Hong Kong

After the second day of the gymnastics cert my husband flew in to join me.  We made our way to the Central district for some sight seeing and stopped in the Hard Rock Café, cause we are those tourists.

Hey- easy on the name calling, there Hong Kong!

Hey- easy on the name calling, there, Hong Kong!

Soooo, those fish are still swimming.

Soooo, those fish are still swimming.

Veggie and fruit stands are to Hong Kong as Starbucks and hipsters are to Seattle!

Veggie and fruit stands are to Hong Kong as Starbucks and hipsters are to Seattle!

Apparently, these are da bomb... next time.

Apparently, these are da bomb… next time… maybe!

After a good nights rest in our fancy smancy hotel we spent the next morning enjoying our tourist status.  We got lost.  We laughed.  We were offered “great” deals on watches.  Got rained on.  Took the subway.  Took a taxi.  Found a “7 For All Mankind” store.  And then we had an Irish Coffee in a British pub…

hollywOOOOOOd!!!!

hollywOOOOOOd!!!!

Purchasing designer jeans was a memorable experience for two reasons.  1. They are mentioned in my favorite song, My Humps; don’t judge… and 2ndly: I have wanted designer jeans since my pre-crossfit/paleo days… when I couldn’t fit in them.  Now.  They are mine.  Call me shallow… talk to the hand! 😉

To continue with our touristy travels through Hong Kong, we switched hotels and moved over to the Kowloon side of Hong Kong.  We checked into the Mira Hotel.  This hotel is James Bond meets Jackie Chan.  Holy sexiness, sleekness with an Asian twist– so cool!  Our room came with a Droid.  Yes.  A phone.  Enter your room, stare in awe, look at the tub next to the king side bed and then… and then the Droid.  Free calls to 92 countries, Wi-Fi hot spot… and a virtual map.  What could be better than this?  How about reservations to OZONE… on the 118th floor of the Ritz-Calrton!!!  When in Rome, right!?!?!

hk9

As if the grounds of Hong Kong wasn’t posh enough, at the top of the tallest building in Hong Kong rests this bar… the highest bar in the world.  We had the Mira book our reservations and we definitely felt like frauds walking into this place.  Ok, maybe “frauds” was a bit extreme… But, I did ask my husband to call me Vivian for the night.

For dinner we chose the 6 course meal.  Be prepared to salivate:

Oysters... from Puget Sound.

Oysters… from Puget Sound.

fasdfas

Sashimi Squares with a few sea grapes… as if it wasn’t fancy enough

Halibut from Alaska...set ontop of a vegetable consommé...

Halibut from Alaska…set ontop of a vegetable consommé…

The CHEF came over and told us all about how fancy this was...

The CHEF came over and told us all about how fancy this was…

It was divine!!

It was divine!!

This, however, was my favorite part…

This is the mother of all things fabulous...  Its a cup, on a bowl which is filled with mesquite smoke...

This is the mother of all things fabulous… It’s a cup, on a bowl which is filled with mesquite smoke…

The cup holds a perfectly poached egg laying in a thick creamy broth...

The cup holds a perfectly poached egg laying in a thick creamy broth…

Inside the smoke is a velvety mashed potato topped with a slice of heaven (AKA bacon).

Inside the smoke is a velvety mashed potato topped with a slice of heaven (AKA bacon).  Yes, sprinkled with flowers… but, of course!

This dinner left me speechless.

hk17 hk18The view had me convinced I was on the literal cloud 9!

To make our few days in Hong Kong just a tad bit more memorable, we spent the following morning on a run little jog down the Avenue of Stars where we saw Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan’s star.  We finished our jog through the Kowloon Park where the locals were practicing Tai Chi.  It was such a beautiful sight, that yes, it brought me to tears.

After a quick shower and an iced Americo, we slid our way through the subway and made our way to Victorias Peak.

