Saturday, February 25, 2012

Buy Hawaii Macadmia Nuts and More in Bulk at Costco

Macadamia Nut Almond Roca (left) stacked beside a display of
Mauna Loa Macadamia Tetra Pack Assortment (36 count, favor size, $15.99)
More selections of macadamia nut selections at Costco.
Island Princes Mele Macs (36 oz, $15.69)
If you're a visitor to Hawaii or a resident meeting friends or family overseas or on the mainland, you can't go wrong by picking up macadamia nuts and chocolates from any island Longs Drugs or Walmart. Each store has an aisle or section devoted to these goods including Kona coffee and other local specialties and souvenirs. Important note: A membership is required at Costco; payment for purchases is via cash or American Express credit and charge cards.

But if you need to purchase these products in bulk because you have a long gift list, then head over to one of Hawaii's seven Costco locations. They are still packaged conveniently for carry-on or to place in checked bags. During the holidays and usually sold from October to December these items are specially packaged for gift giving and in past years have included locally produced shoyu (soy sauce), oils and cookies.

I was at the Costco located in Kona on the Big Island while visiting for business and here are some pictures of the products this store offers and some of the prices. Some Costco stores will carry specialities only manufactured on that island such as Kauai Coffee at the Lihue Costco and during the holidays, the Kona location carried Kona Gold Rum Co's Macadamia Nut Rum Cakes. It should be repeated again that these items are bulk or large size. So it may be to your benefit to shop at other Hawaii retailers if you would like to buy these products in smaller sizes. Look for bulk packaging of Kona coffee in the Costco coffee aisle.

These are the Costco locations in Hawaii (click on the location name for more info, maps and hours):
Iwilei (Oahu), Kahului (Maui), Lihue (Kauai) and Kona (Big Island) are conveniently located near their island's airports. The Kapolei (Oahu) Costco is located near the resort town of Ko Olina. Other Costco locations on the island of Oahu are in Hawaii Kai and Waipio.

Hershey's Kisses with Macadamia Nuts available only in Hawaii.
Mauna Loa Coconut Macadamias ($12.99)
Mac Farms of Hawaii Kona Coffee Mac Nuts (28 oz, $11.59)
Mauna Loa Macadamia Dry Roasted & Salted (six 4.5 oz cans, 18.99) 
Mauna Loa Macadamias Island Classic Assortment 
Two-pack Hawaiian Sun Guava Jelly. If you purchase these, place them
in checked bags only. Do not carry-on or risk of them being confiscated by
airport security.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blood Clots & Flying: New Guidelines Issued

Blood normally flows through the legs by muscle contraction via movement
of the legs. During long periods of immobility, blood clots deep within
the veins of the legs causing swelling, stiffness and discomfort. The veins dilate
and blood pools and the pooling is that potential danger.
The American College of Chest Physicians have updated their guidelines for developing blood clots while flying. The organization's most controversial finding refutes that only people flying economy class have a greater chance of experiencing the potentially deadly condition.

In a USA Today report, Kate Hanni of says that's a bit disingenuous. It's simply easier to get up and move around in business and first class. She was on a flight where seats were so close together that she could not cross her legs because the person in front of her had reclined the chair. She said she was completely immobilized.

Dr. John Torres, health reporter for 9News Colorado, adds that flyers who have window seats tend to to develop blood clots because they are embarrassed to ask people next to them to move and therefore don't get out of their seat as much.

The common advice is to stay hydrated, get up an move around the cabin and do leg exercises at one's seat. It is when passengers sit without moving for long periods of time that can cause blood to clot in legs, also knows as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

The 2012 guidelines cover multiple potential causes for blood clots. The section regarding air travel indicates those at high risk are:

  • Persons who had recent surgery or a broken bone
  • People with active cancer.
  • Pregnant women or women on birth control pills
  • The elderly
  • Those with limited mobility
  • Those who have previously had blood clots
  • The very tall who crammed into a seat where they can't move much
  • The very short who have to sit in an odd position because the seat is too long and legs can't easily flex
  • Obesity (but it is argued that if this is cause or the obesity tends to make people less mobile)

High risk passengers should talk to their doctor and see if blood thinners are recommended to use before flying.

Symptoms for blood clots in the leg:

  • If one leg, but not the other, becomes sore and swollen
  • If one but not the other feels heavy and may be red
  • Getting very short breath and chest pains that last for more than 15 minutes

Click HERE to view the full article on

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sunset at Disney's Aulani Resort and Spa

(above photos: TheHopefulTraveler)
Living in Hawaii I often don't appreciate the things we take for granted about living on an island in the middle of the Pacific. One of them is the simple pleasure of taking the time to admire the sunset. 

