I had a chance for a quick getaway with the family to Honolulu, HI from 2/29 to 3/4. Fly in, eat some new grub and fly back out. Ok, there was more to it than that. It was Anna’s grandma’s 90th birthday celebration and everyone who is anyone was flying back for it!
During my short stay I was able to check a few new places to eat as well as hit some old standbys. Where to start?
Well when we arrived at HNL we were all extremely tired. Why? We were supposed to get up at 5am which was already an ungodly hour to get ready and catch our 8:40am flight. But Anna got up early at 3am to finish packing which set off a chain reaction. Emma decided to get up to see what going on. She did the 3 year old thing which is go see what her sleeping soundly sister was doing in her crib.
Next thing I know there is screaming and crying which woke me up. I checked the clock. 3:20am. I thought I was dreaming. No, I hoped I was dreaming. Kids are watching Curious George and it’s 3:30am. Early start to the day. Yawn.
Anna’s parents met us at the airport and brought Zippy’s to help sooth a tired body. Chili and rice. Fried Chicken.
After checking into the hotel and getting settled in we decided to do takeout from the nearby Ramen Nakamura. I had a heard good things about the place and seen lineups every time I drove by.
Since I went around 5pm the place was pretty empty so I was able to place my order right away.
After taking a look at the menu on the wall, I opted for oxtail combo (fried rice and gyoza) and tonkatsu ramen.
The bill was over $30 which was a bit shocking but I guess I did get the combo. Normally I wouldn’t have but thought the kids would want some options. Good thing I had cash though.
The order was ready in about 10 minutes. I noticed they kept the noodles separate from the soup (good). I headed back to the hotel room.
Unfortunately, the tonkatsu ramen soup was super salty to the point it was inedible.
The oxtail ramen was a bit better. There was dipping sauce for the oxtail which was good since by itself I found it kind of dry and tasteless.
Anna liked the fried rice. Gyoza was nothing special.
Kids either weren’t hungry or also didn’t really enjoy the meal. Off they went to bathe leaving a lot of food behind while I had the task of throwing away $30 worth of food (the Chinese in me started to sweat) or eating what I could. It did not hit the spot. Not a good start to eating in Honolulu.
The next day we thought we’d try Diamond Head Market & Grill. It wasn’t really on my “places to hit” list but we had driven by it in the morning on the way to Kahala Mall so it was top of mind.
There’s a takeout window and right beside is a small market which had all sorts of baked goods, drinks, and a selection of deli items.
I ordered the mix plate (teri chicken, char siu pork, hamburger patty, rice & toss salad), a coke, and fries (Emma wanted some). While waiting for my order I saw they had plantation iced tea which I should have got instead of the coke. Darn.
The place was hopping so our wait was kind of long. I had a chance to go with Emma into the bakery, back out, and then back into the bakery to look around before coming out and waiting a few more minutes before the order was ready.
We had planned to eat this back at the hotel as the kids had to nap plus a bit more relaxing than eating in the car.
By the time we got back, the fries were only lukewarm and kind of soaked in oil. I ate like one. Hard to judge if these were good or not. The mix plate didn’t do it for me at all. It had that grilled taste which was good but I just wasn’t into it. Didn’t like the teri chicken, patty, or salad. The cha siu was ok. Did I order the wrong thing?
At least the view was nice and sun was shining bright.
That evening we headed to Hot Pot Heaven for a family dinner.
The place is at McCully Shopping Center which is s short drive from Waikiki. Word of warning. The parking lot sucks. Spots are super tight. Lanes are narrow. It’s always packed. And the lot itself is small although I believe there’s an underground garage.
The way it works here is you choose the type of broth you want. You can even do half and half. Then you go to the fridge and choose the items you want to cook and eat. The only thing you have to order is the meat – thin slices of chicken, beef, or beef tongue (if I remember correctly). There’s also a small condiments area where you can create your own dipping sauce.
For our table we went with the seafood broth (a bit spicy) and mushroom broth. We also ordered one plate of chicken and beef.
The fridge was stocked with tofu, fresh veggies, seafood, and noodles.
Once you are done, the waiter will count up the plates (different colors indicate price) in order to figure out the bill. It was the first time I’ve had hot pot this way so it was interesting to see how it worked. I enjoyed the meal and was plenty full.
The next morning we had a date with Mickey Mouse and friends at the new Aulani Disney Resort. We had reserved the character breakfast for 9:30am but wanted to get there a bit early. Once we got there, there is valet service ($32) which is free if you get validation. The restaurant is downstairs where you get a chance to meet Mickey Mouse before sitting down.
Someone has spotted Mickey Mouse!
The breakfast is a buffet. It’s nothing to write home about. There’s an area tailored towards the kids with things like mickey mouse shaped waffles. The best thing was the fruit, yogurt, and granola. That in itself says it all.
Then again, you really aren’t there to eat. The look of excitement on the kids faces was worth the price (which is $32 per adult; $18 per child (3 and up)).
After the breakfast we decided to walk the ground and go swimming in the lagoon.
Once we finished up swimming, we headed out a little after 1pm. We thought the kids would fall asleep in the car so diverted from H1 to Nimitz to pick up some gourmet plate lunches at Kahai Street Kitchen. First time there. It’s across the street from Ethel’s Grill. This place rocks.
Most of the items were already sold out by the time we got there.
I went with the BBQ Pork Ribs and the Kahai Street Kitchen Combo (sweet and sour ribs and chicken katsu). I’ll let the pictures do the talking but it was damn good. Note that the mac salad was mac potato salad. Also got brown rice.
During the rest of our time there, we went to Asia Manoa (Chinese) and Harbor Village Cuisine (more Chinese) in Hawaii Kai. I also squeezed in Leonard’s for malasada’s (tried the haupia custard for the first time but still preferred original) and Waiola Shave Ice.
Overall a fun albeit short trip!
2141 Kalakaua Avenue # 1
Honolulu, HI 96815
Diamond Head Market & Grill
3158 Monsarrat Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96815
Hot Pot Heaven1960 Kapiolani Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96826
Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
Ko Olina, Hawai’i
92-1185 Ali’inui Drive
Kapolei, HI 96707
Kahai Street Kitchen
237 Kalihi Street
Honolulu, HI 96819