Category Archives: Field Trip

Our Great Western Adventure Road Trip! ~ September 2013 ~ Installment #2 ~ Let’s GO!

Blast Off was at 0650 hrs. Yup!

The car was loaded up the night before; food made and packed. Everything turned off or down. We made only three stops in total, one for a bathroom break at Sunset Point Rest Stop in Arizona and then 2 times for gasoline. One stop we made for gas in Jacob Lake Arizona the gas was $4.14/gal … WHAT?!

We made it to Bryce Canyon City Utah by 4pm AST or 5pm MST. We found our room, got settled and then went across the street to have dinner at Ruby’s Inn, which is the sister hotel to where we stayed, which by the way is so nice!

We had the Soup & Salad buffet $8.99 and then added on the ice cream (ice milk really) bar for $1.99 each. I had started to chat up our waitress, Lesa, only to find how much she loved having gone to Hawaii and staying at the Marriott timeshare in Ko’Olina. Both she and her husband loved the food in Hawaii and they even went over to the Windward side (where I’m from), HOW’S THAT? We were very tired so it was off to bed. Oh, I forgot to say we saw, I mean, I saw my first elk (I’ve never seen one before).  This going to be a GREAT month long adventure!

A Lunch Date At The Grand Canyon National Park

Since DH and I moved to Central/Northern Arizona, we are now so much closer to one of the Seven Natural Wonders, The Grand Canyon.  What makes it that much better is, we purchased a Senior Pass back a-ways when they were still only $10 for a lifetime of entrance to any of

¹  “… recreation sites managed by six federal agencies: National Parks Services, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, US Forest Service, US Army Corp of Engineers’.”

The card holder, in a private vehicle (as we were) can even take along 3 other adults, FREE! WOW!  We were trying to think how many times we’ve used DH’s America The Beautiful Lifetime Senior Pass over the years as well as how many other folks have tagged along for the ride… a lot!

As of the end of August 2017, the price changed to $80, but if you think about it, that’s still a great deal.  Here’s a good example of that value: it now costs $30 per carload of 4 to get into the Grand Canyon, which went up too.  Both of us were pretty sure that it was $20 or $25, so there you are.

Last week, DH and I were talking about a day trip somewhere, seeing as we hadn’t gone or done anything in a while.

My suggestion was to start out really early in the morning on a car trip; we could have lunch at the El Tovar Restaurant in the Grand Canyon.  YEAH, let’s go!

What a fascinating building.  Originally a Harvey House, servicing the Santa Fe Railway, the El Tovar Hotel was built in 1905 and is still in operation more than 100 years later.

We decided once we got up to the hotel that we’d walk around for a while, along the South Rim Trail.  **Hint: You’re at over 6772 feet above Sea level, take your time, it’s not going anywhere – walk slowly and take small sips of water to overcome becoming dizzy.

There are some very unusual rock formations for sure.  Everywhere you turn is a wonder.

DH and I are still trying to figure out why there are pennies embedded into the pathway every so many feet???

Okay, so are you hungry yet?  😀

The restaurant in the El Tovar Hotel is “white linen service”, but don’t let that stop you from having lunch or breakfast for that matter.  It’s much more relaxed during the daytime hours.  And that view, I mean, come on man!  Be sure to go early and ask for a table near the windows, or call ahead for a reservation.

Sylvia, our server today, took our order and promptly brought us a basket full of these heavenly rolls.  I’m not sure exactly what was in them, but do try them.  And I think that it was salted BUTTER  to schmear all over them.  We asked for a second basket.  😉

DH had the Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich and I, the Rib Eye sandwich.  Both were very good and generous.  We were stuffed.  So we walked around a bit more, exploring the gift shop and then out to the veranda to simply sit in their Rocking Chairs and stare at the beauty.  I requested a glass of wine and DH a coffee.  Aahhh!

What an afternoon!

