Dining Options on Miyajima Island

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While researching Miyajima one may assume that this tiny island with its Shinto shrines and scenic views of nature might lack an entry in any culinary journal.  Those that make that assumption find how wrong they were the moment they walk around Miyajima’s main streets.  Step into any restaurant and feast on seafood caught in the local waters.  Get a jolt of caffeine while sipping espresso drinks or indulge in ice cream served on a sweet bun.  Satisfy your food cravings by sampling any of the snacks offered by the local street food vendors.

Tori-I

With Miyajima’s proximity to water, seafood dishes take the top spot at many of the island’s restaurants.  Miyajima’s most popular seafood dishes include conger eel and oysters caught in local waters.  For a taste of both conger eel and oysters visit Tori-I.  Those who wish to eat oysters may order inside the restaurant or from the takeout window to the right of the entrance.  Order the oysters raw, grilled, or deep-fried.  Those that order the grilled oysters will find them seasoned with a soy-sauce based sauce.  Diners sitting inside the restaurant may choose from such dishes as udon with shrimp or grilled conger eel.  The grilled conger eel sits on a bed of rice in a bento box.

Miyajima Itsuki Coffee

For a classic cafe experience head to Itsuki Coffee.  The menu at Itsuki Coffee has various espresso choices, served either iced or hot.  Besides espresso the menu features pastries such as muffins, scones, and biscotti.  This cafe is perfect for visitors needing a caffeine fix or somewhere to sit and unwind.  Itsuki Coffee’s décor is modern but warm with wood accents.  Seating is available inside, or outside with weather permitting.

Melon-Pan Ice

Regardless of the day’s temperature, few can resist the draw of warm baked dessert bread with ice cream.  The chain Melon-Pan Ice opened a location in Miyajima, where tourists and locals both line-up for tasty treats.  Melon-Pan is the name of a sweet bun popular in Japan.  The bread bun is soft in the inside but the top has a thin layer of crispy dough that resembles that of a cut and diced melon.  Melon-Pan Ice takes the fresh-baked warm bun, cuts it in half, and adds a scoop of ice cream.  The resulting combination is so delicious that a nearby sign proclaiming it as “Japanese soul food” isn’t an exaggeration.

Miyajima Street Food

For those in need of a quick bite, or if you don’t have time to sit at a restaurant, you’ll find many street side vendors selling various snacks.  One dish in particular to try is a fried pastry made in the shape of a star.  These fried stars come filled with your choice of cheese, custard cream, or red bean.  Non-fried options include fresh-baked steamed buns filled with beef.  Another popular street vendor sells rolled up fish cakes, grilled and served to customers right off the hot stove.

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Miyajima Dining

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Tori-I: 34.298210, 132.321439
Itsuki Coffee: 34.296495, 132.320779
Melon-Pan Ice: 34.295516, 132.321621
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Tori-I
Dining Options on Miyajima Island
Miyajima, Japan
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Itsuki Coffee
Dining Options on Miyajima Island
Miyajima, Japan
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Melon-Pan Ice
Dining Options on Miyajima Island
Miyajima, Japan
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Unique Eats in Hiroshima, Japan

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Modern day Hiroshima, Japan is more than its memorials.  The sprawling metropolitan’s various restaurants offers visitors delicious Japanese cuisine.  In Hiroshima, you will find tasty pastries at Andersen Bakery and St. Marc Café.  At Masui enjoy tonkatsu and Japanese curry dishes.  As for other traditional dishes, such as okonomiyaki and ramen, be prepared to eat these made with a Hiroshima twist.

The Original Andersen Bakery

Andersen Bakery, which has locations throughout the world, came from humble beginnings.  The story of Andersen Bakery began when its founder Shunsuke Takaki visited Europe in 1959.  Shunsuke fell in love with Danish pastries and he vowed to bring these delicacies to the people of Japan.  The first Andersen Bakery opened in 1967 in Hiroshima.  The success of this shop led to the franchise opening bakeries throughout Japan.  Later, more Andersen Bakery locations opened in the United States, Hong Kong, and where the inspiration came from, Denmark.

You will find the main Andersen Bakery at what once was the Hiroshima Branch of the Teikoku Bank.  After the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima renovations on the building began.  The first and second floor of the building are home to Andersen Bakery.  The first floor of the building, known as the Bakery Market floor, offers customers a variety of baked goods and pastries.  Visitors can buy coffee or tea to drink along with their fresh-baked purchases.  The second floor, known as the Kitchen floor, offers customers a variety of meal options.  Select from grilled and stewed foods, sandwiches, salads, pizza and pasta, and Chinese dishes.  Besides those options the Kitchen floor has a full delicatessen, desserts, and beverages.

St. Marc Café

Another great choice for pastries, sandwiches, and coffee is the restaurant chain St. Marc Café.  These cafes became popular throughout Japan for their chocolate croissants.  These chocolate croissants, called Choco Cro, are so famous that often people call the cafes by the name of Choco Cro and not St. Marc Café.  Look for special varieties of the Choco Cro that mark events such as the holidays Halloween and Christmas.

Hiroshima’s Take on Ramen

In the simplest terms, ramen is a bowl of broth with noodles.  Yet, as one travels throughout Japan they find a variety of styles and takes on this simple dish.  In Hiroshima, their style of ramen is tsukemen.  Chefs first cook the tsukemen noodles and serve them dry.  Patrons dip the noodles into broth before eating.  Establishments that cook up tsukemen serve their customers two separate bowls.  In one bowl you will find your tsukemen noodles, meat, and other sides such as eggs.  Another bowl has the broth.  Add the noodles, meat, and sides into the bowl with the broth, mix it around and enjoy.

A popular chain specializing in tsukemen noodles is Bakudanya.  Here you can choose what level of spiciness you want for the ramen’s broth.  A handy heat chart details the spice level from zero to a hundred.  Pick the level of spiciness you can handle.  Bakudanya offers more dishes beyond ramen such as rice wrapped in seaweed and karaage (Japanese fried chicken).

Tonkatsu and Curry

A popular Japanese dish is tonkatsu, breaded deep-fried pork.  Combine this dish with Japanese curry and you have a hunger quenching dining experience.  Masui in Hiroshima is a hard location to miss.  Next door to the restaurant is a deli with a sign reading “Sukiyaki and Foreign Food” with a bull’s head and the word beef emboldened over it.  Right next to the deli is the entrance to Masui.

Before entering Masui stop by the display case housing various dishes.  These plastic recreations of the dishes Masui serves may help you decide what to order.  Upon entering the restaurant, you will have your choice of table seating or a tatami table.  Tatami is a mat, and will mean removing your shoes as shoes should not touch the mat.  If needed, you may ask for an English menu.  Order the tonkatsu with curry for a treat of a meal.

