Amy and I thought we could walk over to this local favorite only to find it was way further than we expected. Cafe Maharani has some amazing reviews and we were looking to get our Indian fix.

The spot is small and kinda beat up, but that's never deterred me from a restaurant. Also, they are a BYOB establishment so stop by the grocery store across the street or bring a bottle from home.

Cafe Maharani
(808) 951-7447
Manoa-Makiki/University District
2509 S King St
Honolulu, HI 96826
Afghan naan...way larger than expected.
Coconut rice and vegetable korma. Rice was good and the korma was a bit one-note...but tasty.
Kashmiri naan - very good. Tawa Chicken - too sweet for my liking
Cafe Maharani on Urbanspoon


After Indian, Amy found a place a short walk away called Bubbi's Ice Cream. Do yourself a favor...GO THERE. A small ice cream shop that makes Mochi Ice Cream Balls! We didn't know how good we had it until we left Oahu and couldn't get it anymore.
Look at all the flavors!
Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream (University Avenue) 
(808) 949-8984
Manoa-Makiki/University District
1010 University Ave
Honolulu, HI 96826
bubbiesicecream.com
Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream (University Avenue) on Urbanspoon
 
 
 
 
Grappa is one of Italy's most popular alcoholic drinks, with somewhere in the region of forty million bottles of grappa being produced every year. It's also a very Italian drink; since 1989 the name has been protected by the EU, meaning that the drink can only be called grappa if it's sourced and produced in Italy.
The main ingredient of grappa is pomace, which consists of the grape skins, seeds and stalks that are left over from the wine making process. These are taken through a second process of distillation, which extracts the remaining flavors from the pomace before the waste is discarded. The grappa is then either bottled at once, which creates white grappa (grappa bianca), or aged in wooden casks to create the yellow or brown-hued grappa known as riserva.

Grappa can either be made from a mixture of pomaces from different sources, or from one grape variety. If at least 85% of the pomace comes from a single variety, the grappa can be designated di vitigno or varietale, and the type of grape can be incorporated into the name of the drink. Examples of this include Po' Merlot di Poli and Po' Pinot di Poli from the Poli distillery and Francoli's Barbera and Moscato grappas. However, the best wines don't always produce the best grappa; as the grappa is made from the leftovers of the winemaking process, the more the wine takes out of the pomace, the less remains for the grappa.
Grappa is a wonderful way to end a meal, drunk either as a shot on its own or added to an espresso (in which case it's known in Italy as a caffè coretto, or a "corrected coffee"). The Instituto Nazionale Grappa, the body that represents most of the grappa producers in Italy, recommends serving shots in small tulip-shaped glasses with open rims, rather than balloons or narrow glasses.

For those that find it has too "harsh" a flavor, I have heard it suggested that you can mix it with a little bit of ice and  pomegranate/blood orange/tart fruit juice. (Although I personally recommend drinking it neat or chilled.)

Article by RomeFile
 
 
Wally Ho's Garage and Grill

While visiting the USS Arizona Memorial, we found this fun little place where a lot of military and locals eat at. It's a former gas station that was turned into a restaurant. There is still a working garage attached to the side of the restaurant. The front hald of the restaurant is set up like a gas station convenience store.

Gimmick aside, the food we had was very good. The Loco Moco (rice with gravy, hamburger and eggs) was very traditional.  They made their own burger patties and their own gravy. My biggest complaint was that the food was overly salty. (a common problem in most of the meals we had on the island) The Garlic Korean Chicken was AMAZE tho! Salty but amazing.

Wally Ho's Garage & Grill
(808) 488-2220
98-381 Kamehameha Hwy
Aiea, HI 96701

I am pretty sure I drank about 2 liters of water after this meal.
Wally Ho's Garage & Grill on Urbanspoon
Amy's Least Favorite Meal

Ono came highly recommended by a few of the locals we met. It is considered really traditional Hawaiian food. This place was small and the staff wasn't rude, but they definitely knew that if we didn't like it, there's 10 people waiting to take our spots.

There was NO/none/zero options for vegetarians...so Amy got a boiled taro for dinner. I ordered the Combination plate with Kalua Pig and Laulau.

My meal came with a host of sides, like raw onions with sea salt, pickled peppers with chili water, poi (mashed taro root paste with water), pickled tomatoes, rice and coconut cake.

The kalua pig was my east favorite. It was simply salty although it had a nice aftertaste. The laulau was SUPERB though. Easily my favorite Hawaiian food item...perhaps ever.

