Dining Your Way Through the Hawaiian Islands

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What comes to mind when you think about the islands of Hawaii?  Do you envision beautiful beaches, pristine waters, and green vegetation? Do you think of culture and luaus?  Do you think surfing?  Do you see a land of volcanoes?  The islands and state of Hawaii are all of these and more!

Did you know one of the great things Hawaii is becoming known for is a dining destination. Yes, it is a foodies paradise as well.  Hawaii has Michelin Star chefs, making dining an incredible experience. The land itself grows rich harvests such as chocolate and coffee.   Here is a quick tour around the major 4 islands with some must stops for those wanting to tickle their taste buds.

Kauai
Avalon Gastropub-This place brings comfort food to a whole new level with amazing customer service
Kiawe Roots- Kiawe is Hawaiian mesquite. This restaurant offers flavors of their local barbecue.

Oahu
Madre Chocolate-A must visit for any chocolate lover this shop is located in Chinatown. They have a bean to bar experience with chocolate making classes, truffle making classes, wine pair tastings, rum pair tastings, and whiskey pair tastings. They are truly passionate about spreading chocolate love.

Maui
Maui Wine-I know you are thinking wine in Hawaii. Yes! Just as California is known for the grape, Hawaii is known for pineapple. At Maui Wines you can do tastings and tours of this delicious libation.
Also be sure to visit Mark Ellman’s Restaurants, Mala, Honu, or Frida’s. Mark was one of 12 chefs that developed and promoted regional Hawaiian Cuisines.

Hawaii
Ueshima Coffee Company’s Kona Coffee Estate- Try Kona coffee all day long and have a Coffee Roasting Experience. This is the only place were certified Kona is grown.
Hamakua Heritage Mushroom Farm- I bet you never thought of mushrooms and Hawaii in the same bubble before. Here you will go on tour that takes you through the Japanese bottle growing process and at the end of the hour long tour you will learn to prepare and cook each variety and of course you’ll get to eat your own savory creations.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslDining Your Way Through the Hawaiian Islands
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Personal Review-The Embassy Suites by Hilton Washington DC Convention Center

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Recently, I had the opportunity to stay at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Washington DC Convention Center.  The hotel had been selected by one of my agency owner friends based on local for convenience to transportation as well as working environment.
The hotel itself is minutes from Union Station. So close in fact, I opted to walk the 1 mile upon arrival to take in some of the sights. And it is only 20 minutes from the Washington National Airport making this a very convenient hotel for the traveler on business to the traveler on leisure.  Another item that lends itself well to the business traveler is the separate living room with workspace as well as suite options that come with conference table.  Wi-Fi is available for free for those with Hilton HonorsThe conference suite was ideal for our small group of agency owners meeting. Table seats 6 and is in open setting with the sofa and chair with large windows making for lots of natural lighting. There is also a refrigerator.
While I would consider the hotel basic on room amenities and décor.  A few things could be updated, they do have the included breakfast at the restaurant on property. It was one of the best breakfast’s I’ve experienced in hotel situation.  It had an amazing eggs cooking station line to the left and a regular continental breakfast line to the right.   The speed with which I made it through the line to order my omelette was amazing and the taste was outstanding.  Plate came with eggs and side choices of potatoes, sausage, and/or bacon.  The usual tea, coffee, juices were available as well.   The restaurant, Finn and Porter, is open again at 4pm for seated dinner dining for those wishing not to venture out.


Other features that made our stay pleasant were taking advantage of the complimentary evening reception with wine, beer, cocktails, and snacks adjacent to the hotel lobby. Right next to check-in was a little convenience store too with some snacks, medicines and a few other odds in ends should you need something.

Overall I’d give my stay a good plus rating. Not fancy, but practical.  Other than some cosmetics the space was comfortable, suited our needs, and was relatively close to go out and explore other dining venues. We’ve actually already looked at reserving it for our next meeting.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslPersonal Review-The Embassy Suites by Hilton Washington DC Convention Center
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My Vermont

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Vermont, if you weren’t aware, means Green Mountain and has been nicknamed the Green Mountain state. It was the 14th state in the Union and is located in New England in the north eastern Unite States.  It borders Canada to the North, Massachusetts to the South, New Hampshire to the East and New York to the West.  It is a state rich in history, culture, and art. It has many ties and markers that will bring you back to yester years.  It’s has deep roots in history to The Revolution and is rich in personal history as my relatives have been here hundreds of years in the South West corner, in a town called Bennington.

Vermont has always called to me.  I have lived here 4 different times over the course of my life and many a childhood memory as we would travel back from where we were living to celebrate holidays with the family.  The very house I sit in now as I compose this journal,  has been in our family since the early 1800s.  But more than the family connection, Vermont to me is a sensory experience that always delights.   I can remember driving from Wisconsin to Vermont for family visits. Year after year,  each drive I couldn’t wait until we crossed the border to open the windows. The air just smelled so good.

Today, as I make the trek from New Jersey to Vermont, I still can’t wait to hit those mountains. As soon as I get there it’s like a big, aaaaah.  Can you imagine a place like that?  A place that instantly soothes and takes away your stress?

