Hawai'i: Part 2

There will always be a special fondness in my heart for Hawai'i after this trip.
It was just wonderful to explore the island, embrace solitude,
and receive the many gifts that came my way.

Here is Part II in my O'ahu Hawaiian Series.
xo

Eats

GREENS AND VINES RAW VEGAN GOURMET
909 Kapiolani Blvd. Unit B
Honolulu, HI 96814

Notes: This is a raw, vegan restaurant that showcases a decent array of wine pairings and houses a to-go refrigerated section, making it a perfect stop to grab something before hitting the beach.  It is simultaneously gourmet and quirky with their front door in a parking garage.


SANSEI SUSHI BAR
Waikiki Beach Marriot Resort and Spa
2552 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815

Notes: Friend-approved.  She tells me that everytime she hits up O'ahu, she always stops at this 'amazing place.'  I can see why from all of their accolades.  Word on the street: every day between 5:30pm and 6pm is 50% off.  I hope to try this next time. 

(And because we're speaking about sushi, word to the wise, whenever at a sushi joint outside the mainland, always ask how the restaurant prepares their fish.  All places within the 48 States deep-freeze their raw fish to kill off parasites.  In contrast, Asia does not do this.  I found in Hawai'i that this practice varied from restaurant to restaurant, and sometimes under one roof, depending on the fish.) 



TOWN
3435 Waialae Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816

Notes: A restaurant that prides itself on being local first then organic wherever possible.  They serve Stumptown coffee.  Food is somewhat American-Asian fusion and their easy-going environment and wifi makes it a great place to do some last minute work after brunch, if needed.


COCINA
667 Auahi St.
Honolulu, HI 96813


Notes: Friend-approved.  I so badly wanted to try this taqueria.  This cocina is part of the growing farm-to-table movement and sports sustainably-sourced ingredients.  Chef Quinten Frye continues to attract awards from the James Beard Award Semi-Finalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year to Hawaii Rising Star Chef for Sustainability.


THE SHACK
1051 Keolu Drive
Kailua, HI 96734

Notes: I discovered this place while exploring Kailua - on the Windward side of the island.  This simple pub/bar is the perfect place to eat at after the perfect beach-bumming, sun-drenched day.  Their warm breezy porch, mixed with collection of license plates, adds to their already chill environment.


THE MODERN HONOLULU
1775 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu, HI 96815

Notes: Their food was the freshest and their ingredients the best I tasted on the island. 

Drinks

THE MODERN HONOLULU
1775 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu, HI 96815

Notes: Their fruity drinks were the freshest I found on the island and they have such superb, friendly service.  This is where I co-hosted a gathering to celebrate a mother-to-be and their helpful rearrangment of furniture, addition of 'candles', and a generous happy-hour that we accidently stumbled upon made this the perfect setting to host an intimate celebration.  There are many pockets and private areas on their multi-level patio / cocktail bar with stellar live music.  I can't say enough about this place.  (Thanks goop!)


SPAULDING HOUSE CAFE, HONOLULU MUSEUM OF ART SPAULDING HOUSE
2411 Makiki Heights Dr
Honolulu, HI 96822

Notes: Friend-recommended.  I also wish I could have made it here, especially to the cafe.  I heard it has a gorgeous view of Honolulu and Diamond Head.  She said it's worth it just for the vista...but it is equally awesome as a serene spot to relax and enjoy a coffee and a read.  A few other noteworthy things: (1) it is BYOB with no corkage fee, (2) you can choose to sit indoors or outdoors in their garden, and (3) you can purchase a picnic that is packaged in a basket with complimentary tatami mats.  "Phone orders for picnics are recommended.  No outside picnic foods are allowed."  Finally, in case you get confused about another Honolulu Museum of Art - there are actually two locations.  In July 2011, Spalding House, formerly The Contemporary Museum, gifted its art to the Honolulu Academy of Arts, thereby making the two museums one.


HONOLULU MUSEUM OF ART COFFEE BAR & CAFE
900 S Beretania St
Honolulu, HI 96814

Notes: On my bucket-list for next time.  They serve Graffeo Coffee, which I learned was founded in 1935 San Francisco's Italian neighborhood North Beach and is to this day (1) still family-run and (2) one of the oldest artisan roasters in America.  The cafe is open-air and surrounded by gardens, a waterfall, sculptures, and an 85-year-old monkeypod tree.  (Their cuisine is Mediterrean-Asian fusion, and there is no museum admission charge to eat at the cafe.)  Also on my list for next time - an actual visit to their museum.  After my trip, I learned that have an amazing collection of art including the Japanese woodprint originals of "the Great Waves" and "Red Fuji" by Hokusa and pieces by Van Gogh, Gaugin, and Picasso.


BRUE BAR
119 Merchant St
Honolulu, HI 96813


BRUE BAR
675 Auahi St
Honolulu, HI 96813


Notes: I went to the Brue Bar in Kaka'ako, an industrial-turned-artisan neighborhood, and learned they serve Verve Coffee out of Santa Cruz.  They have grown to be encompass more of a West Coast vibe than Hawaiian which still seems to groove within the culture there.

Stays

On the island of O'ahu, there are variety of housing options.  Here are the ones that resonated with me.
 

FRIENDS


Notes: Originally, I was going to spend the last couple of nights at a hotel to enjoy Hawai'i with that kind of 'vacation feel' - but after experiencing the peace and tranquilty in these friends' home, I extended my stay there for the entire vacation.  Thanks again J + B!

HOTELS

THE MODERN HONOLULU
1775 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu, HI 96815

CAMPING

WAIMANALO BEACH PARK

Notes:  This uninterrupted 3-mile stretch of beach, known as Waimanalo Beach Park, is truly a locals beach.  During the weekday, hardly a soul is in sight, on the weekends, it's full of BBQs and picnics.  You can camp all along here (as well as at other campsites on O'ahu) and can find permit information here. Word on the street:  Baywatch Hawai'i was filmed here.