Shangri La Estate Tour

I’ve had a few requests to share more of Hawai’i’s picturesque scenery and places of interest.  I hope these posts will be helpful when you’re planning your visit to the islands. 

Shangri La. Mythical utopia, land of eternal happiness and fountain of youth. So aptly named was the private estate of Doris Duke, now open to the public, showcasing her extensive collection of Islamic art. The five acre, ocean-front compound is located on Oahu, behind a nondescript gate in Diamond Head and is accessible by shuttle bus only (no private cars).

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Arizona Vegan Food Tour

Watch out California. Your reign as the vegan-friendly food capital of the world may be coming to an end, as Arizona is now home to some of the best vegan/vegetarian eateries I’ve tried in the past year. After my food warrior pal Ali and I returned from our weekend at the Raw Living Expo, we were ready to put on our comfy pants and start eating our way through the Grand Canyon State.

Me & Ali at Postino Wine Bar for sangria brunch with friends

I’ll get to the all-vegan eateries in a quick second, but let me tell you about Postino Wine Bar for just a moment. The ritual of Sunday brunch is my favorite way to embrace the weekend. Gathering a bunch of friends, sharing a nosh and listening to some live music feeds my soul.

Sangria brunch- Postino

There are three locations for Postino, but we love the Arcadia vibe. It’s an unpretentious mix of hipsters,lovey-dovey couples and groups celebrating birthdays/showers/what-evs.

Bruschetta- White bean w/tomato basi,white bean w/dates+pistachio,Buratta w/tomato+bacon(ordered by omni friends)

The menu is not vegan/vegetarian, but there’s an ample selection of panini,salads and bruschetta that can all be veganized. My only caveat will be to those trying to stick to a gluten-free diet, this is not your joint. Ali raved that they served the best bruschetta she’d ever had, and she wasn’t lying. Four big, crusty slices of bread with sweet or savory toppings are served on a cutting board and sliced into four smaller,pieces that can be negotiated from hand to mouth in about three bites. Try the white bean spread as a base for the toppings to keep it vegan. Check out your wine selection on Barnivore  to verify that it’s vegan-friendly. The cost: Five people had two drinks each (10 adult beverages),we ordered one bruschetta board, one salad, one bowl of soup and a panini for $97+tip. I was actually shocked that our bill was less than $100 but then again, I’ve lived and eaten out in some of the most expensive cities like New York, San Francisco,Los Angeles and my hometown of Honolulu.Postino Winecafé on Urbanspoon

Aaron,me,Ali and Mike- Do you like our RHOAZ pose?

Pomegranate Cafe is everything I’d want a vegan cafe to be. An inventive mix of raw offerings,cooked comfort foods, fresh juices/elixirs and ridiculously divine desserts.

Screenshot of Pomegrante Cafe’s website. I was too concerned with ordering food to remember to take pics of the front of the cafe!

We got down to business and Ali ordered the Breakfast Chimichanga. She could barely finish this monster wrap filled with a well-seasoned tofu scramble, topped with fresh salsa and guacamole.I’ve had more breakfast burrito type things than I can count but this is the one I will remember.

Breakfast Chimichanga- Pomegranate Cafe

The New Yaw-kah in me craves a simple bagel and caw-fee.Then I spy a raw “everything” bagel on the menu and order it despite my apprehension that I’ll get a flax cracker with Tofutti cream cheese on it. I don’t know how they did it, but the texture of the bagel was moist and kinda chewy, my mouth approved. The bagel is schmeared with a flavorful vegan herbed cream cheese and piled high with a gorgeous mix of sprouts,peppers, carrots,tomato,cucumber,onions and lettuce. I demolished the whole thing, leaving only  a faint trace of the red bell pepper hummus on the plate. Go here and eat this, you won’t be disappointed, especially if you’re trying to end your relationship with gluten like I am.

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My Weekend in Photos- Ukuleles and Kombucha

To celebrate the start of the weekend, I made these Sweet Potato Tot-chos, inspired by Wholly Vegan. Quick n’dirty style, I used store-bought tots, baked until nice and crispy, then slathered in Food For Lovers Vegan Queso. Topped with more hot sauce, olives, green onions and cilantro. Then,The Vegan Virtuoso challenged me to make the tot-chos using Ube Gnocchi. The girl is a freakin’ evil genius. Check out my Instagram feed to see how insane they turned out.

Went to the Secret Sound Showcase at the Doris Duke on Friday to see ukulele virtuoso Taimane Gardner perform. I first saw Taimane’s mesmerizing artistry on YouTube and if you think ukuleles are only for Hawaiian music, this girl will set you straight. She shreds everything from Led Zepplin to the Mission Impossible theme, with softer touches in songs from Phantom of the Opera or her original “Moon”.

Got my autographed CD like a true fan girl and Taimane was gracious enough to take a photo with me and my friend, Animal Rights Activist, Anjie Pham.

