Aloha! The Bierlady goes Hawaiian!

IMG_0318
I know the Bierlady normally only talks about Beer, but I have to indulge a bit and talk about the last week. My family and I took a trip to Oahu, Hawaii. Mostly Thanks to Lets Make a Deal. I was on an episode earlier this year and won some money. And partly due to my husband working for ABC so we got a pretty kicking discount at the Aulani Resort. http://resorts.disney.go.com/aulani-hawaii-resort/ I was a bit skeptical to go to a Disney resort not cause I had any doubt that it would be fantastic. Its just that I had worked for the Mouse for a decade and my husband for a decade plus. So since we live and breathe Mickey I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see him in Hawaii. But for what its worth this Resort is amazing. And just like the commercial says “with just a touch of Disney”
Aulani
The resort is almost beyond describing, not just the actual look of it, the countless pools, the private beach, the outdoor movies,IMG_0714 the onsite luau, the games, the spa, a place to swim with fish IMG_2337 and even Aunty’s Beach House a place you could if you wanted leave your children from 930am to 9pm for free! And trust me your kids will love you for it. I can’t say we left our boys longer than to get a massage and one day to drive to Waikiki another but what a lovely perk for us and them.

Yes the resort it pricy if you don’t work for the company, but it truly is a spot where you get what you pay for. Every single cast member had a smile, an “Aloha” and was there to help. Anything you needed anytime they did it. Seriously a 5 star place. I wont go into too much detail since this is a beer blog but feel free to look me up on Trip Advisor. I will have more “hotel” details there.

The first evening we enjoyed our gorgeous view and what else? A Kona Longboard on our balcony. Welcome to Hawaii! The Bierlady had arrived! Alooooooooooooooooooha! IMG_0317

The first morning we were there we got caught up in the time change so the family was up at 4:30am which wasn’t a bad thing as we were down at the beach by 5am so watch the Moon go down and the sun come up. Spectacular view! IMG_1985 We spent that day on the private beach where they had paddleboards, and kayaks and snorkeling and sand toys.

Then just a few stairs up we could go in one of the many pools. Our favorite was the lazy river that allowed you to just float in a tropical circle, DSCN7940 or if you want to go down the greatest water slide ever. There are private adult only pools and hot tubs but don’t be fooled there are still kids all around. Im not saying you should not go without kids, but if I were just a couple not a foursome I may find another secluded island to hang out on. BUT this resort can’t be beat so I see the appeal.
Out by the pool they had take away food and most importantly the SHAVE ICE stand. DSCN8182 Now don’t get caught saying “SHAVED ice” no “D”.DSCN8199 Shave ice, bro. We enjoyed three different flavors with the incredible..ahem…fat free…cause its vacation right?….condensed milk all over the top. My youngest son is three. So he didn’t get too adventurous but he loved his “watermelon and strawberry” ice. Wait Griff you get three flavors…”oh okay strawberry and watermelon and strawberry”. Fair enough it’s your vacation too.

Inside the Aulani is amazing architecture, fine dining and a pretty decent buffet. It was $40 for adults (kids can order ala carte much cheaper) and I’m pretty sure we ate $40 worth of sushi alone. So it was worth it.

I wont go on about details you can read on their website, but a few things I noticed that weren’t on the site, they have laundry. Found that the last day. Oh well. For 3 tokens (ala $3) you can wash your suitcase and dry for the same. I will bring less clothes next time. More room coming home for chocolate covered macadamia nuts. Also saw they have BBQ grills you can use. See here’s the thing the food may be pricey there but they don’t force you to eat it. Our room had a fridge, coffee pot with new coffee everyday, a toaster, a microwave and plates and silverware. There is a small grocery store across the street for the basics and more… and if you have a car or rent one there 1 exit down is a Safeway, a Kmart and a Target. (Note we got our Hawaiian shirts there, cheaper!). Again found the grills the 2nd to last night or we would have bought steaks.

We only rented a car two days while we were there to go out to see Pearl Harbor. IMG_2067 http://www.nps.gov/valr/index.htm A sobering and incredible experience. And the Dole Pineapple Plantation,IMG_0537 http://www.dole-plantation.com/ a destination on my own personal bucket list. After I ate my body weight in pineapple, we took the kids on their Pineapple Express a 20min train ride around the fields. We also went in the Pineapple Maze. The worlds apparently largest. I would say um….without being negative….hey try the train!

