Friday, September 10, 2010

Four Season Resort Maui, Hawai'i 2010, Day 4

The days in Maui tend to blend together, which is a good thing.  You do not come to Maui to embark on a fascinating adventure every day that makes it completely unlike the day before.  You come to Maui to relax.  Even when you work a few hours every day like Barbie does, Maui makes you feel unwound in a good way.

One of the cool things about the Four Seasons Resort Maui is that there is a free outrigger canoe ride.  We signed up for it when we got here, and now the day has arrived.  But first...
Room service breakfast.  Benedictine eggs, split for two.
Barbie prepares herself mentally for the outrigger ride.  It turns out we will not be mere passengers on a canoe propelled by muscular local men folk.  We will be rowing.  After a quick lesson on the Hawaiian calls that will tell us when to start rowing, which side to row on, and when to stop, it was time to hop into that outrigger and head out into the Pacific.
I had to bring the iPhone out on the water.  Fortunately, they had a waterproof bag on board to hold such items.  But the truth is that I would have risked keeping it in my pocket for you, the loyal Wasters.  I was pretty confident in my ability to not fall into the ocean.  And had I fallen into the ocean, my first instinct would have been to hold the iPhone over my head as I tread water.
My feet have canoed off the coast of Wilea, Maui.  Rick does not read the Waste, or he would have known what an honor it is that he got to be pictured with the feet.
Yours truly, oarsman.  Monique is swimming, and the reason I am not in the water is because she had just announced that a jellyfish had stung her.  When someone says that jellyfish has just stung them on the butt, I stay in the canoe.
Panorama off the coast of Wilea, Maui.  While shooting the panorama, I was focused on stitching the horizon together correctly.  Note that as I did this, the canoe drifted so that Monique appears in two places at once.  An accidental version of the panoramas where I sneak Barbie into every frame.

After seeing some sea turtles who popped their heads out of the water far too briefly for photography, we rowed ashore and the reward for our hard work was lunch.
Barbie's quinoa.
My sashimi and California roll.

In some alternate universe, there is a Jeff eating sashimi every day and wishing that he could be healthy and have turkey dogs more often.
Barbie prepares to zoop down the kiddie slide.  (Onomatopoeia for the win.)  (That was what we call a meta-comment for the one percenters.)
Action shot!   Yes, I love how she is struggling to keep her head above water.
Elyse arrives at the pool in her finest socks.
Mother and daughter by the pool, as daughter enjoys an apple.
Elyse really, really likes that apple.

After having lunch at Ferraro's every day and dinner somewhere else, we finally decide to have dinner at Ferraro's.
Barbie and I shared this soft shell crab risotto as a starter.  Soft shell crab amazes me.  Every time, I think to myself, "Can I just eat this shell?"  Then I eat the shell, and it does not kill me, and I feel that a smal miracle has happened.
For our main course, we shared this New York steak with a fantastic mushroom rub sort of coating on top.

And with that, another day in paradise has concluded.  Tomorrow...  we venture to a different island.  An island we have never visited before.  If I used exclamation points much, I would have used one right there.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Four Season Resort Maui, Hawai'i 2010, Day 3

Assuming you read days one and two of this trip, I think you have a good idea what is in store for day three.  Not entirely, but mostly.  Yes, today is going to involve many of the same elements from previous days; however, there is going to be a twist.  And the twist we are going to call, "The Luckiest Boy In The World."

Enough said.  Let us move forward.

I know it is strange to praise flaws, but there is something about the distortion in the panoramas created by the "Pano" iPhone app that appeals to me.  This is not how that view looked, yet somehow the way that the angles are forced together works to capture this shot better than if I had shot this view and then cropped out the top and bottom to make it look like a panorama.  If I was still in Hawai'i, and not typing this six weeks later, I would take a panorama and then do a crop of the same view to compare.  Oh well.  Next time?
Discipline thrown to the side, yours truly gets his own "Vegi" Burger for lunch.  And look at those onion rings.  Those onion rings are not to be taken lightly.  They are serious.
I have done my best to not take pictures of our friends' food, because that doubles the amount of time that I have to waste on the Waste.  But this Reuben, a sandwich which Monique had been thinking about for longer than 24 hours, earned its rightful place on the Waste by being so dearly desired.  I suppose that I should give this Reuben the same treatment that our previous meals at Ferraro's received.  The menu reads, "Reuben Panini; shaved pastrami, provolone, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing, white rye bread."
Barbie got the Seafood Cobb Salad; Romaine lettuce, ranch dressing, egg, maui onion, avocado, tomato, bacon, crab meat, garlic prawns, lobster.
Considering that Monique's lunch gets the Waste treatment, it would be wrong to ignore Rick's Classic Caesar Salad; toasted focaccia croutons, grana padano Caesar dressing, herb roasted chicken breast.

