Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Day 2: I love the night life...

No birthday would be complete without a fancy celebratory dinner...
 Not the best picture of me, but proof that I was indeed there dining at the French restaurant Le Bistro.
 Tom and Danielle came too.
Here's Zac cheering for being a single guy.

Followed by massive amounts of drinking, partying, and we can't forget...karaoke! 
Zac and Laakea doing their rendition of 3 oh! 3's "Don't trust me".
I think that karaoke is the national pastime here in Hawaii-nei.  Let me tell you, we're pretty darn good at it.  So good in fact, we'll even sing loudly while you're at the mic just to help you carry a tune.  I really think we enhanced many people's song choices that night.  How do I know this to be true?
Another guest, that we didn't previously know, at the table in front of us took a picture of us singing.  Yes, I do believe that we made everyone's night that night.  
Also, you can make a lot of friends by helping other people sing.  By the end of the cruise we had a ton of people saying hi and bye to may be because of what happened later on this evening...  Foreshadowing?  I think so.

Our night of karaoke via progressive pictures of Tom and Danielle:
 We start off looking good.  Smiling nicely.  Looking all cute with our jackets on.  (By the way, Danielle, I think that you should totally frame this one.  It's a really cute one of you guys!)
 A few drinks deep.  The jacket comes off.  The blue steel look appears and fingers get pointed.
Then this :)

Here's one of Chardei!  I told you that I had to sneak pictures of her.  Hence, her not looking directly at the camera.  She became elusive when the camera came out.  
Awww, so sweet!  Who wouldn't want to marry this?  Hehe...just kidding.
This is a pretty good one of the hubby and I. 
I was told that I had to give my husband a birthday kiss.  Really I was egged on by a bunch of semi-drunk friends, chanting "Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss!"  I thought, 'Why not?  It's his birthday.'  He was beaming after that.  Coolest wife in the world points scored there!  :)  

Then we headed over to the theater to see a show.  The show that night was a hypnotist show.  You know the ones where they pull a whole bunch of people from the audience and hypnotize them, thereby getting them to do all kinds of crazy things that they would never normally do.

A show where I can laugh at people willingly doing completely crazy things?  I'm in!

What I didn't count on?  My ham of a brother running up towards the stage to be a volunteer.

You know what?  It was even funnier because he was in it!  He totally made the show.  Full on dancing and power-sliding as a member of the band KISS.

Was he actually hypnotized?  He says no, but you never know...
 You can kind of see Zac in this picture.  He's the tan guy standing next to the guy in the white shorts.

After that everyone on the boat knew us.  "Hey you guys hang out with Zac!  He's the man!"  Yeah I know.  He's my brother. :)

We ended the night at the night club.  It was just okay, probably because La'akea and I are not big dancers.  So we ended up dancing for a bit and then calling it a night in the wee hours of the morning.

Happy birthday to the best husband ever!  Hope it was the best celebration to date.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 2: Three cheers for the birthday boy!

The next day it was the hubby's birthday.  We decided that we had to do it up right.  I mean we were on vacation, which already means that the rules of daily life don't apply, but it was also a birthday!  So all caution was thrown to the wind!  (Including my diet.  By the end of this day I really didn't care about calories any

Happy birthday, darling!

We decided that the best thing to start the day off would be a wine tasting.  Everyone should start their birthday off with a wine tasting, right?

La'akea and Zac waiting for the wine and cheese to be served.  They had the yummiest cheeses to pair with each wine.  My new favorite cheese?  Caraway cheese.  It's creamy and nutty and oh so delicious!
Zac and Tom.  Tom wasn't really feeling the wine, which was perfectly fine with me because I got to drink all the extras.  Thanks Tom for not liking the wine that they served.  :)
Next on the list, head to the casino.  I didn't take any pictures there because I thought it might be weird.  I know, I should have just taken some.  Oh well.  We did learn how to play craps though.  Well...they told me how and I nodded indicating that I understood, but it really made no sense to me.  Yeah, yeah.  Put money on a number and roll the dice.  Got it!  Ummm, no...  

Take this money and go shopping.  Now that's something that I understand completely.

After the casino and a few of the free drinks that they were passing out there, we headed out to the deck.  I thought it would be nice to get a few shots of just the guys.  

This is what happens when you ask three guys to smile at the same time...
You get no real smiles, just

By the time we were finished messing around on the deck, we had just enough time to headed back to our rooms to get changed for the night ahead.

Monday, April 18, 2011

After dinner drinks, anyone?

