Showing posts with label hawaii. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hawaii. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Top 7 Eats in Maui, Hawaii

This past December, I took my mom on a trip to Maui - it was a trip that I won on an Instagram contest from Expedia. Yes, people do win contests! This is proof! But keep in mind you'd have to pay taxes on it ... that caught me by surprise this tax season. But hey, it was still a cheap trip to Maui, and of course I spent most of it eating (and driving The Road to Hana)!

Here are my top 7 picks on the island of Maui:

1. Ululani's Shave Ice
I had Ululani's for the first time on my previous trip to Maui and I was wowed by their shaved ice. The flavors of the syrups, made from real fruits, and the texture of the ice ... It was the best shaved ice I've had then. Now, after finally visiting Kauai, I would still say Ululani's is the best in all of Hawaii!
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2. Leoda's Kitchen and Pie Shop
Leoda's is another popular spot, known for the pies and sandwiches. It's hard to tell you what the best pie here is - it all depends on your preferences, but all in all they make excellent pies! As always, my favorite is the banana cream pie, but I have an obsession with banana cream pies (I blame it on Apple Pan).
Leoda's

Monday, December 28, 2015

Top 10 Stops on The Road to Hana (Maui, Hawaii)

The Road to Hana, as everyone knows, is the number one thing to do on the island of Maui. The drive is one of the most beautiful drives you'll ever do with plenty of great sights to stop at along the way. You can't make all the stops possible on the Road to Hana in one day, so you need to prioritize! Everyone has their own lists and favorites, but there are my top ten stops on The Road to Hana:

1. Twin Falls (mile marker 2)
When the water flow is too high, the upper part of the falls and trail may be closed, so be warned. Otherwise, a short and easy hike will lead you to a waterfall - the first among many on this road. There are also Porta Potties to the left of the hiking trail, and a fruit stand is ready to sell you juices and freshly cut pineapples near the entrance.

2. Huelo Lookout (between mile marker 4 and 5)
There's a nice ocean view from this lookout, but mainly because you can sit and enjoy the view while you're having your breakfast. There's another stand here serving acai bowls, smoothies, and sugar cane juice.
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3. Rainbow Eucalyptus Grove (near mile marker 7)
To call it a "grove" is an overstatement, since the grove only has a few trees, but these rainbow eucalyptus trees are worth seeing (and snapping photos of!)
Rainbow Eucalyptus

4. Keanae Peninsula (mile 16.8)
To get to the Keanae peninsula, you have to turn onto the Keanae Peninsula Road around mile 16.8 - you wont' see if from the Hana Highway itself. I almost missed it but I backtracked to find the banana bread shop and so glad I did!

We even caught a beautiful rainbow from the peninsula.
Maui

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Hawaii Reviews

Oahu
Alan Wong's Restaurant
Hiking Diamond Head
Kahala Resort (hotel review)
Kimukatsu
Tamura's Fine Wine & Liquor

Maui
Top 10 Stops on the Road to Hana
Top 7 Eats in Maui

Kauai
Best Shaved Ice in Kauai
Guide to Cheap Eats in Kauai

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Hunting for the Best Shave Ice in Kauai

Summer. Hawaii. What could be better on those hot days on the island than Hawaiian shaved ice?? I was in Kauai for a total of 5 days and I tried one shave ice per day.

My first stop was the town of Kapaa on the drive up to the North Shore.

Ono Ono Shave Ice
4-1292 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaa
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My first stop was a great stop. The portion is huuge and the texture of the shave ice is so fluffy and airy! I got the tropical flavors with a snow cap and it certainly satisfied my craving for shave ice. A shack tucked around the corner of a strip mall, this feels like the quintessential Hawaiian shave ice spot.

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The Fresh Shave
3540 Koloa Road, Lawai

This vintage trailer doles out healthier and fun versions of shave ice with syrup made with all natural and fresh ingredients and no high fructose corn syrup. Other than the usual fruit syrups they also offer flavor combos like chai or a cold brew coffee with cream, or a coconut flavor topped with chia seeds. Hipster shave ice! The menu changes regularly and they want you to refer to Instagram for the latest. They're only open Wed-Sat from 11am-3pm but they do run out of popular flavors, so come early to get your pick. This is definitely worth a try, especially if you're getting tired of the usual type of shave ice.

