Aloha! Had a lovely time in Ohau.

Old Nov 27th, 2006, 08:09 PM
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Just in case anyone is booked at HHV Dec 8 or 9, they are so overbooked, they are offering to move guests for two night to Hilton (Waikoloa) on BI or Maui (Wailea), incl air and transfers, or Pride of Aloha cruise wtih transfer and tips included!
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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 07:53 AM
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SATURDAY: We got a quick cup of coffee and a muffin at the beachside eatery (Hilton) mainly for the atmosphere. The prices are, of course, rediculous and we didn't make that mistake again. We gathered up our beach gear and headed out in our little orange rental car. We intended to go kayaking at Kailua. (The maps in Oahu Revealed were very useful although I don't like the way they are organized in the book.)

When we arrived at Kailua Beach the wind had picked up and my jaw was still very, very sore. We sat on the beach for awhile watching the kayakers paddling out on the beautiful blue water and walked up and down the beach enjoying the incredible sand. We decided that since I wasn't feeling that well, and the wind looked like it was making the kayaking a little more strenuous, we would skip kayaking and decided instead to continue driving around the island. (Under Activities in the Oahu Revealed book there are a couple of kayak renters listed for Kailua.)

We stopped at various places along the way. I really wanted to try eating at a shrimp truck around Kahuku. We drove by several as I wanted to find Romy's (listed in Oahu Revealed as the only truck with local shrimp) but came back to Giovanni's because my husband couldn't resist the enticing garlic aroma.

GIOVANNI'S SHRIMP TRUCK: We stood in line and placed our order - choice of garlic, spicy, or lemon butter shrimp with two scoops of rice for $12 a plate - and then sat down to wait. They had several gas burners with large fry pans going inside the truck so it didn't take look for our order to come up. They have a nice set-up with covered picnic tables.

The smoothie guy was doing a brisk business selling "coconut milk" - a coconut with a straw in it. I have opened coconuts before and tasted the "milk" and can't see what the attraction is, but the tourists were ordering a lot of them. I thought perhaps he was filling them with a coconut flavored smoothie, but no, the girl across from us confirmed it was "coconut milk" (water).

Our garlic shrimp was, well, very garlicy and a little difficult to peel, but delicious. The spicy shrimp looked like it would send you to the moon with all the pepper flakes on it and the lemon butter looked, well, plain.

As we were leaving my husband stopped to talk with some friends who had also followed their noses to Giovanni's. They all commented about what a great business "the guy" seemed to have - stop off at Costco and buy bags of shrimp and chopped garlic...

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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 08:54 AM
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We also noticed that there is a Giovanni's Shrimp truck parked in Hale'iwa as well.

We continued on around the island and found Ted's Bakery where I had wanted to try their "legendary chocolate haupia pie" but we were so full we skipped it and instead got ice cream later in Hale'iwa later.

The traffic started to get heavier and there was an OP festival going on in Hale'iwa with all kinds of arts and crafts and food booths set up. We couldn't find a place to park and my jaw was continuing to hurt so we skipped it and headed back to Honolulu.

After going for a swim, and showering, we sipped a glass of La Crema Chardonnay (bought in the grocery store in Hale'iwa for less than I can buy it in Safeways here!) on our balcony and enjoyed the view.

LEGEND SEAFOOD: We had decided on Legend Seafood for dinner (Chinese food) since we had the car for the weekend and my husband thought it was too far to walk from the hotel. It is in the ground floor of the Waikiki Trade Center and parking is just past the building on the right side (look for an alley with a parking facility on the left side that "jacks" the cars up (hope you know what I mean - so they can stack them) and the parking garage will be on the right and, shock, free. However, it is a little grungy and next time I would opt to walk or take the bus (does it run in the evening?).

The interior has a high ceiling with a huge chandelier. The walls are painted white.

The restaurant was 1/4 full but there was a loud party going on in the banquet room including a wandering dragon and drummers. My jaw was continuing to hurt and the drumming, while very interesting, gave me a headache and I felt very rude putting my fingers in my ear.

