Sunday, June 11, 2017

Tony award Food!!!

As I mentioned in a previous post this week, the Tonys are equal to the Superbowl in my world. So, obviously we need some excellent Tonys watching food! This year I based the main food on inspiration from the four musicals nominated for best new musical.

Come From Away:

My Kindergartner and 3rd grader took charge of this show and put together snacks and things you might get on an airplane since many characters were stuck on airplanes for many hours in this show.

Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812:

Pierogis because at the beginning of the show we were given pierogis from the cast to eat! Admitedly I do not know how to make them, so I bought some in the frozen section and cooked them at home. They are not nearly as delicious as the ones at The Great Comet, but they will do!

Groundhog Day: The Musical

Every morning Rita wants to try the Sticky Buns. So I went with sticky buns...or really a couple different kinds of cinnamon rolls because that is what my kids will eat! ;)

Dear Evan Hansen

Two important scenes in this show happen in an apple orchard, so we did some apple related goodness for Evan Hansen (that's easy to do in Yakima Washington LOL). We have a homemade apple crisp pie, apples, and sparkling apple cider! 

I have a feeling I will need some extra exercise this week to make up for this! 

Enjoy the Tonys!!!


Updates and final: Beckee's Tony Award predictions!

Show-Score and Audience Rewards got together and set up a way for us to predict the Tony's and I just put in my predictions. Wanna play along with me? Let’s see if we agree about who will win the Tonys! (There is even a prize, maybe we’ll split it: 1,000,000 Audience Rewards® Points!) All you need to do is click this link to play with me. 
BUT FYI, this is who I think WILL win, not who I think SHOULD win...and sometimes I did not pick the favorite. I picked some underdogs....AND just because I love you all, below is my complete list of who the favorites are (based on the highest votes on the predictor quiz above), who I think will win, and who I think should win

***This list is based on the opinions of a girl living across the country who has only seen a handful of these productions live. My opinions are based on seeing those shows, researching the others and reading a lot online, and watching everything I can find online. I am not a Tony Prediction expert, just an opinionated fan***

Here it is: 

Favorite: Sweat
Who I think will win: Oslo 
Who I think should win: Oslo (from all I have read it was a brilliant production)

Favorite: Dear Evan Hansen
Who I think will win: Dear Evan Hansen
Who I think should win: Natasha Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812

Play Revival:
Favorite: The Little Foxes
Who I think will win: Six Degrees of Separation
Who I think should win: Present Laughter (solely because I love Kevin Kline-LOL)

Musical Revival:
Favorite: Hello, Dolly! (though several articles I read today are predicting that Falsettos may take it)
Who I think will win: Hello, Dolly! (which is possibly my least favorite musical of all time)
Who I think should win: Miss Saigon! (It was AMAZING!)

Leading Actor (play):
Favorite: Kevin Kline for Present Laughter
Who I think will win: Jefferson Mays for Oslo
Who I think should win: ? I am not sure on this one..

Leading Actress (play):
Favorite: Laura Linney for Little Foxes
Who I think will win: Laura Linney for Little Foxes (blah)
Who I think should win: Anyone else...(I don't get the obsession with her)

Leading Actor (musical):
Favorite: Ben Platt for Dear Evan Hansen
Who I think will win: Ben Platt for Dear Evan Hansen
Who I think should win: This is a rich category this year-it is hard to say which one should win-frankly I am surprised Ben Platt is SUCH a favorite.

Leading Actress (musical):
Favorite: Bette Midler for Hello, Dolly!
Who I think will win: Bette Midler for Hello, Dolly!
Who I think should win: Hard to say-fame is clearly a factor here-3 uber famous talented women nominated-all three superstars, and 2 newer, less known talents. I saw both of the lesser known ones (Denee Benton in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, and Eva Noblezada in Miss Saigon). Both of their performances were worthy of this award in my opinion...

Featured Actor (play):
Favorite: Danny DeVito in Arthur Miller’s The Price
Who I think will win: Danny DeVito in Arthur Miller’s The Price
Who I think should win: ?

Featured Actress (play):
Favorite: Cynthia Nixon in Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Who I think will win:  Cynthia Nixon in Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Who I think should win: ?