View from the tram

View from the tram

Bubba Gumps

Bubba Gumps

After a nice dinner from atop the mountain, we made our through Hong Kong city on the locals mode of transportation: the escalators…

hk21Then out of no where… and I mean: NO WHERE- came a sickness.  We hopped on the next subway and made our way back to the room.  We stayed in the room, hunched over in pain for the rest of our stay.  I wish I could blame it on the food, the altitude, or the subway… but I think I caught the lovely bug from a co-worker.

All in all, though, Hong Kong was a blast.  Truly, a trip of a lifetime.  As soon as my immune system is built back up from the back to bad sickness I’ve had- I plan on getting to work on my pull ups and a lot more crossfit kids posts.  Until then…. I am contagious. =(

My love, my love, my love, my love-
jess

Mega Don Quijote

First there was ETWS, now there is Mega Don Quijote (Donki)!!!  OkiHai compares Donki to Walmart and I agree-ish.  Donki is the product of my thought process.  It’s chaos.  It’s colorful.  It’s loud.  It puts a dent in the wallet!

Once you park on the roof, make your way down the aquarium elevator and follow the red rug to Japan Land.  The first section is eye lashes.  Literally 8 rows of eye lashes.  Apparently eye lashes are big business around here!  Around the corner is the over lit area of accessories: purses, sunglasses, and watches.  After you turn the corner- good luck finding your bearing!  Electronics, kitchen tools, car accessories, childrens toys and clothes, hair products, and there’s even a grocery section!

The original intent of my voyage through Donki was to find accessories to our Halloween costume: chefs hat, an apron and an orange shirt.

Iron Chef and Pumpkin Pie!

Iron Chef and Pumpkin Pie!

We wore our couples costume to Reebok Crossfit Asia’s Kids Halloween party.  The only person to get it… got it on their fourth try.  Hmph.

Since I was already half way through crazytown Don Quijote I thought I’d wonder through the grocery section.  Holy happiness!!!  I’m on a spice kick as it is- and I was in heaven!

Its no Penzys- but it'll do!

Its no Penzys- but it’ll do!

I’m on my last jar of Trader Joes 21 Seasoning Salute Spice and have been looking for a replacement.  I have my fair share of spices but it just takes so much time creating spice blends that I really wanted a choice of already blended seasonings.  I went home with “The Oh!Zone”!!!!

Oh!Zone!!

Maybe its the over use of the !… I like it!!!!

The innuendo sold me: A cleansing blend to add a “lift” to stir-fries & curries.  Also delicious in salad dressings, sauces & in place of refined salt as a healthier table condiment.  You can stay in the gutter, if you want 😉

Back to spices: this isn’t the best collection of spices I’ve ever seen but it has done its job of holding me over.  Therefore, I’ve still been on the look out for a company that I love as much as The Chefs Olive Mix for oils and vinegars- but for spices.  Enter the magical potion of friend and Facebook: a friend suggested Savory Spice Shop.  She even let me “borrow” some of her fancy spices: anise and cardamom (Bo Kho and Rogan Josh recipe).  It has a drop down for APO.  Need I say more?  Ok, fine, I will: Roasted Garlic Granules, Raritan River Herb & Chipotle Seasoning,Citrus & Savory Brining Spices and Madagascar Vanilla Extract… my kitchen is ’bout to explode… now we wait!!!

Tootles-

jess

Mean Cuisine Recipes and Review

A fellow foodie, Leah, has started to offer her chef skills to the peeps of Okinawa: Mean Cuisine!  I took advantage of the October special and booked a “Mix it Up” Class.  After a few emails back and forth and a small deposit, my reservation was made!

We met at Awase Fish Market at a designated time plus the 10 minutes it took me to do a u-turn and map study.  We started at the veggie stand.  Leah explained where specific veggies came from with details on taste, texture and recipe ideas.  We picked out some good looking veggies and headed into the actual market.  Inside we notice it was slim picking on the fish front.  3 o’clock was a bit late for a good selection.  We were still able to pick out a few whole fish and turned them into the super quick fish-cleaner-guy fishmonger while we made our way to the sashimi section.