Okay.  That was lunch.  Clearly I had become slightly desensitized to the view.  How else would I explain not taking another picture of the lunch view?

Now... we are not alone this trip.  So far nearly every waking minute has been spent with the Barry's, who happen to be three people at this time.  (They used to be two, but through the miracle of reproduction they now are three.)  (Does the nanny make them four?)  I do not mention them too often, partially because I am aware that the Waste, though I want to think of it as a travel journal, is really a blog and not everyone wants to be mentioned on a blog.

But I mention them now.  Not only because their lunches made the Waste today, but because today we are going on a special excursion to the other side of the island to see Monique's brother, Justin.  You see, Justin bought property on Maui's East side long ago, and has built a bed and breakfast that we are going to check out today.

Allow me to flog a dead horse for moment.  I have said it a hundred times since I first visited Maui with Dave Keller in November 1993; there are two types of people in the world, those who live on Maui and stupid people.  Horse flogged.
The road across the island.  Between you and me, sometimes it is better to have clouds than it is to have a blue sky.
This sign marks the spot.  The "Sugar Ranch Maui" in Paia, Hawai'i, will one day be official.
Self Portrait at the Sugar Ranch Maui gate, September 2010.
Inside the Sugar Ranch Maui.  Wait until you see the back yard.
The Sugar Ranch Maui back yard.  Look closely, or open this pic full-size in a new window, and you will see that in the very center one can see the blue ocean.  This bed and breakfast is ideal for surfers, windsurfers, and parasurfers, because at the end of that back yard it is a short walk to one of the best spots in the world for those activities.
The view from the observation deck on top of the Sugar Ranch Maui.
The view of the Sugar Ranch Maui from the back yard.  Yes, it is great that my brother lives in Germany and we can visit him there, but I would really, really like another brother who lives here as well.

Now it is time to return to what I mentioned in the beginning.  The Luckiest Boy In The World.  Barbie and I were hanging out in the back yard with Taj, Justin's three year old son.  We wanted to go to the beach, and Taj said he would join us, and soon we had permission from Taj's mother and we were on our way.
Barbie and her new best friend walking to the ocean.
Parasurfers.  I believe the word in your mind is idyllic.  Or at least it should be.
And here we have him.  The Luckiest Boy In The World.  Sure, Bill Gates' kids are doing all right.  But to Taj, that beach is his back yard.  This is his normal.
I repeat.  To him, this beach is here every day, and he loves it.

I rest my case.  He is The Luckiest Boy In The World.
Trying to prepare a family portrait is not easy, but there are few better locations for it.
Again, you want to be him.

And, soon enough, we were headed back to our side of the island.  Wait.  Now I remember.  First we picked up a friend at the airport and then headed back to Wailea.  In fact, we picked up the birthday girl whose birthday happens to be the reason we came to Maui, as well as her friend Damian.  Damian is also going to be the chef when we get to Moloka'i, but let us not get ahead of ourselves.

All you need to know is that we returned to the Four Seasons Maui Resort in time for another sunset.
Eventually I am going to show you a sunset and not type anything.


Soon enough it was time for dinner again.  Spago again.  And, yes, Rick & Monique and Barbie & I would be willing to eat there every night without question.
Once again, I ordered the Spicy Ahi Tuna "Poke" In Sesame-Miso Cones.  How could I not?

Once again, Barbie ordered the Tartare of Big Eye Ahi Tuna.  How could she not?

Supremely delicious lamb chops.

The birthday girl.

Dessert, part one.

Dessert, part two.  Note the hand moving too quickly to be seen.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Four Season Resort Maui, Hawai'i 2010, Day 2

I know that everyone thinks that we are in Hawai'i just relaxing every day.  I get that.  Why would someone not relax every day in Hawai'i?  

The answer is that Barbie works every day of the year, no matter where we are in the world.  I could take pictures of us both spending time in the room working on the laptops, but I think that would bring even greater meaning to this blog's title.  (And that was a big step, my using the word blog.  Man, do I hate that word.  Is it too pretentious to call this a, "travel journal"?  Oh yes it is.)

