Hawaii the Local Way and Places to Visit if you Plan on Vacationing in Honolulu


If you’ve vacationed to Hawaii, chances are you spent $3000 for a week for overpriced water, expensive ocean front hotels in Waikiki and mediocre food at fine dining costs and inflated spa rates.  While this is the experience Hawaii wants to sell you to maximize the profits of the tourism industry Hawaii relies on, this is no representation of Hawaii.

Make a local friend or have a local tour guide. I mean don’t hire one from a tour agency.  Find a genuine local friend who will show you the sites.

Don’t stay in once place.  IF you plan on staying in Waikiki, try just to go for 2 or 3 days on the weekend so that you are close to nightlife, beaches and shopping.  Seeing Koolina, the North Shore and Kailua are all beautiful options.  Check Airbnb for houses to rent instead of expensive hotels.  I generally would avoid waikiki but it doesn’t hurt to stay a couple days.

Avoid touristy stuff that street hustlers sell you like luaus, parasailing, pub crawls, canoe rides, etc.

You can rent a car which is convenient, but if you are on a budget, the bus system is efficient to get everywhere you need to.  Renting cars in Hawaii is more expensive than other states.

bucket list things to do

Eat Hawaiian food.  “Ono’s” is rated as one of the top places to eat at, but I prefer the Lava Rock Special at “People’s Cafe” downtown, and you can order side orders ala carte.  The curry and squid luau is also particularly really good (luau leaf cooked with coconut milk) and if you want something a little more local try “Highway Inn.”

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Go snorkeling.  At 6 am at Electric Beach there are always dolphins here every morning and it is one of my favorite snorkeling spots.  Get passed the shore break and you’ll find a surplus of marine life among the water pipe exiting out into the ocean. But be sure not to swim in front of the pipe where the water exits, as it will push you out to sea.  People will warn you there are reef sharks but I have never seen any and there have never been attacks.  Besides, reef sharks are generally harmless.  It’s great whites and tigers you have to watch out for. I say avoid Sharks Cove as it is touristy.  I’ve enjoyed snorkeling Waimea Bay but have been told it’s a dangerous spot.  It had really beautiful reef life when I went.  Just stay away from deeper waters and past pinballs (the surf spot.)  Although Hanauma Bay is a tourist spot as well, it isn’t too bad of a snorkel spot.  Try to go at 10 am when the sun is nice before the crowd on a less busy day like a Tuesday and go outside the reef with an experienced diver.  The insides have been damaged over the years by mass tourism.  The outside of the reef is untouched.  I’ve seen turtles and seals and sharks here.  Because sealife is so abundant, I believe it attracts sharks.  Just stay close to the rock wall and you will be fine.  If you go on a day when there is waves, it will be too murky to see anything, as the dusty sand is fine at Hanauma Bay and clouds the water.

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the hot vent @ Electric Beach

Experience Hawaiian fine dining.  I recommend Hokus for Sunday Brunch. The whole fried fish for dinner is also one of my favorites and for $150 can feed 4 people with all the sides. Although it is a bit pricey, all brunch’s in Honolulu are generally expensive and this is one of the best apart from Orchids at the Halekulani, so budget for a nice ocean front Sunday experience.  Alan Wong’s is a MUST HAVE and also one of my favorite restaurants.  A new restaurant I especially love is the Vintage Cafe at Alamoana Mall.  It is a “secret society” themed restaurant I would budget $300 per guest for dinner.  Inside the restaurant are millions of dollars of priceless art work, including 18 original Piccasso’s.


