January 23, 2011

The HI Life: Part II

After spending Day 4 snorkeling and laying out in the sun at Hanauma Bay, Mr. Tall and I headed to Ono's Hawaiian Food for dinner, which is a very popular restaurant for locals and tourists alike in Waikiki.  

The restaurant is in a quiet, commercial area, with a nondescript store front. There was a little bit of a wait, but nothing that would deter most people away, as the place seats only about 20-something people at a time.

 Mr. Tall and I ordered the Kalua Pork, Pipikaula (way better at Helena's), Lomi Salmon (which the owner of Ono's joked was the only way that Hawaiians get their vegetable, i.e. onion and tomato), and, of course, my personal favorite, Lau Lau. We also got a side of Spam fried up on the cooktop, and it was salty Spam goodness! While at Ono's, you felt as if you were at a neighbor's home who were cooking up some delicious authentic Hawaiian food. If you're visiting Waikiki, Ono's is a must if you don't want to venture out as far as Helena's for some good local cuisine.

Before Mr. Tall and I knew it, it was our last full day in Oahu. We decided to spend it just hanging out on the beach of Waikiki. For lunch, we walked over to Puka Dog--it's hot dogs with Hawaiian flair!

I got a veggie Puka Dog with lilikoi mustard and habanero garlic lemon sauce, and it was so good! I loved the combination of the sweet lillikoi mustard with the heat of the habanero garlic lemon sauce, all melded together with the perfectly salty dog, held together in a soft bun. I wish we had one on the mainland!

To end our Hawaiian vacation on a high note, Mr. Tall and I started the evening at The Halekulani.

The place to be in Waikiki for cocktail hour(s) is undoubtedly at House Without a Key at The Halekulani. We sipped on the classic Mai Tai and Ambrosia, which came with complimentary house potato chips. We also ordered an appetizer of chicken swekers to go with our cocktails. A full lunch and dinner menu is served at House Without a Key, but most patrons, like us, were there for the pre-dinner cocktail hour and the unbeatable ambiance.

We sipped our cocktails while enjoying the view of Diamond Head, the Waikiki shores, and traditional Hawaiian music and dance under the century-old Kiawe tree. The evening got even more beautiful as the sun set.

I got another cocktail called the Chi Chi, which for someone who's not a big drinker like me was great because it tasted like a coconut smoothie! If you can afford it, I would stay at The Halekulani. But if you can't (like us), definitely visit House Without a Key at least one evening, if not every evening, while you're in Waikiki. The classic cocktails, traditional Hawaiian music and dance, and the Waikiki sunset--it was a beyond perfect way to start our last night in Oahu.

Mr. Tall did some Yelping before we went out that night, which was how we discovered Yakiniku Hiroshi. There is a wide selection of Japanese restaurants in the Waikiki area as there are many Japanese tourists who visit Oahu, and, boy, we we glad we found Yakiniku Hiroshi!

You can order a selection of various (pretty pricey) meats or a la carte for fewer items (and to keep the costs down), and grill the meats yourself at each table's yakiniku grill. I don't remember what the cut above was as it was one of the specials that night, but it was so freakin' delicious.

This was the paper-thin steak grilled up and served with green onions, cripy garlic chips, and Ponzu sauce--totally mouth-watering!

Mr. Tall's favorite of the night was definitely the US Kobe "Toro" Kalbi served with Hiroshi's Special Marinade. The ridiculous marbling made for some of the most tender and flavorful beef we had ever had! If you are a quality meat lover, don't miss Yakiniku Hiroshi!

With all the good eats during the trip, Mr. Tall and I somehow didn't manage to find any Spam Musubi. So, on our way to the airport in the morning, we stopped by 7-Eleven for me to pick up a couple of them. I know that there are probably better Spam Musubi out there, but these were quite tasty, convenient, and satisfied my craving! Since our trip, I have made Spam Musubi at home several times, which is super easy thanks to my Musubi mold.

Unfortunately, there aren't very many good Hawaiian restaurants in San Diego to satisfy our cravings. There was a Leilani's Cafe that opened near Mission Valley, which I thought had the best Hawaiian food in town, but it closed after a very short time (there is still the original location PB). We have found Chamorro Grill on Mission Gorge, which serves Guamanian food but offers many familiar Hawaiian dishes like Kalua Pork and Spam Musubi. Mr. Tall and I have already been trying to figure out when we can make another trip to Oahu or another one of the islands--we definitely left our hearts in Hawaii.



Coming next: LMC & familia travel to Greece!


caninecologne said...

hi lmc!
welcome back to the mainland! :)
loved reading your hawaii posts! the food looked awesome especially the shave ice, the musubi and the pork tonkatsu.

congrats on finishing law school!

can't wait to read your greece posts!

Little Miss Contrary said...

Hi, thanks for the welcome back! I will blog about Greece this weekend :)

KirkK said...

Hey LMCC - Ono Hawaiian Food was one of my favorite places "back home". I actually used to work pne block away for a while and am from the area.

Little Miss Contrary said...

Hi, Kirk! How lucky that you lived there! Mr. Tall and I have been trying to figure out when we can go back to Oahu since we left. Ono's was so good--you felt as if you're eating at someone's house because the owners were so nice!