Local Kine Grindz

This week, we’re exploring the local grinds on the island of Maui, one of my favorite islands away from home. Maui holds a special place in my heart because my mom was from there. I have lovely memories staying at my maternal grandparents’ house in Wailuku and visiting with relatives whenever I’d visit. As a child, we got our second dog from Maui. His name was Charlie. Boy, was he a menace. But he was a good watch dog. Always protecting us and our family home.

Several years ago, I got to try the famous Sam Sato’s in Wailuku. It’s a small, family-owned business. The restaurant gets pretty crowded, but the wait is worth it. They’re known for their dried noodles. This week’s featured image has a variety of popular dishes from Sam Sato’s: dried noodles, saimin (similar to ramen), cheeseburger, and BBQ beef stick. Can I say, ahhh-mazing? Loved all the food. It was so yummy. It hit the spot.

These days when I visit Maui, I like to play tourist. My favorite places to visit are:

  • Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm
    • It’s a beautiful and peaceful place, full of zen and nature.
  • Maui Ocean Center
    • I always love going to an aquarium.
  • MauiWine
    • Mmm, wine! Can you say wino? MauiWine is not too far from the lavender farm.
  • Sightseeing in Lāhainā/Front Street
    • I love Lāhainā and walking through Front Street. I love seeing the largest Banyan tree in the U.S.
  • Tasaka Guri Guri
    • My childhood favorite snack. This is a must have every time I visit. Guri guri is a dessert that’s between an ice cream and sherbet. Tasaka’s has two flavors: strawberry and pineapple. Both are quenching, but my favorite is the strawberry. Strawberry, all the way!
  • Whaler’s Village
    • A beautiful shopping mall in Lāhainā, with yummy restaurants, like Leilani’s on the Beach. Have a meal and a drink while watching the sunset fronting the beach.

My friend and her family recently visited Maui and told me about her visit to the goat farm. She shared how fun it was. That’s on my travel list the next time I’m in town again. Surfing Goat Dairy|Maui Goat Farm. I LOVE goat cheese and can’t wait to try them fresh. Yum!

Next time you’re in Maui, visit all these cool places, including Sam Sato’s:

1750 Wili Pa Loop
Wailuku, 96793

Travel safely! Wear your mask!

FS x

Greek Geek!

I love a non-traditional Greek salad. I’ll explain in a bit. Mediterranean cuisine, especially Greek, is my top five favorite ethnic foods. I also love Greece, the country itself. I’ve only been there once. I went on a Mediterranean cruise and traveled to various parts of Italy, Greece, and Turkey. It was my first international trip and it was an incredible experience. That trip holds magical memories. As soon as I step foot on Greek land, I felt connected to that place.

Did you know there’s thousands of Greek islands, but only about 170 are inhabited? That’s insane! During my trip, I’ve visited: Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini. My favorite was Mykonos. It was so beautiful there. Whenever I see the Mamma Mia! movies, it always reminds me of my trip many years ago. It brings back such beautiful memories. I’ve thought about living there. Maybe when I retire. Mykonos seems like a retirement-friendly island. Maybe I could run a hotel like Meryl Streep’s character did in Mamma Mia! Hehe!

Our featured dish this week is a traditional Greek salad. I mentioned above that I love non-traditional Greek salad. I was introduced to what I thought was authentic Greek salad before my travels to Greece. It became one of my favorite go-to dishes when I’d dine at Greek restaurants here in the islands.

Here’s a story for the books of my first dining experience in Greece. I was so excited to try the Greek salad at a restaurant in Athens. Well, when I got my order, I was so disappointed. As you can see in the image, there’s no lettuce in that salad. It contained the ingredients I’m not necessarily too fond of: bell peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes. I thought there was a mistake. Nope, turns out that was the correct order. I learned that authentic Greek salad does not contain lettuce. I attempted to do research, but could not find the reason behind why there’s no lettuce.

It wouldn’t be wrong to add lettuce to a Greek salad. It just wouldn’t be the traditional salad that is served in Greece. It’ll be like a Greek-American salad. Personally, I love lettuce and it will always be part of my salad make-up.

The only ingredients I enjoyed from that authentic salad were the feta cheese and red onions. I didn’t care for the kalamata olives back then, but in the recent years, I’ve learned to enjoy it. Gotta like that salty bite.

