Back in Santa Cruz – Day 3

It was scheduled to be a cooler day than the past few days. Thanks to the encouragement of my favorite person and the opportunity of being in Santa Cruz today, I took advantage of the weather and committed to going for a run first thing in the morning.

I haven’t ran on the beach since October 2018 on Maui, Hawaii. I haven’t ran in three months to give my knees a break. My last big run was a half marathon at Disneyland Paris on my last birthday nine months ago. Before I left the house, I did a pre-run stretch video on FitOn, some squats and modified push-ups to warm the body up. Apparently, not warm enough! I am glad I brought my light Hawaii hoodie. The walk to the beach at 9 AM was a bit brisk. When the fog burns off in Santa Cruz, it could be really nice and sunny.

Pre-run

I was wondering how this run was going to go. I ended up doing a 5K along the surf. I didn’t care about my time. I just wanted to see if I can still wake up and just go for 3.1 miles. When I was training for the halves, the first two miles were the hardest part. I either didn’t want to do the run in the first place or my body wasn’t warm enough yet to kick into autopilot. After two miles, I gained confidence that I can go a bit further. Listening to the waves crash, feeling the soft sand under my feet and being able to cool off by making strides in the water helped me keep going. I want to give some kudos to the two young girls and the gent wearing a weighted vest running the same route and to the swim team doing land and sea drills. It was motivating. Seeing the occasional dog also put a smile on my face.

Yes, I can run on water.

I walked back to the house, did some abs and devoured the organic blackberries I bought from Staff of Life. Delicious! I also started to watch Dear White People. They do a really good job of talking about the struggles of racism, social media, self-esteem and more. Add being a college student on top of that and life can be so hard. I love the main character, Sam. What a strong and courageous woman!

This One Busy Bee of a woman had a call with a non-profit rep from Pennsylvania. I responded to an ad about volunteering to do virtual event planning consulting for a couple of hours via the phone. The rep had a general idea that involved gaming, e-tournaments, raffles and earning entries. I haven’t picked up a game console controller in forever. I recommended the rep to find someone with a gaming background for efficiency, perhaps someone on Twitch. He agreed. And frankly, I couldn’t work with someone that constantly interrupted me. I volunteered to un-volunteer. I hope he finds what he’s looking for.

On the other hand, I have had three companies respond to my job applications in the last 24 hours. My first day with the new contract work will begin Wednesday. I will also have a new customer for a new service I am offering. We will be meeting on Wednesday evening and I hope to have a signed agreement. It will be a very busy hump day. I will announce the new service once I have that signed document. It is restaurant related though! Stay tuned!

Octopus dish at Scala’s Bistro – San Francisco.

With a much busier week ahead than I have had in months, I have been lounging at the house watching Netflix and playing my games. As I write this, I am getting a little tired and am about to head down to bed to read. The Cider House Rules is pretty heavy with characters dealing with being an orphan, foster parents, abortion, incest and differences of how the wealthy and poor deal with their problems.

Thanks for stopping by and reading. More of Santa Cruz to come! I am looking forward to spending time with my loved ones here, go for a hike or two, cook for them and celebrate my roommate’s birthday. Wineries should be open. Cheers!

Caesar salad made w/items from Staff of Life.

Related posts:
Back in Santa Cruz – Day 1
Back in Santa Cruz – Day 2
Fitness Fun

Grateful

“Gratitude helps you fall in love with the life you already have.”

I get to wake up with a smile on my face with the birds singing. I am able to walk to the park and work out for free. I have food in the fridge. I have steady and reliable income. I have savings, investments, property and excellent credit. I have a roof over my head. I have unconditional love from friends and family. I am healthy. The people I love don’t have the coronavirus. Life is good and I am thankful.

Thanks to FitOn for the workouts.
Dining at home al fresco with Grgich Hills Estate. Mahi mahi with a lemon mint sauce.
Family time
LOVE my Sunshine!

I used to be on the go all the time. I used to have to schedule down time to make sure I rested. With shelter in place, it has forced me to calm down, relax, read more, cook more and save more. Normally, this One Busy Busy is non-stop – from Sacramento to San Francisco to New York. I am appreciating this low key lifestyle.