Hiroshima and the Okonomyaki Playground

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese style savory dish similar in texture to an omelet and similar in shape to a pancake.  Associated with the areas of Hiroshima and the Kansai region of Osaka, the okonomiyaki dish comes in two different styles.  In Kansai, Osaka chefs mix the ingredients before using them to form the omelet pancake.  Cooking okonomiyaki in Hiroshima involves the ingredients being layered to form the omelet pancake.

Foodies that seek amazing okonomiyaki will want to visit Okonomimura.  This playground for okonomiyaki lovers offers multiple food stalls on three floors.  There are over twenty food stall on floors two, three, and four.  Pick a stall that looks good to you and saddle up to an open seat.  To keep things simple just let the chef know if you want meat or seafood and sit back and enjoy the show.  Right in front of you the chef will cook up your food.  Before you know it, you’ll be dining on a delicious Hiroshima style okonomiyaki.

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Hiroshima Eats

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Andersen Bakery: 34.394735, 132.457210
St. Marc Café: 34.394070, 132.455778
Bakudanya: 34.387256, 132.460120
Masui: 34.394534, 132.463102
Okonomimura: 34.391289, 132.461894
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Andersen Bakery
Unique Eats in Hiroshima, Japan
Hiroshima-shi, Japan
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St. Marc Café
Unique Eats in Hiroshima, Japan
サンマルクカフェ, Hiroshima-shi, Japan
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Bakudanya
Unique Eats in Hiroshima, Japan
Hiroshima-shi, Japan
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Masui
Unique Eats in Hiroshima, Japan
Hiroshima-shi, Japan
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Okonomimura
Unique Eats in Hiroshima, Japan
お好み村, Hiroshima-shi, Japan
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Vancouver’s Granville Island

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Granville Island in Vancouver is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Set along the waters of False Creek, Granville Island offers visitors scenic views. Spend the day shopping or eating at the various stalls within the Public Market or in the surrounding buildings. Unwind while perusing galleries or drinking beer at the Granville Island Brewery. Enjoy the waterfront while strolling along nearby Island Park Walk. Granville Island has so much to offer that tourists will find it one of the top highlights of their trip.

Getting to Granville Island

Tourists planning to visit Granville Island will arrive either by car, bus, or boat. Granville Island is accessible by car but you will be fighting with other drivers for the few parking spots available. The better plan is to arrive at Granville Island by bus or by boat. To get from Downtown to Granville Island you will board the #50 bus. The route for bus #50 runs through various Vancouver districts. Visitors staying in and around Gastown, Chinatown, Downtown, or Yaletown will take bus #50 southbound. Hop on the #50 bus labeled False Creek via Granville Island and exit at the W 2 Ave at Anderson Street stop. From the bus stop it will be a four-minute stroll to Granville Island via Old Bridge Walk.

A unique way to reach Granville Island is via boat on the waters of False Creek. Two boat companies sail along False Creek, Aquabus and False Creek Ferry. Both boat companies have eight docking locations along the waters of False Creek. You can catch one of the boats in popular tourist locations such as Yaletown or near BC Place at the Plaza of Nations. Boats land at each of the docks every 15 minutes so you won’t have to wait very long to catch the next boat. The simplest thing to do is arrive at the dock and hop on to whichever boat company arrives first.

Once on board you’ll pay the driver the fare to ride the boat. The boats hold between twelve and twenty passengers at a time. Passengers sit on benches next to windows so everyone has a view during the ride. The boats sail quietly along the waters of False Creek and offer a relaxing journey while sailing past the buildings of Vancouver. Exit the boat at the Granville Island dock. From the dock you are steps away from the main building for the Granville Island Public Market.

Granville Island Public Market

The most popular place to visit on Granville Island is the Public Market. Inside this building you will find a vast array of vendors. You can buy baskets of various fruits or bouquets of flowers. Other vendors sell pastries and bread still warm from the oven. Locals decide between fresh pasta and ravioli to bring home to cook later. It’s easy to check off your grocery list at the Public Market.

A few vendors at the Public Market sell food products you can eat on site. Lee’s Donuts is a must for those with an inclination towards fried dough. The Honey Dip Donut is a popular choice and tastes delicious. Enjoy your food with a cup of coffee from either JJ Bean or Petit Ami. If you are in the mood for more pastries and heartier fare stop at Laurelle’s Fine Foods. Laurelle’s is a bakery deli that sells meat pies and muffins. The dough on the meat pies flake right off and melt in your mouth.

Next to the Public Market are more buildings full of shops, galleries, and other food options. Those who wish to sample a local beer will want to swing by Granville Island Brewing. To maximize your tasting opportunity order a flight which allows you to sample up to four different beers. The Island Lager is their original beer and a fan favorite. For a true Canadian experience be sure to sample the Maple Shack Cream Ale. In addition to beer Granville Island Brewing offers a food menu with dishes such as poutine.

Island Park Walk

After you’re finished with Granville Island head to nearby Island Park Walk. This path just on the other side of Granville Island offers views of Granville Island plus residential homes and boats docked at the harbor. The path is especially stunning in the fall time when the leaves have changed colors. Here along the path visitors can dream of living next to Granville Island. Imagine waking up on a weekend morning and heading over to pick up items for brunch at the Public Market.

If daydreaming leaves you famished, at the end of Island Park Walk you will find Go Fish. This popular eatery sells quality seafood dishes from a simple shack. For fried golden perfection order the classic fish and chips. Or try the fish sandwich with either seared ahi tuna or salmon. Afterwards take Island Park Walk back the way you came towards either the #50 bus or to the Ferry Creek docks to catch the next boat home.

 

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Granville Island

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Granville Island 49.270622, -123.134741 Overview of Vancouver, Canada and Vancouver’s Granville Island

 

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Vancouver Dining

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Vancouver dining reflects the diversity that embodies the city. Within the various neighborhoods that make up Vancouver visitors will find every cuisine imaginable. This article aims to help travelers in choosing which restaurants to visit. Listed below are six of the best eateries in Vancouver. Each of these Vancouver dining options in this article embodies a different eating experience. From fine dining to food trucks, no one will ever leave Vancouver hungry.

Blue Water Cafe – Fine Dining in Vancouver

Being next to the Pacific Ocean means any Vancouver dining list must include at least one restaurant that serves high quality seafood. For the freshest seafood and a fine dining experience look no further than Blue Water Cafe. Here you will experience top-notch service from a knowledgeable wait staff. The menu includes a plethora of seafood caught in local waters. The chefs create each dish with extreme care. These chefs understand that eating is more than sustenance. For those that enjoy oysters Blue Water Cafe’s extensive menu won’t disappoint. The seafood tasting for two is a perfect way to sample four different seafood dishes. Although not a traditional Japanese restaurant, the sushi rolls and sashimi are delicious. The main course seafood selections range from scallops to lobster to local fish such as the sablefish. Other than seafood Blue Water Cafe’s menu includes steak and chicken options.

