Date Nights

Casey and I had two date nights in November which is pretty good as we weave in and out of our busy schedules. It’s such a treat to reconnect with my husband on a different level aside from parenting and work woes. We are able to relinquish our time lost together as a husband and wife. And we really need this time to just focus on each other when the fiascos of our lives dare to take over our relationship.

We had the privilege of attending his coworker’s wedding at the newly renovated Nani Mau Gardens on 11-12-13. How’s that for a wedding date? I wondered why the bride and groom had picked a Tuesday for a wedding day but after seeing the date on the invitation, it all made sense. So it was a Tuesday evening and we left the reception, full from good food, and we headed to the Hilton to take advantage of a complimentary room provided by a local company who was offering a menu management course. It was an offer that he couldn’t turn down. So we had some time together and I got to play princess wifey!

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After his class was over, we headed to Hapuna for some ocean therapy and watched the sunset through overcast gray clouds. This is something we used to do in our early days of courtship. The gratitude to have this time again and again with Casey is increasingly overwhelming. I don’t know how we are to make it in this world without these times set aside for each other. Thank You Lord! And my gratitude goes to my mother-in-law too for being with the children while we have this time together!

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After the sunset, we made it over to Pueo’s Osteria, an Italian inspired restaurant. This was another treat considering the fact that we were in Italy for a week last fall and I must say that the food was very, very close to what I had in Italy. I must mention that this eatery also honed a lovely lady’s restroom clad with modern designs and decor and scented with lit candles atop the sink.

We started our meal with a tasty antipasto: ahi crudo, some salami, prosciutto, tasty olives, cheese. This was something that we both enjoyed eating for lunch at Eataly’s in Turin. We took the subway from Marconi to this upscale supermarket-looking establishment in Lingotto. It had everything from unique fresh meats such as whole rabbits, cured meats hanging above us, a gelato station, fresh produce, wine and beer, and a pastry bakery (just to name a few).

I ordered the gnocchi with a side of Waimea grown kale and Swiss chard. Casey had the veal Parmesan. Just like the gnocchi that I had at Ristorante Carmen, a 10 minute walk from our B&B in Turin, but now back in Hawaii, I bite into soft mini pillows of gnocchi with a generous amount of silky cheesy sauce. Mmmm—such a surreal moment to have this play over on my taste buds again. Mm-hm. I had a bite of the veal which was tender and tasty with every bite and while adding a powerful mix of flavors when combining it with my gnocchi, I was back where I was a a little over a year ago…a dream come true fulfilled and a deep yearning to be there once again.

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The only thing missing from my meal was a glass of red. But hey-someone has to be a designated driver -right?!

While I was having a cappuccino and conversing with a couple from Waimea, I noticed a pair of eyes peering at me from behind the cash register.

“Where’re you from?”, asked the waitress.

“Hilo.” I tell her.

“I know you from somewhere…”, she says.

Wondering myself as I took a good look at a past acquaintance and noticed that she too looked familiar.

“Where in Hilo?” I ask her.

“Keaukaha.” She replied.

I mentioned a couple of close friends that I have in Keaukaha.

“Yeah-I know them too but I know you from somewhere else.”

So we agreed that it must’ve been at a party in Keaukaha and figured out that it must have been almost 20 years ago. Sigh…getting old…
So as I pondered upon our reunion and was still not satisfied by our conclusion, there I was, reading the timeline of my life in my head while I sipped my cappuccino.

Wally’s Gym. Oh My Gosh! That’s it! That’s where I seen this girl! …I guess now we’re considered ladies or aunties. Aaaah! Anyways, so I ask her, “Hey did you ever work out at Wally’s Gym?” Then her eyes opened as wide as quarters and mine likewise and we celebrated our reunion. And we both agreed it was a looong time ago. The gym was in a warehouse type building next to the gas station at the intersection to Keaukaha. I used to take kickboxing lessons and followed a strict workout plan through that particular gym. I still have pictures of 4 year old Mehana in oversized boxing gloves blocking her face. It was a short 6 month regimen as I discovered that I was pregnant with Urban six months later. An admiral moment, I knew that it was well worth this late night rendezvous as I reflected on the precious time Casey and I spent together, meeting new people at the bar, and reconnecting with an old friend from carefree one childed days.

