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

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! 😉

 

Thai Food Yomitan

Ready for a date night, my husband asks me, “where is the best place to eat paleo on island?”.  Without hesitation, I turned to our kitchen and pointed!  Our kitchen is the best place to eat clean- because we know what exactly goes on our dinner plates.  But sometimes, I need a break from the internet browsing, cookbook reading, grocery shopping, chopping, dicing, sautéing, prepping and dishes.

I had read an article on Okihai about a newer place called Thai Food Yomitan.  I think one of the best options for eating out and remaining paleo is Thai food.  A lot of the menu options are veggies and meat.  There’s probably a bit of soy sauce and sugar- but that’s the price you pay for not having to do dishes!!!

Yomitan Thai Food is wicked easy to get to.  Drive past Torii’s main gate, take a left at a place called K-Box and it’ll be on your left.  We went early and parked in one of their three very tight parking spots and had our choice of seats.  We chose the little couches… they looked comfier than the plastic chairs.

image_6

Since there was only one other couple, our service was awesome- quick, super friendly and did I say quick?  The menu has both Japanese and English and of course the international language of pictures!  One of the extra menus had their summer specials:

Power Up!

Power Up!

Soooo sexy!!!

Soooo sexy!!!

greens

greens

Spring rolls... more like "Summer-Sunshine-Fantastical-Rolls"!

Spring rolls… more like “Summer-Sunshine-Fantastical-Rolls”!

Then our main courses came out:

Hubbys dinner

Hubbys dinner

The first time I’ve ever eaten Thai food, Ill admit, I ordered the all American order: Pad Thai.  Embarrassingly, I continued to order the Pad Thai until I went to Jai Thai with a Thai friend.  I haven’t ordered Pad Thai since!!!  On this date night, I ordered the “Spicy Roasted Pork”.

Oh so spicy!

Oh so spicy!

Let me tell you: It was spicy, it was roasted, and it was the most delicious Thai food I’ve had (except of course my friends Thai beef salad) on island!

Tootles-

jess

Got Beef?

I GOT BEEF!  When I think of “Japanese beef”, I usually think of Kobe… but there’s a new cow in town: Ishigaki!  Ok, he’s been around for a while, but he is gaining popularity and you should know about him!

110520_ishigaki_beef_hum

He is from the island of Ishigaki- only an hour flight from Naha!!  According to this website, the cows are happy, healthy and stress free… my kind of cow!

Friday night was date night for my and my rock star husband and we chose to go to Jams in Onna Village.  Once we were seated I scanned the appetizers: Ishigaki Shashimi (raw beef)!!  My excitement level went through the roof… then my excitement bubble popped: sold out.  Of course.

I explained to my husband that I joined a new facebook group called: Natural Living Okinawa… and they let me in on the beef secret.  The “local” beef got my husbands attention and he started flipping through the menu.  He noticed that every “set” came with an upgrade: Ishigaki Beef!

Jams is a teppanyaki restraunt (where they cook on a grill in front of you) and has a massive menu with both set options and ala carte.  We ordered grilled oysters as an appetizer and the Hibiscus Set for dinner.  The set included curry soup, salad, 2 massive shrimps, 4 large scallops, 2 fillets of white fish, Ishigaki beef, bok choy, sprouts, local spinach, a purple rice cake, rice and vanilla ice cream for dessert.  We also had fresh fruit drinks (with fancy umbrellas)… our total came to a little over  $200– which is the same amount I spend at the commissary for a week of groceries… but- hey- it is date night!

I had planned on taking pictures, but I didn’t, sorry.  Heres the best I can do: the chef sliced the bright colorful veggies with precision and flare.  When he cooked the shrimp he took the shell and set it aside.  The shrimp was minimally seasoned and each bite was a perfect fusion of sea, butter and garlic!  The scallops literally melted in our mouths.  The white fish was good- it came with a thick sauce on top: different, but good.  And then— the steak.  The beef was marbled red and white with a thick white border of fat.  The chef trimmed the fat and set it aside then lighty seasoned the Ishigaki beef, grilled it, and served it in long medium rare strips.  There was two different “steak sauces”.  I didn’t use either, the steak was immaculate on its own!

