Waikiki Staycation

Olive + Oliver

These past few weeks have been a bit hectic in the office and at home so I asked my fiancé if he’d be opposed to getting some sun and alone time in busy Waikiki all weekend. Surprisingly, he was so excited, he booked a room at The Surfjack the next day!

We usually like to stay at The Laylow because of the nearby restaurants and luxe and trendy ambience, but he knew I was curious about the vintage vibe at The Surfjack. They have a nice restaurant called Mahina and Suns and live music every weekend. I dig it very much.

One of my fave things about The Surfjack is their coffee shop / boutique, Olive + Oliver. Coffee is below $5 and you get to choose a cup by a famous illustrator. The one pictured above is by Kim Sielbeck, a Honolulu-based artist.

View of the pool from our room on the second floor.

The Surfjack isn’t too far from most eateries, but you’ll have to either walk or borrow a bike. We decided to have breakfast at Bills Hawaii, an Australian restaurant best known for their ricotta pancakes.

The Full Aussie from Bills

Before we get into the ricotta pancakes, I wanted to mention the Full Aussie, which is a nice heap of protein and the best miso mushrooms I’ve had. Bills has a teensy bit of local flair, serving kimchee sausage as part of their signature Aussie breakfast.

Ricotta pancakes from Bills

Cue melty buttah action! The ricotta pancakes were served with this honey butter, which resembled sporty banana slices. I was confused at first, seeing banana at the bottom, I mistook the honey butter slice for banana and accidentally put it in my mouth! Kinda gross, but not?! I spit it out and spread the rest of the (untouched) butter across the cakes and we devoured every bite. Oh, if you show your local ID, kamaaina discount is 20%! Yassss…

Tsukemen from Bario

I wish I took photos at the beach, but I was too busy relaxing and frolicking with the fiancé to stop and take photos. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, Waikiki beach was nice, but full of tourists (shocker). For lunch, we wanted to go someplace with a kamaaina discount…so we walked over to Yokocho, my fave spot for Japanese food. If you’re local, you get 15% off your order. We got the ramen and original tsukemen from Bario, because comfort food is a must after every beach day.

Book recommendation: In the Seat of a Stranger’s Car – bought this gem at Olive + Oliver.

This is how we ended our little staycation: with a book and a matcha latte with Olive + Oliver’s homemade honey syrup. Photos of myself sleeping with my mouth open on the pool lounge chair may surface later this week, but I don’t have any regrets about taking a little break from work and family obligations! I’d do it all over again.

Breakfast Bowls

IBbreakfastbowlsWhile I’m no stranger to fancy açaí or blended fruit bowls, I never used to put any effort into the bowls I make at home until recently. Honolulu’s açaí bowls are pretty, but expensive, clocking in at $10 and up and if you’re lucky, your granola will still be super crunchy.

I’ve been trying to replicate what I see on Pinterest and it’s quite fun. The ingredients I’ve used for this bowl are spirulina powder, plain greek yogurt, raw chia, grain-free granola, frozen bananas and strawberries (I’ve frozen them myself), a bit of blueberries, macnut milk (I buy the Milkadamia brand, unsweetened plain) and a bit of cara cara orange. I think it’s best to use whatever is in season so you don’t get tired of them.

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Because these bowls contain a ton of sugar, I try not to eat these as much. However, when I do get to enjoy them, I’ll savor every bite. Once in a while, I’ll sneak in a dollop of almond butter to make it a bit creamier.

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When I do feel like buying an acai bowl or a blended fruit bowl, there are three places I’ll go to on Oahu:

Well + Proper

Not the most accessible, but if you follow her on Instagram @well_n_proper, she’ll let her customers know when she’s in. I set a notification for her posts. Her macnut butter is amazing and her acai isn’t so sweet. I love it. She also sells fresh squeezed juices and elixirs.

Jewel or Juice

If I want really good, fresh and crunchy granola, this is the place to go! They make their own granola and sell it on the side if you want to take some home. Their bowls are consistent and very good.

Banán

This place has been around for a while. I used to go to their small truck in Diamond Head to order their soft serve in a papaya with granola and macnut butter. Now they have a convenient location in the walkways of Kahala Mall. Their kiosk is well stocked and they usually have a line and a long wait. Still great, nonetheless.

 

Top 10 Places to Eat on Guam

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While I was vacationing in Guam last month, a Hawaii friend stationed on the Navy base had asked if I could provide a list of my fave places to eat on the island. I couldn’t possibly list all my go-to’s, so I’ve compiled a list of my top places. You’ll find good food anywhere on the island, really. But I tried to list all the places that locals frequent because of the food quality, excellent dishes or authenticity.

