Friday, October 21, 2016

Potpouri For A Thousand

A few photos from Michele's trip, some from the last few days, and another great sunset today.

If you've ever been lucky enough to enjoy pizza in Napoli, Italy, this photo should trigger your salivary glands.  Michele discovered a newly opened restaurant in Chinatown called, Brick Fire Tavern, and tonight for dinner we were transported back to Pizzeria Brandi, birthplace of Pizza Margherita, back in 1889.  Click on the links to learn more about the finest, most delicious pizza on this planet.  The owners went to Napoli to learn how to make the dough and sauce and even went the extra step to import an Italian wood-fired oven.  There is one mistake in the story of the brick oven:  The temperature in the oven can reach a temperature as high as 900-degrees Fahrenheit, NOT 9,000.  The pizza in the photo is their Pizza Margherita.  The crust is heaven, the sauce perfect and they even pull their own fior di latte mozzarella cheese.  Too bad it isn't the famous and fabulous mozzarella di bufala, but that amazing product is a little tough to come by way out here.

A photo of Ira Keller Fountain Park.  This is a great public park across the street from the building we last occupied in Portland, Oregon.  This water feature is multi-tiered and hugely popular on hot summer days.  It's also popular with young folks who practice Parkour, jumping over things in urban settings.  Michele took this photo on her recent trip.

Another shot of the fountain.  Michele was quite proud of this photo. 

Interior of a new medical building in Portland.  Wow!

The newest bridge in Portland, Tilikum Crossing Bridge, opened in 2015.  It's used by trolley cars, light rail, buses and pedestrians and bicyclists only.  It was under construction back in 2012 and early 2013, and on my jogging route. 

I think this photo was taken when Michele was touring the Pittock Mansion, built in 1914 by one of Portland's most influential families.  Today, it's a museum with great views of the city and surrounding country.

Back to Honolulu.  This was the second of two military aircraft which departed the islands early this evening.  We don't see them here very often and the first one to takeoff used full afterburners.  The blue flames were quite spectacular as the jet flew past our perch.  Any guesses what the plane is?

Since the islands don't switch to daylight savings time, sunset is now just after six PM. 

Just after sunset.

What a sky!

A final sky view.

Hope you all have a good day tomorrow

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Mixed Bag

Photos taken over the past few days, while I've been working on the Doc's father's portrait:

About four times a week, Air New Zealand flies this brand new Boeing-787-9 aircraft to Honolulu, then back to Auckland.  The direct flight is over 4,300-miles and takes about nine hours.  Click on any of the photos for a closer look.  Nice paint job!

Have a nice trip home!  Aloha Oe.

Sunset, and the MS Westerdam, a Holland America cruise ship, maneuvers from her berth on the way to sea.

The top deck aft is crowded with passengers eager to enjoy the sunset.

They would not be disappointed with this show.

Along the starboard side, you can see the small boat about to receive the harbor pilot, responsible for ensuring Westerdam's safe passage out to sea.

With the harbor pilot aboard, the tiny craft heads for home.  Well Done!

A final shot of the fiery sunset.  I wonder if the Hawaiian Goddess, Pele, is responsible for this magnificent show in addition to her normal duties.

The sky show last night.

The half-moon last night.  It's called a "Waxing Gibbous", and tonight it will be 67.7% full.  I couldn't believe how sharp this photo turned out.  I used a two-second delay timer and that must've eliminated any shakes by the photographer! :)

The white dot is Venus and the red streak is an airplane passing by.  Toward the upper left and over toward the upper right, two stars can be seen.  The fabulous Bishop Museum, is also home to the J. Watumull Planetarium, which provides an on-line list of the visible celestial bodies for every month of the year.  We're incredibly lucky to be able to see so much of the night sky.

This is our view of the MS Amsterdam, along with two of her lifeboats.  Nice to know the company keeps up on safety/emergency training of the crew.

Here's a close-up of one of the lifeboats, with crewmembers going through their paces.  The harbor is a great place to train new crewmembers, or refresh seasoned hands.  Experience, science and technology have combined to create truly innovative and capable life-saving watercraft.

Now that we all feel safe, I'll sign-off.  Have a good day out there!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

One Spectacular Sunset

The title of this post says it all.  I'll let the photos do the talking:

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016, 6:24 PM.

A few seconds later.

A panorama.

6:25 PM.


Caught an airliner just after takeoff.

6:29 PM.

6:35 PM.  Time to say goodnight.

Hope you all have an excellent tomorrow.

Friday, September 30, 2016

A Big Night

Wednesday evening was indeed, a big night.  Take a look:

Two of the nicest people to have graced our home to date:  Dr. Bill Carr and his wife, Beng Imm.  Mimi, Beng Imm's sister, our neighbor and great friend, told me they were on their way to Bali, with a short stopover in Honolulu.  She also mentioned they had spent two weeks in Tuscany once.  With Michele still traveling the world, I threw caution to the wind and invited all three here for an Italian gastronomic extravaganza!  What could possibly go wrong?!  Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

Say hi to our very dear friend, Mimi Beng Poh Yoshikawa. 