"Yes, Id like the keep the heads"... wait... what?

“Yes, Id like the keep the heads”… wait… what?

When all was said and done, I spent  around ¥6,000 in fresh vegetables and fish- planning to serving 12.

Back at my house we unloaded the groceries and started the first side: Garlic- Chipotle KabochaKabocha is a Japanese pumpkin and available everywhere!!!  I have never cooked with this little guy… this is what I learned: 1.) you’re supposed to eat the peel and 2.) in some cultures it’s an aphrodisiac!!

Kabocha

Kabocha

Galic-Chipotle Kabocha

  • 1 kabocha; stem and bottom removed, deseeded, and sliced into wedges
  • 4 T EVOO
  • 3 T garlic granules
  • 2 t Chipotle powder

Preheat oven to 350.  Smother kabocha wedges with EVOO, sprinkle with garlic and chipotle and roast for 20 minutes.  Flip and roast for 20 more.

Smokey, sweet and spicy... Kabocha!

Smokey, sweet and spicy… Kabocha!

My guests arrived willing and eager to learn and cook– Leah put them to work washing the lettuce for the sashimi salad.  While one side of the kitchen prepped the salad, Leah and I started the Fish Head Soup.  This soup looks complicated… it’s not- promise!!

Fish Head Soup

  • 1 pot of water
  • 3 fish heads
  • 1 yellow onion;  ends cut off and chopped in half (leave the skin)
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 t marjoram, dried
  • 1 t thyme, dried
    ——————-
  • 1/2 t Madras Curry Powder
  • 1 T coconut four
  • 1 T arrowroot powder
    ——————-
  • 3″ lemon grass, bruised
  1. Bring ingredients to a boil and then down to a simmer.
  2. When the fish’s eyes “pop” it’s time to start adding salt, pepper, more salt.
  3. Boil until the soup reduces to half the volume.
  4. Strain everything out so you’re left with only broth.
  5. Mix curry powder, coconut flour and arrowroot in a small dish then add to fish broth and mix with a hand blender
  6. Add fish balls, lemon grass, salt and pepper- soup is ready when the fish balls start floating!
Fish heads, water and veggies!

Fish heads, water and veggies!

Volume is down to 1/2

Volume is down to 1/2

Fish Balls

  • 1 raw fish, skin and bones removed, chopped
  • 1 T fresh cilantro, minced
  • ½ t black salt
  • ¼ t wasabi powder
  1. Mix all ingredients with fingertips in a small bowl.
  2. Form small balls about the size of paintballs.
  3. Drop into fish broth.
  4. Soup is ready when the fish balls start floating!
Fish Ball Soup

Fish Ball Soup

Yes, I’m saving the best for last:

Butter-Fried Fish

  • Whole fish: innards, head and scaled removed
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Kosher Salt
  • EVOO
  • (optional: garlic granules, herb, etc. of your choice).
  1. Melt butter in pan at med-high heat.
  2. Make paste of oil, salt and herbs or spices that you      choose.
  3. Massage into skin of fish.
  4. Fry fish until it moves easily in the pan.
  5. Flip.
  6. Repeat.
  7. Enjoy.
    Fish and butter, baby!

    Fish and butter, baby!

    Crispy fish!

    Crispy fish!

    Mean Cuisine Review:

Overview: I met Leah at Awase fish market and purchased ingredients to serve 12 for a “fish dinner”.  In my kitchen, we made: fish ball soup, sashimi salad, garlic-chipotle kabocha, three butter-fried fish and 1 oven baked fish.  It took 2 hours from unloading groceries to saying grace.

Pros: Leah’s Mean Cuisine was a great opportunity and I plan on doing it again (Kokasai Street next time!!!)!  She was informative, creative and a pleasure to learn from.  My favorite part was having her in my kitchen.  For example, I have more spices than you can shake a stick at yet I rarely use them.  Leah went through all my spices and gave me some awesome suggestions and pairings.  The laughter that helped build dinner will not be soon forgotten!!!

