NEW BLOG FEATURE

NEW: VIEW RIGHT SIDE TAB AND SELECT
CITY FOR TASTE OF HAWAII FAVORITES!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

KONA GRILL

KONA GRILL
INTERNATIONAL MARKETPLACE
2330 KALAKAUA AVENUE #312
HONOLULU, HI  96815
808-756-9591
HOURS:  Monday thru Thursday/Sunday 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM
                 Friday and Saturday 11:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Really enjoyed Happy Hour at Kona Grill.  This is a great spot within the new International Marketplace in Waikiki that will surely be a hit with both locals and tourists.  The menu is large and includes a wide variety of Sushi that you can enjoy inside or on the outdoor covered patio.  Really liked the Happy Hour menu and prices where from $5 to $10 you can really eat well.  I basically want to go back with friends and try everything on the Happy Hour Menu.  We started with the Jalapeño Yellowtail Sashimi ($10.50) from the Happy Hour Menu.  It was pure heaven.  The fish was fresh, light and topped with a slice of Jalapeño and Ponzu Sauce.  Delicious.  Next up we went for the Lobster and Tuna Flatbread ($10.50).  Delicious pieces of Lobster and super fresh Ahi Sashimi on Flatbread.  After eating one slice with the Flatbread, I ate the others without the bread.  It was just too much bread for me and I don't think Ahi Tuna goes well on bread.  I just wanted the fish.  Good dish though for $10.  The Taco Trio ($8.25) is a super bargain.  Three tacos of your choice and they are filled with meat or seafood.  We went for the Fish, Shrimp and Pork.  All good with quality ingredients and toppings.  Three Taco's like this in Hawaii for $8 is a steal.  The Cheeseburger Sliders ($8.25) were not really Sliders but full on Burgers.  Two Burgers served with French Fries and they were good and filling.  Wish I could have eaten more here because there is so much on the menu that I liked.  You cannot beat the Happy Hour prices for a place like this in Waikiki.  Happy Hours are Monday thru Friday 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM, Monday thru Thursday 10:00 PM to 12:00 AM and Friday/Saturday 11:00 PM - 1:00 AM.

KONA GRILL KITCHEN - SUSHI - COCKTAILS IN THE INTERNATIONAL MARKETPLACE
BEAUTIFUL INDOOR/OUTDOOR SPACE
LARGE BAR WITH LOTS OF WIDE SCREENS TO ENJOY THE GAME
DINING ROOM WITH OPEN KITCHEN
PATIO BAR OPENS UP TO SOME NICE SEATING AREAS
LIKED THE PATIO SEATING IN THE EVENING
HAPPY HOUR SPECIALS ARE FANTASTIC!










JALAPENO AND YELLOWTAIL SASHIMI
LOBSTER AND TUNA FLATBREAD
FRESH TUNA WAS DELICIOUS
NICE PIECES OF LOBSTER ON THE FLATBREAD
TACO TRIO
CHEESEBURGER SLIDERS
YOU GET TWO OF THESE BURGERS WITH FRIES FOR $8

