Monday, April 30, 2012

Maui 2012: Day One

We woke up bright and early to clouds and intermittent showers in the Kahana area.  Lucky for us, there were several awesome rainbows, but it made sun bathing almost impossible.  Whenever it rains in Kahana your best bet is to drive 5 minutes south and you'll find the sun.

Instead of a day by the pool/beach, we opted to put on our walking shoes and hit the north end of the Kaanapali Beach Walk.  The beachfront "boardwalk" extends from the Honua Kai Konea Resort on the north end and goes all the way down to the Hyatt Regency Maui on the south side. From hotel to hotel, it's about a 2+ mile walk (we went about 1/3 of the way south). 

Aside from people watching, there is a small stretch of gorgeous homes, beautiful views of the ocean and many other ocean front amenities (pools, bars, spas and shopping) to explore.

After our 45 minute walk, we stopped by Duke's Beach House Restaurant where Bartender, Josh hooked us up with some yummy cocktails (second Mai Tai experience of the trip).

We had a quiet evening back at the condo and a sunset down on the beach.

For dinner we grilled an amazing filet mignon and munched on some Maui Kula corn on the cob...opened up an amazing Argentinian Tempranillo to wash it all down.  We love the fact that we can enjoy an amazing meal prepared at our condo while watching the sun set over the Pacific.

Our first full day was awesome.....6 more just like it, please!


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Maui 2012: Our Arrival

"Maui no ka oi" is what locals say—it's the best, the most, the top of the heap. 

We have arrived once again in paradise and will call Kahana home for the next 9 days.

First Mai Tai at Lahaina Coolers

Since we arrived so early this year (landed at 11:07 am), we drove straight to Lahaina for our first cocktail at Lahaina Coolers and an awesome lunch (super fresh fish tacos).

Personalized welcome at the Valley Isle Resort

You realize you are an "adopted" local (or a lush) when the bartender (the awesome Rodrigo) recognizes you from your last visit and also remembers that it's been about a year since he last saw you.  We felt like Norm from Cheers! 

We then settled in at the Valley Isle and after our first sunset, we had our official "welcome to Maui" cocktails at Dollie's then took dinner home (they have great individual pizzas and a wonderful signature salad).  

Life is good!


Saturday, April 28, 2012


As you are reading this, Brian and I are heading out over the Pacific Ocean to the island of Maui.

As always, I'll post when I can (tweet and Facebook a bit when Brian isn't looking) and hopefully take some time to relax and decompress. Check back daily for pictures of our latest Hawaiian adventure.

Until then, there will be no Old Photo Friday (sorry Pop), Recipe of the Week or Menu Plan Monday.   Let us enjoy our break!


Stacy and Brian

Friday, April 27, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me! Coldplay in Concert!

I was so excited when I found out Coldplay was bringing their Mylo Xyloto tour to Portland on my 43rd birthday.

What a treat to see one of my favorite bands of all time on my birthday!

Pre-concert drinks and nibbles before hand at The Ringside Fish House.  We enjoyed an amazing Happy Hour Menu with the following nibbles...

Old Bay Potato Chips with Crème Fraiche and Chives - $1.95
Steak Bites with Creamy Horseradish - $2.25
Caesar Salad with Croutons and Parmesan Cheese - $2.25
½ Shell Oysters of the Day with Cocktail Sauce - $3.50 (I got an extra for free because it was my birthday)
Mini Birthday Cakes in honor of Moi!!! (FREE)

We loved the Fish House....a cute bar/lounge with plenty of seating for groups or individuals and a nice area at the bar with about 8 seats (two plasma TV's with plenty of live sporting events) plus very friendly bartenders.

The concert at the Rose Garden was amazing.  After the opening act, Coldplay took the stage for a full on 90 minutes, plus a 5 song encore.  Highlights from the set list included:

"Mylo Xyloto" (contains elements of "Back to the Future Overture") (Instrumental Introduction)
"Hurts Like Heaven"
"In My Place"
"The Scientist"
"Violet Hill"
"God Put A Smile Upon Your Face"
"Princess of China" with Rhianna on the big screen
"Viva La Vida"
"Us Against The World"
"Fix You"
...and they closed the show with "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall"

This is the second time that I have seen Coldplay perform and I must say, that although I enjoyed the outdoor concert in Bend, this show was amazing with lights, confetti, wristbands that lit up like Christmas lights and great interaction from the crowd.  I really missed the intimacy of a smaller venue, but the room really came alive with Chris Martin leading.

What an amazing birthday!


P.S. The two really good photos are courtesy of Facebook (I wished we were that close)

Old Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Stacy!

