For the past year, I've been feeling an insatiable sense of wanderlust. Most recently my inner travel bug was screaming:
So Mr. S and I took a little adventure (sans kidlets) to the magical island of sand, hula girls and malasadas last week. Since he had never been to the Land of Aloha before, we thought we'd do Oahu this year and if he liked it (really...who wouldn't? I mean c'mon!), we'd do Kauai or Maui next year. ☺
Yep, that's a real rainbow outside our airplane window!
For our trip, we did 3 nights in bustling Waikiki at the luxurious Trump International and 3 nights on tranquil North Shore at the Turtle Bay Resort. The suite we had at the Trump was phenomenal (I loved the huge marble bathroom with deep soak tub) as was their service- 5 star all the way! Waikiki ---well, Waikiki was terrific but honestly, we were quite ready for a slower pace by the 3rd day. We did do some touristy things like visiting the USS Arizona/ Pearl Harbor memorial site and the Dole Plantation. Seeing and hearing about the sunken ship and the fallen soldiers was quite a solemn and informative experience. I strongly urge you to go if you're on Oahu.
The Dole Plantation in Wahiawa was ok. It's a good choice if you're looking for a family activity but it wasn't really our cup of tea. I did learn though that pineapples do not grow on trees and they can take 18 months to mature! Here's a photo I snapped of a pineapple plant.
There was also these gum trees on the plantation. They look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, no?
We had a lovely drive to the North Shore on our 4th day. I'd been to the North Shore on previous visits but had never stayed there. Turtle Bay Resort was nice, not quite the caliber of the Trump but it's the only hotel out there (it's more like a mega-resort). The view there though...I can't stop gushing about it. Bright blue ocean, green mountains and lush foliage everywhere you looked. We were on the top floor and the view was breathtaking.
Turtle Bay, just steps from our doorstep
Near Sunset Beach, down the road
Things at Turtle Bay were also much more relaxed. Mr. S got in some ATVing and we even took a 40 minute helicopter ride over the entire island. I was terrified at first but once the helicopter got off the ground, I absolutely loved it! It was so exhilarating. Josh, our pilot, with Paradise Helicopters was fantastic. I sat between him and Mr. S in the front. We could see everything- the breathtaking 1,000 foot Sacred Falls (which has been closed to the public since 1999, when 8 hikers were killed and 50 others were injured), the amazing North Shore surf breaks and even the rainbow-hued oil still leaking from the wreckage of the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor.
Just like Magnum PI's
During our stay on the North Shore, we actually saw giant marine turtles sunbathing at Laniakea Beach and whales jumping just off the coast of Turtle Bay. Mr. S also saw a monk seal. (I missed that one...I was busy laying out.)
Now of course, I would be remiss if I didn't point out some of the tasty food we ate- fresh poke, malasadas, Spam musubi, and loco moco...LOTS of loco moco. I'm pretty sure I gained back all the lbs. I lost before vacation. It was worth it though.
I remembered to stop stuffing my face with island fare and guava juice for a second or two to take a few pics.
1. Malasadas at Leonard's bakery. Eat these pillowy Hawaiian/Portuguese doughnuts sprinkled with crunchy granules of sugar while they're still piping hot. I love the plain ones, Mr.S preferred the custard filled ones. The aroma inside Leonard's will drive you crazy...I'm pretty sure it's what heaven smells like.
2. Loco moco...anywhere pretty much. We loved the ones we had at Rainbow Drive-In and at Ted's Bakery. The gravy and burger patty at Ted's is better than Rainbow, but Rainbow's loco moco is pretty solid and their mac salad is slightly better. Both had 2 fried eggs, 2 hamburger patties, 2 big ass scoops of white rice, 1 scoop of Hawaiian macaroni salad and lotso' gravy.
Rainbow Drive-In Loco Moco
Ted's Bakery Loco Moco
3. Speaking of Ted's Bakery, be sure to pick up a slice of their chocolate haupia pie for dessert. So creamy...so chocolatey. So insanely good! As are their breakfast sandwiches. The bread they use is so soft, like a warm King's Hawaiian roll only MUCH bigger.
Ted's chocolate haupia pie
Ted's big Spam breakfast sandwich
4. Odds and ends: I took a liking to li hing powder on a previous trip. So I indulged in some li hing powder dusted gummy bears and this hurricane popcorn (see below) this time around on the island. I also brought some back with me. Haven't quite decided what I want to use it on yet.
[I also brought back a big bag of furikake popcorn with me. And no-- I'm not sharing. ☺]
5. Kidlet #1 requested that we bring him back some Spam macadamia nuts (yes, Spam!) since Spam is so big in Hawaii. Ummm...I had a taste. I can't say I'm a big fan of the Spam nuts but he seems to love them.
5. One of my favorite things to eat on the North Shore was garlic shrimp. Oodles of butter and minced garlic...pure nirvana. We hit up Fumi's shrimp truck on the recommendation of our bell man at the Trump and the roadside Kahuku Grill on the rec of my friends, Amy and Steve. Both locations were equally delicious, but the styles were quite different. Fumi's goes balls out on the butter so plan to get elbows deep in it. Kahuku Grill uses a more subtle garlic and butter method. Either way, I was stuffed and happy (and quite garlicky) after our visits.
Fumi's Shrimp Truck
Fumi's Garlic & Butter Shrimp Plate
(Note: There's a LOT of feral cats and wild chickens roaming near the shrimp trucks. Don't feed them.)
Anyhow, it was lovely to get in some R&R and to get to show the island to Mr. S. Can't wait for our next adventure!