Wellington To Waikiki- What We Ate In Oahu, Hawaii.

(Not a sponsored post)

We went back to Waikiki for another holiday. The last time was three years ago and Miss turned 12 while we were there, she was just 15 on this trip. Both times we had excellent holidays. This time was particularly a memory maker.

I am going to write mainly about food and how we ended up in a few places. We have decided if we ever go back, we will do far more the of the lest touristy restaurants and a lot more hole in the wall joints. I am sure we will be back in a few years to shop, swim and go on more amazing adventures.

One of the best things to happen to Oahu is Open Table.  

If the restaurant of your choice isn’t on Open Table check their website for a reservations tab. There are a lot of people every single night heading off to dinner. Many have to queue and wait for a while at bars or on the street. If you have a booking, you just walk on in and often get a great table. It really worked for us.

I am going to tell you about a few of the restaurants we went to and I will do another post about what to get up to.

Breakfast

Wailana Coffee House

Love this place. You simply have to go at least once. It is the full diner experience and you most certainly can’t book. You have to wait. My pancakes were the best pancakes I think I have ever had and the coconut syrup is pure Hawaii. They are open 24 hours so there is no excuse not to go.

M.A.C 24-7

Insane portions. I am not kidding when I say us three adults could have easily shared one small stack portion, two huge pancakes. I opted for the current special, Apple Pie. It was lovely and I think I seriously only got a 1/3 of the way through. They have a pancake challenge, have a look on their website. We saw the challenge pancakes go out and they were absolutely huge and we were left pondering how on earth you would actually manage to finish them? There is a honours board up on the wall and some of the times are mind-blowing.

Barefoot Beach Cafe

This place is a lovely walk along the waterfront and a great spot. The menu has a good mix of things. I had the Acai Bowl and loved it. It had lots of honey and plenty of fresh fruit. Mr ate Spam for breakfast here and I even tried a bit, too salty for me. Miss had a great French Toast which I just had to help her finish.

Duke’s Waikiki

They have a fantastic breakfast buffet and it is well worth a visit. Booked this one too and got a great table right by the waterfront and it was lovely. I would definitely go back to this buffet for the fruit, cinnamon French toast, and the pancakes. Loved it and the huge vat of coconut syrup kept me happy.

The Main Players

Tommy Bahamas 

Book this one for sure. This is your put on your new glad rags and head out for a casual fancy dinner. We went twice and booked both times. The first time we were on the 1st floor and the second time we made it to the roof. Both times there were people waiting for tables who looked none too pleased with our sauntering in and taking a seat. The food here is good, say yes to the bread with the fancy butter. The service and food here were impeccable, we were seriously impressed. Even the burger was pretty damn fancy. I loved the fish tacos. The first time you go, have the full-size desserts. I could tell you not too but you know it will happen. That is another photo I want to see!

Flour and Barley

Great pizza and a fab HAPPY HOUR. We went here on our first night and the wings, cheap beer and Big Apple Pizza went down very well. I mustn’t forget the garlic bread that tasted like old school Pizza Hutt in a good way. We also went to the late happy hour and were equally as happy. There is a great table right by the pizza oven, makes for great viewing.

Maui Brewing Company

I do love a beer and they have plenty of choices here, I really liked the Big Swell IPA. They also had a great breakfast menu and lunch/dinner. The breakfast menu has some great alternatives to the obvious and I loved the avo on toast with the sriracha salt. Top tip, as you look at the building go to the left and take the escalator. The other side involves lots of steps, maybe you do want to walk up that side for a bit of a walk? In the evening this place was buzzing. One evening we were having a post-dinner drink in the open when the heavens opened, it was fun and the staff coped really well moving the drinks, tables and keeping an eye on their customers.