Cons:  We bought waaaaaay too much sashimi.  Also, I had originally shopped for 12 dinner guests.  Luckily, a couple of husbands didn’t make it and we had just enough for every one.

Prices: Book a cooking lesson before October 31 and pay only ¥1,000 per student per hour (minimum 2 hours) plus materials fee.

Details: Find Leah on facebook or visit her blog!

The dinner party!

The dinner party!

Tootles-

jess

Daikon No Hana, Naha

The hubsters man-cation came to an end with a missed flight in Narita and an over night stay in Tokyo.  Monday morning I packed up all three kids and drove them to Naha to pick him up.  It was close to lunch time and I had seen on a thread in the Okinawa Foodies Group on restaurants in Naha.  One gal suggested a buffet place with organic choices.  I PM’d a friend and got some more info and then loaded the car with the kids, husband and luggage filled with primary journals.

Directions:

Go to the airport via the expressway.

Expressway Exit

Expressway Exit

Once you’re off the expressway, do a U-turn at this building:

U-turn here

U-turn here

Japanese Organic Buffet

Daikon No Hana: Japanese Organic Buffet

The atmosphere was very comfortable and laid back.  We paid under Y5,000 for three children and two adults for the lunch buffet.

You're guess is as good as mine!

You’re guess is as good as mine!

One of the superb aspects of paleo is stepping outside your culinary comfort zone.  Just a few days ago a friend, Auste, suggested I try pigs feet.  I have seen them at the Gate 3 Market.  I have even picked them up.  I looked them closely, then squished my nose, thought I’m not ready, and put them back down.

They look squishy.  Not yummy.  But, don’t judge a book a book by its cover, right?  Don’t knock it til you try it, right?  Well, I did- I tried it!!!!!!!!!!!!

A pig foot

Damn you iphone!

And I can say with all honesty: I don’t love it.  Auste, when I come to Narobi to visit, I’ll let you have my pigs feet!

Tootles-

jess

PS: Okinawahai.com has a post on this place, but their website is down right now.  I’ll come back and put in the link in a few days! 😉

 

Gate Three Market

Sick of shopping at the commiscary?  Get off base!  Get your mirror dented, use your windshield wipers instead of your turn signals and get lost!!!  I know its overwhelming at first, but you are on an island… you can only go so far!!!

The first and easiest one from Kadena is what I call the “Gate 3 Market”.  I came up with this very catchy name because its easiest to get to coming from… you guessed it: Gate 3!!

Directions:

  • Be on Kadena
  • Go out Gate Three  (Ok, back up.  Get on Douglas, pass Burger King (itll be on your right) and keep going.  Pass the recycling center turn off.  Yes, theres a recycling center on Kadena!!)
  • Go straight through the light.  (Stop if its red… well you can keep going, but put your right hand up, nod your head a bit and hope no one is jumping the gun.)
  • Pass Camp Shields (that’s where Naps is)
  • Pass B.C Motors (Why don’t they use a second period? That drives me nuts)
  • Go straight through the stop light that says turn to go see the Southeast Botanical Gardens (newly opened and now on my to-do list!)
  • Pass a graffeti pachinko parlor (which I think with the right TLC would be an awesome place for RCFA… just saying)
  • Now slow down, turn left when you see this itty bitty sign
turn left at the green sign

turn left at the green sign

Missed it?  Its ok, turn left at the next drive way!!  If you come to a T-intersection- you went too far!

This is actually called a “JA Market“.  They have tons of fresh yummy goodness.  Check it!  Bring your yen or credit cards!  Open 7 days a week.

Tomatoes bright and plentiful, thats goya behind the red heads

Tomatoes bright and plentiful, thats goya behind the red heads

eggs, eggs and EM eggs

eggs, eggs and EM eggs

dehydrated root veggies- oh so crunchy!

dehydrated root veggies- oh so crunchy!

