Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter, Everyone!

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Location:Front St,Lahaina,United States

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Night Song Under The Banyan Tree

Every night, the Banyan Tree fills with the songs of birds serenading the sunset.

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Location:Luakini St,Lahaina,United States

Front St. Pier, Lahaina

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- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Henna Tattoos at Soular Tattoo, Lahaina

It was immediately clear that Chuck, the owner at Soular Tattoo in Lahaina, was capable of much more than the impromptu henna tattoo that I walked in for, but in the aloha spirit he graciously agreed to my request.

Service was super-friendly and fast, reflecting a laid back but high standard philosophy. Chuck's attention to detail was as uncompromising, as focused as he'd probably be if my henna was permanent.

Good vibes. Quality service. I may be back for some real ink. Maybe not on this trip, but soon.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Movie Night at The Wharf Cinema Center, Lahaina

                                                                      Source: viaDianne on Pinterest

What do you do on a cloudy day in Maui? Same as a rain day anywhere else: You go to the movies. We went to the only theatre in town, on the Front Street strip and in walking distance from our hotel: The Wharf Cinema Center sits in the rear of a labyrinth of Mom and Pop shops, restaurants and tourist traps, completely hidden from the street and illustrating the minimal importance of movie watching in a place like this.

If you have a toddler in tow, you catch a 4:30pm showing of something animated and mutually entertaining, like "The Croods", stretching out in a theatre almost empty and entirely your own. You let your baby run through the aisles and don't shush her when she makes loud declarations about how funny she finds the film. You walk out of the theatre feeling satisfied and a little disoriented. You are accustomed to dull concrete under your feet and dingy high rises above. It is strange to come out of the dark and on to sand, your eyes adjusting to the still bright light bouncing off of the ocean.

You walk the few blocks home, thinking about what you will make for dinner. It is a good night to stay in, have drinks out on the lanai. You won't see shooting stars tonight, only the swirl of clouds around the mountain in your view, until you fall asleep.

Friday, March 22, 2013

First Time Floaty

Day 6 in Maui and Jada refused to put anything in to the ocean except her toes. She was content making sand castles with her little pink bucket and plastic shovels. Until a kind stranger offered us a simple gift that changed everything.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Lahaina Public Library

Ever been in a beach front library? Seems like nirvana to me. I found one on Front St. yesterday. Tranquil, light filled and humming with the sound of crashing waves, there is probably not a better place to read free books in America.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Maui, Day 3: Honokowai, In Lieu of A Thousand Words

The best part of this day was discovering Honokowai, a cute little neighborhood tucked about ten minutes north of Lahaina. We came out to see an apartment in the area, but the beach and park directly across the street overshadowed any impression that the apartment left on us.

As we continue to viewing potential apartments, we will need to keep reminding ourselves that we will be living inside, not outside. It's easy to get caught up in views like these.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Maui, Day 2: Sleepy Sunday

Maui slows down on Sundays, so we did too. No one takes meetings. People don't answer phones. They unplug and connect with what counts: friends, family, God.

We spent the morning on the beach, had a simple lunch in and an early afternoon walk along Front Street. There was a craft fair happening under the Old Banyan Tree, in front of the Lahaina Courthouse and the harbor.

This banyan is one of the largest in the US, at 60 feet tall and 200 feet wide. It literally drapes over an entire city block, with twisted trunks and branches creating it's own sudden, little eco-system in the middle of a sunny strip.

Planted to commemorate their 50th anniversary of conversions, Christian missionaries planted the tree in 1873. It's flourishing could be seen as a symbol of God's approval. What is clear is the undeniable impact and importance of religion on the island. There are countless churches here, of all denominations, sometimes two for every block. Hawaiian culture has not been lost in all of this. In fact, it has been gracefully preserved, as in other parts of the world, and folded seamlessly in to the Christian value system- one strengthening the other.

On our way back home, we passed the The Holy Innocents Episcopal Church. Open air, powerful Hawaiian hymns rang out from parishioners dressed in traditional Hawaiian garb, men in suit jackets and a light skirt, feet bare or flip-flopped. The old and the new joined together, creating something distinct and unique. I thought that it was worth sharing with you.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Maui, Day 1: Settling In

We stayed at The Hyatt Regency last night. Standard resort hotel on beautiful grounds, but we got in so late and we were so tired after the twelve hour flight that the details only registered peripherally. Cool pools, nice beach.

Woke up early this morning and went to our first apartment showing in Kahana, a little north of the main drag in Lahaina. Cute three bedroom with a huge front yard but a little too worse for the wear and tear of prior tenants. We're off to a strong start, though.

Moved to our "home" for the rest of this trip, The Lahaina Shores Beach Resort, comfy beach front condo apartments right on the main drag, Front Street. But not before stopping at our favorite place for lunch on the island, Aloha Mixed Plate. Crazy Coconut Shrimp and Shoju Chicken are the ultimate island comfort food. This place deserves its own entry and I will elaborate more at a future date.