Golf lesson with Nelly in Sacramento, CA. He owns Nelson’s Catering!
San Francisco
Central Park, New York City

I am also thankful that the world is on its way to some kind of normal. The media suggests we will start seeing decreases in unemployment in July. Cities are discussing plans to shut down streets to allow restaurants more al fresco and social distancing seating. And airlines are promoting flights in July too. My repeat client is planning her birthday outing as normal. I am grateful that I was asked to book her birthday getaway to Bodega Bay this summer. An inquiry for Vietnam was also made this weekend. I am open to learning more about that region.

Another thing to be thankful for is the social media love. During this time of quarantine, I feel companies have stepped up their game and are responding more to their customers. They are showing love back to my posts.

Music can boost your mood. Check out Jay Shale.
AAA Via Magazine mentions going meatless
Gotta love SOLA!
Instagram love from Torciano Winery in Italy.

It takes little effort to like, comment and share posts. We all appreciate the love! Spread some kindness, ignore the negativity. By the way, thanks for visiting!

Family Roots

Thanks to my uncle in Southern California, he did most of the work of putting together the Lagade family tree. This is my mother’s side. She was the youngest of twelve. The tree doesn’t go any deeper than my grandparents. My father’s side has fewer aunts and uncles but I have information on my great grandparents. Both sides are from Philippines with many from the Ilocos Sur area.

LAGADE

I remember going to my Lola’s house in San Francisco on Army Street as a kid. We would have get together often and four generations would fill the three-story home from top to bottom with chatter, laughs and sometimes dancing.

San Francisco, California

We currently have family reunions every other year in various parts of California. We are proud that our current generation of cousins get along very well and we see each other quite often.

Though a lot of work needs to be done, it seems my great grandparents passed before some of my aunts were born. Google searches for Lagade end up with middle eastern results.

San Jose, California

I am looking to connect to people that may know about or are related to below individuals. They would be of Filipino descent and were born early 1900s or earlier.

Matias Lagade
Primitiva Fernandez
Juan Madarang
Fabiana Cabus

MANZANO

Growing up with divorced parents, I am happy to have had a good amount of time with both sides of my family. My sister and I stayed at my grandparents’ home, aka Lola and Lolo, often as children. They taught us how to do the rosary and were faithfully committed to the church. Up until we had families of our own and beyond, the six cousins stayed in the area. Now I am the only one left in the San Francisco Bay Area.

We don’t have reunions on this side but the cousins still remain rather close. I am thankful for that.

Nashville, Tennessee

Our family tree goes to my 2nd great-grandfather who seemed to have left my Lolo and family behind in the Philippines and ended up in Chicago, Illinois. My Lolo did the same but eventually the entire family followed. My cousins and I are the first American born Manzanos of our family.

I am looking to connect to people that may know about or are related to below individuals. They would be of Filipino descent and were born early 1900s or earlier.

Jose Rosario Manzano
Prima Belandres
Paulo Ciubal
Anastasia Abarientos

Romauldo A. Ciubal
Petra Sante Santua

Any tips or referrals would be greatly appreciated!

Start your own tree and research on Ancestry.com. I have been able to find ship passenger logs, passport applications, census forms, signatures and naturalization paperwork. Pretty cool.

Staying Well Into the Future

It is a stressful time. There are a lot of unknowns and the future is unpredictable. If life was normal and the option of sleeping in and taking a long weekend has been exhausted, I would recommend a spa day. When you have a glass of sparkling wine in your hand, your hair is up in a messy bun and you are wrapped in a comfortable robe awaiting your spa treatment, you can take a well-deserved moment for yourself and relax.

Besides focusing on destination weddings and honeymoons as a Travel Agent, fitness and wellness is part of my lifestyle. I typically go to the gym 5-7 days a week and have ran two half marathons with RunDisney. Spa day trips are a bonus. I would like to offer my clients a full list of services including being able to plan pampering and preparation for their life’s milestones such as a wedding or even a reward for a job well done, such as surviving this pandemic. We will all need it.

I am compiling a list of spas I have personally experienced as support of having first-hand experiences at these establishments. When the world is ready and the Stay at Home order is no longer in place, I am looking forward to hearing from you to plan and prepare you for some pampering. Click on available links for more information of my experience.

Burke Williams Spa – San Francisco, California

Conveniently located downtown San Francisco in a shopping center, get a treatment and enjoy the spa and co-ed waiting room. Get a membership and enjoy a massage or facial once a month. Also available at their San Jose loction.

Crown Spa – Crown Towers, Melbourne, Australia

Luxury in every detail. The spa has a lovely waiting area with tea, water and reading material. Lockers are aplenty, enjoy the steam room, a large shower with multiple heads and your treatment room is large and possibly with your own shower stall. Have lunch in the dining room and take a dip in the large pool that is open to all ages.