Featured Actor (musical):
Favorite:Andrew Rannells in Falsettos 
Who I think will win: Mike Faist in Dear Evan Hansen
Who I think should win: Lucas Steele in Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Featured Actress (musical):
Favorite: Rachel Bay Jones in Dear Evan Hansen
Who I think will win: Jenn Colella in Come From Away
Who I think should win: ?

Book of Musical:
Favorite: Steven Levenson for Dear Evan Hansen
Who I think will win: Dave Malloy for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Who I think should win: Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 or Dear Evan Hansen

Favorite: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul for Dear Evan Hansen
Who I think will win: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul for Dear Evan Hansen
Who I think should win: Dave Malloy for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Scenic Design (play):
Favorite: Nigel Hook for The Play That Goes Wrong
Who I think will win: Nigel Hook for The Play That Goes Wrong
Who I think should win: Nigel Hook for The Play That Goes Wrong

Scenic Design (musical):
Favorite: Mimi Lien for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Who I think will win: Mimi Lien for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Who I think should win: Mimi Lien for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Costume Design (play):
Favorite: Jane Greenwood for Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Who I think will win: Jane Greenwood for Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Who I think should win: Jane Greenwood for Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes

Costume Design (musical):
Favorite: Paloma Young for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Who I think will win: Paloma Young for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Who I think should win: Paloma Young for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Lighting Design (play):
Favorite: Donald Holder for Oslo
Who I think will win: Donald Holder for Oslo
Who I think should win: Donald Holder for Oslo

Lighting Design (musical):
Favorite: Bradley King for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Who I think will win: Bradley King for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Who I think should win: Bradley King for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Direction (play):
Favorite: Daniel Sullivan for Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Who I think will win: Daniel Sullivan for Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes
Who I think should win: ??

Direction (musical):
Favorite: Michael Greif for Dear Evan Hansen
Who I think will win: Michael Greif for Dear Evan Hansen
Who I think should win: Rachel Chavkin for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 (I think it is worth mentioning that Matthew Warchus did an AMAZING job with Groundhog Day The Musical, and I don't think it should be discounted, particularly for this category-also, I hope it wins some sort of effects awards. The staging was AWESOME!)

Favorite: Andy Blankenbuehler for Bandstand
Who I think will win: Sam Pinkleton for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Who I think should win: Sam Pinkleton for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Favorite: Dave Malloy for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Who I think will win: Dave Malloy for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Who I think should win: Dave Malloy for Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Friday, June 9, 2017

Tony awards!!!

If you know me in real life, you know that "Beckee's Deal" is that I have a few great loves in life: my family, my church, football, and Musicals probably rank highest! :) I was a drama teacher once upon a time and still love to perform when I get the chance between all the mommin'.

So, the Tony awards and the Superbowl are equivalent events in my world!  This year, I am even more excited than usual though because I just returned a few weeks ago from an AMAZING Anniversary trip to NYC to see some of those amazing musicals! (And I have obsessively listened to the soundtracks of those I could not get tickets to). Just for reference, the shows I saw were Hamilton (last years winner of basically everything), Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, Miss Saigon, Groundhog Day The Musical, Wicked, and Chicago (which my husband's cousin is in!!).
I want to get YOU excited (and ready) for the Tony awards too!! 

So, I have compiled below some things you should check out before Sunday's Tony Award show (Sunday June 11, 2017 CBS 8/7C):

You can see a full list of nominees here, but I am going to talk about a few major categories (only musicals this time because that's my obsession-nothing against the plays!!):

Come From Away
Dear Evan Hansen
Groundhog Day The Musical
Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 (commonly referred to as just The Great Comet)

Musical Revival
Hello, Dolly! (starring Bette Midler)
Miss Saigon

Leading Actor (Musical)
Christian Borle, Falsettos
Josh Groban, The Great Comet
Andy Karl, Groundhog Day The Musical
David Hyde Pierce, Hello, Dolly!
Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen

Leading Actress (Musical)
Denee Benton, The Great Comet
Christine Eversole, War Paint
Patti LuPone, War Paint
Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!
Eva Noblezada, Miss Saigon

Let's focus on the 7 musicals nominated for either Best Musical or Best Musical Revival and what you should know about them:

Come From Away: Based on the "true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them". It is about planes that were grounded in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland on 9/11 when the terrorist attacks happened. Check this out:
Sadly I did not get to see this one in NYC, but I have listened to the music. I love the music to this, and I LOVE that it is a TRUE story of something amazing and good that happened on a day that was so, so dark in our history. It is beautiful. 

