Here summarizes yet another short summer in Hawaii where I felt like both a local and a tourist, ate a lot of food, marveled at the clouds, reunited with friends and spent time with family.
Here are some of the places (new and old) that I enjoyed this time around:
Uncle's Fish Market and Grill // The first meal off the plane has got to be good, especially if it involves fresh poke and fish 'n chips.
Joy of Sake // I was mostly here for the food since drinking and sake aren't really my thing, but the tapas provided were filling and tasty enough to be called dinner. There was grape poke from The Pig and the Lady, Morimoto's fresh fish taco in an incredibly crispy shell, maki rolls, mini passion fruit macarons, Kalua pork with a sweet potato puree on a crispy chip and adult OnoPops with fancy dipping sauce and toppings.
Uncle Clay's House of Pure Aloha // I like to think of this as hipster shave ice because all the flavors are natural and the ice cream is vanilla bean.
Leonard's Bakery // If you're up early to hike Diamond Head (see below), Leonard's Bakery for malasadas after is a must. I prefer the original as the custard filled ones this time around didn't seem interesting to me. But, I've heard passion fruit is really good. And now, to try and make them...
Eat the Street // I didn't actually make it to Eat the Street this year because it was raining but, the last Friday of every month hosts a variety of local food trucks of all different flavors.
Kono's // Their Kalua pork has been pulling me in for years. It's the right amount of salty, juicy, pulled pork goodness.
Ward Farmer's Market // Kristen introduced me to the Breakfast Sandwich from Hawaiian Fresh Farms which is a messy yet delicious combination of flavors such as a soft taro bun, a perfect fried egg, oozy cheese, salty ham and sweet bacon jam. Best eaten at the Ward Warehouse bus stop while it's starting to drizzle.
Doris Duke's Shangri La // This house is pretty amazing and full to the brim with Islamic Art. It is hidden on Black Point with a full view of Diamond Head and the clear, blue ocean. However, the day we went was extraordinarily muggy and humid which made sitting in the house rather miserable. But, the grounds and outdoors made up for that as well as the grand atmosphere of the house.
Diamond Head // Hawaii's hikes tend to be on the more strenuous side because they are often rather steep, muddy, require you to clamber over rocks or use ropes as support. On Oahu, Diamond Head is the easiest because the trail is well maintained. But, it can get rather hot and miserable if you decide to do it in the middle of the day, so I'd recommend starting right before sunrise (about 6 a.m. - 6:30 a.m.), so that when you do make it to the top (in 25-30 minutes, if you hike fast), it's not blazing hot and you can enjoy the morning light.
Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens // We intended to go here to feed the koi at the lake but due to Hurricane Darby, the water was all murky so feeding the koi wasn't as excited as it could have been on a day with clear water.
Kualoa Ranch // Basically, horseback riding through the Ka'a'awa Valley where Jurassic Park, Lost and 50 First Dates were filmed. It's pretty relaxing until your horse decides to sneak down for a snack of grass or leaves.
Haleiwa // The North Shore's surf town is full of shops, food and the beach. It's fun to poke your head in the stores like Oceans in Glass or look for shells or sea glass or lunch at Kono's (among many other things).
Halona Blowhole // Waves. Water. Ocean. Boom.
Here's to next time, Hawaii!