$9 magos, mini pineapples and maybe grapefruit

gorgeous mangos with to die for flavor!

Just to the side of the market is this little nursery: flowers, herbs (couldnt find cilantro), and some veggies

Just to the side of the market is this little nursery: flowers, herbs (couldnt find cilantro), and some veggies

Go on… get lost!!!!

Tootles-

jess

Jams Steakhouse

I drove home last night irritated and exhausted. Then the “don’t take yourself too seriously” angel came through my radio and made me move my hips like yeah:

Don’t judge. It made me laugh because I had just read this article saying 10 celebrities had “gone paleo”- one of them being Miley Cyrus. If you don’t know who Miley is… lower your musical standards, please. Thanks. But, seriously, how fantastic is this…

Say it with me, “thank you, Miley”!!

(And thank you, Steph, for sharing this!!)

After my seated Miley-dance-party I walked in the door and apologized to the hubby. For a couples like us who come and go so quickly, its imperative to be on speaking terms when one of us is departing the country. Since I was the one acting like a titty-baby- I apologized. This is the second time in one week that I have had to apologize for my bratty behavior. Earlier in the week I ruined our anniversary dinner.

It started off fine: a couples massage at Thai Med… and then traffic… followed by a discussion on how we would react to the news of one of our children being bullied (we passionately disagreed)… cue 20 minutes of stubborn silence… then to top off the evening, the walk of shame when we do not in fact have reservations at the restaurant 40 minutes from our house. Awesome. Happy 9th anniversary.

After a much needed 8 hours of beauty rest I woke up the following morning nice and apologized. Instead of the blame game that we did five years ago, he accepted my apology and we scheduled a re-do.

This time we skipped the massage, took a different route to miss the traffic and I made reservations.

This is Jams Steak House. Its expensive, but fun!!

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Best décor on island!!

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An aquarium IN the bathroom: mind blown!

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Ostrich sashimi y500

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#2 tasted like grass. Yuck. I ordered the Chi-Chi next and it was the best Pina Colada- eva!

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Steak and veggies

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Ahhh, romantic, eh!?!?

After nine years of wedding bliss I know one thing: its hard to argue over good food.

Tootles-

jess

 

A Batman Beach Birthday!

We had JRs party out at the beaches of Oura Wan Bay (Camp Schwab) this weekend.

The BIG 8!  Who needs much else when you have these amazing beaches?!!?!

The birthday boy and the beach!

The birthday boy and the beach!

And BATMAN!!!

JR & Batman by Joy Company!

JR & Batman by Joy Company!

And cup cakes… seriously, they are more like a work of art!!!!

Cupcakes by Sweetie Pies Bake Shop

Cupcakes by Sweetie Pies Bake Shop

In sheer laziness and convenience, I ordered pizza for the party.  Weird.  I didn’t get  a picture.  Hmm.

Either there is a nasty little bug going around the island or my body reacted violently from JRs birthday party.

It was around 8 that night that I started getting a rumble in my tummy.  No bueno.  I was out celebrating a friends birthday and for the first time in a loooooong time, I left early.  All day Sunday I was “down hard for parts”.

No one else seemed affected, but later Sunday, JY said she wasn’t feeling too good either.

Monday, though, I was back to normal!  It was my last furlough day and it was a good one!  I took JR and MC to Camp Courtney for swim camp, had lunch with one of the wives from my husbands squadron and made it to the 1400 wod.

I love this wod mostly for the athletes.  They are seriously my favorite.  Even though they might not eat and breathe crossfit, they have great clothes, great smiles and their energy is colorfully contagious!

The wod:

3 Rounds for time:
15 power cleans 155/105lbs
50 Double Unders

I used 85# for my cleans and ran home to watch this.


Proof.  I’m not alone.

Tootles.

jess

*Down hard for parts: sick, dying, almost dead.

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