So what's with all the craze related to Aussie breakfasts? Have you heard about the worldwide trend to eat like an Australian and what does that mean exactly?
Well there are a couple of places in Honolulu that sport the Australian-inspired cuisine now and you can taste it for yourself, or read on for details. In my first official blog I talked about the ricotta hotcakes from "bills Waikiki". They are still, by far, the best pancakes my husband and I have ever had. But now there is a new kid on the block with a local staff who highlight some of the delicacies from down under and use local ingredients with local twists to make the flavors unique.
Tucker & Bevvy is the brainchild of a woman from Hawaii who spent 17 years running restaurants in Sydney, Australia. She started her new eatery venture in Hawaii with the Tucker & Bevy picnic shop near the Honolulu zoo, now they have expanded mauka up Kapahulu Avenue next to Tokkuri tei and above Hee Hing.
Translated from Australian slang "tucker and bevy" mean eat and drink...well this isn't your typical place to grab brunch and they don't serve simple drinks either. Open 6:30am-2:30pm daily the breakfast, brunch and lunch plates feature baby spinach, lentils, rosemary mint, prime rib roast and more. Flavors are bold and highlighted by fresh, local ingredients. The resounding theme with the menu is its a combination of a protein with a vegetable -- and apparently the theme with Aussie inspired breakfast is to eat healthily and utilize items like kale, kabocha, quinoa and tamari seeds. The crew pride themselves with serving up fresh pressed juices made to order and other refreshing liquid treats including coffee and etc.
They call it fresh, simple, healthy food. -- Aussie's typically like to eat high fiber, whole grain and fresh.
I felt the menu items were healthy, but also tasty. You don't feel bogged down and bloated when you leave. Even the ricotta pancakes were light and fluffy. If you are looking for a spot to enjoy unique flavors with vibrant colors and textures visit and find out for yourself. My favorite was the kabocha, kale and quinoa - but I would add a side of chicken sausage for added flavor. The combo of the pumpkin with the kale was great, but could've used a salty component like sausage or bacon, I know less healthy LOL.
If you haven’t heard…my all-time favorite food, the thing that I could eat every single day is PIZZA. Believe me, I have tried to eat pizza every day and I haven’t gotten sick of it. My favorites include JJ Dolans, Big Kahuna, Bostons, Prima, CPK and many others...
You must realize my excitement to hear of a new pizza joint in Honolulu. "Hapas" pizza in Waikiki recently opened, located in the Sheraton Waikiki, adjacent to the infinity pool…the price range for the pizzas, pasta bakes, salads and more ranges from $5-$24.
The setting is very casual, after all it’s just within feet of a pool and a few yards from the beach. The dining room is open air with wooden tables and comfy bar seating along the wall. The restaurant prides itself with serving up delicious/fresh local ingredients on their house made pizzas and pastas. The toppings support local farmers and ranchers which is a big plus in my book because we need to support or local businesses.
The hand tossed pizza crust is cooked delicately in the oven. It’s not too thick and not too thin, with the cornmeal sprinkled bottom it’s really just right! They use simple tomato sauce as the foundation for the pizza pies. Topping flavors include meat-lovers, mushroom with truffle oil, prosciutto and arugula and a dessert-like pizza topped with apples and brie cheese. The pasta bakes are also tasty with a choice of red or white sauce and ingredients like artichoke, sausage and sun dried tomato.
The options are to buy a whole pie at 12” or 14”- or you can buy by the slice. Other pizza flavors include garlic chicken, Reuben, margherita and of course the Hawaiian. They even offer a keiki menu with keiki mini-complete meals which include spaghetti and meatballs, veggies or small baked ziti.
Hapas utilizes the local influences and origin of Executive Chef Darren Demaya who is originally from Hawaii Island, we used to work together at Alan Wongs for ten years. I am sensing an unavoidable trend with these food revHeus now. LOL
For a lot of locals heading into Waikiki can be a pain, but its less painful when the food is good and the parking is free. They do validate if you self park and offering some validation for valet as well. This setting is perfect for the grab-and-go style of food, but you can always take a pizza and go to the beach for a little sun, sand and fun. This truly is your one-stop-shop for all your food needs. They also serve cold beverages, a F'real maker, fruits and salads too.
My husband liked the Hamakua mushroom tartufo the best, its topped with fresh Hamakua Alii mushrooms and drizzled with truffle oil. I was infatuated with the Prosciutto de Parma pizza which was topped with mozzarella cheese, farm fresh eggs, prosciutto and halo farms baby arugula. The creaminess from the egg paired with the salty prosciutto and spice from the arugula was divine. This is kind of a sloppy dish because of the wetness caused from the egg yolk so be prepared to grabbed some napkins.
