Posts Tagged ‘shave ice’

Ensen enjoying his small...yes that's a small...rainbow shave ice ($3) at Shimazu Store on School Street with Grandma Kam.

As I compose this long overdue blog post, I’m simultaneously trying to recall the last time I had a true spring break vacation. The kind where you leave work and all your worries behind and focus on relaxing and having fun with family and friends. I’m drawing a blank. My guess is it must have been more than 16 years ago way back when I was still in high school.*sigh*

With Ensen‘s preschool out for on break a couple weeks ago, I had no choice but to ditched the office in favor of spending five days watching with my son. It was incredible. We had so much fun exploring Oahu and doing everything we could to fill our days. The only thing that would have made it even better is if Kelly and Avery were there with us, but work and the sitter kept each occupied the entire week, respectively.

My goal was to make each day a new and memorable learning experience for Ensen. Let him experience things that would excite him mentally and physically. Do things that he would anxiously want to talk about with his teachers and friends when he returned to school. I believe we accomplished that. Here’s a photo recap of Ensen and His Daddy’s Uber Excellent Adventures:

MONDAY, MARCH 21
Ensen and I headed to Bishop Museum to check out the new “Dinosaurs Unearthed – Feathered Discoveries” exhibit running through September 5, 2011. We had no idea dinosaurs had feathers. Did you? This place has become a family favorite over the past few years and we’ve taken advantage of the great membership rates which has us coming back frequently. So much to see and do. Nice exhibits. The kids always have a great time here.


Getting ready to head in and check out the rest of the dinosaurs.


This guy was our favorite. A cross between a chicken and brontosaurus.


More feathered friends inside.


We spent quite a bit of time digging for fossils in this discovery box.

TUESDAY, MARCH 22
Before heading to the North Shore to check out the big waves, buddy and I made a quick stop at Shige’s Saimin Stand in Wahiawa for some onolicious saimin and a cheeseburger. It was the perfect “brunch” before we hit the road towards Haleiwa.


The waves were pretty big this day at Pipeline, but windy conditions made for lousy waves and no surfers out in the water when we got there. That didn’t stop Ensen from getting his toes in the sand and picking out some nice shells for mommy and Avery. We also had a nice conversation with some visitors from Michigan and Iowa who were happy to be on Oahu. Ensen told them all about his love of Transformers, showed them how to transform the one he had, and they as they patiently listened and watched.


Ensen loves his shrimp, so we made a lunch stop at the Famous Kahuku Shrimp Truck for some Garlic Butter goodness before heading back home. Soooooooo ono!

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23
I figured by day three, Ensen would be getting tired of just hanging out with me, so we called Uncle Kevin, Aunty Sherrie, and Aunty Erin and asked them to take us fishing. They agreed! We all met up at Heeia Kea Pier, one of Uncle Kevin and Papa’s favorite fishing spots, to cast our lines into the sea. Ensen caught five fish. Daddy caught three. And poor Aunty Erin (not pictured to protect her identity…hehehehehe) caught ZERO! Ensen got a kick out of that.


Uncle Kevin and Aunty Sherrie help Ensen reel in his first catch of the day!


If this beautiful place looks familiar, it’s because Pirates of the Caribbean was just filming here not to long ago. The Queen Anne’s Revenge was set here during filming in on Oahu.


Ensen with another fish on the line. I think he’s got a great future as a fisherman.


After a few hours of fishing, we headed to Windward Mall for lunch. But there was more fun ahead. A train ride around the mall ($3/person) was just what Ensen needed before his nap on the car ride home.

THURSDAY, MARCH 24
Aunty Erin (my sister) had so much fun with us on day four that she tagged along with us on our visit to Pearl Harbor/World War II Valor in the Pacific and the USS Missouri Memorial (aka The Mighty Mo). I should note that the Mighty Mo is a client of the agency I work for, so they were kind enough to host the three of us at no charge. But honestly, the $20/person adult and $10/kid (4-10 years old) admission for the Mo is still a deal to see a piece of history.


