Afternoon Tea: I Feel Pretty!

I love afternoon tea. Everything about it is so elegant, dainty, and cute. Makes me feel like a princess. One of my travel goals is to have afternoon tea in England. That would be an experience of a lifetime. I can’t wait!

My favorite places to have afternoon tea on O’ahu are:

Each place has a unique feel, with a special experience. What they all have in common is that the dishes are scrumptious. And, the variety of teas are amazingly refreshing and soothing. Tea at 1024 is adorable. From what I remember, they have beautiful tea cups and saucers customers can choose from before being seated. They have a chest of accessories where customers can dress up: fairy wings, feather boas, tiaras, hats, and wands. It’s a fun place for any kind of event or even for just a casual hangout. And this place is not just enjoyed by females. I’ve brought some boyfriends there before and they’ve enjoyed themselves. Of course, they didn’t go crazy with the accessories, haha.

The Veranda is at the beautiful Kahala Hotel & Resort, fronting the exquisite outdoor area where you can see the dolphins, fishes, and turtles, with mini waterfalls. It’s a stunning place to take photos. It’s also next to the gorgeous beach. The Kahala is one of my favorite resorts. It’s tucked away in the quiet neighborhood of Kahala. The Veranda is an open-air restaurant. It’s an outstanding veranda; very sophisticated. While their food and tea are yummy, their afternoon tea price is the most expensive of the three.

Vintage Cave Café, an Italian-Japanese fusion restaurant, is at Ala Moana Center, the largest outdoor mall in Hawai’i. Vintage Cave Café is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a restaurant that’s a part of the Vintage Cave Club (VCC). The VCC is private society club for members only. Good news, you don’t need to be a member to dine at Vintage Cave Café. Phew! I was so relieved. The membership fees for the VCC is mind-boggling! Vintage Cafe Café has an affordable afternoon tea menu (featured image), which is less than $20! The atmosphere of the restaurant reminds me of being in Italy. I can’t wait until they reopen again. I’ve been longing for afternoon tea again.

Have a great week!

FS x

Hallo, Deutsches Eis!

Happy Last Day of January! We made it through the first month of the year. I do hope 2021 is off to a great start for all of you despite still being in a pandemic. I keep reminding myself that better days are ahead.

A few days ago, I received my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. I was anxious about the side effects, as I kept hearing that the adverse reactions were greater the second time around. Yet, I thought maybe it wouldn’t be so bad since I had a great deal of symptoms after my first dosage. Boy, was I wrong! Let’s just say I experienced majority of the side effects listed from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). I developed a sore/tired arm, chills, flushed face/body, sensitive skin, body aches, nausea, headache, fatigue, and excruciating joint and body pain, especially throughout my mid-to-lower back. Oh, it was horrible! Thankfully, those symptoms lasted a day. I was significantly better at the end of day two. I’ve laid low this weekend; taking it easy and resting. Today, I’m feeling almost 100% better. Still have some fatigue and now the injected area of my arm is starting to itch, as it did last time towards “my recovery.”

Having said this, I’m grateful to have received the vaccine. It gives me peace-of-mind knowing that I’ll be protected. However, just because I’m immunized, doesn’t mean I’m going to stop following the rules and regulations. No matter what, I’m still cautious and vigilant and will continue wearing my mask (I’ve been wearing two masks recently), physically distancing, and avoiding large crowds. We’re not out-of-the-woods yet.

This inoculation experience made me appreciate listening to my body and to my gut. It took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting to have so many adverse reactions to the medication. I’ve realized how sensitive my body is to chemicals. Yet, I reflect on how these symptoms could’ve been worse. Thanks to God that I was able to get through the side effects.

This week, I’m sharing about German ice cream (see featured image). In 2010, I went on my first riverboat cruise along the Rhine River, which is the longest river in Germany. We visited three towns in Germany on our tour: Heidelberg, Cologne, Koblenz, and Mainz. All the towns looked very similar, but were so beautiful and peaceful. I loved the small-town village feel and look. I felt like I was in a movie during the Medieval times.

