Wednesday, May 18, 2022

OUR DINING EXPERIENCE- DUKE'S, WAIKIKI,

OUR DINING EXPERIENCE- DUKE'S, WAIKIKI, 


We stayed at The Royal Hawaiian Resort in Waikiki during our recent trip to Hawaii. On the day we arrived we heard some rocking music float up to our 15 th floor balcony. A live band was playing at Duke's Waikiki close by so we decided to drop in there for dinner.

We made a reservation and waited for our turn, choosing to sit outdoors in their Barefoot Bar and enjoy the cool breeze coming in from the Pacific Ocean.  


Duke's is named after the legendary Duke Paoa Kahanamoku (1890-1968), perhaps the most famous son of Hawaii- a champion swimmer from Waikiki who introduced surfing to the rest of the world. 



" Pupus" are what appetizers or finger food are called in the Hawaiian language. We started off with Panko Crusted Calamari: which was deep fried squid made with guava cocktail sauce and meyer lemon remoulade. 

We then had the Duke's Nachos: which were served with black beans, jalapeños, pico de Gallo, guacamole, sour cream, and Colby Jack cheese. 

The next item on our table were the delicious Waikiki Hot Wings: spicy all natural chicken wings with the Duke's special sauce.

Last we had the Poke Tacos made with fresh raw ahi, maui onions, chilli flakes, avocado, and wasabi aioli.


Overall, we loved the food and the ambience. The service was rather leisurely but that's understandable as this is the kind of place where people enjoy a lengthy meal soaking in the atmosphere.

I close with a picture of the view we got as we had our leisurely and delicious meal at the Duke's Waikiki. 

 




Sunday, May 15, 2022

OUR DINING EXPERIENCE: BAREFOOT BEACH CAFE, HONOLULU, HAWAII

 OUR DINING EXPERIENCE: BAREFOOT BEACH CAFE, HONOLULU, HAWAII


We discovered an excellent place for casual dining in Honolulu, during our recent trip to Hawaii. This was the Barefoot Beach Cafe an oceanfront restaurant located in the Queen's Surf Beach on the Diamond Head end of Waikiki.

This eating place really caught our fancy for the informal style, the easy going ambience, the yummy food, and to cap it all- a superb location from where to view the sun set on the Pacific Ocean.


We were extremely lucky that our plans came off well that day. We reached there well in time. This helped us get a vantage point to view the sunset. Be warned that you may have to wait for some time for service here - as often there is a fairly long queue to get a spot in this restaurant. This is open from 8.00 a.m to 9.00 p.m. with live music on in the evenings.


The first thing that caught my eye was the attractive manner in which they plated and served the Pineapple Smoothie. This was called the Whole North Shore Pineapple Smoothie. We had this delicious drink to accompany our Ahi Poke Bowl, as we especially enjoy the tuna fish of Hawaii. The Ahi Poke Bowl had fresh raw ahi tuna on steamed rice with furikake Hawaiian-style sesame oil, sweet onion, green onion, lime seaweed and Mac nut. I came to know that furikake is a Japanese seasoning. 


We enjoyed our delicious meal as we listened to the live music and saw the performers.


How can I sign off without talking about the never to be forgotten sunset we saw from there?  The last rays of the setting sun change the colours of the skies and reflect on the waves of the Pacific Ocean as they lap up against the shore in front of the Barefoot Beach Cafe. 


In my view, based on this recent experience I would give an Excellent Rating for the Barefoot Beach Cafe. 

Strongly recommended. 




Friday, May 13, 2022

SHAVE ICE AT MATSUMOTO'S, HALEIWA, HAWAII

 SHAVE ICE AT MATSUMOTO'S, HALEIWA, HAWAII

We loved our trip to Hawaii where we spent a week recently. This was our second trip having been there for the first time ever in 2019. 

Today, I am sharing our experience visiting the famous Matsumoto Shave Ice in the little town of Haleiwa in Hawaii. This is on the main island of Honolulu. It claims with justifiable pride that it has been serving the Northern Shores since 1951.