Since we were at "Legend Seafood" my husband ordered us a couple of seafood dishes which were delicious, however, at the next table they were ordering duck and other wonderful dishes which looked very appetizing. We decided that more traditional Chinese food would have been a better choice. I should have gone with the recommendations in the Oahu R. book but wasn't thinking.
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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 08:58 AM
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PS I am having a little difficulty with the Fodors page here this morning. I edited but then almost lost my post (lucky I copied it first but with mistakes) and then had to post it in two sections. Sorry about that.
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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 09:23 AM
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Ronda - I know what you mean about the garlic aroma drawing you to the shrimp truck - I was really tempted the day we were out there driving around, but we had just eaten shaved ice (with the ice cream - yummy!) from Matsumoto's so I didn't indulge in the shrimp - but next time! Thanks for continuing your trip report - it's very fun to read.
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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 02:01 PM
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Thanks, bashful. I quit posting as it seemed there is no interest here but I will go on to review a couple of restaurants.

You may like to know that my jaw did get better. After returning I went to my dentist and she said that the altitude has something to do with it as the pressure in your sinuses is different when you are up in an airplane. Should not eat hard apples or meat that you have to chew a lot - I guess that would be beef jerky since they don't serve meals in coach anymore. lol
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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 02:37 PM
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No interest? You had a lot of responders to your post. Anyway, I'd like to see your dining reviews.
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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 06:09 PM
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You may be surprised to know that lots of people have been silently reading your trip reports. But we don't always chime in to ask you to keep posting, because we assume you will when you get time. I'm going to Oahu in a few days so I'm very interested in any recent travel feedback you can offer - thanks!
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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 06:44 PM
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Hi Ronda, actually I am one of the Fodorites that have so enjoyed your trip report, although I have cringed about the pain in your jaw. I haven't posted as I have had a virus all week and feel like I have been hit by a ten ton truck...and my teeth and jaw are even hurting...so I really relate to how you felt.

A stepgrandson was a manager of the Lounges at the HHV for awhile. Having stayed there more than once when he told me he could get me a great room at a real discount I got so excited. Unfortunately he quit his job and moved back to the mainland before I was able to take advantage of this offer. Bad him!!! I wish it would have worked out as I love the HHV. Thanks for sharing your trip it was a fun read. Garlicy shrimp, sigh, even though I am not hungry due to the virus I have that sounds so good!
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Old Dec 1st, 2006, 07:01 AM
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Thanks all. As you know Loveitaly, I got busy trying to find sapote with my girlfriend and haven't checked back.

Some other restaurants we went to were:

ALAN WONGS: Quite an interesting place. Took a cab there as it was definitely too far to walk from the hotel. The interior is rather plain considering this was the most expensive restaurant we ate at. The personnel really try hard to take care of you. I chose the special salad which was goat cheese and argula but they were out of argula and this was only 6:30. I asked them to substitute baby greens which they did. It was just a salad with goat cheese and candied macadamia nuts which incidentally, one about broke my tooth. The smoky flavor of the salad dressing was very nice (smoky goat cheese). I also had the Ginger Crusted Onaga which was delicious but I wouldn't say was worth all the hype. My husband had the 5 course tasting menu with wine parings and, again, it was delicious but not exceptional. There were many wines by the glass and I chose an Alan Wong white (can't remember which one but I usually order chardonnay) which was nice. My husband really enjoyed his meal. He had been there before and couldn't wait to take me. We did have a nice evening. I think our tab was $200-$250. I'll have to verify that with my husband when he gets home from Amsterdam tonight. If you want the recipe for Ginger Crusted Onaga you can find it here: http://tinyurl.com/yzdns5

HUA TREE LANAI: In the New Otani Hotel has a lovely setting but if you go, be sure to make a reservation for sunset as the view is a major draw. The food was delicious and well prepared although expensive (you ARE paying for the view). Our friends had escargot which they thought was a little tough. I had never tried it so had one and it was similar to a clam or a mussel with garlic sauce. I had fish again (had fish every meal and THAT is how I lost two pounds in Hawaii which I promptly gained back over Thanksgiving)(Well suppose the fact that my jaw hurt and couldn't eat much had something to do with it). A lovely place for dinner under the spreading lighted branches of the Hua Tree with the sound of the ocean in the background. My vote for most romantic restaurant in Honolulu.

Incidentally, I had wanted to stay at the New Otani but by the time I thought of it, they were booked. The rooms are expensive but I saw that one of the hotel booking sites (Expedia or Hotels??? try the tripadvisor search engine) had discounted rooms IF I had thought of it sooner.

