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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Travel » » Dogbytes 2006 Oahu Vacation Trip, Pics & Travel Tips
Dogbytes 2006 Oahu Vacation Trip, Pics & Travel Tips
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 2244
From: seattle, wa
Posted: 2006-03-15 11:33 am   Permalink

The record-setting rains kept us from snorkling and beach time ~ but not from enjoying some wonderful museums, restaurants and thrift stores! This was our first visit to the islands in February, usually we travel in early November ~ i think the sunsets and weather are better in the late fall.

and while the weather didnt cooperate with us, we were lucky with an upgrade to a full sized car (from a compact!) for a mere 3 bucks a day. and throughout the trip i was mistaken for kama'aina (local) and often got a discount or at least a friendly conversation!

We stayed at the
Halekulani ~ we were upgraded from a Garden Room, to a Full Ocean View, whoa it was awesome. guest services were amazing, we felt totally pampered.

our GPS was very helpful in getting us into neighborhoods seldom visited by tourists. Incidently, many of the small places I’m going to mention do not accept credit (or debit) cards, so keep some cash on hand. However, most such places are inexpensive.

a good source for local grinds in hawaii

Thrift Stores: the Goodwills have rows and rows and rows of cotton hawaiian shirts, nothing rare or fancy, but certainly if you're a big guy or gal, you're likely to find the xxx and more shirts here! Good deals on muu muus too. Many of the antique shops i had on my list had closed, the ones we found open were mega expensive.

we skipped the Swap Meet at the Aloha Bowl and tried to find the one at the Waikiki Shell (which was played up in the papers, but when we arrived, found only maintenance workers painting)



1200 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu, HI 96814

We had a recommendation from a tourbook to try Kaka’ako Kitchen at Ward Center. Unfortunately the plate lunches there were not that good; teriyaki chicken was tender but all dark meat and not that flavorful while the ribs that came with it were not kalbi beef ribs as expected but more of a sweet and sour short ribs with a spice I didn’t like. The spicy fried chicken was better, but the mac salad was only fair and while we both ordered white rice one of us got brown rice. Not recommended.

House without a Key @ Halekulani Hotel we watched a former Miss Hawaii ~ Kanoe Miller complement the music (Po'okela) with graceful traditional hula dances. very good mai tais and an assortment of non alchololic drinks served with thick cut hawaiian potato chips!


Another of our sources for dining hints was an article about local places that local chefs go to on their days off, i chose the biggest chef, Sam Choy, who obviously loves to eat! Kotobuki Kitchen, in a small and not at all fancy space, serves very authentic Japanese food. Katsu donburi and a teriyaki beef/tempura shrimp combination were simple, good, stick-to-your-ribs food. Inexpensive and quiet space.

Kotobuki Japanese Restaurant
617 Kapahulu Ave
(808) 732-1630



a terrific Hawaiian bakery which also serves breakfast; however when we got there it was a long wait for a place at the counter, so we just bought a variety of baked goods (haupia-filled turnover, coconut Danish, devil’s food donut, and their classic, the “coco puff” which is a wonderful mini chocolate creme puff) and then went to Starbucks for coffee and a table.

Liliha Bakery
515 North Kuakini Street

We went to the Hawaiiana Collector Show at the Blaisdell Center. It was Sunday, the third day of the show, so if there were any bargains to be found, someone else found them! Todd did get a few out of print soundtracks. We met up with 4 of our seattle friends who were there vending!

We had wandered up to the area called “Top of the Hill” above Waikiki in search of a saimin shop, but it had vanished since the publication of the brand new e-map we had just bought for our GPS. So we walked up a few blocks and into Saigon’s, attracted by the promise of Vietnamese french bread sandwiches. We started with some excellent pork spring rolls replete with garden fresh mint, cilantro and lettuce. my husband had a barbeque pork sandwich which was excellent and on a wonderful crusty french roll. I had a combination with three grilled shrimp and a pork chop, also very good. The sandwiches by the way are not on the menu but are listed on the wall behind the counter. Inexpensive, and close to a Goodwill (3632 Waialae Ave) that had lots of Hawaiian shirts.

Saigon's Restaurant
3624 Waialae Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816
(808) 735-4242

We first had some appetizers (hot wings and onion rings, both very good) at poolside at the Waikiki Marriott (2552 Kalakaua) where they have great evening entertainment ~ for free! a slack-key/steel guitar band tonight. Met up with our Seattle friends again.

Then we walked down the block to Tiki’s Grill and Bar and since we were a bit full from the appetizers we split a fruit salad (very good, served in a pineapple shell and with a light yogurt dressing) and a moi entree; wonderful fish served on mashed purple sweet potatoes. Despite being stuffed we managed to eat a piece of their lilikoi (passionfruit) cheesecake with basil syrup. it was a nice walk back to the hotel.

Tiki's Bar & Grill
Aston Waikiki Hotel
2570 Kalakaua Ave


Chinatown. I wanted to try the walk-away luk fun (long thick rice noodles wrapped around bits of shrimp or pork) from Ying Leong (1028 Kekaulike) but truthfully the ones I’ve had in San Francisco’s Chinatown were better. We then picked up some Dim Sum (gin doi and bok tan go) from a bakery we wandered past and ate those; i'd suggest eating at a real restaurant, Chinatown isnt so good for Street Food.

