As I was browsing through some of my completed posts, I realized I never finished our Oahu trip report from March of last year! I had it all written up, just never got around to posting it…so here goes. Better late than never, right? To read the rest of the trip report, you can click on this LINK.
Day 7 Part 2 – Turtle bay, and shared breakfasts for dinner
In the last installment, we had just arrived at the Turtle Bay resort on the north shore of Oahu after staying a week in Waikiki. The Turtle Bay Resort was one that I have longed to stay in. Back when I was a kid, when I came to Honolulu for the first time with my parents and little sisters, we passed by this beautiful resort on a tour of the North Shore and I thought, wow, that’s where the RICH people stay. Now, it’s a little older, and not as bright and shiny as it was before, but it’s undergoing a refurbishment which I think will make it awesome. (And it is looking fab as of today. Visit their website here). I didn’t really have an issue with the resort as it was then…the views and the grounds are beautiful. We checked in – I had booked a deal from travelzoo.com which gave us early check-in, late check-out, room upgrades, 50 dollar resort credit and a welcome gift. However, the early and late check in and check out times were based on availability. Because of their renovations, I guess the resort was at full capacity – so they said they weren’t able to honor the late check out but if we needed to, we could use a complimentary “day” suite to shower and change before our flight. Since we would need to leave at regular check out time in any case, we said there was no need, but something to think about for future stays.
It was only an hour before regular check in time, and luckily they had a room available for us. We were upgraded from a partial ocean view to a regular ocean view. Sweet! Our ocean view king room was quite large, in fact it was huge. Compared to other hotels in the Waikiki area, this was more like a suite! The bathroom was also very large, there was a large area with a sink, and then the actual toilet area with a bathtub and another sink. There was a coffee-maker on a cart, and also a mini-fridge under the cabinet of the exterior sink. Our room faced the water, and we also got a nice view of a wedding going on at that time at a grassy knoll overlooking the ocean . How pretty! It had started to drizzle a bit too, but that didn’t really affect the wedding, in fact, with the sun’s glowy rays and the soft mist of rain, it was rather lovely, although I’m sure the wedding party was a bit nervous it was going to pour at any moment (it didn’t during the entire ceremony).
After hanging out enjoying our room and lazying around watching TV, we went out for a swim, but of course the second we get chairs by the pool it starts to rain for real. Everyone was starting to pack up to leave the pool area, but that only gave us our choice of chairs and the pool to ourselves. I had no issue with this as I was able to swim laps without dodging anyone. After the pool, we got cleaned up, and by this time the sun was out again, in time for sunset! So we made our way back out to get some nice pictures of sunset, and to watch the few surfers who were still out there doing their thing. You could really get mesmerized looking at the waves and the sunset in the background. I like how they have stadium seating complete with lights for watching the surfers.
After deciding not to partake in the resort restaurants for dinner, we decided to drive to Haleiwa for dinner. I had always wanted to try Opal Thai food, but that was known to have long lines especially without a reservation. It was still fairly early at that point and we were not super order propecia online cheap hungry (munching on taro chips all afternoon!) so we decided to see if we could get a table at Opal, if not, we’d head someplace else.
The drive to the quaint town of Haleiwa was about 25-30 minutes. It was dark already by the time we got to Haleiwa. Opal Thai is located in a cluster of stores, across from a Long’s Drugs and next to a bar and L&L Drive Inn. It was expectedly packed. Luckily, not that many people were waiting outside though. We asked if there was a table for 2 available without reservations. They said about 25-30 minutes. We decided to wait. The wait turned out to be about 40 minutes, so it was a good thing we weren’t hungry. I got a chance to walk through Long’s drugs and pick up some local snacks – premium arare rice crackers, some li hing candy for friends and relatives. While waiting outside of Opal though, the owner and proprietor, Opal himself, comes out and talks to you, apologizing for the wait. He’s a nice, very friendly guy who really wants you to enjoy his food and to showcase Thai food like you’ve never had it before.
Upon being seated, we were served water in metal cups which kept it cold. You are given menus, but don’t fret when Opal takes your order and takes your menu away (we expected this after reading all the reviews). He asked us where we are from (I’m from Singapore originally and the hubs is Taiwanese by heritage) and what we usually like to eat at Thai restaurants. We gave him an idea of what we usually eat, but told him we enjoy everything, and anything spicy and to surprise us. I did tell him I was in the mood for tom yum soup though. He gave us an outstanding 5 courses – I don’t know how he knows what we like, but we loved everything. We stared with “larb” – a salad of pork, ground toasted rice, onions and cilantro, tossed with a lime juice dressing. It’s served with lettuce leaves and you make little cups out of them and put the ground mixture in it. Delicious. Next was my favorite of the night, a fried mushroom-turnip “cake” which was topped with bean sprouts and cilantro, served with a spicy dipping sauce. When I bit into this, I was reminded of my childhood in Singapore. It tasted exactly like what my mom used to buy me from the hawker centers. I’ve never been able to taste anything remotely close to it in the US. When Opal came over to check on us, he pointed to that dish and said he ate this for breakfast everyday while growing up. And of course I exclaimed, ME TOO!!!! Aaah, the shared bond of food amongst South East Asians.
The next course was the tom yum soup, which I expected to be good, but good was an understatement. It was tom yum taken to the next level with the addition of super fresh vegetables, herbs, and seafood. I’d never had a tom yum soup with fresh green tomatoes in it. It was wonderful. The last savory course was a duck curry served with hapa rice (half brown half white) and topped with deep fried Asian basil. Who knew deep fried basil would taste so good? Our last course was the only dessert they offer which was a cheesecake with strawberry sauce. It was yummy too, although not really a thai dessert. We were genuinely stuffed and beyond satisfied with our meal. Literally the BEST. THAI. FOOD. EVER. Run, do not walk to Opal Thai in Haleiwa and you will not be disappointed. But please make a reservation first! We loved it so much we were going to do just that on our last night…I was already looking forward to it! I’m sorry I don’t have many pictures of the meal because I was too busy EATING!
Upon arriving back at our room at Turtle Bay, we happily discovered a basket of fruit, including papayas, bananas, half a pineapple, strawberries and apples. It was our welcome amenity we received as part of our package. Yum! Breakfast on the lanai was calling us. I also made a spa appointment for a pedicure in the late morning to make use of our resort credit. Tomorrow was going to be awesome!
Coming up on Day 8…North Shore fun!
Read the rest of our Trip Report to Oahu