We ended up having dinner together at one of the "free" restaurants on the ship.  (If you wanted to go to a fancier restaurant the price range was between $10-$25 per person.  Not bad for a three course meal!)  The food there was just okay (Keep in mind that the hubby and I are somewhat snobby when it comes to food.  Personally, I want to eat something that is both tasty and aesthetically pleasing.  I want to be wowed by food and have it be an experience in itself.  This food was not an experience.  It was just to keep you, so La'akea and I decided to forgo this restaurant and try the other restaurants as the trip progressed.

Honestly, there is only so much that one can do on a ship.  You can go swimming or lounge at the pool, gamble, read, play board games, eat food, see a show, dance at the nightclub, sleep, or drink.  Most people chose to  (Those who didn't choose to drink chose to eat food.  I have never seen so much food in all of my life!  The buffets alone were large enough to feed a third world country for a week and that was only what was served for breakfast.  I wonder what they did with all of the food that didn't get eaten...I'm not sure that I really want to know.)

Also, there was the ever popular drink while doing an activity.  Like lounge by the pool with a drink, eat food with a drink, dance at the club with a drink, go to a bar to get a drink, etc., etc.  I think that you could have actually succeeded at being drunk the entire cruise if you really tried.  I wasn't, but I'm sure that I could have pointed out a few people running for that

So after our somewhat lack luster dinner, we decided to drown our food sorrows by bar hopping.  First stop Red Lion Pub.
Tom and Danielle with their first drinks of the night.  One of
Another passenger told us to try the Guinness because it was the Foreign Extra, which has a higher alcohol content than regular Guinness and is also more expensive.  On the ship it was the same price as all of the other beers.  Score!  It was yummy.  Slightly heavier than a normal Guinness, but still very good.  
Mmmmmm, beer.
Danielle was drinking Patron Marga-tinis.  If you haven't had one, you totally should.

Next stop, the Beer Garden.  Did I mention that it was on the top deck of ship?  The open air, top deck of the ship.  Needless to say, we didn't stay long.  We ran back indoors where it was warm...literally ran.  That's how cold it was.
Zac left his jacket in his room.  I've never seen him run so fast before...hehehe.
Yes, it was that cold.

We stumbled across yet another bar, when we made it back to the warm indoors, called the Star Bar.  
I have no idea why Tom is giving me the blue steel
My cousin, Chardei.  She really didn't want me to take pictures of her, but I caught a few anyways.

After a few more drinks there, we decided to call it a night.  I mean we had a whole other sea day tomorrow to do it all

Day 1: The cruise sets sail...

Our cruise to Mexico started in Los Angeles, CA.  We took a bus from the airport to the cruise terminal.
Danielle and Tom, Zac's good friends from high school and now also my friends, snuggling on the bus ride over.  You guys are too cute!
Here's Zac after we got off the bus.  I think he was yelling about it being cold.  In Hawaii it was relatively warm before we left, but in LA it was freezing!  I thought it was supposed to be Spring

After waiting in a super huge line with everyone else who was trying to board the ship, we were finally allowed on.  I think what took so long was checking over everyone's paper work and getting their room keys set up.  I'm glad that they were thorough, though.  
Danielle, Tom, Zac, and I boarding the ship.
La'akea snapped a quick shot of me next to the boat before we boarded.  The ship is huge!  Don't worry we got a better picture of it later.

Once aboard, we were told that our rooms would not be ready for at least another hour or so.  So we roamed the ship in search of food.  After feasting at the giant buffet, we headed to our rooms to get situated and relax a little before deciding what to do with the rest of our night.
The hubby and I ended up venturing outside to see the boat take off.  It was really windy and super cold!
Goodbye LA!  We'll see you in a week!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

And so we were fed...

*I know that I promised to blog about my vacation, but I'm a slave to this linear time line thing and this happened before we left.  No worries.  I'll be posting about the vacation soon enough.

As you all know, March 16th is my wedding anniversary.  I'm sure you want to know how we celebrated our two year mark.  So it's a good thing that I took pictures of the whole thing, huh?

*As a disclaimer:  The hubby and I are both pretty practical people when it comes to buying gifts for our anniversary or for Valentine's Day, hence just the card and single rose this past February 14th.  We both are of the same mind that if we want something we'll just go out and get it, so there's no real need for gift giving aside from birthdays and Christmas.  (I best be getting a birthday present or all hell will break loose!  Lol...just kidding, but seriously...)  A simple card will suffice.  Honestly, I think that we'd rather do something together than buy gifts.  I know.  We're strange that way.

