Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Exploring Ballard

We've been in Seattle for a month and the best part thus far is the neighborhood in which we live, Ballard. Originally a Scandanavian fishing town, it's now a very fun place to live with a great mixture of the original charm and character with brand new bars, stores, and eateries. 

Plus, as I shared in the post from our visit, Ballard has an incredible and year-round Sunday Farmer's Market. Our apartment is just two blocks away.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Moving is tricky. 

First I lived in Pittsburgh for 18 years. My parents (both) and grandparents (all 4) were born and raised in the area and Mom and Pops still reside there. My remaining Grandma, Sally, moved to Indiana in her 80's and lives there still, at 95 years young! 

Somehow, I was bound and determined to leave at 18. Sure, college just 3 hours away (and still within the home state) isn't a HUGE deal. People do it all the time and come right back 4, or 5, years later. Not I - after my four years were up I moved to Hawaii! Crazy - yes. Far away - you bet. Awesome - of course.

Hold the phone here Ang, this is a blog about food. That it is, my friends! 

Food in Pennsylvania was all I knew for a very long time. Dad's cooking and Mom's baking. Pierogies, cannoli, sticky buns, and arguments over 'gob' vs 'whoopie pie'. French fries on sandwiches and salads and topped with gravy. Farmers markets put on by the Amish where things are home grown or freshly baked. Chinese food with fortune cookies and 'sushi' from plastic containers in Panda Express kiosks.

Moving to Hawaii was a real eye opener as far as cuisine goes, naturally. Sure there are plenty of coconuts and pineapples, but the real game changers for me were all of the Asian foods. First I developed a love for pho and Vietnamese food, later it was Chinese dim sum that I couldn't get enough of (no fortune cookies to be seen), and eventually I grew to love takoyaki from the giant Japanese department store. Once I knew we'd be leaving Hawaii I started to better photograph my favorites and I'm hoping to catch up on their corresponding stories now that we're off island. 

Takoyaki are savory little doughy dumplings made with pieces of octopus inside. They're topped with tons of sauce, lovely Japanese mayo, and dried fish flakes that wiggle from the heat of the fresh-from-the-cooktop takoyaki.

Here you can see how they begin, with the batter poured on the cooktop at the bottom of the photo. After being solidified and pushed together into individual portions over the little wells, they're flipped over using the special tool and become a complete ball of goodness as seen in the top of the photo.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lasagna Soup

So Seattle... we're all here now! First Bryce and Bagheera arrived together before Bryce took off on a business trip. Bagheera made herself at home atop the kitchen cabinets while in the absence of cozy things to lay on. I joined the party last week and our furniture and household goods arrived just 2 days later! We've been getting acclimated as best as we can. Thankfully I purchased a coat during our visit a few months ago and it goes everywhere with me! 

If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen the cliche in-Seattle-drinking-coffee posts that I've succumbed to! In my defense I can't get enough coffee to warm my bones and I was:
  1. Excited about my brand new French Press and coffee grinder
  2. Sad that I ruined the first brew but didn't dare attempt a caffeine-free morning
  3. Pleased to successfully make an edible cup of coffee at home using the crazy contraption
  4. Tickled by the adorable and delicious mocha at a neighborhood coffee shop

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Pike Place Market

My apologies, as I prematurely published this post before I was finished! Here's the whole shebang. Grab a snack because it's a long and delicious one.

* * *

Our very first adventure in Seattle was a guided food tour of Pike Place Market through Savor Seattle Tours.

The market is absolutely alive on a Saturday morning! We headed down to the Lower Post Alley area to meet our tour guide at the Market Theatre.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Please allow me to interrupt the late and sporadic posts surrounding our wedding for a big, giant life change. As always, when it rains it pours and we found out just a few weeks prior to our big day that Bryce was offered a promotion through his job to Seattle, Washington.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Will Hike for Malasadas

On day 3 of our wedding festivities, Bryce found a man-cave to hide in and bask in the glow of back-to-back-to-back NFL games while the ladies (his Mom Teresa, my Aunt Slynn, and her friend Patty) and I went about our touristy ways! 

