Head to Kona for Scandinavian Shave Ice

DSC02994

Is there a such thing as a Shave Ice Connoisseur? If not, there should be! While visiting Kailua-Kona, Hawaii our kids swore that Scandinavian Shave Ice “Scandi’s” was the best they’d ever had. Now that’s saying something because we live in Hawaii and eat shave ice all the time!! There are many memories that our kids will have about growing up on Kauai- the remote beaches, stand up paddling, waterfalls, whale watching, and ocean fishing. Paradise is wonderful. Yet, if you were to ask them what they love about living on Kauai, they would probably say shave ice. Let’s back up a little bit…… for those of you who don’t reside in the wonderful state of Hawaii, I’ll describe shave ice and NO it is not a snow cone. Shave ice in not granular or chunks of rocky ice. Shave ice doesn’t turn into a hard lump of ice like a snow cone does as it melts. The distinguishing factor- shave ice is shaved not crushed ice! But don’t called it “shaved ice” because locals call it “shave ice”. Shave ice simply melts, turning into liquid and mixing with the flavoring. This is the point in which you will need a straw.

Snow Cone

Snow Cone

Dilemma of the snow cone~ Growing up in California the sound of the ice cream truck could be heard from miles away. It was a trigger of events to follow, first the music, and then all the kids playing in the neighborhood scatter. Where did they go? We all ran inside to beg our parents for money, raid the counters for change or empty the coin jar and timing was of the essence. If you didn’t time this perfect, than the ice cream truck would be gone. I remember hearing the music in my house getting louder and louder as the truck was approaching my street and thinking- hurry up mom! This was all so that I could scrape my teeth on a rock-hard, rainbow snow cone. Eating a snow cone is the most frustrating experience in the world. You want to get to the great flavors but they’ve all ran to the bottom of the paper cone which is now disintegrating and starting to leak down your palm. Your teeth hurt so bad because they are frozen, sending excruciating pain through the roots. Now, your right hand is frozen from the snow cone, so you switch hands. By the time all of the flavoring has leaked out of the paper cone, you’re left with a huge piece of flavorless ice.

Scndi’s has been around for over 20 years and knows how to make real shave ice. They are located in Kailua Village in Kailua-Kona, walking distance from Kailua Pier. In fact, we walked there from the Pier after taking a submarine tour. When you place an order at Scandi’s, you must choose three flavors and know if you want ice cream or frozen yogurt in the middle. Then for the sno cap! Sno cap, also known as “Japanese Style”, is sweetened condensed milk poured over the top of the shave ice.

How to eat shave ice

How to eat shave ice

I’ve heard that on the Big Island of Hawai’i, it can be referred to as ‘ice shave’. Shave ice is produced by shaving the ice so fine that it is the consistency of snow. The flavors are actually in the shave ice rather than floating around in the cup. Shave ice in Hawaii tends to offer local flavors such as: li hing mui, Melona, Haupia, guava, Mai Tai, P.O.G., pineapple, coconut cream, passion fruit,  lychee, kiwi fruit, Green tea and mango. Notice the holes in the table? Told ya, Scandi’s doesn’t mess around. Parents will love how mess free this can be with the holes in the table, drip, drip to the ground not your clothes. The plastic cups are great as well! No leaking.

Where did it come from?

Somewhere between 794 to 1185 A.D. shave ice was discovered in Japan. It was called kakigōri and enjoyed by Japanese plantation workers after a hot day. These plantation workers immigrated to Hawaii, introducing the locals to kakigōri. Shave ice was made from a block of ice and a Japanese sword.

DSC02990Scandi’s has 65 flavors to choose from, 8 sugar free, and 9 different toppings!!! If you live on the Big Island or plan to have a party on the Big Island, Scandi’s even caters.

5wheelsto5star was featured in the March 2014 issue of Destinations Travel Magazine

Advertisements

The Mystery of Sedona

Sedona

Sedona

We took a family trip to Scottsdale, Arizona and wanted to venture out a bit. We decided to visit the Grand Canyon and stop off in Sedona on our way back to Scottsdale.  It is an easy, short drive through the picturesque Oak Creek Canyon. Sedona is located in the northern Verde Valley region of Arizona. Sedona is fairly small in size, approximately a population size of 10,000. Our kids tend to remember the fascinating sightseeing in each location. For Sedona that would be the famous, red sandstone formations which light up vibrantly in the sun and give the illusion of changing color as the sun sets. The mystical formations array from reddish-orange to bright yellow at times! Sedona is an amazing place for photography- stop and take pictures of the rocks or pose as a family in front of the formations. To get up close to the formation, try booking activities that take place around the formations such as hiking, off-road Jeep & Hummer excursions and biking trails.

Sedona 2

Sedona is commonly referred to as the Red Rock Country. The kids asked,  “What makes the rocks red?” They are created by a layer of rock known as the Schnebly Hill Formation, which is a thick layer of sandstone which is unique to the area of Sedona. Sandstone is a chunk of sedimentary rock made of minerals and rock grains. Over millions of years the receding ocean left layers of sandstone and limestone. Iron oxide covered the sandstone and rust was formed leaving the beautiful shade of red.