cave_1Vintage Cave

Do the local hikes. Some popular local hikes are Aiea Loop Trail, Pill Box, Koko Head, Ice Ponds, Olomana, Maunawili Wili and the Hawaii Loa Ridge Hike.  I also recommend driving Tantalus drive as it is beautiful drive and don’t forget to take a drive around the island to the North Shore to hike the Boy Scout trail in Pupukea.  Koko Head is appx 30-60 minutes of non-stop uphill track.  This is popular among fitness enthusiasts.  If you have time for an all day I hike I would to the Hawaii Loa Ridge Hike.  Often I hike 1-2 hours upwards and turn around as it is a 6 hour hike.  But if you have all day it’s a beautiful ridge that starts on one end and you finish by peaking the ridge and following the trail down to the other end of the mountain.  Aiea Loop trail is appx. 4 miles but easy enough for small children.  Olomana can be vigorous, as you have to climb to get to the first peak.  I haven’t done all 3 peaks because my friends always slow me down unfortunately. 😦   Ice Ponds is a great hike for kids.  It’s only 15 minutes on a paved trail then another 10 minutes climbing through mud with ropes down into a valley where the waterfall is located.  Check out “Island Trails” for some secret advanced trails on YouTube.


348sMaunawili Wili

Go to the sandbar.  Make some local friends and make your way out to Kaneohe for drinking on the water.  If you are military you can rent boats for $50 a day.

kaneohe_sandbar

Hit shore break for some body boarding or some body surfing.  The 2 best shore break spots are Waimea on the North Shore and Sandys on the East side.  If you’re not an experienced swimmer please be cautious, these waves are unforgivable.  The first time I did shore break I was with my 7 and 8 year old nephews.  If they can rush overhead shore break, I guess so can I. ;/

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Experience the local cafes. Some of my favorite cafes are Yogurstory on Keeaumoku.  Some of the best dishes are their specialty waffles, but I especially love their adobo big fat pig fried rice, and their prime rib loco moco. Bogarts Cafe in Diamond Head, always has a line outside, and has a large menu from bagel breakfast sandwiches to specialty waffles and pancakes to shrimp plates and strawberry salads and acai bowls.  Something for everyone.  Fresh Cafe on Queen St. is a great healthy spot with a wide variety or teas and salad and bagel sandwiches.  My favorite is the pesto pasta with a pesto turkey bagel sandwhich.  Kalapawai in Kailua is amazing if you’re going for breakfast deli style or the evening for dinner specials and wine tasting.  My favorite is the crab cakes with spiced marmalade and the ricotta spinach stuffed chicken. If you’re bugging for Korean plate lunches I would go to Dong Yang all the way in Wahiawa, perhaps on a drive home from the North Shore.  For $6 the giant plates are enough to feed 2 and this place is a local favorite spot for most.

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Yogurstory

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Kalapawai

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Dong Yang

Grab some Japanese Food and sushi.  Hawaii has some of the best Japanese influences and it shows in the variety and quality of restaurants available.  3 of my favorite spots are Naru Izakaya, Morio’s and Nobu if you are willing to spend the buck.  Nobu is higher in quality in Honolulu compared to their sister restaurants in San Diego, LA and Las Vegas.  For late night quality sushi, Evergreen Korean Hostess bar offers bomb sashimi plates + they have karaoke (:

izakaya-naru
Hit the ramen bars.  3 best ramen spots are Agu if you like tonkotsu rich broths, Nakamura if you are in for oxtail, and one of my favorite late night spots is Korean fusion Taiyo.  Kai use to be my favorite until they shut down.  The owner and cooks were all from Japan.  I think poor marketing and location did them in.  Don’t forget to get some ramen nabe @ Ichirki one of my favorite restaurants around.  They have 3 locations in Alamoana, Pearlridge and now Kaneohe.

shoyu tonkotsu
Agu

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akamura Ramen oxtail fried rice and gyoza combo

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Taiyo gyoza ramen combo and kimchee fried rice

Hit the LOCAL bars. NOT the tourist bars.  There is a beer brewery owned by the former bartender at Nobu’s called Pint and Jigger.  It’s over in Makiki and has a cool hipster crowd, delicious culinary appetizer bites and an amazing selection of beer.  Hideaway Bar is one of my favorite dive quiet spots if you are looking for rock music, pool, tattoo’d and bearded men and pin up and rocker chicks, and cheap beers.  Kelly Oneil’s is open late and is one of the few bars that has live rock bands.  You can smoke in here as well, and they serve really great pulled pork sandwiches outside late night.  A local favorite is Mai Tai bar at Alamoana if you want to hear live music in an open rooftop atmosphere.

shoppicPint and Jigger

Get a polynesian tribal tattoo… from Q @ House of Ink

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xoxo

Haunted Wonderland Sat. Oct 29


SEE YOU THERE

Facebook Event Link

The 2nd Annual Haunted Wonderland
Wet N Wild Hawaii

+18, 21+ beer garden and VIP

COSTUME PARTY!
COSTUME PARTY!
COSTUME PARTY!
COSTUME PARTY!
COSTUME PARTY!