*Hint # 2 : I suppose folks think that there’s going to be a ton of snow, ice and general crummy weather at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim (the North Rim closes from October through May) in the Winter.  Check the weather reports before you do go, but we had a spectacular, sunny, warm day (it was in the sixties).  And guess what?  There were very few people.  That was the first time that DH and I have not been elbow-to-elbow with humanity at the Grand Canyon!!!

 

¹ Quote from http://www.nps.gov

The Weekend’s Here, Happy Aloha Friday!

Back a few years ago, on one of our trips back home to Hawaii, we went to the Honolulu Fish Auction, what a blast!

Palate after palate of the freshest fish, I mean just brought out of the Pacific Ocean fresh, kept coming out from the fishing boats.  Eat more fish!!

ALOHA!

Fresh Fruit From California

DH and I just got back from California.  We drove out to the San Joaquin Valley to visit with my Mother. The best, as well as the worst time of the year to go is early Summer, when the fresh fruits are bountiful.

For years my husband would ask me, “Why don’t I ever see you eating fruit?”  Well, when you’ve spent a good number of your Summers in “The Food Basket of the World” , where you can pick our own tree/vine/bush ripened produce, sit own your Great Grandmother’s back stoop and eat a still warm from the Sun piece of fruit, you’re spoiled for life.  I always have had a hard time eating “store bought” fruit with no taste, no heady fragrance, no juices running down your arm, I mean, come on man!

REALLY!!  How delicious does that look? 

That’s a flat of Peaches and Nectarines, we figure probably about 20 pounds.  Two pounds of Cherries, 3 quarts of the biggest, red-est Strawberries I’ve seen in a long time; we also got 2 pints each of Blueberries and Blackberries.  All are so sweet and juicy, they taste the way that they should.  My husband kept whispering in my ear, “That’s enough now, don’t buy too much.”

Mom and her best-est friend from childhood, took us around to the different orchards.  Of course they each had know the families that own the fields for three generations.  There’s no street signs, so if you didn’t know where you were going, you’d be SO LOST! This rural farm lands.

On our car trip home, our car smelled like heaven!

We do plan on sharing our bounty with others, like Mr&Mrs Dear Friend’s as well as our favorite neighbor.

Return To Granite Creek Vineyards and Block Six Catering

Well, it took us long enough but we finally made it back to Granite Creek Vineyard.  The last time that Mister and Missus Dear Friend’s joined us here was more than three years ago… WOW how time flies, right?  On our last adventure to this organic winery, we had some great food provided by Block Six Catering and on this outing, this was no exception.

Mrs. DF ordered the Hummus with Pita and Veggies, MMM, very good Hummus!

DH requested the Philly Cheese Gyro on Pita, stuffed with NY Strip Steak, Red onion Aioli, grilled Peppers, Tomatoes and Mixed Greens; oh, for sides some nice pickles, pepperoncini and a Pesto Pasta salad with Sundried Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives and we think that was a bit of Feta Cheese too.  There was enough for all four of us to share.

Of course, this go-around at the winery we bought a bottle of wine to share, WONDERFUL!  Superstition Gold is a nice crisp, clean easy drinking wine.  This wine pairs so well with just about anything.  Next visit, I’d like to try the Prairie Sun Pinot Gris.  You can order by the glass and keep the beautiful glass or go for it with a flight or tasting of five different wines.

But wait, there’s more!  Live music, featuring local artists that will entertain you during the “season”.  This week Pat Beary had his acoustic guitar and was softly playing in the back ground, what a perfect day!

On this fine blustery Spring day, we were informed that they were hosting their first wedding of the season!  That’s right, these beautiful grounds make the PERFECT setting for your nuptials.  They were setting up the event next to all the vines, so Mrs. DF and I didn’t get a chance to go looking around as we had hoped to, but there’s always next time!

As we were all leaving, DH noticed this basket …

… how thoughtful Granite Creek Vineyards!

