Since 2012, we’ve chased the first sunset of every new year. It’s our tradition. This year, we were able to share the first sunset of 2019 with our Little Dude.
What is a gastropub? These days, I’m not too sure. Early on, though, when a pub went from just serving beer to serving fanciful takes on traditional dishes, they were said to have morphed into a gastropub. Nowadays, the term gastropub is synonymous with establishments that serve high-end beer along with creatively thought out dishes. Whether they started out as just a pub…well, that’s no longer a requirement. Enter The Brilliant Ox, the latest gastropub to hit Oahu, in the old Pearl Ultra Lounge space in Ala Moana Center.
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.
All-you-can-eat bread & pastry, good coffee, lovely ambience, and notoriously long wait times. These were all things that I had either heard or read about before I stepped into Cafe Lani, one of the restaurant offerings in Ala Moana Center’s new Ewa Wing. But what would my actual experience be like?
The Exploration: Hawaii tradition of capturing the first sunset of the new year has been going strong since 2012. 2017’s first sunset was probably the clearest of the past 5 years, with no rain or heavy clouds in sight.