Tag Archives: Hawaii

wolfgang's

Wolfgang’s Steakhouse

Wolfgang's Steakhouse
Fine dining in Waikiki!

I took a trip to Hawaii back in April of 2011 and stayed on the island of Oahu for eight days.  I tried to see as many possible restaurants, bars, and attractions as I could during my time there.  I passed through the Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki one night during my vacation and I decided to treat myself to a nice dinner at Wolfgang’s Steakhouse which is located on the third floor of the complex.

As soon as I entered the restaurant, I could tell that it was a very classy establishment that thrived on providing excellent service to all of its guests.  I opted for a table near the front of the restaurant because there were these big windows that opened up and I was able to see out into the mall and get a glimpse of everyone passing by which made my dining experience a little more interesting.  The waiter greeted me right away and went over the specials for the night as I looked over the menu.  I needed a few more minutes to figure out what I was going to have for dinner so I started off with a glass of wine as I continued to browse.

Dinner
The food was so flavorful!

After making one of the hardest decisions of my life, I finally ended up choosing the Prime NY Sirloin Steak along with a side of steamed asparagus and mashed potatoes.  I anxiously awaited the arrival of my food because everything else that I noticed people in the restaurant having for their dinners looked and smelled incredible!  After only a brief time elapsed, the waiter came by with a sizzling hot plate with my steak on it and some additional dishes for the side orders.  The waiter even cut the steak for me and the entire presentation was excellent!  The meat was so tender and juicy and it went down as smooth as butter!  I took a picture (see above) of one of several small plates that I was able to make from my meal.  After a hard fought battle at the dinner table with so much food, I was able to conquer the steak and its companions and it was off to face my next challenger named dessert!

Dessert
Key lime pie = amazing!

One rule to always remember when you are sitting down at a fancy restaurant for dinner is to SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT!  I had asked my waiter for some recommendations and he mentioned the key lime pie that came with homemade whipped cream.  I trusted his decision and went with the pie for my evening treat because I wanted to see how good it really was.  A funny side note is that I had gone out to dinner the night before and my dessert came with whipped cream and I had made a remark to the waitress about how I always considered whipped cream to just take up space and how it did not have much of a taste to me.  Let’s just say that I now take back those words after trying the homemade version with the key lime pie because it was just uber-rich and so very flavorful!  The pie was also top-notch but the whipped cream really stuck in my mind especially after how I previously felt about it.  This was a perfect end to my night at Wolfgang’s Steakhouse and I look forward to my next visit!

The prices at Wolfgang’s were par for an upscale restaurant in Honolulu and the portions were enough to satisfy your cravings. I recommend the restaurant to those looking to go out to eat somewhere with a touch of elegance and sophistication. If you are interested in learning more about Wolfgang’s Steakhouse in Waikiki and the various other restaurant locations, click here!

If you want to try out another exceptional place to eat that has live entertainment in the area, head over to Duke’s Waikiki!


bus

TheBus (Oahu)

TheBus
A nice view from TheBus!

If you ever visit the island of Oahu in Hawaii, you are more than likely going to want to see as many things as possible all around the island.  You will need a means of transportation to do this and you can either rent a car, schedule only tours that pick you up from your hotel, walk (kidding), or take public transportation.  I took a trip to Oahu back in April of 2011 and I stayed for 8 days and 7 nights on the island.  I did not want to spend a lot of money to rent a car for the entire time because gas prices in Hawaii are extremely high and you also have to pay for parking at most hotels so your tab will add up pretty quickly.  I did some research prior to my vacation and I came across a website that talked about the bus system in Honolulu and it was exactly what I was looking for.  “TheBus”, as it is known in Honolulu, was a relatively inexpensive way to be able to get to all of the different parts of the island.  It may take you longer to get to where you need to go than if you were to drive, but I had the time to spare so I went for it.  If you think that this would be something that would make sense for you, take a look at this website and you will find answers to all of your questions regarding fares, routes, and pick-up locations.

I happened to go on a number of excursions on the North Shore while I was in town and my hotel was in Waikiki which is on the South Shore so TheBus was perfect for getting me to and from my destinations.  I also liked traveling this way because I was able to see a lot of unique parts of the island and I got a feel for how the locals went about their daily routines.  Being on a bus also puts you right in the mix with everyone and this allowed me to experience some of the native culture as well which was great!  If you think that you might need to take TheBus several different times during your trip, I would highly recommended getting the four-day pass that is sold at designated spots around the island. This pass was only $25 when I went and I was able to hop on and off as often as I liked for the four-day period all for one low price.  It would have cost me hundreds of dollars to rent a car so this was really worth it!  It may take you a little more time to get from place to place but I hear traffic can be very bad in Honolulu and you can go on more tours with all of the money that you save by taking TheBus!  ALOHA!


ala moana

Ala Moana Center

Ala Moana Center

Ala Moana Center is an absolutely incredible retail complex located in Honolulu.  With close to three hundred shops and dining options available, Ala Moana Center is the largest mall in Hawaii and it is a very popular spot for both locals and tourists to visit.  You will find many of the high-end fashion designers there like Burberry, Fendi, Gucci, Hermes, Prada, etc. along with popular department stores such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus.  In addition to all of the stores I just mentioned, you will also come across a lot of other interesting little boutiques along the way so keep your eyes and wallet open!