Dear Evan Hansen: The story of a teenager (Evan Hansen) who kind of accidentally end up as an important player in a tragedy that in reality had nothing to do with him. Evan is struggling himself and has a short encounter with another student at school, Connor, who ends up committing suicide that night. Conner has a letter in his pocket when he kills himself that makes his parents thing he and Evan were friends. When he is confronted about the letter and asked whether he and Connor were friends, he does not want to disappoint the grieving parents so he invents a friendship with Connor. As with most lies, his explodes, becoming bigger and bigger. The show explores suicide, anxiety, social media and other timely themes. Check this out:
I really, really wanted to see this show, but it is a hot ticket right now and I did not get tickets. From all I have read, this show is the favorite to win. The music is beautiful, it is a beautifully haunting story to me. My teen age son LOVES this music. I think it will likely take the big prize home even with other amazing shows up against it this year.

Groundhog Day The Musical: Musical based on the 1993 Bill Murray Groundhog Day about an arrogant weatherman that gets stuck in the same town repeating Groundhog day over and over again. Starring Andy Karl (who also starred in the Rocky musical on Broadway).
This is one of the shows I DID get to see. It was really funny, which I always appreciate since so many musicals have such intense themes these days. It was not my favorite show, and I do not think it will take home the big prize, but it is a FUN show to watch! It felt like a vehicle to spotlight Andy Karl as the other actors/characters did not get enough character development in my humble opinion. But I understand why-Andy Karl is amazing. But even with his incredible performance, he is not the best part of this show-the stage effects are ingenious and fun! I am still thinking about how in the world they get Andy Karl in the bed so fast over and over again, and there is a chase scene that I will never forget seeing live! I truly hope it wins something for the stage effects, but as I said before, I don't think it will be taking home the Best Musical statue.

Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812: The plot of this show will not sell you on it-I promise, but you'll have to trust me when I tell you that it is amazing. It is based on a little 70 page piece of Tolstoy's War and Peace that is about Natasha's affair with Anatole. And it starts Josh Groban as Pierre (for a few more days at least). They wanted the audience to feel a part of the action of the show and adjusted the theater to make that work. There are seats on the stage, and cast members are on stage, in the audience, all over. It is pretty incredible. I cannot find a great video to share with you that captures how incredible this show is, but there is a video of the cast performing on Good Morning America, so here's that: 
I got to see this show live and actually we splurged on what I think are the best seats in the house (they were the most expensive for sure) and we sat ON stage at one of the tables where a lot of the action of the play happens. Characters interact with you, they sit with you, talk to you, sing to you, make sure you toast with them etc. I definitely got Josh Groban spit and sweat on me several times (is that gross or awesome...I'll go with both-it's gross and awesome). I went into this show not knowing at all what to expect (the CD hadn't even been released so I hadn't even heard the music). I was very pleasantly surprised! I LOVED this show. Almost as much as I loved Hamilton (if you know me irl, you know that is saying A LOT!). As I said before, I know Evan Hansen is the favorite to win this category, but I think it would be a mistake to overlook this show-I think it has a fighting chance to surprise the masses and take home the big prize. It was absolutely a fun, emotional, beautiful show! I loved it and did not want it to end. (PS, I have admittedly always been a bit of a Groban hater-I like his voice, but was certainly NOT a fan. This show changed my mind. He was amazing and honestly this was not a show all about him. In a lot of ways Pierre is almost an observer and not as big a part of the show as you would expect with his name in the title. It was NOT a show about Groban, but he certainly was incredible as Pierre!)

Falsettos: I legit know very little about this production, but it had a stellar cast! Falsettos is "The story involves Marvin, his ex-wife Trina, his psychiatrist Mendel, his son Jason, his gay lover Whizzer Brown, and his neighbors Cordelia and Dr. Charlotte." (Thanks Wiki) Watch:
By all accounts this was a brilliant production. It not only got nominated for Best Musical Revival, but also got 4 acting nominations. 