Hawaii Maritime Center
Pier 7, Honolulu Harbor, Honolulu
Web: www.bishopmuseum.org
Office: Monday–Friday 8:30 am–5:00 pm
Mail to: Pier 7, Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: (808) 523-6151; Fax: (808) 536-1519

Hours: daily 8:30 am–5:00 pm

not so much tiki, but great maritime artifacts and history from its discovery by Polynesian navigators 1500 years ago, to contact with the western culture, to the effects of whaling ~ and if you're into menus from the Matson Cruise Line,they have a eye popping display and an Original Savage Oil Painting.

Try your hand at the exhibits. here, Todd is ensnared by my knot tying skills.

meanwhile, i practice my powers of levitation on a cow.

I wrote about La Mariana before. A little hard to find, and the food (we had fish and chips and a french dip sandwich) is decent but not that special, but the decor is a must-see.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sundays through Thursdays,
11 a.m. to midnight
Fridays and Saturdays
Location: 50 Sand Island Access Road
Phone: 848-2800

While Sam Choy has a number of restaurants in Hawaii they don’t feel like a chain because each one is very different in decor and menu. The Breakfast, Lunch, and Crab is his most “working class” restaurant, an industrial-type space with a menu heavy on classics like fried fish and steaks and light on the fancier items (no whole wok-fried fish or complicated sauces). But like all the Sam Choy’s, the food and service are excellent. My fisherman’s combo (fried clams, oysters, shrimp, fish, and squid with fries and a side of cole slaw) was exactly right; my husband’s grilled ono on garlic mashed with steamed bok choy and greens was also excellent. We had too much food to finish and took home some cream puffs for dessert later.

Sam Choy's
580 N Nimitz Hwy
Honolulu, HI 96817-5030
(808) 545-7979


Happy Malasada Day! {What's a Malasada? Dough that has been fried until crispy and golden brown on the outside, while remaining fluffy and moist on the inside. Rolled in cinnamon or powdered sugar. Filled or plain} According to Leonard’s Bakery and the local news, anyway, Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) is also Malasada Day, and Leonard’s opens at 5 AM and stays open to 10 PM today to satisfy the demand. The news showed some darn long lines at the main Leonard’s location in the morning, and even when we get there at 9:30 AM there is a line and a wait for our fresh-baked hot malasadas.

Leonard's Bakery
933 Kapahulu Avenue
Telephone: 808.737.5591


We went to the Honolulu Academy of Arts to see the Cook Exhibit. but we were really WOWed by the Hawaiian Arts wing. There are many buildings, each representing a different country and its art. (wonderful, do not miss). Nearby, on King at Pensacola and in easy walking distance of the parking at Blaisdale Center) is Ichi Ryu Noodles. Most of the times we've driven by, its been closed ~ there's a great old Coca Cola sign outside. inside, its counter service only, serves mostly ramen; really big, steaming bowls of wonderful ramen with a variety of stuff in them. The char siu was great, so were the won tons in my ramen.

Ichi Ryu Noodles House
1103 S King St
Honolulu, 96814
(808) 591-8033

Jimbo is locally known for some of the homemade Japanese noodles (udon). Out of the way on a portion of King St. that sees few tourists, it isn’t much to look at, but the noodles are indeed great. Nabeyaki udon (a noodle soup served in a small iron cauldron) was very good (This bowl contained lots of thick, homemade udon noodles that were perfectly cooked. The udon noodles were topped with pieces of boneless chicken thigh, vegetables, a poached egg, one piece shrimp tempura, one piece eggplant tempura and one piece kamaboko (fishcake). Todd had the spicy beef yaki (stirfried) udon and a side of fried tofu. Reasonably priced.

1936 S King St
Honolulu, Hawaii 96826


I hadn’t been to Zippy’s Drive-In for more than 15 years. Now this local chain has many branches in Honolulu and on the other islands and has become more corporate and less funky than it was back then. They still serve stuff you don’t get at other fast food joints however, like Spam and eggs with fried rice, and Portuguese sausage breakfast sandwiches. The fried rice was very good, the rest so-so but cheap. Most of the Zippy’s now include “Napoleon’s Bakery” and we had a huge cherry-cheesecake donut to finish; rather commercial and not so fresh.

Drove out to the windward side of Oahu to hit Alii Antiques (got 2 Daga Mugs i've never seen before)

and some thrift stores and stopped for lunch at the Waiahole Poi Factory, now known as Ono Loa Foods. It was pouring rain, we were afraid it would again be hard to find, but there were bigger signs outside (it’s on Kamehameha Hwy past Kaneohe). Two years ago it had picnic tables, right now even those are gone and you basically have to eat in your car (or, as we saw some people doing, standing around your car using it as a table). Pork or chicken lau lau, tripe stew, chicken long rice (which is not to be missed!), and other Hawaiian specialties, served up in styrofoam and eaten with a spork. You simply cannot get more local than this. We brought a cooler and ice so that we could buy a package of their chocolate haupia to take back to the hotel with us ... mmmmm good.

