Saturday, July 16, 2011

The LEGO Aloha Tower by LEAHI

The Aloha Tower in LEGO form
(image credit: TheHopefulTraveler)
The Aloha Tower today
(image credit: davidkoshi/flickr)
It seems this is a trend for this week. Another post about LEGO. This time about one of Hawaii's most recognizable landmarks, the iconic Aloha Tower, replicated into LEGO brick form. On my way to view a Saturday matinee I came across the Kid's Day event today at the Kahala Mall shopping center. It featured a display of the tower and other creations by LEAHI (LEGO Enthusiasts Association of Hawaii).

The real Aloha Tower opened in 1926 and is located on Pier 9 of Honolulu Harbor. Today the tower greets passengers arriving via cruise ship into Honolulu. At 10 stories and 184 feet in height, the Aloha Tower was for decades the tallest structure in the state. Visitors can visit the Aloha Tower for free daily from 9:30am to 5pm and view the city from any one of its four viewing balconies. The Aloha Tower Marketplace, a shopping and dining destination, surrounds the tower.

The Aloha Tower in the 1930s

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The LEGO Qantas A380 Plane

(all photos:
The previous post covered the appearance of the LEGO Love Boat at Brickworld Chicago by creator Ryan McNaught. After viewing his website, I couldn't help to admire his LEGO replica of a Qantas A380 jumbo jet complete with detailed interior for the 2010 Brickworld convention.

Comprised of 35,000 LEGO pieces and measuring seven feet in length and six feet wide, the model took Australian McNaught eight months to build. Moving parts of the model include the front landing gear, two rear landing gear doors and parts of the wing. The interior reveals passengers stretching their legs in the aisles and reclining in their seats.

Visit to learn more about McNaught's LEGO masterpieces and view more photos of the LEGO Qantas A380.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The LEGO Love Boat at Brickworld Chicago

(all photos:
Of particular interest at this year's Brickworld, the largest convention of adult fans of LEGO to share their creations of LEGO bricks, held in Chicago last month is the LEGO Love Boat. With interest from cruisers, travelers and LEGO afficionados alike, the creation received national coverage especially when Gavin MacLeod who played Captain Stubing on the television series "The Love Boat" made at appearance along the LEGO designer and brick creation of his boat.

Created by 36-year-old Australian Ryan McNaught, one of only 12 certified LEGO builders in the world, the LEGO Love Boat (as it was dubbed in the press) is made up of more 250,000 LEGO bricks evoking the original Pacific Princess cruise ship that was the setting for the long running television series.

The LEGO ship measures over ten-feet long by five-feet high and includes 450 miniature people, a moving anchor, bow thruster, propeller and a lifeboat that can be raised and lowered. Visit McNaught's website to see more of his LEGO creations.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Rewind NYC: La Maison Du Chocolat

The Rockefeller Center location on 49th Street. A second entrance is
 located along the 30 Rockefeller conccourse.

(image credit:
Kevin Sharkey)
Since I did not have a chance to visit La Maison du Chocolat during my visit to New York last week, I thought I would take a look back when I visited this chocolate boutique in 2008.

Decadent and expensive. Two simple words to describe the not so simple confections at La Maison du Chocolat. Many would see such a shop as strictly for fans of high-end chocolate delights but it probably wouldn't hurt to try one of the blissfully sweet treats at least once.

The boutique's timeless array of chocolate ganaches start at about $2 per piece or available in signature boxes ($9-$75). Otherwise choose from their collection of pralines, fruited chocolates, eclairs, tarts and cakes.

The shop has become famous for their macarons. Despite costing almost $3 per piece don't be surprised to find the the shop sold out of these creations before closing each day. Various flavors of ganache (raspberry, Arabica coffee, salted caramel) are sandwiched between soft Macaron shells. Definitely heavenly delights to partake once in a while. Couple it with one their chocolate drinks for that extra indulgence ($9).

The boutiques selection of macarons.
(image credit: nicknamemiket/flickr)
Chocolates in the display case.
(image credit:
The company's fine creations are sold online at The New York boutiques are the only retail locations in the United States. International boutiques are located in Paris, Cannes, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Some items are not sold online and may be exclusive to the boutiques. Back in 2008 I picked up a selection of preserves that I'm not sure are still available. For those traveling, the boutique also sells insulated bags to cushion the delicate chocolates for the journey home.

Visit for more information. The boutique at 30 Rockefeller Center is on 49th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. Hours: Mon-Fri 9:30am-7pm; Sat 10am-7pm; Sun 12pm-6pm. Other Manhattan locations: 1018 Madison Avenue (the first New York location which opened in 1990) on the Upper East Side and 63 Wall Street.

Learn about the recipes from the La Maison du Chocolat pastry chefs in these books:
La Maison du Chocolat: Timeless Classics with a Twist by Gilles Marchal
La Maison du Chocolat: Transcendent Desserts by the Legendary Chocolatier and the company's founder Robert Linxe

Interior of Rockefeller Center location.
(image credit:
My purchases from 2008: square of chocolates, preserves and insulated bag.
(image credit: TheHopefulTraveler)

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