Friday, 30 May 2014

Hawaii - Oahu - Waikiki

We recently came back from a glorious vacation in Hawaii and after the first stop on the Big Island we spent another week on Oahu in the heart of it all - Waikiki Beach. We stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village with it's iconic rainbow mosaic on one tower and it's sheltered lagoon off the beach. This has been a Hilton property since I first came here when I was 15 years old. I can remember walking through the shops in the marketplace and at that time Don Ho was a featured act. I can still hear "Tiny Bubbles" being sung.

This is my favourite spot on Waikiki Beach in front of the glorious pink hotel The Royal Hawaiian. On our last visit we stayed here and I still think it is the best spot on the beach to people watch.

When we first arrive we head to Tropics Bar & Grill to enjoy some cocktails.

Hawaii Five-O is filmed on location here some of the time and so they have some libations that are named after the character's.

I had a frosty Danno Banano! sweet, cool and delish on a hot evening.

We also tried the Poke Sampler (POK- eh) while the sun sets. I ate this in almost every restaurant. Fresh Ahi in various good!

There are many cookie stores with several varieties of shortbread specialities. Honolulu Cookie is the largest and has many locations. They are packed conveniently for taking home and are quite yummy. I think I like the coconut shortbread the best. Go in, they have samples!

I saw an ad for Island Olive Oil while I was on the plane and just had to find out if they were actually growing olives and producing their own oils here. I am passionate about using high quality extra virgin olive oils and have recently been certified as a taster so I had to go in. I discovered that they do not grow olives in the islands. This is a tasting bar much like many all across the world but, with their own Hawaiian influences. They have focused on flavoured oils with many local fruits and they do have a small selection (4) of Pure Extra Virgin Olive Oils from Spain and California. They said olive oil is a relatively new oil for many people locally and they struggle to imagine how to use it but, they are getting the word out slowly. They also cater to a very large Japanese population of visitors who are crazy about olive oils.

Malie Kai sells some truly spectacular chocolates and it is worth seeking them out.

Early morning over the lagoon and my Acai berry bowl with homemade fruit and nut bar. I am totally addicted to this too.

While in ABC Stores I find my dear friend and extraordinary artist Carolyn Quan's artwork on some local Maui Blanc - Pineapple Wine. We pick up a bottle and find it to be really nice and very different with definite pineapple tones to the light white. 

Big Pete had to sample a few local ales!

Big Island Candies is another large cookie and candy store located in the Ala Moana Shopping Center. Such a pretty store.

Lupicia was tea store with the largest selection of teas I have ever seen. Each silver canister can be opened to smell the tea and of course they wil let you try the teas.

They had beautiful tins and gift boxes with every tea you could imagine!

They also sell bags of teas.

Just look at all the large bulk boxes of different teas!! Just mind boggling.

Aloha Gelato had some really great quality fresh made gelato. 

I had to stop in and have a Shave Ice from Lawson Station. I had the woman make it half the size they normally make them (just imagine how big they are!) Mine is melon and lilikoi (passion fruit) It was good but the best I have ever had was in a small shop in downtown Kona.

We really enjoyed the free Ukulele (OO-KOO-lel-ee) lesson at the small shop in the Sheraton Hotel. Paul did a very good job training and it was really fun. They also have some truly exquisite instruments there to buy. I will have to save my pennies.

We were walking down Kalakaua Avenue which is the main drag on Waikiki and we stumbled upon the Farmer's Market at the Hyatt Hotel. Yummy produce and every imaginable Hawaiian specialty.

Macadamia Nuts right from the farm.

Big lines for hot food like Kalua Pig.

Fresh whole or chopped fruit right from the farms. Beautiful pineapple, papaya and bananas.

Rambutans and Lychees.

Fresh Mangosteen!! wow I bought 1 to try and it was sweet and delicious. $3 for one but, they say it has miracle properties.

I have to say I had never seen fresh nutmeg before.

Look at the size of this breadfruit. I have never tried it.

We always go to Roy's for dinner at least once. This one is located right across the street from one of my other favourite hotels The Halekulani Hotel. 

Edamame with salt and spices to start.

A delicious carpaccio and salad.

Fish sampler and rice. Makes me think of the fish song by the Andrew's Sister (if that doesn't date me!) "I want some seafood Mama!"

Once I discovered this little stand I ate here every morning. I loved everything I tried. I had a Mana Green bowl, Acai Traditional bowl, Pitaya bowl and they were all so so good and the line was always 20  people deep. 

This was the Acai (A-sai- ee) Extravaganza bowl (OMG!! so good!) 

A Pitaya smoothie (pitaya is dragonfruit) look at that colour! and a Dr Green smoothie so healthy as well as tasty.

This picture isn't that clear but this Pitaya bowl is the most incredible pink you have ever seen. I had the Super Green smoothie with kale, spinach, mint, apple, lemon, banana, spirulina and apple juice! The little bottle is a Supergreen, ginger, chia drink.

A great Truffle burger and garlic fries at Rum Fire in the Sheraton Hotel. I do love a good burger.

Not a bad view from your table either! We even saw some green sea turtles.

 and a walk back to the hotel.

A happy Aloha Friday with a big fat full moon and a grand fireworks display. The fireworks happen at sunset every Friday night at the Hilton and a huge gathers on the beach to see it.

On Friday's and Saturday's you simple must make a point to stop into the very beautiful Halekulani Hotel and go for a tasty cocktail at the House without a Key to see the former Miss Hawaii Kanoe (Kan-O-ee) Miller. She is there from 5:30 - 8pm and is such a pleasure to watch. I love the traditional Hawaiian music played on the outdoor patio under the beautiful tree with the waves crashing along the shore! HEAVENLY.

Plan a visit to Hawaii it never disappoints!