Ok, I better do this before I forget all the places we went to. We had a mix of places I wanted to target, and a bunch of stuff we ate because we were hungry and needed to eat. So I'll leave those places out since they aren't remarkable in any way.
Roy's Waikiki - Lewers Street
Had a good meal here. It wasn't slap my momma good, but pretty damn good. Started off with crab cakes, and they were good but my girlfriend's was a little cold in the center. She pointed it out to the server, but we didn't expect anything and told them not to worry. We're small eaters and it would have been a waste, but they did anyway. This was much warmer in the middle although I had to finish 1 and 1/2.
She had the fiery prawns and a risotto (forgive me, I'm leaving out a ton of details because it's been a couple weeks and frankly, I don't remember the specifics) which were good. I love the spice that was in it. I had a ravioli (with crab?) that was delicious. Highlight of the meal. It came with a pan fried fish I want to say butterfish, that was good ... until I had the ravioli. My girlfriend ordered a dessert (whatever the signature dessert is) and I hesitated, but relented. The server apparently took my reservation as being the final answer and we got our check, no dessert. So she was a little peeved. But I was stuffed, so I was fine with that.
Leonards - Malasadas.
Was thinking if this was good, it'll be a hit with the lady, as I don't have much of a sweet tooth as she. It was ok, nothing that made us want to go back. The texture was a little spongy, and inside was bland except for whatever gran sugar you got from the outside. She also got a stuffed one with custard, and that was a little better but we were not blown away.
Sweet Home Waimanalo.
What can I say. The first meal here was the highlight of the trip, we loved it so much. They ran out of ribs (which made me sad that day) so I "settled" for their brisket, lady had the kalua pork bowl. Delicious. First bite and both of us went "WOW!" We love it. We enjoyed it more than Roys. I love fine dining and all, but places like this warms our heart. This is my 4th time in Oahu, first as a Chowhounder, and the first time I caught a glimpse of that GORGEOUS beach behind Waimanalo. So after we ate I took a quick right and made a beeline towards the beach that you enter through the chainlink fence. It doesn't get better than that. That's what Hawaii is all about! Oh yeah the plantation iced tea was also delicious.
Picture of brisket - http://josephdang.smugmug.com/Vacation/Hawaii-10-2010/14310924_jk3cf#1075087388_HhjDW
And beach - http://josephdang.smugmug.com/Vacatio...
Giovanni's shrimp truck
Went to the one in Kahuku. Got the scampi, and I asked for hot sauce on the side (nothing's too hot!). What can I say, it was good. Probably can recreate at home, but it was good. I especially liked the rice with the garlic was good (is that butter all up in the rice? Probably
Matsumoto Shaved Ice
Was good on a hot day. I got the regular Matsumoto mix, plain. She got the ice cream and red beans with the Matsu mix. The ice cream and beans make it so much better.
Side Street Inn.
Yes what an epic day, lotsa weigh gained this day. Got in right before closing. Not the old location but the new on on Kapahulu, on da strip I guess they call it. Wanted some kimchi fried rice, pork chops and seeing the day we had, ordered a 1/2 farmers salad. We knew this was way too much food for two small eaters this late, but what can you do. We were half asleep but knew we needed to eat, so we're sitting there, about to fall asleep, the salad comes out and whammo! we both wake up. I've never been excited about a salad, but this one was it. I mean, seriouly, it was damn good. I think it was fried taro on top? Capers, dressing, onions, shrimp, it was really good.
Fried rice, well let me say this, all they had were chopsticks, no forks. So we were trying to eat fried rice on a plate with chop sticks. No kimchi flavor, greasy, whatevers. The pork chops were good. Some pieces overcooked, some perfect. I got fed up and took the fried rice big spoon (I'm talking BIG spoon) and used it. The rice tasted better using the spoon, if that makes sense. You could get all the components in with one bite, so the flavors came through more. But still, I've had better kc fried rice in San Diego. But we loved that salad ... Did I mention we had about 2/3 of the pork and rice left over? Yeah small eaters and big portions dont mix.
Not much eating done here. Had some duck and pork at a roast duck place on Maunakea Street. I have to add that I would die if we had a fish market like they do in that market right there. Sucks we don't, and I live in San Diego! Not that cheap and fresh at least, which is odd as we have a HUGE asian population but they have so much fish, it gets old. Not a lot of cloudy eyes on these fish as we see here. Officially jealous. Oh while buying the duck/pork, a whole crew with camera and name tags came in. One of them tapped me on the shoulder as I was on my way out, and said how are you doing, I said I'm doing well thanks and got out of their way. Realized later it was a candidate. I think Duke Aiona? Funny, cuz we saw the whole thing on the news later.
Hiked diamondhead, and Reservations for Top of Waikiki. We caught a sunset catamaran ride first. GF didn't know it was open bar. She doesn't drink much but does on occasion. Open bar and it was over. Never made our reservation. Fell asleep on the bed. I had Cheeseburgers in paradise by myself :D
Souvenir day! Lady read some tips. so off to Sams Club and Walmart we went. Wow what a zoo, crowded. Loved the Sams Club fish market, better than half our regular fish markets here. Would kill for such a market at our local costco/sams club. I don't get it, we have the pacific ocean too! :D
Uncle Bos. Ok from the outside, we said, Dive Bar! Then I saw some recs so we hit it up. We were very surprised. She had the spice baked Opah, loved it. I had the seafood catch pasta. I noticed a smoky flavor to the pasta, same as the crab ravioli at Roy's. Here I said they must have grilled the shellfish before throwing it in, I enjoyed the smoky flavor. And yes, the shells had grill marks on them. Was a great dinner.
