An October 2006 trip
to Honolulu by Eric from Aiea
Quote: Living in paradise ensures that there is a constant flow of worldwide friends coming to visit you.
Rule of thumb for Oahu - if you cross the canal and depart from Waikiki, prices do tend to fall. Many never get further than Ala Moana Mall, but to see Oahu, you have to leave Waikiki - even though you can find so many things there. Do not miss going to Chinatown for lunch or dinner one day while here. Also, the first Friday of every month is First Friday with many of the shops and art galleries and the like in and around the area that includes part of Chinatown staying open. If you are here - do not miss it.
As for souvenirs, you can find what you want, and then some, at the Aloha Stadium flea market on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. It will save you money, and it's a pretty fun time. Just try to go early in the morning (9 or 10am) before the sun starts blazing down.
As far as beaches go - Sandy Beach and White Plains are two great ones. Just know that when it's a bit rough - Sandy beach has a pull reach close to the beach break - though when it is 1 to 2 foot waves - it is the perfect beach.
Restaurant | "Eggs & Things"
The portions of food served at Eggs & things are truly Hawaiian sized, and even I have split an item before because it really is a lot of food. They have a great breakfast menu, but the first thing you should do is look up at either wall and see what is on the special of the day menu. The French toast with fresh pineapple (or it may be mango or guava), whip cream and mac nuts is out of this world! The haupia (coconut cream) crepes are also very good. If you are really hungry, order the banana cream pancakes or waffle – and you get a stack of pancakes with about 6 inches of whipped cream on top of it. I have yet to have eaten there without seeing several different people taking pictures of the food when it is set out in front of them!
If you order eggs or potatoes, I would recommend that you give their table salsa a try. It is not super hot – but blended real well. You have your choice of guava, coconut, or regular syrup as well.
Open daily from 2300-1400, Eggs & Things is also a great very late night stop for an early big breakfast after clubbing in Waikiki.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 5, 2006
Eggs 'N Things
1911 Kalakaua Ave
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Restaurant | "E & O Trading Co. Southeast Asian Grill"
E & O Trading Co. Restaurant has earned its popular acclaim for its various Southeast Asian cuisine, as well as the exotic ambiance. Like the decor, it is a place that represents the crossroads of foods and cultures well. But it is as the crossroads of spices that make its foods unique.
Having first tasted some of the E&O dishes at Taste of Honolulu, I looked forward to my first and every visit after there. Definitely got to recommend the Indonesian corn fritters, which are simply delicious! Don't forget to ask the waitress for some of the various sambals with whatever you may order. My take on it is that the best one is the sweet and hot Thai style coconut one. The Indian breads they do there are very unique. Try the tomato/onion naan, which is like having a slice of pizza. Hours are:Sun - Weds: 11:30am - 10:30pmThurs - Sat: 11:30 am - 11:30 pm
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 5, 2006
E & O Trading Co. Southeast Asian Grill
1200 Ala Moana Blvd.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
Restaurant | "The Green Door Cafe"
The owner, Betty, is a friend of mine, and she does a great job with cooking the Chinese-Malay signature dishes that keep us all coming back to the Green Door. The menu is posted on a signboard, and changes some—but not a lot. The hardest part is having to wait to get a seat and smelling the chilies and spices cooking.
Here you will find one of the best chicken curries you will ever taste (Betty changes the ingredients - each time making it better - and the secret is yogurt is added to the curry to make it thicker). You can get Roti flatbread and dip it into the curry for a great meal.
The pork loin is truly a winner as well - with a spicy garlicky flavor to it that will probably leave you feeling that you need to go back for it one more time before leaving the island! The Malacca style eggplant and fried tofu in satay sauce is wonderful - a blend of flavors that plays the best of Malay and Thai foods. Go ahead - chose anything on the menu at the Green Door - you just can not go wrong!
Green Door Cafe
1110 Nuuanu Avenue
The Big Kahuna is one of those places that you always hear about, but a tourist never could find. Tucked away in the industrial area of Honolulu on the road between Tripler Army Hospital and the Airport is one of the best lunch locations on the island. The location is one that you have to be looking for it to see it and get into the parking lot!There is a very good reason that a small place with a handful of tables and surf and surfboard decor draws in a clientele that may be locals working near by and surfers to Army and Air Force generals - and that is the huge excellent bar-b-que sandwiches. The Kahlua pork sandwich is big enough to make two meals out even when you are hungry! The beef brisket is just as good, and both are served on a very large sweet bread roll with a really good sauce.