These photos were taken on Friday from Disney's Aulani Resort and Spa while taking a stroll along the hotel grounds and prior to dinner at their Ama Ama restaurant. Away from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu, the peaceful surroundings around the resort community of Ko Olina adds to the peaceful feeling of watching the ocean at sunset. There are four man-made lagoons at Ko Olina and the Aulani fronts the northernmost of the four. The photos are in reverse order of the time they were taken that evening.

(above photos: TheHopefulTraveler)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dining at Disney's Aulani Resort & Spa's Ama Ama

Ama Ama entrance. (photo credit: Star Adverstiser)
View of Ama Ama from the beachside of the restaurant.
(photo credit: MattGeneral/flickr)
Outdoor seating at Ama Ama. (photo credit: HawaiiLogue)
The obvious attraction of Ama Ama, Disney's Resort & Spa's Aulani fine dining restaurant, is the atmosphere. The restaurant's dining room is open air and offers expansive vistas of the beach at Ko Olina and the view made even more striking at sunset when our party dined there on Friday night.

Thatched roofs shelter guests in three seating areas. One section allows guests to enjoy drinks and pupus at the bar. We were greeted by a pleasant hostess and after a short wait (but long enough that we had to sit down on the benches just inside the entrance) we were escorted to our table.

Again it's the view that counts wherever you sit and it's unlikely there is a bad table in the house but guests should request if they specifically would like indoor or outdoor seating. My understanding is that hotel guests normally have any priority for reservations and seating choices.

The menu itself is a lumbering wooden thing with the hotel name etched into the cover. I noticed several guests enjoying an Aulani Wave ($13), one of Ama Ama's signature cocktails. It's striking not for the coconut rum, mango and passion fruit liquor, pineapple juice mix but for the souvenir multicolored glow cube in the cocktail itself. Fun but I opted for a glass of white wine (King Estate Pino Gris, Oregon $12) and its subtle fruity tone.

Walnut bread with butter and black and pink Hawaiian sea salt.
(photo credit: TheHopefulTraveler)
Chicken firecracker with pineapple sauce.
(photo credit: TheHopefulTraveler)
An appetizer of chicken firecrackers (four pieces, $17) is a spicy take on the spring roll and pineapple dipping sauce started our dinner accompanied by walnut bread with black and pink Hawaiian sea salt to sprinkle on the butter. It was unusual to have the extra salt but nevertheless it was an interesting start.

I can't say how my guest enjoyed the rack of lamb ($45) but I was less than enthused for my entree, the seared ahi tuna shrimp with Kamuela tomatoes, basil and Nicoise olives garnished with eggplant caviar ($36). The ahi was overcooked so the sear which is usually in stark contrast with the bright fresh uncooked part of the fish was lacking. At least the remaining ingredients helped to make the dish partially satisfying.

Rack of Lamb (photo credit: TheHopefulTraveler) 
Seared ahi tuna and shrimp (photo credit: TheHopefulTraveler)
Although the Hawaiian chocolate cake with Ka'u coffee cream and caramel chard ($10) did look delicious, my choice was the lighter flavor of the coconut panna cotta with chilled passion fruit broth and green tea tulle ($10). Dessert did not disappoint especially when accompanied with table-side pressed coffee ($9.50)

As characteristic of Disney hospitality the server was attentive without being overly so. Musicians traveled through the restaurant entertaining diners which adds to the atmosphere or becomes distraction if that's not your thing. For the fine-dining prices, Ama Ama should be reserved for special occasions especially if you live in Honolulu and making the long trek to Ko Olina.

Ama Ama is named after a local mullet fish popularized in Hawaiian songs.  Click HERE for online reservations, menu samples and more information about Ama Ama and Aulani's other restaurants. Located at 92-1185 Aliinui Drive in Kapolei, self-parking is validated for four hours with a $35 dining purchase. Hours: breakfast 7am-10:30am; lunch 11:30am-3pm; dinner 5:30pm-10pm. Reservations strongly recommended. Attire not permitted: tank tops, swimwear, men's hats, cut-off pants and torn clothing. See specific restaurant attire info online.

Coconut panna cotta (photo credit: TheHopefulTraveler)
Hawaiian chocolate cake (photo credit: TheHopefulTraveler)

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