Day 4: There’s barely anyone at the beach and yet…a drowning?
It was Monday today – which meant the beaches which were usually packed on weekends would be fairly empty today! I learned that on a previous trip when we went to Ala Moana beach park in the middle of the week in October and had practically the whole beach to ourselves. So our plan was to head there again today. Our first stop that morning: Wailana Coffee House for breakfast, which is across the street from the Hilton Hawaiian Village. We decided to drive there so we didn’t have to walk back to the condo to pick up all our beach gear. My husband dropped me off to wait on line, while he found parking. He didn’t manage to get any street parking but did you know if you park in the garage below the Wailana coffee house, it is only 75 cents if you get it validated? Pretty sweet, we didn’t know this before but now we do! The line was only a few people so we didn’t wait too long. It seems busy there all the time! I always start with the muesli at Wailana, it’s just so yummy. Cold creamy oatmeal mixed with apples, raisins, and topped with bananas and mac nuts. I wasn’t feeling terribly hungry so I just ordered a side of Portuguese sausage which was a generous portion. My husband always orders the Irish breakfast – he cannot pass up a good deal, and this is one of the best deals on the menu. A large omelet stuffed with corned beef hash and topped with a grilled pineapple spear, served with hash browns or rice, toast, coffee and a (tiny) glass of juice of your choice. It’s a LOT of breakfast for one person, and it’s a good thing I didn’t order more food as I had to help him finish his.
Now, the mornings had been chilly – sunny but breezy in Oahu lately and today was no exception, so instead of heading to the beach so early and freezing, we decided to walk off breakfast a bit and wait for it to warm up. We drove on over to the Ward Center to shop for a bit. I enjoy shopping at Ward. There aren’t too many people there compared to Ala Moana, and there are stores which I like, such as Cinnamon Girl, which I like to call the Anthropologie of Hawaii, cute clothing stores Eden in Love and Basique Threads, and local footwear Island Slipper. If you haven’t tried Island Slipper, you should, they are some of the most comfortable sandals and flip flops I’ve worn. They can be pretty pricey considering they are just sandals, but they are made with quality and care in Hawaii and I like to support local businesses like theirs. If you go into the back of the store, there are usually sale items and I picked up 2 pair of flip flops for me and the hubs and I love them! Sooo comfy!
I had wanted to hit up more stores such as the Island Soap and Candle Works for some gifts, and the Crazy Shirts outlet, but the sun was blazing at this point so we headed on over to Ala Moana beach park. What I really like about this beach is that you can park very easily right in front of a spot you want to lay out on, since there is a road which runs parallel to the beach with parking spots. We easily found a spot as there were maybe about, oh 8 people total at the beach. It was wonderful! We brought out the beach chairs, cooler, umbrella, mats, towels, the whole works, it was only 10 meters to our car so we could bring all the stuff we wanted! I highly recommend this beach (on weekdays only, weekends are packed). It’s also the perfect place for swimming as they do have a beach wall breaking the waves, so it was calm as can be. The sand isn’t really that fine as other beaches and there’s are a few of pebbles and sea shell bits in it but since we had the nice beach chairs, it wasn’t bothering us that much.
After enjoying the water and sun, reading a few chapters of my novel, and overall having a very swell time, my husband comes out of the water, looking very worried. He was talking to me and I couldn’t hear him because I had my ipod on and I forgot that I did (being in a state of beach bliss does this to you).
“What? What happened?” I asked.
Turns out…my husband went swimming with his brand new iphone 5 in the pocket of his swim trunks. Oh shucks…the first drowning I’ve witnessed on Oahu. I’m not talking about a phone dropped in water and immediately picked up, this was a good 20 minutes of being submerged. I knew it was a goner…apple products and water do NOT mix well…I tried to be helpful though, I suggested we get some uncooked rice and stick the iphone in it to help draw out the moisture. We googled to see if there was anything we could do. Seems that many have tried the rice trick and it works a small percentage of time. Since there really was nothing we could do except pay for a new phone at this point (we had no insurance on the phone) we decided to go get some rice. I suggested Chinatown because I assumed we could find rice there and I could also stop by Thang’s for a smoothie.
Thang’s is a stand located in the Maunakea Marketplace and they have Asian style fruit smoothies and bubble teas. I wanted to try an avocado smoothie there. I regularly make them at home using avocado (about half per serving), milk, condensed milk, and ice. Simple ingredients that when blending in the right ratio becomes the most perfect green concoction. I knew that it would be taken to the next level using the ripe buttery Hawaiian avocados, and I was not wrong. My smoothie was rich, creamy, and bursting with avocado flavor. It was bright green too, loved it (and no coloring or artificial flavors are added). Can I talk any more about avocados? I love them so much. I got it with the tapioca pearls at the bottom, but decided it would be much better without them for next time. Also, the price cannot be beat. My huge smoothie was only about $3.50.
