Category Archives: Restaurant Reviews

Making Our Way To Kihei

Today we got up a little early so we could check out of Napili Sunset and make our way to Kihei. We had breakfast again at Slappy Cakes. I thought about ordering something different than yesterday but I couldn’t do it. I had the carnitas benedict again, but Don tried something new- the veggie omelet. I love Slappy Cakes!!

Carnitas Benedict

After breakfast it was time to check out some beaches again! The first beach we checked out was Airport Beach, also called Kahekili Beach Park. There was a strong current, so we went South so we could float North. It was a very pretty beach and the snorkeling was good. There were a lot of people snorkeling and even some scuba divers. The coral was beautiful. I spotted a turtle and we watched an eel for a long time. I’ve never seen one stay out so long.

After we were done snorkeling here I had a weird conversation with a woman about a bird. While in line for the restroom this woman started telling me how she just got an awesome video of a bird eating nuts from her hand. I was like that’s cool, but she just kept talking. She wanted to know how she could upload her video to YouTube so she could get “all the credit for it”. She told me about a guy who uploaded a video of a lemon rolling and it had over 40 million views. Then she told me she needs to upload it because she only has 4 GB’s of storage on her camera but she doesn’t have a phone. I told her she could use a computer to put it on the internet and her response was “maybe at the library?”. It was a weird conversation, but basically ended with me telling her to make a YouTube account and upload her video at the library. Maybe she will go viral?

Next we tried out Black Rock Beach. We were able to park in a parking garage here. We made our way to the Black Rock and it was pretty crowded with snorkelers and swimmers. The rock was pretty cool and people were jumping off of it into the water. The current around the rock was strong. We went around the rock and started heading towards what looked like a cave. The rock formations were so cool underwater but as I got closer to the cave it felt too dangerous so I quickly turned around. When I turned around there was immediately a giant sea turtle in front of me! I swam with it for awhile, navigating around the rocks. It was difficult to swim here because of the rocks but it was pretty awesome. Pretty good snorkeling day once again. We have seen turtles every day here in Maui!

Once we were done at Black Rock we made it back to the car to make our way to Maui Coast Hotel in Kihei. We stopped once along the way to take some pictures.

We checked into the Maui Coast Hotel and it is really nice. It has a resort feel. After getting cleaned up we decided to get some food. We tried a place we saw on YouTube called Da Kitchen. The food here was soooo good!!!! Best dinner so far!! Don got the luau special and I got the plate with katsu chicken and luau pork. Absolutely delicious. We even tried some of their chocolate pie. After dinner we walked around the shops here for a bit and then we tried the shaved ice place that was in the parking lot. The place was called Beach Street Maui. I didn’t really know what to expect from a shaved ice. I have had sno cones before but this was completely different. We shared the Firecracker. It was blue raspberry, pina colada, and strawberry with ice cream and haupia. Haupia is like a coconut syrup. This shaved ice was so good, so refreshing.

After this delicious dinner we went to Safeway to get things for our trip to Hana tomorrow. We hurried back to the hotel to watch the sunset at the beach across from our hotel. It was beautiful. And of course we ended the night watching Big Brother haha.

Day 3: Oahu to Maui

This morning we were up early again for our 8 am flight to Maui. We took a cab to the airport after raiding leftovers in our hotel fridge. Our flight with Hawaiian Airlines was on time and it was so short!  I couldn’t believe we were served drinks on this flight because it was seriously like 20 minutes. We were up in the air at 8 am and landing around 8:20. The views on the flight were awesome.

Once we landed we had to pick up our rental car. The lady at Hertz wasn’t very helpful and she was kind of rude but we were in and out of there quickly. We had planned to drive straight to our condo in Napili and find something to eat along the way. About 10-15 minutes into our drive a light came on in our Nissan Sentra. The light was something about the emergency braking system, so Don called Hertz to ask if we should come back and they told us to. Once again we were in and out of Hertz quickly and our help there was a lot nicer. We went from a Nissan Sentra to a Nissan Altima, both felt like giant boats.

Since places were now starting to open for lunch I decided we should try a place that was recommended to me by Julia called Tin Roof. It was really busy and really nowhere to sit. We ended up sitting outside on a parking curb because that’s where other people were. I ordered the steak bowl and Don got the chicken bowl. We had a side of the pork belly. Everything was really good and I would recommend checking it out if you need a good place to eat near the airport.