Sedona is a great place to explore history, culture, archaeology, & art. The city itself is amidst red-rock monoliths (single large piece of rock) such as Coffeepot, Cathedral and Thunder Mountain. We visited Sedona for the day and would love to go back and spend more time there. Sedona offers an array of five-star hotels, spas, resorts, and bed & breakfast. Sedona Pines is an upscale, family friendly resort offering individual, modular cottages nestled on 19 acres. Sedona is a great place to explore with the family and has been referred to as “a red rock playground for families”.  If you are interested in picking up a souvenir while visiting, there are over 80 galleries to choose from. Looking for something uniquely from Sedona? Choose from Native American crafts, healing gemstones, wind sculptures, hand-carved walking stick, wooden flute, blown-glass items, and even a healthy treat for your pet.

Sedona7

Spiritual and Metaphysical~ Sedona tends to attract visitors of all ages who are in search of themselves via metaphysical mystery. What exactly does that mean? If you are uncertain of the meaning, chances are you are not seeking such things. Metaphysical seekers go to Sedona in search of Spiritual Centers, New Age Gatherings, Readings, Massage, Healing’s, and oftentimes, Mediation.  Sedona is named after a female pioneer, Sedona Schnebly, in the 19th century. Some people feel that Sedona offers nourishment for the body, mind and spirit. There are an abundance of businesses related to spiritual healing in the local area.

Sedona 3

What are the vortexes about? Here’s where it gets real interesting – science! Typically, a vortex is a spiraling motion of air or liquid around a rotation.

Therapy on the Rocks!

Therapy on the Rocks!

When we lived in Nevada, the wind used to kick up and cause sand and dirt to spin, thus creating a vortex. It is a little different in Sedona, where the vortexes are not caused by wind or water- they are caused from energy. Some believe that Sedona vortexes are caused by spiritual energy. Visitors are drawn to these locations to pray, mediate and heal. There are four vortex locations in Sedona: Boynton CanyonCathedral RockBell Rock, and Airport Mesa. The vortexes draw more visitors to Sedona than any other attraction.

5wheelsto5star was featured in the March 2014 issue of Destinations Travel Magazine

Makana Terrace

Makana Terrace

Makana Terrace

 Outdoor Seating

Outdoor Seating

Step onto the terrace and enjoy the warm evening air, dine by candlelight with a view of Makana Mountain while overlooking Hanalei Bay. Whether celebrating a special occasion or just a night out, Makana Terrace, located at St. Regis Princeville Resort on Kauai, is the perfect way to end your day.

Aloha Mary

Aloha Mary

The Aloha Mary~

On your way to Makana Terrace, stop by the St. Regis Bar and try the signature Aloha Mary (bloody Mary) made with a blend of Hawaii’s organic Ocean Vodka and clamato (tomato juice, spices, clam broth) juice garnished with Kaua’i guava wood-smoked sea salt. All St. Regis Hotels create a signature Bloody Mary.

Review the wine list to start off your dining experience. I highly recommend a 5:30 or 6 p.m. IMG_9808reservation time to ensure a sunset view while enjoying a glass of wine and an appetizer. I enjoyed a wonderful glass of Pinot Noir, while occasional clouds passed and the sky slowly turned from blue to shades of pink.

The Makana Mountain and sunset view reflect off of the infinity pond located tableside offering a tranquil ambiance.

The menu is a mixture of Asian cultures complemented by the freshest of Hawaiian grown produce. Now for the hard part – choosing a starter. With the recommendation of our waiter, we chose to start off with the Makana Terrace Roll and Pan Seared Scallops.

Makana Terrace Roll

Makana Terrace Roll

Pan Seared Scallops

Pan Seared Scallops

Hand-Crafted Sushi~

Choose from an impressive selection of hand-crafted sushi rolls ~

Bread with Mango butter

Bread with Mango butter

which include Spicy Tuna, Yellowtail, Smoked Salmon, Ahi, Soft-shell Crab, BBQ Eel, California Roll and more. Sashimi platters include Tuna , Salmon , Yellowtail, Hot Seared Kampachi (Kona Yellowtail), Yuzu (citrus fruit), and Truffle Oil. I highly recommend the Makana Terrace Roll as it is spicy, crunchy and flavorful made with Spicy Tuna , Tempura Shrimp Avocado, and Spicy Mayo!!!!!

Next, the Pan Seared Scallops served on top of a kabocha (golden squash) puree absolutely melt in your mouth. The scallops are prepared with caramelized Maui onion, garden fresh herbs and lemon. The scallops are cooked to perfection, extremely soft and tender, easily cut with a fork.

20140221_191701

Sake-Soy Glazed Butterfish

20140221_191732

Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi

For the entrée~ choose from Land (Aina) or Sea (Moana). Sea entrées include Opakapaka, Butterfish, Mahi, Ahi or Shutome (Swordfish). Land options consist of Rib Eye, Rack of Lamb, New York Strip, BBQ Pork Ribs, or Filet Mignon. My personal favorite is the Sake-Soy Glazed Butterfish served with Bok Choy, Carrots, and Alii Mushroom in a Kombu Beef Broth. The Butterfish is so moist and flakes apart in the juicy broth. We ordered the Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi served with Ginger Garlic Braised Baby Bok Choy, Whipped Molokai Sweet Potatoes, Mango Pineapple Relish, and Curry Sauce. All seafood dishes were beautifully displayed, pleasant aromas, cooked to perfection, and flavorful.