The pizzas are good too - with alot of locale witt and humor to them. Getting either a pizza or a sandwich to go and heading off to eat it at a park or the beach is always a good plan for lunch. Expect a line at noon - but it is not too bad after 1230. Parking can be a problem, and do make sure that you take any valuables with you and that you lock your car. Even in paradise - breakins happen.
Big Kahuna Pizza
550 Paiea St # 134
Honolulu, Hawaii 96819
If you are over at the Pearl Harbor Memorial and want to head out for a great quick lunch in the Pearl City area - then head over to Diego's to fill up on some really good South Cali-style carne asada tacos . Diego's Tacos is a small place with about 6 tables that seat two people each. It is located on the left side in a strip mall about 1/4 of a mile after the overpass as your heading down Kam highway from Pearl Harbor - and before you get to Ben Franklins. Parking is in front or in back of the building - and expect a crowd at lunch time.What draws the lunch crowd is Diego's soft tacos that features some of the best shredded beef and chicken tacos on island. And then there are the Tortas - which are big six-inch grilled sandwiches, with bean spread, lettuce, tomato, cilantro, cheese and sour cream, that come with a variety of meat fillings - the pollo asado (chicken) being the best. There is no short changing you here when it comes to the full sized burritos - stuffed with chorizo or egg and bacon, carne asada - and yes - there is a Spam available (if that is your thing). They also have several Mexican soft drinks to go with your meal - along with the normal assortment of soft drinks and bottled water. If you want rice and beans - it's a dollar more. They are closed on Sundays.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 24, 2007
97-719 Kamehameha Highway
Restaurant | "Ricado's Italian Restaurant"
First time I went to Ricados was when riding along a group of Senior Chiefs. I had not found any Italian place here that came close to the Hill in St Louis or Philly - until I had lunch at Ricardos.
It might be hard to find - even when sitting right in front of it - because it is a pretty crowded strip mall. But right in Pearl Kai shopping center is one of the best under-known gems around! Other places may get the high marks for Italian food here on Oahu - but they just do not compare to Ricardos. From the fresh bread to the great wait staff to the atmosphere of a small friendly restaurant - they manage to top it all off with really great foods and really good appetizers.
They do great chicken and pasta dishes, and the eggplant is spectacular. It is one of those very few places where you can not go wrong with any choice off the menu that you make!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 24, 2007
98-199 Kamehameha Hwy Ste B6
Aiea, Hawaii 96701
Restaurant | "Daiichi Noodles Cafe"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 6, 2007
Daiichi Noodles Inc
Aiea Shopping Plaza
Hotel | "Halloween in Honolulu"
One would never expect what one can find way out in the middle of the Pacific when it comes to celebrations. Halloween in Waikiki is so big that you had better get your costume items several days ahead of it because most stores will sell out of everything costume wise by Halloween itself. With Maui now coming to Oahu for Hawaii, it is a huge event that makes it one of the best "Must See" events in the Pacific.
As the sun goes down on Halloween, many thousands of locals and tourists descend upon the main strip in Waikiki for the evening. The main strip will be packed with people from about 7pm until about 2am. Most of the dance clubs, pubs and bars along the main strip will hold costume contests, and all different types of activities will be occurring at the clubs, restaurants and even at the malls along the way (the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center and the International Shopping Center both have something going on each year). There is no real focus point in the massive gathering of people along the main strip - but it does seem that almost everyone is in costume and taking pictures of some of the coolest costumes you might image. This is a great place for people watching and alot of fun seeing some pretty wild outfits and costumes as you walk from end to end beside Waikiki Beach. If there are several of you - this is a great way to do Halloween on the isle and meet alot of people.
