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Hawaii With Friends Day 5: Koko Head Stairs of Doom, Over Easy HI, Cafe Lani

The next morning we awoke before dawn to catch sunrise at Sandy Beach on the windward (east) side of Oahu. I went there last year on a sunrise photography tour and it was just gorgeous so I took my friends there so they could witness a beautiful sunrise.

We got there around half an hour before sunrise and enjoyed the views and the sky changing colors. It really is a great spot to take sunrise pictures. I didn’t have my DSLR this time, so these were taken with a point and shoot or my iPhone.

Waiting for sunrise at Sandy Beach Park

A beautiful spot for sunrise, highly recommended!

Our next stop was not as easy…Koko Head Crater Stairs of Doom! I had warned everyone about what to expect. I myself have never made it to the top as I have a fear of falling – there is a portion of the rail track a little more than halfway up (at about the 550 step mark) which goes over a chasm. Apparently there is a detour which allows you to bypass it and make it to the top so I was on the lookout for it.

Yup we’re climbing this bad boy

What were we thinking!?!?

Starting was quite easy as it’s just like climbing steps, it does get steeper and steeper until you’re climbing a ladder at some point.

I think everyone was pumped up about this hike although it is definitely more strenuous than it looks. Five of us successfully made it to the very top. I found the detour and was able to bypass the chasm, albeit very slowly, and then continued all the way up.

Almost halfway up

We took a lot of breaks! The track becomes very steep at points, almost turning into a ladder. 

View as we almost reached the summit

We made it!

The views up at the top are incredible. You definitely feel a sense of accomplishment. Then you realize you have to go back down! Going down for me was the hardest. The tracks are very rocky and uneven, and I always felt like I was going to slip and fall. I think we definitely burned off all the calories we ate and would be eating all week. It was a challenging hike and took up most of the morning.

After our incredibly active morning activity we headed into Kailua for brunch at Over Easy, a cute little spot that recently opened serving breakfast and brunch only. There was a long wait when we got there, around 40 minutes. So we just sat and rested outside and got smoothies from the store next door. Some of us also took a short walk to Agnes’s Portugese Bakery to try their fresh malasadas. They were really good and I highly recommend getting the cinnamon sugar ones.

Fresh malasada from Agnes’s Portuguese bakery

Finally we were able to be seated at Over Easy and we were glad we waited as we had a great meal. One of the best dishes was the Kailua Eggs, a dish made with rice, Portuguese sausage, sunny side up eggs, and a bacon cabbage dashi broth was poured all around it making it a local version of Japanese “ochazuke”. It was a very unique dish and we all enjoyed the food.

Kailua Eggs – like a deluxe “ochazuke”

Cornflake French Toast

After brunch it was time for the beach! We headed to one of my favorites, Lanikai beach. It was a really beautiful day and the water was welcoming after our rigorous hike. It was just gorgeous and we wound up spending the rest of the afternoon there. Even my non-swimmer friends did not mind just sitting on the sand and enjoying the views. It just so happened to be Election Day that day so we created our own election, Hawaiian style, thinking of which of the Mokuloa Islands we would paddle to if we had kayaks. LOL.

Lanikai Beach


Before returning to Waikiki we took a detour to Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha for some delicious shave ice. I always get the combo with the green tea syrup, azuki bean, ice cream, and mochi. It was delicious and really hit the spot after our activity-filled day.

Green tea, red bean and mochi shave ice over ice cream

Back in Waikiki, we just chilled for the evening watching election coverage on the news. Some of us had a late dinner at Café Lani, a newish café serving Japanese-western style food. We were really surprised by this café and we thought the food was delicious, the portions generous too. They have an in-house bakery and they give you unlimited bread. The bread comes in rounds and they have a variety of them a night. Pretty cool if you love carbs! (We all do)

Cafe Lani interior

We all loved the cool pineapple wall behind the bar

Unlimited carbs

Spreads and dipping sauces (Top: chocolate syrup, butter. Bottom: DIY berry jam, olive oil)

Hamburg steak with a gorgonzola sauce. One of the best hamburg steaks I’ve had!

Nina’s set meal – so cute!

Steve’s yummy creamy mushroom pasta

For dessert we shared a giant ice cream sundae served in a huge martini glass. It served at least 4-5 people and was really yummy.

Giant dessert parfait that we all shared

I tend to like Japanese-Western food so I thought it was a great meal at Cafe Lani. We’ll be back on another trip for sure! Coming up the next day, we finally make our way around to the North Shore!

Read more about our November 2016 Oahu Trip with Friends!

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