Saturday, June 28, 2014

Another perfect day on Kauai, walk to Donkey Beach, Monk Seal

I guess I am starting to sound like DVD that has been exposed to too much salt air and plays the same scene over and over again, but it was great today. The rain we had last night both watered the new plants in the garden and cleaned the air.

Started out at 1 PM dressed in a cowboy hat and sunglasses, it was very bright, but there was a cool ocean breeze. Set the pedometer on the iPod Nano and then shuffle for the full range of music. I was walking very well today, sometimes I have a bit balance problem on hard surfaces, but I did not have a glitch until Kelia and it was minor, pushed to to Pineapple Dump and then Donkey Beach, one of the prettiest on the island. It used to be a nude beach until Maryanne Kusaka, former high school teacher and then mayor of Kauai put a stop to it. She would walk down with a police officer in tow and sternly lecture any one with insufficient attire. Should have brought a water bottle, but I stopped at the water fountain at the Kelia bath house in both directions.

As I came back I was pondering the fact we only have nine full days left Kauai. This has been a perfect trip, a great chance for Kathy to heal from surgery. Already I am thinking about the things that I need to do while I am still here to close out. It is time to start being very careful about buying food, it is tricky to get down to the bottom of a stocked fridge. We don't buy round trip tickets between Seattle and Kauai, when it starts to be time, we just go to the Alaska Airlines web page and book a direct flight.

On the way back, I was a bit sad, I had not seen a monk seal, I have seen a seal on most of the trips. However, as I was reaching the end of the path, there was 40D, a young seal hauled up on the beach just across from the lot where Captain John Nakamura keeps his boat. I had just walked 11.6 miles, but really wanted Kathy to get to see him, so I told her and grabbed a camera.

Kathy was talking with Mary and 40D was starting to get restless, he put his flipper over his chest and I thought that was kinda neat.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Co-hosting Harry, Keely and Cecile with Kenzie and Keely

Kenzie and Keely decided the theme for this dinner will be Northern Italian. We have been working together to firm up the menu. BTW we invited our neighbor across the street to join us, her name in Cecile, she is a vegetarian, but we can handle that easily.

Antipasto (served cold)
Brushetta con aglio brindisi (Brushetta with garlic toast)
Insalata (Apples, figs, Anahola granola, imported cheese, cinnamon, top with Aidelle’s chicken slice)
Polenta with chives
Parma ham on toast point
** Load the plates in the kitchen, don’t put the chicken on Cecile’s plate
** Pull the small plates, ask people to keep their utensils, bring another set of small plates

Farfalle con prosciutto e piselli (serve the ham in a separate bowl)

Tacchino con marinata basaltic (Turkey with basalmic marinade)
Contorno - Asparagi, carciofi, con dragoncello vinegrette
Risotto y fungi (Rice and mushrooms in butter and parmesan cheese, flavored with rosemary salt)
** We will need to make the tarragon vinaigrette the day before (Wednesday), it needs to sit
** We will serve as three different dishes
** Pull the small plates

Cioccolato e ciliegie granita

** We will make the granita the night before and place in small glass bowls in the zero degree drawer

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A two monk seal day - braided ono sausage

Yesterday, Kathy remarked, now I remember why we moved to Hawaii. Another perfect day on Kauai, it is the longest string of great weather I can remember. Later on my walk, I got truly blessed. There are only 1100 or so monk seals remaining and I got to see two of them sleeping together. Pretty cool.

While I was walking I had this idea. Captain John Nakamura of Kainalu Fishing, ( gave me a filet of Ono that his charter boat caught yesterday. I decided to make a braided Ono Sausage for Harry and Keely.

To top a perfect day, Kathy and I got outside. We did a walk around the block, visited with some neighbors and shared a bottle of wine, (2010 Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon). It only rained on us a little bit, just a misty rain and Kathy was wearing her trademark neoprene and nylon NRS jacket.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Physical Therapy, K13, Clam pasta

After the business calls of the day, we headed to Cottrell's Physical Therapy. I am very pleased with Kathy's progress. Rusty told her it was time to quit using the walker. Wow, today is one day after the surgery.