CROWN BAKERY – Located in Mangilao. I usually don’t eat donuts, but I LOVE their plain glazed donuts! They’re better than Krispy Kreme. I promise. Go early in the morning after the kids go to school or in the afternoon. They make a fresh batch around 5 a.m. and at 4 p.m. daily. You won’t regret it.

MESKLA – a bit pricey (for Guam), but it’s authentic Chamorro cooking with a nice dining atmosphere. Order the tinala katne (it’s just like pipikaula) with red rice and chicken kelaguen (like ceviche). Don’t be afraid to order the “fiesta platter” because it comes with a lot of authentic Chamorro dishes (fried parrotfish, chicken kelaguen, bbq ribs and tinala katne). Explore the menu when you can. Don’t waste your time on the desserts unless the staff recommends a special dessert. $$

IZAKAYA KATSU / GREEN DOOR (locally known as Green Door – because, well, the entrance is a green door) – this is one of my fave hole in the wall restaurants on the island. Mostly locals go there because it’s hidden on the third floor of a parking garage in the Central Plaza building next to the Tumon Police Station. It’s a Japanese restaurant known for their tofu steak (you wouldn’t believe how tasty it is, it’s such a unique dish), chicken katsu, grilled saba and curry. $$

PROA – this is a friendlier, more American approach to island food. I like all the dishes on the menu. I can’t pick just one. You’ll find this in Tumon. $$

CHAMORRO VILLAGE – Best time to go is around 5:30 p.m. when the Wednesday Night Market begins. There are all sorts of food vendors (thai, Vietnamese, Chamorro, filipino, etc.). They’re all great, but I prefer to dine in at the little Chamorro restaurant with A/C. They have the best bbq ribs and chicken. Spacing is tight so try to get there early. $

LEMAI CAFE RESTAURANTI just found out this place has closed! I’ll still include it since it deserves some recognition for being one of my fave places to eat on the island. Lemai Cafe is a mom and pop restaurant located on a breadfruit farm. I order their fried porkchops (I just realized this list has a lot of heavy, comfort dishes, but that’s really, the best part of Guam – comfort food!). I felt most at home in this restaurant. Only locals really go here, so enjoy the good, authentic food. It’s in between Barrigada and Tiyan. $

SAKURA KITCHEN – This is the cheapest place to get good Japanese food. They have so many yummy dishes. I love their fried garlic appetizer served with lemon and miso, miso salmon, shrimp tempura, sushi, udon, curry, chicken or pork katsu, and sashimi). Located in Tamuning. $

BAN THAI– Best thai food on the island. Best to go for lunch, since it’s only $13 per person all you can eat thai buffet. I love their tom yum soup, pad thai, fried chicken and fried banana lumpia (call ahead for banana lumpia – they only make it on certain days). Located in Tumon. $

PIKA’S CAFÉ – This café/restaurant is perfect if you’re craving something lighter but still maintaining a local flair. They have typical deli style sandwiches and salads but you can order some great unique and affordable local-ish dishes. Definitely one of my fave lunch spots. Located in Tamuning. $

PALM CAFÉ – Located in Tumon at the Outrigger Hotel. This is a higher-end place to go for Sunday brunch. Locals compete with tourists for a table on Sundays because the food is worth your money. My family comes here for special occasions. $$$

MICHELLE’S COFFEE SHOP – This is where I took my boyfriend for a local breakfast the first day he arrived in Guam. You’ll only see locals around here. It’s near a high school and just down the road from the university. It’s also in the heart of Guam, so residents stop by to read the paper while they chomp away at their Chamorro sausage scramble with garlic fried rice. It’s far from fancy, yet so comforting. $

I’m pretty sure I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the great things Guam has to offer. But definitely pay attention to the events listing in the local paper or online. They have great events like the Mango Festival in Agat and other local festivals with various food vendors and activities for families.

Is there a good Guam restaurant or eatery I’ve missed? Feel free to share it in the comments.

Foodie Fix Recap

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That sandwich is GINORMOUS! Sikspix took me to Storto’s earlier this week to culture me on a proper East coast sub. The sandwiches we ordered were just shy of three feet long. Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating but it was huge. I’ve never seen a sandwich that big here in Hawaii. We got the Adam Sando sub, which was packed with turkey, avocado, bacon, papaya seed dressing and honey mustard. I died.