Day 1 and Liliha Bakery can be found here, day 2 and Monkey Pod Kitchen here, for those of you who might just be joining us.

After gathering the troops, we hiked to the top of Diamond Head, Waikiki's trademark crater, and caught the great views.

Aunt Slynn's Arrival + Monkeypod Kitchen

Last Saturday, September 7, was the first 6 am Penn State game (in Hawaii, of course) and Bryce's Mom Teresa was less than interested in joining us for breakfast, bloody mary's, and football viewing at the bar. (Click here if you missed her first day in town.) After the Nittany Lions CRUSHED the Eastern Michigan Eagles, Cassie, Teresa, and I journeyed to the KCC Farmer's Market. WOO - canteloupes!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Liliha Bakery

The wedding visitors have begun to arrive and the celebrations are officially underway. I'll try my best to make quick updates throughout the week(s) full of activities!

Bryce's Mom was first to arrive yesterday. After a quick lunch and running lots of errands, we had a low-key evening at our place complete with a Marky Mark movie (We Own the Night, which I HIGHLY recommend) and take out from one of our favorites, Liliha Bakery.

Liliha Bakery is an awesome and historic bakery in Honolulu near, but not on, Liliha Street. It's most famous for the signature cocoa puffs and the store front is open 24 hours a day! This photo was taken on a Saturday morning and the bakery was a ZOO.

In addition to the bakery shop it also includes a belly-up counter with about 20 seats and delicious (most especially breakfast) foods. Both photos were taken from the very long and slow line for these coveted seats.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Wedding, Wedding, Wedding

You might be wondering where I've been and what I've been doing lately, since I've been absent on the blog-front for weeks...
Planning for the wedding. Deciding on marriage-related things. Answering the questions surrounding the nuptuals "How much longer? Are you getting excited? What's your theme?" Honestly, it's all anybody wants to talk to me about! I'm still a real human with other interests, although those are no longer acceptable topics of conversation, I suppose. We can hardly wait for next year month when everyone switches gears and begins pressuring us to have kids!
Even Bagheera gives me a guilt trip when I take a break from planning.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Christine's Colorful Potato Salad + July 4th BBQ

It's the 4th of July week, HOORAY! It's only appropriate to celebrate America by BBQing and spending quality time with family and friends.

This recipe is one of my favorites from a very good friend of mine, Christine. At first glance you think it's your everyday potato salad, although after just a bite the tangy flavor and crunch of the Granny Smith apples combined with the potent zing of the blue cheese create a perfect surprise. 

For each and every holiday I'd request that she make this, her specialty, and she would always oblige. She no longer lives in Hawaii and when she left she passed her ever famous recipe on to me. I'd return the recipe to have her back here in a heartbeat, although I'm honoring her by recreating her infamous BBQ side dish.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Chinatown Field Trip

Each and every Saturday morning, my friend Cassie and I visit our local Farmer's Market at the nearby Kapiolani Community College. We load up on veggies, fruit, and freshly baked bread. This ritual is one we cherish and we leave the market feeling productive, inspired to cook with our fresh ingredients, and highly caffeinated! Some weeks that inspiration holds strong and our kitchens are bare by the next Saturday, others leave plenty of grub still remaining the following Saturday. This was one of those plenty-of-leftovers weeks so we decided to try something new and visit Chinatown's markets on our Saturday morning, rather than the FM.

I'd perused the Maunakea Marketplace before, although typically just to kill time on my lunch hour when I worked downtown and not for actual shopping. Poor Cassie had never been before and I think she may have been a little traumatized by the experience!

Our first couple stops were the tiny little stores on the edge of Chinatown that sold a small variety of fruits, veggies, snacks, canned and dried foods.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pesto Chicken

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do. I'm always mentally planning my next trip, the international one we'll take much later on with vacation time that hasn't yet been accrued, and scheming ways to squeeze in additional stops to Pittsburgh and Disneyland. Travel is one of life's greatest pleasures, although returning to your own home can be, too! My own bed, pillow, shower, pet, and kitchen are all things I find myself missing after just a few days away.

