Friday, June 9, 2017

Honeymoon Recap Part II: What/Where We Ate

I'm back with a 2nd post in my Maui recap series - what/where we ate!  Every couple has their own approach to dining out. I will say that our approach is a little bit different for two reason. One - I have a gluten intolerance which is the #1 driving force behind where/what we eat.  So I always start by looking for places with gluten free options and I read the gluten free reviews for the restaurant on yelp. Two - Phil and I are not big spenders when it comes to eating out. We all value different things, and expensive meals isn't one of them for us. We appreciate good food, but don't feel like we get enough utility out of expensive meals to make it worthwhile for us.  We do go out for nicer meals occasionally, but it's usually a 1-2 times of year kind of thing.

For example, several people recommended that we go to Mama's Fish House when we were in Maui. Except it was in Paia, which was on the opposite side of the island from where we were staying, so a 1+ hour drive for us. We were in that area several times when doing site seeing/hiking, but it's a fine dining restaurant so we couldn't exactly show up unshowered and in hiking clothes.  :) Plus, the entrees were all in the $60-75 range. I am sure the food is incredible there, but we just couldn't justify spending THAT MUCH on a meal out, especially when you factored in the long drive to and from the restaurant.

We did consider going out for one nicer meal at the end of our trip but ended up skipping it because at the end of the day, we were pretty tired from being out and about and in the sun, so opted to go somewhere casual so we didn't have to deal with waiting for a table or getting dressed up. Some people build their vacation days around where they want to eat; we are the opposite as we build our days around what we want to do and then we find a place to eat that is convenient, reasonably priced, has gluten free options and positive reviews on Yelp. I'm sure our approach to eating out doesn't jive with what others like to do on vacation but like I said before, but my mantra for life is - YOU DO YOU!

That said, we found some awesome casual and fairly inexpensive places to eat while we were on vacation. Our favorite place, which we went to 3 times (!!!) was The Fish Market Maui. It's halfway between Kaanapali and Napili Bay and was only 3 miles from our condo. It's a casual/take-out kind of place so there's no ambiance but the food was so good and inexpensive. I each 2 tacos every time alternating between pork, grilled fish or shrimp for the filling and we would split a basket of french fries. They also had a fresh fish counter where you could buy fillets to cook at home. We saw locals eating here which was a good indication that it was a good place to eat!

grilled fish and shrimp tacos = YUM!  This is the combo I got 2 out of 3 times.
And since we were in Hawaii, I had to get shaved ice for dessert a couple of times.  I loved snocones as a kid - in fact I loved them way more than ice cream!  And shaved ice is even better. My favorite place was Ululani's in Lahaina as I think they had the best flavors.

Another place we loved was Paia Fish Market. Paia is the name of a town, but they have restaurants in other towns, such as Lahaina. We liked the food so much that we ended up eating in both their Lahaina and Paia locations. The first time we split an appetizer (ahi tuna) and the fish dinner (pictured below). The second time we just split the fish lunch because it was so much food! I'm always reminded that Phil and I are not huge eaters when eating out because we often split things but will see others eat what we ordered on their own (we saw lots of people eating the fish plate below on their own). Phil and are about the same size/weight and tend to graze throughout the day so that's why it works for us to share things.

Another popular dish in Hawaii is Poke! Every supermarket we went into had a poke section in their deli, but we went to Foodland Farms in Lahaina as that store has so many positive reviews on yelp. We tried 2 different kinds of Poke over rice and it only cost $9.99!  We weren't super hungry the evening we got this, so it was plenty to fill us both up.

Not the best picture but this poke was delicious - this is a small fraction of what we got from the deli!
And of course, lots of our meals were prepared in our condo and enjoyed on our lanai.  Like this fresh fruit bowl. The pineapple, mango, and papaya were grown in Hawaii, but the banana came from Ecuador (random, huh?  We thought bananas were grown in Hawaii!).

And most mornings Phil would make hashbrowns, eggs, and chicken sausage for breakfast.