Drift Spa – Palms Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

Off the strip but still hip, relax with a great massage, take a dip in the private pool or head to the hotel pool after your treatment and order pitchers of mojitos.

Hotel Del Coronado – San Diego, California

Relaxing at a historical hotel on the water with military jets flying above is a win-win situation in sunny San Diego. Enjoy the outdoor pool, the indoor hot tub and the relaxation room indoors.

Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa – Maui, Hawaii

Enjoy a single or couples’ massage with the sound of the waves. There is a sauna, spa and sitting room as well with an amazing view.

Lotus Spa – Golden Princess Cruise Ship

Over two weeks, it is easy to get three treatments aboard a cruise ship. They usually offer you a bundle deal. Get a massage, a weight-loss session and a hair treatment. All while looking at the ocean or sea thru the window.

Nob Hill Spa – Huntington Hotel, San Francisco, California

If Colin is still around, ask for Colin. He’s amazing. Located in Downtown San Francisco with a pool, quiet room and balcony, Nob Hill Spa is a favorite of mine in my own backyard.

The Ritz-Carlton – Half Moon Bay Spa

This is hands down one of my favorite places in the world and their spa is amazing. The hotel is amazing and the spa is fantastic with excellent customer service and luxurious products. Get ready for your treatment in the hot tub or sauna. They have one of the best robes and I had to take one home with me. It is perfect.

Saltwater Spa at Casa Dorada – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

If you’ve never had tiny fish eat away the dead cells of your feet, you must! Get a great massage, enjoy the plunge pool, spa, sauna and order some delicious Mexican food.

Silverado Resort & Spa – Napa, California

Get an affordable day pass without a treatment or try the lomi lomi massage. As a Hawaii Certified Travel Agent, I had to try this treatment. Enjoy the spa before a treatment, or go spend the rest of your day at the hot tub and full pool on a nice day in wine country.

I look forward to when we can all relax and believe everything is going to be alright. I will be ready to book your retreat, girls’ day, bachelorette weekend or honeymoon when you’re ready.

Right Now

It has almost been a week since the Bay Area has been locked down and right now the Republicans are looking to save big corporations versus the small businesses and its workers. Hospitals are running out of supplies, UPS workers continue to work to keep products moving, more and more restaurants are closing and I still have not found toilet paper.

Two weeks are left of this mandatory quarantine and it has been the longest week. Thankfully, I am able to work from home but many of my friends and loved ones cannot. I am concerned about their well-being and how they will be able to survive. There is no definite end in sight that we can look forward to.

I am fine. I have food, shelter, water and company. I wanted to highlight some real stories of real people that will not specifically make the news or thought of specifically by our politicians. But I see you.

Cugino & Cugina
My Cugino is a great bartender here in the Bay Area. Like many other establishments, his employer is closed thru April 7th. He also works in sports. With all large events cancelled, including this year’s Olympics, that stream of income is also unavailable.

Cugina & Cugino – Monterey, California – 9/1/19

My Cugina, Cugino’s wife, is an emergency room nurse. Like many of those in the healthcare field, they can’t work from home. They are on the front lines and are easily exposed to the virus. Unfortunately, my Cugina did get sick, but thankfully she did not test positive.

My Niece in College
I have attended graduation ceremonies for my niece throughout the years. We even recreate the same pose since she graduated kintergarten in Pleasant Hill. She was supposed to be moving on from her junior college with a ceremony this June. Given colleges have shut down but some still offer online classes, commencement ceremonies have been cancelled. It won’t be the same with a virtual ceremony. I am sure this 4.0 smart girl will do just fine, but I am disappointed that she won’t get celebrate. I am sure she is too.

Ex-Coworker Marries in Park
During my time at the Argonaut Hotel in San Francisco, now currently a ghost town, I befriended a coworker who now lives in New York City. Two days ago, he married his Bride in Washington Square Park. HERE is a video clip of the those around them and they even had a news article in the Daily News. Love wins, wouldn’t you say?

Waiting for a Divorce
I have definitely been there. You wait for that court date to finalize that divorce. My cousin is waiting as well. But now her court date has been pushed back due to courts closing. Resolutions are postponed – alimony, child support and funds that could help move things along during this time for people will need to wait a tad bit longer. People in jail are being released and the public requests halting arrests in non-violent cases. Businesses are being boarded up. I am hoping a time of rioting and theft will not occur. Where would we put them?