Day 5 - Cleanup day! Last day to run around and do what we needed to do but didn't get around to yet. Left early to hit up Tamashiro's for some salt. Scored. Ran to Dole Plantation. Ice cream and a quesedilla cuz we were starving. Come back down, go back up the H3 (gorgeous) to hit the Byodo temple. Then off to the Pali Lookout. Back north to head around back to Sweet Home Waimanalo (yes it was that good). Had the ribs. Not a fan of the ribs at all, at SHW. They cut it cross section wise, korean short ribs style, but I wasn't digging the flavor, texture, anything. Kind of disappointed but not that bummed. Wiped my hands, proposed to my girlfriend and then headed off the Waikiki! Reservations for Morimoto Waikiki but we returned our car, and was lazy to walk or hail a cab, so we walked to a local japanese restaurant on I think Koa ave. Nothing spectacular.
So that's the trip. Sorry I don't have more photos of dishes, as it's on my girlfriend's iphone most of them. The ones above were on my dslr but I don't carry it everywhere. All in all, a great trip and we still long for the day we get to come back.
Side Street Inn
1225 Hopaka St, Honolulu, HI
Forgot to add two places. Ono Hawaiian Food. Was a decent homestyle meal. We got the kalua pig and chicken laulau. Loved the laulau. It had a good flavor even for being undersalted. The rest of the meal was ok. The lomi salmon and the jerky dishes were ok, nondescript, not bad, not great. Poi ... yeah I don't think I'll be eating that again. Not my thing. If there was more rice (I should have asked) I would have been more happy, The haupia was decent.
Last place was Ono Seafoods also on Kapahulu. I wanted to try their poke. Got 1/2 lb of their shoyu. At first I couldn't place the taste, if I liked it or not. But the texture of the tuna was awesome. Firm, fresh and unctuous. After a couple more bites I began to appreciate the flavors and really enjoyed it. I wished I had discovered this place before my last day. I would have visited more often and tried more varieties the fish was absolutely delightful. The owners were surprised we were Vietnamese (I Overheard them talking in the back hehe). All in all, wish I visited it earlier in the week. So cheap and accessible!
Ono Hawaiian Foods
726 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
Nice report! Sounds like lots of great experiences. I'm surprised that (when you asked?) that Side Street On Da Strip didn't have flatware for you. SHW sounds good especially that brisket I was just telling someone about it but told them I'd not eaten there but had heard good things.
I like Keneke's myself if I'm going to drive that far...I'm sure other diners were grateful you didn't honor your reservations and were thankful you'd cancelled allowing them to enjoy. Sometimes it's hard to go out and canceling even last minute really helps a place out especially somewhere like Morimoto's. Congratulations on your engagement!
PO Box 654, Waimanalo, HI 96795
I'll make a note of Keneke's when I go back. My good friend is getting married in July so hopefully sooner rather than later!
Weird about Side Street didn't have flatware, I know right? Hey, can I get a fork or even a spoon. Sorry only chopsticks. Serious? Haha. Maybe it was closing time and they put it away? I don't know, but it didn't ruin or mood or anything, just chalk it up to a unique experience!
Yeah I always cancel reservations if I can't make it. I feel guilty as all hell. One time my flight was delayed to San Francisco by one hour, ruining my dinner plans (my fiance travels for work) and I called them on the plane. Opentable makes it so easy, just log in, hit cancel. Don't even have to talk with a human being or anything!
PO Box 654, Waimanalo, HI 96795
I enjoyed reading the post. (I like how proposing to your gf is almost an afterthought! You're a true chowhound, man. :)
Based on what you wrote, you're saying the brisket and kalua pig bowl at Sweet Home Waimanalo are the things to get? Has anyone else tried this place?
Sweet Home Cafe
2334 S King St Ste 102, Honolulu, HI 96826
Yeah, it was the only bbq I had on the island, so maybe there were better, but I got it off a recommendation on these boards and it did not dissappoint. My fiance (kekeke) puts up with my chowhound expeditions and normally just goes along for the ride but this time she was excited about the food.
Awesome report and Congrat's on proposing to your girl!
You hit up a lot of the places we went to in O'ahu in mid September..
We had the Butterfish and Ahi at Roy's and it was better than I expected and the garlic shrimp at Giovanni's almost had a sticky sugar garlic love to it that with the 2 mounds of rice was heaven.
Isn't Top of Waikiki so old school..
I'm so happy you had a great time..did you do any happy hours?
Did you get the cut up pineapple at the park at Diamondhead for $3..OMG the best!
re: Beach Chick
No I didn't get the pineapple, didn't even know about it. Ok booking my flight back right now! (I wish!!!!)
The only happy hour we did was right after a swim in our hotel (waikiki beach marriott) at their bar, so it was very unspectacular food and drink wise. I went upstairs and grabbed beers I had in the fridge :D