Aloha Hawaii

Never retire...
Never retire…

Paradise. That’s what is conjured up by the word, “Hawaii.” I had no idea what to expect but I guess I didn’t expect to be surprised. I was happy to be surprised.

Fine hand language.
Fine hand language.

I got a “lei” at the hotel but it was not made of flowers. It was made of dried seeds.

Looking right at ya!
Looking right at ya!

I managed to catch a welcome hula show. I guess I had expected to see young Hollywood style dancers and I was surprised by the age “diversity” of the dancers. They were graceful, but not wearing grass skirts.

The band.
The band.

All these photos are from a show on Waikiki beach.

As imagined, a hula girl.
As imagined, a hula girl.

Best Vineyard Food – New Zealand

Eggplant/aubergine salad. So much better than it sounds.
Eggplant/aubergine salad. So much better than it sounds.

We were whizzing past the views of paradise on Waiheke Island off Auckland’s coast. The bus driver/guide had suggested places in his well rehearsed voice but after all the other tourists got off at the beachfront restaurant, I asked him again. Where would you eat? He mentioned a vineyard that had won some award last year. He said it was a bit of a walk at almost a kilometer.

The view from our table... vineyard to ocean...
The view from our table… vineyard to ocean…

We got lost. We asked a local for directions. He heartily endorsed Casita Miro. When we found it, we went in through the kitchen. Like everything else in New Zealand, it was both casual, elegant, and ridiculously fresh. The restaurant bakes all their own bread and their food is tapas style. They make good coffee as well so you can enjoy a latte as well (in New Zealand, they have another drink called a “flat white” which is a latte with no foam hence flat. The best one we had was made by an Italian guy down at the harbor in Auckland).

Tagine style lamb shank.
Tagine style lamb shank.

Casita Miro is only open for lunch so plan for it. Enjoy some of the vineyard’s wines… make this a destination.

Deep-fried mozzarella.
Deep-fried mozzarella.
The large windows of the restaurant.
The large windows of the restaurant.