Hello, Dolly!: Starring Bette Midler. Another hot ticket right now on Broadway. Bette is the favorite to win Best actress in a musical for this one. If you don't know about Hello, Dolly!, Dolly Levi  is a strong-willed matchmaker, trying to find a match for Horace Vandergelder.  (Guys, there are no videos online to promote this revival that I can find to share...sorry) 

Miss Saigon: This show is about the last group of GI's in Saigon during the Vietnam war and the results of a love affair between a young Vietnamese girl and an American soldier during those last days. It is beautiful music and a very touching, sad story. This production was beautifully done. Here's some background on the revival:
I was so, so lucky to see this amazing revival in May. I had seen the original production 20 years ago when I went to NYC for my high school graduation trip. I loved it and truly did not think this could live up, but it did. It really did-this production exceeded my expectations is so many ways. I cannot give it enough praise, and I hope it beats out the favorite (Dolly) to win because I think it deserves the win! (Plus, to be honest, I hate Hello Dolly!) I am voting for this one for the win!

I cannot wait until Sunday to see who takes home all the big prizes! This is a year FULL of amazing shows and it will be so fun to watch all the talent on stage on Sunday! As for me, I will just be sitting here across the country rooting for The Great Comet and Miss Saigon (Even though I think Evan Hansen and Hello, Dolly, the favorites, might actually win...sigh...)

Remember, You can see a full list of nominees here

Who are YOU rooting for?!

Dang I blew it!!!

Guys, I somehow blew it on my Top 5 travel splurges post-like super blew it. In my outline (Yes folks I do outlines and drafts before I post final-ish products) for the post I had a top 5 and meant to add family visits as a 6th bonus...I did not finish writing the post in one day, and when I came back to finish writing it, I couldn't find my outline/notes. So, when I came to the 5th one, I could not remember what I wanted to put. And guys-it is the splurge of all splurges (as far as ones I have done anyway) and I would absolutely do it again-in fact I plan to! So, I have edited the post about the Top five Travel Splurges. If you read it already, check out the newly updated post to see my updated number 5! 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Travel Splurges that are worth it (My top 5)!

I love to save a buck when I can. Nothing makes me quite as giddy as getting a great deal! But sometimes there are things that are expensive, that I cannot find great discounts on, or any discoutns at all really. But they are TOTALLY worth it to me. Now, my splurge-worthy items are probably different than yours would be because my interests are different than yours. But I want to share with you what some of the pricy travel choices I have made that I would absolutely do again! 

My top 5 worthwhile travel splurges 
(In no particular order)! 

I have written extensively about Disneyland and how difficult it is to get deals for Disney. This post is all about choosing the right ticket options for you to get the most bang for your buck. But notice there is no top secret money saving tips here-the tickets are what they are. There are rarely any discounted tickets or awesome deals on DL tickets, but in spite of that, for our family, Disneyland is a travel splurge that is totally worth it. When we plan a Disney trip, I just plan on the park tickets being expensive and I try to save money in other areas (Hotel , Food, airfare, etc)

2-Hotel Del Coronado
Our family stayed here once for Wes to go to a conference, and it was magical. We went to Disneyland a couple days on that same trip, and our little Disney fans could not wait to leave DL and get back to the Hotel Del. There is something magical about this historic gem right on one of the most amazing beaches in the world. But it is a real splurge-especially for a large family like ours. Wes and I were able to go back there last month without the kids. It was still as magical as the first time and we cannot wait to go again with the kids (they are so mad we went without them this time LOL). 

3-Broadway shows:
For my 16th anniversary my amazing husband just took me to New York City for a week of Broadway shows! Dream come true!! But I will tell you that the prices for Broadway shows have certainly gone up in the past decade since I was last in NYC. The good news is there are ways to get discounted tickets (which I will write about soon). BUT I decided that on occasion, it is totally worth the splurge to buy exactly the seats you want at exactly the show you want to see. Like how I bought full price tickets almost a year ago to see Hamilton for my 16th anniversary on May 17, 2017...totally worth it!!! :)

4-Helicopter in Kauai

When I was planning our trip to Kauai, there were a few consistent pieces of advice people gave me-make sure you get to see the Na Pali coast, and take a helicopter ride-it is amazing and totally worth the cost. Once again I learned that my friends give great advice. We took a helicopter ride through Blue Hawaiian Helicopter. They had an online special that saved us some money by booking it online at least 5 days in advance. Even with the special it was over $200 each (We saved about $30 each through the online special). But $200 per person is not cheap! But it was totally worth it! Maybe someday we will take our kids to Kauai, and if so, we will have to save for this splurge! 

