I can’t believe its October. Really? Where did the time go? I feel like I just wrote a quarterly travel post (yes late!) not too long ago. But here I am – writing away.
Just so you know I didn’t go anywhere the month of July and for most of September. My abstract for a national conference was accepted as well as poster presentation but I differed. My wonderful colleague took the reins, and in a quasi warm July in Orlando she presented for the both of us (and did a fab job too!).
That leaves August – a month where one week I was in Chicago, the next I was in the Dominican Republic and the last week, I went to Hawaii (Honolulu). Phew. Even typing that out makes me sort of tired, either that or my head cold is getting to me.
Chicago (Aug 4-7)
If you haven’t been, it’s like the cousin of New York. Great food, fun people and interesting things to see. I had the opportunity to interview Joel Gamoran, the national Sur la Table chef and host of Scraps. You’ll have to stay posted for my article that will come out soon (long over due – but I’m using this long weekend to finally get it in order). We had breakfast and talked about lots of food related things like, what does whale sperm taste like and why scraps and not bees. I had a lot of fun and my only regret is that we didn’t take a photo or a cute boomerang video to capture our time together. Next time! Note: He also has a new cooking book called, Cooking Scrappy
I managed to re check out the Art Institute while in town and eat the best burger of my life at Au Cheval. It was a great idea to start the day with it and slowly work it off with my friend Kayte Malik (founder of Dresscode – see the article I wrote about the company here). Nothing really beats the egg, thick cut bacon with a double hamburger patty. So great.
I stayed at the Chicago Athletic Association, which was an old school gentleman’s club turned into hotel a few years back. Beautiful restoration job with a roof top bar called Cindy’s and cool speakeasy called the Cherry Circle room (very Madmen). I loved that Shake Shack was connected to the hotel too (although I didn’t have a burger from there or crinkle fries which are my go-to’s).
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (Aug 15-18)
I went for an interesting press trip, which turned sideways. All I can really say is that the resort was descent and the spa was beautiful (Chic Punta Cana by Royalton) . I’m glad my group was small and we all got along well.
Honolulu, Hawaii (Aug 31-Sept 5)
I was pleasantly surprised with Honolulu. I think its because it’s a touch on the more expensive side, it keeps the those looking for ultra cheap vacations away. It was the perfect mix of city and beach.
And the food is great – I totally forgot the huge Japanese influence there is in the city. Some great recommendations included the Koko Head café and the Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian (with my favorite Royal Hawaiian Hupia cake).
I will say that going to Honolulu in the summer time was really hot. 35 degrees and doing the Diamond Head hike was less than ideal but having the pineapple smoothie at the bottom was a wonderful refreshing end.
Dole Plantation was ok – again the heat took its toll and while the maze would have been fun, I think we lasted maybe 15 minutes before we decided it was best to head back. And I didn’t really love Dole Whip. It kind of tasted artificial to me – it needed to have more cream and less powdered confections.
Ko’Hana Rum Distillery was a quick drive outside the city and a great break from the heat. It was interesting to learn about the Agricole technique of using sugar cane juice versus molasses to make the rum. It’s a boutique distillery, they are slowly exporting off the island. I grabbed a bottle that had honey and cocoa mixed with the rum.
On my last day I ended up finding this really great café called Heavenly across from the hotel that we stayed at (the Hyatt Centric Waikiki Beach) with locally sourced food. So yummy.
If you are interested in a City Guide on Honolulu, you will be in luck as I am curating one soon. Until next quarter.