Weekend with the girls

I got to spend a weekend with the girls, High School friends, some of them I have known since first grade, on a staycation in Honolulu. It’s been a while since going on a vacation for many of us in the group. I was looking forward to being away from folks and not having my daily chores. No guilt, I would be only half-hour away, and my Mom knew that she could call anytime they needed me. And yes, I think they were happy to have a break from me.

I didn’t do my best at taking pictures. There are lots of picture-takers in the group. Here’s what I got.

Friday Night’s Adventures

A scavenger Hunt to get to our first destination of the weekend. These are our challenges to the hunt.

  1. Find a store that begins with the first letter of your first name
  2. Find Keeuamoku Seafood to pick up pupus
  3. Find the statues of Kamehameha and Queen Lili’uokalani and take a group picture of ourselves in front of the statues
  4. Find Skull & Crown, take a picture with the sign. 
  5. Skull & Crown is your final destination.
This was one of the only photo we remember to take our mask off. With the Kamehameha statue. Photo credits: Stephanie Takehara

I thought it was funny that the girl that lived on the mainland for 35 years was the driver of the scavenger hunt. Thank goodness I had great navigators, or we would be still on the search for these items.

Once all of us got to Friday’s final destination, Skull & Crown, it was time for pupus (appetizers) and drinks. Here’s all of us eating, drinking, and talking way too much. Cathy asked to bring her husband Allen along as it’s been a long, challenging year without a vacation. He was a trooper and didn’t get annoyed with all our jabbering. Group shot photo credit: Allen Takayama


Saturday’s Adventures

Oh my! What a day. We packed it like we weren’t going to have another chance: Afternoon tea at 11:00, Raku Ceramics event, roaming around Chinatown, shopping, getting ice cream, dinner in Waikiki, and more talking, drinking, and laughing at the end. I hope I’ll survive this weekend.

Tea at 1024 is a cute tea shop across the street from the Downtown Art Center (more about this location later) in Chinatown. We each picked our tea and teacup. I chose Vanilla Rooibus because I’ve been trying to eliminate caffeine from my life and like the taste. Here’s what we had. Everything was delicious, especially the scones and clotted cream.


Before we went to Tea at 1024, we found our way to Downtown Art Center to see what was showing. They had an annual Raku glazing/firing event. You could purchase a hand-thrown bowl, and you got to glaze it, and the raku team would fire for us. Several of us decided to to do it. We hurry to get into the last firing.

Meanwhile as the pots were fired we roam chinatown for interesting shops to browse and take advantage of their AC. We ended up making our way to Wing Ice Cream for a cool snack. This ice cream shop has unique flavors (pizza, we weren’t brave enough). I got a double scoop of “The Haole” and black sesame (I shouldn’t have done that).

Melt-y mess of goodness. Photo credits: Stephanie Takehara

We had dinner at Taormina in Waikiki. Taormina is a Sicilian restaurant with a Japanese Chef. Cathy and Allen have been there before and gave it a glowing review. We hopped in the minibus we rented for the evening. My disclaimer for the evening was that I wasn’t feeling great by the time we got back to the hotel. My choice for dinner may have been different if I felt better. I chose the Sea urchin “Ricci di mare,” Spaghetti sautéed with fresh sea urchin, light salt, and garlic. It was a creamy sauce from the sea urchin but a little bland. Maybe a little more salt or sea urchin. I think the duck, Pesci Misti, grilled mixed seafood, and Sarde e Finochetti, Spaghettini with sautéed sardine, fennel, anchovy, olive, caper, tomato paste and bread crumbs, were the winners tonight.

After dinner, we hung out in one of our rooms for more eating, drinking, and laughing.

Sunday Winddown

We had an early Dim Sum reservation at Jade Dynasty. We decided to sleep in (no 6:00 am walking), pack up, and move the car for the rest of the day’s events. Since coming back to Hawaii three years ago, I realize people in Hawaii like to stand in line for things. We got to the restaurant about 10:00, and people lined up already. Well, I survived dim sum without bursting, then off to the Van Gogh exhibit. Great use of fantastic artwork (wow, I still can’t believe they were allowed to do it), animation, projections, and ample space.

Well, I say we sure planned a jam-packed weekend and had a blast. I’m looking forward to the next event. Maybe a little less packed.

Tunnels on the Trail

A week behind, but better late than never. We went on a hike at Waimano Ridge Trail in Pearl City, Hawaii. We went up to the picnic table and back, about a 5-mile round trip. This trail is lusher than others I’ve been on, as the walk is more through the forest than on the ridge of the mountain range.

Early Morning Start: to beat the heat.

The hike is known for the irrigation tunnels and ditches; they brought water from the wet side of the island to the farms on the west side. There are ten tunnels that you can walkthrough. I was a little leery about going through the tunnel. I imagined spiders and other crawly things falling on me. Too much Indiana Jones movies! Haha!

Tunnel One: Waiting at the end for crew

Trails were busy, and there were even campers near the picnic table. A Shama followed us for part of the trail, singing his songs and mimicking our whistles. Here’s a link for more information on the Shama. Wish I got picture but he was too fast for me.

The trail was packed with strawberry guava and mountain apple (also known as malay apple), all still green to pick. We may have to come back soon to harvest some fruit.


Here’s a gallery of the trail. Fun hike, get out early to be the heat and the crowds.

Fav Pics: Pickled Veggies

Summer veggies getting ready for the brine

I love the colors of this pickles. The natural light in my kitchen always made my kitchen picture looks so beautiful. I got most of the veggies from my local farmers market. The recipe is from smittenkitchen.com and her beautiful pics inspired me to make it myself. This recipe is delicious and get in a salad.

Recipe Testing: Ricotta Cherry Scones

Look what I got in the mail.

Joanne Chang’s Pastry Love. I’ve seen delicious posts of recipes from the book, and I caved in during Prime day.

But what should be my first bake from this book? I was inspired by what was in the refrigerator, cherries, and ricotta I’ve was saving for cannoli pound cake from Smitten Kitchen (one of my favorite pound cake recipe). It would be Ricotta Cherry Scones.

The only problem I was missing a few ingredients: superfine sugar, creme fraiche, and dried cherries. Once again, I’m winging it because I’m just too lazy to run out to the market. I decided to use regular sugar (I’m sure it would come out better with superfine, but with the limited space in the kitchen, regular sugar would work out fine). I happen to have sour cream, and that would be my replacement for creme fraiche. And I had a small amount of dried cherries but not enough. So I made up the rest with blueberries and golden raisins.

One great takeaway from this bake is pitting cherries with a stainless steel straw was quick and easy. Don’t spend your money on pitter. The straw worked out great.


As I measured out the wet ingredients, I had just a little bit left of ricotta and sour cream. I just dumped it in. I can’t stand waste or leaving just a little bit to go bad in the refrigerator. Well, I will end up adjusting the flour at the end to thicken up the batter.

Oh, I forgot. My mom told me to use the blueberries that we had hanging around.

With all this improvisation, I got a baker’s dozen instead of six. Haha. I was a little worried this would be a total fail because I went off so much. But in the end, these turn out delicious and light. I would add more zest next time. I think it would make it even better. I can see how an all cherry version would be so delicious. I used Joanne’s suggestions and froze half the recipes for another time. Definitely a make.