After our vacation to California [which I still owe you several posts from] Bryce and I needed to get back in the habit of eating just 3 meals a day - ha! - and return to a real food eating plan. After a Saturday morning trip to my favorite Farmer's Market, a $200 haul at Sam's Club, and one more stop at a "regular" store, we were enjoying a home made meal in the comfort of our own apartment.

This pesto chicken was made with basil and parsley that I actually planted, grew, and kept alive for a short period of time! The tomatoes are from the Farmer's Market, the spinach is surprisingly organic and from Sam's Club (which you can't say about many things), and the pasta is whole wheat.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Out of Town

Living in Hawaii causes people to ask, with a lovely tone of annoyance: When you live in paradise, where do you go on vacation?

The answer is simple: Back to where you (or your significant other) came from.

Bryce and I bid "Aloha" to Hawaii for a week long vacation, although we got the fun started while still here on Oahu... After working last Friday we checked into a 3 day Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend where we did a lot of talking, thought sharing, and eating. Between our little learning sessions we were fed buffet style meals and given free reign to a the largest assortment of snacks since Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes in the desert! Using our phones was discouraged so I have only one photo of one of our meals from the weekend. 

On Sunday we graduated from our encounter, spent just a few hours at home, then went to the airport for our next adventure. After so many serious chats and a weekend of pondering our purpose in life, we were happy to enjoy a cocktail together in the airport bar!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Celebrating [Birthdays and] Pumpkin

Today is the second day in a row that I've been cooped up in the house due to a nasty cold. It's truly mind numbing to be stationary on the couch with no energy to actually do anything. I know I'm not feeling like myself when I have no desire to eat, cook, or watch food-related shows on TV.

Being sick always gives me a better perspective on feeling normal, once it happens again. It's very easy to take for granted how lucky we can be to feel healthy from day to day. Because Mother's Day has just passed and I'm needing to reminisce on a great day after 2 crummy ones, I'll take this time to share with you a great experience that Mom and I shared back in January!

Mom, aka Carol, and I both celebrate our birthdays in January and this year my parents would be here in Hawaii for the occasion. Like we did a few years back, my Dad and I coordinated a cooking class for Mom and I to enjoy together while he would reap the benefits of leftovers, new recipes, and not having to search for a physical present! Of course we drove Mom cra-zay by not telling her what the surprise would be until her actual birthday.

Very early on Saturday morning we headed to Kapiolani Community College for our class called Celebrate Pumpkin. Mom snapped this great photo on the way. Visitors always manage to soak up the views in a way that residents forget to!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Food Tasting for Our Wedding

...because we're going to the Chapel and we're...gonna get maaaaaarried!

Then we'll leave the Chapel and head to a Historic Battleship for drinks, tours, dinner, and dancing. Among the other wedding planning items we've checked off of our list, the most fun was food tasting! Duh.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spam Jam 2013

I'm no expert on Hawaiian culture although I am quickly approaching my 5 year anniversary of living in the Aloha State. There are many misconceptions about Hawaii that I'm happy to set straight for you.
  • Adding pineapple to something doesn't make it Hawaiian
  • "Local" favorite drinks are locally brewed beers and Hinekens, no coconuts or umbrellas included
  • We are, indeed, the 50th state and part of the USA! The word you're looking for is mainland :)
  • Wedding in Hawaii, real original! 
    • All weddings in Hawaii aren't on the beach. Our will be indoors, in a Church, nowhere near the shore. 
One stereotype, however, is true: that Hawaii loves SPAM! This article gives a great background on why SPAM is so popular in the Aloha State. It is so well loved here that there is an annual festival in Waikiki to celebrate! My family and I braved our first SPAM Jam in 2010, although we were just window shopping before going to dinner at Duke's and didn't partake in any of the creative culinary creations.

