Category Archives: Oahu

Last day in Oahu

On our last day we went to eat and shop. We went back to Iyasume for the beef rice bowl. The beef was very tender with just a light sweet sauce and rice perfectly cooked.

For lunch, we wandered over to Chibo Restaurant where we had eaten before on a previous trip. Their specialty is okonomiyaki.

Ron eagerly awaiting lunch.

A cold beer on a hot day (my forehead is all shiny from the heat).

Octopus salad, a bit gingery for me

Yakisoba with scallops and steak

Enjoying the first bite

The okonomiyaki, very filling and still not quite the same as in Japan

We walked over to the Ala Moana Shopping Center (too far to walk, better to drive or take the Hilo Hattie free trolley) to wander around for a few hours before heading back to our hotel to check-out and head to the airport.

On the way back to the hotel, the sun was setting behind the mountains

Sad to go home but it was a good vacation… we’re flying at 10:45pm and arriving at 6:50am the next morning. It’ll be good to sleep in our own bed and see the kitties.

Slow Day in Ko Olina

We spent the day relaxing at our resort, getting a bit of a tan and eating. Early afternoon we went to the lagoon and sat on the beach before moving over to our resort pools.

We ordered some onion rings to snack on while relaxing by the pool.

We were just in time for happy hour starting at 3pm so ordered a few refreshing drinks to sip.

This is the Ko Olina Kooler, served a cup made from corn (pretty cool)

The view from our new room on the 9th floor

Sitting at the entrance of the lobby while waiting for a friend.

We had drinks with one of Ron’s INSEAD classmates who happened to be in town. INSEAD seemed like a long time ago but it was good to catch up and hear about what’s been going on with her and some others.

Afterwards we headed to Roy’s at the Ko Olina Golf Club. This kitty greeted us on the way to the restaurant.

This is their version of poke, so much better than En Fuego, tuna fresh and well seasoned.

Cooked 3X ribs with a honey BBQ-like sauce. The meat was very tender.

I was very excited about the Classic 4.

Macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi, misoyaki butter fish, (forgot #3), and blackened ahi. Overall, the misoyaki butter fish is the best, fish nice and tender with a very flavorful sauce.

Chocolate souffle… YUM!

We walked back to our hotel to try to burn off some of those calories from the souffle… a good dinner, much better than Roy’s in Arizona, likely in part due to the tropical surroundings and fresher seafood.

Exploring North Shore

To prepare for our trip to North Shore, we stopped by the best rice balls and spam musubi place in Honolulu, called Iyasume, it’s located behind the Hyatt and might be easily missed since it’s tucked away with a side entrance.

This is the sign on the street

This is the sign in front of the store

They do phone orders too

Their little outfit, the menu on the wall

The cans of Spam lined up on top

Go for the spicy chicken mayo rice ball, chicken is really tender and the spicy mayo is really good (a bit like siracha). Sorry no picture but here’s the spam musubi

It’s coated with some sweet soy or teriyaki sauce and fried and this one is the one with shiso (the purple dark green stuff in between)

After gathering our snacks, we went for some lunch. First we stopped by Puka Dog.

You choose a Polish sausage of Veggie dog, the type of garlic lemon sauce (mild to hot-hot), and then the type of relish.

The buns are hollowed out and toasted with this special contraption.

Here are all the types of relish

The first bite is the best with the relish and garlic lemon mayo right on top

Dessert of shaved ice with fresh fruit

The watermelon sorbet was really refreshing

On the way to North Shore, we stopped over at the Dole Plantation since our friends hadn’t been there before. Ron really loves the pineapple dole whip so ended up ordering this pineapple juice float with dole whip in a plastic pineapple bank.

We walked around the display pineapple plants. Did you know San Francisco is 2,391 miles from the Dole Plantation?

Pineapples grow this way…

There’s a huge koi pond where you can buy some food to feed them. They are hungry little monsters, you can hear them sucking the rock to try to find food.

Dan, the pineapple.

At North Shore.

The sand is so much softer than Waikiki and the water less salty.

Next stop, shrimp truck!

Unfortunately limited selection and supply… they ran out of the hot & spicy, wah!

These chickens were safely crossing the road… so cute!

Fresh pineapple slices were unbelievably sweet, dusted with li hing mui (salted plum), equivalent to putting salt on fruit to make it taste sweeter but imparts a bit of a different flavor.

The shrimp so fresh and delicious. We wished we ordered more.

For a proper dinner, we drove near where we were staying and ended up trying En Fuego Grill & Poke. An employee at the Marriott recommended it for good poke but… we were a bit scared when we walked into the restaurant since it was kind of stuffy and empty. Maybe it really only is a lunch place and/or catering…

I ordered the kalua pork plate lunch with brown rice, mac salad…

Small side of poke, lomi lomi salmon, and haupia

Overall, pork was nice and tender and mac salad good but poke tough and little seasoning to speak of and lomi lomi salmon too salty.