We made it up it Waimea Falls http://www.hawaiiweb.com/waimea-valley-adventure-park-o-ahu.html only to find out the way to the falls closed at 5 and we arrived at 4 and there was an apparent 30 min walk to the actual falls. So we decided that wasn’t enough time. Which ended up being okay as my 3 year old took a header outside the Falls area and we were on a mad scavenger hunt to find bandaids. I found myself checking in on Facebook at “Some Random Longs Drugs In Paradise”.
The North shore. Gorgeous. For those who know CA beaches this is like Hermosa or Venice. Real beach people. Walking around no shoes. Shaka man. Shaka.
The next day my husband and I set forth alone to Waikiki. We tried to make a stop at the Kona Brew Pub on the other side of the island but alas it was closed for the day.IMG_0684 So we headed to the heart of Waikiki…wow that place is crazy. IMG_0690Full of people and energy. We were slightly touristy and stopped at Dukes. There is a Dukes in Malibu and in fact Mr. Beerman asked me to become the Bierlady at that Dukes. http://www.dukeswaikiki.com/

So 10 years later we found ourselves at the one in Hawaii! And low and behold they had a BEER SAMPLER! IMG_0694 The Bierlady was whole again! There were four beers and I loved them all. The first was a lighter beer from KONA called Dukes Blond Ale. What a GREAT beer. I had a pint of it after my sampler. I was sad to hear you can only get it at Dukes but hey that’s what I came for to try beers I can’t get at home. The second was KONA’s Lavaman Red Ale, a tasty red, but when has Kona let me down? I haven’t seen this one in LA but I will keep a look out for it! Looks like its only a draft beer as well. http://konabrewingco.com/our-pubs/draft-only-beers/ The next was KONA’s Firerock. This one you can find in a Kona Variety pack with Longboard, Big Wave, and whatever the seasonal brew is. I like Firerock normally, but loved it on tap. Made a difference. I mean sure draft beer is always better, but this almost took a slight bit of the hoppy flavor and smoothed it out vs bottle. And the final beer on my sampler was Hawaii Nui Brewing Hapa Brown ale.IMG_0698 http://hawaiinuibrewing.com/ A really tasty brown with that “Hawaii” taste to it. I can’t explain it. I like a good brown on a cold day but this you want to drink on the beach! I would not have believed it was ABV 6.4% tasted lighter!
IMG_2640
The next day we went to a Luau at Paradise Cove. http://www.paradisecovehawaii.com/index.htm It was just a 5 min walk from our resort, but they have busses that bring in 100’s and during peak season over 1000 people a night! It was so worth it. If you want a great luau in Hawaii this is it. I mean it was a Vegas Lounge act for sure. And I say that in the highest compliment. But it was more than a show. It was an experience. We arrived at 5pm, greeted with Mai Tais (kids too no boozy) and taken onto the beach. There we found games for all of us,IMG_2460 tattoos, dancing, lei making, hat making, kayak riding, turtle watching. So much to do! Then about 6pm they started their preshow. It had a man climbing up a huge Palm tree and raining flowers down on us, coconut shucking, the infamous Pig being brought out of the ground, and a show with “volunteers” from the audience bringing in the “fish net” and doing their own show on the beach. Yes Mr. Beerman was a volunteer, I mean after 3 Mai Tai’s what wont he do if asked nicely? He was hilarious. I am forbidden to post pictures as hes in a skirt and no shirt. But safe to say it was a memory my children will IMG_2530treasure. At 7pm it was on to the real show. Complete with hula dancing (my older son 7 years got up on stage and danced), fire juggling, the whole luau experience. It was all complete by about 8:15 and I can’t speak highly of it enough!

The rest of our days were spent enjoying the resort and all it had to offer. We even ran into Samantha Brown out by the pool! Shes like the spokeslady for Aulani, but we have been fans of her forever! We have been travelling vicariously through her for years! What a treat. It was like running into Emeril eating gumbo in New Orleans, running into a Travel Channel Icon on vacation!!! (She was most gracious and asked my boys if they were loving Hawaii.) Days were spent by the pool sipping tropical cocktails, but I couldn’t shirk my Bierlady duties so we do go across the street to a place called The Monkey Pod http://www.monkeypodkitchen.com/ko-olina/happy-hour/ for their happy hour. I started with a Maui Blonde. IMG_0908Ive had it before but you know “when in Rome…” and Mr. Beerman got a Kona Firerock that was his favorite beer of the trip. He had one most everywhere we went. We both got two new beers to try. I got a Hawaii Nui Kauai Golden ale that I really enjoyed. Im going to have to go find these guys at Bev Mo. Mr Beerman got a Maui Brewing Coconut Porter. A smart robust porter with a definite toasted coconut flavor! http://mauibrewingco.com/

IMG_2877

I won’t lie I did drink more tropical rum drinks this trip than beer. But I tried. The last thing I did in fact was stop at the KONA BREWING at the Honolulu Airport to have one last Longboard on Draft. It really is THAT good.
IMG_0997

It was the experience of a lifetime. Maholo, Hawaii from our entire family!

*all pictures in the blog are from our camera! Even the fancy one of Aulani at night! Thank you Lets Make a Deal & Wayne Brady for the trip and our new fancy camera!