I remember walking by an ice cream shop in Mainz and wanted to satisfy my sweet tooth. The dessert was really good, and the presentation of the dish was superb. I found a website that has a bunch of German homemade ice cream recipes: https://germanfoods.org/recipes/recipe-collections-homemade-ice-cream/. I’ve got my eye on several flavors I want to try making: lavender, Neapolitan, nutella, peppermint, and vanilla. I’ve seen pictures of spaghetti ice cream that is very popular in Germany. It literally looks like spaghetti. Of course, not made with spaghetti. That would be quite strange and a very interesting flavor. The spaghetti noodles are made with vanilla ice cream and the tomato sauce with strawberries and raspberries. Meatballs are made with chocolate ice cream. Sounds so yummy just describing it.

I was disappointed that I didn’t eat too many German dishes while I was there. For some reason, we kept returning to the ship to dine. I think our tours were cut short. We did go to a pub to have German beer and German coffee (see below). That just means I need to return back one day when it’s safe to travel again.

German coffee at a pub called Drosselgasse in Mainz, Germany.
Krombacher, German beer, at a pub called Drosselgasse in Mainz, Germany.

Happy new week and Happy February! Be safe and take care of one another.

FS x

Welcome 2021 with Resolutions and Traditional Japanese foods eaten during New Year

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and fun celebration ringing in 2021. It was a fun and loud evening, filled with family, lots of food, drinks, and beautiful and booming fireworks in my neighborhood.

Good riddance, 2020! However, lest we forget what happened and what we encountered over the last year. A year that woke me up, and made me stronger, resilient, and a conqueror because of it.

I love how the first of each new month and year gives us a chance to reflect on ourselves and how we’ll do better and be superior from the previous year.

2021 will be ours to own! I welcome the new year with open arms. I’m ready to rock n roll!

Lucky 21 New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Reflect on positive thinking and affirmations
  2. Be open and accepting to change
  3. Make self-care a daily habit
  4. Choose healthier foods
  5. Hydrate with water
  6. Exercise regularly
  7. Be kind to self and others
  8. Listen wholeheartedly
  9. Forgive
  10. Give from the heart and soul
  11. Keep learning and expanding new horizons
  12. Take care of physical, mental, and emotional health
  13. Stretch
  14. Dream and take risks
  15. Take deep breaths
  16. Meditate and quiet the mind
  17. Dance, dance, dance
  18. Keep setting goals- small or big
  19. Believe, hope, and pray often
  20. Take breaks
  21. Keep loved ones close

Each week of this new year, I’ll be sharing ethnic dishes from around the globe. This week, it’s Japanese cuisine. Specifically, traditional Japanese foods eaten during the New Year.

The featured collage image from L-R:

  • ahi chu toro (tuna belly) and hamachi (yellowtail) sashimi
  • nishime (Japanese stew)
  • fried ebi (shrimp)
  • homemade mochi (with kinako (roasted soybean flour) and azuki red bean)
  • kuromame (black beans with sweet syrup)
  • ōzoni dashi (mochi soup)
  • ōzoni with soba (buckwheat noodles)
  • homemade mochi
  • hot soba with homemade konbu (seaweed) and pork broth. These are some of the foods my family and I eat on New Year’s Eve and Day

When my paternal grandmother was alive, she made a slew of Japanese and local Hawai’i dishes for NYE and NYD celebrations. These are the dishes I remember her making:

  • nishime
  • saimin (local Hawai’i noodle soup) with assorted veggies and char siu (Chinese pork)
  • kazunoko (herring roe)
  • konbumaki (knotted kelp/seaweed)
  • kinpira gobo (braised burdock root) and carrots
  • namasu (vinegar salad)
  • hasu (lotus root)
  • tazukuri (dried sardines)

Gram made everything from scratch and by taste. She didn’t write down any of the recipes. I wish she did. Since she’s been gone, we don’t eat half of the dishes she used to make. I would love to continue the tradition of making her exquisite dishes one day…

Perhaps 2021 may be the year to resurrect these old traditional dishes and put Foodnista’s touch to them. I was able to make my late paternal grandfather’s/grand-aunt’s holiday butter cookies a few years ago. There was no clear instructions to the recipe; only the ingredients. So, I had to experiment and create the recipe on my own. I knew that those cookies would have a different taste to them since they weren’t made from my grand-aunt’s hands. Now, they have my own twist to them and I can call these cookies my own. I hope to do that with the New Years dishes my late gram used to make.