Sports, History, Art, Culture, Food and Drink are a plenty. Just pick your season.  What are you waiting for?


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslMy Vermont
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Passport for Your Palate-Maine Lobster

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Having had the benefit of spending a good portion of my years living in New England, I have developed a taste for the mighty crustacean the lobster. And I am not talking about the adorable and well-loved Sebastian from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” I am talking about fresh lobster from the coast of Maine. Now there are other places along our eastern shores, but Maine happens to be the largest producing state in the nation of lobster.

I’ve been completely spoiled as in our home, for my dad’s birthday, the standard birthday meal is a beautifully cooked piece of tenderloin partnered with a steamed or boiled whole lobster. My mouth waters thinking of the many birthday dinners over the years with this succulent delicacy. What’s even better is my father has continued to spoil me since my leaving New England by treating me to lobster, even mid-day, when I visit the homestead in Vermont.

It is a very easy thing to prepare, provided you get over the fact you are dropping a live creature into boiling water, but other than that I’d say the difficulty is not in preparation, but in eating. It takes skill to take a whole lobster apart. Whereas many have only been exposed to the broiled lobster tail, there is much more goodness to be had from the whole thing such as the tomalley, the liver and pancreas of the lobster. My dad and I love this atop a Saltine cracker.


How to Boil a Maine Lobster

  • Buy a fresh lobster, preferably from Maine ( or be like my dad and get cozy with your local seafood department so you are informed of the latest arrivals)
  • Get a large pot, your largest if you are cooking more than one and fill with water seasoned with a bit of salt. It is better to have too much water than too many lobster in the pot. Use a second pot if necessary depending on the number of eaters.
  • Bring the water to a rapid boil
  • Time to put the lobster in. Do not remove the rubber bands. Use tongs or hand to place lobster in head first to the pot. Place all the lobster in as quickly as possible.
  • Cover the pot.
  • Set your timer. 1lb approximately 8 minutes, 2lb approximately 15 min. Be careful water doesn’t boil over as it will create a mess on your stove top.

When the timer goes off your lobster is done. Signs of doneness, the lobster is a nice red, the antennae easily comes off when tugged, the meat is firm and white, and the eggs if any would be red in the belly along side the green tomalley.

We keep it simple and serve lobster on plate with Saltines and drawn butter. Occasionally, we add a simple cabbage coleslaw as a side and on special occasions we add the steak. Grab your apron, your crackers, and your seafood pick and get ready to eat!


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslPassport for Your Palate-Maine Lobster
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My Afternoon in NYC

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New York–

“The city that never sleeps”. It’s a bucket list place to visit for almost anyone. Having landed myself on the other side of the waterway from this bustling metropolis, I finally had a chance to be a bit of a tourist for the day. My older two were in visiting and had a short list, okay long list, of sights they wanted to tick off. With time being limited we did what we could on a quite cold winter’s day in January.

We started the day off with the train ride into the city to meet girlfriends of mine in Chelsea for lunch. The city itself is divided into many different neighborhoods like Chelsea, Greenwich, Soho, and the Financial District where you find Wall Street. In addition, it is made up of 5 boroughs with Manhattan being one of the most famed. From the train, we decided to hoof the 10 blocks to the Japanese restaurant. The kids wanted to walk everywhere.

New York is truly a city of energy that is best felt on the streets.

After a delightful lunch of sushi and catching up with friends we headed off with our walking directions to check off the biggest priority– the Empire State Building.

To me, the Empire State Building exudes romance. Having a prime role in two of my favorite romance movies, “An Affair To Remember” and “Sleepless in Seattle”, I was thrilled to finally be going up to the observatory decks. So many films feature NYC and this iconic building that stands tall in the midst of it. We timed our visit just as the sun was beginning to set over the city, and it was quite magical. I thought I would be terrified being so high. We did go all the way to the 102nd, but it wasn’t like that at all. Instead, my movies flashed before my eyes and I found myself wishing to meet someone atop of these floors.


As night descended we moved on our trek to Rockefeller Center to see the famous gigantic Christmas tree. We took our mandated photos and continued on to Times Square. The girls were loving it with all its lights and big screens as they took photo upon photo for their social media stories. My son, however, was not as enamored. He said, “It’s not even a square and much smaller than it appears on screen.” After hitting these 3 major points of attraction, we had a couple of must see locations left, but at this point our feet had grown quite tired and we were getting hungry for dinner. Time for the subway! We took the subway to 5th Avenue to see Tiffany’s of course. With 2 girl, where did you think they wanted to go? And of course, another place featured in an all-time classic “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. After Tiffany’s we made a turn around the corner to make a pass by Trump Tower. You couldn’t walk directly in front of it, but we crossed to the other side to get a picture. Police and camera men were everywhere on the block. After our photo was captured, we headed back to the subway only to see a long black stretch limo. Curiously we wondered what famous person we had just passed.