Yard House

You can’t go to Waikiki without a trip to the Yard House. We went for dinner early one evening and had to wait a bit for a table. There were 5 of us, it was a Friday and RIMCAP was on. Even early it was busy and we had to wait outside with the UFO buzzer. If you like beer you are in for a bit of reading, they ain’t joking when they say the beer menu is huge. I had the Belching Beaver Seasonal, how could you not with a name like that? Their house IPA is decent too. The one food item I went to Waikiki for was the onion ring tower they do here. It is seriously impressive. We also enjoyed the boneless wings, even if there was celery on the plate. I would like it noted that the celery did not get touched by anyone. The food here is bar food but good bar food.

Buho

An interesting spot on a rooftop. You take a lift up and arrive on the lovely rooftop. The food here varies between the authentic kind of Mexican and Tex Mex. We found that the price on the menu didn’t reflect the size of the portion. The tacos were small but priced similarly to the burrito that was huge. It is worth a trip for something different and I really enjoyed the Mole Enchilada as it had a spicy kick. The service was quick and the staff efficient. Finish your meal with a churro, just don’t order one each. The chocolate in the glass is unbelievably good. I want to see your churro pics, please?

Odd Places

Hula Dog Hawaii

This is a little food truck and you have to find it. It will be our first stop next time. I can’t put my finger on exactly why but I loved my Island style Hula Dog. I think it was the Guava Mustard. Keep an eye on their Facebook page to check where they are.

Leonard’s Bakery Hot Malasadas

Mmmmmmm you can’t go wrong with doughnuts. We went to the shop and ate them piping hot and the food truck which is in the bottom carpark of the WaikeleOutlet Mall. They cook to order and if you go to the shop, be prepared to queue and the wait is worth it. I liked the macadamia nut one best.

Ono Steaks and Shrimp Shack

For my birthday we did a private tour with Kevin from Escape Waikiki, I am going to do a whole post one day devoted to the man and his tour. On our tour we went to Ono’s and it was fab. It is one of those places that you would never go to unless told or taken. I have one warning, the garlic fries are very very very garlicky. You have been warmed. I had more fish tacos and loved them.

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Art Deco Festival – Tick!

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Last weekend I was lucky enough to head to Napier for the Art Deco festival. It was marvellous and so much more than I expected. I went with a friend and we had an absolute ball. Not a lot of booze was involved and the snaps were real. It was one of those weekends I will always have fantastic memories of.

My friend won the trip for two from the wonderful Coast Radio. Yes, people really do win those things. This prize included flights, accommodation and tickets to events. Even without a prize to enjoy, I would go again.

I had a vision of what the weekend would be like, it surpassed all of that. It was like stepping back in time and everyone was very happy. I haven’t dressed up for a party for a long time, we spent the whole weekend in costume. I raided the op shops and got some great dresses and shoes.

It was not only the dressing up that made the event but Napier being pedestrianised and the only cars and bikes around were from the Art Deco period. Throughout our time there was constantly something happening, many of the events were on the street, at the sound shell. or in the air. We attended the free dog parade, the Army Band and the very cute Soap Box Derby.

The ticketed events we went to included the Prohibition Party, Falling in Love Again and the Gatsby Picnic as VIP’s. We added the Death By Chocolate, this was a funeral for Chocolate held in a funeral home and included eating rather a lot of chocolate. It was fabulous. The table of older ladies in full black dress celebrating a birthday certainly added to the atmosphere.

Anyway, enough going on from me, next years dates are out and you should go.

We stayed at the lovely Motel De La Mer, it is right opposite the splash pad and the cleanest place I have ever stayed. I would certainly stay again.

For food, we discovered Chantal Organics shop and cafe. The food was so very good. I will dream of a day I can go back.

 

 

Saffron Haveli- A Great New Lunch Spot

Something exciting happened on Saturday, we found our city Indian lunch spot! You know where Strawberry Fare used to be, well it is there. They have done it up rather nicely and the chairs are still the same. It is now called Saffron Haveli 

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The menu has some different dishes on it and even at lunchtime, there are plenty of choices. I commented that I wanted to go back this Saturday for lunch and Mr laughed like I was joking, I wasn’t!