SPAM Jam 2013 was just last weekend and I headed to Waikiki with my appetite in tow! The t-shirt design was adorable and I learned that this years' is the 11th annual SPAM Jam.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I'm Going to Camp Blogaway

Today I spent the day with our friends and their 6 week old identical twin boys. They are small and sweet and soooooo cuddly and lovable!

I'm an only child but I was sure that if my parents would just send me to summer camp that I'd find my long-lost identical twin sister, circa the 1998 Parent Trap movie.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Banana Chocolate Chip Waffles

Ladies and Gentlemen: Let's get ready to wwwwwwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaffffffffffffffffffffffffffllllllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeee!

You may remember rounds 1 and 2 of my match with waffles from a few years ago that resulted in a tie. Most recently the round with chocolate waffles ended in my favor.

I'm more than happy to report that we now have a winner by KNOCK OUT... and it's me

Last Sunday Bryce and I enjoyed a wonderful morning and breakfast together before I headed to work. I'd been planning on making waffles but failed to remember that we were out of eggs! When Bryce returned from his run to the store for eggs he also brought bacon and juice in tow.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bryce's 28th - d.k Steak House

Just last week my love/fiance Bryce celebrated his 28th birthday. Per usual (yes that's 2 links for 2 previous Bryce birthday extravaganzas) he went all out and selected that we have his celebratory dinner at d.k Steak House, located in the Waikiki Beach Mariott Hotel.

We were joined by our friends Cassie and Derek and got the dinner started off properly. Cheers to you, Bryce!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Posh Pau Hana

Last week I was lucky enough to attend Posh Pau Hana, the kickoff event of Ala Moana Center's Shop-a-Le`a Celebration! In true pau hana [happy hour] style we were quickly served a signature drink, the "Greyhound" made with grapefruit juice and a sprig of rosemary. If you drink enough of them you're overcome with high speed racing abilities, so I've heard.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Girls Day at Waioli Tea Room

Today's overdue BWB outing was in celebration of girls day! 

In related news also in the overdue category, I'm finally sitting still to write a blog post after an extremely busy month during which I spent 1 week out of commission due to what my doctor said was "just a cold!" My diet consisted of H2O, tea with honey, homemade chicken noodle soup, and acai bowls for 5 days straight and I couldn't even think about real, chew-requiring food, much less blog about it.

The ladies and I met today in the historic and charming Manoa Valley at the Waioli Tea Room.

It's located in a huge, old house that couldn't be more adorable if it were wrapped in a polka dot bow from Target.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chaslee's Birthday Butter Mochi

Hey y'all! Can you guess what this post is about?

It's Paula Deen's favorite food, y'all - BUTTER!

Here in Hawaii there exists a wonderful dessert called butter mochi. It's made mostly from sweet rice flour and eggs and resembles a baked custard. The flavor is rich, sweet, and heavenly. Butter Mochi's texture is the best part: sticky, super heavy, and slightly crispy on the edges. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mom and Dad's Visit - Part II (The Birthdays)

My Mom and I celebrate our birthdays just 6 days (and many years) apart from one another, which is either really convenient or very irritating for my Dad. In 2011 Mom and Dad were here for the occasion and this year we were able to celebrate and enjoy warm weather birthdays again! Shaking up the previously relaxing visit to Hawaii, we went out on the town for Mom's birthday.

We began Carol's extravaganza with pau hana (happy hour) drinks at a downtown Honolulu favorite of mine: Brasserie Du Vin. It's an adorable little French restaurant with the most picturesque outdoor seating area. Their baked brie is so good it should be illegal! We didn't indulge in any food during our visit, just many drinks and a few creative photo opportunities. Cheers! 

Great job on the photo, Darren! - in the mirror at Du Vin

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mom and Dad's Visit - Part I

My parents recently came to Hawaii to visit for 10 days. In the (almost) 5 years that I've lived here they've visited six times, and I've been back to Pittsburgh NINE times! Every visit is better than the last and, despite the absurd distance and flight prices, nobody ever regrets the trip or the family time spent together.

