Top Ten Things to do in Honolulu

1. Take a Surfing Lesson -FYI the further you walk down Waikiki beach the cheaper the lessons get!
2. Snorkel with Sea Turtles at Turtle Canyon (we took a catamaran cruise)
3. Watch fireworks at Hilton Hawaiian Village(given every Friday)
4. Do a Luau!
5. Eat garlic shrimp from a truck(there are plenty to choose from my fav was from Gilligan’s located next to the Hilton Hotel
6. Eat Pho! Eat Thai FoodI Had my first Pho experience and I ate the best Thai food in Honolulu
7. Diamond Head Hike- 45 minute hike with extraordinary views!
8. Drive to the North Shore! Stop at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck and Ted’s Bakery! Check out Dole Plantation. Get the pineapple icecream! Check out where they filmed Jurassic Park! Perfect day trip.
9. Go to Leonard’s Bakery for a warm fresh malasada. (Portuguese doughnut)
10. Get icecream from Lappert’s!! Best icecream ever with macadamia nuts and chunks of white chocolate! Yum!

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Adventures in Hawaii

Surfing Lesson: I figured if I ever was going to surf it would be Hawaii. I figured since I was there it was a must to take a lesson. I was pretty nervous about it.. But I pushed myself to do it.. who knows if I will ever have the chance again. I chose aloha beach services which was a pretty long walk down Waikiki beach. I read great reviews about them and the website guaranteed that you stand up and they guaranteed you would fall down. It was 80$ for an hour long private lesson. So I grabbed a board and headed out with my surfing instructor, tommy (a scary looking older man of few words) I was horrible but I kept trying and didn’t give up until Tommy told me to ride the final wave out. He kept telling me to relax and take my time standing up on the board. But I couldn’t get the hang of it and Tommy was frustrated and pretty much lost his patience with me. I scraped up my knees and toes on the board. He even asked another instructor to give me a pep talk..it did not help..I’m no surfer..but I tried. Even though I did feel like giving up and telling my instructor he sucked!!(haha)
Well that was my experience with surfing not to say I wouldn’t try again. Paddle boarding: I have never paddle boarded before. Last year when I was in Aruba I wanted to do it but I didn’t have the nerve. I thought i wouldn’t be able to stand up and it would just be embarrassing. But I decided I would def do it on my trip to Hawaii. I paddle boarded in a lagoon with calm water so I didn’t have to worry about waves. I was able to stand up and use the paddles with little to no help.
Catamaran snorkel at turtle canyon: I have a thing for sea turtles..so whenever we go away and snorkel I am on the lookout for turtles. On a cruise last year we found a few snorkeling in St. Martin. So when we saw a catamaran snorkel tour to turtle canyon that guaranteed turtle sightings we signed up!
Diamond head hike: we took the bus to diamond head. It was a very hot day and we tried to get there early to beat the heat and crowds. We dressed comfortably and brought a few bottles of water. I’m not much of a hiker at all. However, if there are beautiful views or a landmark I’m all for it. The terrain wasn’t bad at all and it took us about 40 minutes including all the stops to take pictures.
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Hawaii (The Food)

Before heading out to Hawaii I checked out Trip Advisor and Yelp. I always try to check out and research restaurants and points of interests before I travel.

During my research I came across Leonard’s Bakery. They are located in Honolulu and have been around since 1952. They are famous for their Malasada’s. A Malasada is a Portuguese donut without a hole. They are delicious! We ordered 2 dozen. They are best when you eat them hot and fresh, that’s the reason they are made to order. There was a line but it moved pretty quickly. My favorite was the cinnamon sugar malasadas. We also got them with coconut, chocolate and crème filling.(We went overboard)

Then there was Ted’s Bakery. We were told about this place from Erika, she was our Enterprise (car rental) rep. She was awesome, and gave us amazing tips and was very helpful. She said they had amazing pies and when we took our day trip to the North Shore we should def make a stop..so we did. It was a little hole in the wall place and it did not look like your typical bakery. I chose 2 individual pies from the refrigerator. Erika raved about the Chocolate Haupia pie and the Cherry pie. But, I’m not a fan of cherries so I bought The Chocolate Haupia Cream Pie and Strawberry Guava Cream Pie. It was amazing. I am still kicking myself for not buying more but we stopped there after we ate Garlic Shrimp and rice from Giovanni’s food truck so we were stuffed at the moment we stopped in.

Which brings me to the Shrimp Trucks. Erika from Enterprise (car rental) along with a few other natives told us about Giovanni’s Shrimp truck that specializes in Garlic Shrimp. We were told it was the most popular, so when we drove out to the North Shore we stopped there to eat lunch and see what the hype was. There was no line but I read that it can get pretty busy with very long lines. My husband was a big fan. I really wasn’t to thrilled about the shrimp not being peeled and the little legs freaked me out. I was told that it is supposed to be more flavorful. However, I wasn’t into it (I was making a mess)and after attempting to eat it I gave up and gave the rest to my husband.(my husband thought I was nuts). However, I am not a big seafood person. The rice that came with the garlic sauce was delicious. I also drank a fresh coconut there from a truck. I personally preferred the garlic shrimp from Gilligan’s Beach Shack Shrimp Truck which was conveniently located right on Waikiki Beach, a very close walk from where were staying. There was rarely a line and everything I ate there was awesome. We had lunch there several times on our trip. Their prices were very reasonable and food was delicious. They have garlic shrimp, coconut shrimp, tacos, fish, teriyaki steak bites and it comes with their deliciously seasoned French fries.. so good(I scraped the plate every time!) It is also right next to where they filmed Gilligan’s Island.

