Happy Anniversary To Us!

Brett and I celebrated our 42nd anniversary this past Monday. In the past we’ve usually gone out to dinner to celebrate, but this year we ended up doing something different that gave us more for the same amount of spending. 

We had originally thought we’d have dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant, but we turned out to be nervous about dining in, especially with the return of visitors to the island and cases of the virus already starting to climb again. Also, we knew the restaurant would be expensive, and we just weren’t as keen as we thought on spending so much for one meal.

However, the idea of someone else doing the meal prep and cleanup continued to appeal to us and we came up with the idea of giving ourselves a Day of No Cooking. We wanted to challenge ourselves to keep the cost of a full day of restaurant meals the same or less than what we would have spent for one meal at a fancy restaurant. We knew there were plenty of affordable restaurants offering good food, outdoor dining or socially distanced seating, and enhanced cleaning in our area that could make our plan work.

Here’s how the Day of No Cooking went:

The first stop of the day was for breakfast at the nearby Kalaheo Cafe. They offer both socially-distanced indoor or outdoor dining, and we chose an semi-isolated indoor table by an open window. We each had a cup of coffee, and shared an order of kalua pork Eggs Benedict. I am not sure how anyone finishes a full order of this – one half of it (and no hash browns – Brett got those) and I was stuffed! It was very, very delicious though and a wonderful start to our day. The pastries on offer were very tempting as well but we managed to leave without eating or buying one.

We had planned to head to Hanapepe after breakfast to explore the Habitat for Humanity thrift & rebuilding store as well as drop off some clothes, but we sadly discovered it was closed on Mondays. We don’t need or want anything but have always wanted to check out this big store. Our upstairs neighbor furnished over half of his apartment with some very nice things from this place, and we’ve heard other good things about it from others. We ended up going back home for a while with a decision to visit later this week.

It was pouring rain by the time we started down to Hanapepe Old Town for our lunch at Japanese Grandma’s Cafe. We had heard good things about this restaurant, and had wanted to eat there since before we left the island in 2018. We figured lunch would be less expensive than dinner, and we were not disappointed. I had originally planned to order tenzaru (tempura shrimp and vegetables with cold soba noodles) but the calorie load for that meal is outrageous, so instead ordered hayayako (chilled tofu) and vegetable futamaki (sushi). Brett ordered a tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlet) bowl topped with a soy-ginger sauce and a nice salad. Even though it was raining it was still warm enough to eat outside (under cover). Our waitress surprised us with a very tasty slice of house made matcha cheesecake to help celebrate our anniversary!

One taco al pastor for each of us.

Plans for the day had included a late afternoon walk at Kukuiolono and then picking up takeout for dinner from Paco’s Tacos up at the park clubhouse. A continuing downpour kept us from walking, but we still wanted those tacos! Brett somehow also included beans and rice when he placed the order so he had those as well, and we enjoyed our delicious tacos with some added cilantro, onion, and a few tomatoes and along with a couple of celebratory gin & tonics.

The day was supposed to end with scoops of Lappert’s ice cream, but when it was time for dessert neither of us wanted to go back out in the rain, and we also really didn’t want another dessert. We had eaten enough.

The total cost for our three meals ($88, including tips) was slightly less than we would have spent for dinner and drinks at the restaurant, and our time together was priceless. The total number of dishes that had to be washed in the evening was six: morning coffee cups, glasses for the G&Ts, and the plates for our tacos. We had such a good time that we decided to make a Day of No Cooking our annual anniversary event, no matter where we are in the world at the end of every March!

20 thoughts on “Happy Anniversary To Us!

  1. Happy ANniversary! You guys are looking awesome. What a smart idea to have a no cooking day with very yummy options instead of one expensive dinner.

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  2. Happy Anniversary! What a fun way to celebrate and fully enjoy your special day!

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    1. Thank you! We had such a good time on Monday. We were very surprised that we had no room for ice cream at the end, especially Lappert’s, but all our meals were very filling. We really got a lot for our money that day.

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    1. Thanks! We had a lot of fun choosing the restaurants where we ate and all lived up to their reputations. I can’t wait to do it again, especially when we’re on the road.

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  3. Happy Anniversary to you both. Glad you enjoyed Japanese Grandma – that is a favorite of ours whenever we are on Kauai…which we miss a great deal.

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    1. We loved, loved, loved Japanese Grandma’s – the food was delicious. We have talked about going for a long time, and it was worth the wait. We’ll definitely be going back. (I love Blue Umi too – always something tempting there).

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  4. I’ve missed it, if you’ve told details about your wedding. I remember the “first glance” story, but let’s hear more! Congratulations on 42 years!

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    1. We were married by a county commissioner in Memphis, Tennessee. We had gone down to the county office to get our marriage license, and just as we finished the clerk got a call. After she hung up she leaned over and said, “I just got a call that Commissioner X is available and you can get married now if you’d like.” We looked at each other and said, “Let’s do it!” Brett’s mom was visiting and was waiting downstairs, so we told her and then we went up and got married! We both cried through the whole ceremony – the commissioner cried too! Afterwards we had lunch at a nearby “meat & three” place that had unbelievably good food. That evening Brett’s mom gave us money to go out to dinner, but a major storm came through as we were driving to the restaurant. It was so bad we pulled off the road at the first place we saw and had our wedding dinner at a Red Lobster. So, no fancy wedding or anything, but a long and happy marriage!

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    1. Other than the weather, it was a perfect day.

      When I joined the navy, the last thing my mother said to me as I headed off to my first duty station was, “For God’s sake Laura, don’t marry a sailor!” When I called to tell her I was going to marry Brett, she was down in less than a week to check him out, and was smitten within less than five minutes (they always had a good relationship) so he got the nod of approval. I can’t tell you how many times I was told by others that our marriage wouldn’t last, but here we are 42 years later still going strong, still in love.

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