Girl’s Day Out At The Raven Café

In the past month or so, Missus Dear Friend and I have been doing a Girl’s Day Out every other week.  We’ve been meeting at different local restaurants for lunch and then we go grocery shopping together.  My favorite green grocer, Sprouts, opened a second location in our area and we both wanted to check it out.  So what to do about lunch?  The Raven Café, they offer lots of vegetarian and gluten-free options and a lovely menu of beers and wine, that’ll work for us.

This a cool, funky, laid back joint; they have loads of unique works of art for sale on the walls.  You order your food and drinks at the bar; you get a “letter” and find a seat.  We both decided that it was close enough to noon that a glass of wine would be a good thing.

Mrs. DF ordered Sweet Potato fries and Guacamole with Blue Corn Chips.

For myself, I decided on a Turkey Panini and a side salad.  Everything was yummy.

What I enjoyed about the Raven Café is that we never felt rushed.  We sat, chatted and savored our wine for more than two hours.  As we looked around, we noticed that there were several “business meetings” being conducted over lunch.  I mean we’re talking about folks with their easel stands, presentation boards and all!  We’ll need to go back again and try some of the other dishes as well as the upstairs outdoor patio.

Super Bowl LI Spread

This year, we went over to Mr. & Mrs. Dear Friend’s home for a Pot Luck Super Bowl.  Missus DF and I have come to the conclusion that since they are now GF-DF-Pescetarians, it works out best this way.  So, with that said, my DH requested Stromboli and a “Nibble Platter” consisting of varies Olives, Veggies, Cheese and Salami.

Missus DF had a few more dishes then me.

Super Bowl LI spread, YUM!

There’s Caesar Salad with homemade dressing, yum, beautiful Heirloom baby Tomatoes, GF Crackers, Tuna&Salmon Salad, Baby Shrimp Salad, Green Olive and Anchovy Spread (which was surprisingly good seeing as I don’t care for those little fishies), Deviled Eggs and lastly GF-DF-Tomato Pie with Anchovy filets for the guys (think Pizza only cranked up 100 times).  My DF knows that I am not the biggest fan of Tomato, so portion of the dough is dressed simply with Olive Oil, Rosemary and DF-Parmesan Cheese.

And can see that she was cute enough to even have some football themed paper goods, nice!

What a spread, I mean come on man !  How good does this all look?!

The game was boring (until the end that is), but the food and company was GREAT!

The Honolulu Fish Auction

This seems an appropriate post for Aloha Friday!

One of the most exciting things that my husband and I did while home in the Islands back in 2012, was to go to the Honolulu Fish Auction.  I was really looking forward to this!

Honolulu Fish Auction

I had known about it, but I had no idea that anyone could just walk in off the street not only to watch the action, but participate and purchase any fish that you like, for the right price of course. Prior to leaving to go back home to Hawaii, we had seen brochures offering day trips available through tour companies to the Auction.

We figured we knew our way around our own hometown, why pay to be led by the hand down to Pier 38 or The Honolulu Fishing Village.

The opening bell at the Honolulu Fish Auction

We set our alarm clock for EARLY AM and gulped down very strong coffee; we were off.  I wanted to get down there long before the opening bell and be able to look freely at the days catch as well as chat up the crews.

The Crew at the Honolulu Fish Auction

I was impressed that the Hawaii Seafood Council had representatives there, handing out printed information not only about the Auction, but also sustainability.

Only a small portion of what is caught commercially in Hawaii actually stays in Hawaii.  There are many different countries buying fish and then shipping the product out.

Why?  

Because of the quality and seafood safety.

I watched as a load after load were brought in from the boats and inspected, some fish had to be rejected.

I was fascinated; to be able to interact with the guys and ask a boat load (pardon the pun) of probably stupid question in their eyes.

Not so great fish at the Honolulu Fish Auction

A small catch of Tombo or Albacore Tuna didn’t sell because there was no call for this fish on the market that day; it didn’t look too nice either, not that the fish was bad, “just not worthy” as the guys put it to me.