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This is one of those places that is located in a little bit of an odd spot and they need you to turn up. Let me know if you do?

I can recommend the Bhurji Paneer Masala and it is going to be hard to go past that dish to try other, I will try my hardest. Mr had the Haveli Chicken Rahra and it was good too, he has Indian hot and it had a good kick to it. We also shared Pani Puri and had fun eating it.

 

 

Salty Pidgin- Ticks All The Boxes

Happy 2018, I know I am a little late. I have been very busy with parents visiting from the UK for a few weeks over Christmas. We had a wonderful time and ate out rather a lot.

I was given the task of coming up with a nice place to go out to eat that wasn’t Asian and a little bit fancy. This was to be our last supper. A few years ago this would have been an easy task, but now Wellington is such a foodies delight it was a little more difficult. I went through the obvious fancy pants places but didn’t feel happy with any of them. Then Mr reminded me of how much I had talked about ‘that place on the corner in Brooklyn’ and the decision was made – The Salty Pidgin. The wonderful photo below is taken from the website.

Taken from the Salty Pidgin's website.

 

The Salty Pidgin is a Bistro. Many places say they are but don’t measure up to the claim. It is casual but smart and the kind of place where it is nice to wear something smart or pretty but not too fancy but to feel like you are going out to dinner. It is on a corner and a bright open spot. In the winter they have a wonderful open fire. All of these nice bits helped me choose but the biggest influence was the all-important menu.

The menu was a winner because it does fancy dishes and pide which is a Turkish pizza. I love a good fancy dish with some tasty sides, Mr and Miss love a good pizza and some fries. My parents are easily pleased.

The other winning feature of the menu is the choice of wine and beer. It is all too common to get either or, not here, they have a good list of both. Even the non-alcoholic pages are good, I had a Six Barrell Soda.

I could go on for ages about how wonderful the dishes were but you need to go and try. I’ll give you a little bit of an idea and ramble on a bit. They have very, very good fries with a delicious homemade tomato sauce. We had these as a starter at Miss’s request. It was a great idea.

The Venison with a side of broccolini.

For main my dad and I both had the venison and agreed that it was delicious and very generous. I do believe I counted 5 medallions of meat. Everyone else went for the pide and were equally impressed. Mr tried the lamb’s shoulder pide and marvelled at the idea and wasn’t very good at sharing. Miss had the tomato and despite the teen angst, smiled. My mum had the beef kofta and was very happy with her choice too. I did manage to try a small bit of each pide and thought them marvellous. However, the venison was my happy place as was the side of broccolini with harissa. We all finished our meals and had desserts.

Special of the night- nectarine and almond clafoutis

The dessert menu wasn’t your usual and between us, we tried the special of the night cooked to order nectarine and almond clafoutis, ginger creme brulee and a very fancy rice pudding. All very lovely and inventive.

The best part was we all left the Salty Pidgin having had a wonderful evening. We couldn’t have chosen a more suitable place and had a better selection of food and drink. I know where I will be going next time someone wants to go out to dinner…… any one?

That is me in the blue dress!

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Munch Cupboard Food Wraps- So Satisfying.

Munch Cupboard asked me if I would like to try and review their Food Wrap, I was very pleased with the idea and here is my review of the eco-friendly way to wrap food from the Wellington based Munch

I do not like cling wrap, I must confess that we have a box in the cupboard but hardly ever use it. I must also confess to having smashed a few saucers by precariously balancing them on top of things as lids. My saucers are now safe, thanks to Munch Food Wraps.

The main use for that awful cling wrap in this house is to stop insects or the furry animals who live here getting to the food. We have a tag team cat and dog who will steal anything uncovered and share, yes, really. This morning I used the Food Wrap to cover fruit while it got to room temperature and it was not touched by our dynamic duo and they love a strawberry.