OCEAN HOUSE: In the Outrigger Reef Hotel. Had a very nice fish dinner here as well. We weren't here at sunset but I imagine you could see a very nice sunset from here, too. Prices were a little more reasonable. There is another restaurant right next to it which I can't remember the name of. It looked a little more casual and I believe CHUCKS STEAKHOUSE is upstairs in the same building. I did not go there but my Dad who is a meat lover liked it. He said it had a killer view at sunset as well and BTW, his idea of a good restaurant is one that is less expensive and gives you lots of food.

CHART HOUSE: On the marina did not impress me. I would not eat here again. I was very underwhelmed by the food, atmosphere, and drinks.

BREAKERS: In Hale'Iwa. First table they gave us was in the back near the restrooms. Asked to be moved forward and was given a table in the bar which was fine except it was a Sunday afternoon and there was a football game on. The fans were excited and loud. The food was totally unmemorable and I would recommend you eat somewhere else. I had the scallop and broccoli pasta dish - the scallops were overcooked and tiny and rubbery, the broccoli must have been frozen and was dark green mush. The good thing I can say is the beer was good.

I felt sorry for the Japanese couples coming in as they were all given the worst table in the place under the TV set. I felt like leaning over and telling them to ask for another table but the Japanese are so polite I don't think they would ever do that.

STARBUCKS: Well, we didn't eat at McDonalds but I gotta say, after the first couple of mornings we were dying for a Starbucks. From the Hilton walk up to Ala Moana and turn left. (There is a, I think, recommended coffee shop on the corner with a line always.) There is a Starbucks on the right side of the street and a McDonalds. There are also two in the Ala Moana shopping center - we found the one near Macys.

HALE KOA - My parents had told me about eating there as well as Hawaii Revealed. Their coffee was pretty bad and I don't care for fried foods, but at the little snack shop eatery place you can buy fresh cut pineapple, milk, and cereal. Every morning I would go for a walk and stop in for my pineapple fix - $2 I believe. So good I would use my plastic knife to cut as much off close to the peel as I could! My Mom told me I should go for appetizers at Bibas between 3 and 5 but never made it. It is a lovely hotel (for military) so if you ever have a chance to stay there with family, do it. Next time I go to Honolulu I think I will snag Mom and Dad to go along so we can stay at the Hale Koa with them (Dad retired AF).

ABC STORE: We tried several kinds of Macadamia nuts and like the Hawaiian Sun Dark Chocolate the best. The prices don't seem that different at the ABC store at the Hilton and the other ABC stores. The Hilton's ABC is small and liquor department small. I did get a lovely bottle of champagne there. In the morning and afternoon the Hilton serves juice (mango pineapple?) in the shell bar (free).

OK, so where is this story going you ask. As you know, my husband was there on business and left me on my own. One day I thought I would be bad and order a drink in the pool bar but after taking a look at the menu and the ridiculous prices and decided to get a bottle of champage from ABC and a free juice at the shell bar, sit on my balcony and make my own Hawaiian Mimosa. Made the mistake of calling my sister - "Have you been drinking?" Who ME? Nahhhh
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Old Dec 1st, 2006, 07:45 AM
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Ronda, you're making me relive my trip to Oahu in August! The shrimp trucks, the beach at Kailua, the HHV...I want to go back tomorrow! Thanks for letting us vacation through you
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Old Dec 1st, 2006, 08:08 AM
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As long as we are on restaurants, I should mention that there is a large food court in the Ala Moana Shopping Center. They have a wide choice of inexpensive foods. There is also a grocery store, ABC store, and a Longs in the Ala Moana.

PEOPLE: I met a very nice Hawaiian Grandpa in the foodcourt. I just needed to sit down for a bit. Bought a bottled water and sat across from G.pa who was reading the paper. A Canadian lady also sat down next to me to wait for her husband. Pretty soon G.pa looks up from the paper and says to us that we don't have to worry about Alqueda taking over because they (motioning to a group of Chinese tourists sitting at the same table) are going to takeover by buying the place. The Canadian lady agreed and told her story of how the Chinese are buying businesses in Canada and firing the Canadians. Soon she gets up to run after her husband heading out the door. G.pa says he has 11 children and numerous (I forget how many) grandchildren. Born and raised just down the street from the shopping center. 3 of his grandsons are in Afghanistan and one has come home "all shot up - never be the same". He has come to the shopping center with a couple of his granddaughters and is waiting for them to return.

