Hawaiʻi Island


I flew to Kona this past weekend to meet my boyfriend’s parents for the first time. I was about six-years-old the last time I went there. My grams brought me one summer to visit her brother in Hilo and he took us around the island. I remember the drive to Kona was so green and lush, we didn’t see any buildings or manicured residential areas anywhere. Hawai’i Island residents used to be spread out, mom and pop stores were the norm and fresh Hawaiian food was the best you’ve ever tasted. Those were the days!

Back to this weekend…we went hunting for the best açaí bowls on the island. The bf’s niece suggested that we head over to Big Island Juice Co. in Hilo. We took the new Saddle Road and passed chilly Mauna Kea to get there. Upon arriving at our destination, we found it was next to a hookah shop and other local businesses. We walked into Big Island Juice Co. and they suggested their signature Dragonfruit Bowl, which they served in a real pineapple bowl, topped with granola, honey, kiwi, and pineapple. It was glorious and oh so melty. The dragonfruit was a bit tart, but the honey and toppings made it the perfect light meal. It was a humid day in Hilo and we needed the refreshment.


Look at how big it was! Served on top of their branded cutting board. It was actually so melty that my hands were stained pink the rest of the day.

While in Hilo, we also hit up one of my favorite places…Two Ladies Kitchen! I died. They had so many varieties of mochi. I’m usually very picky about mochi, my preference is either traditional plain mochi or with azuki beans. Two Ladies is so good…they stuff full strawberries, grapes, poha berries, and other seasonal fruits into their mochi and it’s even more delicious. I tried to be good and eat only one of each. My bestie in Honolulu requested some so I planned to eat the rest with her…only to realize I left it back in Kona on our way back. #epicfailure


Here’s a better picture of the mochi that we bought but left back in Kona. I get sad every time I think of it. The box on the left is the strawberry mochi. The plastic container on the right had a variety of manju, blueberry mochi, ube manju, shiso mochi, chi chi dango, and peanut butter mochi.


Who goes to Kona and doesn’t order Kona coffee? We drank AND ate it later that day. Kona coffee ice cream was so refreshing in the Kona heat. I can’t forget how yummy it was.


One of the other things on my list was to visit the farmer’s market in Kona. We picked up a fresh Maui gold pineapple, which is super sweet and less acidic than most, a fan for the humidity and lack of decent air conditioning in our car, and I needed a hat (from Cookies Clothing) to hide the messy hair from the long drive.


I’d like to go back soon and hike down Waipiʻo Valley. We drove through Waimea and Honokaʻa to get there, only to see that you have to hike to get down to the black sand beach below. Shucks. I should have done more research. Oh well, next time!

Ko Olina & Aulani

It’s not every day that I get to enjoy the other side of O’ahu. It has definitely changed! It is much more tourist-centric with the somewhat recent opening of the Disney Aulani Resort in Ko Olina. Although I’m almost a year late on the grand opening reviews of Aulani (hey a girl’s gotta work), I decided to sneak in through the side door and take a look at what the hype is all about. The tourist scene is a little more lax than the busy and cheesy Waikiki. No doubt this hotel is cheesy too, having that Chip and Dale are scouring the lobby hallways for a photo-op, but it’s a decent effort to welcome tourists with the Aloha spirit.

The one thing I really like is the lobby. It’s the closest thing to luxury accommodation on the west side of O’ahu. Unfortunately, the kama’aina rate is about $318 for the garden view and $418 for the ocean view. It’s definitely not enough of a discount for me to stay for one night.

The new resort is perfect for families who need to relax. Kapolei is hustling for some business down the road with tourist-friendly mainland giants Target, Costco & K-Mart. From a townie local perspective, I wouldn’t shell out the money to stay there for a night. If anything, I’d definitely take my dad during his business trips to O’ahu just to listen to the live music in the lobby lounge.