Despite that discouraging experience, I enjoyed other authentic Greek dishes in Mykonos and Santorini, like the lamb kabobs and gyros. They were delicious! Tzatziki sauce is the best! Seasoned yogurt sauce really pairs well with meat and pita bread. It’s very simple to make. I use plain Greek yogurt and season it with dried dill, garlic salt, and black pepper. Bam! Super easy!

I can’t wait to plan another trip to Greece. I loved the food (minus the salad, haha), the atmosphere, the landscape, and the people. The people were wonderful. In Mykonos, I remember having a lovely conversation with a local store owner. Even got a picture with her. She was so sweet.

Have a great week. We’re heading into the middle of April already. Is it me, or is this month flying much quicker than previous months this year?

αντιο σας (antio sas– “goodbye” in Greek),

FS x

Here’s a recipe to make that classic Greek salad: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/classic-greek-salad-recipe-2112069

Dim Sum Galore!

I love Chinese cuisine, especially dim sum (see featured image). I get ecstatic thinking about it. It’s comfort food to me; happy food!

A friend of mine treated me to dim sum a few weeks ago. So grateful. We finally tried Yung Yee Kee Dim Sum restaurant. I would drive past that restaurant almost daily and had been wanting to go there. They did not disappoint. It was delicious! We ordered way too much food. It was nice to take home our leftovers and eat them at home.

The restaurant even had a selection of various teas to choose from, which was awesome. We chose to try the pu-er tea, which contained a variety of fermented teas. That word fermented intrigued us, which led us to try it. We thought it would’ve tasted bitter or smelled stinky, but it was fine. Tasted like regular Chinese tea. Yum! Tea and dim sum go hand-in-hand.

Need to review a guide before eating dim sum? Check this out: https://www.dimsumcentral.com/dim-sum-menu-guide/.

I always order these dim sum dishes:

  • siu mai (pork hash with shrimp)
  • har gow (shrimp dumplings)
  • char siu bao (steamed BBQ pork buns)
  • salted egg custard buns
  • look fun with shrimp
  • pan-fried turnip cake
  • choi sum
  • chicken feet

These are my ultimate favorites. We were too full to order dessert. Although, the salted egg custard buns resembled a dessert dish. My favorite dessert dim sum dishes are:

  • egg custard tart
  • almond float
  • red bean soup
  • jin dui with black bean (sesame ball)

I found this article about 15 dim sum dishes to make at home: https://www.thespruceeats.com/dim-sum-recipes-you-can-make-at-home-4684644. How fun! I would love to try making my own homemade dim sum dishes. It’s going to be awesome and more meaningful because it’s homemade.

My first ex-boyfriend’s parents were originally from China. His mom shared her traditions when it came to meals. She shared that in her culture, jook, or rice porridge, is eaten for breakfast and dim sum is eaten during brunch or lunch. For dinner, she would always make a meat and vegetable dish with rice. Her cooking was the best! It was hearty and scrumptious. I miss it. I would always look forward to eating out at a Chinese restaurant with them, as well as staying over for dinner to have her delicious home-cooked meals.

O’ahu’s got a handful of delicious dim sum places. Check out Yung Yee Kee Dim Sum.

1411 Kapi’olani Blvd.
Honolulu, 96814

Lastly, I’m praying for a kinder and compassionate world. It hurts my heart that random Asians are being attacked. We need to cultivate kindness and love towards our neighbors. We may not like or get along with everyone, but we shouldn’t ever hate on them. We can pursue respect and maturity.

Happy Holy Week!

Be blessed,

FS x

E ʻAi Kākou

Aloha e! Happy March! This week’s ethnic food highlight is on the onolicious Hawaiian food. Yes! But first, I want to share about the precious gift of life and gifts of the earth, or dōterra, a Latin derivative.

We’ve been told again and again how short life is. We don’t know how much time we have on this earth. Thus, it’s important to make the most of the life we’ve been given. This weekend, I lost a friend of mine. It was a shock to many people she knew, including myself. I’m deeply saddened, but happy that she’s in a better place. The pandemic made it challenging to see my friends last year. I’m glad I got to see her a month ago. Inadvertently, it was an unconscious closure I would need today. I miss her and have been reminiscing of the memories we had over our nearly 10-year friendship. Bottom line, life is too short. Make the best of it. Live a life of hope, joy, peace, and most importantly, no regrets. We want to look back on our life and be proud of what we’ve done and how we’ve lived.