All-in-all I enjoyed our visit to Waikiki to check out the new pizza eatery. It was a pleasant surprise to find something so unique, yummy and fun in the heart of the south shore. It didn't boast much of the glitz and glam of other places, or crazy overly heavy and loaded toppings. It was more simple with delicious fresh ingredients that make your mouth water. Hapas takes the best from both worlds Italy and Hawaii and marries the two to create sumptuous and delicious food that is of the best quality and freshness.
Hapas - Sheraton Waikiki
7am - 10pm Sun-Thurs
7am- 11pm Fri-Sat
Breakfast (simple breakfast plates, pizza, pastry and beverages) daily from 7am-11am
931-8392 - inquire about delivery options
It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since the night I was blessed to receive the honor of holding the Miss Hawaii crown. As you can imagine my whole life I had dreamed of being Miss Hawaii one day and had only hoped to walk on the Miss America stage. Since being crowned in 2004 I have had the opportunity to travel the world, speak to thousands, help raise millions and cherish priceless memories that will last a lifetime.
This being my anniversary, I was invited to perform and be recognized on the Miss Hawaii stage at the convention center. In my day the pageant used to be held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and was broadcast live on K5, since then it has since moved to the Hawaii Convention Center, which is a beautiful and central location utilizing a great space.
Contrary to what some might think, I actually don’t like to be the center of attention and I don’t like to be singled out in public. I started to have nightmares about returning to Miss Hawaii about a year ago and developed some anxiety about oversleeping, forgetting something important and most of all being criticized by the audience – because this is a pageant and you are being judged literally on a scale of 1-10 by the crowd and the judges. Even though I wasn’t going to be a part of the competition per se, it’s always interesting to be judged by others as they assess how you look, how much weight you have gained, whether you can still sing/perform…etc. I was looking forward to the reunion but dreading it at the same time.
Much of my heart lies with the Miss Hawaii organization committee, volunteers and production staff. I spent so many years backstage that I felt most comfortable being off the stage and with them during and after the competition days. Even after my “reign” I volunteered as a dresser backstage helping the contestants instead of being out front in the audience hob knobbing with people and whatnot.
With that said, a very special person passed away earlier this year. Thom McGarvey who served as executive director of the program for more than 30 years lost his battle with cancer. Because I don’t have any family here on Oahu, Thom was a great influence in my life while in my 20’s and up. He was a stickler for accuracy, grammar and education. He watched Wake Up 2day every morning and would sometimes email me with his concerns or clarifications when something was broadcast.
During this year’s pageant pre-show Miss Hawaii 1964 Leinaala Teruya Drummond, Miss Hawaii 1989 Dr. Ligaya Stice and myself were recognized for our 50th, 25th and 10th anniversaries. Ligaya emailed me with an idea to do a collaboration performance to honor Thom. She suggested I sing the Wind Beneath My Wings and she would perform a lyrical dance. I was honored and thought the idea was beautiful and would serve as a great memoriam for Thom. My purpose at the pageant changed, it was no longer about me, it was about honoring Thom and his legacy and also showing appreciation for everyone else who works so hard to put the program together. All of the volunteers, stage hands, producers, hair & make-up teams and even the contestants who gathered to really make a difference in the lives of others and our community.
I no longer feared returning to the Miss Hawaii stage. I wanted to be there to show respect and admiration for Thom and his legacy. But still I had a major concern…how do I make it through the song which is somewhat challenging technically. But when you have a lump in your throat and feel that you are about to cry it’s nearly impossible to create sound. My throat tenses up and my vocal chords freeze. But, I decided I had to do everything I could to make it through the song, not only for Thom but for Ligaya who was dancing as I would sing. I opted to post a tablet with the words on the far right side of the stage so when I felt the emotions start to rise I would read the words of the song instead of sing and perform them. I also found that I couldn’t watch Ligaya dance as I sand because it made me choke as well. So I decided to make it through as much of the song as I could and if I started to feel that feeling of too much emotion and too much passion I would simply read the words to the rest of the song and not focus on holding back tears.
Long story short, I made it through and cried heavily after the performance. But it meant so much to be there for Thom and to be recognized with such an amazing and dignified group of women. Each of the former Miss Hawaii’s has accomplished so much and I am so honored to be a part of such a prestigious group.
