I’m glad that we decided to go on a short honeymoon to Oahu right after the wedding… although it wasn’t so fun traveling while sick (and still recovering as I write this) I’m glad we went to a place where there was so much good food to be eaten, because when I travel the thing I want to do the most is eat.
Day 1: Settling in, Tonkatsu, Sunset
After an early flight into Honolulu, we decided to walk around the Waikiki Beach area a bit while we waited for our hotel room to be ready. I realized upon walking out of the hotel that I had forgotten to pack sunglasses, but I found sunglasses for sale at H&M ($4!) and the whole rest of the trip kept saying how much I liked my new sunglasses. So it was a $4 well spent.
We also went to Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin for a late lunch and we were blown away by how good the curry and tonkatsu were… why does this not exist in the Bay Area? It was seriously the best curry I had ever eaten. And now I want some. Sigh.
We ended the day watching the sunset on the beach, where many other people had the same idea. Our hotel let us borrow beach towels, which was very handy.
Day 2: Hiking, Driving, and a Bowling Alley
We had decided not to rent a car for the duration of our trip because of the parking garage fees at the hotel, but still decided to get a car for a day so that we could try to go to the different sides of the island. We started off by eating malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery which were like fluffy big doughnut balls. We only got the original because Justine said that the non-filling ones were better, but I kind of wish we had at least tried one custard one!
We then made our way over to the east side to hike the Pillbox Hike, which wasn’t too difficult except that it rained on our way down which made it super muddy. There were a lot of people who were taking photos at the top, except they were dressed nicely and posing nicely and I wondered if they had brought shoes or clothes to change into or if they were just going to struggle on the way down. We passed by some of them after we were done hiking and it looked like they had just struggled down. Oh well, anything for the gram!
Our lunch was at Ono Steaks and Shrimp Shack where we got the steak and garlic shrimp, which were nice and juicy. Then Jeremiah decided to order the kalbi and coconut shrimp and it was even better than the steak and garlic shrimp – so if you’re going there that’s definitely what I would recommend.
Unfortunately because of the rain, we weren’t able to stay at Lahaina Beach, so we decided to just keep driving around the island. Along the way we saw the Jurassic Park area (those big ridges on the mountain – the only photo I got was through the drivers window which wasn’t that great but it was impressive in person) and we stopped to get an early dinner to eat on the beach at Ted’s Bakery. At Ted’s we got another round of garlic shrimp and pie! I think they’re known for their pie but the garlic shrimp was also delicious. We drove all the way down to the west side to Three Tables Beach where we had quiet time (I read and Jeremiah played Ocarina of Time) until the sun set. On our drive back we decided to stop for another dinner – we pretty much ate two lunches and two dinners every day – at a restaurant Tyler had recommended to us. We were a little confused at first because when we pulled up, we saw it was a bowling alley! But I checked Yelp and yup, indeed The Alley is the restaurant that’s inside a bowling alley and we had a bowl of oxtail soup. It was nice and warming, especially since I started to feel sick again by the end of the night.
Day 3: Beach Again, Eating Again
The next day, we decided to take it easy and just spend the morning on the beach. We stopped by Modo Doughnuts and Musubi Cafe Iyasume to pick up some breakfast along with coffee from Kona Coffee Purveyors (that’s attached to a b.Patisserie – could not miss an opportunity to eat a kouign amann!) Unfortunately – my body could not handle the mixture of lack of sleep, caffeine, and heat and I felt really sick when we got to the beach. Luckily, Justine and James had lent us a beach tent so we set it up and I promptly went inside to sleep while Jeremiah went to surf.
After our morning at the beach we went back to the hotel to clean up a little and then off we went to eat more.
Our first stop was for poke at Ono Seafood, which was everything I wished for in poke. I only wish we had gone with more people so I could have tried the other flavors too. This was one of the basic flavors – I can’t remember which at the moment, but there was a creamy spicy one that I had a sample of that was also really good. We then walked down towards Waiola Shave Ice to get a small shaved ice to share – the menu was hard to interpret, but we managed to get our order in and the shaved ice texture was so soft. (Our other shaved ice experience this trip was from Island Vintage Shave Ice, that Jeremiah went out to get and bring back to the hotel the first night when I was so tired. I personally liked that one better because we got ice cream with it.)
Then, we went for our first dinner at Tonkatsu Tamafuji – unfortunately we did not get to try their curry because I didn’t read the menu correctly but their tonkatsu was also fried so well and seemed almost more delicate than at Ginza Bairin. Our second dinner was omakase at Morio’s Sushi Bistro – the most laid back omakase dinner I’ve ever had and I’m glad that there was another group sitting at the bar with us because they seemed to know the sushi chef and they occupied his attention for most of the time. I know people recommend sitting at the bar so that you can talk to the chef and get free drinks and everything but it makes me nervous because I am very bad at talking to people I don’t know. The sushi wasn’t out of this world amazing but it was all fresh and of course I got very full – the best was this fatty toro that just melted like butter in your mouth. There was also a green tea creme brulee dessert that I could still eat even though I was full because, like I told the server, dessert occupies a different area of my stomach.
Day 4: Tonkatsu Forever
On our last day, we decided to spend a quick hour at the beach – of course I just napped. I had wanted to try açai bowls while we were in Oahu and I dug into the huge bowl at Island Vintage Coffee. For our last meal we went back to Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin because we just loved it that much and had the special kurobuta tonkatsu that they only make a few of every day (we went 30 minutes after they opened), and just a side of curry for me. It was the best way to end our trip in Oahu.
It was a short but fulfilling trip – I would love to go back again and this time be more prepared with the places that I would want to try, and I think we would just rent a car for the whole trip since there’s places that are just a little bit out of walking distance. For example it would have been nice to just be able to drive to Ono Seafood to get poke to eat on the beach! My top three for the trip were Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin, Ono Seafood, and Ono Steaks and Shrimp Shack – but really, almost everything we ate was good, even our little musubis!
Writing this post has made me hungry again… if only I could eat curry right now…