Warm Ginger Cake with Asian Pear

Warm Ginger Cake with Asian Pear

Best for last~

Choose from seven delicious, exotic desserts comprised of Chocolate Chip Macademia Nut Tart, Chocolate Selection, Warm Ginger Cake with Asian Pear, Island Citrus Cheesecake, Warm Maui Mango Kula Strawberry Crisp, Hoemmade Spun Ice Cream, and Crème Brulee. Of course we chose the Warm Ginger Cake with Asian Pear served with candied ginger ice cream!!!!

View from Makana Terrace

View from Makana Terrace

Antwon Brinson, Chef de Cuisine

Breakfast: 6:30am – 11:00am Dinner: 5:30pm – 9:00pm (Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays for dinner)

Makana Terrace

Makana Terrace

5wheelsto5star was featured in the March 2014 issue of Destinations Travel Magazine

Le Meridien ~ Barcelona

Le Meridien Barcelona

Le Meridien Barcelona

Artwork at Le Meridien

Artwork at Le Meridien

Barcelona is known for it’s museums, local culture, food, markets, opera house, flamenco dancing, art, architecture, gothic quarter and music. When choosing a destination, we really try to research things to do and places to eat for kids. The same is true when researching a place to stay. Some of the questions we ask are: Is the hotel family friendly? What accommodations do they offer for kids? Do the restaurants Europe - 3include kids menus? What is the surrounding area like? Is it conveniently located to public transportation, airports and cruise ports? Research, research, research!!!! Get to know the area before you jet set. We flew into Barcelona El Prat Airport and sailed out of the Port of Barcelona. Research the cost of a hotel transfer to the ship if you are cruising. Keep in mind, the transfer cost are per person. Compare that to cab fare to the ship from the hotel. The hotel concierge will be able to estimate the cost of the cab fare in advance. Most hotels offer the option to email their concierge questions prior to arrival. Before renting a vehicle consider the driving laws in the country which you are visiting. If you are not familiar, get familiar in advance!

Le Meridien Barcelona

Le Meridien Barcelona

While researching Barcelona, time and time again, Las Ramblas kept coming up. It is the main drag so-to-speak, walking distance to  Gaudí’ architecture, tapas (appetizer) restaurants, shopping and most importantly the Barcelona Metro & Barcelona Bus Turistic. We narrowed down the hotel to the city’s most famous street – Las Ramblas and decided to stay at Le Méridien located on Las Ramblas.

Arrival art work by Joan Fontcuberta

Arrival art work by Joan Fontcuberta

When you enter the Le Meridien Barcelona- it’s like stepping into a whole new world!

The cab dropped us off and I remember looking up at the sky-scraping, ornate, historic building in absolute awe. We entered through the gold and glass revolving door, which the kids loved, where we were greeted by doorman in suits who grabbed our luggage. The modern colors of black and red flash before your eyes while taking in the sounds & aromas of espresso brewing at the coffee bar, people speaking an array of languages, various currencies exchanging at the front desk, and hotel staff rushing by, smiling. The hotel is definitely alive.

Since we were off by 12 hour time difference, the mornings consisted of getting up very early to go downstairs and await the opening of the espresso bar and the Illy coffee (Italian gourmet coffee). My daughter and I would watch the residents rushing past the windows on Las Ramblas heading off by foot in the dark to their busy day at work. The doorman must be trained to memorize each and every guest name and face! It was an unreal experience, different from that my time in Italy and France. Observing the doorman while sipping coffee was fascinating to me. Since the hotel is located on the city’s most famous street, it was reassuring to know that the doorman monitor who is walking in and out. Throughout the hotel art and architectural detailing are displayed. In the central lobby, “The Hub”, is the perfect place to people watch, visit with friends and family, read, or simply drink coffee.

The arrival art work by Joan Fontcuberta (pictured above). Fontcuberta is a local photographer and lecturer in Fine Art. He concretes on representations, wisdom, memory, science, confidence, ambiguity in images. The artwork is amazing, from the outside it appears as though you can’t see into the hotel but from the inside looking out, you can’t see the artwork.

La Rambla

La Rambla

St. Joseph La Boqueria

St. Joseph La Boqueria

Las Ramblas has a tree lined central promenade which is crowded all day and night. The street is pavedEurope - 7 in a design which is meant to ripple like water. There are several vendors along the promenade selling newspapers, souvenirs, flowers, and you will see street traders, performers, cafes and bars. Be sure not to miss the famous fountain, Font de Canaletes, and popular meeting point. La Rambla is lined with historic buildings which include the Palace of the Virreina, Liceu Theatre, the market- one of the city’s landmarks. Royal Square, shopping plaza with palm trees, pubs and restaurants, is located a couple of streets over from Las Ramblas.

Barcelona Shopping

Barcelona Shopping

Interesting facts about the hotel ~ Le Méridien Barcelona has had many world-famous guests such as: Pavarotti, Bruce Springsteen, Zubin Mehta, Rolling Stones, Madonna, and Rostropovich. The hotel offers limousine service, multilingual staff to attend to every need, complimentary Wi-Fi access in all public areas. The hotel is top notch with wonderful culinary options, interesting artwork, spacious rooms and located in the center of everything!!

Cava cava

Cava cava

Just a glass of Cava…….