The same dear girlfriend mentioned in last week’s blog, whom I visited in the Midwest in 2019, took her first trip to Hawai’i almost a decade ago. We had a marvelous time! It was an adventure showing her around the island; where I went to school, where I grew up, and all the sights of the town. One of the places I had to take my gf to was People’s Cafe. They serve delicious Hawaiian food (see featured image). One of the best, in my opinion. I was so excited for her to try the food of the Native Hawaiian people. These are the true gifts of the earth. Of the traditional Hawaiian foods that’s served, lau lau and poi are my top faves. I love eating the lau lau leaves that wraps the meat (usually pork or chicken) and a piece of fish. It’s mouthwatering. Reminds me of cooked spinach, but better! Poi, is pounded taro, or kalo, in Hawaiian. It has an acquired taste to some. People eat poi plain, while others, like me, mix it either with my Hawaiian food, like lomi lomi salmon or Kalua pig, sprinkle sugar, or have it with vanilla ice cream, and turn it into a poi cocktail. Yum! Check out People’s Cafe!

People’s Cafe
1300 Pali Hwy.
Honolulu, 96813

There is a fabulous organization on O’ahu called Hoʻokuaʻāina. They have a beautiful taro patch in Kailua. They are a mentoring program, where they teach their students about the Hawaiian culture and working in the taro patch. They sell raw kalo, kalo pa’a, and poi. The poi is out-of-this-world! The best poi I’ve tasted in my life! Plus, their poi doesn’t contain any pesticides or harsh chemicals. It’s organic and natural, and perhaps, that’s why it tastes so darn ʻono! It stays fresh for a long time. Other pois we’ve bought from the store get sour in a day or two after purchase. Sour poi is still good to eat, but I personally donʻt care for the sourness. Some people enjoy it and will wait for the poi to sour before consuming it. The poi from Hoʻokuaʻāina is still fresh a week later. Amazing!

Hoʻokuaʻāina has partnered with St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawai’i and hosts monthly webinars on rooted wellness and shares their organizationʻs mission and values. The founders of the organization and interns discuss ancient Hawaiian culture and how their ways of daily living and cultivating the foods they ate provided a great deal of foundation and an eye-opening revelation to wellness. The interns also share how their experience on how working in the taro patch has changed their lives and gave them a greater appreciation of the land and the Hawaiian culture. Here’s an article discussing kalo: https://www.hookuaaina.org/about-kalo/. I have a greater appreciation for the Hawaiian culture and its delightful food. Being born and raised in Hawai’i, I took it upon myself to learn the Hawaiian language. Even though I’m not of Native Hawaiian descent, I felt it was important to learn the language. Iʻm a native to this state and I want to gain a deeper understanding of the Hawaiian words, culture, and history.

Happy eating! Live life to the fullest. Live well. Live healthy. Lead with love, kindness, happiness, understanding, and forgiveness.

A hui hou, until we meet again.

FS x

Meditating on Escargot

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend! We’re midway through the first month of the year, and what a month it’s been so far! I hope you’re taking care of yourselves. Brighter days are coming. There is a glistening light at the end of what seems like a very long and dark tunnel.

Over the last few years, I’ve been trying to apprehend the practice of meditation. I have to admit, meditating is plain hard. It takes a lot of focus and discipline to really master this exercise and reap the benefits from it. I don’t feel like I’m anywhere near understanding this. I’m still in the very beginning stages. Maybe even in the pre-beginning period. One day soon, I’ll get there…

I found this article on the web and I hope it’ll help with becoming proficient in meditation and mindfulness. https://www.mindful.org/how-to-meditate/

I’ve enjoyed the following apps that have meditation features:

  • Calm
  • Insight Timer (there’s a lot of free features on this app)

Onto this week’s cuisine: French. I loved dining at these three restaurants that have now all closed: Café Miro, Le Bistro, and Le Guignol. So sad that these places closed, but happy to know there’s still some French places remaining on O’ahu that I’ll one day try.

