trip to San Francisco was cruising the San Francisco Bay and viewing the many landmarks while on the Blue & Gold Fleet's San Francisco Bay Cruise Adventure.

The 60-minute cruise offered spectacular views and stunning perspectives of San Francisco's icons from the water.

Approaching the Golden Gate Bridge
No reservations are required.  Once you get your ticket, it's first-come, first-served, and if you happen to miss your desired departure, or perhaps the weather is not cooperating, you can always go at a later date or time (tickets expire 6 months after the date printed on the tickets).

It's recommended you arrive at least 15 minutes prior to departure time (30 minutes early for the busy summer months).  We went stand to in line at 10:20am for the first departure of the morning at 10:45am, and there were already a dozen or so people in line.  Shortly before 10:45am, guests were ushered along for souvenir photo ops prior to boarding the boat.

Everyone hurried for a seat at the top deck of the tri-level boat, and although we did find a seat at the top, we ended up standing up for just about the entire cruise so we could get the best photos.  The employee who took our tickets advised us that the right side, or starboard, offers the best views.  We were on the starboard side during the cruise, but there really is no "bad" side, because you are free to safely roam about the boat, and there are fab photo ops from all areas of the boat.

While on the cruise, we went right past the PIER 39 Sea Lions and saw the busy Bay Bridge, the stunning city skyline, and the historic SS Jeremiah O'Brien

PIER 39 Sea Lions
The Bay Bridge
Beautiful skyline
SS Jeremiah O'Brien
The most exciting aspect of the cruise for most onboard was traveling under the Golden Gate Bridge.
Cruising under the Golden Gate Bridge!
About to turn back
Heading back towards Alcatraz Island
Watched this cargo ship sail under the bridge
Cameras were clicking away as we went under the massive structure.

It was also neat to cruise right around Alcatraz Island.  Even though we did not step foot on the island, being so close to it and being able to see the decaying buildings and the aging signs of this infamous island left me with such an eerie feeling.

Alcatraz Island

The views and photo opportunities while on the Blue & Gold Fleet's San Francisco Bay Cruise Adventure were spectacular, and I learned so much about the popular landmarks through the recorded narration being played on the boat. On the recordings were voices of the city as well, including people who lived through the devastating earthquake, and a former Alcatraz prisoner. It was so interesting to hear the stories behind the people and places of San Francisco.

A free audio tour is available in nine languages (English, Spanish, Mandarin, Italian, French, Japanese, Korean, German and Taiwanese) via your Wi-Fi enabled device (complimentary headphones are provided).

For the entire hour our family remained at the top deck, just taking in the views and taking lots of photos. If you get hungry or thirsty, there is a bar where you can purchase snacks and drinks.

The boat also has restrooms and a charging station.

It can get chilly at the top of the boat, so bring a jacket.

If you want to be treated to magnificent views of San Francisco and learn about the city's history and most famous icons, hop onboard the Blue & Gold Fleet's San Francisco Bay Cruise Adventure tour!

For more information and prices on the Blue & Gold Fleet San Francisco Bay Cruise Adventure and other tours offered, click here.  Blue & Gold Fleet tickets are included in CityPASS San Francisco.

Blue & Gold Fleet
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 705-8200

Complimentary tour tickets were received.
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Visit Las Vegas: Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

I've been to Las Vegas more times than I can remember, but I have never ventured too far outside the casinos.  Over the years, my days of gambling into the wee hours of the morning began to diminish and slowly replaced with eating all that Vegas has to offer.  This trip I wanted to do something different, but still stay close to the Strip. 

I discovered that Red Rock Canyon, part of the Mojave Desert, was just thirty minutes away and offered visitors a 13-mile scenic drive, miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, and more. 

My friend and I decided to tackle Calico Tanks, a moderate 2.5 miles trail involving a bit of rock scrambling.  The trail of sandstone leads to a hidden water pocket that was dry when we got there.  Climb a little bit further and you will discover an amazing view of Las Vegas.

The hike was very fun and popular as we saw many families and pets on the trail.  The weather in early October was beautiful.  If you are looking for something different to do the next time you visit Las Vegas, give Red Rock Canyon a try. 

The park is open daily and there is a $7 per car entrance fee.   

On our way to the trail head.

Gorgeous colors of the sandstone.

What a view!

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Lunch at California Pizza Kitchen at Pearlridge Center

After a couple of below average visits to California Pizza Kitchen in Kailua, my hubby and I had lost faith in California Pizza Kitchen (CPK). Service (both for take out and dine in) was poor and the quality of the food was not up to par.

But one Monday afternoon, we were at Pearlridge Center and dying of hunger. Since the boys were asking for pizza and pasta, we reluctantly headed to CPK.  As it turns out, we had a great experience here, and our faith in CPK has been restored.

The hubby and I usually share one salad and one pizza.  Our go-to pizza is the Mushroom Pepperoni and Sausage. 

For our salad, instead of our usual BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad, we tried the Thai Crunch Salad - very flavorful and very crunchy! It also had a slight kick to it.

For the boys, we ordered one traditional cheese pizza and one fusilli with meat sauce pasta off of the CPKids Menu. Each kids meal comes with a drink, and re-fills are complimentary!

Service was quick and the food exceeded our expectations. We also saved $10 off of our order thanks to the CPK Pizza Dough rewards program. If you haven't joined, you should do so now so that you can start earning points towards free food and discounts at CPK.

Click here to see what Gem tried during her last visit to CPK Pearlridge. 

California Pizza Kitchen
554 Pearlridge Center
(808) 487-7741
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JP Spaghetti

Since my husband had to run some errands in Wahiawa, I asked him to pick up dinner from JP Spaghetti, since I've been wanting to try that place for years.
New York Steak
Chicken Saltimbocca

Garlic Bread
I usually order Chicken Saltimbocca at Italian restaurants, so of course I had to give JP Spaghetti's a try. I thought it was just okay. There was too little prosciutto, and the mushrooms were all over the linguine instead of the chicken. And the linguine had way too much pepper for my liking.

My husband, on the other hand, really liked the Steak.

Each entree comes with a slice of Garlic Bread and a choice of Potatoes or Linguine.

Next time I'd probably try a different entree, and also try the potatoes instead of the linguine.

JP Spaghetti
935 California Ave
Wahiawa, HI 96786
(808) 621-7238
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