Mar 11, 2010

Catching Up

I was going to surprise you by showing you a picture of Hector and me in Honolulu, but Hector beat me to it.  When Hector found out Jim and I were going to be in Hawaii, he generously offered to find us, wherever we were, and cook dinner for us.  I said I'd love it if he would show us a restaurant that he likes--something low-key and Hawaiian, a place that a tourist probably wouldn't go to.  He agreed.  So he, along with his friend Craig, picked us up at our hotel and gave us both leis (Jim's was a beautiful and masculine one made of kukui nuts.  Jim, being a Minnesotan, would have thought it not quite the thing to wear flowers, so Hector made a good pick).  I thought it was very much the thing to wear flowers, and was delighted with mine. Then he drove us around to some scenic or historic spots, including President Obama's high school.
Hector and Craig took us to his favorite Chinese restaurant, an unobtrusive place called Asia Manoa, where we had an array of wonderful food. And, ironically, given the brouhaha that has recently erupted over Rose's seemingly innocent request to a waiter to bring her and her guests some forks so they could try out a cake she'd just baked, Hector treated us with a Rose Red Velvet cake that he'd made. The server and staff were delighted to see the cake--and they know that he always shares.
This version is made with beet juice, so it doesn't have the same shocking red as the one made with a bottle of red food coloring.
I can't tell you what a charming and delightful host Hector is, and Craig, who has lived most of his life in Hawaii, also had wonderful stories and great recommendations of off-the-beaten-path things to do in Maui, our next destination.
Let me give you just a very brief travelogue....
The banyan tree in the center of the outdoor bar and restaurant in our Honolulu hotel.
The view from the lanai of our B&B in Lahaina, Maui.
It's whale season in Lahaina, and we saw them almost every day, frolicking in the ocean. (Maybe they weren't frolicking--maybe they were arguing. I don't know. I'd prefer to think of them frolicking).
I don't know if there's anywhere else in the world that has more waterfalls than Maui. Especially on the famous Road to Hana, you can hardly shake a stick without hitting a waterfall. The only thing that there's more of is people taking pictures of waterfalls. My grandfather loved to take pictures of waterfalls. But he had a policy of never going anywhere he couldn't drive to, so that pretty much eliminated Maui. My grandpa was a gentle and forgiving man, but if he saw all the waterfall pictures that Jim took on this trip, it would have been pretty hard for him to just swallow hard and admire.
Some taro fields. The taro is heavily irrigated, and grown in patches. I didn't eat any poi while I was in Hawaii, but if you want poi, you've got to have taro.
A lavender farm in central Maui--one of Craig's recommendations. The photo can't begin to do justice to the vista. Even in central Maui, there's a fabulous view of the ocean.
And more ocean.
But now, on to cakes.
I loved reading all your comments on my blog, and loved seeing all the different versions of your poppyseed cake and apricot roll. Jet lag or no, I couldn't go to bed the first night we were back until I'd read every single post.
If you want a sneak preview of the pistachio cake that's scheduled for this weekend, go to Rose's forum, and look at Matthew's pictures. Unless you're a pistachio nut hater, I think the photos will make you want to try the cake--that was the effect it had on me, anyway. He splurged on nuts from Kalyustan's, and from the looks of it, the splurge was justified.

Please welcome Katya, of Second Dinner, who, while patiently waiting for me to come back from Hawaii, has already posted the poppyseed cake and apricot roll.

Also welcome Svetlana, who is from Israel by way of the Ukraine, and is brand new to blogging. Her post on the apricot cake roll is her first ever.

There are several more people in the wings, waiting to set up a blog or to get my OK to join. This means, unfortunately, that I will have to be stricter about checking to see when people have not been active bloggers for a while, so please let me know if there is something that's keeping you temporarily away from cake baking. I'll be glad to keep your spot open temporarily, but we all agreed that we'd like to keep the group of bakers to a manageable size. If there are people who are waiting to join, it doesn't seem fair to save the spot indefinitely.


Vicki said...

What a nice surprise finding your post from Hawaii! Hector seems like such a sweet and gentle soul. Gorgeous pictures. So glad you are having a wonderful time with wonderful weather. Where's your surfing pictures? Jim forget the camera?

Matthew said...

I loved reading about your trip and looking at all of your beautiful pictures. What a wonderful break from winter! Thanks for finding my post on the forums, now I won't have to remember to post a link comment on Monday.

Matthew said...

...and as Rose mentioned to me, a perfect cake for St. Patrick's Day, which hadn't even occurred to me, but I guess that's probably why you scheduled it for this weekend.

doughadear said...

I haven't been to Hawaii since my honeymoon over thirty-two years ago but the amazing Hawaiian vistas have remained with me.