Chatime – For When You Need a Drink Break

Walk the many streets of Vancouver and you’re bound to get thirsty. When it’s time for a drink break stop by one of Chatime’s two Vancouver locations. Chatime proclaims itself as being the world’s number one place to get bubble tea. Although the title for world’s number one is always up for debate, Chatime is in the discussion for a good reason. Bubble tea originated in Taiwan and is a tea based drink served with milk and either tapioca balls or fruit jellies. Chatime brews their tea fresh in store and that freshness is found in every sip you take. Natural ingredients and natural flavors combine to make sure that your drink will be delicious. Besides Vancouver Chatime has a store in the nearby cities of Richmond, Burnaby, and Surrey. Other than Canada, Chatime is available in ten other countries such as Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, and the United States.

Dinesty Dumpling House – A Chinese Restaurant Beyond Chinatown

To search for a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown is akin to searching for hay in a haystack. The trick is finding a good Chinese restaurant in parts of the city not designated a part of Chinatown. When the craving for Chinese food hits you and you’re on Vancouver’s busy Robson street head to Dinesty Dumpling House. Dinesty specializes in Shanghai style Chinese dishes. One of the more popular dishes is their Xiao Long Bao, dumplings filled with soup and meat. Diners can watch employees of Dinesty through large glass windows as they wrap the dumplings for each Xiao Long Bao order. Dinesty’s menu features traditional Chinese dishes and snacks. Other dishes worth ordering include spicy wontons, string beans with pork, and deep-fried prawns. Keep in mind that besides the Robson location Dinesty has three restaurants in Richmond and one in Burnaby.

Guu – Japanese Izakaya

With six locations in Vancouver, Guu has cornered the market on Japanese izakaya dining. Izakaya’s are Japanese pub style restaurants where diners order a variety of small plates. This tapas style dining experience makes Guu a great place for dining with a group. The more people in your party the more dishes you can order and try out. With Guu’s extensive menu making selections will be a difficult task. A refreshing seafood choice is the Tuna Tataki. The chefs sear the fish in this dish and serve it with a ponzu sauce and garlic chips. Another popular dish is the melt in your mouth Kakuni, known as pork belly. For noodles order the Yaki Udon. Those that enjoy beer will find Guuud Ale intriguing. This beer is a joint venture between Guu and the Russell Brewing Company. This beer is a perfect pairing fit with any dish you order.

Japadog – Street Food

Vancouver dining isn’t regulated to just restaurants. Along the streets of Vancouver you will find various food trucks. Before today’s food obsessed culture only the bravest of travelers dared to order food from a food truck. Times have changed and now food trucks lead the way in innovative cooking. Culinary fusion is at the forefront of many street food chefs. Japadog is no exception, serving Japanese style hot dogs. Each menu item is a twist on a traditional Japanese dish joined with a hot dog. A first reaction upon seeing the creations at Japadog might be curiosity. The moment you take your first bite any worry you might have had vanishes. The various flavors blend to form one perfect bite after another. Within Vancouver Japadog operates four stands, a truck, a trailer, and one store. Visit any location for a great food truck culinary experience.

Tim Hortons – Canadian’s Popular Restaurant Chain

For a Vancouver dining experience that screams Canada visit Tim Hortons. Tim Hortons is one restaurant chain you won’t be able to avoid while visiting British Columbia.   In Vancouver alone you will find twenty Tim Hortons stores. Even those that have never been to Canada might have seen a Tim Hortons add while watching a hockey game. Tim Hortons may well be as synonymous with Canada these days as the maple leaf. You’ll even find two Tim Hortons at the Vancouver International Airport. Tim Hortons sells coffee, pastries, sandwiches, salads, and wraps. Lovers of donuts will enjoy Tim Hortons bakery selections. Their donuts are soft and fluffy, regardless of which chain you visit. Since you’re in Canada, be sure to try one of the maple-flavored donuts.

 

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Vancouver Dining

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Blue Water Cafe: 49.276155, -123.121129
Chatime: 49.286649, -123.128278
Dinesty Dumpling House: 49.290780, -123.134073
Guu: 49.284008, -123.125433
Japadog: 49.280244, -123.118355
Tim Hortons: 49.193316, -123.181198
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Blue Water Cafe
Vancouver Dining
Blue Water Cafe, Hamilton Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Chatime
Vancouver Dining
Chatime Robson, Robson Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Dinesty Dumpling House
Vancouver Dining
Dinesty Dumpling House, Robson Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Guu
Vancouver Dining
Kitanoya Guu Original Thurlow, Thurlow Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Japadog
Vancouver Dining
JAPADOG, Robson Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Tim Hortons
Vancouver Dining
Tim Hortons, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) Domestic and International Terminals, Grant McConachie Way, Richmond, BC, Canada

 

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Hawaiian Food Companies on the Big Island

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Traditional restaurants and eateries aren’t the only food experiences available on the Big Island of Hawaii. Three Hawaiian food companies have sites on the island open to visitors. Each of the Hawaiian food companies mass produce their products for sale on the islands and export them to other parts of the world. By visiting these Hawaiian food companies in person one can learn the secrets behind producing these foods. This article explores the Hawaiian food companies of Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company, Kona Brewing Company, and Punalu’u Bake Shop.

Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company - Kawaihae, HI, USA

Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company

Flavoring Panner at Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company - Kawaihae, HI

Flavoring Panner at Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company

Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company

Macadamia nuts are as synonymous with the Hawaiian Islands as pineapples. Established in 1994, Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company brings macadamia nuts to the masses. Visitors to this Hawaiian food company’s cannery will see machinery and assembly lines used to bundle the macadamia related products Hamakua sells. Behind glass pane windows visitors witness first hand as Hamakua employees work on macadamia nuts in various stages. Visitors see macadamia nuts being weighed, in flavoring pans, and vacuum sealed in cans. Besides viewing these assembly lines visitors can sample a variety of macadamia nuts. Samples include both regular and flavored macadamia nuts. Be sure to visit the Hamakua gift shop to buy your favorite macadamia nuts, macadamia nut cookies, and macadamia nut brittle.

Kona Brewing Company - Kailua-Kona, HI

Kona Brewing Company

Beer at Kona Brewing Company - Kailua-Kona, HI

Beer at Kona Brewing Company

Kona Brewing Company

As the lone liquid food on this list, the Kona Brewing Company is a Hawaiian food company specializing in handcrafted beers. Their brewery is in the city of Kailua-Kona and offers daily tours. The tours include a history of the Kona Brewing Company. During the tour visitors learn the techniques behind brewing beer. At the end of the tour visitors have the chance to sample the beers. After the brewery consider retiring next door to the Kona Brewing Company restaurant. At the restaurant patrons can drink glasses of beer while eating traditional pub fare. The Growler Shack is between the brewery and the restaurant. Here you can buy growlers or kegs for home consumption. The growlers are half-gallon glass jugs that make for a great souvenir. Kona Brewing Company sells a standard rotation of beers including their popular Longboard Lager and Big Wave Golden Ale. Kona Brewing Company sells their standard beers in grocery stores throughout the United States and around the world. In addition to the standard beers Kona Brewing Company brews seasonal beers. Visiting the Kona Brewing Company in person allows you to sample these unique beers.