What made this event even sweeter was the return of my hanai brother Dane Waialeale. Dane escorted me during the evening gown phase the year I won Miss Hawaii and at Miss America as well. He returned to the pageant this year as part of a 2-man team (with his husband Terence) to do the hair and make-up styling for Miss Paradise Kauai, Stephanie Steuri. It was also a wonderful night to see Steuri, another Kauai girl, capture the title of Miss Hawaii. Stephanie is a graduate of Island School and I am graduate of Kapaa High. Go Kauai! What a nice icing on the cake for my 10 year anniversary. I am so grateful! Congrats Steph!
Hula has been long considered a form of art, culture, pride, entertainment and expression. 10 years ago Hula Grill took over the Sunset Terrace, located above Dukes Waikiki. Often a spot for the Duke's guests who didn't want to wait and hour plus for a table at the iconic restaurant located downstairs on prime Waikiki Beach, hungry and thirsty customers would be ushered upstairs to taste and see the sights of its lesser known counterpart.
Well, over the years Hula Grill has made a name for itself with its flavorful dishes, Hawaii-inspired libations and pristine views of the ocean, sunset and the rolling surf. For some this location is a hidden gem for a relaxing breakfast, elegant lunch or festive dinner. I have frequented the restaurant for breakfast because the portions are generous, the quality is high and the service is friendly, attentive yet not overly eager and annoying as some places can be in Waikiki.
What better way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hula Grill than with the Hula and of course a master of Hula, Hawaiian culture and Aloha - Robert Cazimero. The anniversary event also served as a fundraiser for Cazimero's Wahea Foundation, a local organization based on preserving the Hawaiian culture through Hula.
Cazimero is an award winning musician, entertainer, Kumu and means so much more to our state and the culture of Hula and Hawaii. His Halau Na Kamalei and Keiki also performed at the event to inspire and entertain the special invited guests. Guests were also offered 11 different food stations that represented each year since the restaurant opened its doors on Oahu. The grill showcased some of its specialty and signature items that debuted on the chosen year it represented. Items like ahi tacos, spam loco moco and seafood chowder to name a few.
During the month of June @HulaGrillWaiks www.hulagrillwaikiki.com will feature anniversary special and deals that coincide with its 10 years in business on Oahu. The TS Restaurant boasts its live entertainment with names like Kaala Boys and Kamuela Kahoano most nights from 7pm-9pm.
MONSARRAT AVE SHAVE ICE
Raspberry, blueberry and strawberry shave ice = mixed berry shave ice, topped with vanilla ice cream and fresh berries.
This was berry good!
I have a feeling the summer months are going to be sweltering. Already, we are seeing high temperatures and it isn’t even summer yet. But there is a local treat that tends to make those summer scorchers a bit more tolerable…Shave Ice. Called Ice Shave on Hawaii Island and Shave(d) Ice on the other islands…the sweet, cold, tasty treat that leaves your fingers sticky and your tummy happy is sure to satisfy that craving for something to cool you off in the summer sun.
I had the pleasure of discovering a new location along the slopes of Diamond Head recently and I think this place will become a sure fire hit, no pun intended. Monsarrat Ave Shave Ice, is hidden along an alleyway next to Pioneer Salon, which has delicious upscale plate-lunches by the way, the shave ice stand is along Monsarrat Avenue just after the eatery and before the bus stop on the right hand side if you are headed makai (3046 Monsarrat Avenue). They opened mid-February and word is spreading quickly about the delicious treat.
Cups are: small $4, medium $5 and large $6 but the charming little shave ice stand is not known for their affordable treats, it’s best known for it’s delicious syrup flavors. Each made fresh, without food coloring and using all natural ingredients. Flavors like mango, strawberry, green tea, acai, pineapple just to name a few. The syrups are so natural and pure you can taste the natural fruit essence as soon as you take a bite. Sometimes when you visit the other guys it just tastes like sugar and they don’t put enough flavoring in so you are left with a bunch of white snow. Here the owner and shave ice maker Kenta is eager to help and quickly makes your shave ice in less than a minute, but with each layer of ice he adds the fresh homemade flavoring; this way your shave ice is full of sweet, yummy, goodness instead of having to go back for a touch up of added syrup.
In addition to the shave ice there are added toppings like fresh fruit, sweetened condensed milk, azuki beans and more. But the best topping of all is a nice scoop of ice cream. They offer a variety of different toppings depending on the day, they also offer specials. Don’t be shy, give it a try and ask if there is anything that is not listed on the menu.
By they way, this place is so popular that some of the specialty flavors run out early like yuzu and mango, so go as early as you can.
Hours are sunny days only from 11am-7:30pm.
Additional cost for add-ons .50 and etc.
When you have your shave ice and you sit down on the bench take in the art, stickers, little trinkets and potted plants that surround you. Its fun, makes you feel like a kid again.
Here’s to those hot summer daze.