In our house, the word “Cava Cava” are an inside joke. It’s along story, but basically the complementary glasses of Cava at 7 p.m. during the Le Meridien daily reception hit pretty fast when you haven’t eaten since noon! Getting on the meal time of Spain was a little challenging for us. We were almost asleep by dinner time and not too hungry anymore. We adjusted quickly but taking naps around 2 p.m. As they say, in rome do as the romans do.

Cava is a sparkling wine, which can be white (blanco) or rosé (rosado), produced in Catalonia. Cava is commonly made from macabeu, parellada and xarel·lo grape varieties. What is the difference between champagne/sparkling wine and cava you ask? Only wines produced in the champenoise traditional method (effervescence is produced by secondary fermentation in the bottle) can be labeled as cava. The village of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia is home to many of Spain’s largest production houses. Do NOT refer to cava as “Spanish champagne”, as it is not permitted under European Union law. Yes, they are quite serious about their cava. Cava is part of Spanish family tradition and is commonly served at baptisms, marriages, banquets, dinners and parties.

Le Meridien Barcelona CentOnze Restaurant

Le Meridien Barcelona CentOnze Restaurant

Europe - 41.5

CentOnze

Le Meridien Barcelona

Le Meridien Barcelona

CentOnze has a sophisticated, yet warm and welcoming atmosphere.
“Our Chef is the creative genius behind a menu that is both well-balanced and intriguing, in which the sheer quality of the ingredients shines through the creative aesthetic, featuring dishes whose every constituent part is given equal prominence. The kitchens are bursting with the vibrant colors and fresh flavors of the Boquería market. Ingredients of the very highest quality are transformed into ephemeral works of art… haute cuisine made accessible” ~ Le Meridien Barcelona website.
The wait staff at CentOnze are phenomenal!! Anticipating our arrival each evening, they reserved a table in the window of Las Ramblas where we could watch all the night life take place. The wait staff memorized the type of wine that we ordered the first night and brought it to the table each night thereafter. The seafood was fresh from the Mediterranean and they suggested kid-friendly options. CentOnze was the perfect way to end each day in Barcelona after our siesta.

Barcelona

Barcelona

Money Saving Tips: We chose to not rent a car when we traveled to Barcelona, as it is 37.8 EUR (approximately  $49.14 US per day) to park per day. Be sure to consider the parking fees prior to reserving a car. There are several means of public transportation within walking distance to the hotel. We rode around on Barcelona Bus Turistic, which is conveniently located at the end of Las Ramblas. Tickets are available for all three routes: red, green and blue. We rode each route the first day we were in Barcelona to decide which places we wanted to tour. The bus is fun for kids as it is guided and offered in multiple languages.

Take advantage of the market’s convenient location!!! We would leave our room first thing in the morning to grab hot coffee and croissants. The kids created their own specialty smoothies – getting past the language barrier all on their own. Sit up to the counter tops in the market, order your lunch and watch the chefs and they rush around clanking pans cooking snails, ham, and quiche. Bring sliced meats, cheeses and crackers back to your room to snack on before dinner. In Spain, dinner is very late in comparison to the U.S. Our kids loved snacking away from 2-8 p.m. when most places are closed for siesta. The market is affordable! Grab Panini’s for the whole family to share and take off for a picnic. We grabbed a variety of Panini’s and headed to the Castle Montjuic .

To read more about our time in Barcelona, including Gaudí’s Sangrada Familia, Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria (world famous market), Sangria & Paella recipes, and Castle Montjuic ~ click on “Barcelona, Spain” under topics on the right hand column of the blog.

5wheelsto5star was featured in the March 2014 issue of Destinations Travel Magazine

Kilauea Bakery ~ a community gathering place

Guava Macaroons

Guava Macaroons

Walk to the bakery

Walk to the bakery

Kilauea Bakery & Pau Hana Pizza is nestled in the quaint, tropical Kong Lung Historic Market Center in Kilauea, on Kauai’s North Shore.

Macadamia nut sticky buns

Macadamia nut sticky buns

As you near the community bakery located in the garden courtyard~ aromas of coffee brewing and freshly baked pies and breads fill the air. Kilauea Bakery’s ambiance is both casual and unique with Daphne, the umbrella cockatoo, sitting on her perch talking around the corner while chickens and dogs roam about. Whether craving a buttery, tropical Danish or just a coffee and a great read- the bakery is the place to relax.

Coconut crème éclair & stromboli

Coconut crème éclair & stromboli

untitled (3)

Mango, Guava & Lilikoi danish

For breakfast, choose from Danish pastry, cinnamon rolls, macnut sticky buns, muffins & cookies, scones, croissants, coconut crème-filled éclairs, bread pudding, fruit & nut pies, bagels, bialys, stombolis and more……

What is a Bialy? A bialy “cebularz” (Polish) is a small roll, about 6 inches in diameter, chewy, yeasty and somewhat like a bagel. A bialy is simply baked, whereas a bagel is boiled then baked. A bialy has a depression in the middle whereas a bagel has a hole. The depression is traditionally filled with diced onions, garlic, poppy seeds, or bread crumbs. Now for the hard part, choosing just one! The bakery offers gourmet selections such as Artichoke Gorgonzola, Black Olive, Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, and Basil Pesto bialys.