Punalu`u Bake Shop - Naalehu, HI

Punalu`u Bake Shop

Taro Sweetbread Rolls from Punalu`u Bake Shop - Naalehu, HI

Taro Sweetbread Rolls from Punalu`u Bake Shop

Punalu’u Bake Shop

It turns out that the southernmost bakery in the United States is on the Big Island of Hawaii. The bakery is Punalu’u and the Punalu’u Bake Shop is in the city of Naalehu. To reach Naalehu visitors to the Big Island will need a rental car. The drive to Naalehu takes 90-minutes from either the city centers of Kona or Hilo. Visitors to the Punalu’u Bake Shop get to try samples of the bakery’s famous Hawaiian Sweetbread. The traditional Hawaiian Sweetbread made by Punalu’u Bake Shop is soft and fluffy. The specialty rolls Punalu’u Bake Shop bakes are delicious. For a real island treat sample the Taro Sweetbread. The premises of the Punalu’u Bake Shop include the visitor’s center, retail bakery, gift shop, and a restaurant. The facilities at Punalu’u Bake Shop will entice those traveling from Kona to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Punalu’u Bake Shop is midway along that journey on Highway 11 and a great place to refuel.

 

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Hawaiian Food Companies - Big Island

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Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company: 20.049097, -155.835638
Kona Brewing Company: 19.643110, -155.997546
Punalu’u Bake Shop: 19.061248, -155.585891
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Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company
Hawaiian Food Companies on the Big Island
Hamakua Macadamia Nut Co Inc, Maluokalani Street, Waimea, HI, United States
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Kona Brewing Company
Hawaiian Food Companies on the Big Island
Kona Brewing Co, Pawai Place, Kailua-Kona, HI, United States
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Punalu’u Bake Shop
Hawaiian Food Companies on the Big Island
Punalu`u Bake Shop, Mamalahoa Highway, Naalehu, HI, United States

 

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Cheung Chau: A Hong Kong Island

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Cheung Chau - Hong Kong, China

Cheung Chau

 

Cheung Chau is part of Hong Kong’s Island Districts. Located less than an hour away from Hong Kong Island, Cheung Chau allows visitors a chance to glimpse a different side of Hong Kong.   Here in Cheung Chau is a bustling fishing village. The harbor is full of fisherman working on their boats. At the waterfront vendors sell fish at markets while restaurants serve up fresh seafood dishes. Besides seafood tourists will enjoy Cheung Chau’s narrow streets with their shops, bakeries, and food stalls. Cheung Chau may translate from Cantonese into “Long Island” yet the island itself is small enough to entice visitors for a few hours. This makes Cheung Chau a perfect island for those tourists on a time crunch but still wanting to explore one of Hong Kong’s outlying islands.

Central Ferry Pier 5 - Hong Kong, China

Central Ferry Pier 5 – Hong Kong Island

Cheung Chau Ferry Pier - Hong Kong, China

Cheung Chau Ferry Pier

 

The Ferry to Cheung Chau

Ferries to Cheung Chau leave from Hong Kong Island’s Central Ferry Pier 5. Departures are daily and either on the ordinary or fast service ferry. Ordinary service will get you to Cheung Chau in an hour while fast service will get you there in half an hour. Ticket prices vary depending on which ferry you board and if you travel Mondays to Saturdays or Sundays and public holidays. The most expensive fare is the adult fare on the fast ferry on Sundays and public holidays at $37.20 HKD ($4.80 USD). Ferries that leave from Hong Kong Island’s Central Ferry Pier 5 sail direct to Cheung Chau Ferry Pier.

Boats in Cheung Chau's harbor - Hong Kong, China

Boats in Cheung Chau’s harbor

Fisherman heading to his boat - Cheung Chau, Hong Kong, China

Fisherman heading to his boat

Bicycles along Cheung Chau's waterfront - Hong Kong, China

Bicycles along Cheung Chau’s waterfront

Dried Seafood - Cheung Chau, Hong Kong, China

Dried seafood for sale

Egg custard from a food vendor in Cheung Chau - Hong Kong, China

Egg custard from a food vendor

San Hing Praya Street - Cheung Chau, Hong Kong, China

San Hing Praya Street

 

Arrival in Cheung Chau

The moment you disembark the ferry on Cheung Chau the famous golden arches of McDonald’s will greet you. This fast-food restaurant is on the main road called San Hing Praya Street. If possible resist this American temptation and look back towards the water where you will see an overabundance of boats and fisherman. There aren’t many docks along the waterfront and fisherman make their way back to land on floating platforms attached to shore by ropes. Cheung Chau is an active fishing village and if you are a fan of seafood you will want to save your appetite for dining options other than McDonald’s. Along San Hing Praya you’ll notice rows of bicycles belonging to the hard-working people of Cheung Chau. Cars are not allowed on Cheung Chau so locals use bicycles or small-motorized carts to travel around the island. Continue your introduction to Cheung Chau by exploring San Hing Praya Street. Here you will find shops with souvenirs and food stalls where you can buy dried seafood or desserts such as mochi or egg custard. At the end of San Hing Praya Street is Pak She Praya Road. This road is full of restaurants selling seafood and this section of town is a great place to eat a meal at if you are hungry.

Pak Tai Temple - Cheung Chau, Hong Kong, China

Pak Tai Temple

An altar inside the Pak Tai Temple - Cheung Chau, Hong Kong, China

An altar inside the Pak Tai Temple

 

Cheung Chau Temple

From the Cheung Chau Ferry Pier turn left on San Hing Praya Street. Turn right past the playground at Pak She Third Lane. This street will take you to one of the main temples on the island, Pak Tai Temple. Walk Pak She Third Lane until you reach Pak Tai Temple on the right-hand side. The temple is open to the public but remember, be respectful inside this holy place of worship. Dedicated to the Taoist God of the Sea the temple has four stone lions that great you as you ascend the steps to the shrine. Before entering the temple notice the ornate statues of dragons at the top of the temple. Throughout the temple you will see various figurines and murals such as that of a tiger and their cub.

Steamed buns sold by a street vendor in Hong Kong, China

Steamed buns sold by a street vendor

Tung Wan Beach - Cheung Chau, Hong Kong, China

Tung Wan Beach

 

Tung Wan Beach

From Pak Tai Temple you will walk towards the direction you came, but this time on Pak She Street and San Hing Street. These streets include bakeries selling various steamed buns and food stalls selling different flavored fish balls. From the food stalls and stores take either Kwok Man Road or Tung Wan Road towards Tung Wan Beach. This beach is popular with tourists and locals alike on hot days.   After you’ve enjoyed the sun, water, and sand continue exploring the various streets around Tung Wan Beach. Along these streets are stores used by locals such as apothecaries, grocery stores, and stores selling household goods. As you walk among the streets notice the small altars dedicated to various deities.