I also talked with a very nice Hawaiian lady on the northshore selling sarongs by the side of the road. One had especially caught my eye which she had displayed on a clothesline- beautiful lillies on a blue background which I bought for my daughter (designed in Hawaii but MADE in Asia - rayon). She told me about the trust that will run out in 2007 involving lots of land on the Northshore which has been designated for agricultural use but because the 'trust' will run out in 2007, the owners will be able to sell the land for whatever use they want. I did hear about this on the radio as well. Everyone is worried about big hotels and condos coming in and buying up the land. She pointed to a modest house across the street and said it is selling for $600,000 and how can any average Hawaiian afford that? It seems Hawaiians are having the same problem (only worse) we are having here. Our home has gone up in value 7X in twenty years but how can my daughter and son-in-law (to be) afford to live here? They can't.

She told me they were very disappointed in the OP Festival. A lot of people had come in for the concert but it really had not increased sales for the local businesses. Next time, she told me, you stay on the Northshore and I agreed. She gave me the vrbo number of her friend's rental. lol

At the OP fesitval I purchased a hand woven (grass?) handbag to use for a shopping bag when I go to the farmers market. The ladies at the booth were so friendly and gracious. I also received a free Live Aloha bumper sticker and a handout explaining the spirit of Aloha. In part it says:

Each of us can improve our community by our individual and collective actions. Each of us has that responsibility. If we act with courtesy and caring, the Hawai'i we value will be strengthened." and "You don't have to be a politician. Or the president of a company. Or a famous doctor, to make everyone's life better. Sometimes the smallest things make the biggest difference."
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Old Dec 1st, 2006, 08:32 AM
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BIGGEST CHARACTER: The bus driver on the Hilo Hattie free shuttle gets my vote. He would be perfect on the jungle cruise ride in Disneyland. While you are riding through town picking up passengers he tells you stories (how he was a waiter but lost his job because he run off for 5 days with a girl, and on and on and on - very funny) and gives you facts. The Trump tower sold out very quickly (did he say a day?) and the cheapest condo is a studio overlooking the city (some crazy figure like $500,000).

Driving down the freeway through Honolulu you see apartment building after apartment building and it made me wonder if they are filled with Hawaiians who can no longer afford to own land or a home in Hawaii. Makes me so sad and very mad.

Next: Runner-up character, and ukuleles.

Me, too, Karameli - I'm ready to go back!
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Old Dec 1st, 2006, 11:56 AM
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<wonder if they are filled with Hawaiians who can no longer afford to own land or a home in Hawaii. >

lots of people could never afford homes or land, Hawaii or elsewhere, me in Seattle for instance
;-)
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Old Dec 1st, 2006, 12:20 PM
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Next time, you might want to try Alan Wong's Pineapple Room (in Ala Moana Macy's). It is less expensive than the actual Alan Wong's. I love the ginger crusted onaga!...so maybe it's a matter of taste.

Real estate prices have always been expensive here, but in recent years the prices have escalated fairly quickly. Not as quickly as it did in the early 90s, though. Most people here work at least 2 jobs in order to make ends meet. And believe me...in this economy, there are many jobs to be had.

Now, what is the OP Festival? Also--spelling police here--that's HAU tree lanai.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2006, 07:29 AM
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OP Festival - Ocean Pacific. It was like an art and wine festival with booths for art, food, and a big stage set up for music. Very friendly atmosphere but the place was empty on Sunday. I heard the turnout was low on Saturday and they were hoping for more people on Sunday but no such luck.
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Old Dec 5th, 2006, 09:48 AM
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HHV is a fantastic hotel. Super clean, beautiful grounds. It is big but quite romantic at the same time.
Turtel Bay Resort is a nice change from HHV. I recommend splitting up your time between Waikiki and the North Shore. Turtle Bay is just for R&R. We got upgraded to a cottage.
Hyatt Waikiki is right across from Waikiki beach. Make sure to get a room on the 15th floor or higher. The traffic noise is distracting if you are on a lower floor.
Mackey's Shrimp Truck is WAY better than Giovanni's. It is just past Sunset beach going away from Turtle Bay Resort.
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Old Dec 5th, 2006, 11:41 AM
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Romy's shrimp truck is REALLY GOOD, too. The garlic spices are incredible.

Great trip report!
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