5-Universal Studios VIP tour!!

Last year we took our family to Universal Studios and since Harry Potter land had just opened and we had one day only, we decided to splurge and go for the VIP experience. It was pricey, but so, so worth it! I thought the front of line passes all day would be worth it alone, but that was just the tip of an already awesome iceberg! We are NOT guided tour people. At all. So we thought that if we get through the few hours of the tour, it will be worth it to get the front of line passes the rest of the day. BUT friends, this tour was awesome! Our guide rocked, our group was fun, and we had so much fun. Then the gourmet, all you can eat lunch...Um YES! Please! It was ideal for our family (my teen aged son for sure got his money's worth of food! I wrote an extensive review of this amazing experience here. Please read all about it, and if you are considering a big family splurge, consider this one seriously! 


Family Visits

There is not time that is more expensive or more of a hassle to travel than holidays. Seriously, they are not cheap times to travel, but they also happen to be the times when kids are out of school and hubby is (sometimes) off and we can go see family. We do not live near any family, so it is a treat to visit family or to have them visit us. And a lot of times, it is also an expensive splurge to do so, But it is always worth it! You can save money of course on those family visits by staying with family (not hotel costs) and letting them feed you as often as possible (less $$ on food spent), etc. One more thing I always do when planning a family visit during the splurgy times (cough Christmas cough) is to research flight options plus van rental costs and compare that cost to how much gas (and time) it will be to drive to the family. With 5 kids and 2 adults and family visits usually about a 10 hour drive away, it almost always ends up that driving is our best cost option...but sometimes I still splurge on the flight/car rental option because like I said, sometimes the Splurge is worth it (like if you have limited time!). 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 never gets easier...

You may or may not know that my family had been living in a rental house in Yakima since we moved here while we were looking for a house to buy. I have a whole lot to say about house hunting, but I will save that for another day. We finally bought a house a couple months ago, and so we moved.

For some reason, I was under the impression that moving across town would be easier than moving across the country. That is just not true. In fact I think it is harder. Because when you move across the country, you tend to take a few day, maybe a week or two to just move. Your total focus is on the details of the move. When you move across town, you have to do all those moving details AND keep doing normal stuff-hubby to work, kids to school, dance, rehearsals, sports, etc. 

Although I did not realize HOW hard it would be, I did know it might be tough, so we planned our move to happen during the kids spring break. Which really just made for a crappy spring break full of stress (and 2 sons with birthdays that essentially got ignored). 

And almost 2 months later I am still not unpacked, and still cannot find where the movers (yes we hired movers) put stuff-I can tell you they did not put things in the rooms they were marked to go in. UG! Wes and I have been having trouble with our bed since they put it together, and late last night when Wes got home after a long day on call, we realized they did not put it together correctly AT ALL, and we had to pull it apart and fix it before we could go to sleep. Double UG!

So right now, Beckee's deal is that she has a lot of unpacking to do still! I have no advice, nothing profound to say, just wanted to say to all my friends, family, readers who have been through an in town move before-KUDOS to you! I am impressed that so many people do this without missing a beat. I on the other hand have missed months of beats...but I guess I'll just keep pushing along and hopefully I will be motivated enough to get through all these boxes soon! 


Beckee's Deal is all about Travel right now!

Have you noticed that my deal lately is that I am gone traveling-a lot?! If you are my facebook friend, you are probably sick of my travel posts. It seems like I am rarely home. I kind of feel like Wes and I are making up for 16 years of limited travel by traveling a lot this year. LOL.
That being said, since I went to Kauai a couple months ago, I have been on 2 more dream vacations! I will share some of the amazing deals and fun activities on here soon. 

First though, I wanted to note that much of our travel has been related to continuing education for my husband. So, when you see me posting fun stuff from exotic locations, it is only part of the story.