Sunday, January 8, 2017

TEMPURA FUJI

TEMPURA FUJI
SHIROKIYA JAPAN VILLAGE WALK
1450 ALA MOANA BLVD
HONOLULU, HI  96814
HOURS:  10:00 AM - 10:00 PM

I really enjoy walking around the food booths at Shirokiya's Japan Village Walk.  The food watching is almost as good as the people watching and it seems I always run into someone I know here.  The $1 beer seems to draw many patrons as there are dozens of tables filled with both men and woman enjoying a cold one here.  This vibrant food court showcases a traditional Japanese village with shopping alleys reminiscent of old Kyoto.  Where to eat is the the question when you visit Japan Village Walk.  There are so many options ranging from Steak to Sushi, Noodles, Pastries, Tempura, Bentos and just about every Japanese Street Food you could imagine. We settled on visiting two food booths this day and it turns out they both have the same owners.  First up was Tempura Fuji which features traditional Tempura and Soba Noodles dishes.  We ordered the Deluxe Tempura Don ($15.95) which includes Shrimp, Squid, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, Nori, Lotus Root and Vegetable.  Includes a large scoop of Seasoned Rice, Ginger and bowl of Miso Soup.  Missing from our tray however was a dipping sauce for the Tempura which surprised me.  There was sauce on each of the Tempura items in the bowl which my Daughter explained was good enough. The sauce placed in the bowl was excellent however I wanted more sauce to dip each item in.  What I liked about Tempura Fuji is that they made our Tempura to order.  Actually watched the girl dip each piece of food in batter after we ordered.  This means you will need to wait a couple of minutes but it is worth it.  The Tempura comes out fresh and not mushy or limp.  The lightly battered Shrimp were Tempura perfection.  Great batter, sauce and sweet shrimp.  The Shrimp alone is worth a visit to Tempura Fuji. I really enjoyed the Squid too but it is cut really thick.  Would rather get two pieces of a thiner cut Squid rather than one large piece.  Even so it was not overcooked and delicious.  We also really liked the Pumpkin and my Daughter loved the Nori which is Seaweed.  The Tempura comes with a huge scoop of rice and Tempura Fuji offers more rice for free if you are still hungry.  This is good - made to order Tempura which does not sit under a heat lamp for hours.  The batter is light and allows the flavors of the seafood and vegetables to come through.  Sauce is delicious and I wanted more.
Click links below for additional posts on Japan Village Walk;

TEMPURA FUJI IN SHIROKIYA JAPAN VILLAGE WALK
TEMPURA FUJI NAMED AFTER CHEF SHINYA FUJIMOTO
ORDER AT THE COUNTER
$1 BEER AVAILABLE AT TEMPURA FUJI
TAKE OUT BENTOS AVAILABLE BUT I RECOMMEND ORDERING THE FRESH TEMPURA
DELUXE TEMPURA DON AND EBI TEMPURA DON SETS
GET NOODLES WITH YOUR TEMPURA TOO
THE SHRIMP ARE AWESOME HERE SO ORDER UP
FRESHLY MADE AND WORTH THE WAIT
TEMPURA IS BATTERED AND FRIED WHEN YOU ORDER IT SO IT IS FRESH!

DELUXE TEMPURA DON 
THE BATTER IS LIGHT AND FRESH
LARGE SCOOP OF RICE BELOW THE SEAFOOD AND VEGETABLES
THICKLY SLICED SQUID
PUMPKIN WAS SWEET AND DELICIOUS
SERVED WITH A BOWL OF MISO SOUP BUT WHERES THE DIPPING SAUCE?

MEI-KO-EN

MEI-KO-EN
SHIROKIYA JAPAN VILLAGE WALK
1450 ALA MOANA BLVD
HONOLULU, HI  96814
HOURS:  10:00 AM - 10:00 PM

Japan Village Walk at Shirokiya in Ala Moana Shopping Center is a vibrant food court filled with alleys and food booths reminiscent of something you would experience in Japan.  Cruising the alleys of this Food Court is fun especially if you have one of their $1 beers in hand.  After enjoying some fresh Tempura at Tempura Fuji we decided to mix up the day with some beef.  Visited Mei-Ko-En and ordered up there #1 Seller which is Beef Kalbi ($11.95 medium).  Right off the bat I noticed the large portion of rice which seemed to make the meat portion look small.  The Beef Kalbi is served with Rice, Broccoli and Kim Che.  Broccoli was stone cold and we loved the Kim Che with the rice.  Wish there was more on the plate.  The Kalbi is the star here.  Marinated and cooked perfectly with a very nice, lightly sweet flavor.  My Daughter loved it and said she would come back here with her friends to eat the Kalbi again.  I liked it too.  
Click links below for additional posts on Japan Village Walk;

MEI-KO-EN AT SHIROKIYA JAPAN VILLAGE WALK 
MEI-KO-EN WILL SATISFY THE MEAT LOVER IN YOUR FAMILY
STEAK, KALBI AND PORK DISHES
TAKE OUT OR MADE TO ORDER
BEEF KALBI IS THE BEST SELLER HERE
BEEF KALBI MEDIUM PLATE