If you love all different types of food, you will REALLY LOVE Ala Moana Center so make sure that you bring an appetite with you!  There are too many places to even list but if you are in a rush to get back to shopping, you can grab a quick snack like some ice cream, a pretzel, or some fast food to hold you over.  If you prefer something more elegant, there are plenty of fine dining establishments for you to choose from.  Ala Moana really has all bases covered when it comes to satisfying their customers’ need to eat during a day or night of retail therapy.

Ala Moana Center even offers a trolley (Ala Moana Shopping Trolley) that runs to and from select destinations in Waikiki so they make it very convenient for you to get there.  You can even catch a bus from the mall to various points of interest around the island of Oahu and I actually used the bus quite a bit during my vacation and connected several times at the Ala Moana Center.  Take a look at the website for more information and get ready for a shopping extravaganza!


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Duke’s Waikiki – Barefoot Bar and Restaurant

Duke'sWaikiki
Great place to grab dinner or a drink!

Duke’s Waikiki is an extremely popular beachfront establishment in Honolulu and there is always something fun going on there.  The restaurant was named after Duke Paoa Kahanamoku who was a surfing legend native to Hawaii.  Duke’s is great for grabbing some drinks after a long day of surfing, a nice sit-down dinner with your family, or for a late-night date with that special someone for wine and dessert.  Duke’s is located at the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach and you can find information about the restaurant including the hours of operation, directions, upcoming events, and more on the website.

My dinner table
A nice relaxing night out!

I took a trip to Hawaii back in April of 2011 and my hotel was in Waikiki so this restaurant was in walking distance of where I had been staying.  I was extremely exhausted from my flight and all of the tours that I had crammed into my vacation so I decided to go to Duke’s one night for a late dinner instead of hitting up the clubs for some fist-pumping action like you would expect a Jersey Boy to do.  Don’t worry though; I did “beat the beat up” at the clubs on the other nights out on the island.  I opted for a table for one considering I was alone on this vacation and I felt like royalty from the moment that I stepped inside.  The waitress (Kiki) was extremely pleasant and very attentive to my every need and greeted me immediately after I sat down.  I had another server taking care of my drink order and another worker handling the place settings and it really felt like I was the guest of honor at a big ceremony because the service was incredible.  I had a glass of wine (which was excellent by the way) to start off the night and I just sat back and relaxed as I took in my surroundings.  There was a live band playing that night and everyone in the restaurant was singing along and just having a blast!  All of the food looked so good and I was looking forward to the Kona Style Grilled Filet that I ordered. 

For a complete list of menu options, click here.

Dinner
Dinner is served!
After dinner
Dinner is gone!

 

 

 

 

As you can see from the picture sequence above, I really enjoyed my meal.  Everything looked so tasty that I even debated to take a shot at the flower that was used for decoration but I controlled myself.  The temperature was just right, the seasonings were flavorful, and the presentation was perfect!  I took small bites so that I could enjoy each and every morsel while I jammed out to the music in the background.  This was one of the best dining experiences of my trip and if you ever get a chance to visit the Waikiki area, stop in at Duke’s for a great time!

And now onto dessert……….

Hula Pie
Sooooo delicious!

I am not going to lie, I felt like somewhat of a glutton when I picked the Hula Pie for my dessert after such a filling meal but hey, I was on vacation!  The Hula Pie was massive but I was able to conquer it after some effort and it was DE-LI-CIOUS!  After dessert was finished, I paid the bill and called it a night.

Duke’s was a major highlight of my trip and I hope it will be one of the highlights of yours as well.  If you are looking for a lively atmosphere with great service and excellent food, head over to Duke’s Waikiki and you will not be disappointed!


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Hanauma Bay Snorkel Adventures

If you would like to try out snorkeling while you are visiting the island of Oahu, you should head over to the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve because it is one of the best places in Hawaii for this activity.  If you will be staying in Waikiki during your vacation, I highly recommend booking an excursion through Hanauma Bay Snorkel Adventures because the tour includes round-trip transportation which ended up being very convenient for me.  There are several pick-up and return times for you to choose from so you can either stay for a short while or you can spend hours there enjoying the lovely scenery.  You can find the transportation schedule here which will help you to determine what will work best for you.  Please note, Hanauma Bay is closed to visitors on Tuesdays but it is open every other day of the week.  The tour is relatively cheap and I only paid a small fee of $18 dollars plus another $7.50 to enter the park.  The price was well worth it considering the fact that you can stay for many hours snorkeling or just relaxing on the beach and getting a tan while people watching.  Hanauma Bay is one of the most beautiful places to see in Hawaii so this is an exceptional deal considering how little it costs for the amount of fun you will have!

Check out these photos from my day at Hanauma Bay!

