Category Archives: Stories from the Stomach

A Tribute to Mayo

Every time I see a bottle of mayo, it makes me smile.

And, not just any mayo: the Best Foods mayo. It is truly the best.

I blame my infatuation with mayo on my Hawaii upbringing. The Hawaii locals love their mayo, and they can put it on just about anything. I think that I disgust most people (who aren’t from Hawaii, of course) with the amount of things on which I am capable of putting mayo. For instance, I can make a salad dressing out of it as a vegetable dip. I also enjoy mixing it with mustard or ketchup to go with french fries. And, when I put it on a sandwich, I really lay it on thick.

There are times at the dining room table when I am eating something with mayo on it, and the hubby just stares at me with one of the following facial expressions:

MikesFaces

It is usually accompanied by a sigh.

I assume that he is having one or more of the following thoughts:

  1. She is going to die of a heart attack before the age of 40.
  2. She is going to turn into a big fatty who will stay home all day and soak herself in a tub full of mayo.
  3. I can barely stomach my own meal while watching her slather her food with mayo like that.
  4. That mayo cost me six bucks a bottle, and she just ate two bucks.

In the past, the hubby has tried to sneakily swap out my regular mayo for light or generic mayo for my sandwiches, but he is always unsuccessful. I have spydee sense and superpowers when it comes to mayo. I can spot a fake mayo a mile away, and I am merciless if a bottle of fake mayo ends up in my house. In that respect, you can just call me “The Mayonator.” I will rip apart a fake mayo bottle with ease, destroying its contents immediately, like The Incredible Hulk tearing off a t-shirt.

Sometimes people (like my hubby) just have to learn to let go, and stop trying to force logic on an illogical world. Some things are totally unexplainable. For instance:

  1. My intense love for mayo.
  2. Why The Incredible Hulk always busted out of his t-shirt, but never his pants.
  3. Why Donald Trump thinks his fake hair looks fine, and Dolly Parton, Donatella Versace, and Kenny Loggins all think their plastic surgeries look normal.
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Your Cheese Is Sweating

My town has one of the most interesting sandwich shops in existence. If there were logical rules by which sandwich shops should abide, it would defy most of them.

The first time I went there, the owners were advertising a special sandwich on a huge poster on the front door. When I asked for the special sandwich, they said that it wasn’t available. I asked them why they were advertising a sandwich that they didn’t have, and they stared at me blankly.

I figured I would just order something else. I saw a hot breakfast sandwich on the menu that looked good, so I ordered that instead. They told me it was no longer offered, and they had inadvertently left it on the menu.

The second time I went to the sandwich shop, I was really craving a toasted panini. They explained to me that they had no working toaster oven, and they were out of ciabatta bread.

The third time I went in there (I can’t believe I’m actually admitting that I went back a third time), I immediately got blasted by hot air, after pushing open the front door. Apparently they fixed the toaster oven. What they didn’t fix was the thermostat and the central air. On a warm day, the temperature inside the sandwich shop was significantly higher than the temperature outside.

I went up to the counter and saw what appeared to be a bunch of ailing condiments, waiting for death. I couldn’t help myself from making a comment to the owner standing there. I said “I’m sorry, but it’s like a thousand degrees in here, and your mayo looks sick.” He responded “It’s fine. We keep it cooler behind the counter.” I leaned over the counter, pointed at the slices of cheddar, and replied “Really? Then why is your cheese sweating?”

Another patron in line behind me broke out in laughter. The owner seemed uneasy. I cheerfully remarked “Thanks, but I don’t want any sweaty cheese.”

I haven’t gone back since. I swear.

 

Have you had any interesting food experiences?

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“Nacho” Average Football Food

Example of a Perfect NachoExample of a Perfect Nacho

See, I told you we were thinking about nachos!

Football season is upon us, which brings to mind beer and snack food. Watching a football game without beer and snacks is like watching a movie without popcorn and soda: it just isn’t right. When thinking about our favorite football game foods, Mike and I agree that fries and nachos rank at the top of the list. They are all finger foods that are easily shareable, filling, and yummy.

Our disclaimer is that not all nachos are created equal. The best ones have an ideal chip-to-topping ratio. It is a failed nacho when there are too many chips and not enough cheese, sour cream and guacamole (the toppings we refer to as “the nucleus”). This type of nacho is terribly disappointing, because many times we end up picking up a lonely chip with nothing to accompany it. This leaves us choking on a bunch of dry tortilla chips. Another failed nacho has too much nucleus and not enough chips. In this instance, the nachos are messy and difficult to eat by hand.

The perfect plate of nachos is proportional: enough nucleus to enough chips. The perfect plate does not require a fork or the Heimlich maneuver. A good way to tell if it is a perfect nacho is to check if every chip has something on it. If the answer is yes, and there are no soggy chips drowning in toppings, then it is probably a good one.

