Friday, June 30, 2006

Dinner at KCC

KCC Culinary 1 Tonight we went to dinner at the Kapiolani Community College Culinary Institute with Milton, Carol, Michelle, Marc, Taylor, and Grandma Tong. The restaurant is a proving ground for the students in the culinary program. The presentations of all the food were wonderful and everything tasted good -- although in true Top Chef fashion, there was a lot of analysis of the flavors. We had a nice appetizer of brie cheese baked in a phylo dough pastry with a fig and fruit sauce. The house salad was mixed greens stuffed inside a hollowed out tomato with wax beans, green beans, and sliced avocado on the side. I had a grilled pork loin with an onion sauce as my main entre. Dessert was a pear tart with a frangipan glaze and ice cream. It was a very nice dinner. I took a couple camera phone pictures of the main dish (at left) and a spring roll appetizer that you can see here.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hawaii's North Shore

HawaiiPics4 002 copy Dianne, Michelle, and I drove up to the North Shore of Oahu to go to the beach. We found a spot just a little north of Haleiwa town that was very nice. I took a few additional photos that you can see here. I stayed in the shade to avoid looking like a lobster. Dianne and Michelle both fell asleep in the sun.

Afterwards, we went to Kaneohe to do some laundry and relax by the pool. In the evening, we met Milton, Carol, Taylor, Marc, Paige, Jacob, and Madison for dinner at Pah Ke's in Kaneohe. It's a great Chinese place that we've been to several times before. All the dishes were very good -- but the salt/pepper shrimp, the taro duck, and the lettuce wraps were the favorites.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Diamond Head State Monument

HawaiiPics3 034 copyOn Tuesday, Dianne and I drove to the Diamond Head State Monument. It’s an area inside the Diamond Head Crater where you can park and then hike up a trail to the rim of the crater where an old fire control station (i.e. gunfire from shore batteries – not forest fires) has been turned into a public lookout. The brochure we got mentioned observers here not only controlled fire from artillery batteries at Diamond Head, but also the artillery at Fort DeRussy where we visited the Army Museum (see my earlier post). Because it’s up so high, you have a wonderful view of Waikiki and downtown Honolulu as well as the southeast shore of the island. You can see a few of the photos we took here. It was pretty warm when we were hiking up and there wasn’t much of a breeze inside the crater. Once we got to the rim, the breeze helps cool you off. The view made the hike worth it. It’s worth the hike, but take plenty of water.

Afterwards, we went to the Waiola shave ice store to help cool off. It's the first review when you scroll down that site. It really is the best shaved ice on the planet.

Hawaii Update 2

On Sunday morning, Dianne and I drove to the Sand Island Beach park. You can see a photo of the beach park here. It isn’t the nicest beach for swimming, it’s in an industrial area, and there are several “campsites” that appeared to be groups of homeless people. Nevertheless, it was very pretty and we got to see some tugboats taking in a barge that was full of shipping containers.

HawaiiPics2 EarlandQueenIn the afternoon we met Carol and Michelle at the Taste of Honolulu. It isn’t as large as the taste of Cincinnati, but there were many bands and a lot of different types of food to try. It was very hot and there wasn’t much of a breeze. Before going inside, we looked around the civic center and got some pictures of Father Damien, me and the Queen, the Iolani palace, King Kamehameha, etc. Take a look at all the pictures in the group here.

On Sunday evening, Milton arranged for us to see the performance of Cirque Hawaii. It’s a smaller scale version of the Cirque du Soleil shows in Las Vegas, but there are some amazing acrobats with great athletic ability! I enjoyed the show. Afterwards the family went to a very nice Chinese restaurant near the theater.

Monday, June 26, 2006

We're on Oahu

Manapua copy

It was a long flight, but after about 10 hours we made it to Hawaii on Thursday afternoon. The flight was uneventful.

On Thursday evening, we went with Milton & Carol, Taylor, Marc, Paige, Jacob, and Madison for dinner at Irifune. It’s a good local spot that you can read about here and here.

Friday morning we got up early since we weren’t quite adjusted to the time change. We went to the market near Grandma Tong’s place that has the best manapua spot around. It’s a favorite of mine and since we got up early, they were still warm when we got there. Here is a picture of one of the buns. Manapua is a Chinese barbequed pork (char siu) that is stuffed inside a slightly sweet dough and then either steamed or baked. The pork at this place is minced so it’s very easy to eat. After breakfast, we visited with Grandma Tong. She’s getting a new, bamboo floor put in her living room so much of the furniture was moved in preparation for the work.

After our visit, we walked around the Ala Moana shopping center and then went to the beach park near there.

HawaiiPics DiWaikikiStatue copyOn Saturday we walked around Waikiki, looking at the various shops and the International Market place. I got a good picture of Dianne near one of the statues. We also saw the statue of queen Lili’uokalani that had several leis placed on it. You can read about her here and here.

After taking a quick peek at the west end of the Waikiki beach, we went to the US Army Museum at Fort DeRussy Park. It’s a small, but nice museum that is inside the Battery Randolph that was used to guard the coast. They had two, 14 inch guns as the main artillery for the battery. They said when those guns were fired, some of the windows in Waikiki cracked and many of the surrounding buildings rattled. You can learn more about the museum here and here. I took a couple pictures of a WWII era US and Japanese tanks outside the museum. The museum has a lot of history about the attack on Pearl Harbor and the 100th battalion composed of Americans of Japanese Ancestry. There is a lot of info about the battalion on the web including the sites here and here.

HawaiiPics YellowFlower copySaturday evening we went to Kurt and Tracy’s wedding that was held at the Halekulani hotel. It is a very nice hotel on the west end of Waikiki that has a garden courtyard in between two main towers of rooms. The wedding was held in the courtyard. After the ceremony, a reception was held in the ballroom. The food was wonderful and there was a nice program for the reception. One of the highlights of the reception for me was the Chinese Lion dance. Since both Kurt and Tracy are half Chinese, they included this dance as part of the reception. I was not aware of the tradition and there is a nice explanation here. There were two lions with the traditional drum, gong, and cymbal. It was a nice performance that will assure lots of good luck for them.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Pepsi and Mentos

Pat had an interesting 'fun with science' post that had a link to a website showing what can happen when you mix Pepsi and Mentos (the fresh maker). A couple weeks ago on VH1, I was watching a show called Web Junk 20 that highlights various viral items circulating on the web. One of the items was this video that investigates what happens when a girl tries to reproduce the mentos fountain in her stomach. I thought it was hilarious!