Spent Saturday morning whale watching/counting for NOAA and spotted about 3 adults + 1 calf off Diamond Head.

Quick stop at Blue Tree Cafe Hawaii for a Lilikoi+Aloe Kombucha ( very refreshing!) and an Orange Pistachio Coconut vegan bar. I’ll do a review after I try the raw vegan brunch they do on Sundays.

Time to start editing the next video recipe! My new cap is providing the inspiration 😉

Mahalo for stopping by and have a delicious week my friends!

My Week in Photos::Beautiful Island Life

Happy Aloha Friday friends! It’s been a busy week but I made some time to enjoy the beautiful weather and visit with family.

My cousin Tim and his girlfriend came to town for a visit. We enjoyed lunch at the new Monkeypod Kitchen in Ko’olina. The selection for vegans is limited but if you order the Vegan Portugese Bean Soup (labeled as such on the menu) and the Kale Macadamia Nut Salad, you won’t be disappointed. The soup is highly spiced and very flavorful, served with pita bread for dipping up the last bits of broth. To be honest, I wasn’t particularly excited about the kale salad when I ordered it, because I was hoping they had vegan pizza. But this fresh salad, loaded with sweet Maui onions, golden raisins and the mac nuts tossed in a sesame miso dressing really is something special. Ono mouth explosion!

Then it was back to the drawing board, literally, as I started story boarding for my next video recipe. I’ve been staring at a 10 pound bag of organic carrots and tried to come up with easy ways to use them.

Most of the time, I play a round with a few ideas before I film the video.

 I filmed my carrot video and realized the footage came out like complete crap, so with a very sad face,I scrapped it all and took a drive to the beach.

I got a kale,spinach and pineapple shave ice from the House of Pure Aloha and a big hug from Uncle Clay,the owner. Suddenly, everything was right in the world again.

So then the carrot video evolved into this Walnut Salad amuse bouche…hey, I still used ONE carrot 😉

Rooted some more pineapple crowns to put out in the garden this weekend.

Gratuitous pug photo: Winston doing his Yoda impersonation- “Do or do not, there is no try”

So let’s have a toast to the weekend with this super yummy lychee sake I recently discovered. I lurrrve lychee and this sake goes down so smooth. Be careful! It will catch up with you. Kanpai!

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My Week In Photos- Holiday Cheer

It’s so easy to get caught up in the frenzied pace of the holiday season. This week I stepped away from the kitchen and the computer to go out and LIVE a little, spending time with new friends and my ohana.

Went looking for my pot of gold and then I realized how blessed I already am.

Met up with the lovely Valentina from The House of V Bakery for a meal at Greens & Vines in Honolulu. I love it when you meet a new friend and you can just talk and carry on like you’ve known each other forever. A love of delicious food connects us all. It looks like we’re drinking Bloody Marys but it’s actually the house made strawberry & goji kombucha. It’s thicker than store-bought kombucha, almost like a smoothie. Super tasty and gave me a nice boost for the day.

Greens &Vines Raw Vegan Gourmet on Urbanspoon

Raw Pad Thai- Light, refreshing and full of crunchy goodness

Living Lasagna- A MUST try. Rich, complex flavors and very filling.

Mushroom Alfredo w/ Zucchini Noodles

And the Wicked Chocolate Tart- sooooooo rich and delish!

After sightseeing and a beautiful sunset, we ended the day with a cocktail at The Modern hotel in Waikiki.

I did find time to do a little work. My friend Chanelle has been my baking muse,so I finally broke down and asked her for the recipe for these Ooey Gooey Sticky Buns.Even for a “baking FAIL” like me, they turned out awesome! The video recipe will be up on my YouTube channel soon 🙂

Winston the naughty Pug thought he’d open some Christmas prezzies early…

My Aunty Cynthia took Mom,Dad and me out to celebrate the season at Chai’s Island Bistro with music by the Brother’s Cazimero.

Cheers to all of You, my friends. Mahalo for all of your love and support. Wishing you many blessings and merry everything!

My Week in Photos- Thanksgiving Aftermath

We came. We saw. We ate.

My Aunty Candy and Grandma Helen

The rest of my family are all omnivores, so I will spare you the photo of the Thanksgiving table. But it is really special to me  to celebrate the holidays with my 92 yr old Grandma….how cute is she? We did all of our family photos before the food coma set in.

Rabbit Island from the Ka’Iwi trail

Had to work off all of the Field Roast I devoured with a hike up the Makapuu lighthouse trail. Seriously, this view is the only thing that keeps me motivated to exercise.

My “shop small” haul.Best find at the expo was the Coconut Peanut Butter, so ono!