Feat. Lil Jon (http://www.facebook.com/LilJon) YES HE WILL BE HERE RAGING WITH US!!!!!
Treasure Fingers (
http://www.treasurefingers.com/)
Ross.FM (
http://www.facebook.com/RossFMOfficial)
+ TBA..

LOCAL TALENT INCLUDES
Joey Vollrath | Massfunk | Moral Hazard | Dj Ke$h
Dj Packo | Dub Punishers | Christian the Lion X Glitchdick
Jrod | Astronauts by Night | Dirty Secret | Xhift
Dj Sour D | Theory 26 | Duece-Slats | Peter Lau| Intrigue
Dj 720 | Philthy Bass | Debauch | Alt/Air| Average Joe
Koshi | Revive| Infinite | Anarky | Deathscythe
Many More Tba…

TICKETS AVAILABLE AT ALL LOCATIONS AND ONLINE:
http://www.fla.vor.us/1101430-Summer-Wonderland-tickets/wafform.aspx?_act=eventview&_pky=10462

Prototype Ala Moana (808)-944-5500
Prototype Pearl Ridge (808)-484-8973
Butigroove Ala Moana (808)-944-5500
Hungry Ear Records Kailua (808)-262-2175
One Love Surf Shop Haleiwa&Pupukea
UH CAMPUS CENTER
All Local Motion stores

WONDERLAND BUS PASSES:
Available From “Ian Romero” on facebook, or message admins.
Uh students W.E. are offering Transportation From UH Manoa Campus To Haunted Wonderland Oct 29th 2011 for $11.00 to and from the event

Departure time to the event is 5:00 Pm Sat. Oct.29th 2011

Departure time Back to campus is @2:00am Sun. Oct. 30th 2011

Seating is limited W.E. encourage picking up your passes early
A map for pick up and drop off will be provided with purchase.

For purchase Please Call: (808)778-3153

VIP PACKAGES:
For Vip Tickets: https://tickets.mywetnwild.com/affiliate.asp?ID=7CE85376-FAD0-4919-8993-9B52EDBA63E0

WONDERLAND ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wonderland-Entertainment-Group/110941475655272

xoxo

Sunday Social @ Morimoto Waikiki – August 21st


Sunday, August 21 · 11:00am – 4:00pm

Morimoto Waikiki

1775 Ala Moana Blvd
Honolulu, HI
Sunday Social – A journey of opulent tastes enjoyed in a refreshingly contemporary setting. These sumptuous affairs are a radical new take on the staid concept of Sunday brunch, transforming Sunday afternoons into a paradise of chic dining, a “Mad Men” inspired cocktail-hour with a Grey Goose Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bars and, as you would expect, plenty of clever conversation – all enjoyed amid the sparkling backdrop of delicious beats by DJ’s Ramyt, Drift & our special guests this month – Badmouth and Loic Tambay!Please join us this weekend for an exquisite blend of exceptional Morimoto cuisine and swanky beats…

Sunday Social @ Morimoto Waikiki
Reservations are suggested
943-5900 | sundaysocial@morimotowaikiki.com

See you there!
xoxo
Kristie

My Blurry New Years


It started off by having drinks all afternoon at Femme Nu, where 3 of my girlfriends, and 2 other guys met me at Ichiriki for dinner.  We got bombed on beer, sake, guavatinis and shiso mojitos.  After that we all parked our cars at Pearl and consolidated.  Stacy and I walked in Pearl to use the bathroom before we head out to Yard House.  On the way to Yard House, she discovers she left her iPhone at Pearl and continued to call it until the bathroom attendant answered it.  They dropped us off and went back to get their phone.  The 4 of us walked over to Rum Fire where I lost my friends and watched the fireworks from the beach alone.  My other 2 friends, now back at Yard House, and my other friend who just met up txt me to come back to Yard House.  My phone is about to die, so I jump in a cab and head back to Yard House in the middle of the fireworks.  My phone is blowing up with about 10 people that I am suppose to meet at Kelly Oneil’s down the street. 