After eating we started driving. I was surprised by the landscape; Hawaii seemed a lot more dry than I had expected, but it was beautiful. We arrived at our condo around noon and we were able to check in early. We are staying at Napili Sunset, which is in Napili Bay. The place seems nice, a little overcrowded with a lot of furniture but nice.

After settling for a bit we decided to check out our beach. We had to walk across the street but it was only about a 5 minute walk, if that. The beach was beautiful. There were a lot of people snorkeling, swimming, and boogie boarding. We decided to snorkel and we went pretty far out. There were a lot of cool rock formations and schools of fish. We were on the left side of the bay looking at the rocks when a giant wave crashed into us. It startled us a bit and we swam quickly away. When we got to calmer water we saw a turtle! I had read that you’re very likely to see turtles while snorkeling in Maui but I didn’t think we would be lucky enough to see one on our first day! It was cool, but it didn’t stay around for long. After this we decided to just relax in the water for awhile and float around. Then we came back to our place and checked out the pool. The water was extremely warm.

First Turtle! Napili Bay

After the pool we were getting hungry so we decided to check out Teddy’s Bigger Burgers in Lahaina. We had seen this place on a guy’s YouTube video about affordable, good places to eat in Maui. The menu at Teddy’s was a bit confusing because they have a lot of options.  We each tried a burger and after ordering one of their special ones I saw I could have just had an original one. That was a bit disappointing because it felt like they were pushing you to pay more and try one of their specialty burgers. The burger was good. We also tried fried pickles. Everything was good here and I would go again but just try their straight up burger. I can’t even remember which ones we ordered, but since we ordered a specialty burger it felt expensive.

After dinner we wanted to pick up some food for the condo so we went to a Safeway but we couldn’t find everything we wanted because it was under construction, so we went to a Food Land and a Walgreens. After getting some stuff we drove around to try to get a view of the mountains in the area. We did take a few pictures and the GPS took us through a neighborhood, which was kind of weird. Overall it was a pretty good first day in Maui.



Last Day In The Cinque Terre

Well today I woke up and felt pretty rough. We got up and got out to eat breakfast around 9. We decided to try a restaurant instead of our hotel. It was pretty good and it was called Fast Bar. It was basically a diner.

Fast Bar-Great for breakfast!

You could get your pretty standard breakfast here so I had bacon, eggs and toast. Then I couldn’t decide if I wanted soda or a coffee so I got both a coke and a cappuccino. It was a good combo because I quickly started to feel better.

It started raining after breakfast but it quickly stopped. We wanted to take a boat tour or do the water taxi but since the water was rough they had canceled all of the boats. We decided to take the train to the first town, Riomaggiore, because we had not been there yet. Riomaggiore was very beautiful. It was also very quiet, probably because the rain had kept many tour groups away. We walked around the town and took pictures. We also had a snack here of fried anchovies, fish, and octopus. Riomaggiore was very nice; every town has it’s own charm it’s hard to pick my favorite!

I really wanted to go back to Manarola and today was our last day so we decided to go.  There was a restaurant in Manarola that I had read about called Nessun Dorma that I really wanted to try so we went there for lunch. The restaurant is high up along the water on the North side of Manarola, so the views of the town were amazing. I had a really good strawberry daiquiri and Don had a pina colada. For my meal I had a sandwich and Don had a salad. I am not sure if the dinner menu is larger or larger portions but I would say if not then this place is better for a light lunch. Everything was very good and I would definitely go back.

Amazing view of Manarola from Nessun Dorma

After lunch I was so tired it was crazy. I felt like I was just going to fall asleep standing up. All I wanted to do was sleep. We were trying to figure out what to do and Greg had texted us about a wine walk in Manarola so we decided to try it out. It was kind of hard to find where the wine walk started and we were also confused because we though it was a guided tour. But if you follow the main street into the town it will curve around and just before you get to the church you will see a wine bar and if you look up you will see a path above you that you can take stairs to. The wine walk is basically a little trail that goes along the top of the town. There is an area you can climb stairs to get a panoramic view which includes a view of Corniglia. If you have Rick Steve’s book on the Cinque Terre he gives details about this trail and how to get there. We were lucky enough to find it without the book and I also got  a second wind on the hike. The views were amazing. At one point on the hike we were above the restaurant where we ate for lunch. We rested there for a bit looking down at the restaurant and we saw a marriage proposal happen! It was exciting to see everyone react to it.