SFPD
My best friend is a cop and she cannot stay home with her two kids, my niece and nephew. She is risking her life every single day on the normal. Now, continuing to be out and about when the shelter-in-place order has been issued. I would hate for her to get into a confrontation for issuing a citation (which there have been none) to someone not following the order. And there are plenty! Friends have posted people are picnicking in the parks in groups. Please stay home. Don’t be THAT person.

FaceTime on different coasts – Feb 2020

Island Living
I just spoke with my dear cousin on Kauai. She says the island has under 30 ICU beds and little to none ventilators. My father and stepmother are on Maui with three hospitals. Tourists are still coming to the Islands and they really should be staying home. This is not OK. Now, these all tourists and returning residents will be subject to a 14-day quarantine. I am OK with that. Friends are posting that they love the tourism but just not right now. Stay home, People.

When your cousin from Kauai visits the mainland, you play like you were kids again.

Friends in Hospitality and Restaurant Industry
Oh, my heart goes out to all of them. I know very few people in the hospitality and restaurant industry that live more than an above-average lifestyle. They don’t work double shifts to get into their Ferrari or $3,200 a month studio at the Jasper in San Francisco. They go home to a small apartment that is shared with multiple people and often live month to month. Two more weeks of no income means they will not be able to pay rent. Counties are gathering to vote on assistance and stop evictions due to loss of jobs during this time but nothing has been finalized.

Met up with a former restaurant co-worker in NYC. Oh, the smells off of a hot plate.

As much as I love food and beverage and most of my blog posts are on food, I am doing what I can to support my favorite spots. If they offer take out, I will take advantage. If they tweet, I do not mind retweeting to my followers. When it’s safe to do so, I look forward to doing what I can to help revive the business and of course support my friends that own and work in the industry.

Pesto Gnocchi – Osteria Toscana – Palo Alto, California

I wanted to share these stories of different folks to communicate something real and how the corona virus is affecting their lives. You may not know them and they may not matter to you, but they matter to somebody and that’s why you should stay home, quarantine and even after all this has passed, wash your hands!

OBB Weekly – 2-4-20

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay

Happy Travel Tuesday! One month down in 2020 and there’s a lot of time to make things happen this year. Who has travel plans? Will you be attending any weddings? What upcoming restaurant opening are you looking forward to? And what motivates you? Whatever you have planned, I hope these weekly posts inspire you!

TRAVEL

January had me exploring my own state of California. You can find new, great things to explore in your backyard. Yes, many people save for an extravagant and long vacation. A less expensive and maybe a 2-3 hour drive to a new but close location can serve the same purpose: getting out of town!

Niner Wine Estates in Paso Robles. Perfect for this Faithful.

Paso Robles was a New Year’s Eve getaway with the roommate. Then, I was lucky enough to crash her room at the beautiful Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay. What a treat that was! Heaven knows I can’t afford that room on my own. Perhaps one day, I’ll be able to not blink when hitting that reservation button. If you have an opportunity like this, take it! My roommate was barely in the room as she was busy with her company meetings. I made my office in the hotel room.

What are spots near you that you love or would love to go to?

The dream. The goal. – The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay

EVENT PLANNING

Well, congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs. They beat my San Francisco 49ers 31-20 on Super Bowl Sunday this past weekend. I honestly can remember the last time I watched the Super Bowl. The planning and event production of the half time show is always impressive in such a short time period. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira put on quite a performance. I have always been a fan of JLo and am listening to her songs now while drafting this.

Having a love for live music, the ballet and other performing arts, I have always considered learning and understanding what goes into the production of a performance like this. Perhaps one day.

Have you had experience with this large of an event?
What was it like?
Did/do you love it?

#WEREHUNGRYTOO

As much I love trying a new restaurant and a creative cocktail, I am also enjoying cooking. My friend gave me a cookbook from The Slanted Door quite a few years ago when I helped open my restaurant in San Francisco. I made my first meal: Shaking Beef with coconut rice! And it was amazing. A Bordeaux wine definitely added to it.

I enjoyed the sauce so much, I made my Meatless Monday dinner with cabbage and a stuffed pepper. “Well, this is a way for me to eat cabbage!” says the roommate.

Do you participate in Meatless Mondays?
What is your favorite meal to make for MMs?
Is there a cookbook you swear by?