Midnight Drive

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One of the great things about the new Saddle Road, aside from being a shortcut and less car-sickening, is that the road is well lit at night. There is a short part of the way where the fog is really thick but its okay because it allows drivers like me to be a little more careful and alert.

Date #2 Wine Pairing at Hilo Bay Cafe

We took a cab to a wine pairing dinner at the new Hilo Bay Cafe location at the old Nihon Restaurant. I miss the dimly lit ambience of the former location and I’m sure that I will get used to this new establishment as well. It is very spacious in every area. The Hilo Bay View was still awesome even on an overcast day. I was star-struck to have met the people of Selbach, a popular choice of wine sold here at Big Island restaurants, such as Cafe Pesto, and sold in supermarkets island-wide. A common one that you may have heard of is the Ahi Reisling. The white Riesling continues to be a favorite of mine.
My iPhone camera and the lighting just wasn’t working so I’ll just provide you with a picture of the menu.

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As always, the pairing went well. Randy from Grapes really knows how to match it up. From my experience in wine tastings, some wines are a mouthful of fruity flavors in the beginning, some wine flavors just want to move slowly in your mouth to leave a lasting impression and others just wait to make a bold appearance long after you swallow and allow the fruity flavor fumes to permeate in your cheeks and exhale it out of your nose. It is then when you taste the most unique flavors mentioned on the wine label. Whether it’s hand picked cherries, notes of strawberries, or chocolate decadence. Wines are supposed to have the flavors mentioned on the label. So it is important to pair wines carefully. If you can’t taste the flavors, it might be what you’re pairing it with.

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Good Times with Margaret

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We didn’t want this night to end so soon so Casey, Margaret, and I made our way to the well-lit and spacious dining area. I was in the mood for sushi so that is what I got with Margaret and Casey ordering a burger with fries. I have a thing for tobiko (fish eggs). I love the bright orange color and how it pops and crunches in my mouth with every bite. It’s not too fishy for me as some might take it. When dipped in shoyu and wasabi, with a flap of pickled ginger wrapped around the outside of the rice wheel, the flavors meet to satisfy the sushi lover’s cravings. This was definitely night to remember forever!

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Halperns with The Founders and Faces of Selbach

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If you’re ever in Hilo, Ellen Silvestre is available for taxi/tour services. As our designated driver, she was fun to talk to and was able to drive Casey and I to our destination and back. An avid surfer, Ellen offers suggestions on how you can make your visit to the Big Island a worthwhile and memorable one. And that’s not all-she is also available for massages, manicures, and pedicures. Go ahead-give her a call!

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It’s Thanksgiving Eve~May your heart be set on the finer and lovelier things as we get set and prepare for a memorable meal. The time spent with loved ones are the most precious thing we have in this life. Take it-don’t leave it! Give thanks for every morsel. Give thanks with every slice of your knife. Give thanks with every sip. Give thanks for the water that we use to remain quenched and cleansed. Give thanks for the ability to do things beyond our capabilities. Give thanks for the place that we’re in at the moment-even if its not a good place-anytime is a good time to give thanks and praise to Him who is for us. Give thanks for the sun that rises and sets, for eyes that see, for hands that work, for bodies that function, for screaming children, for spilt milk, for daily challenges, for traffic jams, for long lines, for hyper puppies, quiet nights, busy kitchens, ovens that work, inquiring neighbors, piles of laundry, shoes at the doorway, working washers and dryers, clotheslines, pillows to sleep on. There are sooo many reasons to be thankful. This blog entry will not end if I should sit here and list all of the things that I am thankful for. When you look for good things to be thankful for, you will surely find it! Even in your most trying moment, just think…wow-how so that God looks upon me to have confidence in me to handle such a situation as this moment right now! Take the cup and he will provide strength. His will is on to something. We shall not be in the way of His will. Take the cup and let God take control. He always knows best and will come through for us in every possible way for everyone. Give thanks for the people that God has placed in our lives and for the ones that He has taken. Give thanks for the memories that will last a lifetime! Happy Thanksgiving Eve!
Love and Blessings Always….

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