The second week of our honeymoon was spent in beautiful Oahu, Hawaii. Though this was my third visit to the island, Rory had never been, so we decided to spend our entire time there. This worked out fine, as this time I went armed with lots of food recommendations and did a lot of things I hadn’t done before, such as hike Diamond Head and visit the Pearl Harbor memorial.
We got a really good deal — round-tip airfare for two, five nights at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani hotel and a rental car for about $1,600 — through Pleasant Holidays. The hotel was right across the street from Waikiki beach, so it was really convenient, and the room was nice, clean and comfortable. We had a partial ocean view room with a king-size bed that came with two bottles of water a day at no extra charge (that may not sound like much, but I hate when hotels charge for bottled water).
Aside from lounging on the beach, which we did a lot of, we hiked Diamond Head crater, which was not the best idea as it was a really humid day — even the locals said so. And if you know me, you know that I don’t deal with humidity well. So on this hot and humid day, we hiked up a crater on a trail that was built nearly straight up. I almost barfed, then nearly passed out. But I made it and was rewarded with a 360-degree view of Waikiki (above).
Enough about that. On to the food!
My favorite meal of this trip was at Nico’s at Pier 38, a counter-service restaurant in the industrial part of Honolulu. It was so good, we went twice. Both times I got the marlin burger, which is made with ground marlin, onion and dill and comes two on a bun. Rory got the fish and chips, both of which were fried nicely.
My second-favorite meal of this trip was from Boots & Kimo’s Homestyle Kitchen in Kailua on the east side of the island. This place is known for its breakfast, especially its macadamia nut pancakes, which come smothered in a special vanilla macadamia nut sauce. It’s sweet, and it was so satisfying that I devoured it. I normally don’t go for sweet breakfasts, but I really enjoyed this dish. Rory liked his open-face roast beef sandwich, too. Everything on the menu is described as “onolicious,” and I can’t disagree (“ono” means “delicious” in Hawaiian). This place had a long wait, even during a weekday lunch, so either get there early or order your food to go, as we did.
Another favorite meal came from Duke’s Waikiki, which was surprising considering we have Duke’s restaurants here in California. But the kalua pulled pork on a taro roll, which is part of the Barefoot Bar menu, was really good with a nice balance of sweet and savory notes. The seasoned fries that came with it were good, too. (And yes, I had a Lava Flow cocktail here.)
As for dessert, most people know about Matsumoto Shave Ice on the North Shore, but I’m not sure most know about Waiola Shave Ice, which I think is better. The ice is a bit smoother, and the flavors are a bit nicer. The ambiance may not be as nice as Matsumoto’s store, but your stomach won’t mind. There are two locations in Honolulu, but we went to the original hole-in-the-wall location on Waiola Avenue. The area is a little sketchy, but the shave ice is tops!
In comparison, here’s Mastumoto’s shave ice, which is larger. You can tell by the colors that the ice isn’t as finely shaved as Waiola’s.
For a different kind of sweet, we headed to Leonard’s Bakery, which specializes in Portuguese-style doughnuts called malasadas. These are basically fluffy doughnuts without holes. You can get them filled with different flavored creams or simply rolled in sugar or cinnamon. We tried the latter two without filling, and we loved them. They key is to eat them right away because they don’t keep well.