MOTIVATION

As mentioned, I am on the stationary bike drafting this post. JLo’s performance may have played a part in getting up early this morning and getting a workout in before another busy day. She’s 50 and looks amazing. Talk about goals! Thanks for the motivation, JLo.

I did finally have an improved weigh-in on Saturday. Weigh-in usually takes place on Sundays but I didn’t know where I was going to be and I was happy to report I haven’t been this light in four months. I still have a lot of work to do and to keep it off but it will take some time.

My dear friend, Brittany, invited me download the FitOn app. When this One Busy Bee just can’t make it to the gym, it’s nice to have workouts at my fingertips. They have challenges like completing 10 workouts in one month. I need to get started. I am pretty bummed that bodybuilding.com aren’t running their 250K Challenges. They really helped me go after it. And it was fun to do it with friends.

Gym ready wearing my Myrtle Beach tank

Good luck on your February fitness goals!

How are your 2020 resolutions going?
If you have a fitness goal, what is it?

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OBB Weekly – 1-28-20

Now completely working from home, this is my view. – Hayward, California.

Well, I can’t really call this a weekly post if it’s not posted weekly, now can I? Well, in true One Busy Bee form, I have been crazy busy this year, complete with a near meltdown (pun was unintentional, for those who are in the know.) Therefore, I am presenting my first OBB Weekly post of 2020. Thank you for visiting!

TRAVEL

The first month of the year started out in Paso Robles, California with wine tasting and checking out the new Springhill Inn & Suites. I stayed home last year for New Year’s Eve and I wanted to get out of town and fulfill my monthly goal of traveling once a month. December was full of not getting paid but still working and trying to save money. Thankfully, January will come to an end with a two-night stay at the gorgeous Ritz-Carlton Hotel at Half Moon Bay, California. This hotel is the whole reason why I want my Marriott points. I would like to move in and be able to hear the waves crashing as I fall asleep each night and awake to that same amazing sound with a smile on my face each morning. That’s the dream. Hopefully we get another great room.

Ritz-Carlton Hotel at Half Moon Bay, California
This view!
Ritz-Carlton Hotel at Half Moon Bay, California

EVENT PLANNING

I am looking for wedding clients this year! I have not aggressively been looking as my future is a bit uncertain as to what I am doing and where. I have committed to travel but I have not sought after event planning work. A meeting with a potential client did take place this month but I felt what was needed did not absolutely require my services or at my rate. If it is a good fit, I would convince my client I was needed.

During my Cugino’s birthday celebrations this month, I did come across the private dining space in San Mateo. At Porterhouse, they have multiple private dining areas. I had no idea. Not bad a of a space, eh?

WE’RE HUNGRY TOO

To add onto the section above, Porterhouse offers very large portions. I wasn’t very hungry at the time and was looking for a salad topped with some steak. This is what I had to get. The next day, the leftovers were still good. I just added McCormick’s Bourbon & Brown Sugar seasoning to it. Yummmm.

I had the pleasure of participating in San Francisco Restaurant Week. One, I met up with Nelly after a long day of moving out of a warehouse for work for a 9 pm five-course meal at Maruya. I initially cancelled until I actually got a hold of someone at the restaurant and they were going to charge me $65 per person if I cancelled my 5:30 pm reservation. They had an opening at 9 pm. I would rather literally eat $65 worth of food instead of throwing it away. So I finished the work, drove thru traffic to Oakland to meet Nelly, we hopped on Bart to the Mission neighborhood and enjoyed our delicious meal. It was well worth it to see my dear friend. I am so appreciative of those that understand we all go thru something. I am glad we were able to make this work and not waste money.

Beer!

See another post for my first time to Spruce.

MOTIVATION

That mouth-watering menu I enjoyed this month is enough to keep me on this stationary bike as I draft this post. In terms of my fitness goal for the year, I have also been slacking. I ended last year with a four-mile run plus dancing the night away. I woke up the next morning sore, stretching and playing Christina Aguilera’s “Keep Singing My Song.” No one is going to bring me down.

Boy, was I wrong. I brought myself down by not putting up boundaries, giving too much of myself, my peace, my energy and my time. I had a pretty emotional week and a half and I had to reset. A weekend with my family helped but I needed more. I had to make the switch and I had control of that. I am better now but I am being more cautious and saying no to what doesn’t serve me.