I'm embarrassed to admit that Mom and Dad finally tried malasadas for the very first time during this visit! What a bad daughter/foodie I am for depriving them, right?! I can assure you that they've tried other Hawaii staples: SPAM, poi, a loco moco, apple bananas, mochi ice cream, and so on. It was time for their malasada initiation and we stopped at Leonard's on the way home from dinner, getting our maladadas to go.

I went for a guava filled malasada puff, Mom tried custard filled, and Dad had the original (non-filled) with cinnamon. I promise we always have a great time togther, just look at those faces :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Real Food, Play-Doh, and Crab Legs

Aloha friends! 

Pineapples [at a Farmer's Market] in Hawaii - creative right? 

We're embarking on a real food only lifestyle, mostly based on the info over at 100 Days of Real Food. Two of my good friends are on opposing sides of the food spectrum: one is paleo/caveman and the other vegan. I know I couldn't and wouldn't want to try either because bread, meat, and cheese are all things I can't live without! What those diets both agree on is that more fruits and veggies are positive for your health and that cutting the junk is, too! My thought is why not stick to the more fruits and veggies with less junk mentality, while keeping some other good stuff.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Berry Happy 27th Birthday

Happy Birthday to Me!

My request for tonight was to stay at home, drink champagne, have a surprise homemade meal, and not  to do any dishes. Ask (on your birthday) and you shall receive!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Christmas Eve Feast of the 7 Fishes

Just like that Christmas has come and gone again! Last December I was boasting that I'd never, ever missed a Chrismas back home in Pittsburgh and this year I spent my first away from my childhood home, celebrating the holiday at my other home in Honolulu with Bryce. Because it was a chance for beginning a tradition of our own, I got really ambitious and decided to host a Feast of the 7 Fishes, an Italian Christmas Eve right of passage.

Never before had I even been to a Feast of the 7 Fishes, although I'd heard a lot about the seafood oriented Christmas Eve meal. Among the many good things I'd heard, it's also rumored that the feast can be (literally) very stinky, involves lots of fried items like calamari and smelts plus salted baccala, and that most times the fishes are eaten as more of a tradition before everyone moves on to the other, tastier food! I was not interested in a stinky house, greasy fried foods, or cooking 7 fishes annnnd other meal items so I decided to do the feast in my own way with only desirable menu items!

Our Christmas Eve went perfectly! Nine people squeezed into our apartment and each dinner course was better than the next. We had enough food to feed our entire street and if any of our neighbors are allergic to fish they may have died from anaphylaxis by proximity. Now that the pounds and pounds of leftovers have been eaten or thrown away, I suppose it's time to share our meal with you!

Our Feast of the 7 Fishes Menu

1. Ahi poke  
2. Shrimp cocktail
3. Crab stuffed mushrooms
4. Clam chowder
5. Penne with tuna and tomato sauce
6. Spaghetti with clam sauce
7. Grilled flounder with oranges

For our Monday evening feast, the grocery shopping took place on Friday night at both Sam's Club and Safeway. Cooking began on Saturday with both of the pasta sauces: tuna and tomato sauce (5) and clam sauce (6). To accommodate the extra large can of tomatoes, first, and 9 guests, second, I doubled the recipe for the marinara.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Day Chocolate Waffles

Happy 2013!

Because I'm an Event Manager, I was working on New Year's Eve instead of sleeping on my couch while fireworks went off around me. My night at work was spent being fully entertained by live bands, musical theatre acts, a stilt walker, human bird puppets, a vintage plane fly over, and so on. There's no way I could have paid for or attended a more exciting evening elsewhere!

Regardless, I woke up on January 1 feeling hung over after just 5 hours of sleep. My feet were sore from walking around the event/premises and all of my muscles hurt from a "free" 1 hour consultation with a personal trainer at our new gym. Please don't worry, I'll never go fitness crazy and try to be on a real diet! My body was in rough shape and I was wide awake, despite being exhausted. That called for a filling, fun, and indulgent breakfast: chocolate waffles!

A hot cup of coffee, recipe displayed on the iPad while music played simultaneously, and gadgets and ingredients galore. That's my happy place :)