Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Things to Do: Golfing

Hole #4
For the avid golfers vacations give you the best time to catch up on your game.  Luckily, there are several on O'ahu.  This isn't an all encompassing list, there are too many in Hawaii.  If you're staying in Waikiki, then I'd recommend the Ala Wai Golf Course.  It's very close, is a decent course, and is open late.  I heard this is the busiest golf course in the world...because the driving range is open until midnight every night.

Ala Wai Golf Course Municipal course close to Waikiki with driving range, 6208 yards of golf from the longest tee for a par of 70.  Course rating of 67.2 and a slope rating of 116 on Bermuda grass.  Driving range is open from 7:00 am to 12:00 am daily.

Bay View Golf Park Public course on the east side of the island with driving range, 3296 yards of golf from the longest tee for a par of 59.  The course rating is 56.5 and slope rating of 91.

Hawaii Kai Golf Course Public course with driving range.  This course has a championship and an executive course.  This is all the way on the east end of the island past Hanauma Bay.  

Coral Creek Golf Course Semi-private course by Ewa Beach (south west of Honolulu airport) with 6808 yards golf course for a par of 72.

Ewa Beach Golf Course Semi-private course on Ewa Beach, no driving range, par 72.

West Loch Golf Course Municipal course on the west side of Pearl Harbor, short course, par 72, no driving range.

Ko Olina Golf Course Resort course on the west end of the island next to the Ko Olina Resort located on the far west end of the island.  18-hole championship course, par 72 with driving range.


Ah, yes one of the most important items on the agenda: where to eat.  Below are a list of good eats while you stay on the island:

Chef Mavro One of the few 5 star restaurants on the island and Eu-jeania's favorite.  She loved the chef's tasting menu, but not for the light of wallet.
3660 On the Rise Tied for second place on good restaurants.  The calamari appetizers are excellent and so is the filet mignon wrapped in applewood smoked bacon.
Hiroshi Eurasian tapas.  Tied for second place, though I like the ambiance better. Located in Restaurant Row. 
Vino Italian wine and tapas bar.  Right next door to Hiroshi and shares the same owner.  
Roy's Hawaiian fusion restaurant.  Great food and drinks
Alan Wong Hawaiian fusion restaurant that only serves dinner, located on the 3rd floor of an office building.
The Pineapple Room by Alan Wong Located in Macy's.  It was the idea of Alan Wong's chefs and his desire to also serve breakfast and lunch.  Great place to eat.  
Sam Choy's Great breakfast place, haven't tried it for lunch or dinner.  Not as pricey as the above restaurants, but still delicious.
Morimoto Waikiki Restaurant of the famed Iron Chef himself, Masaharu Morimoto, located in Ilikai Hotel.  It has an open kitchen, so some days you can see the Iron Chef at work.  
La Mer Fine French dining in the Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki.  Open 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm, gentlemen are required to wear a long-sleeve collared shirt or jacket.
Nobu Waikiki Located in the Hilton Hawaiian Village, this is the Waikiki branch of the famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa.  Known for his Japanese fusion and black cod with miso.

For more fine dining, check out Restaurant Row.  Located near downtown Honolulu by the pier, there are several restaurants to choose from.  