Once all the food was served he brought the shrimp shell back to the center of the grill.  I didn’t give it much thought because I was in Ishigaki beef heaven.  He fried the shrimp shell, seasoned it and then put it on my plate.  Hmm.  In the best English he could muster he told me, “like a chip”.  It did not taste like any chip I have ever had… but then, I saw him reach for the fat he had cut off the steak.  He brought the fat to the center of the grill.  He diced it up, fried it, seasoned it… and gave it to us: Ohhhhh Eeeem Geeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!

At some time during our taste buds climaxing a young Japanese couple sat down next to us.  They ordered the lobster.  Their lobster came out… alive.  Then the chef, well, cooked it.  It was shocking, disturbing and frankly it looked amazingly delicious!!!  If you have a special day to celebrate and you want to celebrate with a beautiful dinner, I highly recommend Jams… especially if someone else is paying!!!! 😉

Tootles-

jess

GMOs: Cereal. Killers.

GMOs.  What are they?!!?!?  Where are they?!?!?!  I’ve been learning a bit on GMOs since learning about them from my SIL.  Recently, I reflected on my high school biology career… I failed biology 2 years in a row.  Maybe this isn’t the topic for me. But, then again, you can get information in a video- and I LOVED movie day!

Dont have time for 2 1/2 hours of video?  No?  You’re in luck: heres pictures!

gmo2

gmo1

6 months ago in California Proposition 37 (required labeling of food products made from GMOs) was axed.  $47,000,000 (thats MILLION) was donated to oppose this measure.  There has been lots of pictures on facebook with lists of GMO users (the BAD GUYS):

This was sent to Stephanie by her Mom as a pamphlet.

This was sent to Stephanie by her Mom as a pamphlet.

Bad bad guys

snopes says these companies are not owned by “Monsanto” but these companies use products developed by Monsanto.

Potato: Potato.

Heres the happy list:

gmos1

Follow me here- I’m going out on a limb… I started watching a new show: The Following.  The show is about a serial killer, Joe Carroll,  who is the leader of a serial killing cult.

The Monsanto

The Monsanto

I have nicknamed Joe Carroll: The Monsanto.  Monsanto… cereal?!?!  Anyone!?!??  Watch the show, let me know what you think!!!

Ok, back to real life…

Both of my boys are playing organized basketball.  After every game a different parent is in charge of sending the kids home with a snack.  First off: why do we need a snack after 16 minutes of exercise and secondly: chips, Gatorade, doughnuts, and granola bars just doesn’t feel like an appropriate “snack”.  I’ve called on my facebook homies to help me out on a fun and healthy snack… more to follow!

Tootles.

jess

Where a kid can be a kid?

DAY 2: The morning started with a killer headache.  No sugar, no cigarettes and not enough water made this morning creature a crabby camper!!!  For the safety of my children, I downed a 20 oz iced water and got the coffee flowing.  Breakfast was two fried eggs (fried in bacon grease) with a couple slices of cajun turkey and 1/2 an avocado.  Lunch was leftover spaghetti squash and Sarah Fragosos marvelous  Meatballs.  I followed that recipe to a T and loved the meatballs but ended up adding a bottle of tomato sauce to make more sauce for the squash.

A new tool our family has been using is “The Noodle”.  When MC talks back, rolls his eyes, or “ax a foo”, he gets a noodle.  When JR whines or begins his adorable and uncontrollable cry, he gets a noodle.  Every time JY throws her 4 year old body on the floor and crocodile tears squirt from her face- she gets a noodle.  Each child has a glass jar with their names on them.  Throughout the day they collect noodles.  In the morning, over breakfast, we talk about yesterdays noodles.  Once all three kids can go “noodle-free”, they get to choose an activity of their choice.  Noodle free for us was day before yesterday… they chose Chuck-E-Cheese.  Crap.

