Mediterranean dinner at Porto

For my birthday earlier this month, the hubby and I had dinner at Porto in Back Bay. When entering, the gorgeous turquoise tile evokes the Mediterranean vibe and the many windows opening out to the city with so much light created a great atmosphere. I also couldn't resist snapping a shot of this fish mural.

We started out with the home-made olive bread, which, as my hubby said, is essentially a pretzel. While a little greasy, it was hot out of the oven and so olive-y (which I love).

For appetizers, we had the mushrooms and grilled octopus. Both were delicious with unique flavors (blue cheese on the mushrooms and harissa with the octopus). Next time I'd love to try the roasted beets and squid ink pasta that caught my eye.

For our entrees, I had the halibut, prepared "a la plancha" with a fresh salad of fennel, pancetta, orange & olives. So light and yummy.

For his entree, the hubby had the whole roasted lobster with a Meyer lemon sauce, sun chokes and feta cheese. I had a bite and the feta cheese was a surprising but perfect addition to the dish. 

We had to have dessert! We chose the "chocolate om ali", essentially a chocolate & coconut bread pudding - a la mode, but of course!  A sweet ending to a delicious meal.

The patio is a hot spot in the neighborhood and we look forward to heading back now that the weather is nice!

All photos by me.

PS: This post is not sponsored by or affiliated with Porto.


Weeknight Go-To: Sheet Pan Dinner

The weeks seems to be getting busier and busier, so my go-to dinners lately are sheet pan dinners. Sheet pan dinners are easy, relatively quick, one pan with minimal clean up...what's not to love?! It's fun to be creative too with meat & veggie pairings and seasonings. I use the large sheet pan in this set. Here are some favorites I have made recently and a few I want to try.
6 weeknight sheet pan dinners

Hawaiian chicken sheet pan dinner: I loved the pineapple in this dish!
Parmesan pesto chicken sheet pan dinner: the ranch adds good flavor.
Sheet pan shrimp boil: this is on my list for cooking this summer.
Sheet pan fajita salmon: I've found salmon sheet pans to be delicious and so quick.
Sheet pan baked ham & eggs: breakfast for dinner!
Sheet pan Philly cheesesteak: this would be a good for a casual dinner party.

What's your favorite sheet pan dinner? What's your go-to easy weeknight dinner?

PS: Sheet pan dinner tips for making your own.

Photos via The Seasoned MomCarlsbad CravingsDamn DeliciousRecipe Critic, Eazy Peazy Mealz


Friday Faves

A few links & things I am loving right now... happy Friday!


Spring Shopping Wish List

The snow is melting, the days are lighter longer, and as we close the chapter on February 2017 today, I am ready to bring on spring. A few trends this year are on my radar so I've compiled my spring wish list to add some special items to my wardrobe.

What's on your spring shopping list?


Hawaii Honeymoon: 4 days in Honolulu, Oahu

What to do in Honolulu for your honeymoon
For the first leg of our honeymoon in Hawaii last fall, we stayed in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. We were told that the city "wouldn't feel like Hawaii" but that the hotel we picked, The Modern Honolulu, was an awesome boutique hotel just off the main Waikiki Beach area. The hotel was indeed awesome; we had a great corner room (on the top level!) that faced part of the city and part of the marina/hotel pools.
Honolulu city
The Modern Honolulu ocean view

Day 1 
That afternoon when we arrived, we explored the hotel grounds, unpacked, and rested from the long flight. We decided to get dinner on Waikiki Beach at Duke's, a "chain" restaurant on the islands. The location right on the beach, live band, and buzz-ing atmosphere was a good spot for our first night. We got to see our first sunset from our table too! All the delicious food we ate during the trip I plan to recap in another post.
Honolulu Waikiki surf boards
Honolulu Waikiki Beach
Honolulu Waikiki Beach
Honolulu Waikiki Beach
Honolulu Waikiki Beach sunset