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I opted for a pick-up time of 7:30am and a return time of 12:30pm so that I could get in as much snorkeling as possible.  I also booked a submarine adventure on the same day I did this tour otherwise I would have stayed even longer.  The driver picked me up from my hotel and he was very friendly and gave everyone on the tour a ton of interesting information about Hanauma Bay and let us all know about the different return times that were available to us.  We were then given snorkels, masks, and fins so that we would be ready to go when we arrived at the park.  After the van dropped us off at Hanauma Bay, everybody walked up a hill and over to the windows where we paid the park entrance fee.  After paying, we were given a ticket that was needed in order to get into a room where we were shown an instructional video about the bay and also given tips and advice on what to do and what not to do while snorkeling.  After the video was over, everyone exited the viewing area and then made their way down a hill toward the beach and there was a little shuttle available for those unable to make the walk.  I decided to get some exercise and made my way down the hill by foot and was really excited to start my snorkel adventure!

Fish

As soon as I arrived at the beach, I put my towel down and got all of my snorkeling gear together and headed right for the water.  I had purchased a waterproof digital camera just for this trip and it really came in handy here!  As soon as I dove under the water, I saw all sorts of different fish and some of them had colors that were so vibrant and the entire underwater world was such a sight to see!  I swam around from one end of the bay to the other and tried to cover as much area as I could during my time there.  Unfortunately, I did not get to see any turtles but I did come across a lot of other marine life and everything was so peaceful and serene there.  There are lifeguards on duty but please be safe and make sure that you do not go out too far.  Also, be careful of where the waves are breaking because those sections can be very dangerous.  One last rule that you will need to know is that you should not touch or stand on the coral reef because you could cause damage to it or harm the living organisms that help make up the reef.  Whether this is your first time snorkeling or if you are a seasoned pro, Hanauma Bay is the perfect spot to go if you want to experience one of nature’s finest creations!


 
*** You do not have to book a tour through a company to visit the park and you can provide your own means of transportation to get there.  Click here for more information. ***

Below you will find a video of me snorkeling at Hanauma Bay and chasing the fish around!

[youtube width="600" height="400"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARP86fG7-p4[/youtube]

* At the 36 second mark in the video, you will get a brief glimpse of the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a which is the State Fish of Hawaii!

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House Without a Key

Hawaii was near the top of my list of places that I wanted to visit while I was still young so I finally booked a trip to the island of Oahu back in April of 2011 and I ended up staying in the Waikiki Beach area of Honolulu at the Ohana Waikiki West.  I was pretty hungry after taking a flight out of New Jersey and being in the air for a total of twelve hours with a layover in San Francisco so my first order of business after landing was to have a nice meal to begin my vacation.  After getting my luggage from the carousel, I found the shuttle that was going to take me from the airport to my hotel and I was almost finished with the not-so-fun part of the trip at that point.  After about forty-five minutes or so of sitting and waiting for the other passengers to be dropped off, I finally arrived at my hotel and the check-in process was very smooth.  I hurried to my room and quickly unpacked my bags so that I could hit the streets and find somewhere to grab some food and relax a little.  I had done a lot of research prior to my trip and the Halekulani Hotel was very close to where I was staying and it had a restaurant called the House Without a Key which seemed like the perfect place to start my journey!

Amazing drink!
Started my trip off with the Jungle Mania drink!

After a few short minutes of walking from my hotel, I had reached my destination which was the stunning Halekulani Hotel.  I was starving at this point and was anxious to find the restaurant so I asked a man at the front desk for some assistance and he directed me to the back of the building where the House Without a Key was located.  There were both indoor and outdoor dining areas and I opted for the fresh air because I had been stuck on a plane for most of the day and the scenery was beautiful!  My waiter came over and greeted me immediately after I was seated and handed me a menu so that I could get down to business.  After a few minutes of browsing, I decided to start off with something tropical and I chose the Jungle Mania (non-alcoholic) drink which is pictured above.  This drink was one of the tastiest beverages that I ever had and I highly recommend it!  The waiter came back after another couple of minutes to take my food order and I decided on the Sage Roasted Chicken which you will find pictured below.  The meal was as delicious as the drink and my entire dining experience was just superb!

Delicious Food
Sage Roasted Chicken = Delicious!

In addition to great food and drinks, the House Without a Key also provides nightly entertainment in order to create a fun atmosphere for its guests.  You will find traditional Hawaiian music and even some hula dancers that will surely make your night out a very memorable one.  The musicians perform under an enormous Kiawe tree that is extremely old and it creates a very picturesque background.  I did not get an opportunity to see the hula show but I did stay for a few songs and the music was so calming and it put me in a great mood and helped me to get into the island spirit!

Live Entertainment
Some relaxing music to help you unwind!

If you are staying in the Waikiki Beach area, I suggest that you set some time aside and head over to the House Without a Key for a nice evening out.  This is also a prime location for watching the sunset so make sure that you bring a camera so that you can snap some photos while you are there.  A picture-perfect setting, wind blowing through your hair, a refreshing cocktail, and live music are the things that you will find here so what are you waiting for?!?!  ALOHA!

A great experience!
A great experience!