We are now done with the pre-amble.  Let me start you this day with lunch.
Another lunch, another Pacific view.
Barbie's Niçoise Salad.
First, let me tell you that every time I see this salad on a menu, in my mind I say it, "Nik-oh-eese-ee."  Yes, I do.  And, for the record, the menu reads, "Miso Tuna, Soft Boiled Egg, Tomato, Capers, Peppers, Potatoes, Endive, Haricot Vert, Pesto Dressing."  I would say by presentation alone this Niçoise Salad should win an award.  Something you may have not noticed about me is that I do not eat salad.  Ever.  You have seen me eat over a hundred meals on the Waste, people.  Have you ever seen a salad in front of me?  No, you have not.  Yet that salad right there, I would not hate.  I might even like it.  The concept alone freaks me out.
Hawaiian Tuna Sashimi and California Roll
My lunch.  Technically an appetizer.  If I ate this for lunch every day for the rest of my life, I might look much, much better not in clothes.
Okay.  Perhaps dessert counters the whole looking better not in clothes concept.  But look at that plate and tell me that you would resist.
Maui Cone. 
Whale Statue + Yours Truly
I do not think that you would be surprised to hear that I nearly pulled several muscles mimicking that whale.
Our room is right THERE.
(Disclaimer:  I believe our room is actually the room to the left of where the finger indicates.  I apologize for the miscalculation.  I would never seek to deceive you.)
You have seen this pool before, but not just near sunset.
Sunset.  Wailea, Maui.
The alignment of Lana'i to our position means that you basically do not see much orange at sunset.  Looking at the beauty of that sky, the lack of orange is not what I would call an issue.

We went for dinner to... Gannon's at the Wailea Golf Club.  Chef Bev Gannon runs the joint, and comes by the table to say hello and is sincerely nice.  I know what you are saying, "Lots of restaurants have the executive chef who comes by and says hello."  Let me cut to the end of the evening.

We rode to dinner in the Four Seasons' courtesy shuttle; i.e. the big SUV that they use to cart people around.  After dinner, we were standing outside, quietly waiting for this ride to come get us.  We had, as per usual, nearly closed the restaurant, staying until the staff was ready to go home.  While we stood there waiting for the Escalade, Bev Gannon walks by and says hello again, walking to her car.  When we told her we were waiting for our ride to the Four Seasons, which is three minutes up the road, Bev offered us a ride in her car.  She was serious.  This award-winning chef was inviting us into her car for a quick ride to our hotel.  We thanked her, but we knew that the Escalade would soon arrive and the poor guy would look around desperately for the potentially furious hotel guests he could not find.  But I tell you this; it was a mistake.  We should have ridden with Bev, because she is supercool and it would have been a great story.

Back to the beginning...  I did not take a picture of the entrance of Gannon's.  It is inside the Golf Club and the entryway is not all that impressive, but you do have this gigantic painting by the front door.
Bev's Chef Coat.
The others had walked away, which is a shame, because you need someone standing in front of this painting to see that it is a ten foot tall painting of a chef's coat on a hanger.
Inside Gannon's.
As you can see, Gannon's is a seriously well designed restaurant.  But this was the standard, wonderfully warm Maui evening, and we dined outside under the yellow lights that likely keep the bugs away.  I mention the lights because you are about to see some seriously yellow pictures.
Appetizer special.
Full disclosure:  I am typing this six weeks late.  My apologies.  I believe that the appetizer above is a trio of ahi of some sort.  I wish I remembered.  It was delicious.
Proscuitto Bruschetta.
This appetizer is thankfully on the menu, which is thankfully online.  The Prosciutto Bruschetta includes fig, bleu cheese, pistachios, and baby arugula.  Let us peek beneath the arugula.
Appetizer revealed.
I will say this.  If you combine bleu cheese, figs, and anything, it is going to rock.  If you substitute prosciutto - Parma Ham from Parma Italy where the Waste took you this summer - for the word anything, you have yourself a foodgasm.

Barbie and I shared the two above appetizers, and then shared an entrée.
Grilled Filet of Ahi.
To be specific, "Grilled Filet of Ahi; lemon beurre blanc, mixed mushroom asparagus risotto."  Mushroom asparagus risotto is something we would order, let alone with the grilled ahi on top.  It was fantastic.  

I believe that we were too full for dessert, which is a good thing.  Now you need to imagine leaving the restaurant, calling for the Four Seasons to pick you up, and having the Chef who was responsible for an incredible meal offer you a ride.  There.  That was our evening.

Back at the Four Seasons Resort Maui...
A bride.
If it is a weekend and you are in hotel, you are going to see a bride.  This is a fact.

One last note for the day.  The Four Seasons Resort Maui has two colossal busts in their valet area.
Colossal Spiral Bust.
Colossal Striped Bust.
I cannot explain the busts to you.  But they are there, and I like them.

Hawai'i 2010, Day Two, completed.