Laulau is pork wrapped in taro leaves and steam/baked in underground ovens. The leaves gave the over salted pork some flavor profile besides salt. The meat falls apart and the juices left from the steamed/baked leaves/pork fat is divine. Sure, it may look like a giant booger, but it's damn tasty.

Amy found the poi to be inedible and I thought it tolerable at best. The tastelessness of the mashed taro mixed with water really made the consistency hard to swallow. (literally!)

All in all, it was a great learning experience in traditional Hawaiian food and how to eat it. I enjoyed the laulau and Amy enjoyed her boiled taro. Lesson learned.

I'd recommend this restaurant to anyone who wants to try real Hawaiian food. Just don't be a vegetarian.

Ono Hawaiian Foods
(808) 737-2275
726 Kapahulu Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816
Ono Hawaiian Foods on Urbanspoon
Malasada what?

Another local favorite we tried was Leonard's Bakery. They specialize in malasadas (Portuguese style donuts) that are slightly crispy on the outside but still soft/fluffy on the inside. This particular bakery is known for making them fresh on the spot.

We got half a dozen, 2 cinnamon, 2 li hing sugar, and 2 macademia custard filled – it was warm and good but considering we had high expectations it was a bit of a letdown. Honestly, it was nothing special. I would say that this is a pass.

I did learn that li hing sugar is tho...sugar mixed with li hing mui (dry salted plums), so the mixture is sweet and tart.

Leonard's Bakery
(808) 737-5591 
933 Kapahulu Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816
Leonard's Bakery on Urbanspoon
 
 
So I got married 2 Saturdays ago and we immediately left for vacation that Sunday night. Arriving in Hawaii at 4am, we basically started eating immediately and didn't stop til we arrived back in Cleveland. Here's proof of our gluttony...
Breakfast on 1st day

Egg and Cheese Crepe
Mango and Fresh Cream Crepe
They are a chain, but it really started the trip off proper.

Crepe House - Waikiki
(808) 922-2201
2490 Kalakaua Avenue, Suite 6
Honolulu, HI 96815
Crepe House on Urbanspoon
Just cause.
Poke

Gotta try the Poke Salad...I got it extra spicy and it was slammin'! The inside seating was a bit too Hawaiian cheesy to me (and it stank a bit like mildew and fish sauce)...so we enjoyed our snack outside.

Hawaiiana Cafe - Waikiki
(808) 772-8879
260 Beach Walk
Honolulu, HI 96815
Hawaiiana Cafe on Urbanspoon
BACK ALLEY FOOD STAND?! I'm all in!

While we were wondering thru Chinatown, I came across a back alley food court...and I went bonkers on that shit. There were Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Hawaiian and Filipino foods represented. Plastic chairs and tables galore!

Sweet and sour pig knuckles (top left)
Hawaiian chicken stew with carrots and potatoes (top right)
Filipino style adobo pork (lower left)

The food court entrance was on Maunakea St. You have to walk thru a mini bazaar to to get to it. (NOTE: they are mostly open during lunches and close around 4-5pm.)
Vegan/Vegetarian Option

Obviously with my Carni-meal over, we had to find something for Amy for have. On our way back tot he hotel, we stopped by Ruffage Natural Foods, which specialized in organic vegetarian/vegan meals. Amy got the Veggie Burrito. She devoured it...so it must have been good.

Ruffage Natural Foods
(808) 922-2042 
2443 Kuhio Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815

Two days later, we went back for breakfast. Amy and I shared a Vegetable Sammy and a Peanut Butter Smoothie. Both were excellent. The preparation and presentation was simple but packed a ton a flavor. Definitely worth a try!
Ruffage Natural Foods on Urbanspoon
JAPANESE BREAKFAST!

I have been craving a proper Japanese breakfast since my last visit to Japan. (8 years ago?!?) So when given the opportunity to try out a decently rated spot near our hotel, I jumped at the chance.

Amy ordered the Japanese Breakfast with only a soft scrambled egg. They gave her a salad as well and she really enjoyed the combination of pickled vegetables and the egg with rice.

I ordered the Grilled Salmon breakfast that is considered pretty traditional. I also added a side of natto with raw egg, so I could really put this baby over the top. The salmon was grilled well and the pickled vegetables added the perfect amount of saltiness and sourness to cut the oily fish. The natto was good. Not great. You could tell it was the frozen type but the with the right amount of green onions and nori, it still came together.

Yoshitsune (inside the Park Shore Hotel)
(808) 926-5616
2586 Kalakaua Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815
Yoshitsune on Urbanspoon