Archive of ‘Wanderin’ Feet’ category

Maui: Hyatt Regency Ka’anapali

Time sure flies when life is happening, eh? Things are a little crazy right now, which means certain things fall by the wayside. Like the blog, for instance. Gotta live life to write about it, right?

Back to Hawaii (and remember, I’m going in chronological order): let’s talk about the hotel. We left the perfect beach at Mama’s Fish House and raced back across the island in our Camaro with the top down (living the fancy life!), inhaling the island air, and excited to see our hotel home for the week — the Hyatt Regency Maui on Ka’anapali Beach.

Anish can sure pick ‘em! What a gorgeous hotel. The Hyatt is one in a line hotels that sit on a three mile stretch known as Ka’anapali Beach, all connected by a stone pathway on the oceanside. From the Hyatt all the way down to Black Rock, you can walk along this beautiful path from hotel to hotel. It was perfect for sunset walks with a clear view of the ocean and the island of Lana’i.

The hotel has five restaurants, a mini mall in the hotel (with a Macy’s and everything), penguins (!!), a spa, and a humongous swimming pool. That was my favorite part — the pool! With two sections separated by a cave and grotto, it was the best place to spend a day. It also helped that servers came around quite often asking if we’d like something. “Pina colada, please! And maybe fried green beans with wasabi mayo too…” Oh yes, I LOVED it.

Our hotel reservation included breakfast every day at Swan Court, which happened to literally be a restaurant on the hotel’s pond where its resident swans live, along with 100+ small birds who would wait like hawks for a diner to abandon their plate and then BAM. Swarm of birds on one unsuspecting plate.

We had a partial ocean view from our room, so we could see both mountain and beach from our lanai (balcony). Our room was massive and gorgeous. We settled right in, threw on our bathing suits, and went out to explore.

Our first afternoon there was spent hanging out by the pool and working on ‘relaxing.’ First thing on the agenda: we deleted all the social media apps from our phones. After posting a “We’re in Hawaii!!!” post, we said goodbye to social media and our constant phone checking (the worst habit), and got ready for a week on Hawaii.

The next day, Monday, was our designated Road to Hana day, and Tuesday was… well, you know. ;)

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View from our room!

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The atrium in the main building.

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The pool! Pretty terrible view, huh? ;)

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Pool basketball and a cave to swim in?? Awesome!

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Oceanside view from the hotel. Lana’i just across the way.

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The flowers were incredible!

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Swan Court Restaurant from across the pond.

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See the little birds?? Waiting to pounce!

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And because there always needs to be a food photo, especially when there’s an all-you-can-eat breakfast every morning.

Maui: Mama’s Fish House

The most consistent piece of advice we got from everyone before our trip was, “Go to Mama’s Fish House.” We always take restaurant suggestions very seriously, so we kept this item at the top of our list. When we got into the car in Kahului, I immediately turned to Anish and said, “Mama’s for lunch?” We had plenty of time before check-in at the hotel and a fresh seafood lunch sounded ideal. He agreed, so we called ahead to make a last minute reservation for lunch.

Because Anish’s sister Diya is THE BEST, she’d sent us a gift card for our Mama’s meal for my birthday. Thank youuu, Diya! We pulled in to the parking lot at Mama’s, let the valet guy take our car (complimentary!), and walked down the gorgeous path to the Mama’s Fish House cove.

WOW. The location is seriously incredible. It’s a restaurant with its own cove and beach surrounded by palm trees, bathed in sun, and cooled by the sea breeze. We were grinning like fools at this point and staring at each other like, “Can you believe this is real?” 5 hours earlier we were in the overcast Bay Area and now, we were standing barefoot in the warm sand on a private beach in Hawaii. Life is crazy.

We wandered around for a few minutes, taking photos and breathing in the island air, before heading over to the hostess station to tell them we were there. They sat us in a huge booth facing the beach and we immediately ordered tropical beverages. When in Hawaii, right? Another piece of advice we got about Mama’s… “Get the Ho’okipa Sunrise!” It’s a cocktail made with Stoli Citrus Vodka, pineapple, lime and Creme de Banana, i.e. DELICIOUS. I understand why our beloved Minards were raving over it.

For lunch, we shared everything so we could try more things, like a good foodie couple. ;) Here’s what we got:

  • Hawaiian Ceviche: Uku (a local fish) with mango, kaffir lime, spicy Maui chili pepper and cilantro with breadfruit & sweet potato chips. — THIS DISH WAS HEAVEN. We were drooling over it and gobbling it up, while saying to each other with stuffed mouths, “Mama’s was worth it JUST FOR THIS.”
  • Grilled Maui He’e (octopus) caught by Rogelio Balala diving offshore from Spreckelsville. — Also delicious and super tasty. We loved having the details of who caught the fish and where. Local at its best.
  • Ono (another local fish) caught by James DeBussey trolling near Keanae, seared in a Hana ginger-panko crust with Kalua pig fried rice. — Pig fried rice?? Panko crust? Yes, this dish was an easy choice for us. We ordered the fish at the recommended medium-rare cooking, and it was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The fresh ginger gave it a great flavor.

By the time we finished all that and I’d had another drink – this time a creamier one, Pina Colada style, but with a cacao liqueur – we were stuffed and couldn’t get dessert. Not a big deal and we were happy with what we’d had, and still craving more of that ceviche.

After eating, we went back out to the beach and put our feet into Hawaii’s Pacific for the first time. Ahh….

Overall, the food was fantastic and worth the hefty island price (pretty much the norm at all the restaurants we went to). If you go to Maui, EAT AT MAMA’S. Get the ceviche and the Ho’okipa Sunrise. You’ll thank me later.

