So we've been here before... What once was Izakaya Mai and before that was Ojiya Restaurant is now Japanese Restaurant Yacchaba. Hopefully, this concept will stick as the location is actually quite good. Located across the street from the Hawaii Convention Center near 24 Hour Fitness and Ala Moana Center, this bustling intersection has a good amount of car and foot traffic along with ample parking nearby.
The concept is new to Hawaii, izakaya-style iburi (smoked) meats and seafood served in a tapas format. So portions are smaller, meaning you can try more things, and the flavors are unique. I was mildly apprehensive when the first dish came out -- smoked mozzarella cheese served with slices of picked daikon, sounds super weird. But, the flavor was wonderful, you get the aroma of the smokiness from the cheese and the pickled daikon was a great compliment. Other dishes like smoked potatoes, yuka fries, and some type of fried ball with corn it were rather tasty. Since everything is bite sized I felt like I could eat all night long.
Another notable concept is the fresh fish and meats come served with burner that you are supposed to cook, or heat, on the Mount Fuji stone. The fish sizzles and smoke fills the air. My personal favorites for the main dishes were the salmon and the steak. At the end of the evening they also brought out cold somen noodles served with canned mackerel, that was light and refreshing.
Everything here is very authentic and if you appreciate Japanese levels of service you will love it.
1718 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu, HI 96814
A few weeks ago one of my friends got married. As the big day approached I wanted to do something fun that us girls would enjoy together. I spent a few days trying to come up with an activity that was unique, entertaining and memorable. I also wanted us to be able to head out for dinner or a few drinks and bites afterwards, nothing crazy but good quality fun. I remembered Jim Shigemoto, formerly of Local Cravings and prior to that one of Foodland's founding poke chefs, had told me about a new venture he and his family were working on... Virtual Reality. Honestly, I am not a gamer and I haven't played video games since the first edition of Nintendo, so VR was kind of Greek to me. But, wanting to support him and his family in their new venture I decided to book the brand new VR facility in Kaimuki for an hour. I was a bit concerned at first because I wondered if it would be fun enough. Should we do a painting party instead? Or go to play mini golf, or laser tag? I tried asking him what he thought and if this would be fun for 5 girls to play. I also asked my friend Biancha what she thought and she encouraged me to give it a try.
Located at 1137 11th Avenue, above Modern Nails and next to Himalayan Kitchen, Lost Inside is a spacious room lined with blue and green mats, flat screens on the walls and various controls for the virtual reality consoles. They have a good variety of experiences including under the sea adventures, various gaming activities, zombie apocalypse games, therapeutic rainbow glitter painting and more.
We each started off playing games where you were to hit the circle blobs as they approach you while listening to music, then I opted to go snorkeling under the deep blue sea. There were AMAZING images of whales, turtles, jellyfish and more. My friend wanted to be scared and we tried the zombie experience wherein you had to kill the zombies before they could kill you. That was unreal and super scary. I screamed my head off, all in good fun it was sooooo funny and scary at the same time. One of the most entertaining of the evening was a whimsical sparkler-like rainbow of glitter you could paint with in the dark and the music was ethereal and very relaxing. Overall, we all had a blast. I was surprised by how much fun we had. Since this was my first time playing VR I didn't know what to expect.. Even though they only had 2 headsets and there were 5 of us, it was so much fun to sit and watch each other and share what the experience was like with one another. We also took some extremely funny videos too. All-on-all we had a BLAST, such a good time I would recommend if you want to experience something new and something unique.
This was the perfect place to get together, make some memories, share good/fun times and relax.
Some tips for when you decided to play virtual reality:
Bring clean socks
Don't wear a lot of makeup
Wear your hair down and prepare for a mask/helmet to be placed on your head
More info: http://www.lostinsidevr.com
1137 11th Ave 2nd floor next to Himalayan Kitchen
Hours: By Appointment only.
When I think of Thailand I envision turquoise blue water, green islets protruding from the sea, smiling faces, fresh curries and white sandy beaches covered in seashells. The water here is warm, the people are kind and the food is full of flavor. The last leg of our journey took us to the Andaman Sea, where there are literally hundreds of islets scattered about, like someone was skipping rocks one day and they landed where they lay.
We spent a few days kayaking the Andaman Sea, through mangrove forests, limestone caves, and even saw the famous James Bond Island (I had to search YouTube for this afterwards as I didn't know what they were talking about, but it's from The Man With the Golden Gun). Once all the adventuring was done we caught a boat to Koh Hong Island. This national park is somewhat like Hanauma Bay during the day with hundreds of tourists swimming, playing, eating, surfing and kayaking you almost can't see the sand there are so many people, but come 3pm the boats are forced to leave and only those with a permit are allowed to stay overnight and don't have to leave. For our group we were the lucky few who spent the night under the stars, sleeping in tents and enjoying a bbq for dinner with no one else on the island but us.
The next morning we kayaked to another remote island known for its beautiful beach and plentiful snorkeling. For about an hour we were the only ones there and relished in the fact that we had a whole island to ourselves. It's absolutely breathtaking. Until the boats start to arrive and then again hundreds of tourists with life vests on and pre packed lunches arrive with their selfie sticks and garbage. It's really shocking to see how much tourism plays a part in this adventure. Everyone wants a piece of authentic, remote, beautiful Thailand and if you find the right guides who care about your experience and want it to be special for you they will go out of their way to let you beat the crowds and find that moment of solace.
We spent a second night on the island. It was hot and humid, a bit buggy, but so wonderful. If you love the great outdoors, camping and seeing so many stars you can't even begin to count this is the place for you. I took a moment to frolic along the beach, just me. No one around, the tide rolling out, the moon peeking through and the beauty that cannot be defined overwhelmed me. The flora and fauna that surrounds us is similar to Hawaii, but also different. Overall, this experience was outstanding! We made lifelong friends, shared unforgettable moments and made memories that I will cherish forever. As soon as we left Thailand I felt a strong desire to go back, "but there are so many other countries to see, visit and travel to" my husband said. I know I know, but with an experience like that I can't help but say "until we meet again, Thailand."