After work I went for a walk along the ocean and K13 the wonder seal, the Mahalepu Mama, was hauled up across from the lot where Captain John Nakamura of Kainalu Fishing keeps his charter boat. We talked for a while, his charter today pulled in three Ono and a Yellowfin, he has been burning it up  lately. Then, I went to watch K13 for a few minutes before going on my walk, they had the ropes a long way out, so this is the best I could do since I seem to be cell phone camera challenged.

Canned clams were on half price special at Longs Drugs, so we had clam pasta tonight with fresh vegetables and spiced with fresh oregano, basil, chives, one small hot pepper, minced garlic and a but of tumeric root. It came out nice. I am marinating the Ono in tarragon for tomorrow night

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Greenery Cafe

We were in Lihue and wanted to get lunch. We dropped off some legal paperwork at Mr. Hong's office and Kathy noticed their sign, so we gave them a try.

As the Oracle says in the Matrix, I hate to give good people bad news. I like the idea of fresh herbs right from the garden and it was so cool to see the Felcia Cowden for City Council poster right there at the order/pickup window. I loved the basil leaves in the salad. Now, the not so good news.

The size of the cup the tea was served in was offensive. The service was well, no service. Waiting 30 minutes for the spaghetti makes no sense, the pasta was overcooked and the sauce was pretty bad. The trash was full so throwing away out used take out plates was impossible. The organic turkey sausage was good however.

The menu is really hard to read.

They are nice people. The proprietor knew something was wrong and I would have sat down and explained the problems step by step, but we had an appointment and lost all the extra time waiting for the food. I honestly hope they succeed, hope these are just start up problems. I have been in the hospitality business most of my life and the biggest suggestion is actually come out of the kitchen and talk with your customers; ask them how it is going.

If you are associated with Greenery Cafe and you see this blogpost before July 9, 2014 when we fly off the island I would be happy to sit down with you and try to make some helpful suggestions even though it means leaving my beloved Waipoli and going in to the big city of Lihue *smile*.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Oasis, Monk Seal, on the way to Donkey's Beach

It was Father's Day. We were in church, Lon Malapit was leading the closing song. Don't know the song, but it was the fundamentals of faith. We were dismissed after a prayer, I looked up and Rudy and Shanda were there. Wow! We decided to go to lunch, decided Gaylord's was too crazy for Father's Day, settled on Oasis in Waipoli. This is one of my favorite restaurants on the island. The chef is very creative, so you have some wonderful choices and they gave us an awesome table. Rudy had the short ribs, I had the tri-tip with a perfectly cooked poached egg, Shanda had a crepe and I forget what Kathy had, but she devoured the Ono Poke they were willing to make for us as an appetizer. We had a great time of conversation and then we parted ways. (they are leaving for a cruise on Tuesday and have to settle their worldly affairs before being gone for three weeks).

When we got home it was still peak sun, even with 50 SPF sunblock, I do not take on peak sun this close to the summer solstice. I read an STI student's gold paper on quantum computing and made some comments then about 2:45 started getting ready for a walk to Donkey's Beach. It is all easy walking, but when I cross 6 miles, I like to pack a bottle of water, a snack and something to sit on. And assembling the pack is not wasted effort, later this week I want to enjoy one of the island trails. What fun, in the first 1/8th of a mile I ran into a K13, a Monk seal. I saw a tourist lady and her daughter were walking by and did not see the yellow rope, so I encouraged them to come over and see K13. Since there are only about 1100 of these seals left, having a picture of her daughter with the seal in the background might be an awesome piece of memorabilia.

Then I continued on. It was a nice walk, the multi-use path, (Ke Ala Hele Makalae, The Path that Goes by the Coast),  was not very crowded, though there were people enjoying it. There was a tourist lady going about my speed and taking pictures as we hit Kelia, so I encouraged her to push on to the Pineapple dump. She said she was going to turn-around, but actually followed me by about 200 yards. When we got to the Pineapple dump, I stopped until she came up and pointed out the side path to the historical landmark. Then on to Donkey's, I love that spot. It is one of my favorites areas of the island; right up there with Mahalepu. And then, back home, made fantastic time, and cruised in about 6:40 PM.