A street in Cheung Chau - Hong Kong, China

A street in Cheung Chau

An altar in the streets of Cheung Chau - Hong Kong, China

An altar in the streets of Cheung Chau

 

Tai Hing Tai Road

Make your way through the various streets, heading past the Cheung Chau Ferry Pier and on to Tai Hing Tai Road. On Tai Hing Tai Road is Cheung Chau Market. Inside are various vendors selling meats, seafood, and fruits to locals. Around the market are hawker style food stalls and restaurants. Pick any of the restaurants to eat at and enjoy fresh seafood dishes such as salt and pepper crab or seafood combination fried rice.

Cheung Chau Market - Hong Kong, China

Cheung Chau Market

Salt and pepper crab - Cheung Chau, Hong Kong, China

Salt and pepper crab

Seafood combination fried rice - Cheung Chau, Hong Kong, China

Seafood combination fried rice

After your delicious seafood meal continue to explore the various streets before heading back to Cheung Chau Ferry Pier. Here at Cheung Chau Ferry Pier you will catch your boat ride back to Hong Kong Island.

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Cheung Chau

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Cheung Chau Ferry Pier: 22.208517, 114.028364
San Hing Praya Street: 22.209453, 114.028527
Pak Tai Temple: 22.212387, 114.027883
Tung Wan Beach: 22.210419, 114.029939
Tai Hing Tai Road: 22.205559, 114.026941
Cheung Chau Market: 22.206856, 114.028119
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Cheung Chau Ferry Pier
Cheung Chau: A Hong Kong Island
Cheung Chau Ferry Pier, Hong Kong
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San Hing Praya Street
Cheung Chau: A Hong Kong Island
San Hing Praya Street, Hong Kong
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Pak Tai Temple
Cheung Chau: A Hong Kong Island
Pak Tai Temple, Cheung Chau, Hong Kong
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Tung Wan Beach
Cheung Chau: A Hong Kong Island
Tung Wan Beach, Hong Kong
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Tai Hing Tai Road
Cheung Chau: A Hong Kong Island
Tai Hing Tai Road, Hong Kong
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Cheung Chau Market
Cheung Chau: A Hong Kong Island
Cheung Chau Market, Hong Kong

 

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Hong Kong’s Lamma Island

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Lamma Island is one of Hong Kong’s largest islands and one of the closest to Hong Kong Island. Its proximity and size is why Lamma Island is a perfect day trip for those visiting Hong Kong. Lamma Island is what you get if you cross California’s Catalina Island with Italy’s Cinque Terre. Similar to Catalina Island, Lamma Island has no cars, which makes Lamma Island a peaceful change of pace from Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Lamma Island is comparable to Cinque Terre in that both have villages you reach by foot using trails. On Lamma Island a concrete trail that takes 1-1/2 hours to walk separates the two main villages, Sok Kwu Wan and Yung Shue Wan. This trail takes you through lush hills with amazing views of the island and the surrounding waters. Besides the trail, Lamma Island has beaches that are great for hot days and restaurants that serve delicious seafood.

Central Ferry Piers - Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong, China

Central Ferry Piers on Hong Kong Island

Ferry to Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

Ferry to Lamma Island

The Ferry to Lamma Island

Visitors reach Lamma Island by ferry in under an hour on direct sailings from Hong Kong Island’s Central Ferry Pier 4. Depending on which ferry you board, ordinary or fast, your journey will take anywhere from 30-minutes to an hour. Upon arriving at Central Ferry Pier 4 you will buy your ticket for the ferry from the ticket booth. Fares vary for adults, children, and those over the age of 65. Besides age the cost of the fare depends on whether you travel Mondays to Saturdays or Sundays and public holidays. The most expensive ticket is the adult Sundays and public holidays fare from Central to Sok Kwu Wan at HKD $29.80 (USD $3.84). If your travel plans are flexible aim to visit Lamma Island during the weekday. On weekends Lamma Island is a popular place for locals looking to exercise on the trail or lounge on the beach.

One may explore Lamma Island starting at either of the main villages, Sok Kwu Wan or Yung Shue Wan. Separate ferries from Central Ferry Pier 4 can take you to either location. More ferries run between Central and Yung Shue Wan so we recommended you end your day at Yung Shue Wan. This way you won’t have to wait too long for a return ferry back to Hong Kong Island. Once aboard the ferry try to sit at a window seat so you can enjoy the view of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon while sailing through Victoria Harbour.

Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

Sok Kwu Wan village

The Village of Sok Kwu Wan

As your ferry approaches Sok Kwu Wan you’ll realize how you are in a place much different from Hong Kong Island or Kowloon. Underneath the shadow of a small green hill lies a short row of two-story buildings. In front of these buildings various awnings nestle up along side the waterfront. These awnings belong to open-air seafood restaurants. You will exit the ferry at the Sok Kwu Wan Pier and turn right, on to Sok Kwu Wan First Street. Here you will find yourself in the midst of the buildings you saw upon your approach on the ferry. The two-story buildings house the working part of the restaurants, such as the kitchens and aquariums. Besides restaurants you will find convenience stores and shopkeepers selling dried fish. There aren’t any souvenir stores or homes in this section of Lamma Island. This village is just for seafood eating. If you are hungry be sure to eat at a restaurant and enjoy the waterfront view. Before embarking on the trail consider buying snacks and a bottle of water from one of the convenience stores for your trek.

Street in Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

Street in Sok Kwu Wan

Restaurant with waterfront seating in Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

Restaurant with waterfront seating in Sok Kwu Wan

Lamma Island’s Trail

With the hill on your left and the water on your right you’ll walk along the street through Sok Kwu Wan. As you reach the end of this street and Sok Kwu Wan’s seafood row you will come upon a temple. This is a Tin Hau temple, one of three on the island. Tin Hau is the Goddess of the Sea and of Fishermen, a helpful deity for locals given Lamma Island’s proximity to the water. From the temple you will continue on the main trail, known as Lamma Island Family Walk. Abundant signs throughout the trail keep you heading in the right direction, towards the village of Yung Shue Wan.

Tin Hau Temple in Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

Tin Hau Temple in Sok Kwu Wan

Walking uphill on the Lamma Island Famly Walk Trail - Hong Kong, China

Walking uphill on the Lamma Island Famly Walk Trail

Kamikaze Grottos

The entire Lamma Island Family Walk trail is concrete. The trail goes up and over a hill and takes 1-1/2 hours to complete. After leaving Sok Kwu Wan you will pass a few dwellings but the majority of housing on Lamma Island is in the other main village, Yung Shue Wan. Just continue to follow the signs to Yung Shue Wan so you don’t wind up in someone’s backyard or off the beaten path. After you’ve walked 8-minutes from the Tin Hau Temple you will see one of several small caves on the island. Locals call these caves Kamikaze Grottos. During World War II the Japanese army had troops stationed on the island and were planning on using the caves to hide speedboats. Those boats were for future suicide attacks on Allies’ warships. Before the Japanese carved out the caves large enough to hold boats the war ended. The caves have remained untouched ever since and serve as a reminder as to Lamma Island’s status during the war.