On the wine walk
The crazy, scary stairs on the way up to the panoramic view.

After the walk we decided to have a glass of wine at the wine bar near the entrance of the walk. It was a cool place, very chill and relaxed. The owner even brought us some bread and cheese. I wish I could remember the name of this place but you will see it if you’re in Manarola headed towards the church.

After the wine we headed back to the train for our final night in Monterosso. We decided to have dinner with Greg and Erin. We ate at a pizza place that was recommended by the guy at Greg’s hotel. I believe it was called Ristorante Pizzeria Da Ely. We were able to sit outside and we each had our own personal pizza. It was delicious!! I really enjoyed this place. After dinner we went to find some gelato and then we went back to hotel so we could pack and get ready to go to the villa in Tuscany!

Cinque Terre-Corniglia to Vernazza.

Today we had breakfast at our hotel, Hotel Souvenir. The breakfast was ok but nothing like what we had at Hotel iQ Roma!

After breakfast we took the train to the town of Corniglia. We wanted to do a trail between two of the towns but many of the trails between the towns were closed. The one between Corniglia and Vernazza was open and it seemed to be a good trail for us. Originally I had not planned or wanted to see Corniglia because it was very high up and required climbing about 300 steps. This did not sound appealing but we did it. When we first got up to the town it did not seem that impressive, especially compared to Manarola, but it was cute.

Me not wanting to climb the stairs.

But the views were awesome.

We walked around a bit and got some focaccia for a snack. Then we decided to do the walk to Vernazza. The walk at first was pretty hard because a lot of it was up steps. It was also a bit crowded at times. We made a lot of stops to take pictures and look at the scenery. There were really cool views of Corniglia from the trail. It was much prettier to look at from afar.

At one point we met a Giants fan and we talked about the Cubs. She also told us we were getting close and the rest of the walk was easier for us because it was downhill. We made it to a cafe the woman told us about and I got an iced coffee and Don had a lemon slushy. The views from here were beautiful and we were so happy we had completed the trail!

After our drinks were finished we went outside and were a bit confused because after walking more we were not seeing Vernazza. Don looked at his map and come to find out we were only half way! We had already been on this trail for an hour! The entire trail was just over 2 miles and should take about an hour haha. But we had more to go. It wasn’t that the trail was hard we just were taking our time and taking in the scenery. This did not make me very happy because I was getting hungry. Luckily the rest of the walk was downhill.

Once we got to Vernazza it was very busy, but pretty. We took a lot of pictures and decided to have lunch near the water at Ristorante Belforte. Their kitchen was closing soon for the afternoon so we ordered quickly. We tried some more anchovies that were prepared differently: fried, salted, and with lemon. I had a spaghetti with meat sauce and Don had pasta with mussels. We both enjoyed our meal a lot.

After lunch we took the train back to Monterosso. After a small nap we heard from Greg that him and his friend Erin had arrived in Monterosso.  We decided to meet up for drinks on the rooftop of their hotel. They were staying at Albergo Stella della Marina and it looked very nice. We had some wine and an appetizer at Enoteca Internazionale. This place was closer to our hotel but I had a recommendation for it and it looked so cute! We had a meat and cheese plate and it was delicious. Why is food so good here?!

We needed some real dinner though and Greg’s hotel guy had recommended a few places so we tried out Trattoria II Piccolo Diavolo. It didn’t look that great but the food was awesome! I really enjoyed my food. I had a pasta with red sauce and a pesto sauce; it was amazing! Don again had the mussel pasta and he said it was better than the one he had at lunch.

After dinner we continued drinking and went to a bar called Enoteca Da Eliseo. It was very fun and our waitress was awesome. We had a variety of drinks here, which resulted in us probably drinking too much. Pretty awesome day here in the Cinque Terre.


