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 :)


Everybody loves a malasada, Andersons included.

The best part about Mom and Dad's most recent visit is that we actually did a bit of relaxing for a change! Most nights were spent at our apartment with a home cooked dinner, competitive Wii bowling matches, and enjoying our new couch. When we made it to a restaurant it was the 12th Ave Grill just a matter of blocks from our home. Cheers!

When someone can make a good wine recommendation [which happened successfully back in August at La Cucina] it really makes my night. Our waitress was polite and attentive and introduced me to my new love, Byron Pinot Noir.

As I've mentioned before, these 2 eat simply and healthfully: lots of chicken and green veggies! They don't get too wild and crazy with their taste buds so the Contemporary American Cooking at 12th Ave Grill was right up their alley.

Bryce and I had never been to 12th Ave Grill before, although we'd heard many good things about it and have been wanting to go.

I was the last to arrive since I parked at home and walked, and this lovely appetizer was brought to us before I knew we'd even ordered anything. It was smoked ahi bruschetta and it was killer! The toast didn't resemble charcoal briquettes, as bruschetta toast sometimes can, and the spread was smoky and very delicious. The crunchy veggies on top complimented the flavors and textures well.

Bryce ordered the Maui Cattle Co. Bone in Short Ribs - Surinam cherry and Manoa honey glazed, served with Big Island new potatoes and a salad of confit Hilo citrus, shaved local fennel, and watermelon radish.

Mom ordered the Grilled Marinated Jidori Chicken Breast - Ginger, local honey, tarragon, and whole grain mustard marinated, hormone free chicken breast. [I didn't know what Jidori chicken was when we had this meal, although I've since leanred more about it here.] Hamakua mushroom ragout, mashed potatoes, sautéed organic baby spinach. Told you she likes chicken! We all loved everything we ate that night, although Mom raved about this chicken for days.

Dad got one of the specials, the salmon over tabbouleh with green beans.

My dish was also from the specials menu - a lamb ragout with gnocchi and homemade ricotta cheese. Not only was this incredibly tasty and the meat so, so tender, the homemade ricotta was unlike anything I've ever tasted. I tried to pursuade the waitress to convince the kitchen to make cannoli with their ricotta, or to at least sell me some!

Because my selection was from the appetizer section I also got an a la carte side, the mushrooms which were so buttery and tasty and just the right amount of food!

It's not a complete meal without chocolate! Bryce was the decision maker and ordered the Flourless Chocolate Cake - Valrhona Dark Chocolate, warm melted center, Caramel Gelato & Rice Crispy Chocolate Tuile. So rich and chocolatey! I didn't even bother with that ice cream and went straight for the cake.

Family, food, chocolate, and wine - what more is there to ask for?! Stay tuned for more posts on the same visit and topics :)

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