Kauai, Hawaii

Best Cheap Eats in Kauai

Best Shaved Ice in Kauai

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Guide to Cheap Eats in Kauai

A vacation in Hawaii isn't cheap. The flight is expensive, the hotel is expensive, and the food is expensive ... but it doesn't have to be. There are many local restaurants and shops were you can get affordable, delicious food! Here are some of my suggestions for cheap (for Hawaii) food in Kauai, the Garden Island. The guide below is separated by neighborhoods, and there is something in each side of the island!

EAST KAUAI: Lihue / Kapa'a

Hamura saimin
Hamura Saimin
2956 Kress St, Lihue
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In Hawaii, it's not about ramen - it's about saimin. Originally a Chinese noodle soup, the Hawaiian saimin receives influence from other cultures like Japan and Filipino. Hamura is a simple eatery that is popular with the locals, especially late at night - they're open until midnight on the weekends. A small size of regular saimin is less than $6 or you can get the special saimin for $8, topped with wontons, boiled egg, roast pork, fish cakes, ham, and vegetables. Slurp away but save room for the lilikoi chiffon pie ($3.25 per slice).


Plantation Coffee Co
Plantation Coffee Co
2970 Kele St, Lihue
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This little coffee shop is hidden in a nondescript office building off the main street in Lihue, but it's a great place to grab breakfast or some sandwiches for the road. They serve good coffee and even use coffee ice cubes for their iced coffee. Try their popular sandwiches like the chicken mac nut or wabi sabi (pictured, a tuna salad with wasabi sandwich topped with tomatotes and sprouts). A sandwich combo with chips, cookies, and a drink costs $9.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

25-Layer Pork at Kimukatsu (Honolulu, HI)

With the number of Japanese tourists swarming Hawaii every year, it's no surprise that Honolulu would have great Japanese food. From ramen to handmade soba, you can find pretty much everything here. One of the places I had my eye on was Kimukatsu, famous for their pork katsu made by stacking 25 layers of pork slices, then deep frying it. This way, the katsu is supposed to retain more of the juices than a thick piece of pork cutlet.

Now, Hawaii is also not cheap. An order of pork Katsu set (with rice, cabbage, miso soup, pickles) would be $19 normally but they do have a special menu during lunch. The regular tonkatsu order is not on this menu but you can get a katsudon set ("The Original Kimukatsu Bowl") for $16 or the Kimukatsu Curry for $13.
Katsudon

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Pupu Party, LA Mag's Island Style Cook-off

Who doesn't like pupu? No one, because who doesn't like Hawaii? In conjunction with the Hawaii Visitors Bureau, Los Angeles Magazine threw an island-style cook-off between four of LA's greatest chefs. A pupu cook-off. Readers tried the pupu and voted online over a period of few weeks, and it all culminated in a cook-off between two finalists at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows.

Foie Gras Sushi
The winning pupu: Foie gras sushi
Chef Mark Gold, Eva Restaurant
The attendees don't want to just come and watch the cook-off, of course. We want to eat and drink and have fun. And those we did.
First, the drink. Pineapple Mosquito made with vodka, pineapple juice, liquor 43, mint, pineapple juice
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We also ate the pupu prepared by the two finalists: Chef Mark Gold from Eva Restaurant prepared sushi with whole lobes of foie gras, tea smoked plum, and grated yuzu. Chef Neal Fraser from BLD prepared Hawaiian tuna poke with wasabi tobiko and sambal creme fraiche; he also prepared some spam banh mi.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

June 29: Island Style Cook-Off

Four chefs in LA are competing to create the ultimate Hawaiian style pupu, and you can determine the winner and win a trip to Hawaii!

Between now and June 19, you can visit the following chefs/restaurants, taste their creation, and vote online:
  1. Neal Fraser from BLD: Hawaiian Tuna Poke, Wasabi Tobiko, Sambal Crème Fraiche
  2. Mark Gold from Eva Restaurant: Roasted Foie Gras with Sushi Rice, Tea Smoked Plum and Grated Yuzu
  3. Eric Greenspan from The Foundry on Melrose: Chili Glazed Spam with Saffron Pineapple Risotto and Coconut Crusted Shrimp
  4. Brendan Collins from Waterloo and City: Seared Foie Gras, Char Siu Tete de Spam, Caramelized Pineapple Sherbet, and 5 Spice Brioche

One grand prize winner will receive a Hawaii getaway for two including airfare, hotel accommodations, tickets to the inaugural Hawaii Food and Wine Festival from Mauka to Makai: Hawaii’s Sustainable Future" dinner on October 1, and a pair of tickets to the Island Style Cook-Off event finale on June 29.

