Awesome in August

Awesome in August

Awesome in August

As I sit here typing, nearly everything we own has been packed into four suitcases. The rest of the straggling items have to be wrangled into my cute new carry on, but honestly, I don’t even think it will be that much of a challenge. I’m ready to go and yearning to have my own kitchen to cook in again.

We’ve been spending the whole month saying goodbye to all our favorite people and places. And since our kitchen is devoid of cooking equipment, we’ve been eating out a lot. I insisted on one last breakfast at Sweet E’s, and Geoff had to get in one more trip to the breakfast buffet at Duke’s. It was too dark to take photos in Real, A Gastropub, but you should definitely check it out! 

We also celebrated Geoff becoming a US Citizen just in time to leave the country. At least we’ll never have to apply for another visa for him to return to the country ever again. Seriously, immigration is the worst!

The interwebs made me hungry, as always. I want to dive right in to this Whipped Mexican Grilled Corn Dip from How Sweet It Is. It just looks like a bowlful of summer.

I resolve to get over my fear of frying and make these Crispy Spiced Sweet Potato Fritters from The Sugar Hit while living in Scotland. Can’t stop.

Joy the Baker is setting stuff on fire! I have to try that Meyer Lemon Bar Brulee. I better put a new brulee torch on my Glasgow shopping list.

And somehow you haven’t abandoned me during the summer of chaos. Here’s what you thought was awesome.

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding from Awesome on 20

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding is so very satisfying. Creamy and squishy and chocolaty and just a touch boozy. It’s got it all.

Peanut Butter Fudge from Awesome on 20

You can never get enough of Peanut Butter Fudge, and you’re not wrong. It’s the actual best.

White Chocolate Chip Brownies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I still remember how much I loved eating these White Chocolate Chip Brownies. You need to have some right now.

We have two more days in sweaty, beautiful Honolulu, then we plunge into the unknown. I’m holding my breath and preparing for awesomeness. See you there!

Best of Honolulu | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Best of Honolulu

Best of Honolulu | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Last night I had resigned myself to waking up and taking sad, ugly photos of the desperation brownies I made in an old frying pan that we unscrewed the handle from because I’ve given away all of my baking pans. They were delicious and just about the only thing that made me feel better, but they weren’t very pretty.

As of 4 am on the day of writing (which, in case you haven’t figured it out is the day before posting), my desperation turned to joy. My visa is in the mail, and I won’t have to be left behind after all. Let’s celebrate by remembering all the awesomeness that Honolulu has to offer.

Best Brunch

Sunday Brunch: Sweet E's Cafe

Going out for breakfast is possibly one of my all time favorite activities. There are so many outstanding places to get breakfast in this town, but my favorites are definitely Hula Grill and Sweet E’s. Everything on the menu is awesome. Geoff votes for the breakfast buffet at Duke’s Waikiki.

Best Happy Hour

Happy Hour: Bar 35

Coming in a close second to going out for breakfast is hitting up happy hour. Mexico Lindo has great food specials. Bar 35 has the best cocktail selection. Hula Grill gives you the best bang for your buck. But the place I really want to be is Home Bar. Tater tot nachos, baby.

Best Beaches

Waikiki Walking Tour

Honestly, we didn’t hang out at the beach as much as we probably should have. I get sunburned in about 20 minutes. I wasn’t made for a high UV index. We lived near Waikiki, so our favorite swimming spot was right in front of the Moana Surfrider. That’s the old plantation style hotel. The most beautiful beach with the softest sand has got to be Lanikai in Kailua. The best place to go snorkeling is definitely Three Tables on the North Shore. It’s just across from Foodland in Pupukea.

Best Burgers

Happy Hour: The Counter

We are not fine dining people. $20 a day is a lifestyle, people. Burgers it is! My favorite burger is at The Counter. I never tire of making new creations. Islands is pretty dang good, too. And our final meal in Honolulu will be at Cheeseburger in Paradise because that’s where it all began.

Best Adventures

Honolulu Zoo

The most easily accessible hike from Waikiki is Diamond Head, but that thing is super hot. I prefer Manoa Falls, which is also quite easy to get to and very jungly. They filmed Catching Fire and Jurassic World up there, among many others. If you’re feeling generous, you can also make a donation to visit Lyon Arboretum next door which is breathtaking.

We have slightly mixed feelings about the Honolulu Zoo, but I still love visiting the animals there, and I would recommend it if you’re visiting.

By far our favorite thing to do when visitors come to our island is to take them kayaking in Kailua. Combine it with breakfast at Cinnamon’s, then go to Mexico Lindo afterwards and treat yourself to a giant margarita. It’s the perfect day.

There are so many awesome places to visit on this island. I lived here for four years and have still left so many things unexplored. And so many wonderful places I didn’t get a chance to show you. I hope you visit Honolulu soon and find something awesome.

Awesome in July

Awesome in July

Awesome in July

July was a whirlwind of awesomeness. I was recovering from surgery, and Emily was here and feeling rather indoorsy. That combined with the ridiculous heat and humidity led to quieter adventures involving lots of giggling, plenty of cold drinks, and about eighty bajillion episodes of The Office. When the princess is in residence, you do as she says. I was secretly thrilled not to have to walk 10 miles in 90 degree weather.