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

AHI POKE AND MARLIN WITH AVOCADO PAPAYA RELESH

AHI POKE AND MARLIN WITH AVOCAD PAPAYA RELISH
DINNER AT HOME

After eating out on vacation for two weeks it was nice to get home to Hawaii and cook up some of our Island favorites.  Fresh Ahi looked amazing so I bought an small block and made homemade Poke.  So delicious that this was really a meal until itself.   Fresh Marlin was the most inexpensive and abundant fish at the market so I grabbed some and grilled it.  Topped with an Avocado and Papaya Relish with a little Balsamic Vinegar.  This dinner was easy to prepare, fresh and so delicious.
Got a huge hug and kiss from my Daughter when she finished eating.
Click link below for post on easy Poke recipe;

FRESH HOMEMADE AHI POKE WITH AVOCADO
GRILLED FRESH MARLIN WITH AVOCADO PAPAYA RELISH

Monday, January 2, 2017

PAUL GAUGUIN TAHITI AND SOCIETY ISLANDS CRUISE

PAUL GAUGUIN CRUISES
7-DAY TAHITI AND SOCIETY ISLANDS

For years, going on the Paul Gauguin Cruise through French Polynesia has been a dream of mine.
While we live in a paradise called Hawaii, something told me that I needed to see more of Polynesia and learn more about the Islands of Polynesia.  I had read about the small Paul Gauguin Cruise Ship and really wanted to experience the Islands on this ship and not a mega ship cruising with thousands of passengers.  The Gauguin carries around 300 passengers so it is uncrowded, relaxed and a bit more upscale than the larger ships.  Service aboard the ship is excellent with around 90% of the crew being from the Philippines.  The Filipino staff learns your name and preferences quickly and when they see you they call you by name and ask if you would like your favorite drink.  I have a habit of leaving the cabin around 45 minutes before my girls prior to dinner.  This gives them privacy to get ready for the evening while I relax with a cocktail.  On the Paul Gauguin, I usually hit the Piano Bar of if the weather were good outside the Le Palette Lounge.  At the Piano Bar I would show up and be greeted by name and my favorite drink would be delivered in seconds.  Should my glass go down a bit the waiter was there to refill it again and again.  We had a super Cabin Attendant who greeted us by name every time she encountered us and always asked how we are doing and if we needed anything.  This gal was bright and bubbly and also doubled as a lead singer for the Cruise Ship evening performance.  Wow could she sing.   Incredible.   We usually awoke around 8:00 am and then enjoyed a light breakfast at the La Veranda Restaurant on Deck 6.  We were greeted by name here and after the first day they knew if we liked coffee or cappuccino and would offer it or just bring it.  Breakfast is by order or buffet here.  The buffet includes, fruits, pastries, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, cereal, toasts/bagels, yogurt and the other staples of breakfast.  I would normally eat some fruit along with cottage cheese and order a half order of Eggs Benedict.  The first day I ordered a full order and it was just too much.  Breakfast and coffee was followed by hitting our tours on the various Islands.  Believe me they were amazing experiences.  Upon arrival back to the ship each day we would relax and order up a snack via room service or go up to the small buffet on the pool deck.  Then it was dinner around 8:00 pm and then enjoy the evening show.  We enjoyed most of the meals on the Paul Gauguin but did not think the food was the best.  It is good and there are some nice selections.  All of your wine, beer, soda and cocktails are included aboard the Paul Gauguin.  This is great because you never have to pull out your room card and get a charge for drinks.  I enjoyed champagne and wine each day aboard the ship and found the selections of wines offered to be excellent.  There is not much to do aboard the ship.  There is a gym and spa along with a small pool.  This turned out to be ok because we were out all day swimming or taking tours.  My free time on the ship was spent up on the 8th floor deck in the back of the ship.  Relaxing little space and absolutely beautiful when the weather was warm and clear.  The stops we made were awesome with Moorea, Bora Bora and Motu Mahana being  our favorites but all were fantastic.  Highly recommend this cruise.  
Links to our Ports of Call below;