WHO: Stacy Dare Brady
WHAT: My Birthday Photo
WHERE: Sacred Heart Hospital in Eugene, OR
WHEN: April 24, 1969

My first photo ever.  Don't I look like a little Eskimo baby?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Dinner in Los Angeles; Tomatillo BBQ Ribs

On Saturday night after my adventure at the Getty Museum, I met up with "train" friends Gwen and Eileen for dinner at Border Grill in Downtown Los Angeles.

Described as upscale, modern Mexican food in a vibrant setting, Border Grill is a hip, urban cantina from Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, of Bravo's "Top Chef Masters" and Food Network's "Too Hot Tamales".

Gwen and Eileen


Our appetizers; a beautiful fresh form tamale and a plantain empenada

The menu consists of complex authentic dishes based on the home cooking of Oaxaca and the Yucatan. They use organic long grain rice and black beans, as well as beef, lamb, and pork raised without hormones and antibiotics and serve seasonal, locally grown ingredients whenever possible and do not use any products containing artificial trans fat. They are also a member of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program.

Our girls night out was excellent and a way for us to connect away from train business.  Although this item was not on the Saturday night menu, it was included on the restaurants website.


Tomatillo Barbecue Ribs and Avocado Corn Relish


Dry Rub:
3 tablespoons hot paprika
3 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
4 pounds pork baby back ribs

Tomatillo Glaze:
2 small onions, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
10 cloves chopped garlic
3 Serrano chiles, sliced - since these are so spicy, I would consider just using one to start with!
10 tomatillos, husked, washed, and roughly chopped
1 large bunch roughly chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons maple syrup
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Avocado Corn Relish:
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cups fresh corn kernels (about 5 ears, canned corn can be substituted)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 avocados, peeled and seeded
4 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 bunch cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup red wine vinegar


Dry Rub:
1. Combine paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Pat spice mixture all over ribs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours or overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 250-300 degrees Fahrenheit in a convection oven.

3. Place ribs in a single layer in a baking pan and pour in water to a depth of about 1/4-inch. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes in the oven or on grill with the lid closed. Cover with foil and bake for an additional 45 minutes. If finishing the ribs in the oven, brush generously with the glaze and bake another 10 minutes per side, basting with the glaze every 5 minutes. To grill, generously glaze the ribs and grill 5 minutes per side, frequently brushing with additional glaze. Cut the ribs apart and serve hot.

Tomatillo Glaze:
1. In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, sauté onion in duck or pork fat until golden. Add garlic, Serrano chilies, and tomatillos and cook stirring frequently until mixture thickens, about 30 to 45 minutes. Add cilantro and cook an additional 10 minutes.

2. Puree with an immersion blender and add maple syrup. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly and being careful not to burn. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Avocado Corn Relish:
1. Heat 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the corn with the salt and pepper, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool.

2. Cut the avocados into 1/4-inch dice. Add to the sautéed corn along with the scallions, cilantro, red wine vinegar, and remaining olive oil. Mix well and let sit 20 to 30 minutes to blend the flavors. Serve at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy of Border Grill Website
Photos taken by moi; thanks to my "two hot tamale" friends.  Ladies, you are truly special!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow!?

This is a good start!

I've been wanting to get some things in the ground with all of my travel plans in April and May, plus our spring weather is starting to take off.

Here is what we planted last week...

Carrots - beets did well last year so why not try another root
Garlic - we use a ton so why not plant it?
Rosemary - I had a hard time finding any last year and we use it a lot
Yellow Zucchini - too early to plant for another 3-4 weeks; he will go in the ground with the tomatoes in Mid-May

What are you planting in your garden?



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today I am 43! Wow!

Here is a summary of events that took place in 1969 the year that I was born.

  • In January, Led Zeppelin I, Led Zeppelin's first studio album is released
  • Richard M. Nixon is sworn in as the 37th President of the United States of America
  • On January 30th, the Beatles give their last public performance on the rooftop of Apple Studios in London
  • In February, the last edition of The Saturday Evening Post hits the magazine stands
  • The Boeing 747 makes its maiden voyage
  • On March 28th, former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower dies
  • In May, an American teenager known as Robert R. dies in St. Louis, MO of a baffling medical condition. In 1984 it will be identified as the first confirmed case of HIV/AIDS in North America
  • The Battle of Dong Ap Bia, also known as Hamburger Hill, begins during the Vietnam War.
  • In June, Judy Garland dies of a drug overdoes in her London home.
  • In July, Edward M. Kennedy drives off a bridge on his way home from a party on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts. Mary Jo Kopechne, a former campaign aide to his brother, dies in the early morning hours of July 19 in the submerged car.
  • In August, the Haunted Mansion attraction opens at Disneyland California.
  • August 15-18 in upstate NY, the Woodstock Festival is held
  • The first ATM in the United States is installed in Rockville Centre, NY
  • On October 16th the "miracle" New York Mets win the World Series, beating the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles 4 games to 1.
Those sharing a 1969 birthday include:
  • American Actor, Jason Bateman (January 14th)
  • Boxer, Roy Jones Jr. (January 16th)
  • Golfer, Retief Goosen (February 3rd)
  • Actress, Jennifer Aniston (February 11th)
  • Actor, Javier Bardem (March 1st)
  • MLB Player, Brett Boone (April 6th)
  • Springfield, OR native, Stacy Dare Brady (April 24th)
  • NFL Player, Emmitt Smith (May 15th)
  • Rapper, Ice Cube (June 15th)
  • Jennifer Lopez, signer/actress (July 24th)
  • Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones (September 25th)

