On the cover of of the most recent issue of BRUTUS Magazine, a Japanese popular culture magazine that I follow, were the words: “No Tonkatsu, No Life.” I can relate. I love tonkatsu. My most recent trip to Japan happened because I was craving a taste of tonkatsu that I had on a previous visit. I’ve been known to have dreams of tonkatsu. So when we found ourselves having to run an errand in Waikiki, well, we just had to make a stop at Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin.
If you’re on Oahu and looking for a secluded resort, then Turtle Bay would be my recommendation. You’ll be far, far away from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu and Waikiki. You also won’t need to worry about food…Roy Yamaguchi has got you covered. Roy’s Beach House, located on the beach that fronts the Turtle Bay Resort, is the perfect place to enjoy a taste of Hawaii while listing to the crashing waves.
Kauai is the island that you visit if you’re searching for old Hawaii charm and rugged outdoor beauty. There are places on Kauai where you can truly get away. One of those places is Polihale State Park, a remote beach on the western end of Kauai. About an hour-and-a-half drive from Kapaa, Polihale beach is the westernmost publicly accessible beach in the state…and the drive to get there is something else…
Got brunch plans? You do now…at Flour & Barley. The popular brick oven pizzeria at the International Market Place recently launched a new brunch menu and of course they’ve got sweet and savory breakfast pizzas to satisfy every pizza loving soul. Let’s taste our way through a few of them!
If you plan to enjoy breakfast at Morning Glass Coffee + Cafe in Manoa on a sleepy Saturday morning, then be sure to get there early. Even then, lines begin to form shortly after their first drop of coffee is served. It’s a popular spot amongst locals and Japanese tourists. Thing is, the Japanese no longer have to fly very far to get their Morning Glass Coffee fix since there is now a location in Osaka. Of course, I had to fly from Hawaii to check it out.
Local celebrity chef, Alan Wong, recently announced that he would be closing his famed lunch spot, The Pineapple Room. Opened in 1999 inside of the then Liberty House (now Macy’s), the popular eatery was a casual taste of Wong’s fine dining sensibility. As for a reason for the closing, Wong went on to say that “The dining landscape has changed, and we’ve amicably decided with Macy’s to move on from this concept.” With this closure, Wong’s fans now have just two options: the original namesake Honolulu location and the newish Shanghai, China location.
When it comes to Java in the US, coffee connoisseurs tend to rave about Seattle, San Francisco, and New York City as being home to elite coffee shops. I think Hawaii needs to be added to the list. With more people gravitating to the cultural jaugenaut that is Starbucks, I’ve tried to, in the last few years, sample coffees from a variety of locally owned shops. There are many more to add to this list, but, let’s start with the first five. Like with my other Five To Try posts: this is by no means a Top 5 list of any kind, just a selection of five interesting spots that I think are worth checking out.
If you’re visiting Hawaii and want to do something a little unusual, random, and a bit off-the-wall, then maybe consider checking out one of Oahu’s Asian supermarkets. We’ve got a few, but the two largest ones are located in the old plantation town of Waipahu. Let’s take a walk through Pacific Supermarket to see what interesting food items we can find! You might even find something to take back home with you.