Looking for somewhere new to eat? Follow the tourists. In this case, the Japanese tourists (and a handful of locals) to the line outside Yakiniku Hiroshi in Waikiki. Located on Royal Hawaiian Avenue behind the Waikiki Trade Center, this little hole-in-the-wall is at the top of the “must eat” list for serious carnivores.
“Yakiniku” means “grilled meat” so think of it as “hot off the grill,” Japanese style. The secret is in Yakiniku Hiroshi’s beef. Hiroshi exclusively uses fresh air-flown Gold and Platinum grade American Waygu (Kobe-style) beef raised in Idaho by Snake River Farms. The beef is so tender it practically melts in your mouth. And just in case you’re wondering, the yakiniku grills are smokeless, giving you all of the flavor and none of the smoky fuss.
Some people wonder what’s the allure of cooking your own food. Like any barbecue, it’s all in the conversation. Yakiniku restaurants are not rush-in rush-out affairs. You sit down, grill your meal at your own pace, and enjoy the company of good friends. We were celebrating my cousin’s birthday and had a lot of catching up to do.
Yakiniku Hiroshi offers a choice of two pre-fixe menus, as well as a la carte selections. We ordered the Gold Menu which came with Beef Tongue, U.S. Prime Rib Eye, U.S. Prime “Kalbi” Short Rib, a crisp green salad, mochi, roasted garlic, assorted vegetables, rice and various dipping sauces. Their Platinum menu is even more elaborate, featuring Australian Wagyu Rib Eye Steak, U.S. “Toro” Kalbi (“toro” makes reference to the buttery quality of the prized blue fin tuna) and a choice of Garlic Prawns, Garlic Scallops or Beef Intestines.
Groups of four are seated comfortably around the inset grill, and larger parties are easily accomodated in their upstairs and downstairs dining areas. While you’re there, don’t forget to add your personal message and signature to their walls. Reservations suggested or you may be waiting outside a good long time. :: Yakiniku Hiroshi
In Hawaii, New Year’s Eve is for clinking champagne glasses. New Year’s Day is for eating.
With five generations of Japanese living in Hawaii, there are a lot of traditions that have become part of the local lifestyle. One of the most well-known is Mochitsuki, or mochi pounding. It’s a dying art that has been kept alive by Japanese churches including Tenrikyo Hawaii Dendocho.
There are also traditional foods. Red fish brings good luck. Ozoni, a traditional soup with grilled or steamed mochi (rice dumplings), is considered one of the most auspicious New Year’s dishes.
Nishime is like a Japanese stew, with special vegetables including burdock, lotus root and knotted sea kelp.
And because this is Hawaii, there’s no shortage of good food on the family buffet table.
Mele Kalikimaka! Merry Christmas from Hawaii. Every December, Shaka Santa and Mrs. Claus take their place outside Honolulu Hale (City Hall) for Honolulu City Lights. The event kicks off with a tree lighting ceremony and electric parade, and is followed by a month of holiday displays that extends from City Hall to downtown Honolulu. The exhibits are free and open to the public.For more, click here.
Happy hour at Hiroshi’s is a delicious affair with selections like pepper seared ahi sushi, crab soup with a tomato lemongrass broth, foie gras sushi and Portuguese sausage potstickers. As for dessert, it was a hotly debated tie between the green tea tiramisu and the haupia lemongrass creme brulee with raspberry sorbet. The signature martinis were nice too, but who has time to take drink photos when you’re busy catching up with friends?
If there’s one thing that everyone in Hawaii will agree on it’s that there’s no shortage of great restaurants. Or food. Okay, make that two things.
This year, Restaurant Week Hawaii kicked off with mouth-watering menus at over 50 outstanding restaurants. Billed as “the most delicious week of the year,” Hawaii’s top chefs go all-out to show off their culinary virtuosity. It’s all for a tasty cause. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the creation of the Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Diamond Head. Restaurant Week runs November 12 – 18, 2012, but if you can’t make it, there’s always next year.
Growing up in South Texas, known as “the valley” to some, hiking was not considered the average pastime. The closest thing we had to a mountain in South Texas was a four-story pile of hay we had out back (kidding…sort of…).
Then, I moved to Oahu. Mountains and ridges and craters—oh my! I think I had more of a nature shock than a culture shock when I first arrived. After my first hike almost four years ago up Diamond Head, I was hooked.
This past weekend I was at it again, with a short but sweet three-mile roundtrip hike up Mariner’s Ridge. Located in Hawaii Kai, this simple morning hike is perfect for the entire family—I even saw a small Pomeranian on the way down (by the way, you would never see this in Texas—Pomeranians in Texas go to dog shows, not on nature walks).
Mariner’s Ridge is similar to the Kuliouou hike: you get the same stunning views while cutting down on time and difficulty. Though you definitely work up a sweat, the almost constant breeze keeps you motivated to the top. There are many lookout spots—aka rest stops—conveniently located throughout the trail, but the best view is waiting at the peak of the ridge.
The view is what makes the hike worth your while. There is no hustle and bustle of Waikiki, no screaming car horns blasting on the highway to deter your view—just the picture perfect background of the Koolau Mountains and the turquoise blue waters of the Pacific to greet you at the top. Yeah, hiking in Hawaii has got nothin’ on Texas and its hay piles.
1185 Kaluanui Road | Mariner’s Ridge Community | Hawaii Kai
It seems we’re way too easy on our interns. Copywriting intern Emily Tall actually has time on Sundays to hike, have brunch and tell us about her favorite places.
Sunday has become my favorite day of the week: wake up at the crack of dawn, hike Koko Head and have brunch at Bogart’s. Even if you skip the hike and decide to sleep in, a trip to Bogart’s is a Sunday must-do.
A short walk uphill on Monsarrat Avenue from Kapiolani Park, this popular hole-in-the-wall café is the perfect morning pick-me-up any day of the week. Featuring piled-high acai bowls and hearty made-to-order omelets, it’s no surprise that this place gets packed by 8am. Though it can sometimes be a battle to snatch a table, the friendly staff, warm atmosphere and ono food more than make up for the wait.
My meal of choice is the breakfast bagel: Portuguese sausage, mozzarella cheese and fresh spinach all wrapped up in a freshly-baked taro bagel—by far the best bagel I’ve had on the island and perfect for a post-Koko Head meal.
Bogart’s Café and Espresso Bar :: Diamond Head | 3045 Monsarrat Ave Ste. 3 | Honolulu, HI | 808 739 0999