But first, what is Hawaiian Shaved Ice? It is the best known form of shaved ice desserts and is descended from the Japanese Kakigori, says this article in Eater.com. In fact, it is similar in some respects to our Indian Gola.  


When we hit the counter, notices tell you the 3 easy steps to place your order :- 1) Choose your size 2) Choose your extras - and 3) Choose your flavors . 

We correctly estimated that the "Small" size- pictures above and below - was adequate for each of us.

For the extras, we chose condensed milk, while other options were Vanilla Ice Cream, Ice Cream and Beans etc etc.

From the 30 + flavors on offer, you can choose any three or opt for the Matsumoto combinations. We selected Strawberry, Mango, and Pineapple as our choice.



After all the running around, visiting so many beautiful places to see in the hot sun of Hawaii, this shave ice comes as a super cooler, which is very yummy too. 

So when you are next in Hawaii, do make it a point to visit Matsumoto's at Haleiwa. It is well worth the time and effort! 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

OUR DINING EXPERIENCE: MONTRIO BISTRO, MONTEREY, CA.

 

OUR DINING EXPERIENCE: MONTRIO BISTRO, MONTEREY, CA.

I would like to share our very pleasant dining experience at the Montrio Bistro during our recent stay at Monterey, Ca.  Although this restaurant was started in 1995, it is housed in an impressive old building at 414 Calle Principal- which was the city's first firehouse inaugurated in 1910. 

Having made our reservations well in advance, we got a nice table at one corner of the restaurant. Don't miss the bricked walls behind us, a prominent feature of the whole building. 


Having had our share of wine at the Old Monterey Inn where we were staying, we opted for mocktails this evening. It is indeed interesting how dishes and drinks are named ! I asked for  a Passionate Life ( made with passion fruit, lime, and mint) while my husband chose the Blood Orange Shrub ( made with blood orange sherbet, soda, and lime).  The mocktails were tall and cool! 


We fondly remembered the crab cake we enjoyed during our last trip to the US. So, for the appetizer, we ordered the Crispy Dungeness Crab Cake - which was truly delicious. It came cooked with lemongrass butter sauce and tarragon oil.


For the entree, we had the Pan Roasted Organic Mushroom Chicken made with garlic mashed potatoes, confit garlic, pea tendrils and sherry vinegar jus. 


We were pretty full at the end of the meal so we skipped the dessert and ended our dinner with a hot cup of Cappuccino.


I had the pleasure of meeting with the Executive Chef Sascha Lyon. You can read about him in this article from Edible Monterey Bay 



All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our dining experience at the Montrio Bistro. We will definitely visit again. 











Friday, April 22, 2022

OUR DINING EXPERIENCE: ESTEBAN RESTAURANT

 OUR DINING EXPERIENCE: ESTEBAN RESTAURANT

The Estéban Restaurant, famous for its Mediterranean and Spanish cuisine, is located in the historic Casa Munras Garden Hotel and Spa in Monterey, Ca. Their address is: 700, Munras Ave. More details about this restaurant can be found in their website. 

We enjoyed our dinner there recently, seated in the heated outdoor patio. Actually, while making the reservation we had specifically asked for outdoor seating having found out that they had a heated patio. 


To start with we ordered the Red Sangria preferring this to the White Sangria. As the name suggests, this is a drink with a base of red wine with a taste of apples, orange and lemon. It tasted out of the world! 

The Local Fried Peppers sounded interesting so we had this. They came cooked in Manchego Cheese with Maldon Sea Salt and Garlic Aioli. The aioli, ( a kind of sauce/dip) traditionally made with garlic, is a must in much of Mediterranean cuisine. The peppers were spicy without being difficult to eat and we enjoyed them with the accompanying aioli. 

Next we opted for the Coca La Mancha Flatbread which had artichoke, piquillo peppers, manchego and olives. This is the authentic Spanish flatbread and the whole dish was very filling and tasted delicious.

We enjoyed our dinner thoroughly. I must say the service too was impeccable.  

I find it interesting to meet Chefs wherever we dine. They have challenging jobs and often have their signature dishes that have made them famous. It was a pleasure to meet with the Executive Chef, Mario Garcia, who has 14 years experience in this field. He has a warm and friendly personality. He mentioned his aim was to use as much of local produce as possible in his offerings. 


