Holoholo Day: Waikiki Boardwalk

I go on two “Holoholo Days” during the year, usually one on July 9th and one on December 30th. It’s a quirky “tradition” that I’ve continued for a few years now. I just go out and try to take some “me time.” Some people refer to this as “mental health days.” I go out and explore cool places on the island to relax and re-energize. It’s like being a tourist in my own backyard.

Today I wanted to check out the Waikiki Boardwalk, a walking path along Waikiki Beach. I started out by walking from my condo to Ala Moana Beach. I walked past the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor and behind the Hawai’i Prince Hotel.

This is where the boardwalk begins.

You enter the grounds of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort.

There’s a lagoon with a lot of water activities going on. Looks like it’s open to the public.

The boardwalk becomes a sidewalk at the 2nd Hilton Hawaiian Village tower.

This is where tourists catch the Atlantis Submarine.

Here’s the sidewalk fronting the Hale Koa Hotel. Cool place to skateboard….

The path continues past Fort DeRussy. There are sand volleyball courts, tennis courts, and ample public restrooms along the way.

The path continues past the Outrigger Reef Hotel. There are surfboard rentals and shave ice stands in nooks and alleyways.

There are a few rock walls that jetty out along Waikiki Beach.

The sidewalk cuts off  near the Waikiki Shore Hotel.

It resumes at the Halekulani Hotel. The Halekulani looked very impressive (expensive.)

Here’s the Maita’i Catamaran.

The path resumes at the Sheraton. Note the tourists exercising in the infinity pool on the left side.

The path finally ends at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

Beautiful day and a beautiful place!

Ended my walk at the Moana Surfrider Hotel.

Cut through the lobby and made my way back on Kalākaua Avenue. Walked back along Ala Moana Boulevard.

Walked all the way to Street Grindz Kewalo, a food truck pop-up at the former site of the Fisherman’s Wharf Restaurant.

Ate at my friend Loke’s food truck called Flyin’ Ahi. The Pulehu Combo plate was amazing!

Had a great morning! Always nice to go holoholo….

“More Than Just A Cup”

I go on a “holoholo” excursion twice a year (on my birthday and at the end of the year.) Today, I went to the Surfers Coffee Bar in Wahiawa. It’s run by Surfing the Nations, a non-profit, humanitarian organization.

I picked up Brian, and we met up with Tom Bauer, the STN founder. He is truly an amazing person. He shared the vision of STN and entertained us with incredible stories.

He gave us a tour of the facility and the offices, where 75 interns volunteer from around the world.

We then went into the Surfers Coffee Bar to talk story.

Tom was so kind to treat us to coffee. I had the Macadamia Latté. It was awesome.

The coffee bar is an inspired space with surf art covering the walls. The staff was extremely nice. I truly enjoyed my time here.

Can’t wait to come back again soon.
We ended the holoholo with ramen at Santouka.

It was a blessing to meet Tom & his staff. Yes, it was far more than just a cup….

My Chinatown

Hehe…. In the spirit of a Rick Steve’s Travel Guidebook, here’s my take on Chinatown Honolulu.

I started exploring Chinatown after moving to Kaka’ako a few years ago. What started out as exercise (urban hiking) transformed into a deeper sense of “place.” I also believe that Chinatown has the best food in Hawai’i. Now I want to share my passion for the sights, sounds, (smells,) and energy of this vibrant community….

Parking: People have the perception that Chinatown has no parking and that it is dirty. Let me dispel this by saying that there’s a whole lotta parking. In fact, street parking is free on Sundays (however, some of the really good shops are closed on Sundays.) The best parking lot is underground, underneath Smith-Beretania Park (next to the old Empress Theater.) As far as being dirty…. hmm….

Currency: The best restaurants here are cash-only, have sticky menus, and no one speaks English (not even the customers.)

Chinatown is bordered by King Street and Beretania (but includes the Chinese Cultural Plaza,) and by River Street and Bethel. Let’s take a look….

Maunakea Marketplace is a great place to explore. There’s a huge food court, souvenir stands, and a great open market. You can even find old Kung Fu movies on VHS. Bruno’s Forno is on the right side of the entrance and has great panini sandwiches. Café de Tim has the best bubble drinks in Chinatown. Instead of powdered sugar, they grind fresh sugar cane.

Speaking of markets, there’s also O’ahu Market and Kekaulike Market. You can find the freshest meats, produce, and unusual things there. I saw hanging char siu, roast duck, live crabs, beef tongue, pig heads, dragon fruit, and unrecognizable organ meats. Fong’s Meat Market has the best roast pork in Chinatown.

Chinatown is a great place to try a new cuisine, buy produce, and take pictures.

Inside Kekaulike Market, you can get a Hamachi Poke Bowl from Maguro Bros. Amazing stuff! Along Kekaulike Mall, you’ll find the Ying Leong Look Funn Factory.