We left Mama’s cove feeling full and happily on vacation. We were ready to zip across the island to the west side to see our gorgeous hotel and the beaches of Ka’anapali for the first time.

I was completely unaware that Anish had a ring hidden in his pocket and special plans for the days ahead…

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Just look at this place! Such a lovely, private setting.

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10 minutes of sunshine and I’m a happy girl. Add this view? Over the moon…

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Mama’s beach!

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The gorgeous island decor of the restaurant.

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Pleased as punch to be on vacation together.

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Thank you Diya for the gift card!

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Best ceviche of my life. And those breadfruit chips? Surprisingly fantastic.

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Grilled octopus!

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The main dish – so good!

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Vacation! Makes me smile to think that I had no idea what was coming later that week… :)

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Hello Hawaii — now on to the hotel!

Maui: Arrival

Because Anish is the greatest significant other in the [my] world, he surprised me with a trip to Hawaii for my 25th birthday. I honestly still can’t believe it, but it was definitely, wonderfully real, and two weeks ago we took off from the San Jose International Airport on a Hawaiian Airlines flight headed for Maui! Little did I know, the trip was much more than a birthday celebration, but more on that later. (Oh yes, you gotta wait!)

Mini Hawaiian Airlines review:

– Loved: comfortable seats, super sweet staff, meal (!) on the flight, complimentary rum punch before landing in Hawaii, and the general relaxing Hawaiian vibe.

– Not such a fan of: no TVs or entertainment — you have to purchase one of their tablets to use for the duration of the flight ($20); lack of flight options from SFO resulting in our departure from San Jose and return to Oakland.

Overall, great flight experience, and finally after 5 hours crossing the Pacific (blue everywhere - a little nerve-wracking), we drifted down below the clouds and there was Maui. An island in the middle of a never-ending ocean. Lush, green mountains, white sand beaches, rolling blue-green waves. We could see it all as we landed in the valley at Kahului Airport.

After a dicey early morning trip to the airport where nerves were a little high and tempers were a little hot (eh-hem, me), we were finally settling in to vacation mode and plain giddy with excitement by the time we landed.

We sailed off the airplane into the quaint Kahului airport, taking our time (no more city life rushing!), grabbing a coffee, and then stepping out into the warm, salty air of the island. Man, I can’t explain that feeling I always get when I’m on vacation or arriving somewhere I love. It’s a deep breath that goes down in my very soul. An “ahhh” feeling when all my usual tensions start melting away. It took me a few days to settle into vacation mode.

At Hertz, we opted for the rental car upgrade keeping the Road to Hana in mind, and left the airport riding in style with our black convertible Camaro. Ohhh yeahhhh.

First thing on our very-flexible-vacation-to-do-list (I can’t stop making lists, even on vacation): the famous Mama’s Fish House for lunch. That’s when the fun and the food started.

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Good morning pretty Hawaiian plane!

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You see what I mean??? This is just the view from the airplane. Holy smokes, Maui is gorgeous.

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I’m so fancy… and grinning ear-to-ear in the background. Ridin’ in style.

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Our first impression of Maui at Mama’s Fish House. HOLY CRAP it’s so beautiful, right?? Still can hardly believe places like this exist.

 

Off to Texas!

Happiest of Fridays, my friends! I’m on a plane to DALLAS this morning, heading to The Hundred Event!

The Hundred is a weekend conference hosted by some of my favorite bloggers (Bridget of Tales of Me and the Husband, Lauren of Aspiring Kennedy, Grace of Camp Patton, and Megan, formerly of Across the Pond Blog, now just Megan K. Graham). It’s an opportunity to network with bloggers, writers, and small business owners, and learn from some amazing bloggers and brands! It’s limited to 100 people, so it’s fairly small, approachable, and should be a downright blast!

I’m excited to meet some great people and have a weekend away from SF, AND it’s supposed to be about 100 degrees this weekend, which I am unreasonably giddy about. (That’ll last about four minutes when I start sweating BUT I miss summer heat and I can’t wait to experience it for three days.)

I’ll post all the details next week. For now, wish me luck! I’m wishing you a wonderful weekend filled with summer goodness from 30,000 feet.

– Taylor

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Wine Country: Larson Family Winery

After our epic day in Yosemite, we drove to a town halfway between Yosemite and wine country to find a decent hotel to sleep in before our Sunday plans. I mistakenly took a bit of a detour out of Yosemite, so our 2 hour drive went a little longer than expected and ended with us eating dinner past midnight at a Buffalo Wild Wings. It was pretty funny to be eating chicken wings at almost 1 o’clock in the morning, but hey, road trips are supposed to be spontaneous, right? At almost 3am, we were all snuggled into beds in the Holiday Inn Express Stockton with no plans to wake up and leave before check-out.

Fast-forward 8 hours, a few alarms, and some heavy duty blackout curtains later, we were all up and getting ready for our last day on the road. Sonoma, here we come!

At the recommendation from some friends, and because Mirai loves dogs, we chose to go to Larson Family Winery in Sonoma for an afternoon wine tasting, some yard games, and to play with their famous Labs.

It’s a casual atmosphere at Larson with picnic tables in the back where you can bring a group to hang out for an afternoon. You can play horseshoes, cornhole, or football in the field. You can walk through the vineyard itself. You can even hang out with the Three Labs of the winery, immortalized on one of their wine labels, generally found laying around outside being lazy.

We sat around a table, did a wine tasting, petted the three dogs (Bubba, Pete, and Buster), and ate birthday cake! Loved it!

I do have to say, it’s not the same as going to Long Meadow Ranch, but a day in wine country is still a great day! By the time we got home that night, after a Marin Headlands detour of course, we were all exhausted but happy campers. Birthday success!

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