Nothing could beat that view.  Phil and I both get sick of eating out pretty quickly so having a kitchen is a must for any vacation that is longer than a couple of days!

We definitely ate well while we were in Maui and pretty much exclusively ate fish when we ate out!  Things are definitely pricey in Maui, but if you look around, you can find reasonable places to eat. But if you don't do some research, you might end up at an over-priced place. Like the night we arrived in Maui and ate at a Mexican restaurant in Lahaina where a taco plate with rice and beans cost $20+ (which I feel is an unjustified price tag for a basic Mexican meal)!

What is your eating out style when you vacation? Do you like to splurge on meals out or do you tend to consider the cost when eating out? I don't want it to sound like Phil and I don't appreciate good food, because we do.  We just don't value eating at pricier restaurants when there are reasonably priced options with wonderful food.


Erin said...

I now want a fish taco at 6am. Omg--they look so good! I enjoyed reading this (as always) and absolutely agree--everyone should do what works for them! When it comes to Jason and I---we tend to search out restaurants that are unique to the area. Oftentimes, we go somewhere that was featured on the tv show "Diners, Drive Ins and Dives." We definitely don't normally do fine dining anywhere we vacation, but we often spend a little more than we might normally do when we aren't on vacation. If we eat a meal out, the other two meals are prepared at our place. We like to research possible places before we go on vacation, but sometimes something will catch our eye and we'll instantly google or YELP it.

In day to day life, we eat most meals at home. So many of our friends never cook. That is not us. And when we've gone through times that money was extra tight, eating out has always been one of the things that we made a point to pull back on. However, we never gave it up completely. This would make us really value and appreciate our meals out--and I think led to us enjoying them even more. Does that make sense? Maybe I'm not explaining it well.

The bottom line is I loved reading what you said :) That fresh fruit also looks so good!!!! I'm about to head out for my morning walk and I know your food choices will continue to linger in my mind! Haha.

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Your meals look all SOOO delicious! Yum.
As you know, Eric and I love eating out. Sometimes we like to eat at nicer places, but not all the time. And I'm pretty sure I have never in my life been to a place that an entree cost $60+! I get annoyed at Capital Grille when things cost like $40 and then you have to buy a side in addition. I only go there once a year for Eric's birthday because he loves it. Ha. In Hawaii we felt like everything was pretty expensive and we did a lot of things that cost some money (though a lot of it were gifts from people but still)- surfing lessons, swimming with manta rays, helicopter ride. So, we tried to be very good about eating out there. We actually bought a Hawaii Restaurants on a budget book and used it. It helped us find some really great places similar to what you described (maybe even the same places I don't remember any of the names) where locals ate. They were still REALLY good. I think our favorite Thai restaurant we've ever been was on the Big Island. We did not go to Mama's Fish House- I remember people talking about it too but I think I Just decided it was not worth the prices. Especially because ERic doesn't like fish :) <-- and that is one of the major reasons we don't share food since I love eating fish out. I do ALWAYS get a half portion though if that's an option at a restaurant. In our town we love an Italian restaurant that people say is pricey but since I get a half portion and don't order appetizers, my meal comes to $8 lol.

missris said...

Eating out constantly is the one thing I don't like about traveling for a long period of time. I definitely get "eating out burnout" and it starts to stress me out. Now we always stay places that have kitchens, or at least a fridge, so we can have breakfast in, buy food for picnics, store leftovers, etc. I am the opposite of a foodie and spending money on it just isn't a priority for me!

Marisa A. said...

Well you follow me on know we eat out. A lot. We're trying to do better because 1. I know it's not the healthiest and 2. It would save us a bunch of money. However, dining out is something we both really enjoy and don't mind spending money on, it's one of the reasons we like living in the city. Still, even halving the number of times we eat out would be a huge savings. Summer is always tough, it's so easy to just head to a tap room that has a food truck :)

I'm with you though on renting a place that has a kitchen. Even just having breakfast at home is great when traveling. I think we would have gone broke in Iceland if we weren't able to cook our own meals!

