Eleven or So at Mangia Italiano

Eleven Or So

Our friend Albert’s band, Eleven or So, played at Mangia Italiano the other night. We had been trying to see one of their shows for a while, but schedules hadn’t allowed us to make it. Finally, our calendars lined up and we made it out for the show. They were scheduled to start at 11PM, but true to their name, the show went off considerably later than intended. Once it did though, the music was great.

They played two sets. Well, it was really just one set, but the bassist had to take a leak in the middle, so it felt like two. The first set started off with a Radiohead cover, nicely executed, proving that they have good taste. Their original songs were generally, big, sprawling affairs of shoegaze with enough pop edge to keep them focused and tight. The second half was packed full of some of their more accessible songs, save the last, which was, simply put, big. This is the kind of song that gets written, and a band knows they have to close with it. Good stuff all around.

Eleven Or So

Basically, if you enjoy music, you should check out Eleven Or So. Even I wasn’t friends with the guitarist, I’d still be interested in the tunes. If you enjoy photographs, check out the rest of the set on Flickr.

Black Friday 2010

Too Early
I believe we are slipping this year, we woke up at 3:39AM, 15 minutes later than last year. I think our old age is catching up with us or maybe we’re just not that aggressive. Either way, it is the only way to celebrate Thanksgiving weekend.

After our breakfast of champions (cappuccinos and donut holes from Quick Trip), Bob and I headed down to the Valley to fight the crowds at Best Buy. This year, we actually had a list: a big-ass TV for his parents and microwave for my sister. Okay, so it wasn’t a long list and did we really need to get up before the sun to get it? No, but then where’s the fun?
Line at Best Buy
When we got down to Best Buy and met up with Kenny, there was already a line but I was smarter this year. I brought a reading light and book and sat in the car to wait until the doors open. The boys could hang out and freeze while I sat in a toasty car. This will be my plan of action in the future.

Best Buy was crowded, especially in the DVD section. It was like a swarm of locusts in that section. Bob did end up purchasing a TV and Kenny got what he needed. The next stop: Wal-mart. I was able to pick up a few items there for presents and didn’t have to take down anyone either. And of course, my trip to Target for the essentials like shampoo and lotion.
Shopping for Lotion
After parting ways with Kenny, we stopped at the mall to look around. Overall, it was a successful trip since I got all that I wanted on my list but somehow, I walked away feeling a bit unsatisfied. Maybe it was because I actually bought things for other people and not much for myself. Damn me for being unselfish.

Being Thankful

Girls Thanksgiving
I am thankful for these girls. They have kept me entertained, they have kept me grounded, they have kept me happy, I am blessed to have them in my life. And how do I show them my gratitude for what they have given me? I buy them a Honey-Baked Ham and lots of wine! Oh yeah, it’s good to be my friend.

Supper Club: November 11, 2010

Feta and Sun-Dried Tomato Spread
Appetizer: Feta & Sun-Dried Tomato Spread. I do love sun-dried tomatoes, I don’t ever utilize this ingredient enough. When this was made, I practically licked the bowl clean. The Greek yogurt was an interesting substitute to the traditional base of mayo or sour cream. Very nice.

Kalua Pig, Two-Corn Polenta, and Polynesian Vegetables
Entree: Kalua Pig. After returning from Hawaii, I thought I would make something that would bring a little local island flavor to the Mainland. Such an easy recipe, works great on the sweet Hawaiian rolls. A must make for anyone who is lazy. I used Kosher salt instead of Hawaiian salt because I couldn’t find any and it was just fine.

Side Dish: Polynesian Vegetables. Incorporating a little bit of Hawaii with our vegetables, I like it! A sweet sauce for your vegetables to simmer in and then served.

Side Dish: Two-Corn Polenta. The first time I had ever had polenta, it was dry and bland with no flavor at all. Because of that first experience, I have been turned off of it, until the polenta at Trattoria Marcella. Now, this door has been opened for me and I can now enjoy this creamy, flavorful dish. I love how the corn adds a bit of sweetness to the polenta.