Even if you don't win, you can still attend the cook-off event, where two finalists will compete for the throne. For just a $20 ticket, you, as an attendant, will get to enjoy umbrella drinks and gourmet pupu while watching the cook-off. Not a bad deal!

Event details: 
Wednesday, June 29. 7- 9 p.m.
Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows
101 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Alan Wong's Restaurant (Honolulu, HI)

As summer nears, I thought I should finish up my Hawaii posts, including one of my visit to Alan Wong's Restaurant in Honolulu. This particular restaurant of his is on the third floor of a nondescript office building in Honolulu and was rather hard to find. Make sure you're looking out for the street number!

Despite being hard to find, Alan Wong is quite famous, so the restaurant was full as expected. Some of the items here may seem passé coming from California, like the tuna tartar with wontons, but some are still rather unique to Alan Wong and the available/local fish is also quite different.

My favorite item was the “Mini Loco Moco”
Mochi Crusted Unagi Meat Loaf, Sunny Side Quail Egg, Wasabi Kabayaki Sauce

Alan Wong's Mini Loco Moco
It is certainly distinct from a standard loco moco, with the sweet flavors of the unagi and the kabayaki (sweet soy-based sauce). I loved the chewy and lightly crispy mochi crust and the quail egg which has deeper flavors than a chicken egg.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pigs on a Hike: Diamond Head (Honolulu, Hawaii)

Because I have to burn some of those calories somehow ...

One of the popular trails in Honolulu is the Diamond Head (Le'ahi) State Monument. Diamond Head is a crater believed to have formed about 300,000 years ago a trail to the summit was built in 1908 as part of the U.S. Army Coastal Artillery defense system.

The trail is almost all stairs and it's a pretty steep climb. Luckily, it's only a 0.8 mile hike one way, climbing 560 feet with 279 steps (the rest is an uphill slope).

The reward is a pretty magnificent view of the coast and the amazingly turquoise ocean.
I wanted to visit that lighthouse ...

You can almost get a 360-degree view of the island from the observation station at the summit (a small part of that is the crater, construction, and parking).

If that 1.6 mile hike almost did you in, you'd be glad to know that there's usually a truck at the end of the trail selling hot dogs, smoothies, shaved ice, etc.
Most of the smoothies are made using syrup but their pineapple one is made from real fruits (this being Hawaii and all). Pictured below is the mango smoothie, which while may not be one of the best smoothies you'll have in your life, it'll taste damn good after a hike.



Diamond Head Road at 18th Ave.
Waikiki Honolulu, Oahu, HI

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hotel Review: Dolphin Lanai Room at the Kahala Resort (Oahu, Hawaii)

The Kahala Resort is supposedly the first resort in O'ahu (so says my hotel tour guide), opened in 1964 as the Kahala Hilton and cost $12 million to build.

The resort has its own private beach which, according to my tour guide, was the shore that the King Kamehameha landed when he first came to O'ahu (Wikipedia says he landed his troops at Waikiki and Waialae which neighbors the resort).

We stayed at one of the Dolphin Lanai rooms on my latest trip to Hawaii. It faces the "dolphin lagoon" and you pay a premium for the chance to be woken up by dolphins' calls and splashes.

The room itself is standard-sized, though the bathroom had two vanities.
But it isn't just a view of the dolphin lagoon. These rooms are on the ground floor and are literally right next to the dolphin lagoon. If it wasn't for the bushes separating my patio with the lagoon, I could just reach out and touch them as they swim by.
Sit long enough and you'll see one or four of them jump. I wasn't fast enough to take photos of those instances, alas.
A lot of celebrities stay here and I heard George Clooney was there when I was there. While I didn't see him, I did spot Daniel Dae Kim from LOST. Someone had to point him out to me, but I think it really was him. They're supposed to be filming Hawaii Five-O.
What do you guys think?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Honolulu, Hawaii

Restaurants
Alan Wong's Restaurant
Kimukatsu
Ono Hawaiian Foods
Tamura's Fine Wine & Liquor

Hikes
Diamond Head

Hotels
Kahala Resort

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