Stromboli, Stromboli, Stromboli…….is crafted as a hot breakfast and includes scrambled eggs, potato, Cheddar cheese, spices and your choice of homemade lilikoi, rosemary bacon or home cured ham rolled into a fresh Ciabatta dough and served steaming hot each morning. The Stromboli is said to be named after Italy’s Stromboli volcano because of it’s tendency to ooze hot cheeses out the sides. Yum!

Espresso Café

Kilauea Bakery’s coffee is organically grown, fair trade coffee and roasted from green berries every week. The espresso bar offers up a Cappuccino, Latte’, Mocha or Big Train Chai with your choice of Organic Steamed Milk or Organic Soy Milk. Pick from the following flavored syrups: Vanilla, Caramel, Hazelnut, Macadamia nut, Amoretto, Sugar free Vanilla, Coconut and Irish Cream. Icy coffee specialties are also available~ Vanilla Latte’ • Caramel Latte’ • Coconut Mocha • Macnut Mocha • Spicy & Vanilla Chai • Chocolate Chai • Chai Buzz

If coffee isn’t your thing, try Lilikoi-lemonade or one of the bakery’s four smoothies~

Green Jade: Mango, banana, apple juice, fresh ginger and Spirulina.

Banana Nut: Banana, coconut, mango and soy milk

Berrylicious Blend: Blueberry, strawberry, banana, lilikoi, guava and mango

Strawberry Guava: Strawberry, pineapple, papaya and guava

Be sure to purchase a bag of coffee, granola or tea to take home.

Gluten Free

Gluten Free

Let’s Talk Gluten-Free

For the gluten-free who still LOVE their pastries, stop by Kilauea Bakery for special diet options which include gluten-free bagels, bialys, muffins, chocolate chips cookies, soups (150 gluten-free soups!!!!) and salads, seven seed bread and pizza crust!!! The pizza crusts are prepared with gluten-free flour. What is gluten-free flour made of? There are many kinds of gluten-free flours and all purpose gluten-free flour blends which can replace a typical wheat flour. Gluten is a healthy, plant protein which is found in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is fantastic for making elastic dough and makes bread light and chewy. This is why we LOVE bread so much!! Since not everyone can eat gluten products, there are wonderful gluten-free flour options. They don’t have the elasticity of gluten and therefore can result in a dense pastry- so it is important to experiment to find the right one for your recipe. There are blends of different types of grains used to create gluten-free flour mixes which have similar results to wheat flour when baking. Commonly, gluten-free flours contain rice flour, teff flour, tapioca flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, garbanzo flour, buckwheat flour, or nut flour.

Making the shift to GREEN

~something can not be green without being environmentally friendly~

Kilauea Bakery reuses and recycles – much more than the usual soda cans and bottles. All tin, aluminum, glass and plastic kitchen containers, kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, cardboard, pallets and used books are reused or recycled. They use biodegradable cups, compostable silverware and absolutely no Styrofoam!

Cassava

Cassava

Harvesting~ Kauai Bakery harvests many of their fruits, vegetables and herbs. The picture above shows a harvest of cassava. It’s the root used to make Tapioca. The bakery uses cassava, along with pumpkin, to make Cassava Kalabasa (dense squash) Bibingka (try saying that three times fast). Bibingka is a custard-style cake popular in the Philippines.

The salads are 100% locally grown, pesto is made with their homegrown basil, coconut milk is made from local, fresh coconuts, and citrus is juiced from their local trees.

Meats~ The Salmon is wild and sustainably caught from Alaska. The shrimp is wild caught pink shrimp from the Pacific. Salmon, Wahoo filet and meats are smoked in-house. Hams and bacon are naturally cured in their kitchen. The bakery makes their own sausages, with the exception of pepperoni and the chicken meat is organically grown.

Their proprietary Noni tonic and Olena (turmeric) extract are grown locally and produced in the kitchen. Infused with locally grown ginger, Turmeric and a Hawaiian chile pepper per bottle.

IMG_9715
It’s All About the Pizza
Pau Hana (after work) Pizzas are made with garlic-infused olive oil, homemade sauce, Mozzarella cheese and semolina (purified wheat middlings of durum wheat) crust. Choose from fresh vegetables, specialty prepared vegetables, assorted cheeses, meats, or seafood to build your own traditional pizza or try any of the 10 specialty pizzas. Rumor has it that the favorite pizza amongst locals is the Billie Holiday topped with house smoke Ono (Wahoo) fish, fresh spinach, caramelized onions on top of a gorgonzola cheese sauce.
For lunch, try the Grilled Panini Sandwich of the day, Calzone, or Slice of Pizza & Salad.
Pizza hours are from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
IMG_3614
Local Artists & Entertainment
On weekends the bakery features local artists for the community to enjoy while sipping coffee. The bakery also features various art work from local artists monthly. For the month of February ’14, the unique style of photo and acrylic collage work of Bobbi McCoy is displayed. An interesting recent addition is the full sized bronze bust of a young Hawaiian man sculpted by Anahola artist Tom Braverman (pictured above). For more information about Tom Braverman’s work, contact him at (808) 823-1209.
Small bookshelf of treasures