Alli said...

Everything you ate looks so good.

It's funny, I feel like people think Chris and I do a lot of pricey/expensive meals, but honestly we only do that on special occasions (birthdays. anniversary). We are also huge fans of the fact that so many great, but expensive restaurants now do more casual bar seatings with a mucj less expensive menu. Obviously when you honeymoon in Sicily, you eat. And eat. And eat. But it's impossible to get a bad meal there and everything is super cheap which is a major difference with a place like Hawaii. It's also a pretty casual culture so most places aren't fancy. On the entire 18 day trip we ate at two places where the decor was trendier and I think they would be the closest to "fancy" though they really weren't (one of those places was in Malta which similarly has great food and is very cheap). In the first city we stayed in, Taormina, we had this really cool set up where the hotel owned and operated an apartment across the street, so we had a full apartment with this huge stunning veranda overlooking the Mediterranean and Mt. Etna, but still got maid service and free breakfast at the hotel (btw, best breakfast I've ever had). One day for lunch we went to this little shop and picked up a selection of local meats and cheeses and bottle of Sicilian wine and went back to our apartment and ate on the veranda. It was one of my favorite lunches ever of all time. Amazing food, perfect setting, my favorite person with me, and we could get drunk in the afternoon and role right into bed! I love visiting local shops and outdoor markets when we travel so often that's where lunches and snacks come from. Another great memory for me is buying some amazing local cheeses at a shop in Galway and then we sat in a park by the water to snack on them. LOL Notice how many of my favorite food memories involve cheese... hmmm....

I finally convinced Chris to try an Airbnb for our long weekend getaway in August so we'll see how it goes. I believe I've told you that I convinced him on our 2 week vacation last summer than we should do breakfasts at Whole Foods and, once we started doing that, he loved it. Now whenever we stay in a hotel he's looking for a nearby WH. I have no issue splurging on a big brunch one time on vacation, but between the cost and then being so stuffed for the rest of the day, I'd rather have a normal breakfast most of the time. Add all of our combined dietary restrictions to the mix and I'm really hoping Chris will see the value in sometimes considering Airbnb.

Ok this is the longest comment ever, but you know I can talk about food forever.

Marlys said...

Your food choices looked so good, and we ate a lot of fish when we were in Hawaii, too. We didn't go to any high priced places to eat, either, and made some great meals of salmon and fish on the grill in our house we rented. It is so great to have a few meals "in" while on vacation, so we really enjoyed our full kitchen!
As we get older, we do enjoy a meal out but rarely if ever go to an expensive place, mainly because there aren't many in our area and we are rather low key people. We are getting into sharing meals, too, as we find out that we can rarely eat everything they serve!

Abby said...

Food looks Soooo good! That is my kind of food. Poke bowls is probably my favorite food ever.

We are the same with vacation eats. Never can make reservations or pull ourselves together to get "dressed up" - BC we usually are scuba diving and beaching it all day - and dont feel up to being "fancy" -- ha!

Gracie said...

I think I could eat poke or fish tacos every day, so your choices makes sense to me! We do tend to enjoy eating out, and since we're in New Orleans, there are lots of fine dining options. We certainly have had the occasional splurge meal (a few times a year, I guess; David loves a really fancy birthday dinner), but what I really love are NOLA's slightly-less-than-fine-dining options. So instead of a $38 entree at August, I can have a $24 entree at Dante's Kitchen, and it's still delicious food and that kind of relaxed, unhurried, but excellent service: a great date night.

Jenny said...