My friend, Frank, my niece and Godson.
El Dorado Hills, California

I am hoping February will be a better month. I think it will start with the 49ers winning the Super Bowl! GO NINERS!

To those going thru hard times, acknowledge the problem, take your time to feel what you’re feeling and decide if you’re going to sit in it for a little bit longer or make a change. When you’re ready, take the step towards that change and keep going. Ask for help if you need it. When the ones you want most to help you do not come to your aid, there are other people that truly love you and will drop everything to be there for you. Don’t give up hope.

I am so thankful for those dear friends. You know who you are!

My best friend & I – Jan. 25, 2020
Simms Ink, Hayward, California
San Francisco Restaurant Week at Spruce
San Francisco, California
American Bull Bar & Grill
Cugino’s 40th Suprise Birthday – Jan. 25, 2020
Burlingame, California
Wine tasting in Placerville, California with my cousins – Jan. 12, 2020
Catareenie & I during Oakland Restaurant Week
Mua

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Holiday Party in San Francisco

San Francisco is a top destination. Top your stay with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge from your room at the Argonaut Hotel after a holiday party at Fisherman’s Wharf and you wonder if it could get any better than that.

I have had the honor of being my best friend’s date for her company holiday party the last three years. This year, it took place at event space at Williams Sonoma near Ghiradelli Square. The room was pretty plain, not something you would expect from a company that sells housewares and home furnishings. But it was fun with a bar, large dance floor, photo booth but only two restrooms. If the party wasn’t at night, the view of the aquatic park would be nice for daytime events.

Can I just live here, pleeeeaaaassseeee?” -my tweet this morning.

The hotel we stayed at was definitely the highlight of the stay. I was a Concierge at The Argonaut Hotel for a year and I do miss it. I interviewed at the location with a third-party and I was hoping to have my ‘home’ concierge desk at The Argonaut. I got my wish. I made friends with the staff and it was so great to see many of them again. The decor is gorgeous with a blue nautical theme, exposed wooden beams and original brick. It was the cannery back in the day. My concierge desk was always right by the big, beautiful silver Christmas tree. I loved it.

The rooms are spacious and the beds are comfortable. If you can get a room with a view, do it! I would be happy to help. I can also assist you with activities to do in the city and I always loved booking dinner reservations.

Until next year’s holiday party…

Related posts:
A Texan Elopement in San Francisco
Filled on Fillmore
Twists at the Wharf

HFWF19 – Pasta La Vista

What more can you ask for than an evening with wonderful friends, a table under the stars near the ocean at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa and six courses of delicious dishes using local ingredients and wine pairings? I was lucky enough to have attended a similar dinner for the Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival there on Maui two years before. It was quite memorable. This year, the dishes are Italian themed. Perfecto! As my other favorite place in the world, besides Maui, is Italy.

My guests that evening included my roommate, Kim, and what has been nicknamed my #Instafriend, Julia. Kim is well aware that I blog and lets me take photos of her food before she dives in. Her friend, Becci, asks if she “Bernadette It” yet before she dives into her meal. Amazing right? I believe they were in Amsterdam when that phrase came about. My tendencies cross oceans! Julia is also a lover of food and whiskey like I am, but she is also President of Le Donne women’s Italian club in San Francisco. I thought this event was perfect for her to attend with me. Both ladies have already committed to attending the HFWF in 2020. If you can join us, please let me know so we can sit at the same table.

While at the pool, we could see the chefs in gray jackets posing for photos on the circular balcony above and near the lawn where the dinner would take place. After some time at the pool, the three ladies dressed for a wonderful evening ahead. I wore a dress by Hot Miami Styles and high heels by Jessica Simpson. For those ladies wondering what to wear, your stilettos may get stuck in the lawn so walk lightly. The walkways of the Hyatt are not smooth for fancy heels. Be safe and wear wedges if you wish to add some height to your ensemble. It will also aid in walking back to your hotel room after the nice pours of wine throughout the evening.

Check-in was easy and you were given a wristband. I introduced myself to my media contacts and thanked them for the opportunity. We were sat at a table with other media folks and it was nice to meet people with similar passions. I was sat across from the owner of the ‘foodiswhyimbroke‘ Instagram account. Yen Kim Phan is also from the San Francisco Bay Area but she has a whopping 63.6K followers. Congratulations! Also at my table were ladies from Kaanapali Resort.

The festivities began and Chef Robert Irvine was the MC. I had the pleasure of meeting him last year at the Spiked! event. He is quite the character. He had a beer chugging competition with the event’s Sommelier. Guess who won?

