Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Outstanding Organics

Introducing my new favorite restaurant on Okinawa: Ukishima Garden!
Ukishima is 100% organic and vegetarian. All the veggies are locally grown and most dishes are macrobiotic. No meat, fish, eggs, or dairy are used in most of the dishes. And to top it off they have a great selection of organic wines!
Hope found a brochure for this restaurant while we were having bagels at Cactus Eatrip. We immediately called for a dinner reservation that night. We were so excited and weren't disappointed. We both knew we wanted to indulge in the organic wine, so we took a cab ride from Kinser and the poor cab driver had to all the restaurant twice to figure out where they were located (even though the location did not seem hard to find so close to Kokousai Street).

At the restaurant we completely indulged. We ordered a fresh, crisp salad that was picked from their very own garden out back. We also ordered an appetizer of Orion beer battered veggie fritters that were also so incredibly flavorful and yummy. We both got the amazing veggie pasta with a tomato cream sauce for our main dishes. We had pieces of sugar and dairy free hazelnut and chocolate cake for dessert. How they got that cake to be so incredibly good without butter and sugar is beyond me! To top it off we first ordered a bottle of sweet sparkling wine and lingered so long over our delish meal that we ended up splurging with a second bottle of Riesling. (Good thing we had already decided to take a cab!) It was an incredible meal and I will be going back for sure!!

Ukishima Garden is located in Naha near Kokousai Street. 1400 - 1800 cafe time. 1800 - 2400 dinner time. The address is 1-12-3 Matsuo Naha Okinawa 900-0014. Phone for directions or reservations: 098-943-2100.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Zombie Octopus

While my friend was visiting she requested that we go to the Arin Krin Garlic House Restaurant. I had gone once before when we first got to the island and wasn't impressed and never went back. But, of course I was more than willing to try it again with my visitor.

After having quite a time waiting for a parking spot and parking in their tiny lot we went in and ordered some of the dishes that got raving reviews online such as the garlic pizza, shrimp spring rolls, and fried mashed potatoes. We also ordered a dish described as octopus and asparagus with garlic sauce. We're thinking calamari... ummm no, not so much. This dish came out from the kitchen wriggling. As in alive. We were horrified. The octopus was chopped up and it looked like it's skin had been shaved off and these shavings were waving and moving around on the plate. Nightmare central.

During our entire meal (meal that did not include any of the octopus dish) we watched this poor octopus slowly die a second death. My friend is a vegetarian and I'm not far behind, so we were appalled, but my science mind was at work. I knew it couldn't really be alive alive. After some poking around on the internet and you tube it turns out that soy sauce reanimates the dead tissue of the octopus, squid etc and makes it move. Zombie octopus!

Article and video can be found here.

So, if you go to Arin Krin and want to loose your appetite order the octopus and asparagus dish. Otherwise, I'd just stick to the meat and wriggle free garlic pizza.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hope's Visit

My little sister from my college sorority came to visit me in Okinawa last week! She was the first visitor I've had and it was great to finally use my guest room and take her around to my favorite Oki sights.

We had a totally jam packed week. Since we only had about a week we had to be picky on what made the list of Top Must Sees.

Aquarium - duh. This place rocks. Dolphin/whale show, sea turtles, sea horses and a giant, huge floor to ceiling aquarium tank. Awesomeness.

Forest Adventure Park - zip lining!

Cape Zanpa - lighthouse and beach picnic

Cocok's pedicures

Mihara Horse Club - (my work!) My friend got to ride twice and of course we had to take a trip down to the beach to swim with the horses.

Chula-U Onsen (hot spring) - Yes, we did the naked part and all!

Mihama American Village

Snorkeling at Maeda Point

Hiking Tadake Falls

Day boat trip on Destiny Charters to snorkel the Karama Islands

Former Japanese Headquarters

Peace Prayer Park

Naha Kokusai Street

Food! We did a lot of eating, of course.

Pineapple Park - pineapple wine tasting, pineapple ice cream and free samples! I have yet to buy a ticket to the park, I just like going to the store area and sampling. Is this bad?! The store is huge and sells mass quantities of everything pineapple. We came away with some sweet sparkling pineapple wine, pineapple chocolate covered pineapple cookies, and a dragon fruit.
Bagels at Cactus Eatrip
Sam's By the Sea
Pizza in the Sky
Arin Krin Garlic House - I have a horrifying story to tell you about our meal here.
Ukishima Garden - this is my new favorite place. I love it so much it will get a post all to itself!

It was an incredibly busy and fun week. Even though I still worked, I feel like I got a stay-cation during her vacation. It was wonderful getting to catch up with my dear friend again. I took a ton of pictures, but here is a slideshow movie of some of my favorites.

Right now I need to be packing and getting ready for my Mt. Fuji trip! My friends and I leave for Tokyo tomorrow morning and climb on Saturday. Wish me luck! I'll tell you all about it when I get back.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This too will pass

Life has been beyond stressful these days. My stress level may be a great weight loss diet, but not so good for my blood pressure and sleep habits. When things like this happen I try and stay focused on the positive and a good friend reminded me tonight that we are never handed more than we can handle. I am so thankful for the positive people in my life, their support and wonderful guidance.

I am also so very thankful for this special horse in my life. These are a few shots from last week, unfortunately it was from the very fist day of breaking in my new boots, so my lower leg is a bit willy-nilly in these pictures. I will blame it on the boots completely. ;)

He is so pretty. And so very special to me. I absolutely adore him. Lovelovelove.
Some more exciting news is that I'm getting a visitor! My little sister from my sorority is coming to visit me and she gets here on Saturday. Lots to do before then to prepare for her visit. It will be so fun to actually get to use my guest room and show someone my favorite Okinawa spots.