We had an early flight out of Honolulu, so we decided to stay in Waikiki for a couple of days, to be closer to the airport and to visit some of the sights in town.
We drove in from Ko Olina and got settled at the Courtyard Waikiki. We decided to walk along the beach and visit some of the famous hotels. We ended up having lunch at the Moana Surfrider Beach Bar. Their Banyon tree is famous. Our table was at the edge of the beach! We both had fish tacos, as we wanted something light. We agreed, the fish tacos we had at Cholo’s on the North Shore were by far the best.
We meandered through the shops on Kalakaua Drive. Dave was quite impressed there was an ABC store on EVERY block! What a contrast to the “perfection” of Ko Olina!
We cooked most of our meals while at the condo in Ko Olina. That justified a couple of splurges while in Honolulu. The first on my list was dinner at Alan Wong’s. Alan Wong is the father of regional Hawaiian cuisine. He is committed to local ingredients and showcasing them at their finest. His restaurant is not on the beach, does not have a view, and is situated on the third floor of an out-of-the-way office building. However, it is packed every night, as it has been for over 15 years. Dave kept asking me to describe the food. It is very hard to do. I can tell you, I do not remember the last time Dave was so thrilled with a piece of fish, as he was at this meal! I did not take pictures as I did not want to bother other diners. I was able to pull a few photos from Alan Wong’s website. (We bought the cookbook so we could make the snapper!) Service and food were impeccable!
Here is a link to the menu: http://www.alanwongs.com/honolulu/dinner-menu-ks
Chopped Ahi Sashimi & Avocado Salsa Stack
Stacked on Crispy Won Ton, Spicy Aioli and Wasabi Soy
Romaine Lettuce, Anchovy Dressing, Kalua Pig, Garlic Crouton, Peterson Farm Sunny Side-Up Egg
Ma’o Farms Sassy Salad Greens
AW House Dressing
Ginger Crusted Onaga, Long-Tail Red Snapper
Miso Sesame Vinaigrette, Organic Hamakua Mushroom & Corn
Steamed Shellfish Bowl
Lobster, Shrimp, Mussels and Clams, Bouillabaisse Style Broth, Chili Pepper Aioli
Unfortunately, we were too full for dessert. Maybe next time!
We got up, had some coffee and headed to lolani Palce, which is now a fully restored museum. We had an amazing docent, Phyllis, who answered all our questions and provided a fabulous tour. Dave had a great conversation with her as he had just finished reading Julia Flynn Siler’s “Lost Kingdom”. A book chronicling “Hawaii’s Last Queen, the Sugar King’s, and America’s First Imperial Adventure”. Dave has Queen Lili’uokalani’s autobiography reserved at the library, and will be reading it soon.
lolani Palace is the only true royal palace in the United States and the last official residence of the kings and queens who ruled Hawaii. King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani completed the palace in 1882. The design of the palace was influenced by King Kalakaua’s world travels and was the first to be equipped with telephones, electric lights and indoor plumbing; 4 years before the White House. It served as the royal residence until the dethronement of Queen Lili’uokalani in 1893.
The Queen surrendered to the provisional government to prevent the bloodshed of her people and set the stage for Hawaii to became a territory of the U.S. The palace cost $340,000 to construct in 1882 and over $7 million to restore in the late 1960’s through the early 1970’s.
The palace throne room.
The palace dining room.
A section of the quilt Queen Lili’uokalani worked on while held imprisoned in the palace. She also composed many of Hawaii’s best known songs, including Aloha ‘Oe..
We finished up our tour and headed toward Chinatown, just a few blocks away. We went directly to Little Village Noodle House for lunch. We had some of the best Chinese food we have had in a very long time! Unfortunately, we forgot to take pictures at the beginning! If you go, I recommend the orange walnut shrimp, the house fried rice and the mu shu appetizer. Before you go, check out their website for a coupon! http://www.littlevillagehawaii.com/
We meandered through Chinatown for a couple of hours. It was neither the best, nor the worst Chinatown. We were among the few tourists, as most people were residents doing their shopping. Tired and ready for a cold beer, we jumped on the bus and headed back to our hotel.
Oh my gosh, where did the time go? We got back to the hotel and took a time out; packing, reading and resting. We made reservations at d.k. Steak House. It had good reviews, was near the beach and we could eat outside with a view of the ocean…. meeting all the requirements of our last dinner in Hawaii.
We walked to the restaurant down Kalakaua Drive. We were just in time to catch (another) fabulous sunset on Waikiki, with about 5000 of our closest friends!
Dinner was great….not the best ever, but good. Not too much to say about steak, Caesar salad and mashed potato! The view was fantastic and the band playing classic 1950’s Hawaiiana style music really added to the evening. The Yuzu Shiso martini was amazing! What a great ending to a wonderful vacation.
Aloha `oe, aloha `oe
E ke onaona noho i ka lipo
One fond embrace,
A ho`i a`e au
Until we meet again