How nice of Hector to baked for you and show you favourite places! Your photos are beautiful!

Melinda said...

It looks like you had a marvellous time! How lovely you got to meet up with Hector. Your flower lei is so pretty. I have never seen one like that before, or like Jim's either. That Hector is so kind!
I suppose you were so full of sunshine when you got back to Minnesota, the snow melted a wee bit all around you!

Virginia Taylors said...

Welcome Home, your pictures are breathtaking.

Jenn said...

Great post and nice pictures Marie. I've never been to Hawaii and it's so wonderful to read about your experience. On a more serious note, please don't kick me out - I'm planning on doing the Pistachio Cake and Le Succes for this month's entries.

evil cake lady said...

Oh, I know that Banyan tree and that patio! I need to go to Hawaii!! Thank you for the lovely photos and the recap of your trip; Hector sounds like a wonderful host and it sounds like you had a great vacation. However it's good to have you back--you were missed!

Nicola said...

Great to have you back Marie. I've missed you!

Great photos of what looks like a fantastic holiday.

Mendy said...


What an amazing looking place.

Welcome back!

Marie said...

Sadly, there was no one to record Jim and me expertly surfing the ten-foot waves.

Never thought about St. Patrick's Day--Rose is way ahead of both of us.

Time for you to go back--a second honeymoon?

My flower lei is a traditional design--apparently the ones you usually see, with big orchids or other flowers, are not not traditional (although still lovely). Hector is a gem. It's cold, grey, and rainy in Minneapolis today--I was not successful in bringing Hawaii back with me.

hector said...

Marie's lei is made of the unopened blossoms of the white ginger plant, it is my absolute favorite. after 24 hours, the blossoms open and the lei looks feathery airy. i think there are over 100 buds. these buds are bent like a u-shape, then strung together to resemble a zipper. worth google the how-to-do. in addition, Marie's version has an overlay of red petals from another plant.

i promise lei, to all you bloggers that come to Hawaii, it is a lonely island for the ones who are stuck on it!

Monica said...

Ok.. I'm officially envious (in a good way)... The pictures look AMAZING and I'm sure that don't do justice to the actual "being there" experience.

I love the whale shots...and don't even get me started on the waterfalls.

Hawaii is going on my vacation list PRONTO!

Glad to have you back (you were missed) ready for baking? :)

NancyB said...

Welcome back! Your pictures are just reinforcing my resolve to get to Hawaii one of these years--it looks like you had a great trip.

Marie said...

Thanks--it's good to be home, but I wasn't ready to leave.

Don't worry--you're in. I'll be waiting for your pistachio cake--and mine too.

Do you really know the tree? We loved the patio so much it was hard to make ourselves go out adventuring. Hector was wonderful--my new goal is to send so many people his way that he'll beg me to stop.

Thank you! It was a very beautiful and rejuvenating holiday--highly recommended.

Thanks! It's a great place--familiar and exotic at the same time.

It's my favorite too--so much nicer than the ones at the airport stands. I wish we'd gotten a closeup shot so people could see how delicate the floral work is.

Hawaii should definitely be on your list. I'm not sure we'd have gone except Jim has a goal to have visited all 50 states within the next year or so. Hawaii was his next-to-the-last; the only one he has left is Delaware. You'll have to ask him why he thinks Delaware has to be the last state on his list. It's a long trip, but worth it. The only thing I'd do differently is to stay longer.

It was a great trip--and, as I've said, be sure to stop in and see Hector when you're there!

Matthew said...

It think it is neat that Jim's last state will be Delaware, the "First State." Maybe that's his reason.

Jim said...

That's right, Matthew. I didn't plan it that way, but when it worked out that the last two remaining were Hawaii and Delaware, I thought that having the first state be last rather than having the last state be last would be more fun.

evil cake lady said...

Marie, if your hotel was on the beach in Waikiki, then yes, I do know that tree and patio. I've never stayed at that hotel but have helped myself to their patio (and pina coladas) (and bathrooms) on more than a few occasions!

Poor Hector, stuck on the lonely island. We really should plan our meet up for Hawaii!

Marie said...

Yes! The Moana Surfrider on Waikiki--we had a nice view of Diamond Head from our little terrace. I think if we'd gone 24 hours earlier we'd have been evacuated from our room because of the tsunami.
I think it would be a great place for a meetup--mostly because I feel so sorry for Hector being stranded on Oahu.

faithy said...

Welcome back and looked like you had a great time! :) .

jini said...

your photos are lovely and it sounds like you had a wonderful and relaxing trip. just what the doctor ordered!
it's good that you are back in minnesota as there are signs of approaching spring which is heartening indeed!