Best way to get over a weekend of eating debauchery is a Heavenly Salad from Loving Hut

And a warm bowl of home-made kale & rice chow-dah

I’m totally geeked over these skull earrings and this ring! Another part of my “shop small” haul

I’m still in a lot of pain after my car accident at the beginning of November but literally could not stomach taking the pharmaceutical pain meds any longer. This kit I put together (pictured above), along with both cold and hot packs, chiropractic care, acupuncture and massage has given me some much-needed relief. The ProTrauma can be used instead of Ibuprofen for inflammation and my experience has been that it is much gentler on my stomach. Golden Tiger is a topical pain relief cream similar to BioFreeze. I prefer the Golden Tiger  since I find that my skin is less sensitive to it and the pain relieving properties are more effective for me. I gently roll my neck out with the massage stick, no more than 5 minutes at a time, then apply the Ancient Minerals magnesium oil spray. After I stopped taking the prescription muscle relaxers, magnesium is my new best friend! I leave the magnesium oil spray on my skin for about 20 minutes, prepare a beverage with the Mag Relax powdered magnesium, take a deep breath and try to relax.

I’ve also bumped up my intake of green smoothies and added tons of pineapple for the bromelain and extra extra chia for the omega-3’s.

Disclaimer: This post is not intended as medical advice and you should consult your trusted doctor before trying any of these remedies. All products are vegan-friendly and purchased with my own money (the Ancient Minerals sample was in one of my paid Conscious Box subscriptions).

Fingers crossed that I will be feeling well enough to film and edit some new videos for you all soon!

Artist Mark N. Brown painting Kalapawai Market in Kailua. Sometimes you need to stop and capture the artist capturing beauty

Follow me on Instagram for more food porn and pics of beautiful Hawaii. Have a delicious weekend friends!

My Week in Photos- Island Girl

I’ve started morning hikes again-feeling good! View from the Ka’Iwi trail

Makapu’u Lighthouse

Post hike lunch

Weird fact about me #1: When I make a sandwich, I have to take a bite as soon as I press the bread together. Can’t even get it to the table before I chomp down on it.

Delicious experiment: Okinawan Sweet Potato Gnocchi + Macadamia Shallot Cream Sauce…recipe coming soon

Sometimes simple is best, and almost anything drizzled with 18y.o. balsamic is better.

Got my Caviart vegan caviar from Vegan Cuts this week. Super excited to play with this…the black tastes just like the real thing!

Getting in the mood for Halloween

The first of my Carmello tomatoes from the garden

Bite sized lunch:: Better than Tuna Salad Trio + Citrus dry roasted chickpeas

Tons of dragon fruit, star fruit and lilikoi at the farmer’s market

Spotted during my weekend holo holo

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My Week in Photos- It’s been a colorful week

Why do I take photos of my food? Because it’s like capturing a moment of happiness. The flutter of anticipation before the first bite. Taking a photo forces me to take pause and appreciate the architecture of each plate and to be more mindful about my meal.

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over; it became a butterfly.”

Ume Soba Noodles+ Sesame


Fruit Sushi…cute food is more fun to eat. Working on a kid-friendly food series

This is brunch when I’m too lazy/busy/hot to cook

Childhood Lunch Redux::GF English Muffin Pizza


Okinawan Sweet Potato+Garnet Yam+Polenta Stack w/Sauteed Kale & Spicy Pecans

First YouTube milestone:I hit 1,000 subscribers! Thank you so much for your support♡

My Week in Photos- Enjoy the View

 My brother and his wife came to visit last week, so I spent a little less time in the kitchen and more time playing with them.

My favorite view in the whole world. Mokulua Islands, Lanikai Hawaii


Spent a lot of time with my brother and SIL during their visit, so just threw together some quick lunches like this falafel salad.

I don’t post a lot of pics of my greens but I eat a TON!These are fresh from my garden. Usually in green smoothies, salads or quick stir fry.

Making this basic bento inspired me to do a bento series. Planning to do a gluten-free box, soy-free box and a raw box.

Took my brother and Lara to try Frost City

Winston’s computer came back from the repair shop

Japanese eggplant from my Aunty’s garden prepared with a miso glaze, so Ono! Click photo for recipe

First attempt at Kimchi fried rice balls, inspired by The Great Food Truck race. Planning on filming a video recipe soon

Kaimana Beach. Wish you were here

My Week In Photos- App Addict

Aloha Friends! I admit it, I am photo App fixated this week. My old standby for iPhone pics is always Camera+ if I want to give a quick edit. I’ve been playing with Fotorus and PicFx and well,this is what happened…

Lilikoi bloom waiting for the bees to work their magic


Fresh guava

Le salad spinner. Not just for lettuce! I use it to wash almost all of my produce

Thinking of doing a video review now that the Conscious Box is offering an all vegan option. So much goodness

MAde a lot of smoothies to beat the heat

Fruit salad with a “P” Pineapple, papaya and pear with a fig blueberry reduction

I made vegan calamari salad for no reason other than the fact that I really wanted to eat homemade thousand island dressing.

The magic of taking the scenic route home: Artist painting Rabbit Island at Makapuu