The afternoon/evening concluded with a quick comfort meal of Italian at Barillas just a couple of blocks down from Penn Station. It was an incredible day spent exploring the city and braving the cold winter temps. Exhausted, we plopped ourselves on the train and started planning the next visits excursions. One can never see all or it in one trip.  That is why we return again.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslMy Afternoon in NYC
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My Memphis Must Do List

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Have you explored your own backyard? I am not literally speaking of the backyard your home sits on, but the city or town with which you live. With all the moving I have done over the years and places I have lived, I have realized that a lot of people don’t take time to explore what they have right in front of them. I am guilty of it myself. I have been here in Memphis since 2003 and just made my first visit to the Beale Street Music Festival. It is a great event that kicks off Memphis in May, which by the way is a great time to visit here, not only for the activities, but the normally gorgeous, perfect, temperatures we have before the humidity and heat arrive. The Festival is a great event set on the riverfront with various stages, food, vendors, and top music artists from all genres. I saw Lenny Kravitz. It reminded me of Milwaukee’s Summerfest, but just on a bit smaller scale. The Beale Street Music Festival is just one of many great things to do in Memphis. Here is a list of some of my must do items…

You must have barbecue. When visiting Memphis be sure to make plans to taste the barbecue. One of the favorites is Charles Vergo’s Rendezvous. Just be careful, the pork around here is very addictive. As they say, “one minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” I attribute a portion of my weight gain since moving here do to the ribs and pork butt.

Visit Beale Street. Beale Street in located in the heart of downtown and is a closed off pedestrian street. The street is alive with music, bars and dining. I highly encourage a visit to BB Kings. It has a great location on the corner which makes it ideal for people watching while enjoying the your meal and the live entertainment.

Visit the Peabody Hotel. Located in the heart of “Blues City” this elegant, southern charm, hotel is known for it’s ducks. The Peabody ducks are one of the main attractions and are escorted from their rooftop home to the lobby daily. It is a tradition dating back to 1933. And speaking of rooftop, visit during the summers and find live entertainment sky high on Thursday nights.

See Elvis’s home. What visit to Memphis would be complete without seeing “The King” of rock ‘n’ roll’s home, Graceland. Memphis offers a guided tour of his home with headset. It is something to see at least once. And if you are a huge Elvis fan, you will want to drop by in August when the city is filled with Elvis lookalikes to celebrate his birthday. Treat yourself to a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich.

My list could really go on and on as I have only scratched the surface or what Memphis has to explore. Memphis has a taste for everyone from music to museums and offers beautiful views with its perfect location upon the Mississippi River. I encourage you to make a visit to your own backyard and let me know your must to do. If your not from Memphis, I encourage you to share in the comments where you are from and what one thing we must do where you live.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslMy Memphis Must Do List
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The Great American Road Trip-How We Survived

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Who doesn’t remember piling in the family vehicle and setting off for a road trip. Whether it be the mandatory visit to the relatives or the long anticipated vacation, road trips were the way we got there. For me, road trips provide fond childhood and even adult memories of traversing across this great country. Pretty much every vacation and every move I have ever made has involved packing up the car and hitting the road.

My sister and I remember the days well. In our youth, there were no electronics to entertain us. We came up with our own forms of entertainment. And best of all these were the days before seat belt requirements. Riding in the car was an adventure itself. Piling pillows, blankets, stuffed animals and other odds in ends into the car was like making your own little fort. We would busily claim our space amongst the luggage, our siblings, the cooler and the family pet. Yes, the dog went everywhere with us and got top billing to boot. I considered myself the smart one and always selected the space behind my dad, so when he got angry at us goofing around and being too loud I was out of reach of the hand that would come shooting back to grab one of us. Oh the memories!

The early days of road trips were great! I have been from Vermont to Oregon and back. From Wisconsin to Texas and back. I have hit just about every state in the 48 at some point during a road trip. At 16, one the of the first driving experiences for me, was driving from Wisconsin to Vermont with my dad and sister. Those were still the days of radar detectors and CB radios. It was fun listening to the truck drivers and our dad’s handle was “Woodchuck”. It makes me giggle to this day. It also brings back memories of the classic “Smokey and the Bandit” movies. Who doesn’t love a good road chase?

The trip was almost always as good as the destination. As we traveled, the scenic American highway, we entertained ourselves with various classic car games such as Slug Bug, Finding the 50 States on License Plates, and the Alphabet game. McDonalds even had a road trip box game back then with a version of road Bingo. One of our all-time favorite things was giving a signal to the truckers to honk their horn. And, when all else failed we slept!

Our parent’s survival item was the cooler packed with drinks, snacks, and sandwiches. Our dad was not a big one for making too many stops. The one major rule of the road, when we stopped everyone was required to use the bathroom whether they had to or not. As my sister and I reminisce, we realize we have instilled some of these things in our own road trips. You could call them road trip traditions. We both still pack food and drink in the car, the kids bring their pillows and favorite stuffed pals, we have our favorite spots to stop and dine and when you stop for gas everyone out for the bathroom. We love that despite the introduction of electronic entertainment they still play some of our favorite road trip games. Neither of us ever think twice about jumping in the car, hitting the road is a part of our DNA.


Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslThe Great American Road Trip-How We Survived
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