Last week, while watching the opening season game between the University of Hawaii and Colorado, we asked ourselves, who doesn’t like nachos? Turns out, our buddy doesn’t like them. He went through a phase of eating nachos all the time, got burnt out, and now finds them revolting.

We say this with the best intentions, but our friend is downright nuts. Is there anyone else out there in the world who doesn’t like nachos?

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Wine Improves with Age. The Older I Get, the Better I Like It.

Australian Riesling bottled and corked.

Australian Riesling

In 2009, I added “make my own wines” to my bucket list. That was the start of a very fun and educational next few years of home winemaking.

To date, my husband and I have bottled hundreds of bottles of homemade wine. We import different varieties of grape juices to Hawaii from wineries all over the world, and then we turn that juice into wine. It’s an intricate process with quite a few steps and deadlines, so winemaking is not for everyone.

Home winemaking will be hard to improve and master if it’s treated as a novelty. You need to love wine, and be able to embrace and learn from disappointment, to be able to stick with this particular hobby for the long haul.

For our first batch of wine, we chose a pinot noir. Since it was our first batch, we gained a wealth of knowledge. My husband and I didn’t know the power of gas yet. Okay, not that kind of gas. I mean the carbon dioxide (CO2) kind.

During fermentation, wine lets off gas, and it is critical to get as much of that gas out of the wine before bottling it. After bottling our first batch of wine, my husband and I realized that we didn’t spend enough time getting the CO2 out. What should have been a smooth pinot noir ended up as 30 bottles of a semi-gassy sparkling wine. After we choked down that dreadful batch, we recognized our mistakes, chalked it up to experience, and tried again.

Our next batch of wine was a ruby port. My husband and I made sure we spent extra time on degassing the port, and those efforts really paid off. We made 15 bottles of nice, young ruby port. It was such a pleasant wine that our friends actually wanted to buy bottles from us with customized labels to give out as Christmas gifts.

We learned a great deal from that batch of ruby port, and from there moved on to an Australian Riesling, a zinfandel, a chocolate raspberry port, and a Chianti. We even got brave and ventured out into experimenting with five exotic and organic fruit flavors, adding them to a traditional ruby port: black cherry, pomegranate, strawberry, lychee and passion fruit.

Home winemaking has been an enjoyable hobby for us so far, and maybe it will be for you as well. If you’ve tried it, leave us a comment. We’d love to hear your experiences. Cheers!

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It’s a Fine Line: Maui Breakfast Worth the Wait

The Gazebo trio

It sounds crazy to wait in line for an hour for breakfast, doesn’t it? What if I told you that it would be worth it?

Admittedly, I am not the most patient person, and I find it frustrating to wait in a long line for a meal when I’m hungry. Yet, even I’ve (willingly) stood in line for hours at the little Gazebo Restaurant in Napili, Maui, waiting to savor their mouth-watering breakfast items.

The Gazebo is literally a tiny, oceanfront gazebo at the Napili Shores Resort. It was turned into a sit-down restaurant for a most memorable, casual dining experience. It offers limited seating and an extensive line, since advanced reservations are not accepted.

Don’t let that deter you. If you like to eat and appreciate a tasty, hearty breakfast, this place is for you. The Gazebo’s breakfast specialties are the best of the best.

Here is a list of my Gazebo breakfast favorites (what I refer to as the “Gazebo trio”):

  • White chocolate chip macadamia nut pancakes.

Three huge, fluffy pancakes loaded with chopped, roasted macadamia nuts, white chocolate chips, and smothered in a sweet, buttery, whipped topping that can only be compared to ambrosia, the nectar of the gods. They are the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten. And, I’ve eaten a ton of pancakes in my life (did I just admit that?). Cost: $9.25.

  • Breakfast fried rice plate.

An enormous plate of food that can feed a small army. The plate is stacked high with tasty fried white rice, Portuguese sausage, bacon (who doesn’t like bacon?), purple cabbage, carrots, yellow onion, green onion and scrambled eggs. I know it seems odd to eat fried rice for breakfast, but trust me, you will not be disappointed. Cost: $11.25

  • “Big Kahuna” omelet.

Bacon, Portuguese sausage, mushrooms, onions and avocado wrapped in a fluffy egg blanket and smothered in pepper jack cheese. Comes with a side of country potatoes (or rice) and toast. This is simply a taste of heaven. Cost: $11.25

The Gazebo trio is easily enough food to share between three to four people. Serving sizes are huge, so unless you have mastered the art of portion control, you will probably leave the restaurant stuffed beyond belief. The last time I was there, I wished that I had a bigger stomach. I settled for a doggie bag instead.

The Gazebo Restaurant serves breakfast daily from 7:30 am to 2:00 pm. (808) 669-5621.

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