Marbled Banana Bundt Cake
Dessert: Marbled Banana Bundt Cake. If any of you had seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” you will understand how often we quoted bundt cake scene that night. I always enjoy a banana-chocolate combo, especially in cakes so I was impressed with this dessert.

The Flavors of the Big Island

The biggest reason that Jen and I so enjoy visiting new places is the opportunity to enjoy the local cuisine, and this trip was no exception. We made it our goal to eat, when eating out, only at places that we can’t in St. Louis. So make an impromptu bib from a napkin, and come along with us on our culinary journey across the island of Hawaii.

Our first stop was on the night we arrived. We had been traveling all day and were basically famished. Sam had two performances of Rocky Horror that night, but we had called ahead to find a local fast-food option that would give us some sustenance before we zoned out for the evening. Sam recommended Blazin’ Steaks, a local franchise. We got some of the $6 Teriyaki Steak combos and wolfed them down before going back to Sam’s condo to crash for the evening. Simple, good food for cheap turned out to be the theme for the week.

The next day, we went to Sumo Deli for breakfast. Don’t be confused by the word “deli” in the name, this place is more like a diner, except without the counter and stools. This place serves up classic hangover-cure food with a Hawaiian twist. We ordered musubi (rice, grilled meat (our favorite was spam) and sauce wrapped in seaweed), spare ribs, tempura, and a loco plate (eggs, hambuger patty, rice with gravy over the top) to split between the three of us and the total was, like, $12. So awesome.

Monday morning, Jen and I made a repeat visit to Sumo Deli to get some grub before we got underway for our trip to the Hilo side. More of the same from yesterday and just as good as we remembered. We also stocked up with some snacks and juices for our road trip. Most notably, we got a bag of Maui Style Salt and Vinegar chips. I’m salivating just thinking about these again.

That night, Jen and I hit Ocean Sushi in downtown Hilo. It had been recommended by The Big Island Revealed (the only guidebook to the island of Hawaii that you will ever need) and we would be crazy to come all the way and not eat some sushi. The book prepared us to be underwhelmed by how the place looked and it definitely looked sketchy (especially with the neighborhood it was in), but it was packed and we were looking for adventure. Put simply: this place is awesome. The miso soup we ordered to start it off was probably the best miso I’ve ever had. The broth was flavorful and it set the tone for a great meal. We each got a couple rolls to share, as well as the obligatory unagi, and I got a sashimi plate that was really good — Jen’s not a big sashimi fan. It was all very good, the flavors were clean and distinct, and the fish tasted very fresh. Highly recommended.

The next morning, we had breakfast at the inn, overlooking the waterfall. Farm fresh eggs, waffles, Kona coffee, fresh squeezed juice, Punalu’u Bread for toast (sooooooo goooood!), and fresh fruit. Just about the perfect way to start off a morning.

Lunch that day was at the Black Rock Cafe in Pahoa. Pretty mediocre American food, but it was the only thing really convenient since we were in the middle of nowhere, making our way back to Kailua-Kona. Probably would have been better served to grab some McDonald’s on the road, but not the end of the world either.

Lunch one day in Kailua-Kona was at Splasher’s, a bar and grill down by the pier that targets the cruise ship crowd. Its outdoor seating overlooked the ocean and lent a laid-back vibe to the place. The burgers there were hella tasty, and I’m a big fan of the waffle fries.

Another lunch was at You Make The Roll, a sushi stand near Sam’s condo where you can make your own roll. The sushi there was really good and we tried a “sushi taco”, which is basically an oversized sushi roll in an egg wrapper. Good, but a lot of rice — it ended up being a lot of food.

Another memorable meal was at Bite Me Fish Market, famous for its fish tacos. Really delicious. They served whatever they caught that morning so you never know what type of fish is on the menu. Also, we had shave ice from a local stand. It’s pretty much a ginormous sno-cone with your choice of toppings or ice cream in the center. Jen got the red beans in the center of it, which was a nice touch.

We did manage to cook a few meals as well, most notably steaks grilled out by the pool in Sam’s complex, and pulled pork pizzas. It was a very delicious week all around.