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Travel

Hawaii Vacation Part III (Final Recap!)

Hi guys!

I am back today with the final recap from our amazing Hawaii Vacation in Maui. We left off last time after a delicious and romantic dinner at the Ferraro’s restaurant at the Four Seasons. On Thursday Travis and I had plans to go on a zip line tour. There are lots of zip line companies in Maui, but we found that Kapalua Zip Lines had incredible reviews on Trip Advisor and it was the only course that had parallel lines so Travis and I could zip side-by-side. Neither Travis or I had ever zip lined before, so we knew were in for a treat! Kapalua Zip Lines is located in Lahaina, which was about an hour from where we were staying in Wailea. We were instructed to arrive by 8AM, so that morning we had to wake up very early in order to arrive on time. The 7-line course was AMAZING – we had the time of our lives. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures to share with you because we chose not to bring a camera or phone with us for fear that it might fall while we were zip lining. Some people brought GoPro cameras, which I bet made for some awesome video footage!

I was by far the smallest person in our 10-person group, which invoked a lot of laughs throughout the tour. Some of the zip lines were LONG and the instructors on the tour (who were all hilarious and made the experience a blast!) kept joking with me that I might not make it all the way across because I was too light! They were kidding, of course, but on the longest line I actually did get nervous because I started slowing down dramatically and I thought I was going to get stranded in the middle of the zip line! NO. THANK YOU. I am pretty sure that has never actually happened to anyone, but I can be pretty gullible…

The tour lasted until about 1PM. Afterwards, Travis and I were really hungry so we decided to hang out in Lahaina for awhile and grab some food. One of the waitresses at our resort had recommended the Cool Cat for great burgers and drinks, so we decided to check it out on our way back to the hotel.

Pineapple Cocktail

I started with this delicious Pineapple-Tini. The pineapple in Hawaii is soooooo fresh, so I felt obligated to eat it any chance I could get! Our burgers were both really good, too. I was so hungry that I completely forgot to take a picture when it arrived!

Unfortunately, in the middle of our vacation I caught a very bad cold, so we kind of laid low for the rest of the week. I guess if you are going to be sick, laying by the pool in Maui isn’t really the worst place, is it? One of the final highlights of our trip was the luau we attended on our last night. After hearing many family and friends recommend that we attend a luau close to our resort (because all luaus are buffet and open bar, so you mind as well enjoy it!) we decided to reserve seats at the luau at the Marriott because it was walking distance from our hotel.

Maui Luau

Around 4PM on Friday we walked the path along the ocean between our hotel, the Andaz, and the Marriott. When we arrived we were greeted with beautiful leis and got our picture taken in front of the ocean.

Maui Luau

It was VERY hot out, so Travis and I decided to hang out in the shade as we waited for the show to start. About an hour later the buffet opened up, so we walked over to get in line.

Maui Luau

To be perfectly honest, the food at the buffet was not so great. I read a few negative reviews beforehand that mentioned that food was poor, so I knew not to go into it with high expectations. I didn’t really care because I was more there to see the show and just enjoy the overall experience. This was my first luau, so I just wanted to soak it all in!

Once most people had their food, the show began to start. The outfits and dancing were both beautiful.

Maui Luau

Yet again, I couldn’t get over the amazing colors in the sky as the sun began to set over the performance. I loved how the women’s dresses matched the gorgeous pink sunset behind them in the picture below.

Maui Luau

The fire show at the end was also very impressive. As someone who is pretty much scared of lighting a match, I was in awe of how this performer was able to manipulate these giant torches.

Maui Luau

Maui Luau

I am so glad I got to experience an authentic Hawaiian luau! I know it is something I will remember for a long time.

On our final day in Maui, I was so congested and sick that I basically didn’t want to move. I felt terrible because Travis really wanted to drive the Road the Hana, the full day road trip that takes you on a narrow winding road to the beautiful town of Hana, but I just couldn’t imagine being stuck in the car all day with that awful cold. Instead we decided to have a slow morning around the hotel. Once it was time to check out, we packed up our bags and sadly said goodbye to our amazing room and staff at the Andaz. I didn’t want to leave!

Since we had a few hours to kill before our redeye flight back to LA, I told Travis we should do a little bit of the drive to Hana just to see what it was all about. We had already said multiple times during our trip that we had to go back to Maui soon because there was so much more we wanted to see, do, and eat! The first stop on the Road to Hana is the Twin Falls Farmstand, which we read had delicious smoothies and banana bread.

Road to Hana

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Travis and I waited in line and scoped out the menu. While the majority of people around us were ordering smoothies and coconuts to sip on, we opted for the banana bread. It was the perfect mid-afternoon snack.

Road to Hana

We walked around for a little bit and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, but we headed back to our car before too long because there were signs everywhere warning us about car break-ins. Since we had ALL of our luggage and belongings in the car, we wanted to be extra cautious!

Road to Hana

We continued for a few more miles on the Road to Hana, but eventually had to turn around because we wanted to grab a bite to eat before our flight. I read that Flatbread Company in Paia had some seriously delicious pizza, so thought it would be a perfect pre-flight meal.