Part of the Lamma Island Famly Walk Trail - Hong Kong, China

Part of the Lamma Island Famly Walk Trail

Kamikaze Grottos, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

Kamikaze Grottos

Hilltop Pavilion

From the Kamikaze Grottos you will ascend the hill and reach a scenic point with a view of Sok Kwu Wan and the Lo So Shing Port. The viewpoint with its hilltop pavilion offers benches for those looking to rest before continuing on the trail. As you continue on the trail you will soon reach the top of the hill. It is at this point you will see off the coast a massive building with three tall pillars. This building is the Lamma Power Station. The Lamma Power Station provides power to Lamma Island and Hong Kong Island. The Lamma Island Family Walk trail won’t lead you to the Lamma Power Station. During the rest of your walk you will continue to see the building until you reach Hung Shing Yeh Beach and Yung Shue Wan.

View of Pichic Bay and Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

View of Pichic Bay and Sok Kwu Wan

Hilltop Pavilion over looking Pichic Bay and Sok Kwu Wan, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

Hilltop Pavilion over looking Pichic Bay and Sok Kwu Wan

Lamma Power Station, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

Lamma Power Station

Hung Shing Yeh Beach

Hung Shing Yeh Beach is a sandy beach marred only by the garish view of the Lamma Power Station as you gaze out into water. The beach itself is popular with tourists and locals alike on hot days. There are public toilets next to the beach, ideal if you need a restroom or a place to change into your swimming suit. On one end of the beach you will find benches underneath large trees that offer generous amounts of shade. These benches make for a great escape from the sun and a nice picnic spot. After you leave Hung Shing Yeh Beach you will reach the village of Yung Shue Wan in 25-minutes.

Hung Shing Yeh Beach, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

Hung Shing Yeh Beach

Trees with benches at Hung Shing Yeh Beach, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

Trees with benches at Hung Shing Yeh Beach

View from Hung Shing Yeh Beach, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

View from Hung Shing Yeh Beach

View of Power Station from Hung Shing Yeh Beach, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

View of Power Station from Hung Shing Yeh Beach

The Village of Yung Shue Wan

As you leave Hung Shing Yeh Beach behind you will continue on the trail and walk past homes, both old dwellings and newer apartment buildings. This section of Yung Shue Wan is home to many foreigners. Yung Shue Wan has a much more relaxed vibe than the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. You’ll know you’re in the heart of Yung Shue Wan when you pass shops selling bakery items such as pineapple buns. There are more convenience stores in Yung Shue Wan than in Sok Kwu Wan so you can restock your water or snack supply if need be. Along with the stores you will once again find seafood restaurants, such as Lung Wah, along Yung Shue Wan Main Street. Enjoy a plate of clams in black bean sauce or salt and pepper squid to rejuvenate after walking the trail.

Buildings in Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

Buildings in Yung Shue Wan

Housing in Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

Housing in Yung Shue Wan

Bakery in Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

Bakery in Yung Shue Wan

Clams in black bean sauce at Lung Wah Seafood Restaurant in Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

Clams in black bean sauce at Lung Wah Seafood Restaurant in Yung Shue Wan

Salt and pepper squid at Lung Wah Seafood Restaurant in Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

Salt and pepper squid at Lung Wah Seafood Restaurant in Yung Shue Wan

Once you reach the end of Yung Shue Main Street you may continue on the Lamma Island Family Walk trail. A 10-minute walk will take you to the Tai Peng San Cheun viewpoint. Or you can walk the rest of the Lamma Island Family Walk, which includes the Pak Kok Tsuen Pier to Aberdeen. This trail circles around back to Yung Shue and is another 50-minutes of walking. When you are ready to leave Lamma Island head to the Yung Shue Wan Pier to catch your ferry back to Central Ferry Piers in Hong Kong Island.

View of Lamma Power Station from Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

View of Lamma Power Station from Yung Shue Wan

Street with shops in Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

Street with shops in Yung Shue Wan

Yung Shue Wan, Lamma Island - Hong Kong, China

Yung Shue Wan village

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Lamma Island

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Sok Kwu Wan Ferry Pier: 22.205580, 114.131170
Tin Hau Temple: 22.203795, 114.130942
Kamikaze Grottos : 22.204247, 114.127530
Hilltop Pavilion: 22.204378, 114.126472
Lamma Power Station: 22.217979, 114.107147
Hung Shing Yeh Beach: 22.218653, 114.119803
Lung Wah Seafood Restaurant: 22.226601, 114.111669
Yung Shue Wan Ferry Pier: 22.225002, 114.110643
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Sok Kwu Wan Ferry Pier
Hong Kong’s Lamma Island
Sok Kwu Wan Ferry Pier, Lamma Island, Hong Kong
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Tin Hau Temple
Hong Kong’s Lamma Island
Tin Hau Temple, Lamma Island, Hong Kong
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Kamikaze Grottos
Hong Kong’s Lamma Island
Cave Kamikaze, Lamma Island, Hong Kong
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Hilltop Pavilion
Hong Kong’s Lamma Island
Lo So Shing Sitting-out Area, Lamma Island, Hong Kong
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Lamma Power Station
Hong Kong’s Lamma Island
Lamma Power Station, Lamma Island, Hong Kong
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Hung Shing Yeh Beach
Hong Kong’s Lamma Island
Hung Shing Yeh Beach, Hong Kong
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Lung Wah Seafood Restaurant
Hong Kong’s Lamma Island
Lung Wah Seafood Restaurant, Lamma Island, Hong Kong
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Yung Shue Wan Ferry Pier
Hong Kong’s Lamma Island
Yung Shue Wan Development Pier, Lamma Island, Hong Kong

 

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Dining in Windsor and Eton

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Windsor and Eton makes for an ideal home base for those looking to stay somewhere other than London. By staying in Windsor and Eton one has the luxury of experiencing a different side of England and still be near London. Windsor and Eton has two train stations within walking distance of one another allowing you to reach London by train within thirty to sixty minutes. Besides London, Windsor and Eton as a home base allows for visitors to reach other cities in the South West region of England. Places such as Bath, Oxford, Reading, Salisbury, and Winchester are close train rides away.

A few factors make staying in Windsor and Eton appealing to tourists. Neither town is too large, and you can easily get around both by foot. Although Windsor and Eton are separated by the River Thames a bridge connects the two towns. Windsor receives a fair number of tourists because of Windsor Castle. While Eton is busiest when their boys’ boarding school, Eton College, is in session. After the boys are in their dorms and the tourists have gone back to London, Windsor and Eton are quiet towns. The English charm of Windsor and Eton are not the only appeal to these towns. Several dining options are available, covering a wide variety of cuisines. Listed below are a few of the best restaurants in Windsor and Eton.