 Usually my husband spends much of his days in classes for continuing education. On occasion he can skip a day because he doesn't need those particular credits, or we will arrive or leave a few days before his conference starts so we can enjoy the area together for a few days without work plans. 
One of the ways we are able to stay at nice resorts/hotels is because we get discounted hotel prices in conjunction with the conferences. But, sometimes we cannot get the discounted prices because I booked too late or the hotel sells out, or something like that. On those occasions, I do a lot of "hotel shopping". I look on hotel booking sites like Expedia or Priceline, on the hotel websites, and I check for deals in email offers (I am a part of the points/honors programs for several hotel brands that I frequent: Hilton and Hyatt for example). 

We can often also get discounts on activities through the conferences as well. I also get discounted prices on activities often by booking early, online, usually directly from company websites. 

And as far as transportation (airfares, cars, buses, subways, etc), I also shop around and try to book early-but not too early. (On my latest trip to New York City, I booked my flights way too early-like 9 almost a year in advance, and tickets got much cheaper about 2-3 months before we traveled. Dang!)
All of this is just to say that travel can be costly, but do your homework, plan and prepare and you can do some pretty awesome travel adventures on whatever budget you have! I promise it is possible! :) 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Kauai Adventures (The FOOD!)

Food! Oh Food! I love to eat, so I am always excited to test out the local foods when I go on vacation. But admittedly, I was a little overwhelmed by all the amazing looking food options in the Kauai guide book ("The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook, Kauai Revealed, 10th Edition" by Andrew Doughty), and all the suggestions from friends. And most of our trip revolved around the activities we were doing. So, most of our food options came down to finding something great near wherever we were. (There were a few that were highly recommended that I made sure to try)  
Just as a little background, the guide book gives an ONO to the restaurants it thinks are the best ones. I may refer to the ONO or lack of ONO from the guidebook. Also, I will use a 5 star system to rate it in my opinion: 
  • 5 stars will be hard to come by-best of the best!
  • 4 stars means great food-I will go back. 
  • 3 stars is good food, I might go back again.
  • 2 stars is ok food. Nothing special, but not bad either and I likely would not go back there.
  • 1 star means it was not my cup of tea and it would take a lot for me to return. 
Some food thoughts from my Kauai Trip:

Kaua'i Pasta: Located in Lihu'e on Kuhio Hwy. 
Beckee's rating: **** (4/5 stars)

Wes and I happened upon this one after an activity on the first day. We did not realize until later that it was one with an ONO in the guidebook. We went during lunch, when they only had the back lounge open (pictured above) with a limited lunch selection. We were able to find some great food though. 
I ordered the Chicken Parmesan and Wes got the Greek Pasta. Both were really good. It was a little pricey for lunch  (We got an entree each, Wes got a soda, I got water, and we ordered an appetizer. With tax and tip it was about $72). I would eat there again though. Wes LOVED the Greek Pasta and I thought the Chicken Parm was really good. 

Olympic Cafe: We went to the one in the Po'ipu Shopping Village. 
Beckee's Rating: **** (4/5 stars)
Po'ipu Shopping Village was close to our hotel, so it was an easy place to catch a bite. The book gives the other location of Olympic Cafe an ONO, but NOT this location. I loved it though. It was one of my favorite meals of the trip! We went for breakfast only though, so I cannot speak for other meals. 

I went all our here by ordering an AM started of a Fresh Fruit plate for $14, because you cannot beat fresh fruit in Hawaii. This was an awesome fruit plate-excellent and hit the spot! I also ordered the Coconut-Pineapple pancakes with a side of home fried potatoes (I was hungry and wanted to try it all!). Wes ordered an omelette (I think maybe the Greek omelette).
The potatoes were ok, Wes liked his Omelette, we loved the fruit, but those pancakes!!! OH My they were PERFECT! Absolutely perfect! I loved, LOVED them. I have had similar pancakes elsewhere, but these were the perfect mix of fluffy flavorful pancakes, melting butter, nice fresh pineapple and coconut with amazing syrup. My stomach is growling as I write this and look at the far as cost, you can see the prices on the picture above. We spent about $55 but got drinks, appetizers, sides, etc. It was actually pretty reasonable prices and was an excellent breakfast.