Normally, such dinners are a team effort with Michele being the Captain.  She begins preparing days in advance, creating a menu, shopping and planning the pacing of the meal.  She makes a detailed schedule of when the various course components must go into the oven, come out, and be served.  She even decides on which serving bowl or platter to use for every menu item.  She is a superb culinary choreographer, as well as, chef, so taking on the challenges of planning, preparing and serving a multi-course dinner alone, for guests I'd never met, was a bit daunting.

The local weather guessers promised a nice sunset and did not let us down.  Sorry I didn't get a few earlier shots, but we were inside having drinks and almost missed the show.

Despite being pretty busy, I was able to get photos of some of the dishes on the menu.  Prosciutto di Parma with cantaloupe and pineapple was one of several items served during the antipasto course.  I would have never thought of serving this with pineapple, but it worked rather nicely.  We are, indeed, very lucky to be able to find many genuine Italian specialty items here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. 

This is salame di Toscana.  Other items on the antipasto menu included three types of bruschetta/crostini.  If you look up the meaning of these two Italian words, there are several interpretations, but in general, they refer to small pieces of bread, toasted and topped with almost anything, including the most simple preparation:  rubbed with a piece of garlic, toasted, then drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, along with a pinch of salt.

For this dinner, I served  one with olive tempenade, another topped with a mini-Caprese salad of cut-up cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil leaves and extra-virgin olive oil, and finally, one with an artichoke spread.

I did prepare one other traditional favorite, but didn't serve it.  It's called, acciugi, which is the Italian word for anchovies.  It consists of anchovy fillets in extra-virgin olive oil, red pepper flakes, chopped garlic, Italian parsley and is served on toasted bread.  The first time we had this treat was at a late afternoon picnic.  They called it a "merenda" which means afternoon snack.  It was far more than a snack, with many of what we would consider substantial appetizers.  This is an extremely salty "snack", but that's why wine was invented! :))  It's still in the refrigerator, though I've been chipping away at it.  I'm not sure whether or not the Italians tried to reduce the saltiness with rinsing or some other method, but it would make this dish a whole lot easier to take.

Remnants of my first course, (primo piatto) penne with meat sauce.  I was too busy to eat much of anything, but after the guests departed, I chowed down with gusto!

One of the dishes to accompany the roasted chicken "secondo" was peas with pancetta.  The saltiness of the pancetta was the perfect accompaniment to the peas.  I also drizzled them with the rendered fat.  The mouth feel of this simple dish was, in a word...luxurious.  But then, I like my own cooking!

Another of the "contorni", or "side" dishes served with the chicken.  This is what remained of the roasted potatoes.  You may notice a variety in the color/done-ness of the individual pieces.  In my defense, I offer the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:  "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." :)  So, cut me a little slack.  I never said I was as good a cook as Michele.  I have no photo of a third offering consisting of green beans with a little chopped garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar and chopped Italian parsley.

The fruit and cheese course:  The cheeses included a domestic version of Italian Asiago, a pecorino from the Lazio region of Italy and a young sheep's milk cheese from Spain--Manchego.  I also offered Italian raw honey to put on the pears.

The dessert course, or dolci, was a selection of fantastic pastries from Saint Germain, a local bakery.  No photo I'm sorry to say, but trust me, they were beautiful.  Mini tiramisu, a mini cheesecake, a couple of fruit tarts, an eclair and two cream puffs.  Coffee was followed with a selection of beverages known to aid digestion or just keep the buzz going.  The favorite seemed to be Averna.  And one of my very favorite Italian sayings is:  "Vino ammazza caffe."  It's a tongue-in-cheek way of saying "Let's have more wine to overcome (kill) any sobering impact from the caffeine.   

All things considered, with the deck stacked against me, I believe the guests had a wonderful time and I think Michele would've been proud of my effort.  I imagine they slept very well on their flight later that night, scheduled for a 1:58 AM takeoff!  

Hope you all had a great day and enjoy a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Very Strange Cloud

Yesterday, I was enjoying a beverage on the lanai at sunset and saw a very unusual phenomenon.  It appeared to be a vertical, very bright line--way brighter than anything near it.  I took a bunch of photos, just in case it was a one-in-a-million atmospheric curiosity or better still, space aliens. 

Even as the sun dropped beneath the Waianae Range, this whatever it was remained very bright and did not move.  Finally, I took a look at it through the binoculars and darn if it wasn't just a lone cloud.  Looking at the photos, whether or not you've had a drink, I think you'll agree it's truly unusual.

This photo was taken with my Canon camera, and it's a pretty-decent representation of what I saw.

This is how my Samsung phone camera saw it.

Another cell phone photo.  The object was almost brighter than the clouds closer to the setting sun.

Canon camera again, with lots of zoom and it's clearly just a cloud. :( another week or so, the sun will be dipping into the Pacific and at least we'll have more chances to see the Green Flash again. :)

This shot of the setting half-moon was taken at the golf course this morning. 

On the beautiful second hole, I put the phone camera on the "panorama" setting and captured the entire view.  Click on this, or any of the photos for a closer view.  That's Stan and Marv on the far right.

An colorful inter-island jet taxied by the green of the third hole.  I've always been a fan of Hawaiian Airlines livery.

A UPS Boeing-747 cargo hauler taxis to the reef runway.

This expansive Bougainvillea display graces the first tee box and is seen here from the eighteenth green.  Love the "autumn" colors in Hawaii.

That's all folks!  Have a good day tomorrow.