We had planned a fancy meal for our last night when we were on vacation but when we went to our concierge to book, the place was closed that night :( there was a minivan coming from another restaurant to pick up some guests so we hopped on board too and were taken to this quaint low key shack. The chef himself had driven us there he was a large, exuberant, Frenchman. The restaurant was like a corregated iron lean-to with sand for the floor and plastic patio tables and chairs. The radio was playing some upbeat island music and the staff were super nice. All of a sudden the power went out and everything was pitch black and silent, then the generator started back up and the busy bustle returned. It was the best food I'd had and it was the cheapest too!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

We often split meals too, as my appetite is much smaller than Christopher's and I usually can't eat an entree to myself. We sometimes split an appetizer and an entree - it depends where we are. We very, very rarely go out to eat when at home, unless it's someone's birthday, or another occasion (fathers' day or whatever), as we love to cook. When on vacation, how we eat depends on where we are. This last trip to New York for 10 days, we didn't eat at any expensive restaurants, and mostly ate at ethnic places that were popular with the locals. When in Vegas we often eat at pricier places, but only if there is something unique about them. We aren't big on basic steakhouses, as neither of us really likes steak. That being said, our all-time favourite restaurant, which is in Vegas, isn't expensive at all. So, I guess we love it all ... expensive food (if there is something special about it, and it will be an experience), cheap street eats, local dives, etc. When we go to Hawaii together, I could see us cooking quite a bit, and eating mostly fruit, and hitting up a Luau for the pork, and poi buns! Whatever the local cuisine is, is always our favourite. We'd probably have to have a dish with spam in it too, just because Hawaiians love their spam :-)

katielookingforward said...

Those tacos and poke look so amazing!!! My family tends to do a big dinner on vacation, and just a snack sometime during the day. But thank goodness for Yelp, its so helpful when trying to figure what if a place will be a good fit for what you are in the mood for!

Stevie said...

I love eating out, but I'm totally with you on the money side of it. I much prefer finding small, hole in the wall places on the cheap over splurging for a fine dining experience. I feel more comfortable in casual spots and while I also really love good food, I've never found that it's truly worth it to spend hundreds of dollars on a meal. I also really enjoy staying in condos or houses when we travel, and preparing some of the meals there. It saves money but also provides the opportunity to really experience and get to know that particular neighborhood when you shop for groceries locally.

All of your food looks AMAZING!!!

Charbelle said...

I'm such a seafood lover that I'm now in serious envy!!!! OH YUM!!!!! I think when we go on our honeymoon in August we'll be keeping it low key. We've already heard TCI can be really expensive! Michael researches everything so I know he'll have it figured out before we get there. We could have shared those meals too, he and I usually eat about the same amount. It's actually a funny story that on our second date we went out for sushi and I had run 6 miles and not eaten all that much that day. I ended up out-eating him and he was looking at me wondering where I was putting it all!

Stephany said...

Oh god, $60+ for an entree? NO THANK YOU. I don't care how good a meal is, $60 is insane.

I mentioned this when I recapped my trip to Puerto Rico, but I am not a foodie so I don't derive enjoyment at finding out "cool" places to eat. I'm also a super picky eater, so I have to be careful when looking for places to eat. Usually, I can find something on the menu at most places, but not always.

San said...

I think I've never had a $60-entree in my life. J and I love eating out and we appreciate good food, but we only do expensive meals (more like $30-40/entree) for VERY special occasions.
I think over all we're more like you guys... we pick out restaurants with good reviews, but we make it work around whatever else we have going on that day (not the other way around)... and from the look of it, you DID it fabulously on your honeymoon!

Amber said...

Everything you ate looks soooo good. I don't think we went to that fish market and now I'm not sure why! We made a lot of meals at our condo in Maui and I think we only went out to eat once or twice. I know we had amazing fish taco's in Kihei, but that's the only thing that really stands out in my mind that we ate while there. Recently in Kauai we definitely ate more cost effective meals regularly and hit up the many food trucks that were around. We also found a place that we really liked (The Shrimp Station) and ended up getting food from there several times over the 7 days!

Jeanie said...

I love fish. DIning here would be like dying and going to food heaven.

I like a mix. Sometimes you can't cook -- you don't have the facilities and eating out is lots of fun, but expensive if it's for a whole holiday. And frankly, when you cook well, sometimes you get better food at home. I know we do. It's always a disappointment to have food in a resto that's not so good as what you might make yourselves! On the other hand, a great dining experience (or two or three or more) when traveling sure ads to the experience!