It’s 5 after midnight, and my girlfriend is wasted and wants to go downtown to see her Dad by Bar 35.  I have a lot of friend’s waiting for me, and I tell her that we should go to down the street to Kelly’s for 30 minutes, then we can go downtown for the rest of the night.  She didn’t listen and just left.  I figured she was wasted, but I was pretty pissed, and I told her to just go home, and not come meet up with us later.  Regardless, my other 3 friends came back from Rumfire, and we all walked over to Kelly Oneil’s. 

As we walked out of Yard House, 15 minutes after midnight, I got a hysterical call from some guy’s girlfriend.  I guess the night before I had met somebody, read my previous blog about the guy who I met at Femme Nu who tried to seduce me, then told me we can’t go back to his place because he had a girlfriend.  His girlfriend stalked my Facebook page, found my number, apparently follows my blogs now.  Because she calls me screaming that she read my blog.  Frustrated, because she had called me earlier as well, and just finishing a jack and water and a little buzzed, I screamed at her to stop fucking call me, and to come down to Kelly Oneil’s and talk to my face, but stop calling me.  She threatened me a bit, then refused to come down, because “she was hanging with her family.”

1st of all… Don’t believe everything you read.  Not everything you read on the internet is reliable.  These are stories, and sometimes entertainment, inspired from real events.

2nd of all… You need to be trippin on your man, not me, because if you believe everything you read, I DON”T WANT YOUR  FUCKING MAN! 

So we all walk back to my friends place nearby where I’m irritated by my phone blowing up by this girl.  So I think in my drunken stupor, I slam my iPhone on my friends granite counter.  It is no longer working.  So my 2 friends end up hooking up in the bedroom, where there is no door.  Trying to ignore them, we start our own party in the living room.  They are all drinking Four Loco, the malt beverage that has been illegalized because too many teenagers are dying off of it.  It is 13% alcohol.  I sipped on Seagrams Sweet Tea.  Great drink by the way!   After a while, I started crying about my ex, who my friend brought up, who everybody know’s I’ve always loved for 3 years.  And I play a drunk stupid ass for 5 minutes.  Then me and my girlfriend start fooling around and film everything. LOL!  It was a fun night! 

Then in the morning, my gf who left calls me because I have her car keys, and we all left our cars at Alamoana.  So we meet at Original Pancake house over on Kapiolani.  There’s a 30 minute wait, so we head over to Mai Tai to have breakfast and drinks.  All I eat is a couple pieces of sashimi, and 2 bloody marys.  Me and my girlfriend (the sober one) drive to northshore to pick up her son in La’ie.  We head to my place to get ready, and back to my other friends, where they drove my car to.  Shaking from lack of sleep, lack of food, and alcohol withdrawals, I drink to glasses of wine, and try some of my friends great greek salad, and bbq.  My stomach was jacked up so I didn’t get to eat too much.  We crash out here.

In the morning, I take 3 IB Profen.  After 10 minutes I start to feel super warm and fuzzy and drowsy.  I thought maybe I was still hanging.  But then my friend realized that they are actually Flexural.  I think they looked like Percocet.  But Anyhow.  We go back to the beach house and La’ie where I am trashed all day, but get to relax and try to rest.  After that, we drive to DnBs to take the kids to play, where I have 2 Corona’s.  At this point, I’m finally feeling better, but I know it’s time to sleep. 

It may be all confusing, but I drove responsibly this weekend. LOL! I left my car, and even had it towed at one point.

