Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Beach Reading: A Concise History of the Hawaiian Islands

It doesn't take much to make a trip to Hawaii perfect.  Beaches, idylic weather and Mai Tais.  But what makes Hawaii even more incredible is its very rich and fascinating history.  Knowing more about the islands makes them that much more incredible when visiting a land that has seen it's share of good times and hard, not to mention the sheer wonder that human kind found these islands at all (Fact: They are the most isolated islands in the world).  If you want a simple over view of a very complicated history, I recommend checking out this book.  It's a short read but it will take you from when the islands were first inhabited, to the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy, Pearl Harbour and President Obama.  Reading this book has only made me even more interested in seeing the various historical landmarks on the islands and has caused a deeper appreciation and fascination of Hawaii.  Grab a copy at...you guessed it, the ABC Store!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Beach Twitter

I started a Twitter account for this blog today, you can follow along at twitter.com/pineapple_fresh

AND...Congrats to The Descendants for their Oscar win last night for Adapted Screenplay!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Beach Life: Tutu's Pantry

Located among the variety of shops on Lahaina's popular Front St. is a store called Tutu's Pantry.  I spent well over an hour there...testing hot sauce!  The shelves here are stocked with a foodies dream - jellies, bbq sauces, seasonings, spices and hot sauce.  The staff are very friendly and have a counter set up with all necessities for taste testing an array of hot sauce, without burning your taste buds.  The reason you NEED to try these out (if you're a fan of hot sauce that is) is because it's impossible to choose!  There's coconut hot sauce, guava hot sauce, tropical vinagrette hot sauce...and then there are the jellies...I could go on and on...and I did one afternoon while the crew were out snorkling.  Might sound like an unusual way to pass the time while on Maui, but I loved it and can't wait to go back there just to stock up my shelves with these island goodies that have become a favorite in our home. 
You won't find these items on the mainland so get 'em while their hot in Maui!  It'll add spice to your life and remind you of paradise while you're killing time until your next Hawaiian adventure.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Beach Life: Hau'oli La Aloha

In Hawaiian, Aloha has many meanings.  One of them, is love.

Hau'oli La Aloha: Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Beach Aventures: West Maui

One lane road - 2 way traffic
Before I suggested this adventure, I think it is important to include this disclaimer: Remember to be respectful of Hawaii, of the people who call these places home, and of the unpredictable mother of all, NATURE.  Use common sense and proceed with caution as some of these places are as dangerous as they are beautiful.

If you're up for some self guided exploring, why not check out West Maui.  It is a BEAUTIFUL drive (though at times scary, so I advise that if you go on this adventure, it is at your own discretion and I recommend careful driving).  Take the Honopi'ilani Highway past Kapalua, and check out the following places (these are written in order of where they are along the drive):

Honolua Bay
1. Honolua Bay:  This is a great spot for snorkling.  Tour places in Lahaina offer chartered boat trips that will take you there....or you can go yourself for free by driving there!  Keep in mind, there is no lifeguard...so again, use your own common sense.  If you aren't into snorkeling, there is a small look-out point (Lipoa Point) above the bay that you can stop, get fresh pineapple from a pineapple truck and check out the spectacular view of the bay from above.

2. Nakalele Blow Hole:  This is one of the most incredible things I've ever seen.  Continue along the highway until you see several large boulders on the left side of the road (west) and a small parking lot.  Trust me - you'll know these boulders when you see them (if you aren't sure - then it's not them!).  You will need to hike down some pretty steep lava rock, so I recommend a decent pair of shoes.  Also - use your common sense and don't get too close to the blowhole itself.  Admire it from a distance.  The power of the ocean is incredible and I am sad to say someone recently lost their life here due to getting too close.  While you are down there, there is also an adorable heart shaped hole in some rocks.  Romantic photo opportunity!

Kahakuloa Church
3.  Village of Kahakuloa:  From a very narrow section of the road, you will see in a valley below an old green church.  This is Kahakuloa.  You will not find a gas station or any shops here, but there are a few great food trucks you can stop at, including one that offers some amazing banana bread!  Great stop for a midday snack.