Flatbreads, Paia

We actually had three hours before our flight, so we told our waiter we were in no rush and would probably be there for awhile. All of the staff at Flatbread Company were so chill (think surfer-dude level chill), so our waiter definitely didn’t care that we just wanted to hang.

Flatbread Company, PaiaI have to admit that my taste buds weren’t exactly on point that day, but everything we ate really hit the spot. We started with their Organic Salad which was served with a Maui Pineapple Vinaigrette. Flatbread Company actually has locations all across the country, but every location serves food based on what is local to that particular location – I love that!

Flatbread Company, Paia

For our flatbread, we ordered half Margherita and half Punctuated Equilibrium, which had kalamata olives, goat cheese and other fresh veggies. They made a mistake and made the flatbread half cheese instead of the Punctuated Equilibrium, so they said they were going to bring out another WHOLE pizza for us in a few minutes. All of a sudden we had so much pizza on our table and we didn’t know how we were going to eat all of it! We even offered a few slices to our waiter, but he turned us down (admittedly, he probably can’t eat on the job).

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Everything we ate was SOOO yummy and I was in carb heaven. Before we knew it, it was time to pay our check and head to the airport. Luckily, the airport was only 10 minutes away from the Flatbread Company and since the Maui airport is tiny, we were through security in a matter of minutes. We decided to grab a drink at the airport bar, hoping it would knock us out on our flight home.

Our waitress was a little….kooky….and she kept telling me I looked waaaaay too young to be over 21 even after she checked my ID. Every time she passed our table she made a comment about it. Usually this is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves. I am small. I look young. I get it. Now bring me my glass of wine, please! But surprisingly it didn’t bother me this time because I was on vacation mode!  Travis and I just kept laughing about it all the way until we boarded our plane.

Sunset, Maui

I was so, so, so sad to leave Hawaii. It is a magical place and I hope I get to go back soon and experience it all over again! I hope you liked my vacation recaps. I will be back to posting recipes soon! Aloha!

Travel

Hawaii Vacation Part II

Hi guys! I am back today with Part II of our Hawaii Vacation recap. I was hoping to have this post up at the end of last week, but unfortunately my blog was hacked 🙁 I apologize if you were trying to access this site last Thursday or Friday – it was down for maintenance in order to fix the mess caused by a not-so-nice web hacker. Nevertheless, we are back up and running now!

We left off last time at the end of our first day of vacation. The next morning, Travis and I decided we wanted to spend the day just hanging around the hotel and relaxing. We woke up bright and early (due to the time difference) and decided to head straight to the beach. After about only 10 minutes of laying on our respective beach chairs, we were both getting a little antsy. There were lots of people paddle boarding, swimming and kayaking, so we decided to rent a 2-person kayak and hit the waves. Having been a coxswain (the little  person who steers the boat and commands a crew) in high-school and college, I put myself in charge of steering us and mainly relied on Travis for his strength to move us through the big waves. We had a blast and went pretty far out into the ocean. We even saw a GIANT sea turtle, which was the highlight of the day! In fact, we rented a kayak two days later just to see if we could find him again.

After a pretty serious workout on the water, we were getting hungry, so we hopped into our rental car and headed to a nearby spot for lunch. While I was researching before our trip, I found Coconuts Fish Cafe on Yelp. They have very high ratings and are known for their delicious fish tacos.

Fish Tacos

We ordered the fish tacos and coconut shrimp to share.  After my first bite, I knew immediately why this place had such rave reviews. Everything tasted so fresh and the flavors were out of this world! Check out that incredible mango salsa in the picture above!

Coconut Shrimp

Coconut Shrimp

The coconut shrimp came with a delicious sweet dipping sauce. I wish I had asked for the recipe because I would love to recreate it at home. We ordered the perfect amount of food because neither of us felt too stuffed and we were more than ready to hit the waves again after lunch.

We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing by the beach and pool.  That night we had an early dinner reservation at Ferraro’s at the Four Seasons resort nearby. I read online that on top of it’s delicious Italian food, Ferraro’s had the best sunset views and it was considered a very romantic dinner spot. I knew it was a must-do for us!

Travis and Rachel Dinner

I booked a 5:30PM dinner reservation to ensure we would already be seated by the time the sun began to set. Our hotel, the Andaz, had a complimentary courtesy car that will drive you anywhere within a mile or two of the resort. It was a great amenity that we used multiple times during our trip. It is very helpful if you plan to have a few drinks with dinner so you don’t have to worry about driving afterward.

That night we had the courtesy car drop us off at the Four Seasons. The main entrance and lobby area was so grand – the klutz in me was nervous I was going to trip and break something! We walked down the stairs and through the pool area to the Ferraro’s entrance. We were actually the first to arrive for dinner that evening, which was strange for us. We are not used to being such early birds!

Ferraro's Four Seasons

I am so glad we came early, though, because we got the BEST seat in the restaurant with a perfect view of the ocean and the gorgeous Maui skies.

