Puka Dog Hawaiian Style Hot Dogs in Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

When we heard about Puka Dog Hawaiian style hot dogs in Waikiki, Honolulu from the Anthony Bourdain Travel Channel show, Noel said “I have to try those hot dogs.” We live in Chicago, the hot dog and pizza capital of the world and it is hard to beat our local restaurants on these items. Noel was ready for the taste test. Being a vegetarian, I agreed to join him but did not expect to partake.

When we arrived I found the “hot dogs” choices on the menu either Polish Sausage which Noel likes and (surprise!) veggie dogs. We both were going to have lunch. The choice of dog was just the first of our options.
April M. Williams Hawaii restaurants
Any good dog needs a bun and this is not your typical bun split down the side. The Puka Dog bun is tube shaped with a hole at one end. After you choose your dog your bun is slide onto a toasting spike. Seconds later, you watch as your Puka Dog is assembled.

Puka Dog Hawaiian Style Hot Dogs in Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

Puka Dog Hawaiian Style Hot Dogs in Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

Your sauce selection, either mild or spicy, is dispensed into your bun. Next comes the relish. While some may be traditionalists, opting for ketchup or mustard, we tried the unique tropical versions. Tropical papaya, pineapple, coconut, guava, star fruit, mangoes or bananas relish is squirted into your bun on top of your sauce selection.

Finally, they slide your choice of dog into the tube. You’ll be glad these are served wrapped in a paper sleeve to keep the sauces from ending up in your lap. Dine alfresco on the patio or opt for take out.

Staff here was animated as they explained the menu to us and answered all our questions. The Waikiki store on Oahu is Puka Dog’s second location. The original Puka Dog is on the island of Kauai. Follow Puka Dog on Facebook too.

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?” as we visit Puka Dog Waikiki.

Puka Dog Inc.
2301 Kuhio Avenue # 334
Honolulu/ Hawaii 96815
Phone: 808 923-4510

Puka Dog (Waikiki Town Center) on Urbanspoon

Port Edward on the Fox River Algonquin McHenry County Illinois

We dined at Port Edward in Algonquin, guests of Port Edward and McHenry County Visitors Bureau. The nautical themed restaurant and seafood menu has been a fixture of Algonquin and Fox River valley since 1952. It is a favorite fine dining locale for McHenry county residents and visitors alike.

Flat Iron Steak at Port Edward

Try the Flat Iron Steak at Port Edward

Owner Ed Wolowiec is a gracious host involved in all details of the restaurant. His background includes diving the oceans for treasure, classical musician and teacher. Ed designed and supervised the building of Port Edward Restaurant doing much of the work himself. You may see him driving around town in his classic Stutz Bearcat. Ed is active in the community including the Rotary Club.

Here is Ed holding the 1st production Materra Merlot wine.

Ed Wolowiec at Port Edward Restaurant with 1st production Materra Merlot

Ed Wolowiec at Port Edward Restaurant in McHenry County with 1st production Materra Merlot wine

The Friday night international seafood buffet and Sunday champagne brunch are highlights of the week. The selection of seafood treats is like no other you will find in the area. Limited vegetarian selections are on the menu. While known for seafood delights, Ed and Chef Randy have a little secret to share with you.


Diners can customize their experience with a choice of seating options available in the spacious restaurant. The well lit main dining room offers accessibility for all and is perfect for everyone. For a romantic dinner, request a quite table in the Lobster Cove or Secret Room. The Red Room is often used for cabaret shows or special events.

For those who plan ahead, reserve a table aboard the “Porpoise” up to one year in advance. Your party can enjoy a private meal while floating in the koi pond.

Savor scenes that change with the seasons from the Salem Lounge’s over-sized windows overlooking the Fox River. Enjoy cocktails or dinner as the wood bar radiates a warm glow in the sunshine. Evening crowds range from after work business colleagues to girls night out to couples.

Summer time dining dockside on the patio is a favorite for boaters who tie up and come ashore for lunch or dinner. Even dogs have their day with Tuesday evening outside Doggie Dine Out for owners and their pets.

Chicago’s WTTW Check, Please! filmed a segment at the restaurant last year. We were there for the shoot and took video of their video taping. Our favorite was producer David Manilow pretending to dive into the huge dish of paella.

You can keep up with Port Edward on Twitter and Facebook.

PORT EDWARD RESTAURANT
The Fox River and Algonquin Rd. (Rt. 62) in McHenry County
Algonquin, IL 60102
Phone: 847.658.5441 Fax: 847.658.5690

Our visit was sponsored by Port Edward and McHenry County Visitors Bureau.

Port Edward Restaurant on Urbanspoon
Port Edward Restaurant on Foodio54

Louis Sullivan Works Exhibit at Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center current display of Louis Sullivan works is not to miss for anyone interested in architecture or history. Sullivan, an architect, was a leader in Chicago’s rebuilding post the Great Chicago Fire. With blocks of stores, factories and home decimated, he had a clean slate to design and build his modern works. Sullivan began using steel to create high-rise buildings as an inexpensive and versatile building material.

Many of the buildings highlighted are no longer standing including the Transportation Building from the Colombian Exposition and the White City era. The iron gates and photos are all that remain from Chicago Stock Exchange.

There are a few of his works still standing. I graduated twice in the ornate Sullivan designed Auditorium Theater now part of Chicago’s Roosevelt University. Over sized photos show the Theater Building crowded with tables. The former Carson, Pirie, Scott store on State Street with the decorative iron work is one of my Sullivan favorites.

In this exhibit, descriptive text combines with two story prints of the buildings designed by Louis Sullivan and large chunks of now torn down buildings. Walking through the installation, I felt as if I was strolling down the streets of Chicago during the early 1900’s.