JoJo's Shave Ice: in Waimea  
Beckee's rating: **** (4/5 stars)

Admission: I only kind of like sno cones, and don't like ice cream much at all, so in all the times I have been to Hawaii, I have not tried shave ice. Ok, so my dad says I did when I was young, but I do not remember this was my first Shave Ice that I remember eating:

Guys, I am sold! I ordered the Tropical Breeze. There is something magically delicious about that mix of shaved ice, macadamia nut ice cream, and topped with Haupia Cream. I made an absolute mess eating it, but I loved every bite. I cannot wait to go back and try more flavors. It is a perfect treat on a hot Hawaiian day! :)

Restaurant Kiibo: in Lihue 
Beckee's Rating: ** (2/5 stars)

I was craving sushi. We were driving back from an activity and I put "sushi" into my google maps and let it lead up to this restaurant in Lihue. It is a bit of a dive, and it turned out that they were not serving sushi that night (maybe at all anymore...I am not sure). We stayed in spite of the lack of what we came for. Wes ate a bento box, I ate a salad and a tempura udon. 
My honest assessment of this restaurant is that it was ok. The food was fine, not great, not bad, just fine. The best part was that it was fast and there was no wait to be seated. And I was really hungry. I was disappointed that there was no sushi, and I think my opinion may have been colored by that disappointment. I was going to rate this a 1/5 stars, but gave it a 2/5 because I think my disappointment colored my reaction.

Puka Dog: in the Po'ipu Shopping Village  
Beckee's Rating: ***** (5/5 Stars)

Remember how I said I went to a few places that were recommended in the book as well as by friends? This is actually THE place that was recommended by, well, pretty much everyone I talked to about what to eat in Kauai. AND now I can add my own recommendations to all of you. You may have noticed that I gave this the difficult to come by 5/5 stars. Really, it is a must have. I will go back again to try a new combination.
Let me explain how this works (If you open the picture above so it's big, you can see this on there).
Step 1: Choose your Dog (Polish for about $8 or Veggie for about $8.50)
Step 2: Choose a garlic/lemon secret sauce (Mild/Original, Spicy/Jalapeno, Hot/Chili Pepper, or Lava/Habanero)
Step 3: Choose your Tropical relish (Kauai Special/Mango, Pineapple Field/Pineapple, Polihale Sunset/Papaya, Coconut Beach/Coconut, Waimea Canyon/Banana, or Na Pali Cruise/Star Fruit)
Step 4: Do you want Auntie Lilikoi's Hawaiian Mustard OR would you rather go with traditional Ketchup, yellow or dijon mustard, and/or sweet pickle relish?
Also, you can order Maui Chips ($2) and Fresh Squeezed Lemonade ($3.50)
OK, all I can say about this is you MUST try it yourself. I loved mine:
Just so you know what I picked, I got the Polish Dog, Mild garlic lemon secret sauce, a mix of Mango and Pineapple relish, and the Auntie Lilikoi's Hawaiian Mustard. AND I got the fresh squeezed Lemonade. I literally cannot wait to go back and try more combinations! 

Kintaro Restaurant: in Wailua
Beckee's Rating: **** (4/5 stars)

Remember how I was craving Sushi so bad earlier in this trip (and in this post)? Well, We finally turned to the guide book to find some for me. This place had Sushi and Teppan-yaki. But I will tell you this, if you want to do teppan-yaki-reserve ahead, like days ahead...luckily I was there for the Sushi so when we walked in with no reservation, even though it was VERY crowded, they seated us at the Sushi bar pretty quick. 
We checked out the sushi menu (pictured above) and picked out a few rolls...guys, I really cannot remember what I ordered in the end. I know that of the 5 or 6 rolls Wes and I ordered, the only one we did not like was the soft shell crab one (mostly because we discovered that we are NOT fans of soft shell crab).  Just look at this amazing sushi:

I will certainly go back here next time I am in Kauai. I may even be prepared enough to check out the teppan-yaki next time... :) 
Mama Lucy's in Lihue
Beckee's Rating: * (1/5 stars...but I really wanted to like it...)