Afterwards - head over to Restaurant Row for the costume party there. The Row Bar and Oceans Club both have costume events going on, and with thousands of people there. Do make sure you are in the right line to get in one or the other - since its easy to stand in the line for the wrong place when you can not see the front of the line. We spent 20 minutes in the Row Bar line - thinking it was Oceans line - and then spent about 2 hours in the enclosed areas that the Row Bar had set up - with a great live band and costume contest - before even going over to Oceans. Welcome to the crazy world that is Halloween in Paradise - and every year it just gets funner.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 20, 2006
Restaurant Row, 500 Ala Moana Boulevard
Yes – Honolulu does have a Mardi Gras street party, and you may be surprised at how many thousands of people show up for what is a pretty fun time - complete with beads, beer, and great music. Coming here from Louisianna, it has all the makings of some of the smaller cities and parish celebrations, and the parking problems of the big ones!
The annual Nu'uanu Mardi Gras Block Party is held from 6:30pm to 10pm on Fat Tuesday on Nu'uanu Avenue between Pauahi and King streets downtown. Nu'uanu Avenue and Hotel Street are to be closed to traffic during the event, and open containers are allowed in the blocked off area. That might be a problem when trying to get there, but it is pretty easy if you use Nimitz HWY. The Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras party is the celebration that marks the final day before Ash Wednesday and the Christian fast of Lent — a 40-day period of self-denial and abstinence. The street party is as much a small version of Mardi Gras as can be had way out in the Pacific – complete with lots of beads, crawdads, live bands, costumed characters everywhere, and green/purple/gold. What is different is the crowd - which like Hawaii - is made up of many of the peoples of the Pacific and Asia - and tourist from about everywhere else. So its no suprise to find Japanese tourists having as much fun as everyone else.The food usually is pretty good – with Dixie Grill and several others having red beans and rice and other New Orleans type foods and funnel cakes. It might not have all the varieties that Mardi Gras in Mobile has, but you do get a pretty good selection of foods to chose from. Most of the food stands line the street (as do several beer stands for those 21 and older).
The Aloha Tower also has a Mardi Gras Party each year, featuring live entertainment on multiple stages with jazz & blues, a Brazilian Samba parade, and strolling entertainers performing throughout the Marketplace. Gordon Biersch has an authentic mudbug (crawfish) boil with spicy New Orleans Jambalaya, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, "dirty" rice, red beans and much more. The mudbug Boil will be served from 5:30pm to 9pm (or until it runs out).
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 25, 2007
Attraction | "Mai Tai Bar at Ala Moana Shopping Center"
So you’re looking for a great place to start your evening off in Honolulu – not many tourists would guess that one of the best places to go is on the 4th floor of Oahu’s huge Ala Moana Shopping Center. But there is exactly where you will find one of the best bars in town which constantly is in the top or the running or close to the top for having the best Happy Hour in the city! Best part about it – one of the few places on island where parking is - No Problem! You can park on the top deck of the mall below California Pizza and Bubbba Gump and it is a large parking area.Kick back and take in the trade winds in this no walls establishment while sitting on plush tropical furniture in this large outdoor bar listening to the sounds of island music, that is if your not there when it is packed. There are two bars with seats as well as the center bar area too. Some nights that island music is Hawaiian themed – others it is Jamaican. Live local music usually starts at 4pm Monday-Friday, and 1pm on the weekends and nightly about 9pm-12:30am. And they do have a lot of great bands that come and play. They also have TVs running for big sporting events which show surfing videos during any other times.
Friday and Saturday nights become packed house events by 9pm – so you better come a bit earlier if you want a seat and don’t want to stand in line. Sunday nights tend to be often packed as well – especially when one of the good local Hawaiian Reggae bands are playing.
Do stop in for a pint of Kona Longboard, which is a pretty good island brew. Their drink specials include a great variation of Mai Tais flavors and other tropical drinks– as you might well expect. They are well worth a try - and priced right during happy hour. The food here is good as well, and they have a good listing of pupus to chose from - or if your not wanting to order, Maui potato chips are the free bar snack. Do check local listings to see if they are having an open mic night. The open mic night battle of the bands is definately one of the best ways to hear local bands and some of them are very good. During my last visit, there were island style reggae and rock bands playing and it was standing room only on a Tuesday night until midnight. If it starts at 8 and you want a seat, better to come thirty minutes early and enjoy the atmosphere.There are usually drink specials during such events, and its one of those evenings where you will see more locals than tourists and everyone having a great time.www.maitaibar.com
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 25, 2007
Mai Tai Bar
Ala Moana Shopping Center
Honolulu, Hawaii 96814
Eric from Aiea