Thankfully, we were able to continue making Gram’s saimin and ōzoni. We put our own touch on these dishes overtime. Our famous local restaurant, Zippy’s, started making nishime a few years ago, so we started ordering from them. My family says it doesn’t taste quite like Gramma’s, but I think it’s close enough!

The significance of eating these Japanese dishes is that they are to bring us good luck, prosperity, and long life for the new year. My family really believes in this. Also, the food is just absolutely savory, and it brings our family together to enjoy the meal as one.

Have a glorious first weekend of 2021!

Peace!

FS x

Lobster mobster!

Lobster is awesome! It’s also expensive. I found a picture with some interesting facts of a lobster.

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There were two places where there were lobster dishes that were absolutely reasonable- just had to order it!

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Lobster pad Thai at JJ French Pastry & Bistro, in Kaimuki, which recently closed at the end of January. Boo! I loved that place. They always had interesting dishes, and their desserts were delicious and so cute!

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Garlic butter lobster ramen at Sakura Ramen near Ke’eaumoku Walmart. Yummy! It was a very tasty ramen.

I hope that JJ’s opens again at another location…

Sakura Ramen is located at:
808 Sheridan St.
Honolulu, 96814
http://www.sakuraramenhawaii.com

Ringing in 2016 with sashimi!!

It’s #tbt

Three more days until 2017!! Let’s make the best of our final days of 2016. Happy celebrating!

FooDNisTaSouL

Happy New Year!! Wishing my readers a very happy and successful one! Hope all had a wonderful New Years Eve celebration!

Last night, my boyfriend brought hamachi (aka yellowtail) sashimi to our New Years celebration. It was to die for! The fish was tasty and oily (aka fatty)! Not to mention, fresh! That’s the most important!

Sashimi is a Japanese delicacy where the raw fish is sliced into thin pieces. It’s a popular dish during the holidays in Hawaii, especially New Years. Ahi sashimi is the most popular. Costco was loaded with ahi sashimi this past week. I like their sashimi- it’s onolicious!

Please be on the lookout for more postings in 2016! Be safe and happy eating!

Send your emails to: foodnista.soul@gmail.com.

Aloha!

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“Chopped” challenge, part 2

We’ve successfully completed our “Chopped” challenge weekend. Friday night was my turn. Same rules: three rounds, appetizer, main dish, and dessert- 30 minutes for each round. Here’s what went down!

Round 1: Appetizer: 30 minutes
Basket items: sea salt and herbs chickpeas, taro snacks, and organic tofu.
Dish: udon and tofu salad, with shoyu and ponzu sauce dressing, topped with chickpeas and taro fries. Supplemental ingredients used: udon, shoyu, and ponzu sauce.

Judge review (the BF): He really enjoyed it; said everything paired well together, especially the chickpeas and taro fries.

Round 2: Main dish: 30 minutes
Basket items: artichoke hearts, Sriracha sunflower seeds, halibut and monchong.
Dish: fish trio stir fry, topped with artichoke hearts and sunflower seeds. Supplemental ingredients used: seasoning, ahi, green beans, Okinawan sweet potato, and Parmesan chips. I didn’t use any sauce for the stir fry. The fishes were so tasty! Didn’t need to make a sauce.

Judge review: My BF loves fish, so this stir fry was off the charts for him! He absolutely enjoyed it!

Round 3: Dessert: 30 minutes
Basket items: pear and blueberry, strawberry, and cherry fruit strips.
Dish: pear slices, with a blueberry/strawberry honey compote, topped with cherry fruit strips and lemon cookies. Supplemental ingredients used: honey and lemon cookies.