Ichiriki- (Nabe) and my personal recipe


Have you had nabe before?  Not to be confused with shabu shabu or hot pot.  Shabu Shabu is the same meat and vegetable ingredients except you cook it in water with a little bit of konbu (seaweed).  It is plain and light.  However, nabe is the same ingredients except with flavorful broth’s.  If you haven’t eaten at Ichiriki before, it’s most likely you haven’t had nabe, unless you’re from Japan or something.  I’ve looked all over Vegas and LA for nabe and I can’t find it ANYWHERE.  I miss Ichirki, and every time I go to Hawaii, I will make sure to stop there for a pot of shio nabe.

With dim lighting and a calm atmosphere, the traditional decor includes bamboo partitions, shoji screens and private curtained tables.  One area of the restaurant you are required to take off your shoes, a Japanese tradition, where you are seated on a sunken floor on pillow seats.  It reminds me of eating with my grandma.  They have an array of mouth watering unique pupu’s (appetizers), shabu shabu, sukiyaki, a variety of nabe, and other izakaya (bar food).   Check them out on google, there’s a reason they mostly have 5 star reviews.

My favorite appetizer couldn’t be more traditional: cucumbers, with onions, with ume paste (sour pickled plum) and katsuo flakes (dried bonito fish flakes)

Karaage chicken is my daughters favorite, with mayo and Sriracha sauce.

For lunch they have smaller portions with choice of meat, (beef) shrimp and scallops for about $12

Regular nabe is about $20.  Seafood nabe contains large tiger shrimps, scallops, and king crab legs and runs about $30.  Nabe is served with a bowl of rice on the side, and I like to order a side of udon noodles as well. The ground meat in the bamboo scoop is ground chicken and pork “tsukene”.  It’s scooped into the soup and cooked with the array of meat and veggies.

You can choose from a variety of flavors such as miso, shoyu, shio (my favorite), kim chee, pirikara (spicy), and even a new flavor, I am yet to try, light ginger broth.
They have GREAT poke too!

They also have a lounge upstairs with daily drink specials, “Ichiriki LOFT.”  Try the Shiso Mojito, a shochu-based mojito with muddled fresh shiso.

The sake selection is also good and served in bamboo boxes which enhance the flavor.

Ichiriki LOFT is conveniently located at 510 Pi‘ikoi Street, just across from Ala Moana Center, with parking available in an attended lot behind the building. For more information please call (808) 591-5638.

Hours: Mon-Thu 5-11pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-12am, Sun 5-10pm
Price Range: Entrees $15.95-$45.95
Recommended: Shio Ichiriki Nabe (w/ side of udon), Ume Cucumber, Karaage
Payment: AmEx, Disc, JCB, V, MC

NABE RECIPE

I’ve learned how to make my own nabe broth because there is no nabe anywhere in Vegas.  First you cut the steams off the shiitake mushrooms and cut the caps in half and soak them in warm water for 15 minutes.  I bake a piece of ginger in olive oil until it is brown.   Add it to simmering water.  Drain the mushrooms, then boil shiitake mushrooms and ginger for 8 hours until the broth is golden.  I drain the mushrooms  and ginger then add shoyu, mirin (rice wine), MSG Makes everything taste better.  Some recipes use meat but mushrooms won’t spoil as fast as fish or meat.  Using so lessens the shelf life of the soup.  I like to refrigerate the soup and eat it over the next few days or use it in cooking of other recipes.    I asked them what the broth is made from Ichiriki and they said shiitake mushrooms because of peoples allergies.  If you want to cheat and don’t have time to lett it simmer all day, I like to use katsuo dashi powder.  It’s a little expensive.  probably $15 for a box of seasoning, but it is flavorful and can be ready in a few minutes.   And the box will last you years. I add ribeye, shrimp, scallops, crab legs, aburage, tofu, green onions, shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, enoki mushrooms, udon noodles, carrots, mung bean clear noodles (long rice), fresh gobo (burdock), arabiki (berkshire pork sausages), kamaboko (fish cake) and make my own ground chicken and pork tsukene (meat balls) to put in it.  I never measure anything and always cook to taste, so  I can’t tell you the measurements.  That’s the best way to cook!  Then once you get it down perfect, write it down.

xoxo

Kristie Manning