Castle Cod

Surrounding Windsor Castle are restaurants that reek of tourist traps. Castle Cod is smack dab in the middle of this row of restaurants but it’d be a mistake to lump it in the tourist trap category. If you’re craving traditional British fish and chips you won’t want to ignore this restaurant. Service is fast and efficient and the fish and chips are classic. The fish is tender with the batter as crispy as the fries. Castle Cod is family friendly and a great place for a quick meal after your tour of Windsor Castle.

Back side of Castle Cod - Windsor, England

Back side of Castle Cod

Fish and Chips at Castle Cod - Windsor, England

Fish and Chips at Castle Cod

Chocolate Theatre Cafe Bar

Chocolate Theatre Cafe Bar offers classic English cuisine in a charming setting. A must on any trip to England is to have scones and Chocolate Theatre Cafe Bar serves scrumptious scones. The scones are served with Windsor Cream Tea, strawberry jam, and fresh clotted cream. Chocolate Theatre Cafe Bar’s menu includes a traditional English breakfast. The traditional English breakfast is a hearty meal of two sausages, ham, scrambled eggs and toast. Another satisfying and filling meal is the Jacket potatoes, served with your choice of toppings. For those with a sweet tooth order one of their specialty hot chocolates. The drink is so decadent you won’t want to reach the last drop.

Scones, strawberry jam, and clotted cream at Chocolate Theatre Cafe Bar - Windsor, England

Scones, strawberry jam, and clotted cream at Chocolate Theatre Cafe Bar

Full English breakfast at Chocolate Theatre Cafe Bar - Windsor, England

Full English breakfast at Chocolate Theatre Cafe Bar

 

Jacket potatoes at Chocolate Theatre Cafe Bar - Windsor, England

Jacket potatoes at Chocolate Theatre Cafe Bar

Specialty hot chocolate at Chocolate Theatre Cafe Bar - Windsor, England

Specialty hot chocolate at Chocolate Theatre Cafe Bar

 

Cote Brasserie

For fine French dining head to Cote Brasserie. Cote Brasserie is ideal for couples as this restaurant exudes a romantic setting. The restaurant is in a two-story building next to the River Thames. You may sit inside or outside, with or without a view of the river. Begin your meal with a bowl of French Onion soup. Main courses include traditional dishes such as Beef Bourguignon, Breton Fish Stew, and Steak Frites. End your satisfying meal with dessert such as Crème Caramel, a silky smooth flan. If you are at Cote Brasserie for dinner enjoy the view of Windsor Castle lit up at night.

Cote Brasserie - Windsor, England

Cote Brasserie

French Onion Soup at Cote Brasserie - Windsor, England

French Onion Soup at Cote Brasserie

 

Flaming Cow

If you have a hankering for grub that will remind you of being back in America head to the restaurant Flaming Cow. The Flaming Cow cooks up mouth-watering hamburgers made with 6oz beef patties and various toppings. You can order hot dogs that are as large as the hamburgers and just as tasty. Compliment your meal with fries and a milkshake. The Flaming Cow’s relaxed atmosphere is magnified with a mural painting of a large cow scaling a building, a la King Kong, with planes buzzing around the cow.

Brunch Burger at Flaming Cow - Windsor and Eton, England

Brunch Burger at Flaming Cow

Cuban Hot Dog at Flaming Cow - Windsor and Eton, England

Cuban Hot Dog at Flaming Cow

Viva L’Italia

A drawback to visiting Italy is that it ruins Italian food for you in your home country. Nothing compares to how Italian food is prepared and how it tastes in Italy. Viva L’Italia is an exception to the rule. When you eat at Viva L’Italia you might forget you’re in Windsor and think you’re in Rome. Viva L’Italia is a family run business and the staff make you feel at home the moment you enter the restaurant. For starters select one of the various pizza breads. The pizza bread is the size of a personal pizza and baked to perfection. Fans of pasta need to order the spaghetti alla Bolognese. The Bolognese is a homemade recipe that takes up to eight hours to prepare, but arrives at your table after you order it. Another delicious dish is the Penne al pesto alla Genovese. You won’t go wrong with any dish you order. In every mouthful you can tell that the chef uses the freshest ingredients to prepare the dishes.

Spaghetti alla Bolognese at Viva L'Italia - Windsor, England

Spaghetti alla Bolognese at Viva L’Italia

Penne al pesto alla Genovese at Viva L'Italia - Windsor, England

Penne al pesto alla Genovese at Viva L’Italia

 

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Windsor and Eton Dining

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Castle Cod: 51.482139, -0.606466
Chocolate Theatre Cafe Bar: 51.485531, -0.607787
Cote Brasserie: 51.486554, -0.608648
Flaming Cow: 51.486169, -0.608652
Viva L\'Italia: 51.483463, -0.608641
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Castle Cod
Dining in Windsor and Eton
Church Street, Windsor, UK
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Chocolate Theatre Cafe Bar
Dining in Windsor and Eton
The Chocolate Theatre Co Ltd, Thames Street, Windsor, United Kingdom
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Cote Brasserie
Dining in Windsor and Eton
Côte Brasserie - Windsor, High Street, Windsor, United Kingdom
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Flaming Cow
Dining in Windsor and Eton
Flaming Cow, Eton, United Kingdom
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Viva L'Italia
Dining in Windsor and Eton
Viva L'Italia, Thames Street, Windsor, United Kingdom

 

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Oxbow Public Market

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First Impressions of Oxbow Public Market

Counter at Fatted Calf

Counter at Fatted Calf

I was immediately interested when plans to build the Oxbow Public Market in Napa, CA first appeared in the news. I’d read that the same architects behind the Ferry Building in San Francisco had helped create Oxbow. The Ferry Building is one of my favorite places to go to in San Francisco. The architecture of the Ferry Building is beautiful. Renovations the architects made to the inside of the building to allow for merchants worked in capturing the essence of the building. There is an easy flow moving between merchants situated inside to those situated outside the building. The plethora of food options combines well with opportunities to view the bay and people watch. The Ferry Building is a great place to spend your time eating or buying groceries.

So when the Oxbow Public Market opened in 2008 I was very excited. I visited Oxbow after its doors opened to the public but I found my visit disappointing. In hoping for a recreation of the Ferry Building I’d set up Oxbow to fail. The building itself was great but there just wasn’t the same energy I’d found at the Ferry Building. There weren’t very many tourists or locals roaming the market. A handful of merchants had set up shop. It felt more like a small town’s barn flea market than the upscale food mecca I’d conjured in my head. It was not measuring up to the promises made in the articles I’d read touting the Oxbow Public Market. I left thinking I wouldn’t waste my time ever returning.

Let’s Try That Again

Pour over coffee being made at Ritual Coffee Roasters

Pour over coffee being made at Ritual Coffee Roasters

Six years later, 2014, I was in Napa and gave Oxbow one more chance. During those six years I’d been back to Napa a handful of times. I visited the surrounding downtown area and each year that area kept improving. New restaurants were always opening, more shopping was available, and the riverfront generated foot traffic. Oxbow Public Market is close to this area, and I thought it might be worth seeing if it also had gotten better through the years.