The above photos show how this Food Wrap works, it has all sorts of good things in it like beeswax, jojoba oil, propolis and Manuka honey. How fab is that? It is a simple way to be greener and without waste. As you can see in the photos, it molds with the warmth of your hands to be airtight seal just like cling wrap. It is so satisfying to mold it to exactly how you want it. When you have used it you can just wash it in soapy water and it will last a good few months.

You can watch a couple of videos here.

As well as covering fruit, I have used the Food Wrap to take a sandwich to work, cover cheese in the fridge and over the top of a jug of yeast/water mixed to make bread. I left the yeast jug out in the sunshine and the Food Wrap coped fine.

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As it is coming up for Christmas and Secret Santa seems very popular, I think you may have an idea for your Secret Santa with this eco-friendly gift? The Food Wraps are very attractive with lovely designs. They are going to be a permanent fixture in our house. I am always trying to find ways to go green without inconvenience.

So, go on, give them a try and thanks for reading. Below is a photo of the dynamic duo food thieves, Milly the dog and Harley the most mischevious cat we have ever owned.

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Time To Think About Books As Gifts? Ideas From Me.

I haven’t blogged any books for a while. As it is coming up to Christmas I thought I would post a review on 3 books that could be handy as gifts. I read for Hachette NZ and love downloading a book and not really knowing what I am getting. I have read some excellent books this year that I probably wouldn’t have chosen off a shelf but have enjoyed.

 

Wish You Were Here?  By Sheridan Jobbins

 

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Could be for your Sister In Law, your friend who needs a kick in the butt to go on that big adventure or even your heart broken friend?

I really didn’t know what to expect from this book but I loved it. Reading it you can tell that she is in show business as she has a way with words and enjoys a bit of drama. The adventures are crazy, the stories as she travels are amusing and then in the emotional stuff adds to the package. All up, a great read and would make an excellent gift. The kind of book that could be read in a couple of days over the festive season.

 

The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Club

By Sophie Green

 

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Could be for someone heading off on summer holidays, a book worm who like the odd easy read to devour over the festive season, I think it could appeal to many.

I read this because I saw something that said it was like a modern Thornbirds. I loved Thornbirds and the hype around it. I can’t remember enough about the Thornbirds to compare the two but I enjoyed both!

This is a tale of what it is like to be isolated in the Northern Territories in the late 1970’s and how friendships form. There is a cross section of age groups and it is one of those books where you feel like you got to know the characters. A great easy read with a bit of drama thrown in.

 

The Little Breton Bistro

by Nina George

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Another relaxing read and dive into some one else’s life story. I would say more suitable for the forty plus in your life.

I enjoyed the life adventure the main character found herself on and the various twist and turns in her story. There were a couple of parts that caused me to stay up way later than I should have done to see what happened and a few audible gasps escaped me. This was a well-told story and I enjoyed reading it. I have been to many of the places mentioned in France but as a child, reading this makes me want to return as an adult.

 

 

 

 

 

 

High Teas Society And Me.

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A few months ago I got a surprise message on twitter from a fellow former blogger, Lady Loves Cake. The message was asking if I would be interested in taking over her post as reviewer of all things High Tea in the Wellington region for the High Tea Society. The answer was a swift yes.

After a few emails back and forth and pinching myself a few times, I got my first assignment at Martha’s Pantry. As photography was required I invited my birthday buddy and fellow food focused Brit along, Lucy from Wellington Foodies. We are now a High Tea Team.

Our first experience was lovely and at the same time, overwhelming. We ate, we laughed and were made to feel very welcome. After a couple more reviews we are both more confident and enjoying our journey.

This weekend we will be at another venue scoffing our faces and trying to behave. I can’t wait. Thank you Michelle Milton for giving us the opportunity to indulge.

Here are the reviews Lucy and I have sacrificed ourselves for so far. I would like to say to my personal trainer Tim that I don’t eat it all but we both know that is a lie.

 

Martha’s Pantry

The Intercontinental Wellington

The Gear Homestead