Advertisements

Cooking with Beer

The Bierlady doesn’t just drink beer I use it all the time in the kitchen. So much so I need to duck and hide when Im in the grocery store and my older son says, “mom can we have beer-n-sausages for dinner tonight”. He means can I cook some brats in beer for dinner tonight. But I still live in fear that someone from child services is in line behind me and thinks I let my kids drink beer with their dinner.Boiling Bratwurst

There are TONS of ways to cook with beer, but today Im going to touch on three. First the aforementioned beer brats, a recipe for slow cooked chicken, and my beer cake.

Beer and brats doesn’t take a genius. There is just something delicious about boiling anything in a good beer. For this recipe you don’t even have to go fancy. I usually use whatever is in the fridge or keg at the time. But darn it if you cant even use the stuff we drank in college and its still good. Just fill up a pot with beer, add a onion or two chopped up and either a clove of garlic or if you are like me a teaspoon of Trader Joes crushed garlic and let them boil! So good. After I love to grill or bbq bratsto get a crisp texture on the outside of the sausage. And we usually serve with the Trader Joes Pepper and Onion mix on top of our brat.IMG_3147 Tasty!

Slow cooking is amazing. I mean whomever invented the crock pot I just want to kiss. 20091015crockpot

Straight from the interweb (thank you Wikipedia): “The Naxon Utilities Corporation of Chicago, under the leadership of Irving Naxon, developed the Naxon Beanery All-Purpose Cooker. Naxon was inspired by a story his Jewish grandmother told about how back in her native Lithuanian shtetl, her mother made a stew called cholent, which took several hours to cook in an oven The Rival Company bought Naxon in 1970 and reintroduced it under the Crock-Pot name in 1971. Slow cookers achieved popularity in the US during the 1970s when many women began to work outside the home. They could start dinner cooking in the morning before going to work and finish preparing the meal in the evening when they came home” Genius I tell you! We use our slowcooker/crock pot a lot. And Im always trying to find new ways to make the meat taste different. Over the summer I cooked a great deal of chicken in it. And I found that Sam Adams Summerfest beer sma(1 bottle and about 4 cups of water)http://www.samueladams.com/craft-beers/summer-ale with some salt and pepper and garlic made the chicken fantastic. I don’t know what it was about that particular beer but the flavor was outstanding. But Im for cooking with whatever beer you like to drink. I find that chicken absords the flavor a little more than red meats but have add it. So for this recipe its easy, put in any parts of the chicken you like, legs, breasts, the whole thing, skin free, skin on, bone in bone out it doesn’t matter, add a beer of choice, a few more cups of water to cover the bird, some seasoning.

Not that I want to make this blog an ad for Trader Joes, but their 21 salute spice is a good one.$(KGrHqZHJDQE92G5WV68BPfuq)!1Ug~~60_35 I always add about 3 cloves of garlic, but you can do that to taste as well, a roughly chopped onion and turn that baby on for about 6 hours on low. SO good. The best part is if you don’t finish all the chicken that night you can chop it up the next day and make chicken enchiladas with it! Again my old friend Trader Joes has the BEST sauce. enchilada-sauceJust roll up the chicken in some tortillas with that left over pepper/onion blend you had a few nights ago with the brats, cover with more sauce, and some cheese and cook for 30 min in your oven at 300 degrees and they are super tasty enchiladas. I wont say they are super authentic Mexican but what do you want from me I was born in Milwaukee.

My final recipe I know you will say WHAT THE WHAT but I swear it works. So there is an infamous diet coke cake. Anyone who’s been on a diet has heard of it. It’s basically a box of cake mix and one diet coke. Nothing else. Mix and bake per the boxes instructions. No oil, no eggs, nothing else. I’ve tried it. It’s good. Well good enough. I mean nothing can take the place of oil. The texture is a bit spongy and heavier but it good if you want a piece of cake and it doesn’t fit in your diet plan. So of course I had to try this concept with cake. I mean its all carbonation right? I tried it with Guinness first. I had to use slightly less than a full pub can you want it to be the same Ounces as a 12 oz can of diet coke, and a chocolate cake mix. IT was really really good! I tried it with Boddingtons and a yellow cake. It was fine. Not as good but kinda worked.

But just in time for the holidays a pumpkin spice cake made with NO oil, NO eggs, just a box of Spice Cake mix 41N90C5TDFL__SL500_AA271_ and a bottle of pumpkin ale. pumpkin aleOh shoot I just told you the recipe. Well that’s it! Just a box of spice cake mix, stir in a bottle of your favorite pumpkin ale, and cook as per the directions on the box. Its fantastic. Add a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream … Youre Welcome! Hey that recipe is so easy you could make it when you are drunk! (the Bierlady and her legal team do not encourage use of cooking equipment or fire while under the influence of alcohol).

Next Cooking blog will include Mr. Beerman’s Porter braised short ribs. Stay tuned.