Just for You... Reviews by Lissete



Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Kickin' back in the North Shore

Oahu. What can I say? The traffic here is just as bad as Miami. I would not stay in Waikiki even if they paid me. Well, not really. If they paid me I would or if they paid for my trip. Or even better, if they paid for my trip AND paid me!

We decided to spend a week in the North Shore. Quieter, more laid back and less traffic.
We rented a bungalow through VRBO right by Sunset Beach. Very basic cottage with very basic amenities. I venture to guess that it's about 300 sq ft or so. No frills, but comfortable for us two. Again, no A/C and relying on the tradewinds. Two ceiling fans and one floor fan helped as well. It is situated just up the hill from Sunset Beach with a view of the ocean. The cottage is within walking distance to the beach (one block down the hill) and to Ted's bakery (about 4 blocks). Yum. Bikes are available for use as well. Owners are very nice and informative. They live upstairs, so we did occasionally hear them walking around up there.

I booked our car early on from Costco//Alamo for $130. Price was up to $180 when I last checked in late September. Can't remember what car we got, but it was clean.

Polynesian Cultural Center~ Water Pageant
We have visited the Polynesian Cultural Center before, but they have a new evening show that I wanted to see. I had the $45 coupon from the Entertainment book and I was just planning on purchasing the Gen. Admission & Show Ticket. D wanted to try the Ali'i Luau, so I booked that instead. My opinion of the luau is not a very positive one. There really isn't a show per se, they have a couple of dancers on stage as people are walking in. Then they get all the birthday people to get up and sing to them. Then all the anniversary people to go on stage for a dance. The food was not bad, but not good either. I was very underwhelmed. It was, however, fairly organized as far as getting people into the buffet line. They sold smoothies for $10 ea or 2 for $15. Sodas & juice were included. Right now they have an online special for admission & show for $60 pp and includes a free buffet dinner. I would definitely go that route, if available. Remember that this is run by the LDS. There is no alcohol served here at all. If you have issues with this, skip it. I had the pleasure of listening to a gentleman loudly complaining about this. Very obnoxious. I would hate to see him with a few drinks in him.

The villages are fun to visit and most are very entertaining & educational. Some have activities that you can take part in as well. Great for all ages. Samoa is my favorite, but they are all fun.

Now, the evening show Ha: Breath of Life, is spectacular! I LOVED it and I loved the storyline as well. Our seats were not bad, 1st row in the mid upper level. Included in the price of the tickets, was the ability to return and receive Gen. Admission for free. You can come as many times as you would like within the next 3 days. Parking was $8 and if you return within the 3 days, parking is free too. If you book online, I think it's 5 extra days. We never had the opportunity to return though.


Did I mention that I do not like traffic? We arrived in HNL from Kauai at about 2:30 PM. By the time we got our rental, picked up my script, got something to eat and got on the hwy to the North Shore it was rush hour. It took us forever to get there. It's a long drive as it is, but during rush hour it was a nightmare. So we decided to do whatever we wanted to do in Honolulu over the weekend. So we trekked out there on both Saturday & Sunday.

The place to get your souvenirs is at the Aloha Swap Meet. We purchased a bunch of crap to bring home plus another suitcase to put all of the said crap in for the journey home. We also had bought several boxes of Mac Nut Chocolates, including a few big bags of Mac Nut Kisses at Costco.
We visited the Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The view are incredible, the murals are amazing, and the general aura is awe inspiring.

The solemn pride that must be yours,

to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Before our trip, I was given a pair of tickets to the Bishop Museum. It's a great place to learn about Hawaiian history. The exhibits are great and they have many hand-on exhibits for kids as well. During our trip, I became aware that they offer reciprocal privileges through my membership at our local museum. So we we received free admission through that. Which means that I still have 2 tickets available if anyone needs them, I will pay it forward. Let me know if you will be visiting before December 31st of this year.

Byodo-in Temple
Byodo-in Temple in Valley of the Temples Memorial Park was an inexpensive and lovely place to visit. $3 adults, $2 seniors & $1 child. The grounds are peaceful and serene. You need to drive through a cemetery, so be aware if you have issues with that. We don't and we actually drove all around the cemetery looking at all the different areas. I noticed many plots where people leave food, drinks and beer. I especially saw a lot in the Catholic section, which I found odd since I was raised Catholic and had never seen that before. So if anyone has any info about this, I would love to hear it.


Ted's Bakery~ One word... PIES. Yummo! They are known for their Chocolate Haupia but I also loved the regular choc. cream & the banana cream. The glazers are really good too. Actually, all the bakery stuff was fantastic. Remember, I have a slight addiction to sweets. The hot food was just ok. We had a few dinners from there because of the convenience. I can't comment on their breakfast options except to say that they were always packed during breakfast.

Impossible's Pizza must have been named as such, because it's impossible to find them! This is a food truck that we saw as we drove in on or first night. We didn't see them again til our last night. And we weren't even in the mood for pizza! We did have the lasagna though. It was suprisingly good! The pizza looked great too... maybe next time. You have your choice of cheese or sausage lasagna for $8 and it comes with a small garlic loaf. They also have salads. Supposedly they can usually be found between Waimea & Sunset Beach, Wed-Sun.

D is the shrimp junkie. I don't like shrimp. Last time we were here he really enjoyed Hono's Shrimp Truck. After this visit, he still prefers the taste of Hono's shrimps and their rice too. Romy's had HUGE shrimp and they tasted ok but they were not his favorite. Plus they served them with burnt garlic. yuck. Giovanni's (Kahuku) was ok, right between Hono's and Romy's. Short wait at both Giovanni's and Hono's. Romy's on the other hand... he waited about 20 minutes in a short line then another 30 minutes to get his food. The ladies at Hono's were really friendly and offered their service with a smile.

Matsumoto's~ One word: Fabulous... and still my favorite! I will write a full shave ice comparison soon.

When we arrived in Honolulu, I needed to p/u a script at Walgreen's. We decided to eat at Helena's while we were in the area. This place has the best and most friendly employees! The food is really ono too. We shared Pipikaula short ribs, Butterfish Collars, Kalua pork and rice. It comes with Haupia for dessert, when available. We polished everything off! Yummy! Tiny place with a tiny parking lot but sooo worth waiting for a spot. No frill, just authentic Hawaiian goodness served with Aloha.

On our way to the airport (before our flight back to the mainland) we stopped at Royal Kitchen for baked Manapuas. There was a bit of a wait when we arrived at 11 AM but it's worth it. Just grab your number and wait your turn, service is quick. My favorite is the Kalua Pig, followed by Portugese sausage. The cha siu was ok, but I did not care for the chicken manapua. They were all fresh and served right out of the oven.

So sad that our trip has ended but so happy to sleep in my own bed!
Aloha and Mahalo Nui Loa to everyone that made this trip even more memorable!

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel
until he comes home and rests
his head on his old, familiar pillow. ~Lin Yutang

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