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November 2016 Oahu Trip with Friends Day 1: Arrival Day

Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted – blogging takes up some time and real life kinda gets in the way. However, I do really want to post about our memorable trip to Oahu with friends last November. The snow day today in the northeast is the perfect day to start blogging again!

I planned this trip to for my friends so we could have a blend of activities, restaurants, and beach time that would appeal to everyone and allow them see all that Oahu and Hawaii has to offer. Our group was a mixture of Hawaii first-timers and veterans. Hope my friends had as much fun as we did!

Day 1: Arrival in Oahu

Myself, Steve, and three of our friends: Christine, Anne, and Nina, arrived at approximately the same time in the afternoon of Nov 4th at Honolulu International Airport. Steve and I rented a large SUV (best price via costco) so we all rode in our rental car together. Steve and I got some early Hawaiian hospitality since we flew Hawaiian and were well fed by the time we got to Oahu. The others, not so much since they flew United and were hungry by the time they landed.

Flying Hawaiian Air

First glimpses of Oahu

The warm air in HNL was very inviting. We decided to get some snacks around the area before heading to Waikiki. We went to get fresh fried taro and sweet potato chips at my favorite spot: Hawaiian Chip Company in Kalihi (about 10 mins away). Everyone loved the fresh fried Taro Chips. We got the giant box sized and I asked for a few extra paper bags so we split up the chips and each person could season them as they wish. Our favorite seasoning is garlic, salt, toragashi and nori. Ono! They also have these great tasting dips made by a local guy in Kaneohe, All Stars Dips. The Habenero is not for the faint of heart but some of my friends loved it. They also had a more tame spinach dip which was good too. We bought both dips and a large box of fresh fried taro chips.

Hawaiian Chip Co’s freshly made taro chips now come in a huge box

Yum Fresh taro chips are da bomb!!

As we made our way down Nimtiz Highway we stopped for fresh poke at Nico’s Fish Market. The Fish Auction we would be attending the next day was also located near Nico’s, but since we had a full schedule the next day I wasn’t sure if we could stop here then.

The poke was very good although the selection is not as vast as say, Foodland or Taniokas. But you can be assured that all the fish is as fresh as can be with the fish auction just a few buildings away. The poke bowl was great and we ate at the few tables they had outside the market. We tried Hawaiian style poke as well as shoyu, and spicy made with ahi tuna, and we also tried marlin poke which we also liked.

After driving to Waikiki, we dropped my friends off at the Sheraton (the one that is beachfront) and went to check in at our condo, the Fairway Villa on Ala Wai Canal. This is our third time staying at this building, and it’s mainly because units in the building come with parking and a washer/dryer. There are limited buildings that offer both so we can’t be too picky. Our unit this time was a 1-BR vs a studio, but we were again on the 18th floor as we had been in the past.

Here’s our unit: https://www.vrbo.com/732338

Kitchen at the Fairway Villa

Later that evening we went to pick up my friends and go supply shopping at Don Quijote, where we bought drinks, snacks, and fruit for the week. For dinner we tried traditional Hawaiian Food at Highway Inn in Kaka’ako.

The laulau was very tasty, and the lomi saimon tasted fresh, almost salsa-like with hints of cured salmon. One of my friends also tried the fried butterfish collar with gravy which she loved, as well as the tripe stew, which also got rave reviews. Kalua Pork Nachos were pretty tasty as they came on sweet potato chips. However, no one liked the poi (it was the sour version). My salt meat watercress soup was super salty but I think that’s the way it is supposed to be. I just can’t imagine anyone being able to drink this soup. So I ate the meat and vegetables that were in it. The loco moco another friend ordered was not as good as it looked, gravy seemed a little lackluster and was a bit too mushroom-y in flavor. The Haupia was a nice sweet treat at the end.

Salt meat watercress soup – too salty

Tripe stew, poi, sweet potato, mac salad, and haupia (coconut pudding)

Kalua pork nachos made with sweet potato chips

We were tired from the traveling but happy to be in Hawaii together! We were expecting 2 other friends arriving the next day and then our group will be complete!

We had an early night to prep us for the 6am Honolulu Fish Auction so we all returned to our hotel/condo to get some rest.

Read more about our November 2016 Trip to Oahu with friends!

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