Louis Sullivan Works Exhibit at Chicago Cultural Center

Louis Sullivan Works Exhibit at Chicago Cultural Center

Unlike most museums, the molded concrete and steel segments of once stately buildings are at hand and eye level for visitors to see and touch. Beyond the building remnants stand photos of the building where you can see the segments as they were.

If you visit Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery, stop by to see Louis Sullivan’s final resting place.

This free exhibit runs Jun 26, 2010 – Jan 2, 2011.

Chicago Cultural Center
78 E. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602

Snowing in Chicago

It is snowing in the Chicago area for this Where Are You Today?” episode. It is almost St. Patrick’s day and spring is just around the corner. Finally! Winter seems to last longer each year. Chicago is getting ready to dye the Chicago River emerald green. They use orange dye to do so. The river scenes and parade bring tourists and locals downtown.

In the Northwest suburbs, we have our own parades.

According to the National Weather Service we can see snow through May. In 1940 2.2 inches on the white stuff came down.

Here is a reminder of what a typical snowy day looks like in McHenry County. Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

Snowing in Chicago and Hutto Texas

More snow in Chicago. We just returned from Hutto and Padre Island, Texas where the temps were unseasonably cool. The snow storm due to hit Chicago just grazed the city and left three inches of heavy, wet snow for our arrival.

This morning, large flakes began falling. A pretty sight for sure. Pictures from Hutto, Texas show 2 inches of snow on the ground. We left town just in time.

Year of the Tiger Celebrating Lunar New Year in Hawaii

Happy Lunar New Year, Year of the Tiger. We are celebrating with a quiet day in Chicago. Here is a photo of a lucky tiger, a gift from Hawaiian friend Ji Sun Chang on our last trip to Honolulu, Hawaii.

Valentine and lunar new year on the same day. A double treat.

Making it Through Winter Weather in Chicago

Chicago winters are brutal. Cold, wet, slippery, windy. When we reach winter solstice the days are so short, many of us go to work in the dark and return home without seeing daylight. The cold, dark days take a toll on us Midwesterners. Some of us are affected by seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which impacts our mood and ability to function.

When we do catch a break and temps reach 30 and the sun comes out, I appreciate the reprieve. Winter does have beautiful moments. Enjoy a few of the scenes from my neck of the woods.

Winter Solstice Sunset in McHenry County

Winter Solstice Sunset in McHenry County

Naturally Flocked Christmas Trees in McHenry County

Naturally Flocked Christmas Trees in McHenry County

Ice Covered Scene in McHenry County

Ice Covered Scene in McHenry County

Winter Driving in Chicagoland

Winter in Chicagoland and the weather is predictably unpredictable. Snow fell for most of the last three days leaving trees dusted with a white coating. Yards and streets are blanketed with a thick layer of snow.

Not bad driving today in McHenry County. Yesterday snow fell faster than plows could clear. Spun out cars and trucks lined the roads. We shoveled multiple times before the storm let up.

Here’s what it looks like today a day after the multiple day storm.

Midwest Winter Solstice is Here

Today is the Winter Solstice in the Midwest. It’s cold and snowy here in Chicago as we get closer to year end. The sun set at 4:21 last night for the shortest day of the year. Today we start the six month journey to summer solstice when we enjoy the longest day of the year. In the Chicago area, it does not become fully dark until 9 PM in late June. That is my favorite time of year.

Until then, I’ll enjoy the few minutes of additional daylight each day. The sun rises one or two minutes earlier and sets a moment or two later each day.

Living in the moment, here is a photo of my neighbors snow yard art. Enjoy

Winter Solstice in McHenry County

Winter Solstice in McHenry County

The Journey to Chicago’s Lakefront

This weekend we made a journey into the city to see the Burnham Plan exhibit at Millennium Park on the lakefront. It was a trip we contemplated for a while but were discouraged by the time commitment.  As we traveled into town, we reminded ourselves why we don’t do this trip very often.

Saturday afternoon at 3:30 PM we started out by car and 100 minutes later had crawled our way as far as Wrigleyville. We stopped there to park our car at reasonable rates. A 10 minute walk to the el,  then a 20 minute ride before another 10 minute walk. Over 2 hours of commute time one way.

Now some of you may suggest we opt for public transportation. The train is 20 minute drive  from home, runs once an hour and takes 90 minutes then a 20 minute walk to the park. No time or money saved there. The closest el stop is almost an hour drive from home. And buses? Never see them out here.

So now we are at beautiful Millennium Park on a warm late summer evening with my Dad. We took video at the Crown Fountain where children and adults are delighted by the smiling faces and surprise awaiting them.

Millennium Park Chicago Lakefront

Millennium Park Chicago Lakefront

Our journey was inspired by the Burnham Plan exhibit with lighting  by artist Tracey Dear.  After our walk we happened upon Hot Woks, Cool Sushi and had dinner under wall art commissioned by the restaurant. The artwork changes colors like the pavilion across the street. We talked to David, one of the owner of this new restaurant to get the scoop. If you like sushi and art – this is the place to be. The service was slow during our visit. The waitress did not get to our table for over 10 minutes when we arrived. Our appetizers arrived before our drinks. Just open since June, they may still be ironing out a few kinks.

Our diners enjoyed the sushi served and gave it hit marks for freshness and presentation. I recommend the sweet potato and asparagus maki rolls. The tempura was served hot with a batter fried light and crisp. Vegetarian items on the menu were clearly marked.

For the art lover, take a stroll along the long narrow room where each area displays a different artists work. You can read up on the artists in their bios within the menu.

All in all, it was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon. Just wish the commute time was shorter. If the 2016 Olympics land here, perhaps the infrastructure will improve and travel times will drop.


Hot Woks Cool Sushi on Urbanspoon

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