OUR ARRIVAL ON THE PAUL GAUGUIN

PAUL GAUGUIN DOCKED IN THE PAPEETE HARBOR IN TAHITI
VIEW OF PAPEETE FROM OUR STATEROOM
LEAVING PAPEETE FOR OUR POLYNESIAN ADVENTURE
PAUL GAUGUIN 7-DAY TAHITI AND SOCIETY ISLANDS CRUISE SCHEDULE
MAP OF FRENCH POLYNESIA
PAUL GAUGUIN HOLDS ONLY 320 PASSENGERS
BALCONY STATEMROOM IS A BIT TIGHT
ENTRANCE TO STATEROOM 
ROOM FOR THREE OF US WITH SMALL COUCH OPENING UP TO A BED
FRESH FRUIT DAILY AND MY DAUGHTER ATE HALF THE APPLE BEFORE I TOOK THIS PIC
REFRESMENT AND STORAGE CENTER WITH SMALL TELEVISION
REFRIGERATOR STOCKED DAILY AND ALL DRINKS INCLUDED IN THE CRUISE PRICE
SMALL SAFE FOR VALUABLES, PASSPORT, WATCHES AND WALLET
TWO SMALL CLOSETS AND MAKE UP DESK
ROBES AND SLIPPERS INSIDE THE CLOSET
BATHROOM WAS SMALL BUT FINE FOR THIS CRUISE
SHOWER AND TUB
THE COMPLIMENTARY BAGS REALLY CAME IN HANDY FOR SHORE EXCURSIONS
DECK 6 HALLWAY INCLUDES SOME PAINTINGS AND ARTIFACTS
PHOTOS OF PAUL GAUGUIN CAN BE FOUND AROUND THE SHIP
LOVED THE PHOTOS OF GAUGUIN 
GAUGUIN AT TWENTY YEARS OLD
SOME ORIGINAL DRAWINGS ABOARD THE SHIP
RARE PHOTOS OF GAUGUIN
ORIGINAL DRAWINGS
SIGNED PRINTS
SELF PORTRAIT
GAUGUIN IN POLYNESIA

POOL DECK
POOL DECK IS COMFORTABLE WITH A BAR
POOL BAR IS OPEN AND ALL THE DRINKS ARE INCLUDED IN YOUR CRUISE
LE PALLETE LOUNGE IN BACK OF SHIP
NICE BAR THAT OPENS TO THE OUTSIDE DECK WHEN WEATHER IS PERMITTING
NOT A BAD PLACE TO RELAX
OUTDOOR DINING OFF THE MAIN RESTAURANT LA VERANDA
SMALL LIBRARY, GYM, SPA AND DVD COLLECTION ABOARD THE SHIP




SMALL PIANO BAR WITH A GREAT PIANIST NAMED ALEX
PIANO BAR HAD A GREAT STAFF
EVENING SNACKS IN THE PIANO BAR
A SNACK BEFORE DINNER
PAINTINGS IN THE PIANO BAR ARE FOR SALE.  WHERE ARE THE GAUGUIN PRINTS I THOUGHT
THE CASINO IS TINY
ONE BLACK JACK TABLE AND ONE ROULETTE TABLE ALONG WITH A DOZEN SLOTS MACHINES
ENJOY BREAKFAST IN YOUR STATEROOM
MADE TO ORDER BREAKFAST SERVED IN YOUR STATEROOM WHEN YOU WANT IT
ENTRANCE TO LA VERANDA RESTAURANT
BREAKFAST MENU AT LA VERANDA
EGGS BENEDICT IS MY BREAKFAST FAVORITE
ROOM SERVICE MENU
PAUL GAUGUIN ROOM SERVICE MENU IS GOOD
FRESH FRUIT PLATTER
CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
ROAST BEEF SANDWICH
PROSCUITTO DI PARMA
STEAK SANDWICH
CHEESE BURGER