The first course was the most memorable. It was definitely unique and creative. The pasta was mozzarella. Kim has a tomato allergy. We waited for her plate to arrive and it was hand delivered by Chef Chiarello. How special! Then he kissed her on both cheeks. Julia and I asked “What about us?!” We got our wish.

Pasta Pomodoro
Mozzarella and Cavaero Farms zucchini, spaghettini over tomato carpacio and rooftop tomato conserva, balsamic caviar and picolo fino basil, crispy calabrian chili flake gremolata
Wine: Ferrari Brut Rose, Trentodoc, NV
Chef Michael Chiarello – Bottega Napa Valley, Yountville, CA

The second course was bright, with structure and height and a medley of textures. Some diners do not like the head on the prawns but it didn’t bother this Pinay.

“From the Mountain to the Sea”
Malokai purple potato gnocchi, sauce of kabocha and grilled Kaua’i prawn
Wine: Capichera Lintori Vermentino di Sardegna 2017
Chef Gregory Grohowski – Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa

The third course was by far my favorite dish of the evening. Since my last trip to Italy in 2016, I have been on the search for the best carbonara in the United States. This dish was heavenly and what I have been searching for for years! You had me at truffles.

Tagliatelle alla Carbonara
Deconstructed carbonara with specialty sun noodle, waimana TKG poached egg, local guanciale, imported parmigiano-reggiano, cream, truffle butter and truffles
Wine: Champagne delamotte brut blanc de blancs, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, N.V.
Chef Daisuke Hamamoto – Arancino at The Kahala, Honolulu, HI

The fourth course had another prawn from Kauai’i but it was our first fish of the evening. The squid ink gnocchi was different. I have had other squid ink pasta in Italy and at my favorite restaurant in San Francisco called Seven Hills.

Cacciucco with Gnocchetti Sardi al Nero
Tuscan seafood stew with squid ink sardinian gnocchi, Kaua’i prawns, Hawaiian snapper and clams
Wine: Marisa Cuomo, Cosa d’Amalfi Rosato 2017
Chef Marco Canora – Hearth Restaurant, New York, NY

And then there was meat! The fifth course was simple and full of flavor. The salsa verde was my choice for pairing the meat with every bite. Fantastic.

Makaweli Dry-Aged Prime Ribeye
Sicilian caponata, salda verde, black garlic
Wine: COS, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Sicily 2014
Chef Celestino Drago – Drago Centro, Los Angeles, CA

And lastly, it was time for dessert. Layered with different textures and flavors from bitter to sweet, it was an interesting dessert and not too heavy after five courses.

Maui-misu
A play on the Italian tiramisu using Manoa chocolate, coffee, coconut and Mauna Loa macadamia nuts.
Wine: Banfi, Rosa Regale Brachetto D’Acquio, Piedmont 2018
Chef Johnny Iuzzini – Chocolate by Johnny Iuzzini, New York, NY

Until next year! Save the date for October 2 – 25, 2020!

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Traveling Buddies

You learn A LOT about people when you travel with them. I am currently on my third deployment for my day job and we’re doing alright. Plus, we have at least two more trips this month planned where we will be sharing a nice Marriott room. I am mature enough to share a room and save costs to stay in the same room with my male coworkers. No big deal. With snow scheduled to fall on Snow-hio tomorrow, I found myself thinking about Maui. I have traveled often with my roommate, Kim. However, that trip to the islands was my first with my #Instafriend. And I am so happy to say it went really well. It helps when they are so easy going. Even when you have to wake up at 1:30 AM to catch a tour.

From our first trip to Southern California before she officially moved in to a 13-day Princess cruise around New Zealand to day trips to wine country, Kim and I are very much used to each other traveling. Maui was no different.

Walt Disney World – January 2019

#Instafriend was great. Her outgoing personality fits right into the mix and she’s adventurous and happy all the time. She isn’t afraid to go off and do her own thing as well. Like work. We three also work a lot and this trip to Maui was much needed.

San Francisco

I am happy to report I have officially recruited two friends to join me every year at the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival on Maui. I am happy to have been able to report back on the festival for three years now. Before the main dinner was over, the girls were committed to returning for the same event. I love my job. And I love these ladies. You will be seeing more of them on my blog. Good company, good food = good times.

Biking down Haleakala – October 2019
Dining at A’ina in San Francisco
Merriman’s Kapalua

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