Travel Koncierge: Honolulu page 4
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There are playgrounds, but they mostly are centered around schools with a
few at the parks. Bear in mind that the heat and sunshine can make a
playground an extremely short affair as the surfaces can burn tender skin if
the kids don't wilt from the heat and humidity. Look for shade as well.
As you might guess, Waikiki is not the greatest place for a park. Kapi’olani
Park has a few jungle gyms near the bandstand and farther up past the Shell.
Otherwise, we go to Punahou School on the Honolulu side and Pohakapu or
Aikahi Park on the Windward Side for playgrounds. Punahou is also worth a
visit as it is one of the most amazing campuses around.
Hawaii, of course, is an island and surrounded by water. That is good and
bad. Good because you have a wide range of beach experiences
depending on your competency in the water and bad because you can get
in serious lifeguard-plucking-you-out-of-the-water peril. If you choose your
beaches carefully and supervise your children, you can have a GREAT time,
Ala Moana Beach Park/Magic Island – Protected waters, good sand,
close to Ala Moana (so grab some lunch and walk across the busy street)
San Souci/Queen Surf – on the Diamond Head side of Waikiki so fewer
tourists. At the corner of Kalakaua and Kapahulu, close to the zoo, there are
some protected beaches for the kids to wade in. If they have a boogie board
and are good swimmers, there is a decent break straight out. If you walk back
into the heart of Waikiki near the statute of Duke Kahanamoku, there are a
wide range of beachboys/girls who can teach surfing for a moderate price.
Shop around, prices range widely. My wife loved her lesson and did pretty
well within 30 minutes. She was wiped within an hour.
Kaimana Beach – towards Diamond Head and just Diamond Head side of
the Aquarium and the Natatorium, there is a small beach. It is a local
favorite because of ease of parking, good sand, and lack of tourists. The
water is pretty gentle but it gets deep fairly quickly (0-3 feet in about 2 yards),
so watch the little ones.
Hunakai Beach. If you take Kalakaua around, it will become Diamond
Head road. Keep following that straight and it becomes Kahala Avenue (A
great drive/run regardless). A few miles in there is a street called Hunakai.
Park and there is a tiny right of way through the bushes if Hunakai were to
continue to the sea. It can be windy, but it is lovely beach for walking and
playing. There is also a key carved out of the coral so that people can wade
without prickly feet.
Good to know. Keep an eye on this page for jelly fish conditions. http://www.
honolulu.gov/esd/oceansafety/boxjellymainpage.htm The jellyfish do not
come that frequently, but they are there enough so that the state posts
warnings on line. Also, keep an eye on the surf http://hawaiisurfnews.com/.
It can impact shore break. Again, be smart about the surf. It is highly
dangerous and should be taken very seriously.
The islands are a great culinary experience. The melting pot of cultures
finds expression in the dizzying array of cuisines and combinations of
cuisines available in the local restaurants.
One rather uniquely Hawaiian phenomenon is the Plate Lunch. While you
can find these Hawaiian drive-in type places all over the Mainland nowadays
(L&L, Hawaiian Drive-inn, etc.), the locals in Hawaii are raising it to a new
level. At the base level, a plate lunch is rice, maybe potato-macaroni salad,
and some meat, usually teriyaki beef or chicken. From there, the variations
explode to include fish of all kinds, marinated short-ribs, lau-lau (pork, fish,
sweet potatoes, and luau leaf wrapped in a ti-leaf), kalua pig (and other luau
delicacies), sashimi, poke (basically sashimi with a terrific marinade - there
dozens of different styles of poke available) and much more.
After plate lunches, you can enjoy first class dining with some innovative
chefs including Alan Wong, Sam Choy, among many others. If you REALLY
want to know about restaurant recommendations, go to this website: http:
//the.honoluluadvertiser.com/specials/bestrestaurants07/ It will tell you
everything you need to know. That being said, we do have a few things to
Say what you want, but Zippy’s is a local experience. The menu is simple,
the surroundings simple as well, but the food is consistent and decent. They
are also everywhere, so helpful in a pinch. http://www.zippys.com/
Near the Ward Center there are a bunch of good alternatives: the Kua’aina
Sandwich Shop http://www.victoriaward.
com/Dining/Merchants/KuaAinaSandwich.html (there is also one in
Haleiwa), Kaka’ako Kitchen http://www.victoriaward.
com/Dining/Merchants/KakaakoKitchen.html for local food with organic and
healthy ingredients, and the Ward Farmers Market. The latter is noteworthy
for the variety of local foods available. Go to http://www.victoriaward.
com/Dining/default.html and scroll down to the Markets section. Halii’s
Hawaiian Food is OK Hawaiian food, but authentic. You can also try about 8
different kinds of Poke. Try them all it is a treat.
On the slopes of Diamond Head at 3158 Monserrat Avenue is the Diamond
Head Market and Grill. This place again has local plate lunches but with
great touches that you won't find at your typical plate lunch place like seared
ahi, salads as standard (you have to ask for potato macaroni salad). You
have three options: sandwich, mini, and large. A mini is great for the kids
with a single scoop of rice and some entree. Inside the market, you can get
beverages, elegant desserts, and more creative salads. Best part is that the
prices are quite civilized.
Good to know: You cannot go to Honolulu without visiting Leonard’s on
Kapahulu Avenue for a malasada. It is a breakfast treat, but a local standard.
On Saturdays, from 8:00 a.m. to noon, there is the Kapi’olani Farmer’s Market
at Kapi’olani Community College at 4303 Diamond Head Road. Sample all
manner of local delicacies and get fresh produce. It is also not a bad place
to stock up should you decide to hike Diamond Head. http://www.hfbf.
org/FarmersMarketKCC.html Its recent claim to fame was a visit by Chelsea
Clinton prior to the Hawaii Primary.
Travel Koncierge Honolulu Page Four
Updated May 28, 2009
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