FINE DINING ABOARD THE PAUL GAUGUIN
FINE DINING ABOARD THE PAUL GAUGUIN
L ETOILE RESTAURANT MENU
CRISP VEGETABLE SPRING ROLLS
PROSCUITTO DI MANZO AL CAPRINO
MAHI MAHI AND TUNA SASHIMI - THIS WAS THE BEST SASHIMI EVER!!!!
ROASTED CHICKEN BREAST
LOCAL YELLOW FIN TUNA
PASTA BOLOGNESE
DESSERT MENU
ROCKY ROAD ICE CREAM
LA VERANDA MENU
SO MUCH GOOD FOOD!
SEARED FOIE GRAS ATOP TUNA SASHIMI
DUO OF ESCARGOT WITH MUSHROOMS AND EGG
MIX THE EGG WITH THE ESCARGOT
YELLOW FIN TUNA CARPACCIO
CHILLED TOMATO SOUP WITH SHIRMP
CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP WAS FANTASTIC
ROASTED LAMB
TRUFFLE AND MUSHROOM RISOTTO
GRILLED TENDERLOIN OF BEEF


LE GRILL RESTAURANT ON THE POOL DECK
LE GRILL MENU
LE GRILL MAIN COURSES AND DESSERTS
FRESH BREADS WITH BUTTER
PAN SEARED CRAB CAKES
HAWAIIAN STYLE AHI POKE
COCONUT SHRIMP
CUCUMBER AND DAIKON
CAESAR SALAD
CHICKEN CHOW MEIN
POLYNESIAN STEAK
GRILLED LOCAL FRESH FISH
MANGO CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
FIVE SPICED CHOCOLATE FONDANT
L ETOILE RESTAURANT MENU
DELICIOUS MENU ABOARD THE PAUL GAUGUIN
SEARED AHI TUNA







LASAGNA

SUGAR FREE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE - YUCK!
BANANA BOAT


LUNCH AT LE GRILL
LE GRILL LUNCH BUFFET
SELECTIONS OF COLD AND WARM APPETIZERS, SALADS AND ENTREES
CHICKEN, FISH AND SALAD FOR LUNCH
PAUL GAUGUIN CHRISTMAS MENU
CHRISTMAS MENU DID NOT DISAPPOINT AND WAS DELICIOUS
TRADITIONAL ONION SOUP
FOIS GRAS TERRINE
GRILLED PEAR AND BLUE CHEESE SALAD
BROILED LOBSTER TAIL WITH SHIRMP AND SCALLOP STUFFING
BLACK ANGUS TENDERLOIN WITH FOIE GRAS
ROAST CHRISTMAS TURKEY WITH GRAVY
LA VERANDA DING ROOM
BACK TO LA VERANDA FOR DINNER


ALL OF YOUR CHAMPAGNE AND WINE IS INCLUDED IN THE CRUISE PRICE
FOIS GRAS WITH TUNA
TUNA CARPACCIO
MUSHROOM SOUP WAS AGAIN AWESOME
GREEN ASPARAGUS SALAD
GRILLED TENDERLOIN OF BEEF
ROASTED LAMB
BROILED SHRIMP WITH VEGETABLES
TRUFFLE AND MUSHROOM RISOTTO
FRESH FRUIT WITH WARM WHITE CHOCOLATE
A FINISHING TOUCH TO DINNER
PAUL GAUGUIN TAHITIAN DINNER
TAHITIAN DINNER SPECIALTIES AND DESSERTS
OVEN ROASTED TOFU
PUMPKIN GNOCCHI
LEEWARD ISLAND BOUILLON SOUP
MIXED GREEN SALAD WITH CUCUMBER AND TOMATO
SEAFOOD BROCHETTE OF SHRIMP AND SCALLOPS
GRILLED MAHI MAHI
GRILLED MARINATED VEAL
WARM CHOCOLATE FONDANT

PAUL GAUGUIN SHOWROOM
GREAT TAHITIAN DANCE SHOW CLOSED OUT OUR CRUISE
SUNSET FROM THE PAUL GAUGUIN
HEADING BACK TO PAPEETE WAS SAD.  WANTED TO STAY ANOTHER WEEK
ABSOLUTELY LOVED OUR PAUL GAUGUIN CRUISE!