Helena's Hawaiian Foods Winner of the James Beard Foundation Award (the Oscars of the food world), but is small, family owned restaurant that is borderline hole-in-the-wall restaurant.  Food here is tasty, warm, and wholesome.  For first timers, try Menu D, gives you a little bit of everything.  Must try the pipikalua ribs, this is their signature dish.  Other notable dishes are the fried butterfish (black cod) collars and laulau.    
Hank's Haute Dogs Gourmet haute (or hot) dogs as featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.  Try the Lobster Dog or the Fat Boy.
Side Street Inn Literally a hole in the wall that got bigger, this is where the chefs from the top restaurants come to hang out and enjoy Hawaiian style food after work.  Open from 2:00 pm to 2:00 am, has a full bar, TVs....and karaoke.  Also, featured in Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" show on the Travel Channel.
Tokkuri Tei One of the first and most famous Izakaya (Japanese tappas) restaurants in Honolulu where celebrities and locals hung out in a small hole in the wall that served good food and drinks.  It moved and grew 3 times it's size, now located just outside of Waikiki by Rainbow Drive in at 449 Kapahulu Ave, Suite 201.  There are no signs downstairs, so you need to google map the location.   
Tango Located near Ward Center, this contemporary cafe is the creation of the Swedish chef Goran Streng.  Food and decor has a Nordic twist to island cuisine.  
Mitch's Fish Market and Sushi Bar Almost a hole in the wall, one of the best sushi restaurants with it's own fish market next door.  Located by the airport and please note: this place is not cheap.  
Nico's at Pier 38 Parking is hard to get to, but they get fresh fish.  Try the fish and chips or the grilled ahi sandwich.
Phuket Thai Good, upscale thai place located near Ward Center.
Chun Wah Kam This is the place for manapua (Hawaiian for char siu bao/sticky buns/pork buns).  Basically, the Hawaiian take on chinese dim sum pork buns.  Not only do they have pork buns, but SEVERAL different fillings and flavors.  Try the roast duck, azuki red bean, lup cheong (chinese pork sausage), thai curry chicken, sweet potatoe and more.  Go later in the afternoon, if you go early the different varieties won't be ready.
The Counter Located in Kahala Mall, this place lets you custom build your own burger like Fuddrucker's. 
Zippy's A local staple, a chain of diners that serves good plate lunches and chili.  Eu-jeania gave this place the thumbs-up!
Liliha Bakery Famous for their coco-puffs.  Creme puffs filled with chocolate and topped with chantilly cream, one of the best desserts!  Another Eu-jeania fave.
Rainbow Drive-In Great plate lunches here!  A local favorite for their loco-moco plate: scoop of white rice topped with a hamburger patty, fried egg, and gravy.  Also try the mix plate: fried Mahi-Mahi, fried chicken, teriyaki beef, 2 scoops of rice, and a scoop of mac (macaroni) salad.
Yama's Fish Market More like a fish deli, they specialize in different poke (Hawaiian ceviche) and Hawaiian food (kalua pig, bentos, lomi lomi salmon).  The first thing my sister does when she flies to Hawaii is to stop here and get the poke.  It's that good.
Kaka'ako Kitchen From the same chefs that brought you 3660, they created a restaurant for casual dining.  Try the tempura ahi sandwich.  Located in Ward Center.
Royal Garden Restaurant Located in the Ala Moana Hotel on the 3rd floor, this is one of the better dim sum restaurants.  Great food and great (affordable) prices!!
Sorabol Authentic korean restaurant (meaning good kim chee and bad service) with good food and ambiance
Shillawon Authentic korean restaurant (good kim chee, bad service) with ok ambiance.
Hog Island BBQ Memphis style, slow cooked beef brisket and pork.
Smokin' Bob Barr-B-Q Haven't eaten here, reviews are mixed, but gives you another option for BBQ.
Cholos Mexican restaurant on the North Shore.  Ok mexican food. 
Hukilau Cafe Located on the North Shore of O'ahu, this place is famous for their Hukilau Burger (1/4 beef patty, 1/4 teriyaki beef, fried egg, topped with cheese, with lettuce and tomato), the affordable prices, generous servings, and friendly service. 
Grace's Inn Another drive-in chain, filling, but not as tasty as Zippy's or Rainbow.    
Leonard's Bakery Best known for their malasadas! Malasadas are a portuguese donut without the hole, deep fried, and dusted with sugar.  

Ah-Lang aka Angry Korean Lady I'm torn on this one.  This is a one-woman show, she is the only cook, waits her own tables, and serves.  Service is slooooowww, you need to pour your own drinks and write your own order, but the food is very good!  Obviously, this business model wouldn't survive in other towns but definitely try the korean chicken wings.  By the way, you'll see that sign on every table....and she is angry.

More to follow later.

Places to Stay

Here's a list of hotels that are in or near Waikiki.  We are thinking about reserving rooms at the Ala Moana Hotel and getting a more affordable rate.  If you want to throw affordable out the window here are some hotels:

Kahala Hotel and Resort $$$$, right next to the Waialae Country Club.  Very nice and in a semi-secluded place, plus you can swim with the dolphins.
Turtle Bay Resort $$$$, located on the northern tip of the island.  Secluded and very nice.
Ko Olina/Ihilani Resort $$$$, isolated on the west end of the island.  Very far from Waikiki, about 45 minutes in traffic, but good if you want to stay at hotel and enjoy the resort, spa, pool, beach, and golf.  Has several restaurants featuring different cuisines.
Halekulani Hotel $$$$, in heart of Waikiki right on the beach, very busy, not private resort and lots of people, best sunday brunch, known for good service.
Moana Surfrider Beautiful hotel, historic building, on beach, very busy with many people in the heart of Waikiki.
The Royal Hawaiian Famous pink hotel in the heart of Waikiki, right by the beach and very busy with many people.

If you suffering from sticker shock, here's something more affordable:
Ala Moana Hotel $$, away from the beach and located next the Ala Moana Shopping Center, very urban.
Queen Kapiolani $$, good deals on hotel rooms, at the edge of Waikiki, by Kapiolani Park and Honolulu Zoo.
Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki $$, service ok, away from the beach, noisy, but in heart of Waikiki.
Ohana Waikiki West $$, just checked Expedia and they have a great low price!!
Hale Koa $$, need to be on active duty, retired military, or have a military sponsor, and private beach.

If you are interested in staying longer or not staying in a hotel, check out Home Away for several vacation home rentals.  Costco is on the island if you want to stock up your rental with supplies!

