March 14, 2018: “You know how your New Year’s resolution was to travel more? Well I think we should go to Hawaii,” - Taylor
March 15, 2018: Hotel, flights and PTO schedule.
April 10, 2018: MaryKate, Taylor and I were officially on Oahu, Hawaii.
After landing it was straight to the hotel, bathing suits on then straight to the beach (bar).
Cheers to spontenatity, booking the most memorable trip with 3 weeks notice, and for checking off my goal of traveling more this year. (Next up, Austin, Houston, Aspen...and working on booking more).
We found ourselves at Duke's a few times on the trip, but the best was stumbling upon Duke's on our first day which happened to be a Sunday. "Duke's on Sunday," is their busiest day. Jimmy Buffet even sings about it. Known for being a tourist bar, but even the locals come out on Sundays. You can get a glimpse here. (that video is 2+ years old and I kid you not I recognize people in the video we saw that day we were there).
If you are Waikiki bound, make sure your trip allows you to be there on a Sunday, and make a stop at Duke's!
Our hotel offered complimentary yoga classes every morning. 1, I'm an early riser, 2, I love me some yoga, and 3, I was 5 hours ahead of schedule, so early morning yoga was the perfect way to fill my morning besides staring blankly at the ceiling when it was 4 am but felt like 9am.
*Smoked salmon Benedict, Loco Moco and banana pancakes for breakfast at Cinnamon's.
We got to Hawaii with very little plans and zero reservations. Traveling with two of your most laid back friends, makes things very easy. Thanks to Yelp and Google, we ate and did all the best things in my opinion.
Our zero reservations planned worked great beside one slip up the second night. We went out for authentic poke, but the place was apparently so good, by the time we got there they were completely out of everything.
Luckily, the infamous bakery, Leonard's was across the street. We had read about Leonard's and hoped to make it there one day for breakfast or a treat. They are famous for their Portuguese donuts called malasadas. Think if a sopapilla and a jelly donut had a baby, but with a Hawaii spin because of flavor options like guava and coconut. So poke problems aside we opted for donuts for dinner. A win in my mind!
Goofy's is a must for breakfast, brunch or lunch. So good we went twice! And conveniently right by our hotel. I recommend the açaí bowls and iced coffee.
We were on a strict Pina colada diet while in Hawaii. So much, I searched for where to get a Pina colada in Oklahoma City. My search came up dry...
*truly the best cocktail I've ever had. The Tropical Seoul: hwayo 25 shochu, pamplemousse liqueur, guava, pineapple and lemon.
All delicious meals aside, nothing compares to our dinner at Herringbone. Our "splurge" meal of the trip you can say. The restaurant as visually delicious as the drinks and food.
If I could do this seafood platter again and again I would. 3 words. king. crab. legs. I love me some lobster, but I have never had crab legs and I can confidently say I have been severely missing out.
A Loco Moco is a Hawaiian comfort food dish. The standard version consists of white rice, a hamburger patty, brown gravy and a sunny side up egg. So random it is actually delicious. Served at breakfast, lunch or dinner, a version showed up on just about every menu we saw.
Taylor ordered the Loco Moco at Cinnamon's. It was very traditional and delicious. I then tried the Loco Moco at Heavenly. More modern and organic so they claim. Kulana beef, local egg, local ginger soy glaze, and 10 grain rice with local farm green beans, broccoli, organic carrot, organic lentil beans, and organic black beans. My vegan health foodie wannabe ways loved it.
After our first poke fail, we redeemed ourselves at Poke Bar. Basically Chipotle, but Poke. Pick your rice, your fish, your toppings, dressings, add-ons etc.
Goofy's round 2 cause we couldn't stay away. This visit included less açaí bowls and more eggs, more carbs and more coffee. We had too much fun the night before...
Something I did not realize is how prevalent taro is in Hawaii. We had bought some chips and snacks the first day for our room, including some taro chips. I didn't think much about it because I can buy the same kind at home. You know that black bag with the pink, orange, and white veggie chips on the cover? Ya, those!
Well taro is everywhere. A root vegetable that helped sustain early Hawaiian settlers, apparently. Similar to a sweet potato, but even more versatile. We had homemade taro chips and guacamole at one beach bar, I saw taro as an add-in option for smoothies, and our favorite, the TARO MUFFIN. A couple of the breakfast spots we ended up at offered the taro muffin on the menu. Basically just an English muffin, but made with taro. And also purple, making it that much more fun.
*Incredible Cajun Fish Tacos at Duke's. So good all three of us ordered them.
If I am on a vacation in an area that boarders water, I will eat fish at every meal. Oklahoma fish does not compare. For obvious reasons #landlocked.
So for our last meal on Oahu, something with fish and quintessential to Hawaii was a must. The obvious choice, poke.
Poke and pina coladas aside, the rest of our trip was just as perfect.
Taylor's one request on our trip was to visit Kualoa Ranch. AKA "Hawaii's Backlot." The site where they filmed part of the Jurassic Park movies. I've maybe seen the first JP all the way through once in school when we had a substitute teacher, but I was still game.
Kualoa was 45 minutes (or 15 minutes acocording to our uber Laura -__-) from where we were staying, but it was a great way to see more of the island on our way. Kualoa is a huge valley privately owned by a local family. Movies like Jurrasic Park, Godzilla, 50 First Dates, You, Me and Dupree and more were filmed here. They choose this site for it's idyllic Hawaiian look.
We opted in to the ATV 2-hour guided tour (S/O to our guide Jay), which I highly recommend. They also offer 1-hour tours, horseback, zipline and bike tours.
Big dinosaur girls after a morning in the valley!
Plan a hike too. Google may steer you to Diamond Head, but I suggest Manoa Falls. Only an hour round trip, but the hike is still a work out and the views are spot on. All leading to the signature "falls" at the top of the hike!
Last thing, do a booze cruise. Sorry sorry, I mean "sunset sail." We did this one. 2 hours, inclusive drinks (AKA oopsy juice <--- yup), best view of Waikiki, and to our luck a rainbow over the beach! Perfect perfect thing for our last night on Oahu.
Pro tip: go on a vacation with two of your best and most easy going friends. 3 is the perfect traveling number.
Until next time Hawaii. Because I'm promising myself there will be a next time. Sooner rather than later.
Maholo (thank you) Hawaii for the best trip ever.