Thai Food!! I am such a big fan of Thai Food! My husband used to work in a Thai restaurant back in the day so he was the one who introduced me to all the yummy dishes. (Pad Thai, Laad Na, Pad See Ew, sate…) They had several Thai Restaurants in the area to choose from. We found Siam Square when I was looking up Thai Restaurants in Honolulu. It was so good we took the long walk from our hotel twice to eat there. It is a pretty busy place. The second time we went we had to wait a while to be seated. However, they made up for it when the food arrived and it was well worth the wait. We ordered spring rolls and calamari for appetizers and Laad Na, Pad See Ew, and Chicken Fried Rice for our entrees. Some of the best Thai food I have ever had.

Loco Moco is a Hawaiian dish that I tried when eating at Tropics Restaurant located at our hotel. I wanted to dry something different. Tropics is a beach front restaurant and they have live music that’s what drew me to it. Loco Moco is white rice topped with a hamburger patty, brown gravy, and a fried egg with some onions on top. Very good and very filling! I also got my birthday cake here. It was Godzilla attacking the rainbow tower. I thought it was cute and we took it to go so I could blow out my candle and make a wish in the privacy of my own balcony. The cake was very good.

House without a Key this was a fancy restaurant that I found on TripAdvisor. It is located in the Halekulani hotel. They have beautiful outdoor seating right near the beach along with live music. On Tuesdays and Sundays they serve fancy BBQ Food and since we happened to visit on a Tuesday we were able to order BBQ. They give you delicious bread to start off with and it is baked on the premises. I ordered ribs and that came with macaroni salad and my husband ordered the fish of the day. We had a side of mashed potatoes(YUM!) The service was top notch, everyone from the waiter to our bus boy was super friendly. It was pretty fancy and high priced but I thought it was worth the experience. I ordered a macadamia nut cheesecake for dessert and that was delicious!
Dukes Waikiki hula pie. Sooo good! We had lunch twice at Dukes Waikiki. It was right on Waiikiki beach. It was good for a quick bite and service was always great. The most memorable thing was the desert. The hula pie consists of ice cream Oreo crust lots of macadamia nuts and fudge.(it was huge) The three of us dug right in and finished it!
During our trip we saw a lot of Vietnamese restaurants. There was a ton of Asian restaurants all over the island. My husband has been wanting to try Pho for a while now.(since watching Phil talk about it on Modern Family)Pho is a Vietnamese broth soup with noodles, bean sprouts, scallions and meat. We ate in a restaurant called Pho Old Saignon. It was very tasty. 

There were several other restaurants we visited on our 12 day trip to Honolulu, HI. There were also  food trucks right off the main road in Waikiki. They offered several food options such as Hawaiian(Loco Moco), Rotisserie Chicken, Ramen, Churro’s, (Alyssa’s fav) etc. They had benches where you can sit down and enjoy your food. We dined at Fresco, an Italian restaurant located inside Hilton Waikiki Village. The food and service was great and it was a beautiful restaurant. Il Lupino is another Italian restaurant that I found on Opentable. They served fresh pasta and their bucatini  all’amatriciana was very good! I made a comment on Opentable that we were celebrating my birthday and they had confetti on our table when we arrived. Also, when they brought out our dessert our very friendly waitress put a candle in it and she wished me a Happy Birthday several times.

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Garlic Shrimp and Garlic Rice from Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck

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Chocolate Haupia Pie from Ted’s Bakery

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Hot and Fresh Malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery

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Garlic Shrimp and Ice Cold Coconut at the North Shore

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Macadamia Nut Cheesecake at House without a Key

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Pho with Flank Steak

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Hula Pie from Duke’s Waikiki

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Outdoor Dining at House without a Key

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Gilligan’s Beach Shack

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Chicken Satay

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Spring Roll

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Fish Taco’s from Duke’s Waikiki

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Loco Moco

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Coconut Shrimp Gilligan’s Beach Shack

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My birthday cake from Tropics.. Godzilla attacking Rainbow Tower (from the Godzilla movie)

Hawaii (Intro)

I spent 11 Aaamazing nights in Honolulu, Hawaii. This trip was to celebrate my 30th Birthday. I have been nagging my husband for years to take me to Hawaii and he finally gave in. We took a nonstop flight from JFK on Hawaiian airlines. It was a pretty long flight 10 1/2 hours. However, they did feed us very well and we did pop some champagne on the airplane (more like twisted the cap to the champagne). We kept ourselves busy by binge watching Orange Is The New Black on the iPad. (I am currently obsessed with that show) We did get lei’d when we got off the plane by our Costco travel rep. (we found the best price from Costco) We stayed at the Hilton Waikiki Village located on Waikiki Beach. It was a beautiful hotel with lots of upscale shopping and restaurants on the premises. They even had a Louis Vuitton store that I had to stay away from. (I have a bad bag addiction). They had several Starbucks located in the village and surrounding area and a Lappert’s Ice Cream shop that was so good I don’t know if I can go back to Coldstone. (White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Ice Cream in a waffle cone. Yum!)The hotel was very busy, July is high peak season. We had an ocean front room with a beautiful view of Diamond Head. (After complaining about the pool view room that they offered us first). The hotel had several pools but you still had to get there early if you wanted a lounge chair. There is also The Duke Kahanamoku Beach & Lagoon if you are looking for calm water. They had paddle boards, surfboards and pedal boats to rent. They also have fireworks every Friday night. I don’t like to keep my blogs too long so I will be posting a few  blogs on my trip to Hawaii. It will be mostly about Food, activities, and what I wore.

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