Things to Do

There are many things to do and so little time to do it.  So to maximize your vacation time, here's a short list of things to do.

For the tourist:

KCC Farmers Market (Saturdays only) One of the best collections of local food, vegetables, plants, and coffee.  Also, you can get a good breakfast here.
Diamond Head Park Hike A bit of a climb, but great view overlooking Waikiki.  
Hanauma Bay (note:this link is for the tours, not the park) This beach is declared a marine life sanctuary and underwater park.  Lay out on the beach or snorkel with the fish.  Feeding the animals is prohibited.  Closed Tuesdays.  Located near the south east tip of O'ahu.
Halona Blow Hole One of O'ahu's natural wonders, but bring the sunscreen and water.  You might wait awhile to see it spout.  On the east side of the island past Hanauma Bay.
Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail Hike to one of O'ahu's historic sites on the east end of the island past Hanauma Bay and Sandy Beach.
Byodo-In Temple Memorial Park Scale copy of a buddhist temple in Uji, Japan built without nails.  Visit the park and the impressive non-denominational temple along the way to the Pali Lookout.  Some episodes of Magnum PI and Hawaii 5-O shot here.
Pali Lookout Small lookout with a great view of Kailua Bay and site of a historic battle that united the Hawaiian Islands.
Punchbowl National Cemetery One of the more scenic national cemeteries with several famous "residents" like the war correspondent Ernie Pyle.
Tantalus Lookout Lookout on Tantalus Mountain in Manoa Valley with a great view of Waikiki, downtown Honolulu, and Pearl Harbor.  In Pu'u Ualaka'a State Park, but locals just call it as Tantalus.  Located near Punchbowl.
USS Arizona Memorial Memorial to the USS Arizona that sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
USS Missouri Memorial Decommissioned battleship now a museum.
Pacific Aviation Museum Small museum with a growing collection of aircraft.
Honolulu Academy of Arts Small museum of Pacific art.  Know for their collection of Japanese wood paintings.
The Contemporary Museum Smaller museum of contemporary art in Hawaii.
Shangri-La Former home of philanthropist Doris Duke, now a museum for Islamic Arts on the southeast side of Diamond Head.  Book tours through the Honolulu Academy of Arts.
Waimea Falls Park Historic park located on the North Shore of O'ahu.
Polynesian Cultural Center This screams tourist trap, but it's fun.  Sign up for the lu'au and the shows.
Rabbit island Small island off the east coast of O'ahu with the shape of a rabbit's head.
Dole Plantation Largest outdoor maze with train rides and a short history of pineapples and agriculture in Hawaii. 
Aloha Tower As seen in Hawaii 5-O, see it for the Tower and if you want to get a drink at Gordon Biersch or wings at Hooters.  Very touristy here.

For the kids:
Hawaiian Fire Surf School Surf school taught be off-duty fire fighters in small groups.  What could be safer?  And this is for both the kids and the big kids.  
Sea Life Park Similar to Sea World, but smaller.  
Oceanarium Restaurant in the Pacific Beach Hotel with a giant indoor aquarium. 

For the big kids:
Kualoa Ranch Horse and ATV tours Take a horse back or ATV tour on the north east side of O'ahu, Jurassic ParkHawaii 5-O, and Lost shot on location here.
Scuba Diving (note: DO NOT scuba within 24 hrs of getting on a plane! Bends will result) I don't recommend any one particular Dive Shop.  There are several good ones I've used over the years, but this is a start point.  
Shark Cage Tours (note: this is something better done after the wedding)
Sky Diving (note: same as above)
Honolulu Marathon Only if you come in December and are willing to run 26.4 miles.  Just throwing it out there.
Star of Honolulu Cruises If you want to do a sunset or evening cruise, whale or dolphin watching, or New Year's Cruise (if you're here).  If you get seaside bring dramamine, bonine, or those accupressure wristbands.    
Atlantis Submarine Tours If you want to do a submarine tour or another Waikiki cruise.

For the shop-a-holics:
Royal Hawaiian Center Shopping center in Waikiki.
Ala Moana Shopping Center Main shopping center on O'ahu.  Everything from small trinkets to high class Coach bags and Gucci sunglasses.  
Ward Center / Ward Warehouse Second biggest shopping center on O'ahu, just past Ala Moana Center.
Waikele Outlets Outlet malls out west past Ala Moana Center.
Kahala Mall Smaller mall on the east end of the island.

Wedding Date is set!

Hi everyone!
Our wedding date is set for Saturday August 20th, 2011 at the Waialae Country Club, on the island of O'ahu not far from Waikiki.
Because this is a destination wedding and several people are coming from out of town (both coasts and overseas), we decided to make a website with information on the wedding as well as things to do while you're here. We'll add things to the website as time goes on about things to do, places to stay, and areas of interest. We hope all of you can make it!

The Waialae Country Club is located at:
4997 Kahala Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816-5499

See below for the Google maps location.

View Larger Map