Hunter called for a Father's Day call, we had a nice conversation, Kathy and I shared some quinoa, veggies and turkey breast for supper. We ended the night watching Houseboat with Cary Grant and Sophia Loren. This goes down as a very nice day.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The joy of steel

Goody, a father's day present, a cheap stainless steel ninja "twisted steel" sword. Have no fantasy of becoming a warrior of the night; won't even sharpen it. Stainless steel in the hopes it might last a year or two here on the beach. The weight is just right for one handed work while the tsuka has plenty of space for both.

Iaido kata brings back memories of Master Chun, though getting up from a kneeling position is a must to avoid. Instead, music pours from the iPod and the sword moves to the rhythm; tip, keep as much of the earphone wiring inside the shirt as possible, the twisted steel tsuba loves to grab earphone wires. The trex deck is just springy enough to make footwork a joy and the high ceiling means no damaged ceiling fans. Dancing with swords is a great way to work out on core days, an hour session is a great mix of aerobics, core strength and fun. It is a fairly big sport in Russia and comes to us from the Cossacks, is practiced by men and women with a lot of spinning of the sword and its bearer as well as switching hands. They even do one in each hand. Amira Abdi and her troupe do a sword belly dance. Of, course they do it in India, China, Korea and Japan as well. The Scottish have a sword dance for the lasses, but they lay them on the floor and dance a jig around them.

Steel is a great gift. Joy can be found limbing a fallen oak with a sharp axe, the moment a monster maul splits a sawn log, a digging bar clearing the way to dig holes to plant huckleberries and its friend the maddock taking out that pesky root.

The doctors say we all have to exercise more. Joining a gym, getting in a car and driving to work out, just does not move. But playing with steel, what can be more fun?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Kathy is upstairs, walk to Kelia, green bean and chia seed ceviche

This morning, Harry, Keely and I moved Kathy upstairs from the ADA bed and bath room. The suite worked out pretty well, Glenn Morgan consulted with Luis Soltren on the design. I wrote this on Glenn's Facebook page.

Your design for the ADA bedroom and bath at 1070 Kealoha worked out perfectly. The ceiling fan in the bathroom was brilliant. I have looked at it before, scratched my head and wondered why anyone would put a ceiling fan, albeit a marine grade one, in a shower. But it dries the floor in about an hour. Kathy's hip replacement is healing nicely. We moved back upstairs today.

With no sign of a rain this afternoon, I wanted to go for a walk, I did quiet work till after 2 PM, even with sun block, a hat and sun glasses it can be a bit much. It is not that far, 2.6 miles from the house. I had some crazy idea of going all the way to Donkey beach, but then I would have to walk all that way back :)

Not sure why, but we bought a bag of key limes; that is a lot of work for very little lime juice, but I am going to experiment with green bean and chia seed ceviche.

I cut 10 key limes into quarters and squeezed the juice out through a strainer to catch the seeds.
2 cups of green beans cut on the diagonal swirled them around in the lime juice
Added water to just cover
Started cooking over a low burner
I did not add the 1/2 cup chia seeds yet, there is a risk of them burning, wait about 30 minutes and let the beans start to soften, stir them in well
1/2 cup of red bell peppers, wait till about ten minutes before serving
I used a rounded tablespoon of crushed red peppers some folks might like more
To taste: fresh oregano, fresh chives, salt, cumin, garlic

I also grabbed a pad of cactus and made Nopales. Cooked them on low heat in a non-stick skillet so they were a bit crunchy, not gooey. The spices were salt and 6 leaves fresh basil cut up finely. About two minutes before serving I put a little water in the pan and added the basil.

Served with salsa on the side with corn tostados.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Another gorgeous day on Kauai

Was taking a walk along the beach and there was an adorable 1.5 yr old monk seal. Turkey that I am, I did not have my phone or a camera.  I hurried back home to get both, but missed the seal by nine minutes. One of the volunteers of the Monk Seal Foundation, (they put the barriers around them when they are sleeping), let me take a picture of his story sign.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

13 Coins - Great SEATAC Airport Restaurant

13 Coins is a landmark restaurant in the Seattle area. The one at SEATAC is open 24 hours and the breakfast offerings are available around the clock. It is a very innovative menu and beats the Denny's hands down.