Going back to Oxbow Public Market wound up being a fantastic decision. Today’s Oxbow is everything I’d hoped it would be. The building itself, both inside and out, has kept up its appearance, and it looks wonderful. It exudes somewhat of a Pacific Northwest market vibe, something that wouldn’t seem out of place in either Portland or Seattle. The building itself didn’t surprise me but what I didn’t expect to find was how many more merchants now occupied both the inside space plus the adjoining property. There is so much more to experience. The Oxbow Public Market now has a liveliness that makes you want to visit, shop, and hang out.

Highlights of Oxbow Public Market

As of 2015 Oxbow Public Market has 24 merchants. You can buy all of your grocery needs, from vegetables to olive oil to chocolates. At the Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant you can pick from a wide variety of cheeses. Or you can dine at a few of the various restaurants offered, such as Hog Island Oyster Bar or Kitchen Door. The talented baristas at Ritual Coffee Roasters will fulfill your caffeine needs by making you a great cup of coffee.

There are so many options available inside Oxbow Public Market but two standout merchants in an adjacent property to the main building. Model Bakery serves artisan breads and pastries. Their English Muffins alone are worth the trip. The English Muffins are soft and fluffy in the inside, with the outside lightly crispy. You can order a half-dozen of these delicacies to go. The English Muffins are ideal for breakfast at home, with either jams or cheeses. You can even order breakfast sandwiches made with the same English Muffins. Next door to Model Bakery you will find the Fatted Calf. At the Fatted Calf you can fulfill all your meat desires. The Fatted Calf is a charcuterie and butcher shop. It offers high quality meats ranging from sausages to pates. If you are unsure which of the many succulent meats to buy you may ask the employees for a recommendation.

My suggestion is to head to Oxbow Public Market in the morning when it first opens. You can buy a baguette from Model Bakery, salami from The Fatted Calf, and manchego from the Oxbow Cheese & Wine Merchant. You are now set for a wine country picnic later that same afternoon.

Oxbow Public Market Information:

Located at: 610 & 644 First Street, Napa, California 94559

For information about the merchants at Oxbow Public Market plus days and hours of operation visit: http://oxbowpublicmarket.com/

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Oxbow Public Market

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Oxbow Public Market 38.301679, -122.281623 Oxbow Public Market

 

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A Day in Napa Valley, Part One

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Trying to plan a day in Napa Valley’s wine country can be tricky. There are many wineries in the region and it is impossible to visit all of them in one day. Not to mention disastrous for your liver. Your aim in visiting wineries shouldn’t be to overly imbibe. The goal is to understand the flavors and different varieties of wines available. To prevent palate overload visit three or four wineries in one day. A perfect day in wine country mixes relaxation, scenery, eating, and wine tasting. “A Day in Napa Valley” is a three-part series that will give you a complete itinerary for a day in Napa.

Morning

To reach Napa Valley, you will find yourself on Highway 29, the main artery running through the region. You can use Highway 29 to reach the various locations listed in this guide. Or if you prefer you can use back roads, which offer closer views of the picturesque hills and vineyards.

Stop #1 – Bouchon Bakery

Bouchon Bakery Macaroons

Macaroons from Bouchon Bakery

Before your first sip of wine you will stop off at Bouchon Bakery for breakfast. The bakery is run by Chef Thomas Keller and is in Yountville. Bouchon Bakery is popular so if you are line averse be sure to arrive when the bakery opens its doors. If upon arriving there is a line do not let that deter you. The good folks working at the counter move quickly and efficiently. Plus the wait in line just allows you more time to decide which pastries to buy. If you are having trouble deciding, the macaroons are delicious. The macaroons come in multiple flavors so don’t be shy and buy a couple variations to try.

Stop #2 – PlumpJack Winery

With your belly content off of Bouchon’s delicacies you are set to begin your day of wine tasting. Your first winery to visit will be PlumpJack Winery. The winery isn’t located directly on Highway 29 but tucked away on Oakville Cross Road. Set off from what can be a busy highway makes PlumpJack Winery a great place to settle into the flow of wine country living. The grounds are quiet and the tasting room is quaint and homey. At first glance PlumpJack might appear to be a small time winery but it packs big time wines. Be sure to sample their Chardonnay, a bold buttery wine that will leave you wanting more.

Stop #3 – St. Supéry Vineyards & Winery

Grapevine tasting

Grapevine tasting at St. Supéry Vineyards & Winery

Your next stop is St.Supéry Vineyards & Winery. St.Supéry offers a variety of clean crisp wines. Their moscato in particular is a light fruity dessert wine that is so popular it has its own wine club. The St.Supéry tasting center is modern and airy with comfy couches just begging to be sat on while wine tasting. What sets St.Supéry apart is that it offers the opportunity for you to expand on your wine education. When grapes are in season St.Supéry has a section of vines next to the tasting center that the public may pick grapes off of and taste. The vines are labeled so you will know which grapes are used to make particular wines. Grab a red grape from a vine labeled Cabernet. Gently bite into the grape and while tasting the juices of the grape imagine just how this little grape would have transformed into a red wine. This is a great way to experience the wine making process from where it initially begins.

Grapes on Vine

Grapes on vine at St. Supéry Vineyards & Winery

Next Stop – Lunch, wine, and more

After visits to two wineries it’s time for lunch. Be sure to read part two of “A Day in Napa Valley” for how your day will continue!

A Day in Napa Valley, Part Two

A Day in Napa Valley, Part Three

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Napa Valley

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Bouchon Bakery: 38.402422, -122.361802
PlumpJack Winery: 38.455471, -122.374091
St. Supéry Vineyards & Winery: 38.455262, -122.414318
V. Sattui Winery: 38.488610, -122.448717
Napa Valley Sign: 38.427534, -122.394365
Charles Krug Winery : 38.518744, -122.480955
Sterling Vineyards: 38.569816, -122.545443
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Bouchon Bakery
A Day in Napa Valley, Part One
Bouchon Bakery, Washington Street, Yountville, CA, United States
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PlumpJack Winery
A Day in Napa Valley, Part One
PlumpJack Winery, Oakville Cross Road, Napa, CA, United States
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St. Supéry Vineyards & Winery
A Day in Napa Valley, Part One
St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery, Saint Helena Highway, Rutherford, CA, United States
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V. Sattui Winery
A Day in Napa Valley, Part Two
V. Sattui Winery, White Lane, Saint Helena, CA, United States
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Napa Valley Sign
A Day in Napa Valley, Part Two
7610 St Helena Hwy, Napa, California, United States
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Charles Krug Winery
A Day in Napa Valley, Part Three
Charles Krug Winery, Main Street, Saint Helena, CA, United States
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Sterling Vineyards
A Day in Napa Valley, Part Three
Sterling Winery, Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga, CA, United States

 

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