Archive for the ‘Oahu’ Category

Update 7/29/12:
Got confirmation from former He’eia Kea Pier General Store and Deli Chef Mark Noguchi  that the pier will be featured on the Monday, August 6 episode of DDD.

Update 7/30/12:
Saw Camille Komine, chef/owner of Camille’s on Wheels, post to Facebook that she’ll be featured on the Monday, July 30 episode of DDD titled “Coast to Coast Chow. There’s also a viewing party at The Grove in Kailua at 7 p.m. Get out and support!!

I was excited to read in Erika Engle’s column (Honolulu Star-Advertiser) today that Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri will be featuring Oahu’s Jawaiian Irie Jerk Restaurant in tonight’s episode “Dynamic Dishes.” Not because of the food since I’ve never been there. But because I’m a fan of the show with a soft spot for seeing anything Hawaii featured on national television. What can I say, it’s the destination marketing/PR guy in me.

The article mentions the other Oahu restaurant locations are top secret, but those following The Match Cut Crew production company on Twitter during their time here know exactly where they filmed. The crew would tweet the location after wrapping. I won’t spoil the surprise entirely, so go back to their April tweets if your curious. They did manage to get to one of my favorites, Heeia Kea Pier General Store and Deli. I was fortunate enough to be invited by my pal chef/owner Mark “Gooch” Noguchi to be one of the “fake customers” and got to meet Guy. Cool stuff.

Hats off to the Oahu Visitors Bureau and my PR colleagues at Stryker Weiner and Yokota Public Relations for getting Guy back to the islands to explore more of the diverse culinary offerings Hawaii has to offer. It’s great inspiration for travelers heading this way. It’s great for the destination. And it’s really great for the small businesses that reap the benefits of the priceless exposure. I’ve heard from others who have been on the show that business goes through the roof once they are seen on Triple D. The brand is strong!

Okay, and I saw them pull into Fresh Catch in Kaneohe right after they finished up at Heeia Pier. But that’s all I’m telling you.

Check your local listings and enjoy the show!

Advertisements

I love what Bob McGee and the gang at The Whole Ox Butcher and Deli are doing to elevate the local food scene on Oahu. Their commitment to supporting local farmers and ranchers alone is commendable. However, it’s the passion, technique, quality, and flavors displayed in the food that keeps me coming back for more…and more…and more.

For example, the signature Dry Aged Burger is nothing short of amazing and not for the faint of heart. A thick all local beef patty – no fillers here – is perfectly cooked to your liking and sits atop a soft, lightly toasted brioche bun. Topped simply with grilled onions, it’s all the ingredients for a perfect beefy bite. And I do mean beefy as in flavor and texture. I’m salivating thinking about this burger as I write this post.

This is just one of the great things to eat on the menu. Housemade pastrami, porchetta, salumi, headcheese, salads and more await hungry eaters looking for a solid meal in a casual setting. And by the way, the serve a killer breakfast too. You can bet you’ll be seeing more Whole Ox goodness in future “Eat This” posts.

The Whole Ox Butcher & Deli
327 Keawe Street (corner of Auahi)
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: 808-669-6328
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Follow them on Twitter and Facebook

I had the incredible opportunity of embarking on the USS Santa Fe Naval submarine as a distinguished guest this past Friday with social media friends Melissa Chang and Burt Lum. I’ll be posting more about the experience over the next week. However, thought I’d post some video (taken with my Canon Rebel EOS T1i) of us spending some time on the “Sail” as we cruised in waters off Oahu’s south shore. This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me. After crawling up the hatch, we stood on an area that seemed no bigger than 4′ x 5’…not very much space. Our harness was connected to a safety latch on the sub so in case we fell, we wouldn’t plunge into the Pacific Ocean. It was a beautiful day and and an amazing opportunity.  Truly one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had (another being on an overnight embark on the USS Nimitz last year). Check it out!

Be sure to read about Melissa’s experiences aboard the USS Santa Fe on her Urban Mix Plate blog. Bert is sharing his perspectives on his Bytemarks.org site. I also have photos that I took posted to my Flickr account. Enjoy!

-NGK

Bookmark and Share

A popular spot for visitors on Oahu is Kualoa Ranch where the hit ABC show "LOST" is filmed.

A popular spot for visitors traveling to Hawaii is Kualoa Ranch on Oahu where the hit ABC show “LOST” is filmed.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’re probably aware that traveling to your favorite vacation destination is now more affordable (and probably cheaper) than ever.  Airlines, hotels, activities, and attractions are bringing down rates and adding value in an effort to entice visitors to get off the sofa and travel in this  challenging economy. Those with the means (or attitude) to kick the “recession” in the behind and continue with their vacations to places like Florida, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York know what I’m talking about. And Hawaii is no exception!

Despite being a dream destination for many, Hawaii’s perception as an expensive vacation spot has likely kept some from coming. While I think terms like “expensive” and “cheap” are all relative, one thing is certain. Those who are planning a Hawaii vacation today are realizing they can have their cake and eat it too. You don’t have to sacrifice quality of the experience for price. Hawaii is offering both.

