Saturday, September 13, 2008

Shopping and eating in one blog—goodness, I’m in heaven!

Somehow, shopping for furniture and accessories always makes me work up an appetite. That’s why, over the years, I’ve managed to find great things to eat when I’m out looking for just the right piece to finish off a home. I’m going to share some of my new finds and old favorites with you.

First off, always a great standby for accessories is Ross. They’re known for their affordable finds, from picture frames and vases to tchotchke. Ross is also one of my first stops for accent pillows. If I need a few quick choices to step up a particular color in a space or play up a holiday look, I’ll head here. You do have to do some searching, and some days you might not find anything fabulous, while other days you’ll have two shopping carts full. The pillows I found today range from $5.99 to $9.99—what a steal!

Just steps from Ross on Ward Avenue, I always make it a point to stop by Bale in front of Sports Authority. I know there are many Bales around town, but this is my favorite, and here’s why: you have to try their tofu with mixed veggies. $7.95—hmm, the price went up. I remember it being cheaper, but that’s just the sign of the times. It’s tofu, broccoli, cabbage, onion, celery and carrots, stir-fried in a light gravy and served steaming hot with rice. It tastes like home cooking. I always have to have mine with a little kick of Sriracha on the side. Whenever I order this, invariably somebody in line asks, ‘What is she having? I’ll have one of those.’ This the only Bale that I know of that makes this particular dish.

Next stop: Indige Design on Waialae Avenue. They sell everything from furniture and home accessories to clothing and jewelry to hand-woven fabrics and handbags—kind of an all-in-one shopping stop. One particularly incredible lamp I saw today can be used as a table lamp or a small floor lamp. It’s from northern Thailand, $545, handmade paper over cotton gauze, and wood that was collected along the banks of the Mekong, very cool. If you’re looking for interesting accessories that have an Island flair with a unique twist, Indige is a great find.

Fortunately for me, right next door is JJ’s French Pastry. It feels like a Parisian café with touches of Southeast Asia because the owner is Laotian. His specialty is his chocolate pyramid dusted with cocoa powder, an amazing melt-in-your-mouth conception. The tiny pyramid is 99 cents—it’s a little bite of heaven. Chocoholics won’t want to miss that!

My daughter Nicki’s favorite is the chocolate fruit basket, a handmade latticed chocolate basket filled with a layer of sponge cake under a white cream that’s not too sweet or foamy, with fruit layered on top of that and finally, a sweet glaze. It’s $3.95 and it tastes just as good as it looks.
The last thing I had was a rum walnut tart, $4.50 (OK, I can never have just one thing here). The crust tastes like homemade pie crust, just the right blend of flaky and dense. It’s packed full of chopped walnuts with a glaze on top. Absolutely fantastic. That’s my favorite just because I’m a nuts fanatic. All my recommendations should go with JJ’s cappuccino.

These are just a few of my favorite combos. I’ll share more with you another time. Let me know if you get to check these out. And what about you? Where do you shop when you’re hungry?