6/3/14 Second visit. We have a merciful boarding time of 8:30 AM, but Kathy is in a walker and we do not know how fast she can get through the airport, so Becca picked us up and we relocated to the Hilton airport and stopped for dinner at 13 Coins. This time Becca remembered that I wanted to watch them cook, so we sat at the bar along the cooking line so we could watch the action. We shared a bottle of Kestrel Lady in Red, ninth edition, I could not find the year on the bottle to save my life, but looking at the images think it must be 2011. It is a Washington State blend, tastes like a young wine, bit of pepper and cherry taste. I liked it, but don't really think it will age that well, some wines are best opened early.

Each of us had the spinach salad, Kathy's was with a Balsamic vinaigrette since the standard dressing has gluten. Kathy had the Bucket of Clams which was highly recommended by our server, Kelly. Becca had the Steak Sinatra medium rare and I had the Seafood Saute. Good food and plenty of it. It was fun talking with the line cooks. Becca noticed the copper pans with rounded bottoms and asked me what they are used for; my guess was meringue, you tend to see the rounded bottoms on dishes where you use a French Whisk. One of the line cooks told us that they use it for a dessert, Zabaglioni, ( some spell it Zabaglione), an Italian custard, made of egg yolks, sugar and sherry.

So we ordered Zabaglioni for dessert with three spoons. I have a whisk friendly pan, and think I will play round with this a bit.

Becca didn't finish her steak and asked for a box. It got lost somehow and without saying a word they prepared a half portion and boxed it for her. I had been leaning towards trying a new place, but think with customer service like that; Lord willing, I'll be back.

NOTE: If you go there, I would try to avoid having Kelly as your server. She is hair on fire like she is in a terrible hurry, and her service is awful. I tipped 20% because the cooks made the experience great, I hope she shared some of the money with them.

4/21/14, First visit. We have a 5:05 AM boarding time tomorrow so we relocated to the Hilton airport hotel. We asked Becca from Savvy Solutions for the trip and said we would love to have dinner to catch up if she would recommend a place.

She recommended 13 Coins so we went. I like the place and hope to be back and sit on the part of the bar which is in front of the line cook stations, they really sounded like they were having a great time. Very creative menu. Becca had the Seafood Saute, Kathy had the Dungeness Crab Eggs Benedict, I had the Chicken Dijon and we shared a bottle of 2011 Brazin Zinfandel. All diners expressed joy with their choices, bill before taxes was 118.97.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

In the jungle, the mighty jungle

Wow we were gone from Seattle for three weeks and all of my landscaping has been overtaken by the local vegetation. The two grassy areas were a foot high and a network of weeds was everywhere except the front herb gardens.

Down by the lake was totally out of control. I spent the past four days beating back the jungle. As we are getting ready to leave, things are largely under control. Down by the lake two plants that are the most robust are the cherries and blackberries. These cherries do not produce fruit, so I am going to eradicate most of them over time. Since they are so naturalized I will keep a small stand somewhere on the property. I did not have time to dig out the blackberry roots this trip, but hope to start working on that when I return. I do want to keep a few of them as well. I have to wonder if it is possible to train a few to be more like a bush. Obviously I will have to keep after it.

I am going to leave the hillside below the blueberries and huckleberries out of control this summer and try to get it planted this winter, that will give me time to form a plan. I will need something very vigorous, that is for sure.

On the plus side, the raspberries are doing fine. We have two kinds, thornless and mild thorns. I am guessing that is for pollination. We got some TakeRoot from Wal-Mart's garden center and I tried it on a cutting of two thornless and one thorn raspberry and put them in the ground close to the lake. Have on idea what will happen, but worth a try.

The last time we were here, I put four aronia sprigs in water and left them in front of an LED light. One of them grew roots. I planted it down by the lake as well in front of the naturalized cherry stand. We have one very happy set of aronia's just under the back lanai and they are already making berries. This is one of the so-called superfoods.  I put three more cuttings in the vase with a small amount of TakeRoot and will try again.

I am a little bit nervous about what will happen when we are gone, but there will probably be less rain and perhaps that will slow down the jungle's progress. If not, I guess it makes a great exercise program.