Monday, April 23, 2012

One Day in Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum

I only had one day in Los Angeles so I asked friends on Facebook to give me some ideas. My first thought was a Dodger's game, but they were on the road. Many suggested the beach or Santa Monica, but since I have been there before, I decided to try something different. On Saturday I went to the J. Paul Getty Museum.

J. Paul Getty was an American industrialist and founded the Getty Oil Company. In 1957 Fortune Magazine named him the richest living American. At his death, he was worth more than $2 billion. Despite his wealth, Getty was known for being a miser. He was an avid collector of art and antiquities; his collection formed the basis for this museum and over $661 million of his estate was left to the museum after his death.

The museum at the Getty Center contains western art from the middle ages to the present and with an estimated 1.3 million visitors annually, it's one of the most visited museums in the United States.

I was most interested in seeing an exhibit on Herb Ritts who was a Los Angeles-based photographer who established an international reputation for his distinctive photographs of fashion models, nudes, and celebrities.  His retrospective was fabulous, well designed and included some of his music videos ("Cherish" by Madonna and "Love Will Never Do Without You" by Janet Jackson) along with his ads for Lancome and Levi Jeans.
The Getty Gardens, including the Robert Irwin Central Garden were unfortunately closed for spring maintenance. The 134,000-square-foot design features a natural ravine and tree-lined walkway that leads the visitor through an extraordinary experience of sights, sounds, and scents.  I Did enjoy the cactus gardens and the incredible views of Los Angeles through the fog (smog).

With the gardens closed, it gave me the opportunity to check out the impressionist collection including two beautiful Monet's.

In the muted palette of the emerging dawn, Claude Monet portrayed the industrial port of Le Havre on the northern coast of France. The brilliant orange of the rising sun glimmers amid the damp air and dances on the gentle rippling water, lighting up its iridescent blues and greens. Barely discernible through a cool haze, pack boats on the left billow smoke from their stacks. Painted during the spring of 1873 as the country struggled to rebuild following the Franco-Prussian war, this Sunrise might also metaphorically suggest a new day dawning in France.

The highlight of my Getty trip was a beautiful lunch at the Getty Restaurant...what spectacular views and a wonderful creative menu.  I opted for a truly amazing ($18) Chardonnay (it was Carnaros, after all) and the sea scallops on a bed of pea puree and risotto.  I can honestly say, it was one of the top three meals of my life.

Did I mention that the journey was taken by city metro bus (90 minutes) to and from the museum?  That's another blog post for another day! 

It was a remarkable adventure in L.A.

P.S. Thank you to the wonderful couple who took the lead photo.  You made my day with your kindness.  I hope you enjoy your picture as much as I enjoy mine.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: April 23-27

Greetings and Happy Monday! Today I am waking up in Los Angeles and next week I will be in Maui! This is a strange short week, with not a lot of cooking. 

Oh....did I mention that it is my birthday on Tuesday!?


Monday: Home late evening from Los Angeles! Can I get a Pink's Hot Dog at LAX????
Tuesday: Happy Birthday! Coldplay in Concert at 7:30; drinks and appetizers before the show HERE
Wednesday: Packing for Hawaii and home alone (Chick at coast), getting a haircut and picking up a Subway!
Thursday: Fried Oysters, Uncle Roy Potatoes with Buttery Peas; Am I all packed?
Friday: Sirloin Steak with a Classic Wedge Salad and 1/2 baked Potato (Brian and I leave for Hawaii in the AM); Chick and I celebrate my birthday tonight with some CHAMPAGNE!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Amtrak Coast Starlight : Portland to Los Angeles

It is widely regarded as one of the most spectacular of all train routes and on Thursday I had the opportunity to take the Coast Starlight from Portland, OR to Los Angeles, CA.