We went out to breakfast at Hula Grill possibly too many times. I finally got up the nerve to try the fried rice. It was amazing, but definitely enough for two moderately sized humans. We ate doughnuts at Regal Bakery. Doughnuts are always a good thing. 

We watched the U.S. Women’s National Team win the world cup. It was possibly the most exciting sporting event I’ve ever seen. Not that I’ve seen a lot, but still I think it holds up as one of the most inspiring events I’ve witnessed in a good long while. 

I read about some ridiculously amazing food on the internet, including these Triple Chocolate Oreo Bars from Cookies and Cups. Oh, and then there was this Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting from Brown Eyed Baker. And and Peabody put honey in the cornbread, and I fell in love.

Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

We hung out on the internet and you loved Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels. You’re all a bunch of geniuses. You’re also obviously as hot as I am since you’ve been checking out our DIY Air Conditioner. And you’re way into Chocolate Peanut Butter Gooey Butter Cake. My imaginary internet friends are the coolest.

July was defined by stress. Some good and some bad. First we were on pins and needles wondering if Geoff would get the job. Now we’re worried about visas and packing and starting all over. Every day the pain in my chest is less and less. Having Emily here to laugh through it all made all the difference. July was hot and heavy, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

P.S. Don’t forget to tag your photos #awesome365 because life is always awesome.

Treats: Regal Bakery

Treats: Regal Bakery

Treats: Regal Bakery

I don’t know what it is, but there’s just something about summer that makes it okay to eat doughnuts all the time. Something about the careless abandon that summer suggests sends a message to my brain telling me to eat sugar covered fried carbs in the morning. Or the afternoon. I’m not particular about the time.

And I’m not really a doughnut snob either. I’m quite happy eating doughnuts from the grocery store bakery and have fond memories of going to the bakery counter at Albertson’s when I was a kid and getting a tiger tail doughnut. This is like a maple bar except half of it is chocolate and the frosting is swirled in a tiger strip pattern. The best of all possible worlds.

Treats: Regal Bakery

In Honolulu, definitely the best place to go for doughnuts is Regal Bakery. They have an awesome variety of doughnuts available throughout the day at their two locations in town. And we discovered on our most recent visit that their doughnuts are discounted after 4 pm. The selection may not be quite as good, but the savings is pretty rad. We went in the afternoon this time, and there were still plenty of amazing flavors to choose from. 

Their yeasted donuts are great, and they even have a round maple chocolate doughnut similar to my beloved tiger tail. The one their best known for is the maple bacon, and I can confirm that it is completely amazing. I like that the bacon is chopped up so that you’re not trying to chew through a whole slice of bacon as you eat your sandwich. It’s the perfect combination of savoury and sweet. Go for it!

Treats: Regal Bakery

What Regal Bakery is really known for is their colorful cake donuts. Normally, I wouldn’t consider myself a fan of cake donuts, but the ones at Regal Bakery are so moist and flavorful, I could never say no. In fact, it’s usually all I can do to stop myself from eating a million.

They have a ton of flavors including green tea and pineapple li hing for the locals. Emily got a berry blast and I got the Mud Hen which is a chocolate doughnut with vanilla icing and crushed Oreos. I also saw cotton candy, blueberry, and red velvet. I could probably go here every day.

Treats: Regal Bakery

If you’re visiting Honolulu and staying in Waikiki, the closest location is at the McCully Shopping Center (the sign says Regal Diner), but if you find yourself visiting Chinatown while you’re on the island, they have a bigger location there, so be sure to check it out. 

They also serve typical Hawaiian plate lunch as well as breakfast and burgers, but I haven’t tried their real food. How can anyone see past doughnuts? What’s your favorite flavor?

Sunday Brunch: Tucker & Bevvy

Sunday Brunch: Tucker and Bevvy

Sunday Brunch: Tucker & Bevvy

I have, sadly, never been to Australia, and I don’t really know that much about their food. What I do know is that the breakfast at Tucker and Bevvy is extremely awesome. Apparently owned by former Aussie residents, the menu here is creative, but not overly complex or chefy. Ingredients are high quality, and prices are completely reasonable. I’m into it.

Sunday Brunch: Tucker & Bevvy

You know I judge every breakfast place by their tea. They had a nice selection, including a black breakfast tea. Sadly, our waiter forgot to bring us milk for our tea and coffee for about 10 minutes, but other than that the service was perfectly fine.

Sunday Brunch: Tucker & Bevvy

Geoff ordered the Italian baked eggs and ate every last scrap. The eggs were baked in a thick tomato sauce with Italian sausage, and it was served with a side of buttered toast which makes for a way better spoon than a spoon. 

Sunday Brunch: Tucker & Bevvy

I got the croque madame. It was beautiful and so tasty. There was plenty of dijon mustard to add a bit of a spicy kick. And that egg, kids. It’s my dream come true.

The first time we went, I got the plain waffle which was fluffy and delicious, but you can also get the Tim Tam waffle.  It’s covered in candy and ice cream and looks amazing, but I haven’t been able to talk myself into the idea that it counts as breakfast. If they were open at 10 pm, I’d be all over it.

Sunday Brunch: Tucker & Bevvy

Tucker and Bevvy is right down street from us, so you can bet we’ll be back to try even more stuff on their menu. Maybe we’ll see you there! 

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