Day 2
We were up early, 6am - actually not too bad!, so decided to do Pearl Harbor. This was one of the main attractions we wanted to do and see in Hawaii (and why we chose Oahu vs. The Big Island). We got there around 8:15am (easy Uber ride) and got our tickets for the 12:30pm tour of the USS Arizona Memorial. They are timed tours, so we spent the next 4 hours visiting the museums at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument (the official name) that also had the Bowfin submarine, the USS Missouri, an aviation museum, smelling the plumeria flower trees (me not the hubby, ha!), and more. The former battleship and sub took up a lot of time, so we had to even rush to make the 12:30 tour of the Arizona! It did not disappoint. While a very somber and amazing experience, I was glad we took the time (more time than we thought - 6 hours). It was also really cool to tour the Missouri, as my grandpa was on the Midway so it made me think of him and his experience in the Navy. After, we took an Uber to Chinatown, a downtown area with cute shops and restaurants. I specifically wanted to go to Owens & Co. that I had been following on Instagram and upon arrival in the area, realized we should've allocated more time to explore the area and even grab a meal at one of the many restaurants. Next time! Dinner that night was Roy's Waikiki (to come in another food post) but first we got drinks at SKY Waikiki that overlooks the city. Amazing views and fun experience; definitely recommend for a fun atmosphere & great views, even if it is a bit touristy.

Pearl Harbor
Tree of Life Pearl Harbor
plumeria flower in Hawaii
USS Missouri Pearl Harbor
Arizona Memorial Pearl Harbor
Arizona Memorial Pearl HarborHonolulu SKY Waikiki
Honolulu SKY Waikiki view of Diamond Head
 Honolulu SKY Waikiki at night

Day 3
We woke up bright and early (6am easily awake once again!) to hike Diamond Head, the volcano crater state monument an Uber's ride from the hotel. The hike took about 25 minutes up and 20 minutes down that had views at various levels. We got up there and took in the 360 degree views - the colors of the ocean and seeing Waikiki Beach from above, both were just amazing! The rest of the day we got pampered starting with a couples massage at the hotel and reserving a daybed at the sunrise pool. Not too shabby having lunch and relaxing poolside! That night we had dinner off the beaten path at a restaurant that the Owens & Co. worker had recommended: Town. We felt like locals!
Diamond Head Monument
Hiking Diamond Head
Hiking Diamond Head
Hiking Diamond Head
Hiking Diamond Head
Diamond Head lookout
The Modern Honolulu pool day
The Modern Honolulu pool
 The Modern Honolulu pool
The Modern Honolulu

Day 4 
For our final day on Oahu, we rented a jeep and took a drive around to the North Shore. I downloaded a great app (Shaka Oahu) that works offline and provides commentary along the trip. We kicked off the drive with malasadas (Portuguese donut hole) from the famous Leonard's. We tried the original (sugar coated) and cinnamon. The light fluffy cinnamon was my favorite. We really got to see "true Hawaii" on this drive passing beautiful scenic views and driving along the water. We stopped on a variety of gorgeous beaches - though turns out the famous Pipeline isn't so amazing in the off season (lol) - and saw Waimea Bay from above. We stopped in Kahuku for famous Giovanni's Shrimp Truck (omg so good) and then headed to the Turtle Bay Resort. We definitely wanted to stop there because we heard it was gorgeous and because of the various movies that were filmed there, like a favorite Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The grounds are so beautiful and we grabbed a drink beach-side before getting back on the road. Our drive took us to a cute town, Hale╩╗iwa, with shops, poke, and Matsumoto's famous shave ice. We got back to the hotel and was happy to catch the Aloha Friday fireworks which we could see from The Modern. Dinner at Morimoto at the hotel capped off our Honolulu experience!
Leonard's Bakery malasadas
Sunset Beach, North Shore Oahu
Sunset Beach, North Shore Oahu
Sunset Beach, North Shore Oahu
Giovanni's Shrimp Truck
North Shore Oahu
Pipeline North Shore Oahu
Turtle Bay Resort Oahu
Turtle Bay Resort Oahu
Waimea Bay overlook North Shore Oahu
Laie Point North Shore Oahu
North Shore Oahu poke
North Shore Oahu Matsumoto's Shave Ice Hawaii
Aloha Friday fireworks The Modern Honolulu

Overall, despite Honolulu kinda feeling like being in Miami, we both really loved the city and had a blast. Taking the day trip around the island to the North Shore was totally worth it. We wished we had planned to go to Kualoa Ranch (which is supposed to be beautiful and has a movie tour) and had spent more time in Chinatown, as I mentioned above, but I guess we have many reasons to go back!

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! You can also view more photos at #alohacovals. Next stop: Kauai!

All photos by me.