Small bookshelf of treasures

Great Reads
Stop by the small bookshelf of treasures (pictured above). Don’t let the size of the bookshelf fool you – the bakery has a great selection! Books are donated to the bakery by visitors and the local community. Grab an interesting read while sipping your coffee and it’s all for a great cause!!! Proceeds support the local Kilauea Elementary School PTSA.
Bet You Didn’t Know
Each year Kilauea Bakery kitchen prepares…….
2600 local coconuts
104 pounds of homegrown basil
1716 gallons of organic milk
41,600 pounds of wheat flour
15,600 of Mozzarella cheese
4 tons of pizza sauce
52 gallons of olive oil
over 3 tons of homemade bacon, sausage & ham
It’s all washed down with 53,500 fruit smoothies, espresso coffee drinks and assorted sodas
IMG_9713
5wheelsto5star was featured in the March 2014 issue of Destinations Travel Magazine

Steeler Nation, Pittsburgh

Heinz Field

Heinz Field

Steeler Game

Steeler Game

Heinz Field

Heinz Field

For our son’s 10th birthday, we thought it would be great to surprise him with a father-son trip to Pittsburgh to tour his favorite team’s stadium and watch the home opener. There were so many places to see and things to do in Pittsburgh, but how do we plan and where do we start? First step~ review the game schedule and purchase the tickets. Be sure to research tickets on multiple sites. Ticketmaster is not always the best deal, albeit secure and reliable. When planning a trip around a game, ensure the site is legit. Stubhub.com, owned by eBay, is an online marketplace which provides services for buyers and sellers for sports tickets. We have purchased basketball tickets same day as the event on Stubhub.com for 40% cheaper than purchasing at the arena.

Pittsburgh by night

Pittsburgh by night

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh

DSC08548Second step~ Research things to do in The Burgh~ Pittsburgh has a long history of jazz, blues and bluegrass music.

Carnegie Library

Carnegie Library

The first African-American opera company in the U.S., National Negro Opera Company, was founded in Pittsburgh. If you enjoy theater, try visiting the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre, Quantum Theatre, the Renaissance and Baroque Society of Pittsburgh, and the early music ensemble Chatham Baroque.

Pittsburgh’s art museums include the Andy Warhol Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Frick Art & Historical Center, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and the Mattress Factory. If you are a sports buff, the Carnegie Science Center and associated SportsWorks has interactive technology and science exhibits.

The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh on the North Side includes a planetarium and interactive exhibits for children. Children may want to visit the Pittsburgh Zoo or the PPG Aquarium.

Enjoy gambling? Pittsburgh is home to one of the several state licensed casinos. Rivers Casino is located on the North Shore along the Ohio River, just west of Carnegie Science Center and Heinz Field.

If you are a reality show fan, you may be interested to know that Lifetime’s Dance Moms, is filmed at Pittsburgh’s Abby Lee Dance Company. Major films such as The Dark Knight Rises were filmed in Pittsburgh. The Burgh has teamed up with a Los Angeles based production company and has built the largest and most advanced movie studio in the eastern United States.

Heinz Field

Heinz Field

Touring the Stadium

DSC08679Third step~ book a tour of the stadium!!! Game day just wouldn’t be the same without a tour of the stadium beforehand!!!

Men of Steel Sign

Men of Steel Sign

Heinz Field opened the 65,050 seat facility in 2001. Since that time, Heinz Field has provided behind the scenes view of the Steelers football team to thousands of fans. Check out the view of the city’s unique skyline and Point State Park from the South Plaza within the stadium. The tour includes a behind-the-scenes look into the FedEx Great Hall, Clubs, Luxury Suites, Press Box, Field, and South Plaza. Tours are offered during the months of April – October every year. Tours are not conducted during the winter months due to the weather.

If you don’t know for sure what day will work best, Heinz Field offers walk-up tours. The walk-up tour is designed for groups of less than 10 people. Walk up tours are offered:

April and May – Mondays and Fridays – 12 noon only

June through August – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays – 10 am and 12 noon

September and October – Mondays and Fridays – 10 am only

The tour is 90 minutes long and $8 for adults or $7 for kids. Ages 4 and under are free.

DSCN0082

DSC08682 (2)The visitor’s locker room is part of the Heinz Field tour. During the tour, they allowed us toDSC08684 (2) walk through the locker room and take pictures. It was really cool to see where the visitors go when they play the Steelers. The Steelers emblem is FORBIDDEN to walk on. During the tour they will tell you the story of how people have been physically removed due to stepping on the emblem.

History of the logo~ The Steelers logo was originally introduced in 1962 after the “Steelmark”. The logo includes the word “Steelers” surrounded by three asteroids. The original meaning behind the asteroids were, “Steel lightens your work, brightens your leisure, and widens your world.” The colors actually represent the ingredients used in the steel-making process: yellow for coal, red for iron ore, and blue for scrap steel. The team was given permission to add “ers” to the word steel in 1963 after a petition to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Steeler Emblem

Steeler Emblem

The Steelers are the only NFL team to have its logo on one side of the helmet, which is on the right. Longtime field and equipment manager Jack Hart was instructed to do this by Art Rooney as a test to see how the logo appeared on the gold helmets. A year later, they switched to black helmets for contrast.

The Steelers are one of only two teams in the NFL to have the players’ uniform numbers on the front and back of the helmets.

Worlds largest Steeler Fans

Worlds largest Steeler Fans

Monongahela Incline

Monongahela Incline

Forth Step~ After researching things to do, decide where to stay.