This entire facility was recently renovated and is beautiful. It’s FREE to enter the general area here and explore the museums (which are beautifully done), grounds, theater and gift shop. That alone is worth the visit to Pearl Harbor. Once you’re in, then you have the option to buy single or multi-attraction tickets. While we also wanted to see the Pacific Aviation Museum, I had a feeling Ensen would be tired after looking around the Mighty Mo for a few hours, so we decided to just do one activity this day. I ended up being right about the tired part.


To get to the Mighty Mo, unless you drive over to Ford Island yourself, you have to take this coach bus from the main entrance.


Photo opp before boarding the ship. It’s huge.


The guns are huge. Can’t imagine being on this thing when they were being fired.


Ensen took his turn as a gunner.


Lunchtime at the Sliders Grill on the dock which serves up burgers, hot dogs and the like. The food is expensive, but it’s the only place to grab a bite near the Mighty Mo. Word is if you can get to the cafe at the Pacific Aviation Museum, there’s some better options there. Nonetheless, we gobbled down a couple of dogs, drank some water, then…


…had Dippin Dots ice cream and made a custom dog tag ($5). We went back on the Mo for a little while after this but Ensen was fading quickly, so we boarded the coach bus and headed back to the main gate. A wonderful day on the Might Mo and at Pearl Harbor. We’ll definitely be back to explore the rest of the sites. There’s just so much to see and do here. I’m estimating two days would be needed to fully enjoy everything.

FRIDAY, MARCH 25
Our last day of spring break began with breakfast at Cafe Kaila (at Market City) with Uncle Regan. I’d been hearing a lot of good things about this place and I’m glad we gave it a try. It was packed and we waited about 30 minutes for a table. But the food and service was great. I had the Italian Sausage Frittata which was the size of my head and very good. Ensen went for the waffle which was yummy. A nice breakfast before we headed off to meet Aunty Erin and Grandma Kam for lunch.


Following lunch, Ensen and I took grandma to National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl to visit my grandpa. Hard to believe it’s already been eight years since his passing. Seems like just yesterday. It was nice to be able to share this moment with Ensen, tell him a little bit about how my grandpa was quite the handyman and all around nice guy, and have him help my grandma with the flowers.


And for his help, Grandma Kam rewarded him with a shave ice at Shimazu Store. Quite possibly the perfect end to a very busy, fun, and memorable spring break vacation.


This whole experience made me realize I need to get away from the office once in a while to kick back, relax, and enjoy this island paradise we call home with loved ones and friends. I’m already looking forward to spring break next year. But hopefully, Kelly and Avery can be there with us as we create more family memories together.

-NGK

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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.
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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

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It’s official. The Kam family is now a member of the Honolulu Zoo and for good reasons:

  1. Membership is only $25 annually for two adults and six children.
  2. Admission is only $4 for kamaaina meaning it’s affordable for grandma, grandpa, aunties and uncles, and friends to come along.
  3. Ensen is so much more aware of his surroundings at 8.5 months old!
  4. Without question, the Honolulu Zoo is a great place for family fun!

So off we went to the zoo this past Saturday with Uncle Glen and Aunty Kim. It was the first time Kelly and I have been back since Ensen was born. The zoo today is much better than I remember it a couple years ago. There is a new Keiki Zoo area which is great for young kids (and old “kids”) with a petting zoo and lots of neat hands-on activities. The African Savannah is my favorite part of the zoo with monkeys, giraffes, antelopes, hippos, meerkats, and much more.

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Ensen thoroughly enjoyed himself, laughing and giggling at just about everything he saw. And after about two hours of walking around, we sat down on the lawn for a nice picnic under the sun. One of the great things about the zoo is that you can bring in your own food and beverages…sweet!!! Then, before we left, Uncle Glen and Aunty Kim bought Ensen a cute pineapple toy from the gift shop. Of all the things he could have picked out – a lion, tiger, snake – he picks a pineapple…go figure!

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This was a great way to start the weekend. The only way to finish an awesome day a the zoo was to visit Waiola Shave Ice (on Kapahulu Avenue) on the way home. Yummy!

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-NGK