Day 5 Part 2: eating and eating…
After our fun-filled Kualoa ATV tour, we headed back down to Waikiki because I had booked some much-needed massages. We first needed some sustenance so we stopped by the Heeia Pier and General Store for a bite to eat. It was our first time there, and it comes highly recommended on Yelp. It was featured on episodes of Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives as well as the on Travel Channel. Although I am not a huge Guy Fieri fan (did you see the review of his restaurant in the NYTimes? Best. Review. Ever. ), I do like comfort food and local cheap eats, so I made it a point to stop there since it was on the way back.
Heeia Pier and General Store is a gourmet take out window with a few picnic benches attached to a little convenience store. We ordered some of their specialties: luau stew, guava chicken in a burger form, and the fried saimin. The luau stew was wonderful, tender chunks of beef, stewed with coconut-y taro leaves over a bowl of rice. If you like the flavors of lau lau then you’d like this. The guava chicken was good but I thought the burger portion was tiny. Finally, the fried saimin was a pretty typical plate of fried noodles made all the more better with a dash of sriracha spice. I would go back if I were in the area and try different things.
Sorry no pics of the guava chicken because Steve ate it in about 3 bites.
We were passing through Kaneohe on the way back down and I suddenly got a craving for shave ice. A quick yelp search told us we were right by a Snow Factory which I’ve always wanted to try so we headed there. Snow Factory specializes in shave ice that is flavored BEFORE it is shaved…so colorful flavored blocks of ice are brought out depending on what flavor(s) you order and are shaved into a bowl. It’s topped with your choice of toppings, and voila, light, fluffy, non-syrupy shave ice! We ordered a combo that consisted of green tea “snow”, taro “snow”, and topped with mochi, azuki beans and ice cream. It was simply divine. I loved the light, fluffy yet milky texture, it was seriously like eating fresh snowflakes but creamy and sweet. It’s so light and fluffy, you eat it with a fork!!
Must. Have. Now.
Snow Factory is a new find for us and one we’d definitely return to. They also have locations all over Oahu so you wouldn’t have to travel to Kaneohe to partake. I love new foodie finds!
Back in Waikiki we had some time to cleanup and change back at the condo before heading out to Kalakaua Avenue to the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach Resort where the Waikiki Plantation Spa was located. This spa had offered pretty great deals via Groupon so we took advantage of that and bought a couples massage a few months before our trip. The spa itself is on the penthouse of the hotel and recently renovated, featuring modern new digs across two floors, the second which had an awesome deck/lanai with lovely views of Waikiki beach (and rooftops of other hotels). There really isn’t a formal steam/sauna room nor jacuzzi but there were brand new lockers, a steam-shower, and tubs of natural products you can use on your face and body. Our couples massage was wonderful and sorely needed (no pun intended). As part of the packages we got a light lunch salad with kalbi (Korean bbq beef) and fresh buy generic propecia online fruit. A yummy ponzu dressing completed it and it was a great snack to tide us over before dinner. Sorry no pics of the salad, because I had left my phone in the locker room. We really enjoyed this spa and everyone was very professional and friendly. Their regular prices are rather high, but what you’d expect from a hotel spa. However, the Groupon deal they offered was pretty sweet (~89 pp for a 90 minute massage plus lunch), and the massage was great.
The sun was setting as we left the spa and we weren’t sure what to do – since we weren’t hungry yet, and were nice and cleaned up, we decided to do something very un-touristy and ended up watching a move at Ward Cinemas. We saw Jack the Giant Slayer. Quite a fun action-packed movie. In NYC, Steve and I watch a lot of movies. Living only a few blocks away from the only real IMAX theater in Manhattan, going to the movies has been our weekly ritual for almost 10 years. Every Friday night you can usually find us in the movies with a large popcorn and icee, ready to be entertained for 2 hours. So, it’s not surprising for us to want to watch a movie in our almost-second home, Hawaii!
I really like how in Hawaii you can get fruit with li hing powder or popcorn with Japanese mochi rice crackers (extra cost). I opted for the popcorn with the mochi crunch , and it lent a really nice depth of flavor and texture to the popcorn. Yes I said movie popcorn had depth of flavor. I add only a swirl of butter and no more, mix it up….and yum! It is true…I only went to the movie for the food…sigh.
After the movie, we surprise, surprise, were hungry, so we headed out to 678 Hawaii, a new Korean Barbecue place near the Ala Moana center. It’s gotten some rave reviews recently and even though we got there late, around 9:30pm, they were still super busy and lots of tables were full. We managed to get a table, and we ordered one of their special late night set menus which comes with 3 different types of meats to grill, a selection of side dishes and a spicy tofu soup with seafood. The great thing about this restaurant is that the service is super prompt! They have buttons on your table to call your waiter for more water, the check, etc., and they would come right over! The grill they used to cook the meet is also very cool in that there were some trays at the perimeter of the grill, sort of like a moat, and they used that to cook items too. Corn kernels sat with cheese melting on it until it was oozing and bubbly. An egg-y liquid was poured into another tray and it became a silky egg custard. Some grilled veggies were in another. Very innovative and very good food to boot! We will definitely return, especially when it’s late at night because of the great deal on the food.
What a fun (and food)-filled day on Oahu! Steve still talks about how good the Korean BBQ was at 678. Tomorrow we didn’t have anything planned aside from dinner at Indigo, so we were going to play it by ear. Day 6 was looking to be nice and relaxing…I think?!?