Monogahela Incline

Monogahela Incline

We stayed at Station Square “the square” and didn’t need to rent a car as the Gateway Clipper (ferry to the stadium) is located within walking distance. There are restaurants, strip malls, hotels and lots of shopping nearby.

Station Square is considered to be one of Pittsburgh’s most popular tourist attractions. Pittsburghers would argue that the Square is a trendy place for dining, nightlife and entertainment in the burgh! It is an easy place to find your way around when visiting from out of town.

Things to do at the square~ check out the Fountain at Bessemer Court which  features hundreds of multi-colored water jets soaring in the air as you listen to music. Take a journey in a World War II amphibious vehicle on land and water with Just Ducky Tours.  Ever tried a Segway? Check out Segway in Paradise Tours. If historic cable car tours is your preference, head to the top of Mt. Washington on the Duquesne or Monongahela Inclines and take in views of city’s skyline.

Gateway Clipper Fleet

Gateway Clipper Fleet

The Gateway Clipper Fleet

DSCN0191Right from the hotel, you can catch the Clipper!!! What better way to get pumped up for the game than to sail around with a group of Steeler fans! As you sail along the river, the Clipper is a party boat filled with Steeler fans and offering drink specials. The Gateway Clipper Fleet is made up of five riverboats tours the three rivers year-round. The Clipper is fully equipped and staffed for any size dinner. They offer many types of sails: Specialty cruises with dinner dances, sightseeing, specialty entertainment, one-day vacations and charter cruises.

Game day shuttle service is the easiest way to get to PNC Park and Heinz Field. The shuttle service operates for all home games for the Pirates, Steelers and Panthers.  While on the short cruise, sit back, relax and listen to the Captain as he points out landmarks and tales of past and present.

If you prefer a dinner cruise, sip wine as you sail the three rivers. You may choose from Chicken & Ribs Dinner, Oldies Dinner-Dance and lots more including the Captain’s Dinner Dance Cruise.

The Strip District

The Strip District

The Strip District, named for it’s one-half mile of narrow strip between the Allegheny River and a mountain, is filled with all kinds of restaurants. The Strip District is known for its reasonable prices and impressive selections. The Strip includes shopping, ethnic grocers, produce stands, meat and fish markets and sidewalk vendors. Take in the wonderful aromas of fresh-roasted coffee and freshly baked bread while walking around. The Strip is considered by locals to be “pure Pittsburgh”. On The Strip you will find Primanti Brothers signature sandwich shop, Senator John Heinz History Center, ‘Burgh Bits & Bites food tour, Society for Contemporary Craft and Lydia’s Pittsburgh Restaurant.

Grille 36

Grille 36

36 bday cake

36 b-day cake

Walking distance from the stadium you will stumble upon Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36. They offer gluten free and kids menu options. Grille 36 has been voted Pittsburgh’s best sports restaurant every year since it opened, displaying a sports entertainment experience and wonderful, upscale bar food selections. Grille 36 has 50 state of the art high definition flat screen televisions and a dynamic audio system. Expect to find every major sporting event possible while dining. Most of all, it is the home for everything Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Panthers and Pittsburgh! Look around and you will find personalized autographed merchandise from The Bus. Grille 36 offers patio seating with views of Point State Park, Mount Washington, the Pittsburgh city skyline, Heinz Field and of course The Three Rivers. You must try the famous succulent 36 ounce bone in NY Strip Steak. Guess how many beers are on tap?? You guessed it! 36 beers on tap, 36 exceptional bottled beers from around the world, 36 great wines and 36 of the most unique martinis. If dining for a special occasion, don’t forget to order a slice of b-day cake with the famous 36 made out of whipped cream.

Primanti Brothers

Primanti Brothers

Primanti Brothers Menu

Primanti Brothers Menu

IMG00442-20110917-1225

Pastrami cheese coleslaw fry sandwich

Whenever we mentioned that we were going to Pittsburgh, everyone said you have to try Primanti Brothers! Primanti Brothers, founded in 1933, is a chain of sandwich shops. They have locations throughout Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and its surrounding areas. There are three located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The chain is known for its signature sandwiches of grilled meat, an Italian dressing-based coleslaw, tomato slices, and French fries between two pieces of Italian bread. What’s not to love??

The original shop is located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, Joe Primanti, born in suburban Wilmerding, Pennsylvania, invented the sandwich during the Great Depression. His brothers, Dick and Stanley, later joined him. The Primanti’s originally opened their sandwich diner at Smallman Street and 18th Street in the Strip District and served the late-night and early-morning workers who were unloading fish, fruits, and vegetables. Since they stay open past 2 a.m., Primanti’s is a popular place for crowds to hang out after the bars have closed.

Roast beef

Roast beef

According to John (nephew of Joe), “One winter, a fella drove in with a load of potatoes. He brought a few of ’em over to the restaurant to see if they were frozen. I fried the potatoes on our grill and they looked pretty good. A few of our customers asked for them, so I put the potatoes on their sandwiches.” And the rest is history. The Primanti Sandwich: a true taste of Pittsburgh. ~ from Primanti Brothers website

After the passing of Stanley and John Primanti, Dick decided to sell the business to Jim Patrinos in 1975. Primanti Brothers are located in 16 Pittsburgh locations, which include PNC Park, Heinz Field, and the Consol Energy Center,and one just outside Pittsburgh’s metro area near Grove City, Pennsylvania.