So, this one is all on me guys. 
Just some background. My husband lived in the Philippines for 2 years before I knew him, and I noticed there were lots of Filipino restaurants in Kauai. I thought Wes might like to go to a Filipino restaurant. I asked for a recommendation from a Filipino friend we met that was working at the grocery store, and this is one of the places she recommended. 
Here's the problem...I learned that my husband has been "Americanizing" the Filipino foods he has fed me over the past 16 years, and apparently I am not much a fan of authentic Filipino food. Especially when it is served cafeteria style. So, I did not like this restaurant (Wes didn't like it much either, but he liked it better than I did). BUT, I will say that if you want authentic Filipino food, I am told this is pretty authentic. I think it was just not for I reluctantly, but honestly give it my lowest rating of 1/5 stars. 
Merriman's Gourmet Pizza and Burgers: Downstairs from their upscale Merriman's Fish House in The Shops at Kukui'ula. During lunch the Fish house is not open, but the Pizza and Burgers downstairs is. 
Beckee's Rating: *** (3/5 stars)

I actually liked this food-I ate fish tacos. It was good food, and I would likely return here, but it wasn't my favorite, so it falls in the 3 star range. 

I will say though that the Garlic Truffle fries are AWESOME-5 stars for those and worth the stop just to try them. 
Grand Hyatt Kaua'i Lu'au: at the Grand Hyatt in Poipu
Beckee's Rating: **** (4/5 Stars)

This is both a meal and a night of entertainment and as such is a little pricey-$108 for adults, $97 for juniors (ages 13-20) and $69 for Children (ages 5-12). We have been to a few different Luau's and my main complaint is usually that they are so focused on the entertainment that they skim on the food-it is usually just ok. That was not the case for this Luau, which is why I include it on my food post. I actually LOVED the food. There was such a great variety and it was ALL great! I tried a little of everything and really liked everything I tried. And the entertainment was excellent as well. So good in fact, that I didn't get any pictures of the awesome food. :) 
I did get a terrible picture of some of my desserts though (after I has already started eating it):
When we go back to Kauai someday with our kids, I want to take the kids to this Luau. It was entertaining and tasty! :)
JJ's Broiler in Lihu'e
Beckee's Rating: ** (2/5 Stars)

 Location, Location, Location! Honestly, we went to try a different place but they were getting ready for some event (and were pretty rude also), so we went to a nearby place which ended up being this one. And man, the location is beautiful (would be better if there wasn't an ugly parking lot between you and the amazing beach view!!!)

The food was legitimately just ok, but I have to give them props for their service. It was excellent! And the food really was good, but it was nothing fancy-it felt very much like Kauai's version of a Denny's. So, since I was in Hawaii, I went with the very Hawaiian order of Loco Moco. It wasn't anything special, but hit the spot. Wes got a burger and fries. His also hit the spot but wasn't super special. 

I gave this a 2/5 stars because the food was fine, I am not upset that I ate there, but I would not seek it out again on my next trip. 
Tidepools: In Grand Hyatt in Poipu
Beckee's Rating: ** (2/5 stars)
I am sad to have to give this one only 2 stars, but my goodness, for the price I paid I should have been delighted, not disappointed. Based on my entree, I would have given it a solid 1 star, but it gets 2 stars because the appetizers and desserts were great. Still not sure they were worth the price, but they were extra tasty!
Look at the ambiance/location though:

WOW right? And the food presentation was phenomenal:

But my Lobster was very mushy and poorly cooked. I was SO disappointed.
The crab cakes appetizer was good, and the Local Style Brussel Sprouts appetizer was SO good:

AND my favorite part of the meal was for sure the Malasadas for dessert, served with 3 different sauces (one was a caramel sauce-I generally only kind of like caramel, but this was like HEAVEN in a sauce!)

Wahooo Seafood Grill and Bar: Kapa'a on Kuhio Hwy
Beckee's Rating: * (1/5 stars)

I really want to like restaurants I go to, but some are just not good. My main complaint here were that it was billed as a seafood restaurant, but they did not have much seafood and what they had was mostly fried (which disagrees with my belly). The selection was limited:
And I really could not find something that looked great. But I ordered something, and got the garlic fries to go with it. The fries alone would have ruined the meal even if the rest had been excellent. It seemed like they literally too one of those cans of minced garlic straight out of the fridge and threw some cold liquidy garlic cubes on some slightly underdone fries. Really, it was not good. I was super disappointed that this ended up being my last meal on Kauai... :( 
That covers my food experiences from this trip to Kauai (well, I did have an excellent room service salad too...). 

What other food have you tried in Kauai? Where should I go next time I am in Kauai?! I am always looking for suggestions!