We walked around Honolulu Chinatown looking for rice, it was actually our first time walking in Honolulu Chinatown, can you believe www.cheapvaltrexbuy.com/zovirax.html that? Being of Chinese descent, you’d think this would be the first place we’d check out but we just never got the opportunity to, until the hunt for rice brought us here now. Surprisingly, the first few grocery shops we walked into did not sell bags of rice! Some only had giant bags of rice, but we finally found a store which sold small bags of rice. Rice in tow, we headed back to the condo to resuscitate the phone. But first…lunch!!
There has been a new crop of Cajun-style seafood eateries popping up across Honolulu. Kickin Kajun, Crab City, Raging Crab, Karai Crab just to name a few. They are all what I call “Asian-Cajun” as they usually incorporate some sort of Asian seasonings into their spicy boils. If you’ve been to The Boiling Crab in California, or Hot ‘n Juicy crawfish in Las Vegas, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I love going to the west coast to eat at The Boiling Crab! So, it wasn’t necessarily an only-in-Hawaii thing, but it was a craving that we wanted to satisfy.
We decided on Kickin Kajun as that one got consistently good reviews and it wasn’t too far away from where we were in Chinatown. They happened to have lunch specials too. The place is not very big, and I heard that the wait there can get crazy long at dinner time, but at lunch there was no wait (we were having a late lunch though). I got the littleneck clams with the house special sauce – med spicy and hubs got the shrimp in the same sauce. You get a choice of 2 sides and I got rice and corn and hubs got potatoes and corn. Served with a drink each of our lunches was under 10 bucks!
The seafood was delicious, served in a butter-drenched spicy sauce, laden with chilies and garlic. This is one of those roll up your sleeves, get down and dirty meals, complete with plastic bibs. If you order by weight, the seafood is usually served in plastic bags which you tear open and eat. However since this was a lunch special, the seafood was served on a plate with the sides. Although lunch is smaller, it was just the right portion size – I do feel the shrimp were a better value as there is more “meat” as opposed to the shell-heavy clams. If you are like me, the best part is sucking the juices from the heads…of course!
This is probably what we should have eaten on our first day of vacation in order to clear up our colds! Wow, we could actually really taste our food now! The pungent and savory meal hit the spot. Note: you will really need some mints after this meal!
I realized that we were right near the Super Walmart in Kakaako at this point, and I had to go in to on a quest for my mom. If you’ve read my last Trip Report, my parents and sister accompanied us to Oahu and the Big Island last June. My mom fell in love with koa wood items, and wood carvings in general, and she brought a ton of stuff back with her. One of the items she bought was a hit with her friends, it was a carved wood nightlight which she purchased at Walmart. The carvings come with different designs – tropical flowers, leaves, pineapples, turtles, etc. Her only request was that I come back with more. So into Walmart we go…
Although I find Walmarts in general very overwhelming, the prices certainly are great, and I was amazed I was even able to find the nightlights, which were displayed in the lightening and electrical section, and not in the section where they sold the touristy items, including the rest of the carved wood plates. I ended up leaving with 6 of them!
Back at the condo, we let the iphone “rest” in its bag of rice- we weren’t going to touch it for a while. We ourselves cleaned up and rested for a while and then decided to take a walk around Waikiki before dinner. Dinner was at Roy’s Waikiki down on Lewers street – we had a nice long stroll that took us through International Marketplace, which IMO is a great place to buy souvenirs. The vendors that are closer to Kuhio seem to have better prices than those nearer to Kalakaua Ave. I managed to get some “made in Hawaii” shirts for my dad at great prices – with a little bit of haggling. It isn’t the Aloha swap meet but we were not heading there anyways so we were confident these were some of the best prices we’d find in Waikiki.
We show up for our 8:00pm reservation at Roy’s and we have to wait a bit because they are packed. When we do get seated I asked about their Monday prix fixe special which I had received an email about from the Roy’s mailing list. It turns out that those promotions which come through email or social media are ONLY applicable to the Roy’s on the mainland. Hawaii Roy’s have a completely separate menu and separate set of promotions. (Although you can use Roy’s gift cards at any one, which we did). I was a bit disappointed in hearing that because there was a pretty good prix fixe offer going on. However, we still were looking forward to this meal as we usually love Roy’s on the islands. I order the nigiri combo as an appetizer, and then the small portion of the miso butterfish. Steve does end up ordering their prix fixe menu (at double the price from the mainland) and he gets the Roy’s ribs to start and the mahi mahi entrée with the chocolate soufflé as dessert. I must say that this was probably not the best Roy’s on the Islands by far. I don’t know if it’s because it’s Waikiki and they are just so crowded all the time – but I wasn’t really impressed with my dishes as much as I usually do at the other Roy’s we’ve been too. Everything was still “good” although not “great”. I would skip the nigiri platter as I’ve had better sushi, although I hear some of their funky rolls are worth trying. I did like my butterfish although it was a bit more charred than I would have liked it. Hubs dishes were pretty good, but not the best he’s had either. The chocolate soufflé was great though…can’t go wrong with oozing warm chocolate cake.
After dinner, stuffed again, we headed back to the condo to rest up for our big adventure the next day…our first ATV tour at Kualoa Ranch!
Read the rest of our Oahu 2013 Trip Report.