Judge review: My BF thought the dish was very creative and loved the compote. He said he could taste both the honey and the fruit strips. I have to say, I was quite proud of this dish! Haha!

And that’s our “Chopped” challenge! It was a fun experience! I think we are going to do this again! We both agreed that it was a blast, cooking outside the box!

Have a great week!

“Chopped” challenge, part 1

It’s a “Chopped” challenge weekend for the BF and I. So exciting! The rules of our challenge is that we buy each other the mystery basket ingredients to make an appetizer, main dish, and dessert, and we will buy our own supplemental ingredients that we feel will compliment the mystery basket items. Last night, my BF went first!

ROUND 1: Appetizer: 30 minutes
The basket items were: Greek cream cheese, Okinawan sweet potatoes, and fresh green beans.
The dish: Okinawan sweet potato with Greek cream cheese dip and green bean fries. No other supplemental ingredients were used, except seasoning.

Judge review: The dish was very good. The dip was very tasty and the cream cheese really worked well with the sweet potatoes, and the green beans. Presentation was creative! Loved the colors!

ROUND 2: Entrée: 30 minutes
The basket items were: shoe string fries, spinach and feta chicken sausage, ground turkey, and polenta.
The dish: “The Polenta Bird.” Polenta with ground turkey and sausage mix, topped with shoe string fries. No other supplemental ingredients were used, except seasoning.

Judge review: The polenta wasn’t the greatest. Some were undercooked. However, the ground turkey and sausage mix was excellent. Both paired so well together. I couldn’t tell that the sausage was a sausage. It tasted just like ground turkey. It was yummy! The shoe string fries topping went well with the entire dish!

ROUND 3: Dessert: 30 minutes
The basket items were: cinnamon rolls and strawberries.
The dish: Cinnabons drizzled with icing, topped with strawberry jello cream cheese compote, and strawberries. Two supplemental items were used: Greek cream cheese (from the appetizer round) and strawberry jello.

Judge review: The cinnabons were a little dry, but the icing was delish, especially with the strawberries! The strawberry jello cream cheese compote was a kick because of the Greek yogurt. It was good, though!

And there you have it! Tonight is my turn. Stayed tuned for part two!

Thee famous pasta salad!

Last weekend, my friends and I got together for Game Night! It was so much fun! We had a wonderful night laughing and enjoying each other’s company!

I made my famous pasta salad. It’s really simple. I used rotini pasta. I prefer using short pastas, like bow-tie, rotini, etc. It saturates more of the dressing and makes the salad taste better. Using the right pasta matters. Even though they may all taste the same, the texture matters and can change the dynamics of the dish.

The ingredients I include are:
-carrots
-broccoli
-edamame (soy beans)
-salami
-olives (served on the side)

Sometimes, I’ll add cauliflower, grapes, and strawberries. I wanted to keep it simple this time.

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To make the dressing, I usually use: Hidden Valley Ranch dressing and Brianna’s Blush Wine dressing

However, this time, I decided to experiment and use these dressings instead:

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Everyone enjoyed the salad, but I personally prefer the original way I would usually make my dressing. There’s something about Hidden Valley that makes it the best ranch ever! Not all ranch dressings have that distinct taste that Hidden Valley has.

Happy eating! Yippeeee!

FS

First posting, and welcome!!!

Hi there! Welcome to my blog! This is my first posting, and I’m excited to get this show on the road!!

The other day, I went to YogurStory and tried their Ube Pancakes. It’s one of their popular pancake dishes on the menu. It was delicious! It’s Okinawan sweet potato pancakes, drenched with ube (purple yams) coconut sauce. Talk about a yummy delight!! I honestly didn’t think I was going to enjoy it, since I’m not a huge fan of coconut, but I was wrong! Got to try it!

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Visit YogurStory at 815 Kee’aumoku Street, Honolulu, HI 96184.

Until next time, Aloha!

If you would like to contact the Foodnista, please send your emails to: foodnista.soul@gmail.com