I first tasted Nitro Cold Brew (NCB) on a coffee crawl through New York’s East Village with a friend of mine as my guide. That friend also happened to be a lead barista at Third Rail Coffee, a popular indie coffee shop in New York City’s Greenwich Village. I had my first taste of NCB at one of ours stops and I was utterly confused and captivated. I immediately explained to my friend that this was like no coffee I’d ever had. Instead, with its thick mouthfeel and foamy (yet creamy) head, it tasted similar to Guinness…yes, the beer. It took a few years, but NCB has really started to become a trend in indie coffee shops throughout the main island of Oahu. Let’s sample some of the options, but do keep in mind that they were all ordered black (as coffee should be).
The Waikiki Aquarium was always one of my favorite places to visit when I was a child. On any given day, my dad would often bring both me and my younger sister to either the zoo or the aquarium. I always preferred the aquarium because of the jelly fish and the air conditioning. Now that I have a child of my own, I am finding joy in sharing the experiences that I enjoyed in my youth with my son.
I’ve visited Osaka on a handful of occasions, but I typically spend most of my time exploring the lively “gastronomist’s town” of Dotonbori. This most recent visit, though, we ended up staying near the Shinsekai area, a part of old Osaka that was built before World War I to represent the coming of a new world full of innovation and technology. The northern end of Shinsekai was made to resemble Paris, while the southern end was inspired by New York’s Coney Island. With this in mind, don’t be thrown off by the Tsutenkaku Tower, an Eiffel Tower lookalike. One of the main attractions of Shinsekai are the many Kushikatsu restaurants. We tried the most famous, Kushikatsu Daruma.
What was old is new again. In 2016, the then Pacific Beach Hotel underwent a massive $100+ million redevelopment. The complete makeover involved all 800+ hotel rooms and included all public spaces. The fruits of this investment was partially unveiled in late 2017 when the hotel was rebranded and reimagined as the Alohilani Resort. What can you expect? A modern and contemporary vibe that evokes calming relaxation, or, as they like to call it, Aloha Chic.
Every year we set out to capture the first sunset of the new year. This year was no different. The first sunset of 2018 was cool, calm, and collected.
Tucked away on the second floor of the reimagined Alohilani Resort is Waikiki’s newest brunch experience, Lychee. During a recent stay at the Alohilani, we were invited to experience the extensive brunch buffet. You’ll find the usual suspects, including eggs, sausages, and baked goods. Beyond that, expect a variety of seasonal fruits like rambutan and mango, seafood including sashimi, opihi, taegu prawns, and snow crab legs, a prime rib carving station, cuts of bone marrow, and even a milk tea and boba bar.
Every now and then we all need a little sweet treat. At MoDo (inside of Mitsuwa Market at the International Market Place), you can experience the mochi donut, made popular in Japan. I’m seeing mochi donuts more often in recent month at bakeries throughout Hawaii, but based on experience, MoDo tastes the most authentic to the ones that I’ve had in Japan. I’m fairly basic when it comes to my mochi donut needs, I tend to go with either chocolate or strawberry…both highly recommended if you visit MoDo. Pick up a few for me while you’re there.
Herringbone Waikiki is as imaginative with its menu as it is Instagram friendly. You’ll want to take a photo of everything you see and taste at this International Market Place dining establishment. The Herringbone experience is one for all of the senses to enjoy. They’ve recently started to serve weekend brunch, and I think they’ve nailed it. And by the way…the weekend (at Herringbone) begins on Aloha Fridays…so plan accordingly.