But a deals a deal!  In the morning BL and I started coming up with a plan.  The best we could come up with was: feed the kids before we go to eliminate the cries for pizza.  At 1600, we all sat down for a curry dinner (by Melissa Joulwan, my new BFF) over a bed of cauliflower rice.  I followed her advice this time and had boneless skinless chicken thighs cooked and ready for insertion.  Dinner took about 30 minutes.  Since Im not a pro photographer (like my next new BFF)… I spared you the visual of our curry.  You’re welcome.

After a delish dinner and a speedy cleanup (funny how the punks LOVE to clean all of a sudden!!!) we were off to their reward!  BL and I stood and stared at the food counter.  BL was actually stroking his goatee while deep in thought.  Veggie tray:

veggie tray

The kids had a blast and since they had full bellies they never even asked about the pizza!!!  Yay!!  After a gazillion coins and 200 tickets we headed off for a new park.  On my way back from CrossfitBrentwood the day before, I had noticed a park I thought the kids might like.  Oh yeah, they liked it!  It turned out to be a sprinkler park!  The kids played, jumped, and ran while BL flew a kite and then it happened.  The jack-in-the-box song. No, not the burger joint.  The nursery song.  And it was getting closer.  It reared its ugly head: the dreaded icecream truck. CRAP!

But, here’s the deal*, I have learned to choose my battles.  Once I saw the nostalgic glimmer in my husbands eyes, I knew I was running solo in my quest for a family to find pure health and fitness.  Out came the wallet, the ice-cream and the smiles.  It was a great moment.  I did not fall off the wagon, however, there might have been a moment where I thought licking the chocolate off of my husbands chin was perfectly appropriate.  I didn’t embarrass my children and stayed the course.

The family made it to day 2…. and for me, day 3 has gone by without a hitch.  Wish I could say the same about noodles.

Tootles.

JJ

*A quote from an actual BFF: Jessica Berry.

Sea Garden

This week I had the opportunity to attend a dinner with wives from my husbands squadron.  It just so happened to be a going away dinner for a member/ trainer at crossfitasia: Jewel.  Since she is such a classy girl, we had her dinner at Sea Garden on the Sunabe Sea Wall.  We made our reservations for a party of 8, but they made room for another one at the last second.  We made the reservations the night before, but I warn you- if you plan on dining over a  weekend- call a week or two in advance!  The atmosphere is laid back and classy.  The menu is small, but every single item looked divine (pictures included)!  The prices, I think, were reasonable.  I ordered an appetizer, a dinner and a drink and it was about $50 (I used my card, but they take yen cash too).  The sunsetting behind the Japanese airliners as they were sailing through the sunset was free. Worth it in my book!

Since Im still hanging onto the learning curve of eating Paleo, I tried to order “paleo-ish” items.  I knew sushi, edamae, and the fondue were not a good option so I went with the carpaccio for an appetizer.  I’ve never had “raw beef” before, but Im sure it was Paleo approved (the sauce on the side maybe not so much)!!!  My culinary explanations are a bit on the unexperienced side, but Im going to use the word “chewy” to describe the carpaccio.  It was thinly sliced, but the slices were large.  It was hard to cut it into two and it wasn’t very pretty trying to chew the whole thing at once.. there went my attempt at being classy!  The other word I’ll use to describe the raw beef was “good”!  Ill definitely order it again both at this restaurant and at others… now that I know what it is!

My dinner was the “grilled lamb”.  I’ve never had lamb before (we didn’t have many lambs where I grew up).  With eating Paleo I’ve learned that there are more options than just chicken, steak and bacon. The grilled lamb were lamb chops and they resembled pork chops, but the meat was much more tender and incredibly tasty!  The lamb was served with beautifully sliced veggies and some baked potato wedges.

The meat might not have been grass fed and the veggies might not have been organic, but you can definitely eat paleo-esque, enjoy a beautiful sunset and if you are so lucky to have great company- it’s an all around win!

http://www.seagarden-okinawa.com/