Food Memories / Food Travel America

Benjamin at 40

A few weeks ago my husband Ben turned 40. We spent it in Hawaii on a vacation with his family and it happened with little fanfare. Leading up to our vacation in Maui, I referred to it as a trip to celebrate his milestone, but Ben was quick to dismiss that. He was just happy to be surrounded by people he loves, no other reason was necessary. I laugh sometimes at how different we are. I milked my 4oth for all I could, and Ben was happy to dismiss it. But that’s the difference between the 2 of us. I’m peaks and valleys and Ben’s my steady. So while I was stressed about the rain every day in Hawaii, Ben stayed upbeat through it all. Maybe it’s because of this, the powers that be treated him to the most special birthday present because even though it rained every other day we were in Hawaii, on Ben’s birthday, we were treated to glorious sunshine all day.

Given our bad weather luck, we didn’t trust that the sun would last the day, so we planned the day out in short increments. We started the day at the beach in Lahaina beside Kamehameha Iki park. We rented stand up paddle boards and although we were a bit challenged with the abundance of coral, we couldn’t help but admire the view.

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We paddled amongst the fishies and big turtles and were even treated to a glimpse of the very endangered Hawaiian monk seal who seemed to be making the most of the rays like we were.

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After a morning/afternoon at the beach, we were hungry and thought that lunch looking out at the water was a perfect way to spend 40. We knew we’d be returning next door later in the evening, but found it hard to beat the view at Honu Seafood & Pizza.

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Ahi bruschetta with edamame puree and flaxseed toast - we knew we'd have it again later in the day, but it looked too good to pass up for lunch.

My Ahi bruschetta with edamame puree and flaxseed toast – I knew we’d have it again later in the day, but it looked too good to pass up for lunch.

Bay shrimp sandwich  with frites - because on your birthday calories don't count.

Ben’s Bay shrimp sandwich with frites – because on your birthday calories don’t count.

Ben’s birthday dinner suggestion came courtesy of his cousin Erin who spends time each year in the area. She mentioned Mala Ocean Tavern as her favorite, and she gave us many suggestions on how to have the best experience at the restaurant. It turned out to be the perfect location for Ben’s special evening.

To add to the festivities, 2 of Ben’s friends in Vancouver found out where we were going for dinner and pre-purchased a bottle of champagne ready for us when we arrived.

As Chris & Dan said, "you've come a long way from Rockaberry at Jericho Hill in your teens to Veuve to celbrate 40"!

As Chris & Dan said, “you’ve come a long way from Rockaberry at Jericho Hill in your teens to Veuve to celebrate 40”!

The venue was perfect and we were seated at a fantastic table beside the window so we could watch the sunset. I looked at Ben as we were surrounded by family and I knew that the evening was the perfect way for him to celebrate 40.

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Not wanting to commit to a full dinner, we thought shared plates was the way to go. I was happy to order the ahi bruschetta again, because although it looked exactly like what we were served at their sister restaurant, Honu Seafood, for lunch, it was so much better at Mala Ocean Tavern.

"Mala Lahaina salsa"

Edamame puree in salsa with chips on the table

"Mala Lahaina oyster"

Hood oyster shooter with ponzu, wasabi, tobiko and chives

"Mala Lahaina ahi bruschetta"

Ahi bruschetta with flaxseed toast and edamame puree

"Mala Lahaina coconut shrimp"

Coconut shrimp with mint chutney

"Mala Lahaina ceviche"

Mahi mahi ceviche with lime and cilantro

"Mala Lahaina beet surfing goat"

Roasted beets with “Surfing Goat” cheese and Kula greens

Happy Birthday cake from Maui Specialty Bakery

Happy Birthday cake from Maui Specialty Bakery

Beautiful sunset view, a perfect setting for 40.

Beautiful sunset, a perfect setting for 40.

In writing this birthday post for Ben, I started thinking about my journey with him through food. Ben’s been my #1 supporter of Call Me A Food Lover. Even before “the blog”, he encouraged my quirky eating habits. He’s supported me through the process and has sat with me through so many of the meals. So I thought it fitting to leave a little snippet of our eating journey together over the years.

Awaiting a meal we prepared together with amazing local ingredients on our patio in Positano, Italy

Awaiting a meal we prepared together with amazing local ingredients on our patio in Positano, Italy (2002)

Happily hanging at the onsen in Japan about to eat horse.

Happily hanging at the onsen in Japan about to eat horse. (2004)

Staring at a fried fish on our MeKong river tour in Vietnam.

Staring at a fried fish on our MeKong river tour in Vietnam (2006)

Decked out in "fur" at a chilly vodka bar in Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong (2006)

Decked out in “fur” at a chilly vodka bar in Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong (2006)

Drinking Guiness at the source with a 360 view of the city in Dublin, Ireland (2007)

Drinking Guiness at the source with a 360 view of the city in Dublin, Ireland (2007)

The meal that "started it all" at the French Laundry, Yountville, California

The meal that “started it all” at the French Laundry, Yountville, California (2010)

Happy (belated) Birthday Ben!

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