In the few days before our trip my husband and I both emailed friends and scoured the internet for restaurants suiting our tastes. Ending up with a special meal that is "just OK" is always so disappointing and even more so while on vacation. As such, we worked hard to find places that would raise the bar and become memorable. Fellow food bloggers Felice (All That’s Left are the Crumbs) and Deb (Kahakai Kitchen) gave similar tips and advice and had us on our way to delicious dining.
As a special treat I actually met with Felice at Roy’s in Waikiki on my first evening in town enjoying an amazing meal of Hawaiian style Misoyaki Glazed Butterfish served over carrots and a tasty black rice. On her recommendation we shared Roy's Melting Hot Chocolate Souffle for dessert. Gushing just about as much as the souffle itself, we brought out our spoons savoring each and every bite. The bittersweet “lava” flowed from this decadent dessert melting into the side of vanilla bean ice cream and the taste of raspberry sauce lining the plate. I’m so thankful that Felice came to join me, she is truly a delight! Chatting for hours we felt as thought we had long been friends, discovering we have similar tastes and much in common. I can’t thank her enough for making my first night in Oahu such a memorable one!
|Hawaiian Style Misoyaki Glazed Butterfish|
The Farmers Market at the Kapi`olani Community College (KCC) was also a must visit on my short trip. Having visited (sans camera!) 4 years ago, this market has remained a vivid memory. Time changes things however, and while the market was still a treat, filled with Hawaiian delights, local produce and an amazing array of tropical flowers, it is now extraordinarily crowded with busses actually dropping hoards of tourists. As we entered the market a line of Japanese tourists no less than 60 long waited for Fried Green Tomatoes.
|Familiar Dole Pineapples fresh from the fields!|
|Fresh Hawaiian Papaya|
Felice had thoughtfully provided me with a printout of attending vendors which I in turn highlighted so as not to miss any of my favorites. Meandering the rows of treat-filed stalls we enjoyed chatting with vendors as we stocked up on our local treats. Whole bean Kona coffee was a must along with Macadamia Blossom honey and a sampling of Oahu grown Mac nuts. The Malie Kai Hawaiian grown chocolate was also high on my purchase list with the dark espresso earning a spot as my favorite! Turns out the vendor, Nathan, went to La Jolla High, just down the road from our home.
Mary Liles, of Hawaii's Best Ever Nuts & Brittle, had an amazing assortment of nuts, brittles and confections (the Mac Nut Brittle had me reaching for seconds!). Nut flavors ranged from Spicy Glazed Almonds to Cinnamon flavored walnuts. In the true feeling of Aloha Mary kindly allowed me samples of each and every flavor, smiling as she described in detail the processes she used to make them. Truly a highlight of our visit to the market!
|Mary Liles of Hawaii's Best Ever Nuts and Brittles with me!|
|Hawaiian Fudge Sauces - Kona Coffee was my favorite!|
|Breakfast plates - our onolicious Garlic Shrimp choice is 3rd from the right!|
Chatting with Alan from Pittsburgh, I literally laughed out loud as he emphatically declared that he "greatly dislikes" the Steelers and far prefers to watch Peyton Manning and the Colts. However, listening to him reminisce about some of his experiences during the war had all in ear shot positively entranced.
What an honor to meet this man and to hear his stories first hand.
|Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor|
|Part of the USS Arizona|
Tickets to view the memorial are free, and you may purchase an audio tour for a small fee. While we had no trouble getting our tickets (the boat left a mere 15 minutes after our arrival) I have heard that the wait can be hours long with no more tickets to be had after 11 AM. We were advised to arrive early in the morning if traveling during busy seasons. Also be aware that you may not carry anything other than a camera, cell phone or water into the Memorial area, however a bag check is available for $3.
Also in the Memorial area are tours to see the USS Missouri (the last battleship to be decommissioned), the Pacific Aviation Museum and the USS Bowfin submarine. Not having unlimited time we chose the Missouri for our tour. Walking the wood plank decks and then descending into the ship we got a peek at what life must have been like for those on the Mighty Mo. Display cases can be seen throughout the ship with articles donated from past sailors. Once again, an amazing experience.
|The Mighty Mo (USS Missouri)|
|Signatures on the Instrument of Surrender|
Working up an appetite we headed back across the island to one of our favorite restaurants, the Kona Brewing Company. Some of you may have enjoyed a Longboard Lager or Firerock Pale Ale, but we were treated to a few stellar seasonal brews only available in the islands. Ordering a sampler we particularly enjoyed a Pipeline Porter which is actually enhanced with 100% pure Kona Coffee. I can just imagine the chili that I would make with this exceptionally rich and flavorful choice! Our second favorite was a Ginger infused brew made with Big Island grown ginger root. Not sure I would like this one I was pleasantly surprised with the warm, somewhat spicy flavors that had me quickly ordering a second!
|Kona Brewing Co. sampler - from left to right: Pipeline Porter, Wailua Wheat, Lavaman Red ale, Holiday Ginger Beer|
Pizza, though, is the main fare at the Kona Brewing Company. Selections are so wide that it is simply difficult to choose! Luckily our server told us we could order 1/2 and 1/2. With my husband choosing the Pepperoni Ali'I and the Pahoehoe Spicy Chicken (house-made ranch dressing base, whole milk mozzarella, diced chicken breast tossed in Frank’s RedHot sauce and Ewa onions. Topped with crumbled blue cheese and finished with a drizzle of Frank’s RedHot sauce) and I ordering the BBQ Chicken and the Kohala (garlic infused olive oil base, mozzarella, gorgonzola, roasted red peppers, fresh spinach, fresh garlic, parmesan sausage, macadamia nuts) we sampled 4 different pizzas! The Kohala was our agreed upon resounding favorite.
|Kona Brewing Company BBQ Chicken and Kohala|
|Prime Rib Hash topped with fried onions and eggs of your choice|
|Granola topped with fresh fruit|
Hawaii will always have a special place in our hearts... from the beaches to the soaring cliffs, and the reefs and the crashing waves, we love it all. Hopefully some of these reviews will be of help to those planning a trip to the island of Oahu and to Waikiki. My prior post also highlights North Shore beaches as well as Haleiwa and Kailua with Matsumoto's colorful shave ice and Boots and Kimo's amazing Banana Pancakes with their secret Macamamia sauce.
May your visit to the island be filled with peace and Aloha!