My favorite dish I always order at a French place is escargot (featured imaged)- cooked land snails. Sounds gross (I’m not a fan of snails in general), but it’s so delicious, especially when cooked in garlic butter and pesto. Yum! Our family friend’s relative once gave us a bag of escargots. Not sure where he had gotten them from. Nonetheless, we were so thankful and excited! My dad cooked them with some garlic and butter, and oooh, lala, it was onolicious! Tasted like fine dining restaurant quality! It was a special treat for us. Once in a lifetime.

Wishing you a great week ahead. Be safe and stay healthy.

FS x

Twenty of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded + Sashimi

Happy NYE! It’s the final day of 2020. We made it! We survived this incredibly tumultuous year. We conquered!

I wish everyone a safe celebration tonight and a fresh start to 2021 tomorrow. We’re so privileged to have a new beginning every year. In fact, everyday, we’re able to start anew. We learn from our past and move forward to live a better life, and to do better.

Here is the final lesson 2020 has taught and reminded me.

20. It is ok to feel frustrated, sad, annoyed, and angry.

We’re human. We feel and go through all kinds of emotions. Allow those feelings to come and go. Recognize them and reflect on how you will overcome and change those reactions into more optimistic feelings overtime. That’s how we overcome and grow.

I allowed myself to feel all the emotions that came my way- pleasant, unpleasant, and the in-between. Recognition and reflection helped me get through the dark and grey moments. My support system and positive self-encouragement helped me rejoice during the brighter days.

It’s been a blessing reflecting upon the year and recognizing what 2020 has taught me. I’ve enjoyed sharing my life’s lessons here.

Sashimi (featured image)! One of the local and Japanese New Years staples. It’s bite-size pieces of raw fish, usually dipped in shoyu, or soy sauce, and wasabi. Every year, we have ahi (tuna) and hamachi (yellowtail) sashimi. Yum! Hamachi is my ultimate favorite fish. I love how oily the fish is. It’s so tasty. This year, I also bought chu toro ahi, which is the belly area of the fish. Yea! Get that in my belly!! Can’t wait to dive into the sashimi tonight.

I’m ready for 2021. Bring on the new challenges and changes. I’m ready. I’m stronger and more resilient than ever before. I see a lot of good change coming in the new year, not only for myself, but for this world.

Please be safe in celebrating tonight. Catch me here for more blog posts in the new year! Looking forward to it!

Cheers! Happy New Year!

FS x

Nineteen of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Chicken and Waffles

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! The week has flown by so quickly! It’s been super busy. I’m looking forward to relaxing during the next holiday weekend, and welcoming in 2021.

We’re onto the 19th fact that 2020 has taught and reminded me. Let’s get to it!

19. Listen to your gut and body.

This has been a constant mantra for me. Trust my gut. It knows best. Most times, when I listen to my gut, I tend to be right about certain situations. I feel like it’s a way God’s connecting with me; speaking to me, guiding me, protecting me…

I live with my body and my body lives with me. I need to listen and take care of her too. If I’m in pain or am exhausted, I listen. My body is trying to tell me something. I’ve had history of overworking my body countless times and that results in negative consequences, like sickness, pain, weakness, and exhaustion. We’ve only got one body. It’s important to give him or her TLC, tender-loving-care.

I was first introduced to chicken and waffles (see featured image) when I was in college in Southern California. My resident assistants took my dormmates and I to Roscoe’s in LA at the end of my first semester. I dined there again years later with friends. That place is bomb! I wanted to make my own chicken and waffles at home. I love the strawberry Eggo waffles. It’s my number one favorite. I had baked chicken thighs. Seasoned it with garlic pepper. It was very basic and simple. I served the dish with some good ol’ green beans, tossed with olive oil and garlic pepper. Yum!

Last post for 2020 tomorrow. See you here.

FS x

Seventeen of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Comfort Food Made With Love

Happy Monday and last week of 2020! We’re in the home stretch! Let’s make the best of our remaining days of the year. I want to end the year strong! Let’s show 2020 what we’re made of!