A good example of this was highlighted in an Associated Press story headlined “Hawaii hotels offer great (and bizarre) deals” examining some of the creative ways the tourism industry in the Hawaiian Islands is staying competitive and the significant deals being offered. Just search Google or Bing and up comes tons of Hawaii travel specials. And if you’re on Twitter, the hashtag #hideals (short for Hawaii Deals) brings up further examples of the great island savings available out there on a regular basis.

So with all the great Hawaii vacation deals available, is it enough to tip the scale and get people traveling? Will people pay for an incredible vacation experience or settle for a mediocre one to save $$? I decided to ask the question on Facebook and Twitter and got some interesting responses. Here’s the feedback from Facebook:

CM Capture 2

Folks on Twitter had similar comments:

CM Capture 5

CM Capture 3

Not surprisingly, folks are looking for an incredible vacation experience at a good value. Some will save their money until they can afford that trip. Others will use rewards programs to make the trip a reality now. Shorter trips are also an option. And some are going to travel regardless of what the economy is telling them.

Is it enough to tip the scales? Only time will tell. Bottom line is the tourism industry is rallying to keep travel affordable to places like Hawaii (Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Hawaii Island) and other popular destinations. Get while the getting is good! Now is the time to go, so what are you waiting for?

-NGK

Bookmark and Share

Shave ice from Aoki's on Oahu's North Shore is always a great way to cool off!

Shave ice from Aoki’s on Oahu’s North Shore is always a great way to cool off!

It’s been pretty hot and humid in Hawaii the past week. So much so that Mother Nature has forced us to use our portable AC  at night in our bedroom to get a good nights rest. As locals and visitors alike look for options to beat the Hawaii heat, it got me thinking about some of my favorite ways to cool down when the sun is out. And I’m not talking about beaches, swimming pools, or spa treatments. I’m talking about cool treats to bring the body temperature down while satisfying the sweet tooth and quenching that thirst.

Here’s my suggestions for island treats to beat the summer heat:

Shave Ice
This one is pretty much a no-brainer when it’s time to cool off after a long day at the beach, hiking, or working at the office. Institutions like Waiola Shave Ice, Aoki’s Shave Ice, Matsumoto Shave Ice, and countless other are the perfect cure. You really can’t go wrong with any flavor combination. But my personal favorite is to have shave ice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and li hing mui syrup all over. YUM!

Strawberry and pineapple mix ice cream from Tasaka Guri Guri at Maui Mall. A "must try" for anyone visiting Maui!

Strawberry and pineapple mix ice cream from Tasaka Guri Guri at Maui Mall. A “must try” for anyone visiting Maui!

Ice Cream
There’s a few local ice cream producers like Roselani Tropics Ice Cream (Maui), Lapperts (Kauai), and the famous Tasaka Guri Guri (Maui) that trumps the national brands any day in my opinion. Maybe it’s just the proud local in me, but I’m not sure there’s anything more satisfying than a bowl of Roselani’s Haupia (coconut) ice cream, or Lappert’s Kona Coffee ice cream, or Tasaka’s Strawberry and Pineapple Guri Guri. And don’t forget about mochi ice cream found at many Japanese restaurants, sushi bars, and stores like Shirokiya in Ala Moana Center. SO ONO!

Frozen Yogurt
In the past year, there’s been a resurgence in the popularity of frozen yogurt. We’ve seen places like Yogurtland, Menchie’s, Red Mango, and many more sprout up on Oahu like weeds. I’m sure there’s many other on the neighbor islands. I’m not going to waste my time explaining why. All you need to do is read my friend Melissa Chang’s review of “Yogurt mania in Hawaii” in Metromix to understand what the buzz is all about.
IMG_0678IMG_0681

Tropical Drinks
A tropical drink may not be considered a “cool treat” to everyone, but it certainly means exactly that to me. And to many visitors as well having as I’ve witnessed while attending many business meetings at Hawaii resorts and jealously see vacationers lounging poolside with Mai Tais and Pina Coladas (pictured above) in hand. Hawaii has some of the best cocktails found anywhere in the world. So do yourself a favor and get out of the sun for a minute, belly up to the bar, and enjoy a refreshing tropical drink. I always do when I’m enjoying a cocktail at my favorite beach bar. BTW, I hear the Mai Tai Degeneres at The Royal Hawaiian is incredible. Can you guess who it’s named after? I thought you could.

These are just a few of the ways I stay cool when things heat up in the Islands. I know there’s plenty of other local treats that will do the job. What are some of your favorite ways to cool off?

-NGK

Bookmark and Share

img_8596

Ensen and Lia checking out the monk seals at Waikiki Aquarium.

One of the great things about having a young child is rediscovering some of the great – and affordable – activities and attractions we enjoyed as kids growing up. Being from the Big Island, it was always a treat to come to Oahu to visit family. It also meant an opportunity to visit the zoo, aquarium, museums, and other fun stuff, things we didn’t have in Kona. On the other hand, Kelly grew up on Oahu and enjoyed these things on a much more regular basis.