Before dinner in, we sat on the beach and got in our first sunset. Grounding. We are here to put down roots. This will be our home. Nightfall will never be the same. New York is behind us. Maui is our future.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Baby's First Manicure!

So, we are preparing for our trip to Maui. A last minute mani-pedi at Dashing Diva is standard protocol. And I decided to bring Jada along too.

"Mommy, nice nails!" is a common compliment and she immediately insists on a fresh coat of paint for her own.

I thought that she would be thrilled to ger her nails done with me, but as soon as the manicurist tried to touch her little fingers Jada started to cry. "No nails, Mommy. No nails," she insisted nervously.

"Ok," I agreed. "The lady will just do my nails."

She sat on my lap and watched the process of cleaning and filing suspiciously, but once the nail painting began she lost all reservation.

"Me too!" she smiled.

So, Jada got her first manicure, a quickie without the cleaning or the filing, with the same color as her Mama, with the bonus of two little hand drawn green flowers (her color choice) on each pointer finger. She was delighted. And I was too.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Goodbye Winter

Thank u for snowmen and snowball fights and snuggly snow days at home. Thank you for blustery birthdays and picturebook white Christmas'. We enjoyed this last snow. But you have become a little much. We are out of here.

The Di Bari's

Monday, March 4, 2013

On Making Chicken Liver Pate

chicken liver, whipped

Chicken liver. Don't get grossed out. I don't mess with innards too much either, but I do enjoy a good chicken liver pate every now and then. And I only eat them out. So, this week, when I went through my ritual of boiling a whole chicken, and inspired by my girl Tamar Adler and her Everlasting Meal , I set the livers aside. 

chicken liver, raw

Gross at first glance, I know. But things got better very quickly: I seasoned them with salt and pepper and seared them in a dab of butter and removed them from the pan. 

chicken liver, pan seared

Then I diced a small shallot and threw it in to the same pan with red wine, to deglaze it and pick up all those little pieces of goodness left behind.  

chicken liver, smothered in red wine and shallot marinade

I whipped it all together in the blender with a few springs of thyme and a spoonful of water for just a few seconds and let it set in the fridge for about thirty minutes, for the final product that you saw at the top of this post. Good enough to eat by the spoonful or spread on a rip of bread, this home made pate is a little bit of decadence in the middle of the daily grind.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Soul Food Sunday

Mom's Soul Food Spread

Mom made a soul food dinner to top off my birthday weekend: Fried chicken, potato salad, collard greens and corn bread, the staples of our culture's home cooking and my favorite comfort foods. 

Dave and Jess joined us.

The Finicky Eaters: Ryan and Ty 

Papa Irv and Lulu 

Every year, this gathering is all that I ask of my family. It's the ideal way for me to spend my birthday, with the people that I love the most and the simple, satisfying food that has been passed down from generation to generation. A tactile connection to the past and part of the legacy that I plan to share with Jada in the future, this year's festivities hold special significance because my coming birthdays may be in Maui. My wish is that these traditions continue, wherever we are in the months and years ahead.  

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Budding Sushi Master

California Roll by Asia 

My twelve year old step-daughter is impressive. She made sushi for me last Saturday, the second day of celebrations for my birthday. We picked up everything that she needed from the Asian Food Market: seaweed wrappers, sushi rice, rice wine vinegar, a bamboo roller, veggies and fish. At home, Michele and I stood back and watched as Asia methodically piled avocado and crab on perfect mounds of rice and rolled it all up tight, then cut them in to bite-sized morsels. Blue Ribbon, watch out. We may not need to your sushi anymore. We have a budding master right here at home. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Pok Pok: The Wings Did It

                                                                         Source: via Qiana on Pinterest

Google Pok Pok Brooklyn and you will find a general consensus that this place is the truth, an unpretentiously authentic haven of incomparable Thai street food on the fringes of waterfront Red Hook. All that can be said has been said about the fantastic food here. This post is about one aspect of my experience there last Friday night: How I Lost My Appetite, aka The Wings Did It. 

It wasn't because they weren't good. It was because they were too good. They call them Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings and they sparkle with flavor. Beneath a sticky coating of bright heat, spice, salty and sweet is a crackling coating that seals soft, tender meat beneath. These wings are a game-changer. For me, from now on, the definition of a good wing must meet the standard of Pok Pok's. I was overwhelmed by their smack and bite, in a good way. They are disorienting, to the degree that I had could only watch as my husband and friends made the rest of the wings disappear, poof, one by one, from the plate while I was still stuck nibbling the single wing I still held in my hand. It was like I was paralyzed or something. I wanted more but the flavors left me satiated, almost numb. And I didn't really want to eat anything else. I pushed the brilliant Papaya Pok Pok salad around my plate. I had a nibble of the Sii Khrong Muu Yaang, honey and ginger glazed baby back ribs. I slurped up some of the glass noodles, shrimp and pork belly in the divine Kung Op Wun Sen. It all registered somewhere cerebrally, but my body was still with the wings. I have been thinking about them all week. I'm going back to tonight. You should go there too.