Shrimp Trucks

One of the places a visitor to Hawaii must stop is a shrimp truck on the North Shore. They have a reputation for great, locally caught shrimp.

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Deciding what to eat.
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A place to sit in the comfort of Hawaiian breezes.
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My dinner.

 

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That says it all. (I wonder if customers forgetting their cars is something that happens a lot.)
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And then the cats show up for their handouts.

Traveling the North Shore

After stopping at the Dole Plantation, we drove along the North Shore. The best way for me to describe the ride is – the scenery was exactly as I imagined Hawaii scenery to be … blue sky, endless sparkling water, rocky shorelines that fade into sandy beaches.

Better yet – here’s a few (yes, just a few) of the pictures I took.

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On the way to the shore … not absolutely 100% sure, but I think we are still passing the Dole plantation and these are pineapple plants. When I  zoomed in, they looked like pineapple. (Willing to be corrected.)

 

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Hmm … words to describe God’s beautiful creation: serene, breathtaking, sparkling.
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Again, breathtaking.
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Does anything get more Hawaiian-looking than this?

 

 

 

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Sunshine!
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Not a sign I see too often in Illinois.

I Made It – the Fiftieth State!

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Not only is Hawaii the fiftieth state, it was also my fiftieth and final state. I have now been in all the states! The first thing I noticed is that Hawaii has a spicy, flowery smell. On doing some research, I read that part of it is because there is no industry pollution floating around. The other part is that there is a lot of puakenikeni, plumeria, and ginger perfuming the air.

I arrived in Oahu, Hawaii about seven at night and immediately Tom and Marti gave me a new experience … we went to a conclave of food trucks, ordered dinner … and then ate a new-to-me dessert – malasadas (Portuguese doughnut). Malasada specifically means “poorly or undercooked” which refers to the crispy coating and the soft, doughy insides (but you don’t think of them as undercooked). I would compare them to beignets.

Malasadas are thought to come from Sao Miquel, an island in the Azores settled by the Portuguese in 1427. When the Hawaii sugar and pineapple industry needed more workers, they hired many of them from other Pacific Islands, most often from Madeira and the Azores because those people already knew about harvesting sugar cane. They brought the Portuguese malasada with them. The doughnuts are egg-shaped and often filled with a creamy custard, chocolate or coconut filling.

Leonards is the most famous bakery on Oahu for malasadas … and we purchased ours at Leonard’s Malasadamobile.

Yum!

And how I missed taking a picture considering how many hundreds of pictures I’ve taken the past few weeks, I have NO idea.

 

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At the food truck – shelves full of malasadas, ready to fry.

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Another new food I had the very  next morning was an apple banana. They are from the Philippines and are sweeter, shorter and have a thicker skin than the bananas we are used to. They also have three times the Vitamin C that we’re used to and 1 1/2 times the amount of Vitamin A. A great start to a great trip.IMG_0700.jpg

Bay Port

Driving along the shore of Lake Huron, we came to the town of Bay Port.

First we simply walked around and enjoyed the beautiful summer afternoon, listening to the soft breath of the water and losing ourselves in the view.DSC_0133 2.jpgDSC_0131.jpgDSC_0140.jpgThen across the inlet I saw a place called Bay Port Fish Company. Something about it intrigued me and I said to Barb, “Can we go in there?” We didn’t know, but we thought we’d try. We drove out and around to the parking lot.

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I walked in and asked if I could take pictures for my blog and the lady asked the filleters if they would mind. They were so intent on their work, that they didn’t even look up!DSC_0146.jpgDSC_0150.jpgDSC_0151.jpgDSC_0155.jpgDSC_0142.jpgJust a fun visit.

Cheeseburger Fest

The day Barb and I rode up to the tip of the Thumb to see Lake Huron, we found ourselves in the middle of the annual Caseville Cheeseburger Fest which had something to do with Jimmy Buffet, flamingos and a lot of people.

I have not been to a Cheeseburger Fest before and can’t say it was ever on my to-do list, however, just looking at the stuffed flamingoes thrown over the light poles was rather entertaining. I could see no pattern to them – but rather it looked like some little kids were playing and tossed their stuffed birds into the air.

We did eat at one of the main diners in town: Walt’s and to get into the spirit of the day, I ordered a cheeseburger which I can’t even remember the last time I ordered a cheeseburger at a diner. Wow! Truly a good burger. Obviously freshly made.

At that point, we kind of ran out of things to do that were cheeseburgerish and so continued on our way.

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The flamingoes tossed over the light poles made me laugh.

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Everyone had flamingoes in their yards and on their porches.
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And in their store windows.
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Best cheeseburger ever!

 

Lake Huron

I’ve lived a lot of my life by Lake Michigan and a little of my life near Lake Huron.

Last week when I was in Michigan, Barb (great friend) and I headed up to the tip of the thumb. (The lower peninsula of Michigan is in the shape of a mitten and we lived in the thumb. Yes, that’s what it’s called – the Thumb Area.)

On the way we passed the Octagon Barn. You can take tours and Barb said it it’s fascinating inside, but unfortunately it was closed. As we walked along the fence line, a lady from inside (maybe owner) came and talked to us and gave us some suggestions about what days we could come back, but alas …

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So we continued on our journey until we reached the lake in the town of Caseville. The afternoon was warm, but the lake breeze was refreshing.  Pretend you’re there. Pretend you can feel the soft wind blowing your hair. Pretend you can hear the waves against the shore and plop, plop, plop of the boats as they sped across the water. And enjoy.DSC_0109.jpg

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A Chocolate Garden

Last time I drove home from Michigan, I was with a friend; a friend who likes chocolate. So when we saw signs advertising The Chocolate Garden, we were intrigued. We got off the exit and headed down a country road. The place wasn’t too far off the highway, but the rural atmosphere of the location made us think we were in the wrong location.

Then we saw the house with the Chocolate Garden sign. So this time, knowing where I was going, I drove right to it.  Also, there was a lot more activity on the road, with people picking fruit at the neighboring apple orchard.DSC_0060.jpgDSC_0056.jpgThis isn’t just any chocolate shop – they only sell truffles (and a few home decor-type items). The truffles, however, are so good, they’ve been featured on Food Network, and the Chicago Tribune.

To discover which truffles you’d like to buy –  for $2.99, they will allow you to taste test three different kinds. You read what’s in them and then list the three you’d like to try. IMG_0381.jpgIMG_0386.jpgDSC_0059.jpgSo if you’re heading up #94 through Michigan, here’s another place to stop.