Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dania Beach/Hollywood Florida: Roberts Restaurant

We walked by on the other side of the street today without even noticing this joint. It's housed in a sort of retail warehouse building and doesn't look that impressive. After reading some Trip Advisor reviews, supplemented by Yelp, we thought it was worth the eight-minute walk.

It's a quintessential independent American diner featuring a wider choice of daily specials than some. We chose the New York steaks and were pleased they arrived medium rare and tasted like USDA Choice.

We brought most of our generous portions of homemade cornbread back to our hotel for a breakfast treat.

Our waiter was Pierre, from Quebec, and we talked how the food situation has improved over the past 15 years since he immigrated. If we ever return to the Hampton Inn or any of the other hotels in the same area, we'll aim for another comfort food dinner at Roberts.

Hampton Inn's Clean Duvet Covers

It's a cute ad on the inside of our Ft. Lauderdale Hampton Inn Airport South. But why is the young model wearing shoes? Maybe it's to make us feel better that the duvet covers get washed daily.

Our Sehome Citrus Crop

We're in Fort Lauderdale at the moment. Before flying here we harvested our own crop from our miniature citrus trees.

Not bad for Washington State, albeit from pampered little trees.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

SEA: Alaska Boardroom

We got some guest passes in our welcome package. This looks like a very pleasant place to spend a couple of hours before flying home to BLI ((Bellingham).

Landing in Seattle

Over Boeing Field...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Saturday, March 21, 2015

When in New Mexico

Eat Mexican food at Francisca's with Greg and June in Farmington NM...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Albuquerque Asian Eats Revisited: Budai

We've eaten at Budai twice before, once by ourselves in 2010 and once with Tom and Ellyn at  the end of a train trip in 2012.

Elsa remembers Tom and in the midst of a busy Thursday night comes over to advise us. We're having Five Spice ribs appetizer, a spicy tofu dish, and pork belly. We're also taking with us a little surprise for Kathy's other two brothers.

Alaska to Albuquerque

We flew from BLI (Bellingham) to SEA (Seattle) early this morning and relaxed with a long layover before flying onward to ABQ (Albuquerque) this afternoon.

We continue to be impressed by AS (Alaska). Flying yet again on a complimentary upgrade, Kathy discovered the Cobb Salad served for lunch was covered with blue cheese, to which she's allergic.

The flight attendant whisked it away, asked if she'd like a meal from coach, and literally within two minutes delivered a very tasty Asian Chicken-style dish.

Kathy offered to pay but there would be none of that. Another enjoyable flight, despite some bumpy air.

We picked up a new Jetta from Budget for a bargain weekend rate and are checked in at a nearby Hampton Inn.

Oh, and we love listening to our Garmin pronounce it "Alba-Quirk."

Tonight we hope to return to Budai, a great Chinese restaurant that we've visited before. That should make for a delicious start to our quick visit to the Southwest.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Wacky World of Airline Fares

We were peacefully watching a little bit of TV tonight when Brian picked up an e-mail alert from one of his favorite travel bloggers, Lucky at One Mile at a Time.

AMAZING DEAL: $450 Business Class Tickets Between Washington And Beijing

The experts on FlyerTalk found it as well:

AA DCA-PEK sub-$450 a/i rt in J 

We're fairly heavily booked for the first five months of the year, but after some considerable effort we found ourselves a trip between other excursions April 26-May 3. We can credit the miles to our Alaska account and the trip itself fits in between our transatlantic cruise and our May New Zealand trip.

Could we ever imagine the two of us flying to and from Washington D.C. (yes, we'll find our way there and back) for that amount of money in BUSINESS CLASS?

We'll see what develops. We're flying to China in November so need another visa in any case. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Stay tuned to whether or not AA honors this fare. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Our Three Landings at BLI: Third Time Lucky

We managed a couple of hours of dozing on our HNL-BLI flight. The seats in F offer a lot more room but domestic F seats don't recline very much at all. Still, it was more comfortable than it might have been.

We were set to land early - well before 8:00 a.m. - but we noticed the blanket of fog that covered many square miles as we approached Bellingham. Finally, we headed down into the clouds and seemed to be on the point of touchdown before the pilot accelerated sharply and up we went again.

After awhile the pilot came on to tell us they couldn't see the runway and would try again. After some circling for a number of minutes came try number two. This time Kathy saw a road below with cars on it before we again took off.

This time there was a fair amount of silence until the pilot took to the mike again. He said we would try one last time before flying us down to Seattle, where the fog apparently wasn't an issue. He mentioned in his calmest pilot's voice that fuel was a factor and the plane would "need gas" at some point. After all, we'd just flown from Honolulu to Bellingham on a 737.

As we descended again we could see a few more breaks in the fog but the visibility was definitely still poor. Third time was a charm, however, and we touched down with a fairly hard bump but still quite comfortably.

As we drove up a foggy I-5 toward home a few minutes later, we could barely see the landing lights that mark the BLI runway adjacent to the freeway.

We snapped this photo on our first approach (Mount Baker in the distance), well before we realized we'd be getting three landings for the price of one.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Waikiki Evening Sky

Shave Ice - More Than a Sno-Cone

8 bucks seems expensive until you factor in the fact there was more than enough for both of us to share, much more than a typical ice cream cone. We both liked our very first shave ice.

Honolulu Festival

The 21st annual Honolulu Festival is on this weekend, and we dropped by one locale to watch some free entertainment, mostly from Japan.

The performers included Hanuman, a dancing bear mascot, drummers and dancers, and Hula dancers of course.

Waikiki: dinner at Duke's

Still a good place for dining alfresco...

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Wandering Waikiki

A lovely evening for a stroll, but if we'd brought sweaters or jackets we'd be wearing them.

Somehow it feels cooler than 68-70 degrees.

The Shrimp Bus on Kuhio Avenue

Rumors on Trip Advisor to the contrary, the Blue Water Shrimp and Seafood Company is still in business and thriving in a parking lot next to 2463 Kukio Abe., just half a block from the Hilton.

We shared a nine-piece shrimp meal for $15 - the nice lady in charge gave us extra salad and rice.

She's proud of her homemade sauce: real lemon juice, real butter, real white wine, and both fresh and roasted garlic.

Very tasty and an authentic bit of Hawaii in the midst of the high rises.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Hawaii Happy Hours- Waikiki Edition

Waikiki has some good ones, and the cheap appetizers make a viable alternative to dinner, such as those we enjoyed at Wolfgang's last night.

Earlier we dropped in at the well known Lulu's for a beer, and now we're enjoying live music and getting our daily fruit requirement in the Lobby Bar of the Hilton Waikiki.

Lunch at Marukame Udon & Tempura

We found out about this place on Trip Advisor while checking out eateries close to the Hilton.

Marukame Udon is on Kuhio and only about four or five blocks away.

We stood in line outside for about 10 minutes and knew what we wanted to order at the counter. While waiting, we were entertained by the employees making noodles out of sheets of dough apparently made from flour imported from Japan.

Before we knew it we were slurping noodles and savoring the tempura side dishes we'd added. A tasty and filling lunch for about $12 each - and no tipping required.

Honolulu Zoo

It's a pleasant enough smaller zoo to wander around for a couple of hours, despite the fairly stiff $14 admittance charge.

It's only an eight-minute walk from our hotel, and a nice refuge from Waikiki, much as we're enjoying that.