4. Iao Needle/Iao State Park:  To get here...I recommend you pull out the GPS as we had to do quite a big of navigating and guessing!  Continue along the very twisty, narrow Kahekili Highway for about 20km.  Just past the town of Waihee, you are going to start heading away from the ocean and inland, towards a town called Wailuku.  Iao is west of there.  I don't know how to explain it further than that, except to say that if we found it, you can find it!  Once you are there, it is a beautiful park surrounded by amazing mountains and hills that you only see in Hawaii, a beautiful stream and just the peace and calm of Hawaii....ah.

This adventure will take you about half a day, or less, depending on how much time you spend at each sight.  I recommend going from the Iao needle in Wailea, stop and enjoy happy hour at one of the famous and gorgeous golf course club houses and rest your happy feet.
At Nakalele 

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Beach Cuisine: Castaways and The Gazebo

If you are headed to West Maui, there are 2 must-go restaurants when you are in the mood for no-fuss, good grub.  The Castaway CafĂ© and The Gazebo.  Castaways is a short beach walk or boardwalk away from The Royal Lahaina Resort (just keep walking north past the luau grounds...you'll find it), nestled in between 2 condo complexes. It has that typical (and perfect) Hawaiian indoor/outdoor feel in that all of the windows and doors are open to walking right outside...or inside from the beach.  The best meal to have...the pancakes! They are as "hawaiian" as it gets with your choice of macadamia nuts, pineapple or banana pancakes and served with the oh-so-delicious coconut syrup found in most restaurants (and also at the ABC store...make sure you buy a bottle or 2 to bring home with you!).

The Gazebo
The Gazebo is another must-do experience.  This one is located in Napili, just a few miles north of Ka'anapali.  You can definitely expect to wait for a half hour or so, as the restaurant only has at the most 10 tables in it.  However, while you wait in line they serve free coffee, have a little knick-knack shop AND you can wander over to the beach and watch for turtles, whales, or people getting married beachside.  Once you do get seated, it's exactly as you imagine it - a little gazebo.  I highly recommend you get the Hawaiian Fried Rice plate.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  Rice, eggs, bacon, portuguese sausage...and the plate is gigantic, you might want to share!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Beach Luau: Royal Lahaina, Maui

Ever been to a luau?  You gotta do it!  There are many to choose from on the islands, and my recommendation depends on what you are looking for.  We attended the Royal Lahaina Luau in October 2011 and had a great time.  The setting is during sunset, right beside ka'anapali beach: out-of-this-world gorgeous. The food was great and the hostess of the luau has a great sense of humor.  In a kukui nutshell, a luau is a big feast (usually a buffet) and Polynesian entertainment.  I recommend arriving early so that you can enjoy a mai tai (courtesy of an open bar) and see the imu ceremony (pig roast) before you take your seat.  After you eat (the delicious array of Hawaiian cuisine), you are treated to a lively show of Samoan, Tahitian and Hawaiian dancing.  It's really cool and certainly something you can only experience in Hawaii and should definitely do so at least once.

We hesitated on attending this luau after reading various poor reviews.  The comments were that the drinks are watered down, and that you are served dinner with plastic dinnerware.  After personally experiencing this luau, I can tell you that if the drinks are watered down, it would be due to ice melting.  Our drinks were great and plenty strong enough.  As for plastic, it is not the flimsy plastic you get with your fast food - this is plenty sturdy enough to enjoy your kalua pork!  We took the opportunity to attend and I am glad we did.  I loved it!  This is the oldest luau on Maui and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone that they take it in and enjoy it for what it is - a feast and Hawaiian entertainment under the stars of my favorite resort in all of Hawaii.  The food - delicious.  The entertainment - beautiful and genuine.  The location: Breathtaking. You couldn't ask for a better night under the stars.

You can also check out the also-awesome Old Lahaina Luau, but I will save that review for later!

PS I recommend paying the small price (I think it's $15) for an upgrade so that you can be admitted right away instead of waiting in-line and enjoy those mai tais AND you get preferred seating (though it could be argued there really isn't a bad seat).