I got the chance to visit Hawaii because one of my good friends had her wedding there. Destination weddings are great because you can totally turn it in a mini vacation. I stayed at The Modern on Waikiki Beach and spent 6 days exploring Oahu.
After checking into the hotel, it was time to eat. My first meal was at Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin. The tonkatsu here reminded me of tonkatsu in Tokyo! Crunchy panko flakes were fried to perfection so there is no oily residue on your lips. I ordered the Mixed Katsu Set (Tenderloin, Loin, Minced Kurobuta). The set comes with rice and unlimited cabbage salad and miso soup. They do offer kurobuta, which is the Berkshire breed of pig. Think of it like as the Wagyu of the pork world. There are a limited number of kurobuta so if you come later in the day, chances are you won’t be able to order it.
Who doesn’t love acai bowls?! I wanted an acai bowl every day in Hawaii. My favorite acai bowl was at Haleiwa Bowls in North Shore because the texture of the acai smoothie and they give you a lot of fruit. You walk up to this cute wooden shack to order. There are a bunch of smoothies and juices on the menu. I appreciate it so much that they have their own parking lot. Parking in Hawaii is tough so I appreciate the stores/restaurants that have a parking lot.
Olive & Oliver is a super cute coffee shop in Waikiki. It’s connected to the Surfjack Hotel and also is a retail store so you can shop while waiting for your coffee.
The views on this hike are so beautiful. I’ve been to the Phi Phi Islands and think the water in Hawaii is so different and beautiful in its own way. I overheard this local girl say she’s hiked Pillbox a hundred times and never seen the water this blue. I parked at the Kailua Beach Park parking lot for free. I went around 10:30 am and the parking lot was full, so I recommend going early for this hike. Even better if you can do the hike for sunrise. From the parking lot, it’s about a 20 minute walk to Pillbox. The hike is fairly easy and quick so it shouldn’t take more than an hour. Tips: hydrate, wear sunscreen, bring a hat, wear shoes and hike to the second pillbox for a better view. It takes about 10 minutes to reach the second pillbox.
After the hike, I walked to Lanikai Beach to see one of the best beaches ever. The sand is so soft and less touristy than Waikik Beach. This is my favorite beach because it’s quiet, clean and gives you that local-y feeling. Search Lanikai Beach in Google Maps and it’ll lead you right to it.
I’m always on the hunt for the best dessert and snacks when I travel. Shave ice in Hawaii is a must! The custard bowl with POGS (passion fruit, orange and guava) is my fav combo at Waiola Shave Ice drizzled with condensed milk. 🙂