As we were leaving Chef suggested we have his dessert - Chocolate Pot de Creme! This came topped with fresh strawberries. It was a fitting end to a great dinner. 


Sunday, April 17, 2022

HERBED BAKED EGGS

 HERBED BAKED EGGS

In my last post, I had written about our stay at the beautiful Old Monterey Inn in Monterey, Ca which is about a two hour drive away from where we are staying in San Francisco. 

One morning, for breakfast, we were served Herbed Baked Eggs which were simply delicious. Wendy the Innkeeper was kind enough to share her recipe with us. 

I am sure you will love this as much as we did! 

                                             Herbed Baked Eggs

Ingredients:-

  • Eggs, 3
  • Heavy Whipping Cream, 2 tbsp
  • Butter, 2 tbsp
  • Garlic Salt, 1/4 tsp
  • Thyme, minced, 1/4 tsp,
  • Rosemary, minced, 1/4 tsp
  • Parsley, minced, 1/4 tsp
  • Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated, 1 tbsp
Method:-

Take a dish suitable to be used in the oven, 
Apply heavy whipping cream to fully cover the bottom of the dish
To this add 2 tbsp of butter
Carefully crack 3 eggs into this dish without breaking the yolks
Sprinkle garlic salt, thyme, rosemary, parsley and Parmesan cheese on top
Set the oven at 450 degrees
Bake until light golden brown and starting to bubble around the edges
Takes about 10-12 minutes to cook
Turn oven to warm to hold for service
Serve hot with a freshly baked croissant 


I would like to thank Wendy for kindly sharing her recipe with us. She was the perfect hostess in every way.

It was a pleasure meeting her at the Old Monterey Inn which she manages so efficiently.







                                  Herbed Baked Eggs



Wednesday, April 13, 2022

THE OLD MONTEREY INN

 THE OLD MONTEREY INN

If you are looking for a change after the hustle and bustle of city life at San Francisco,  I would recommend  the picturesque Old Monterey Inn at Monterey, California. This is a quiet retreat with all amenities, in a beautiful location, in the coastal resort town of Monterey, about 120 miles from San Francisco. 

Last week, we had the pleasure of spending a few days there. It is a Bed and Breakfast place and naturally  you have to make you own arrangement for lunch and dinner. Actually, this is a good idea as you get the push to try out the restaurants that Monterey has in abundance.

The main building of the Inn was built in  1929 and retains an old world charm. There are ten rooms of different types in the Inn. We stayed at the beautifully appointed, "The Cottage". The Inn is situated in large grounds with lovely gardens and is the perfect place to relax. 


Every morning, we had our choice of beverage delivered in an attractive basket at our doorstep. Breakfast was an elaborate affair. The dishes made each day were delicious. You could opt for room service if you wished, but we chose to eat at the lovely old dining room. 

Wendy, who looks after the Old Monterey Inn is a very friendly, attentive and competent hostess. She made us feel very much at home. She also gave us her suggestions on different places where we could have lunch or dinner. 

When we were speaking of my interests in food and about my blog, she was happy to share her recipe for her scrumptious Herbed Baked Eggs, which I shall publish as a separate post one of these days. 

On another day, we simply loved the Cheese Blintzes, surrounded with fresh seasonal berries, peaches and bananas, dusted with powdered sugar and served with raspberry syrup! 


Every afternoon from 4.00 pm. to 6.00 pm  a choice of wines and Hors d'oeuvres/ wine and cheese are served to the guests. 


That reminds me, The Old Monterey Bay Inn is famous as a location for weddings, honeymoons, anniversaries and the like. One evening, we met a young couple who were married four days ago and on another day we were happy to meet Klaus and Linna holidaying there to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary !!


The Old Monterey Inn is located within walking distance to many old historic buildings. It is close to the Old Fisherman's Wharf which has its share of restaurants and eating joints. It is a 10 minute drive to Cannery Row and the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium there.  

We loved the Old Monterey Inn and I am sure you will enjoy a visit there too!