Ron ordered the spicy garlic chicken, nice and crispy.

This is the crispy chicken bento box.

I’d only ever eat the chicken here again, the rest was only okay.

Enjoying Waikiki

One of the bridesmaids was staying at the Hilton and was raving about their breakfast. Mac 24/7 is a restaurant that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The table was going to share their macadamia coconut pineapple pancakes so I ordered something salty, a 4 egg omelet with bacon and mushrooms.

Then the pancakes came, it really is something you have to share, I’d give you big props if one person can finish off these pancakes. There are three of them and filled the platter to the top.

Served with maple syrup and coconut syrup, light and fluffy. Between the 8 of us, we could only finish 1-1/2 of the pancakes since we also ordered our own entrees.

Afterwards we went to the beach to catch some sun and some took a surfing lesson.

Just carrying the board looks like a lot of work.

Virginia and Justine enjoyed playing in the water.

That’s Ron standing (… for about 15 seconds)

As the sun set, we went in search of dinner

We ended up at Tokkuri-Tei for yakitori. We ordered a lot so couldn’t take photos of everything but here are some of the interesting ones.

The boiled salted peanuts were yummy.

The sake was poured into the sake glass until it overflowed into the box then you have to figure out how to drink it without spilling too much.

This sake is highly recommended, light and crisp

Ankimo (monk fish liver), fresh and smooth

Chicken & asparagus cooked with butter

Ronald making a weird face

Squid pancake topped with bonito and a tart creamy sauce (so good we ordered 2 more)

Ahi tuna sausage (not recommended, too dry, needed some sort of sauce)

Uni cake (sea urchin) was a bit weird, uni tastes better fresh and cold rather than cooked I think

Soba, there’s a cute quail egg

Seaweed nachos, seaweed was deep fried and topped with cheese, roe, tomatoes, and avocadoes

Our happy group

Susan & Ken’s Wedding Day

We started out the day with a hearty curry lunch at CoCo Ichiban Curry House. You choose the amount of rice (200g, 300g, 400g, 500g) then the toppings which include things like fried oyster, pork or chicken cutlet, beef, tofu, etc then either spicy or non.

Fun drinks: Calipico and Melon Soda

We ordered a tiny corn salad, their sesame cream dressing was delicious, much better than their soy dressing (more like Italian)

I actually ended up ordering udon curry with chicken cutlet. The cutlet was nicely fried, maybe a bit too much breading, but the chicken really tender. I couldn’t finish the udon, it was too much.

Ron ordered the shabu shabu beef with spinach over rice. The beef was so tender and it made it quite refreshing with the spinach. I’m not usually a fan of homemade Japanese curry but this really hit the spot.

We went to the hotel to bring the bridal party some food and begin to help setup. I ended up in the room with the bride and bridesmaids to get dressed and the guys stormed into the hotel room three times to try to retrieve their bride. It was a bit rough so a few of the girls got bruised up. It makes for interesting memories and hopefully a crazy good video.

I was asked to help with the reception table and also helped to set up table and menu cards. I helped to make these for their reception, handbags and suitcases for the escort cards.

The kids were little kids dressed in their wedding colors.

Close up of suitcase (missing the small gold tag with the table name on it)

Close up of handbag (also missing the small gold tag with the table name)

The menu text designed by Virginia, assembled by myself and Susan. The tag with the guest name attached with a mini clothespin. The orchid provided by the hotel. The cookie box wrapping by One Girl Cookies in NY, hand carried by a few of the guests from NY. Susan and I made the thank you tag that was tied on.

I had a lot of fun designing these things with Susan but it was also a lot of work. I used my Cuttlebug to cut out the handbag and suitcase shapes with die cuts from multiple companies and used hand punches for the flowers and airplanes.

Their setup for the wedding

Cute pink parasols for the guests (not necessarily these guys….)

The beautiful bride and her dad

The groom and bridal party

Making it official with their marriage license, look at that beautiful peony bouquet

Hot pink ladies

Their signature drink, champagne with grapefruit and pomegranate

Blue Crab Cake Appetizer on greens and garlic aioli drizzle, fresh and yummy.

Prime Rib (perfectly cooked) with stuffed red bliss potatoes, broccoli florets, and baby carrots

Kahala Fruit Cocktail in Earl Grey and Vanilla infused syrup with Lilikoi Sorbert served in a sugar rimmed glass

A delightful plate of chocolates

Guava wedding cake with passion fruit cream (the cream was so delicious, surprisingly light)

Last surprise dessert of strawberry cotton candy

The bouquet toss, caught by the sister of the bride

The groom having too much fun removing the garter. A little kid ended up diving on the floor for it.

Ron and I with the bride.

Their photographers did a great job with showcasing some of the wedding day photos.

This little kid couldn’t keep his eyes open and fell asleep halfway into the reception.

Lots of hard work went into this day and it turned out wonderfully. Congratulations to Susan & Ken, wishing you a happy life together!