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Entries in TRAVEL Hawaii: Oahu (3)

Friday
Jul122013

My favorite spots & experiences on the island of Oahu

As many of you know, I recently returned (OK, it's actually been a month-ish now, but who's counting?) from a week-long holiday in paradise.  Otherwise known as the Hawaiian island of Oahu... 

Since one of our family members owns a beach-front home in the town of Kailua (located on the windward side of Oahu), as a youngster, I was fortunate enough to get to vacation there every other Christmas break.  And, while I appreciated it then, it really wasn't until this most recent visit that I fell even deeper in love with this remote isle of paradise.   

So, if you find yourself planning a visit to the island of Oahu, have a look at some of my personal recommendations and experiences, below.  Mahalo!

...

Planes, trains, and automobiles

Obviously, you can't drive to the islands of Hawaii.  Or take a train.  Boat?  Maybe.  Personally, I'd rather get there as soon as humanly possible, so I fly.

Unlike family members, you have the good fortune of being able to choose which air carrier will have the privilege of flying you to paradise.  Might I recommend Hawaiian Airlines?  If you think that all most of the domestic carriers suck as much as I do, then I'm willing to be that you'd be quite pleasantly surprised by Hawaiian.  From the soothing ukulele music playing overhead - the less expensive seat/class upgrades than "the other guys" - the quality selection of Hawaiian food/snacks and beverages - to the indescribable feeling of truly "leaving it all behind" from the moment you board, there really isn't a faster way to physically - or mentally - get to Hawaii.

Doesn't the "hula girl" on the tail make you smile?To rent a car or to not rent a car?  That is the question.  And here's the answer:  RENT A CAR!  There are just way too many amazing adventures to be had outside of Honolulu/Waikiki Beach. 

...

Shelter

The Hilton Hawaiian Village is the first - and the only - place I've ever stayed on Waikiki Beach.  While there are tons of fabulous hotels to choose from, I don't think I could bare to try something else.  It would be like cheating on a significant other.  Or something.  I don't know - I just can't explain it.  Sure, the rooms aren't anything extraordinary - aside from the fact that most have balconies - but the grounds are quite spectacular.  And, if you're in town on a Friday, make sure to catch the weekly fireworks show that begins around 6:45pm!  It's quite an event. 

Pulling up to the open-air lobby of the Hilton Hawaiian VillageThe Rainbow Tower at the Hilton Hawaiian VillageHilton Hawaiian Village: A plethora of shops awaitHilton Hawaiian Village: Hang out with tropical penguins!Hilton Hawaiian Village: Make sure to snag an ocean-front room with killer views of Waikiki BeachHilton Hawaiian Village: Grab a Hawaiian breakfast on the beach at Tropics Bar & GrilleHilton Hawaiian Village: Sunbathe and play on Waikiki Beach ...

Excursions

From Pearl Harbor to Hanauma Bay, I've done nearly every adventurous/historical activity on the island of Oahu.  And, while all of them are very much worth checking out, one of the most epic was our recent visit to the infamous North Shore.  Unlike in the winter time, during the summer months, the legendary waters that produce 30-foot waves are transformed in to a glassy and serene swimming pool, of sorts.  

Head to Waimea Bay Beach Park for an adrenaline-packed day of...wait for it...cliff diving!  If that sounds too adventurous for you, bring some snorkel gear, a camera, some sunscreen and enjoy a relaxing day on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  As for me?  I'll wave to you from the cliff.  Pre-jump.

Waimea Bay Beach Park: Cliff diving in paradiseWaimea Bay Beach Park: Excited to climb up the cliff for jump #2...

My favorite spots to dine & nibble on the island of Oahu

Island Snow

Shave ice!Matsumoto Shave Ice

Green tea shave ice with sweet red beans and vanilla ice creamBuzz's Steakhouse

Kalapawai Market - Cafe

Agnes' Portuguese Bakeshop

MalasadasManny's Bakeshop & Restaurant

Mini onion and red bean hopiaTanaka of Tokyo

...

Foods/drinks you *must* try while in Hawaii

Ahi poke

Shave ice

Macadamia nuts

Pineapple

POG juice

Purple sweet potatoes

Haupia pie/cake

Malasadas

Azuki beans

Mai Tai

Mai Tai

~~~

Until we hula again,

The Lunch Belle

Tuesday
Jan012008

Honolulu dining

Mai Tai Bar at the Ala Moana shopping center

  • Can you fathom a better way to take a break from shopping? I can't. So if you find yourself parched while trying on clothes at Ala Moana, make a detour here!

The Shell Bar at the Hilton Hawaiian Village

  • Delicious "Blue Hawaiian" frozen cocktail at The Shell Bar

Here's a piece of priceless Hawaiian trivia for you: Did you know that the famous "Blue Hawaiian" drink was invented at The Shell Bar at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in 1957?

The Golden Dragon: Delicious modern Chinese cuisine served in a gorgeous atmosphere overlooking a clear-water lagoon. Come hungry...these family-style dishes won't underwhelm!

Bali by the Sea: French cuisine made with the freshest local Hawaiian ingredients

Hatsuhana (Japanese/sushi)

Lappert's (ice cream, coffee, desserts)

Thursday
Dec272007

Kailua dining/Where's Wally Amos? 12/27/07

Having lived in New York for almost four years, I must admit that I've subconsciously become a food snob. Am I so spoiled by convenience, cuisines and options in New York that I can't help but turn my nose up to every other city? I remember when I didn't live here and I used to dream about my fantasy life in Manhattan: having a pint of Haagen Daaz delivered to my front door...just because; walking down almost any block in the city and being able to grab the most amazing slice of pizza; introducing friends to Ethiopian cuisine for the first time. Writing a post about all of the small things that I adore about New York would take me too much time tonight, and for the first time, I want to discuss the dining scene elsewhere.

I've been on holiday with my family in a small town on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. We've grilled and cooked at home on most evenings, but have been lucky enough to experience some truly delicious restaurants and snack shops on others. I've put my New York snobbery aside and have really been able to enjoy some righteously fantastic eats.

Since I have about one more week in the tropics, I've compiled an ongoing list of places that have really stood out to me. So, if you ever find yourself in gorgeous Kailua, HI...make sure to check out the following:

  • Buzz's Steakhouse
  • Island Snow
  • Bob's (Boston Style) Pizzeria
  • Chip & Cookie: Here's the answer to my question above, "Where's Wally Amos?" He's right here in Kailua at his newest cookie concept shop, folks!
  • Brent's Restaurant & Deli: I couldn't tell you much about the deli and frankly, being from the deli capital of the world, I certainly don't intend to. However, Brent's does make a totally awesome breakfast. I recommend the Coconut/Macadamia nut pancakes. Check out my plate below!
  • Lucy's Grill 'N Bar