Italy-Day 3-Cinque Terre

Today we had to wake up super early because we had an early train to catch to go to Cinque Terre. Our train left Roma Termini at 6:50 am. It was sad to leave our hotel in Rome so soon because we really liked it, but we were excited to see what the Cinque Terre was like. The Cinque Terre is made up of villages on the coast. The towns are built into hillsides so it’s very rugged and steep. The five villages are: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. The Cinque Terre is an unique experience because there is a train line that runs between the 5 towns, there are hiking trails between each town, and there are boats you can also use to town hop. So it’s very common for people to try to experience each village. Most of the villages do not have cars either so that is cool. I really wanted to stay in Manarola because from pictures it seemed the most beautiful to me, but most of the hotels were booked. We ended up staying in Monterosso, which was probably the best situation because out of all of the towns it is the most flat, so we didn’t have to trudge our luggage up too many crazy stairs.

I had purchased our train tickets online previously so they were fairly cheap; I think they were about $40 for the two of us. The train went from Rome to La Spezia, the biggest town just South of the Cinque Terre. Once it got to La Spezia we would have to switch to the train that went to the five towns of the Cinque Terre. We picked up sandwiches and coffee from a shop inside Roma Termini and got on our train. It was very nice. I wish the U.S. had a train system like Italy. We both had windows seats because we sat across from each other with a table in between us. It was really cool to see the country side. As we got closer to La Spezia the train got way more crowded. Switching to the train to Monterosso was pretty easy, it’s crazy how easy and convenient the trains are here.

Once we arrived in Monterosso it was very crowded. Right when you get out of the train station you are on the boardwalk for the beach. There were people every where, it was crazy. I think we were both surprised at how crowded it was and we both questioned if this was going to the nice quaint place we had hoped for.  It was only around noon when we got there so after walking from the train, which was about 10 minutes, we found a restaurant for lunch. We ate at Ristorante il Moretto. We had a nice salad to start and then we both had pasta. I had spaghetti; first spaghetti in Italy! It was very good. Don had pasta with seafood I believe and he really enjoyed it also. We sat near an older man who went to UIUC and knew exactly where Champaign-Urbana was so that was funny. He started talking to us because I was wearing a Cubs shirt. I also saw my first cat here!

Sleepy cat in the restaurant.

After eating we went looking for our hotel, it was just a short walk from the restaurant and we were able to check in. The room and bathroom are very small but it is nice enough. We are staying at Hotel Souvenir. The outside patio is very nice here.

Once we got settled in we decided we should explore Monterosso a bit. So we walked around and then went down by the water. We felt the water and it was pretty cold, but also the beach was all pebbles so it was hard to walk on. We decided to get some ice cream and cappuccino. The place we got ice cream at was called Nuovo Eden, we chose it because it had a really nice outdoor seating area. It was pretty good. While we were here we decided that we should check out Manarola tonight.

We took the train to Manarola which is the second village in the Cinque Terre. It was also the place I wanted to stay for our time here. It was absolutely beautiful. So picturesque and quiet. We did figure out that by late afternoon all the day trippers and tour groups had left the villages so it was much less crowded.

I had done a lot of research on Manarola so I had a restaurant in mind called, Trattoria dal Billy. It was a hike to get up to it, Manarola is a lot more steep than Monterosso, but it was definitely worth it! We got seated outside on one of the balconies with a nice view of the sunset. We decided to try anchovies here because that is one of the foods of the Cinque Terre. I was pretty hesitant because they came as full little fish on a plate with olive oil and lemon seasoning. It was intimidating but I did it and they were good! Especially good on bread. I ordered the pasta with pesto because the Cinque Terre is known as the birthplace of pesto. It was delicious! Don had calamari and shrimp. We basically ended up sharing everything and it was delicious. We both loved this place and we also had our first wine in Italy here!

After dinner we walked around more. I found another cat on a rooftop behind the church. Don tried to take a picture of it and had his flash on and it totally disturbed a couple making out on the other side of the rooftop. We couldn’t stop laughing!

We walked down by the water and found another one of the restaurants that I wanted to try, so we definitely have to come back to Manarola! It was so amazing. Here’s some night time pictures we took.

We had fun taking pictures on the way back to the train also. There was a long tunnel with some weird art and writings.