The scenery along the Coast Starlight route is unsurpassed. The dramatic snow-covered peaks of the Cascade Range and Mount Shasta, lush forests, fertile valleys and long stretches of Pacific Ocean shoreline provided a stunning backdrop for my journey.

Unlike our adventure last November, this trip was without Brian.  Thanks to one of my conductor friends, I was in a nice bedroom with a toilet and shower....more space than I needed, but nice. All meals in the dining car or Pacific Parlor Car are included for sleeping car passengers.

A bonus on this train, the Pacific Parlor Car. This "living room on rails" is a special place for sleeping car passengers to relax, celebrate or socialize. Amenities included a coffee bar, on-board theater and alternative dining venue.

I boarded in Portland, OR at 2PM and settle into my room before checking out the rest of the train.

Highlights of the 35 hour trip included:

Eugene/Springfield: My Pop drove down to the station to wave to me and give me a hug! It was only a 5 minute visit, but it was special.

Known as the “World’s Greatest City of the Arts and Outdoors,” Eugene is also the westernmost city on the Amtrak system. From Springfield, home of the fictional television family the Simpsons, we start our climb into the Cascades, which feature spectacular mountain scenery and the Willamette Pass. While crossing this region our train traverses 22 tunnels.

I enjoyed my first meal in the Parlor Car; Asian glazed short ribs (very good), but dessert was the star....a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.

CHEMULT: As we arrive at the Chemult station (an unincorporated community of 300), Diamond Peak, at 8,750 ft., is visible on the right. As we leave Chemult, on the right is Mt. Thielson (9,182 ft.), Mt. Scott (8,929 ft.) and Diamond Lake. Between Chemult and Klamath Falls...darkness decends.

Friday, April 20th:

On the start of my first full day; I awoke just outside of Sacramento, California.  I quickly showered and had a yummy breakfast of fresh fruit and a fresh bacon egg sandwich.

 Sacramento River @ Martinez

MARTINEZ: From a trading post in 1849 to a flourishing town in 1876, Martinez became a hub for the gold and shipping industries. After the gold rush, Martinez boasted much of the lucrative grain trade between California’s Central Valley and international ports-of-call. The town is also the likely site of the martini’s invention; a plaque commemorating the event is on a prominent downtown corner. Growing up in Martinez, baseball legend Joe DiMaggio was a local legend with the Pacific Coast League San Francisco Seals before becoming a New York Yankee.

OAKLAND: The eighth largest city in California, the Port of Oakland is among the largest in the West. Jack London Square is just north of the station, we cross Jack London Square, located next to the Port of Oakland and named after American writer of the same name and author of The Call of the Wild, White Fang and other stories of frontier days.

Lunch service began just outside of Salinas, California

SALINAS: Known as the “Country’s Salad Bowl” because of the many varieties of vegetables
grown here. As we leave Salinas, we pass by the Diablo Range. San Benito Mountain (5,258 ft.) on the left is the highest point on the range. To the right is the Santa Lucia Range. We follow the Salinas River for the next 100 miles.

My Crew - "hog" from San Jose to San Luis Obispo and my "TA", Dana.

Our second wine tasting as we glide into San Luis Obispo.

SAN LUIS OBISPO: Founded as a mission named San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in 1772. After experiencing several fires in the thatched roofs of their missions, Spanish missionaries here developed the technique to manufacture the distinctive red tiles that define mission architecture. The town was the last in the U.S. to have a gas lamp lighter on its payroll after electricity became the standard for street lighting.

Dinner service began as we arrive in Santa Barbara.

SANTA BARBARA: This town was discovered in 1602 and is home to three of the 21 missions established in the state between 1769 and 1823. Mission Santa Barbara, called “The Queen of the Missions,” was established in 1786. A popular international tourism destination,
Santa Barbara is referred to as “The American Rivera” due to its Mediterranean-like climate, spectacular beaches, culinary delights and 130 nearby wineries.

After dinner, I went back to my room to pack.  We arrive in Simi Valley, just before dark.

SIMI VALLEY: Turning east, we leave the coastal plain and climb the narrow Simi Valley. The Santa Susanna Mountains are on the right and the Simi Hills are on our left.

LOS ANGELES: El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora de la Reina de Los Angeles, now known simply as Los Angeles, was founded in 1781. The station is a fitting blend of Spanish and Art Deco styles, reflecting both the city’s early heritage and its great film tradition. Opened in 1939, it was the last of the great “union stations” serving multiple railroads. Across from the station is Olvera Street, a colorful historic district that marks the site of the original village.

Historic Union Station

I have a full day planned in Los Angeles today (Saturday) before our conference begins on Sunday.