I was under the impression that the Mexican cruise would be where we were going to celebrate our anniversary, you know a nice dinner or something.  So I was dressed and ready to hit the gym after work like we usually do on Wednesdays.  Then I received a text from La'akea that read, "Chef Mavro's tonight?  Reservations at 7."

Needless to say, the gym clothes were thrown to the side and all of the dresses that I own were tried on with the corresponding shoes.  (Hey, I'm a girl!  Don't lie and tell me that you don't try on everything in your wardrobe while getting ready to go out on a date.  You have to figure out what is going to make you look best!)  After tearing my closet apart and screaming out "Aaaahhhhhh!  I have nothing to wear!" countless times, I found the perfect outfit...the one that I had put on in the first place.  Isn't that ironic, don't ya think? (Name that song.)

Finding the restaurant was a challenge.  Mostly since we've never been there before, but also because there is only a tiny sign posted outside of the restaurant.  Good thing I'm a master navigator or we would have driven right past it!  Okay, so we lucked out and I saw it at the last  (My husband didn't marry me for my navigation skills...hehe.)
See?  Tiny sign.  The restaurant was beautiful inside and out, though.

As for the menu, it is set up with a prefixed three course meal, four course meal, and six course meal.  You choose how many courses you would like and can mix up any of the appetizers, main courses, and desserts from any of the course selections to form your own personalized dinning experience.  For example, I had the appetizer from the six course meal and the main course and dessert from the three course meal.  They charge a little extra for the more expensive items, like Wagyu beef, but it's not much.  So go ahead and mix it up, people!

They also offer wine pairings with each course for an extra fee.  We figured that we were celebrating, so we splurged on the pairings.  They were well worth it!  Though, I may be biased by my passion for wine.

La'akea eagerly awaiting the menu.  
Oh check out the cocktail ring!  Remember that Kate Spade sample sale?  Yup, that's her Belle of the Ball ring.  Fabulous!
Three courses each equals 8 glasses.  3 each for wine pairings and 1 each for water.  You know you're in a fancy restaurant when you have a billion glasses on the table for only two  I feel for their dish washer.
Pairing number one.  I really wanted to drink it before my appetizer came out, but I resisted the temptation.
My appetizer.  A poached truffled egg with ham and a potato bisque  accompanied by a piece of toasted sweetbread.  
(I'm sorry Chef Mavro!  I know that it wasn't really called a potato bisque, but I was so busy eating that I forgot to take a picture of the menu to help me remember!  For shame, I know!)
This by the way was the most delicious dish of the night.  Hands down!  I could eat that everyday and never tire of it.  I took a bite and died, then willed myself back to life, took another bite and died again.  It was culinary genius!
La'akea had the Ahi.  Yum, yum!  (He took this picture by the way.  I can't be blamed for his bad picture taking skills...hehe.)
I had the lamb as my main course.  It was divine!  I'm a weenie when it comes to finishing all of my meal at a restaurant, so I wasn't surprised when my husband offered to finish the rest of my lamb.  You know, so I'd have room for dessert. :)
La'akea had the Wagyu beef.  On the left is the loin cut and on the right is the braised short rib.  The loin was good, but the short rib was amazing!  Especially paired with the celery root puree.  Yum!
For dessert I had the kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) and coconut custard with cream cheese ice cream (Yes, that is correct.  Cream cheese ice cream!).  They should seriously sell cream cheese ice cream by the tub.  It was delish!  I wished that they had only scooped larger scoops of it on to my plate.
La'akea had their deconstructed smore.  It was pretty good, though I think that the cream cheese ice cream beat it.
They ended our wonderful meal with some green tea macaroons, a chocolate truffle, and a salted caramel to share.  I ordered a cappuccino to go with all the sweets.  Plus, whenever there is a cappuccino on the menu I have to order it.  I'm slightly obsessed with them.  Strangely, I hardly ever drink them except at restaurants.  So there, another weird Arielle-ism for you.

We shared a lovely meal in celebration of our love.  (We've been together for 11 years now, even though we've only been married for 2.  Crazy how time flies, isn't it?)

If you're ever in the area, check out Chef Mavro.  Be warned, it's a little pricey.  I scored a killer Play Hawaii deal on it awhile ago, so that helped offset some of the cost.  (I knew it was one of the restaurants on our 'must dine at' list, so when it came up I jumped on it.  Who can say no to paying $50 for a $100 gift certificate?)

Bon Appetit!