Hawaii (Kauai and Maui)

***We are currently on a road trip and I am using this time to catch up on some blogging*** Hoping to be all caught up in the next week or so***

We ended our trip around the world in Hawaii. It happened to be the cheapest place to fly back into the states from Australia, so we took full advantage of our last hurrah. Our first few days were spent on Kauai, an island I had not yet visited. We were lucky enough to be able to stay with our friend Kelsey’s grandma, Ronalee. Her house was absolutely beautiful right off the beach in Poipu, with a small apartment above the garage for Scott and I to stay in. She greeted us like we were family when we arrived and even had a goodie basket in our room with every possible delicious Hawaiian thing you could ask for, fresh fruit, chocolate, rum, tropical juice, and then some! We were truly in paradise.

Outside Mama’s Fish House

Ronalee hooked us up with all the best places to see and eat and we were on our way. A lot of our time in Kauai was spent at the pool, because we like to take advantage of avoiding getting sand in every crevice of our bodies when we can! We also visited the spit geyser, did a morning walk along the ocean cliffs by the Hyatt, drove around the island and did a beautiful hike through Waimea canyon. The hike was dotted with few people and vast waterfalls, helicopters flying in and out during every break of clouds, and happened to be through the wettest part of North America.

Aunt Sandy’s Banana Bread
Hyatt Poipu
Manapua Buns

Our biggest focus while we were in Kauai was the food. Surprise, surprise. The second night of our stay, Ronalee took us out to one of the most delicious restaurants we had ever been to called the Beach House. We had fresh fish, passionfruit foam cocktails, and lots of good banter. The restaurant overlooked the ocean, and we happened to be seated right at sunset. Couldn’t have been better! A few other spots we frequented were Kauai Juice Co, Kickshaws, Koloa Fish Market, Duke’s happy hour, Poipu wine bar, and Siemen. All of the places had Hawaiian specialities that make you feel like you’re in tropical paradise, poke, fuirt juices, fish, Asian food, and lava flows for days! We also discovered Manapua buns thanks to Ronalee and I can tell you they are the most addictive pork buns I have ever tasted. There is nothing like them, sweet dough around tender pork filling, I’m drooling just thinking about them now.

Cliff hike by Hyatt Kauai
Kauai Coffee Co
Turf and Turf from Beach House
Mai Tai from Beach House

After Kauai we hopped on a plane and headed for Maui. We had heard good things about a small up and coming town called Paia and decided to rent a room at an air B&B for a few nights before my aunt and uncle came to visit in Wailea. Our room was small but had a bathroom and a covered lanai. Perfect for us! We stocked up on all the goods from Costco: poke, macadamia nut shortbread cookies, shrimp chips, chocolate covered mac-nuts, and anything else we could get our hands on. At this time COVID-19 had just started to see some cases in the US and things were getting a little chaotic. We noticed this most at Costco, where people were scrambling to grab everything they could. Scott was carefully monitoring the situation via several news sources just to make sure we did not end up stuck in Hawaii (not the worst place to get stuck, but we simply couldn’t afford it).

Mama’s Fish House Special
Waimea Canyon
Cliffs by the Hyatt in Kauai

We ended up really loving Paia. There’s one main strip that goes through the town that has cute shops and restaurant on both sides. At the end of the strip is a path to the beach where we watched young locals surfing and sunbathing. This is my personal opinion, but Hawaii is the best place to get good quality swimsuits, so of course I had to stock up. Before my family came to visit we drove the road to Hana, strictly to get the world’s best banana bread from Aunt Sandy’s. We bought 6 loafs… that’s how good it is.

Siemen Noodle bowl
At Ronalee’s pool

Don’t be surprised here, but I’m gonna talk about food, again. We wandered around some farmers markets (they are THE best in Hawaii) and ended up eating vegan ramen with edible flowers, chicken empanadas, smoothie bowls, fresh fruit, Indian curry, and tons of shave ice from Ululani’s (topped with coconut milk and mochi, and a scoop of vanilla mac-nut ice cream on the bottom). It’s decadent!

The Black Pearl

Okay, but here is the real deal, that Scott and I have vowed to eat at every time we go to Maui from now on. A hidden place on the beach, where you MUST get reservations sometimes weeks in advance called Mama’s Fish House. We had heard from several people that it is the place to go, so as a splurge meal we went there. The restaurant has stunning views of the ocean, beautifully decorated interior, and friendly staff abound. But that isn’t the best part. The food is literally to die for. Probably one of the best if not the best restaurants we had ever been to. We did this on the cheap (it is VERY expensive) so no cocktails and appetizers. Luckily they provide fresh bread with sea salt whipped butter, and a small tea cup of soup. Usually, Scott and I will get two different entrees and share each but here it was different. They had their signature dish, fresh fish, stuffed with crab, and topped with a lobster tail, so we both got it! It was incredible, perfectly cooked and flavors you couldn’t believe! If that wasn’t enough, we also got their signature desser to share called the Black Pearl, it’s hard to describe exactly what this thing is, but the presentation says it all (check out the picture). It is safe to say we were on cloud nine after this meal!

My cousin Mikelle and I

Right before my family got into town Scott and I drove down to Lahina to walk around and check out a beach spot on the side of the road. We ended up staying there for hours because of the whale activity in the area. From landed we saw countless whales breaching! It was spectacular. We also got to see the cutest seal on the shore just checking us out, if you know me, I was mesmerized!

Scott and I with my two cousins, Mikelle and Marcus

The next day my Aunt, Uncle, and two cousins arrived from Seattle. We ended up staying with them in a small condo near Wailea. It was great to get together with them and chat. Our days consisted of eating, talking, and walking the nearby beach. Pretty typical for my family. We were supposed to stay with them for a few days but the news on COVID-19 took a turn for the worst. Everything in Hawaii started shutting down, and we were even kicked off the beach. Scott and I decided it was best if we headed home early while we still could and forego the last week of our trip. It was a little disappointing just because the last week of our trip was supposed to be spent at a nice resort, but luckily, we were able to reschedule to the end of October. We were especially lucky because out of the 11 months of traveling, this was the only part of our trip that really got changed. AND the best part of all, we got to surprise my mom on her birthday by getting home a little early!

****This section of travel took place March 7-19, 2020****

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