Maui Film Festival, Taste of Wailea and “Live Your Best Life” with Oprah – Maui 

This past weekend felt like one of those moments you dream about.  I was invited to Maui to attend the Maui Film Festival and Taste of Wailea and the whole experience was so incredible.  The day started early, with a quick flight on Hawaiian Airlines.  As soon as my friend and I got to the Valley Isle, we went to breakfast at Longhi’s for a “filmmaker’s brunch” with bottomless Bloody Mary’s and Martinis.

The food was so ono!

After that, we headed over to our hotel – the Andaz Maui in Wailea.  I am speechless!

The resort was so luxurious and we were immediately welcomed with a lei, a lavender lemonade and an oshibori towel.

Our room wasn’t ready so we went to one of the many infinity pools that overlook West Maui and the island of Lanai.

The Taste of Wailea was held at the Wailea Golf Club.  The event featured tastings from some of the best restaurants in Wailea and a spectacular drink selection.  The coconut martinis were made with Organic Ocean Vodka and poured down an ice luge.

The venue was so perfect because we got to see Kahoolawe and Molokini Crater in the distance.

After the culinary art experience we took our seats and got ready for the movie, which was played on a big screen in the middle of the golf course, following the colorful sunset.

Ready for the Taste of Wailea

The Andaz Maui has plenty of activities you can do for free, from outrigger canoe paddling, yoga, and a mixology class.  I had never paddled on an outrigger so we went a short cruise over some of the prettiest water I have seen.

We saw plenty of Honu (Hawaiian sea turtles) swimming in the crystal clear ocean.

The instructor was very helpful and made the experience so much fun.  Our friends joined us at the pool and we went to the mixology class at 3 pm.  The bartenders were so great about explaining the differences in Tequila and Mezcal from different regions in Mexico.  We tried a few varieties and 2 different margaritas made with fresh squeezed lime juice.

Before sunset, we went back in the water in Wailea for a nice swim, and ended the night with a delicious Thai dinner at Nutcharee’s Authentic Thai Food in Kihei.

I had originally only planned to stay 2 days in Maui, but ended up winning a raffle for 2 free tickets to see Oprah Winfrey speak at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center.  The event was sponsored by HMSA and approximately 5,000 people showed up to hear Oprah talk about “Living your Best Life.”  The experience was so surreal.  It was uplifting to hear her stories.

“The practice of gratitude immediately changes your life.” – Oprah

(Her advice: Write 5 things that your are grateful for in a journal each night.)

 

We left the venue a little early, and ordered lunch online at Tin Roof in Kahului.  I wish I would have taken a picture of the food, because it was so good.  I was hungry and ate the Mochiko Chicken animal style faster than you can imagine.  Since we only had a few hours before our flight, we drove through the historic town of Paia to Hookipa.

This beach is magic.  It’s a resting place for turtles, and we hung out by the tidepools and talked about when we can come visit Maui again.

How about you?  Do you have any favorite Maui experiences?  Have you been to the Maui Film Festival?  Do you have any plans on visiting the islands soon?  Check out my post about watching the sunrise in Haleakala.  Trust me, this experience is a must!

With Aloha,

Alex

Breakfast, Happy Hour and Dinner- Where to Eat in Waikiki

When it comes to food I love pretty much everything, and the selections in Waikiki rarely disappoint.  I recently had a chance to try a few new places popping up in the 96815, from breakfast treats, to a stellar happy hour menu and a mango infused dinner cuisine.

This summer, treat yourself.

Breakfast/Quick Bite – Marion Crepes:

This place has 40 different sweet and savory flavors.  They are made to order, and have a variety of fillings you can choose from.  I tried the Strawberry & Banana Chocolate Sundae.  In my opinion, it can be breakfast or dessert.  Either way, it will satisfy your sweet tooth.  Other selections include Chicken Breast & Cheese with a homemade basil sauce, or The Waikiki special with Acai Sorbet and fruit.

Waikiki Yokocho in Waikiki Shopping Plaza, 2250 Kalakaua Ave. Honolulu, HI 96815

Happy Hour/Dim Sum – Yauatcha Waikiki:

Located inside the International Market Place, this modern teahouse offers a combination of contemporary Cantonese dim sum, and European patisserie. Their new Flow & Prosper menu features six craft cocktails and eight dim sum.  Prices range from $8 for drinks to $6 for dim sum available Monday through Friday from 3pm to 6pm at the bar.

The Ginger Smash has Virginia Black Whiskey, ginger, cardamom, vanilla, lemongrass, lemon and ginger beer.  Let’s just say I’ll see you a the bar!

2330 Kalakaua Avenue, Suite 326, Honolulu, HI 96815.  808-739-9318

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Who could use one of these in their life right now?

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Flowing and Prospering

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Dinner Date: Taormina Sicilian Cuisine

Mangoes are juicy, healthy and delicious, and they are the main star of Chef Hiro’s new seasonal dishes.  I enjoyed the Tropical Flair, a mango risotto with mascarpone cheese, seared scallops, black pepper, shrimp, kale and a hint of blue cheese. So good, I went back for seconds and thirds.  The Mango Tango salad has avocado, shrimp, sun-dried tomatoes, cucumbers and prosciutto.  I’m a sucker for dessert… don’t miss the House-made Mango mousse cheesecake with coconut syrup.

227 Lewers St, Honolulu, HI 96815. 808.926.5050

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What’s your favorite place to eat and drink in Waikiki?  Do you have any recommendations?  I’m always up for trying something new.

With Aloha,

-Alex

 

SUP for Free at Ala Moana Beach Park 

ala moana

What’s better than getting out of work and heading to the beach?  Especially when your off midday and Ala Moana Beach Park is located one block away.

This beach is popular with swimmers, surfers and stand up paddlers and it’s a great place to learn if you’ve never been on a SUP.

The City and County of Honolulu Parks and Recreation Department offers free Stand-Up Paddleboard lessons and an Ocean Cross-Fitness Course during certain times of the year. They provide all the equipment.  Even though I already knew how to SUP, I learned techniques on how to turn the board.  Before I started taking the class, I had never been on a prone paddleboard, a board with no paddle.

SUP is a great workout for your core, but the prone paddleboard forces you to use your arms.

The staff and volunteers always greet you with a big friendly smile.  You’ll go out with a lifeguard for a 30-40 minute session, depending on which class you take. The only thing you have to do is sign up, show up, and take a swim test once.   The class sizes are small, no more than 3-4 people at a time, and you can go at your own pace.

Once you get in the water,  soak in the Honolulu skyline – and enjoy the stunning views of Diamond Head, Waikiki and Kakaako.

Occasionally you’ll also see a few honus (Hawaiian Sea turtles) in the water.  (Take note: All sea turtles are protected by federal and state laws. Don’t touch them.)

The SUP and Ocean Cross-Fitness season just ended in mid-April,  but the next one starts again in September.

Parks.Honolulu.gov  Contact: Kterukina@honolulu.gov (808) 768-3039.

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