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A couple days later, FoodographyHI and I talked over her beet/goat cheese salad and my eggplant parmesan at La Tour on Nimitz Hwy. She’s my go-to gal on good places to eat on O’ahu because this chick knows her food and is pretty awesome at making all the foodie hunnies lust after her daily posts. Check her out on Facebook and drool away.

Just a “Pinch of Salt” and savor the broth

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Last night’s Honolulu Night Market at Kaka’ako event was pretty chill this time around. They must switch up the vendors each month to keep things fresh. Although there were less interesting food and pop-ups, the entertainment was awesome! There was some sort of drag show and The Deadbeats did their thang.

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Inside the Pinch of Salt pop-up marketplace, there was an eye-catching mural of Marilyn. “All great things are preceded with chaos.” Yes, I completely agree!

Then you had your usual glances of hipster heaven, like this typewriter, for example. It was part of Hound & Quail‘s display of vintage, mid-century items. They had some typewriters, polaroid cameras and pretty jars for sale. In the photo on the right, there was a little green shop Paiko, which had some plants, paintings and eco-friendly gift-wrapping paper for sale.

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Just outside the entrance of the night market, it looked like live artists were battling it out on the streets. The alcoholics and foodies took to the cocktail specials and the whole place was decked with ornaments and little Santas.

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Afterwards, my best friends and I decided the bacon wrapped hot dogs at the night market didn’t sound too appetizing so we scoured the town for a late night hot pot haven. My good friend Sue had told me about Sweet Home Cafe a while ago and I’ve been wanting to go ever since. Hot soup and veggies sounded perfect for a chilly night. So we ordered two tasty broths, cooked some enoki mushrooms, choy sum, tofu and meat. The service was entertaining and excellent.

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The grand finale was a complimentary dessert (another reason why I’ve fallen completely in love with this place). I have no idea what it’s called but it was some sort of shaved ice with coffee jello, watermelon jello, green stuff, white jello and tapioca.

It was a good night boys and girls.

 

Purple haze

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This week has been pretty crazy. I had to rely on my trusty calendar to remember what days I work at which job and with whom – what meetings I have scheduled. I don’t think that sentence made any sense. But anyways, after a few days of being a complete scatterbrain, I realized it’s already Thursday and I should start taking it easy because it’s going to be a pain grading exams all weekend.

Yesterday I took a moment to regroup and clear my head before a work meeting/dinner at Gordon Biersch at Aloha Tower Marketplace. I shot this photo (above) with my iPhone from the parking lot. I decided to use a little “purple haze” filter on this, just because I’ve seen lots of lavender/purple shades around town lately. Or maybe it’s just the color of the month…in my head. I wish I had a moment like this to myself everyday.

IB AsukaThis next photo is from the other night. My good friend Ryan took me to this new restaurant on Waialae Avenue. It’s called Asuka Nabe + Shabu Shabu and it’s fairly new and very popular. It was packed with locals of all sorts. The last time I ate Shabu Shabu was at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Saipan more than seven years ago. It’s been ages! It was a perfect meal for that chilly night.

The food was great, very tasty. I suggest the spicy broth (it’s not spicy at all, but it’s a peppery miso base that tastes amazing after you cook all your meat, prawns and veggies) and the Asuka-style cucumber kimchee.

There’s nothing like good friends and good food, especially in Hawaii. The two go hand in hand. I’ll be back to update you on Saturday’s Honolulu Night + Market at Kaka’ako. Chau!

 

 

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Honolulu Night + Market /// Rogue Christmas

So let’s see…

The mastermind behind Darqlabs just informed me that the parking for the Honolulu Night Market has been remedied (you may park at the Eat the Street lot). Damn this overpopulated city! It took me three swear words and a near beat down by a tita in her brown Buick to find parking last time. She was scary and I was ready to leave. (I really didn’t mean to steal her stall. I’ve just grown to be an aggressive driver.)

Now that the parking is taken care of…that means I’m stoked for this event! I’m saving up for some turbands, hipster lens and maybe some macarons. My girls and I are heading down their next Saturday to treat ourselves to some girl time and gawk at the latest products by some local artists. Hopefully attend some improv shows as well?

Confirmed vendors are B.E.A.D.S. HI, Hound & Quail, LMS Boutique, HRDLCK & Maiden Hell, ONEONE Jewelry, LoveBurd Denim, Bamboo Sky and TiffHeartFashion’s Preloved Clothes.

Entrance fee is usually $5. Come out and support your local artists, chefs, designers and performers. It’s the cool thing to do.