Let's GO! at the Honolulu Fish Auction

*Please take notice as to how everyone is dressed, it’s dang cold in there!!

So the bell rings and we’re off to the races! It was nothing like I thought, it’s very subdued. There’s no yelling, no shouting, but then folks in Hawaii aren’t like that.

"Markers" at the Honolulu Fish Auction

It was mostly nods of heads, guys throwing down their markers, slips of paper with their company or just their names on it.  I was looking at some of them after the crowd moved over to the next row of fish, and who’s standing next to me? Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa.

What a nice guy!

He asks me where I’m from, if I had been to the Auction before, explaining what he was looking for in the fish that he wanted for that night’s catch of the day at his restaurant.  WOW! No really, WOW!  I’m just a little girl from Kaneohe who’s now living in the middle of the desert…

Beautiful fish the the Honolulu Fish Auction

I had read that as the fish are prepared, a small portion is cut away so that perspective buyers can inspect the meat quality.  As the group of perspective buyers moves on, behind them is a small army of worker bees.  Two guys have handheld receipt type machines is the best way that I can explain it.  They’re tagging each fish that was purchased with the buyer’s name, and all of the particulars, total cost, weight etc.

After them, is this nice man with a bucket, collecting those bits of tail meat.

I asked him what he was going to do with all of that; he tells me he makes Poke or Raw Fish Salad and sell it at the local markets.

No waste Braddah, right on!

Opah or Moon Fish at the Honolulu Fish Auction

Some types of fish I had never seen, other than on my plate.

Above is Opah or Moonfish.  What a beautiful fish, not to mention delicious too.

Can you read the tag? 138 pounds!

That’s my shoe next to it, I wear a size 5 ½ US !!

Monsters,  some of these fish.

And you know there was no fishy smell, well of course not.

These beauties are kept on ice from the time they are landed just a few short hours prior to the Auction, up until they are carted away.

It’s spotless in there too!  As you walk in the door, you have to wash your shoes in a shallow trough filled with some type of disinfectant.  There’s a big handwritten sign, “NO SLIPPERS” (flip flops) over the doorway.  Well YEAH, it was too dang cold for those!

Pallet upon pallet of the Oceans bounty at the Honolulu Fish Auction

As one row of fish was sold, processed for the customer and taken off the floor, it was back filled by handcarts and small forklifts of more pallets of fish.  We were already a couple of hours into it, and it was clear that they were no where near to being done for the day.

My husband had given up long ago and went to take a nap in the car;  I hadn’t even noticed he was gone. HA!

I was starting to get cold though, so I stepped outside to watch the buyers make off with their bounty from the Sea.  One local family had bought an Ahi or Big Eye Tuna for the Graduation Party they were having at their home.  They invited us to join them, but we regretfully declined.

This was really a treat!

This was in my old backyard, there it was and I had never known it, because I was too busy with my own wrapped up world.  There’s so much more to life, so don’t let it pass you by.  

Get out there and explore your culinary backyard.

Happy Aloha Friday, Have A Great Weekend!

 

Happy Aloha Friday From The Beach

Newport Beach California

I know it’s not Hawaii, but this will have to make do, for now anyways!

On the Pier in Newport Beach California

DH and I went to Newport Beach California awhile back to get our fix of the Pacific Ocean; what a great trip!  We sure did need this, let me tell you.

Enjoy Your Aloha Friday!

Butter? I Don’t Like Butter!

EWWW, I don’t like butter on or in anything!”

Yup, that’s what my husband says, oh but add a whinny 12 year boy’s voice to that and you’ve nailed it!

Now, why am I telling you all this?  Well, the last couple of times that I’ve dashed into the Dollar Store to pick up some inexpensive plastic serving plates or bowls, he’s come in with me to “look around”.

Butter Cookies

This is what he’s bought from himself, each time!

Happy Saturday!