OnoLoa Foods (Waiahole Poi Factory)
48-140 Kamehameha Hwy
Kaneohe, Hawaii 96744

The Parc Café at the Waikiki Parc Hotel (across the street from the Halekulani) has nightly dinner buffets with different themes on each day. Wednesday is Hawaiian buffet: Kailua pork, fresh-catch fish, char siu duck, chicken long rice, lau lau, thin-cut sirloin, chicken curry, Portuguese bean soup, a very wide variety of salads, etc. The food quality varied from okay (the sirloin, which was more of a London broil and needed salt) to excellent (Japanese-style pickles, mac salad, macadamia nut “pie” squares, the “California roll salad” which was basically the ingredients of a California
(sushi) roll layered in a salad bowl). All you can eat and comes with coffee, iced tea, or fruit punch for just $22; this deal is hard to beat in Waikiki. They also have a lunch buffet.

Waikiki Parc Hotel
2233 Helumoa Rd
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815


We drove to the Liliha Bakery and Café but once again the line was stretching out the door, so we did a detour to Sam Choy’s (same as above). Breakfast here is sized for really big people; the HBC platter came with two eggs, two pieces Portuguese sausage, two strips bacon, two pieces fried Spam (don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it), a hash patty, fried rice (this was instead of potatoes for a slight extra charge), and two slices very good pre-buttered sourdough toast, all for less than $10. My husband’s “beef stew omelet” consisted of a three-egg omelet on top of a big bowl of rich beef stew, with fried potatoes on the side, also with toast. Very good but neither of us could finish more than maybe two-thirds of the amount of food we got.

The rain subsided for a while, and we went to the Dole Pineapple Tour and took the silly train ride and toured the gift shop.

We did not really feel much like lunch after that huge breakfast, but while driving on the North shore (in torrential rains) we passed by Ted’s Bakery and I just had to stop. Chocolate haupia pie there actually had a layer of chocolate creme and a layer of haupia with (commercial) whipped cream on top, excellent; we also bought some other pastries for later consumption.

Ted's Bakery
59-024 Kamehameha Highway
Daily 7 a.m.-4 p.m

Once again we started at the Waikiki Marriott poolside for the evening entertainment (Auntie Genoa Keawe) and had appetizers, met up with Fil Slash again! Being pleased with the fruit salad at Tiki’s we tried the “fruit bento” here at the Marriott, but this one wasn’t nearly as nice.

Afterward we went to the oldest Chinese restaurant in Honolulu (not in the original location, but it still has some very impressive old decor). Great fried shrimp-stuffed tofu and salt-and-pepper spare ribs, good chow fun, impressive service. Expensive for Chinese food but worth it.

Waikiki Lau Yee Chai
2250 Kalakaua Ave Ste 5
Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii 96815-2542


Our last day on Oahu so we tried one last time to go to Liliha’s, and when we got there at 9:30 there were only two people waiting for a seat at the counter! So we waited about 15 minutes and got two seats together. This is your basic lunch counter place where the fry cook grills your food with his back to you. Cinnamon french toast had an enormous amount of egg on it, so much that it’s virtually a fried egg sandwich. Eggs over-hard were cooked just like I like them, with Portuguese sausage and good toast. And of course a coco-puff to finish off.

a short flight to Maui ~ and more to report later!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 07, 2005
Posts: 1566
From: Mass.
Posted: 2006-03-15 11:55 am   Permalink

Thanks for sharing your trip. I'm overscome with jealousy to go someplace nice and warm and Hawaiian. I love all the attention to the important stuff--food and drink!

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Suffering Bastard of Stumptown
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 09, 2005
Posts: 648
From: PDX
Posted: 2006-03-15 12:07 pm   Permalink

Sounds like a great trip and thanks for the photos!

I did have to cringe at the sight of the tripe stew, however. ugh.


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Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 15, 2004
Posts: 490
From: Hawaii
Posted: 2006-03-15 12:14 pm   Permalink

glad ya made it to Waiahole Poi Factory. It's a kama'aina favorite. The kalua pig and poi are soooo ono. all kaukau made there is sourced from the surrounding area; the nearby ocean and valleys...


On 2006-03-15 11:55, pappythesailor wrote: I'm overscome with jealousy to go someplace nice and warm and Hawaiian.

ya shoulda seen Oahu a couple decades ago. the sixties, seventies or even eighties....
Visit now, while there is a little "Hawaiian" remaining, it's fast dissappearing. too many changes happening.... sad.

[ This Message was edited by: lanikai 2006-03-15 12:21 ]

[ This Message was edited by: lanikai 2006-03-15 12:23 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 02, 2002
Posts: 290
From: Seattle, WA
Posted: 2006-03-15 5:49 pm   Permalink

Elicia, that's a super photo of you & Todd ! Great reviews on both Maui and Oahu.... Lots of great info and pics, thanks for sharing !

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Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Oct 15, 2002
Posts: 1560
From: Ventura County
Posted: 2006-03-15 9:30 pm   Permalink

thanks for the tips and great photos. Looks like a good time......rain & all.

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