But the bottom line is after we both got older, we lost touch with these great backyard treasures which have only gotten better with time. Now as parents, we’re relishing the opportunity to rediscover and explore Oahu’s great family activities and attractions with Ensen (now 20-months old). But more than that, many of our friends also have kids and are reconnecting like we are with childhood favorites. Exploring together as families makes the experience that much richer.

We recently visited the Waikiki Aquarium for the first time in years with my buddy Brad and his daughter Lia. Admission is just $9 for adults ($6 kamaaina) and kids under 4-years-old are free. It’s not the biggest aquarium, but it’s got a lot of cool stuff to explore. I put together this short tour of the facility. Can you name the marine animal in the last part of the video?

One of the coolest things about the Waikiki Aquarium is the Hawaiian Monk Seal feeding show. The trainers there are well educated and share the knowledge with park visitors several times throughout the day. I actually shot the entire show (10 minutes) which was one of the big highlights of our visit.

If you haven’t been to the aquarium in a while, I recommend you head back soon. Lot’s of fun and a great value. And while we’re on the subject, here are some other places we like that you may want to check out that are equally affordable and perfect for the family:

What are your favorite activities and attractions on Oahu that don’t break the bank? I’m always in search for more fun things to do with the family!

-NGK

Bookmark and Share

If you’re a foodie in search of a true taste of Hawaii, Alan Wong’s Restaurant is your answer. Just watch the video above and you’ll understand why. Chef Wong is all about giving his guests a true slice of Hawaii, serving things grown off our land and from the sea, in a style all his own. The result is a creative presentation of flavors, textures, and representation of Hawaii’s multi-ethnic heritage on each plate.

I’ve been a fan of Chef Wong’s Hawaii Regional Cuisine since the first time I dined at his King Street restaurant roughly 10 years ago. I’ve been fortunate to dine there many times since and I’m yet to have something on the menu I didn’t like. The Hamakua Springs Tomato, Beet and Avocado Salad with Li Hing Mui Ume Vinaigrette is reason enough for me to go back. It’s a nice restaurant tucked away in an unassuming location in a building you probably wouldn’t expect to find a restaurant of this caliber. The service is always great and the food always consistently delicious. Afterall, the restaurant was ranked #8 in America by Gourmet magazine last year and President-Elect Barack Obama recently dined here on his recent Hawaii vacation.

So when my mom asked “where should we go to eat on Christmas Eve?”, I didn’t even have to think twice before suggesting Alan Wong’s and I’m glad we went. The restaurant featured a five course prix fixe menu that was just remarkable. Here’s how the night went:

img_7874

AMUSE BOUCHE: Araimo Potato Croquette with Sevruga Caviar

img_7875

FIRST COURSE (Choice 1): “Oxtail Soup” - Braised Oxtail Terrine, Peanuts, Ginger, Grated Mochi

img_7876

FIRST COURSE (Choice 2): "Scallop Dumpling” - "Superior" Broth, Spinach, Shiitake Mushrooms

img_7881

SECOND COURSE: Seared Ahi with Edamame Mousse, Soy Calamansi Sauce

img_7883

THIRD COURSE: Butter Poached Lobster with Lobster Sausage, Miso Mustard Vinaigrette, Tokyo Negi Sauerkraut

img_7891

ENTREE: Smoked Kurobuta Pork Chop with Braised Red Cabbage, Foie Gras Bread Dumpling, Ohelo Cranberry Sauce

img_7887

ENTREE: Maui Cattle Company Beef Tenderloin with Black Pepper Coconut Sauce, Hamakua Mushrooms, Swiss Chard, Baby Beets

img_7888

ENTREE: Ginger Crusted Onaga with Organically Grown Hamakua Mushrooms, Corn, Miso Sesame Vinaigrette

img_7889

ENTREE: Red Wine Braised Duck “Sauerbraten” Style with Spice Roasted Pumpkin, Gobo, Hasu, Carrot

img_7893

DESSERT (Choice 1): “Caramel Dipped Apple” - Ohelo Berry Fruit Cake, House Made Hot Apple Cider with Green Shiso Kanten, Macadamia Nut Praline Ice Cream

img_7892

DESSERT: “Chocolate Wishes” - Waialua Chocolate Chestnut Cake, Eggnog Truffles, Chocolate Sorbet, Candied Chestnuts

img_7894

THE BONUS: Chocolate covered macadamia nuts

On this night, Chef Wong and his culinary team received two thumbs up from my mom and dad, my sister Erin, Kelly, Ensen, and me. Kelly and I also decided to go with the wine pairings on each course to enhance the experience, which I highly recommend. It’s amazing what a perfectly matched champagne, sake, and wine can do take a meal to a whole new level.

img_7896img_7901

Next time you’re looking for a wonderful meal in Honolulu, remember Alan Wong’s for that special occasion (and his other restaurant The Pineapple Room at Macy’s Ala Moana too). I’m looking forward to coming back soon!

-NGK

Alan Wong’s Restaurant
1857 South King Street, Third Floor
808-949-2526

The Pineapple Room
Macy’s, Third Floor, Ala Moana Center
808-945-6573

[Video of Alan Wong courtesy of Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.]

Bookmark and Share