Ferraro's Four Seasons

The service was amazing at Ferraro’s. Our meal started with warm hand towels. The waiter poured warm water on these tiny towels and we watched them expand before our eyes. So cool!

Ferraro's Four Seasons

To start, I ordered wine and Travis had a beer.

Rachel Ferraro's

Travis Ferraro's

We browsed the menu for so long because everything looked delicious! We decided to order a few plates to share. We asked the waiter to bring our dishes out slowly so we could maximize our time enjoying the sunset. He did a great job and we ended up sitting at the restaurant for a little over two hours.

To start we had the Maui tomato and burrata salad. Whenever we see burrata on a menu, we have to order it. We can’t get enough!

Ferraro's Four Seasons

Next we had the bruschetta trio: roasted red pepper, kalamata olive, and Maui tomato all on buttery grilled ciabatta. I would have happily ordered another round of these if we didn’t have our entree on its way!

Bruschetta Trio

As we dug into our bruschetta appetizer, the sun began to set. It was simply stunning!

Sunset Ferraro's

For our final course we had whole wheat pasta with a braised lamb sauce. This was my favorite item of the night! The fresh pasta melted in my mouth and I never wanted it to end.

Pasta with lamb - Ferraro's

By the time we finished our meal, the sky looked magnificent with hundreds of shades of pinks and purples.

Sunset Ferraro's

After our meal we decided to walk around the Four Seasons for a bit before calling the Andaz’s courtesy car to pick us up. We were so happy and just in vacation dream land (OK, maybe that was the wine I was feeling…) It felt so nice not to be in any rush to go anywhere. Best yet? We had a car that would come pick us up as soon as we called! Now that is the life…

Four Seasons Maui

Part III of my Hawai recap to come!

Travel

Hawaii Vacation Part I

We had the most incredible Hawaii vacation and I am so excited to share it with you guys!

Hawaii

We set off bright and early on Monday morning. I was hoping to sleep on the plane, but I was so darn excited that it was impossible. After a five and a half hour flight I was more than ready to get off the plane. I was very pleased when I realized the Maui airport is actually quite small because I was able to get my checked back in under five minutes from stepping of the plane! I am pretty sure that is record for me.

Before we knew it, we were in our rental car on the way to our hotel!

Hawaii

It was fairly cloudy out by the time we landed, but I still thought the scenery was beautiful.

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Travis and I did a ton of research before our trip. Hawaii has always been on the top of my list of vacation destinations, but I’ve always been put off by the steep prices on all the islands. A few months ago we saw a hotel and flight deal for the Andaz at Wailea, a new beautiful hotel, we knew we couldn’t pass it up. The Andaz opened last September and all of the reviews we read raved about the beautiful property and impeccable service. We spent so much time researching because we wanted to prioritize what we were going to spend our money on.

When we pulled up to the Andaz entrance, we were greeted by friendly valets who took our car and bags and handed us each a beautiful lei. I received the tuberose lei and they gave Travis the traditional Kukui nut lei. Unfortunately, I forgot to take close-up pictures of them! When we entered the lobby, we were met by one of the lovely staff members, who sat us down on a large couch overlooking the pools and checked-in on an ipad (I think that was a first for me!). They also gave us warm hand towels and fresh lavender lemonade – I felt like royalty!

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Next, we were taken to our room and I loved how bright and beachy it was! The room looked out onto the property’s gardens and we had our own private balcony where I sat every morning to enjoy my coffee and read.

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After we dropped our bags in the room, we were more than ready for some lunch, so we set out to explore the hotel and find something to eat.

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You can almost see our leis in the above picture.  Please note Travis’ “I am so excited to eat” dance!

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We decided to stop at Bumbye Beach Bar, which was next to one of the hotel pools. I ordered a glass of pinot grigio and Travis ordered a local Maui beer to kick off our vacation. For lunch we ordered the chicken “popsicles” and a grilled chicken kale salad to share.

IMG_1586Some hotel food can be overpriced and lack imagination, but everything we ordered so fresh was delicious! I knew that was a good sign that the rest of the food throughout the hotel would be delicious as well.

After lunch we decided to take a stroll on the beach. The wind and waves were crazy, so there was barely anyone left laying out by the ocean.

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After our walk, we went back to the room to rest for awhile until dinner. We had reservations at Ka’ana Kitchen, a farm-to-table restaurant at the Andaz. Before dinner, we freshened up and went downstairs to grab a cocktail and watch the live entertainment they have by one of the pools every evening. The performer sounded so much like Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, a Hawaiian singer whose music I’ve always loved. It felt so peaceful listening to him as we enjoyed our drinks.

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Our meal at Ka’ana Kitchen was incredible. I was enjoying it so much that I forgot to snap some photos. I did, however, make sure to capture the gorgeous sunset we watched during our meal. Look at these colors! I took pictures of the sunsets every night during our vacation because I just thought each night was more beautiful than the one before it.

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After dinner, we were wiped from a long day of travel and the three hour time difference, so we passed out pretty early. I was so eager to wake up for our first full day on the island!

Hawaii Part II recap to come later this week…

 

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