The 17th fact that the year has taught and reminded me was:

17. Every day is a blessing and gift.

Despite the year we’ve had, I did my best to see the light and optimism in the cards we’ve were dealt with. It was a tough and challenging year, but I was reminded that every day is a blessing and gift. It’s all about perspective and how you view things. I strongly believe that even with chaos amongst us, we can still see and experience positivity in and from it. I was constantly reminded of how much I have been blessed with. The fact that I get to wake up to start afresh every day is awesome. I have an opportunity to make better choices, be more loving to others, and make a difference. Life is a precious gift.

Last fall, I visited a dear friend in the Midwest. We made dinner together one night (see featured image). It was so special and yummy. My gf made her mom’s Swedish meatballs, which I never had before, and mashed potatoes. Double yum!! I had made Indian chicken curry. We also made rice and green beans. It was a delicious treat we, her family included, enjoyed very much. It was simply lovely.

Y’all know about my passion for cooking and food. Cooking with others brings joy and love in my life. We know that food connects people together. So does cooking. I always feel closer with whom I cook with. It creates a special bond I can’t quite explain. Overall, it’s lovely and cheery.

Wishing all of you a wonderful week. Until tomorrow. Peace!

FS x

Ten of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Poke

Happy Christmas week! Here is the tenth fact that this year has taught and reminded me.

10. Recognizing the importance of essential and frontline workers (i.e., grocery store workers, postal workers, sanitation engineers, MDs, nurses, social workers, paramedics, teachers, military, etc.).

Since the pandemic began, the spotlight has been heavily focused on the essential and frontline workers. I have the utmost respect for them, as they’re sacrificing their lives while they continue to service us in our communities. Much thank you to all of you– for all the hard work you put into this world to keep it and us going. You will always be appreciated. These people are our true superheroes. They are resilient and strong!

Last summer, my friends and I went camping and BBQ’d some ‘ono food (see featured image). It was so fun! We created such wonderful memories together. Can’t wait until the day we can do this again. We ate some of our local staples- ahi (tuna), tako (octopus), and crab poke. Poke means to “slice” or “cut” in Hawaiian. It was so good! The chicken we BBQ’d was excellent, too! Being outdoors, in the woods, across the ocean, eating yummy food with friends made the experience so merry and refreshing.

Take care and Happy Monday!

FS x

Six of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Sushi

Today, as I blog, I’m listening to a webinar on how people’s mental health have been affected during this pandemic. There’s a panel of MDs, including a couple psychiatrists, talking about how children’s mental health are affected due to the lack of social support. They also discuss how the pandemic affects parents and other adults, too. All in all, this has affected all of us universally. This leads to the sixth fact of what 2020 has taught and reminded me today.

6. Social connection is vital for our mind, body, and spirit.

We’re social beings. Socialization is part of our genetic make-up. Doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert or extrovert. We all need connection in some way, shape, or form. This year, we’ve gotten inventive with connecting in safer ways. So thankful for all the ways we’re able to connect with one another.

I’ve gone through periods of feeling lonely during the course of this pandemic. The feeling of loneliness is not pleasant. Overtime, it can mess with your mental and emotional health. Spending time in your own thoughts day-in-and-day-out is not always the healthiest. I’ve learned over the course of this year how essential connecting with others is. I can’t live without it. My family, friends… They’re important. My support system has always been loving, supportive, and encouraging. That’s been a blessing and what’s keeping me sane and as grounded as possible.

Today’s 2020 lesson fact makes me reflect on the new Shawn Mendes’ song, Call My Friends. Hearing the words of this song made me think about my friends and how I cherish my relationships with them. Love y’all!

It’s been forever since I had sushi (featured image). A few weeks ago, I ordered a nigiri set from Kozo Sushi and it was oh-so-good! Nigiri sushi is basically when a raw piece of fish, or egg, is placed on top of the vingear rice. It’s my fave type of sushi to eat. I especially love ebi (shrimp), tako (squid), and hamachi (yellowtail) nigiri. I don’t eat white rice very often. But when I do, it’s like heaven! White rice definitely pairs well with sushi. Hands down! I’ve tried eating sushi made with brown rice, but it doesn’t taste the same.

Visit the Kozo Sushi at Koko Marina Shopping Center:

Kozo Sushi
7191 Kalanianaole Hwy.
Honolulu, 96825

Yay to FriYAY tomorrow! We’re almost at the end of the week. Hang in there! The weekend is coming again!

FS x