Jumbotron

Jumbtron

IMG00460-20110917-2027Lastly, if you are celebrating a special occasion at the game, consider sharing with the world on the jumbrotron. It’s free!!! We were able to have our son’s birthday announced on the jumbotron at Heinz Field! Call 412-697-7600 Monday morning at 9 a.m. (EST) prior to each Steelers home game to add a birthday wish to the list. Leave the name of the birthday boy/girl and a contact phone number. Be sure not to use a nickname as it will not be accepted. There isn’t a guarantee that your name will make it on game day as they only take the first 25 names on Monday morning. We were calling at 3 a.m. HST. Good luck!!

World's Biggest Steeler Fan

World’s Biggest Steeler Fan

5wheelsto5star was featured in the March 2014 issue of Destinations Travel Magazine

Rawhide

DSC03041

Gunslinger

Gunslinger

What child doesn’t love the wild, wild west??

Put 'em up!

Put ’em up!

Cowboys and Indians, chuck wagons with smoked beans, panning for gold, gunslingers, shooting gallery, stagecoach rides, pony rides, peppermint candy sticks, and arrests leading to a lock up in jail. This is the Wild West, make no mistake about it ~ Rawhide located in Chandler, Arizona. Rawhide Western Town and Steakhouse has been open for 41 years. It is located on the Wild Horse Pass along the Gila River Indian Community. Surprisingly, admission is free!!! Parking is $5.00 and tickets must be purchased for attractions.

Step back into time as you enter Rawhide. Dusty roads, Southern Belles with large hats crossing the gravel streets, gunslingers roam about and be sure to watch out for the Town Deputy! The Town Deputy means business. The first time our son saw a gunslinger spin a gun, he was both mesmerized and speechless! But it doesn’t stop there – watch a gunslinger show off in Belle’s Saloon and they may just pull your kids up on stage!! Don’t forget to purchase a sarsaparilla in a glass bottle for the kids!!! Sarsaparilla is a soft drink, similar to root beer,  which was popular in the 19th century.

Six Gun Theater and the Arizona Roughriders

Arizona Roughriders

Arizona Roughriders

DSC03035A gun fires off in the middle of the street and everyone is suddenly warned that the cowboy stunt show is about to begin!!! Rush over to the Six Gun Theater to witness the wild west. The theater is in an outdoor setting which gives a realistic feel. As we watched the stunt show, the wind picked up and the sky suddenly turned real dark and gray.

Burro Ride

Burro Ride

Explosions, cowboys falling from the rooftop, gun shots and smoke will fill the air as spectators watch from the edge of their seats. Our son’s eyes were wide open assuming this was the real deal.

Now it wouldn’t be the wild, wild west without horses running around. Little ones will love riding through dusty Rawhide on their very own burro (small donkey)!! While the kids ride around on the burros, adults can try their luck at the widowmaker (mechanical bull). Of course the widowmaker looks much easier than it really is. Be sure to hold on tight as you get tossed all around.

Widowmaker

Widowmaker

Keri Rawhide

Rawhide Mercantile

There is shopping galore at Rawhide- from clothes to candy, there’s something for everyone.

Sweet Sally's Confections

Sweet Sally’s Confections

Check out the Silver Spur Smoke Shop for leather and tobacco products. Watch a fifth generation blacksmith bend iron.

Kids will love the nostalgic candy at Sweet Sally’s Confections including gigantic Pez dispensers and lollipops, candy sticks, taffy, rock candy and homemade fudge. The smell alone will draw you in.

DSC03110

Desert Train Ride

Rawhide Jail

Rawhide Jail

The whole family can ride around the dusty, cowboy town of Rawhide.

Deadman's Drop

Deadman’s Drop

Our kids took the front seat and then we were off. The train ride is bumpy, rugged and squeaky because it is……the wild, wild west. The train ride allows visitors to sit back, put their feet up and enjoy the grounds of Rawhide.

Visitors can have a loved one arrested in the town and locked up for a fee of $10.00. The Town Deputy will come find you, arrest you with handcuffs (yes, in front of everyone) and escort you right to the jail house! Our kids were locked up and looking quite lonely in the jail.

Off to rock climbing!! The 30 foot rock climbing wall offers three levels of challenge. Which one is right for you? Not sure, than try them all! If you breeze through the first level, move on the next level. We made it a fun, family competition. Who could conquer all three levels?

Gold panning

Gold panning

Probably the most memorable activity for our kids – gold panning. After learning all

Shootin Range

Shootin Range

about the Gold Rush of California in 1849 in school, the kids were ready to start panning for themselves. Sift, sift away and see what is left. They were able to take home the gold flakes (fool’s gold) in a souvenir bottle.

It would not be the wild west without a shooting range. Wander on over to the Rawhide Shootin Range and test your shot.

Rawhide is a great place to go and spend the whole day. Eat lunch, wander around and try all the activities and then stay for dinner. Be sure to visit the world-renowned steakhouse. Rawhide is the perfect place to take the whole family!!!

DSC03031

Rawhide

5wheelsto5star was featured in the March 2014 issue of Destinations Travel Magazine