The Chinese Cultural Plaza is where you’ll find all of the dim sum restaurants. I’ve only been to Legend’s there, but I hear that Tai Pan is the best one. You’ll find the older men playing mahjong on the benches along the river.

For noodles, my fave place is the Hong Kong Noodle House in the Chinese Cultural Plaza. I usually get the Tossed (stewed) noodle. I ordered this one with pig’s feet. Noms….

Chinatown has the best pizza in Hawai’i. Yes, pizza. Only thing, they’re all in bars. J.J. Dolan’s and Bar 35 are renown for their pies.

Chinatown absolutely has the best phở in Hawai’i. No need to go to “Phở Row” on River Street. My top three shops are Phở My Lan on Maunakea Street, Huang Lan in the Chinese Cultural Plaza, and Saigon Vietnamese Cuisine on King Street.

Chinatown has awesome sweets and desserts. This showcase greets you at the Sing Cheong Yuan Bakery. I go for the gin dui (black sugar) and mooncakes.

Wing’s Ice Cream has homemade flavors. This one is Raspberry with dark chocolate chip.
Of course, Lee’s Bakery has the best custard pies.

It’s comforting to know that there are still places that I remember from my childhood. Char Hung Sut still has my favorite manapua & pork hash.

I especially appreciate the traditional ethnic foods in Chinatown. This is Beef Brisket & Tendons w/ Look Fun Noodle Soup from Lam’s Kitchen. This place truly is a “hole in the wall.”

This is dim sum from Happy Garden. The chicken feet are on the way….

Mei Sum is also a good place for dim sum. A good “contemporary Chinese” restaurant is Little Village Noodle House on Smith Street.

Chinatown also has the coolest, new, “trendy” places. The Pig & the Lady is one of my fave restaurants. Love the Bánh mì sandwiches with the incredible, crunchy bread. The Fresh Café is a great place behind the Hawai’i Theatre.

Lucky Belly is another fave. I enjoy the Bao sandwiches (pork buns) and ramen here. They recently opened Livestock Tavern across the street.

Chinatown also has a great skateboard shop, antique shops, boutiques, tattoo parlors, and tons of lei stands. Chinatown is where the creatives & makers set up shop.

Festivals: The Chinese New Year Street Festival & Parade is THE event of the year. Thousands gather for this amazing celebration. Chinatown also hosts First Fridays, art events, and other block parties.

Finally, Chinatown is home to my amazing church, Inspire City. We rent this space (formally the Empress Theater) on Sunday nights. Services are at 5:30pm. We also do outreach in the neighboring Smith-Beretania Park at 4pm.

See you in Chinatown….

Vacay Day

Took a vacation day today for some “me time.” Went out to Lanikai early this morning. Actually took a wrong beach access path and stumbled upon this photo op by “mistake.” (Click to enlarge.)

Had a devotional time, then kicked back to relax and unwind. Brought a beach towel and a carton of coconut water.

Made friends with two Japanese tourists who asked me to take a video of them. I complimented them for finding this beach so far off from Waikiki.

Walked barefoot up and down the beach. Really nice.

I drove back into town for brunch at Koko Head Café. The place was packed.

Had the loco moco. It was awesome! The hot cast-iron skillet began to toast the garlic rice underneath the patty &  mushroom gravy. Winnahs.

Because it was still early, I headed back out to the Makapu’u Pier.

There’s actually a nice picnic spot underneath.

There were a lot of fishermen on the pier today. Quite the crowd….

Stopped by my “old stomping grounds” on the way home. Ran into a few KS students at the Waiola Shave Ice Store.

Had a great vacay day today. Gonna take a nap and get ready for Bible study tonight. Thinking of making this an annual tradition every July 9th….

Holoholo Day

Took a last-minute vacation day today for some “me time.” Just wanted to end the year on a fun note. And yes, playing tourist in your own backyard is always fun.

Went to check out the winter surf at Waimea Bay. Always amazed by the powerful sounds and vibrations of the waves. Click on image to enlarge.

This is the surf spot where the Eddie is held when there are consistent 25 footers (only happens every 10 years or so.)

Then drove into Hale’iwa. This little surf town is still one of my favorite places to visit.

Had my coffee at a café called the Coffee Gallery. Good food and a great vibe.

Left my truck at the North Shore Marketplace and walked up and down Hale’iwa. Checked out a few surf shops, souvenir shops, and even a scuba shop.

Had lunch at the popular Giovanni’s food truck. Felt sorry for the other shrimp trucks that were parked next door….

Garlic shrimp! Ho brah, da buggah was winnahs….

And no trip to Hale’iwa would be complete without the shave ice.

Made it back home by noon, just in time for a short nap.