Tequila…tequila…to kill ya! What more can I say about Señor Frogs? If you want togo to a happening party, Señor Frogs is the place. From the “party starter” deejay to the tequila shot-pouring dinosaur, Señor Frogs is non-stop activity. And if the drink, dance, and music don’t appeal to you, you might get a laugh from the décor and sayings that speak to almost anyone.
This date comes on the heels of a hike up Kuliouou Ridge and ends with a beach walk. Why not? Mr. Frogs is right next to the newly renovated Waikiki Beach Walk.
Cost: $3 Jello shooters, Tong Margarita $12 each, most pupus about $12
Do’s and Don’ts: Go before 10 p.m. to avoid the $10 cover charge and long lines.
If your New Year’s resolution was to burn those buns, this is the date for you. It starts behind the Goeas Baseball Field at Koko Head Park in Hawaii Kai (on the way to Hanauma Bay). The locals hike up over the newly landscaped hill surrounding the baseball field to the bottom of the old rail track–part of an abaondoned incline tram used by the military during World War II–then start the more than 1000–step trek to the top of 1208 foot Koko Crater for a great workout, panoramic view of East Honolulu, and bonding experience that involves a lot of sweating and panting
Do’s and Don’ts: For a better view on the way up, let her go first.
Big applause to the Honolulu Academy of Arts PR folks; they sure know how to put on a good event. ARTafterDARK, a premier event happening from 6 to 9 p.m. on most last Friday’s of the month draws attention to the Academy and its featured exhibits. We’ve never not had a good time at ARTafterDARK.
Show up, get food, get drink, see the exhibit and usually a lot of friends, and wander the beautiful grounds to see what is set up in every corner to entertain you. Then, dance to popular music in the open air courtyard at the Academy. The strict ending time of 9 p.m. is perfect—time to go off and hit the town, or, if you’re tired after a work day, head home.
This particular ARTafterDARK, entitled Dragon Thunder, featured the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan and exhibits from the region. The monks, in colorful robes, helped out with the event—painting surfboards with regional designs, demonstrating Mandala sand painting, and ancient Buddhist dances.
Cost: $10 cover charge (free for members), $4-7 per plate of food, $4-6 drinks
Do’s and Don’ts on this date: Plan to be surprised and entertained. Stay near the main courtyard at the start of the event if you want a good view of the entertainment. Or—hit the food booths while everyone else crowds to see the entertainment. Don’t fret the early closing time; this is a great ice breaker for the start of your evening.
Waiola Shave Ice Honolulu Hawaii by Discover808.com. We found this place off of McCully in Kaimuki in 1985 when we lived on Algaroba street. It was our first Hawaiian Shave ice and while we are still looking, we have found no better. Serving Honolulu since 1940!!!
Cost: Cups from $2.00- $2.50, Bowls $4.00, Extras 50 cents each
Do’s and Don’ts: Do try the ice cream and azuki beans under your shave ice.
Need for speed? Sail on a Hawaiian Outrigger Sailing Canoe. SeaBreeze Watersports in Hawaii Kai is the only outfitter in Hawaii offering ocean speed sailing. Na’ilima, a former Hokulea crewmember who sailed between Hawaii and Rapanui using Hawaiian sailing methods, will take you on a sailing canoe for an invigorating site seeing adventure on Maunalua Bay. The sailing canoes seat up to six passengers, who will get views of East Honolulu’s coastline and, if lucky, views of marine life including seals, turtles, and whales. Follow up your date with an early dinner at the Bluwater Grill, The Shack, or Cha-Cha-Cha Salsaria after you are done forthe day. These are all located in Hawaii Kai Shopping Center right next to SeaBreeze.
Cost of Date: Speed Sailing $45
Do’s and Don’ts: Do consider a Day on the Bay Package to fill the day out. Call before and get a free ride from Waikiki. Don’t forget to bring a camera and a change of clothes for dinner afterwards.
Need something to uplift you or help you regain peace of mind? The Contemporary Art Museum in Makiki Heights can help you out. Walk on a path through a meandering garden of tropical plants.
Or sit in David Hockney’s L’Enfant et les Sortil ges (The Child and the Enchantment), installed in the Milton Cades Pavilion. On the day of our visit, aerial beach and water scenes that were part of On the Beach: Photographs by Richard Misrach were on display.
The restaurant offers light fare and the Art Shop is the best place to find fun and unique gifts that anyone can appreciate. (Maybe!)
Entry fee: $5.00 or $45 annual membership for you and a guest
Restaurant: Sweet & Sour Soup $3.50, Grilled Veggies on focaccia $10.50(we split one) and Freshly-Squeezed Lemonade $3.50
Do’s and Don’ts on this date: As long as you’re up in Makiki Heights, take a drive around Tantalus and Round Top for the most exquisite scenic views of Honolulu, and/or do a Tantalus Hike.
Honolulu’s premiere French restaurant, Le Guignol, serves French cuisine in a comfortable, contemporary setting across the street from Thomas Square and cattycorner from Neil S. Blasdell Center. It’s the perfect place to start the evening before a concert or symphony.
Chef/Owner Travis “Ala” Sutton starts his days at 7 a.m. preparing lunch fare on Wednesdays and Saturdays and dinner on Tuesdays through Sundays. Sutton cooks everything that ends up on the table, including such classic French dishes as baked burgundy escargot with roasted garlic and parsley butter, cumin roasted leg of lamb with curry demi glaze and Serbian flageolet beans and caramelized onions, as well as a local favorite, pan-roasted Opakapaka fillet with anchovy and artichoke green puy lentils and Beurre Noisette.
The restaurant has an intimate bistro feel with only 12 tables inside and three on the lanai. Leilani (Travis’ mom) greets you and, along with other wait staff, provides attentive service. Dress ranges from casual to dressy—whatever you plan to wear to the concert.
Cost: Roasted Opakapaka $28.95, Escargot $8.95
Do’s and Don’ts: Don’t forget your bottle of wine; it’s BYOB. Do call early to make reservations to avoid settling for fast food before a concert.
In East Honolulu, the Kuliouou Ridge Hike is a local favorite. In minutes you step from the residential streets of Aina Haina onto tree covered paths that zig zag to the top of the Koolaus. On the way up, you cover varied terrain, from pine forests to multi-colored hills. The top is considered pristine forest, and the vegetation changes to tropical flora and Ohia trees. The ridge line offers spectacular views around the southeast end of Oahu, from Kaneohe all the way to Waikiki.
This hike takes all of three hours at a leisurely pace—and is guaranteed to take away your worries (especially if you’re wearing a Trouble Hook…see Chinatown blog entry).
What to Expect:
A picnic table and shelter erected by the Boy Scouts and nearby area used for camping awaits along the ridgeline during the climb to the summit.
The official 3.4-mi/1700-ft trail ends at the first junction with the Koolau crest. The formidable peak to the left, which stands tall at the head of Kuliouou Valley, is called Puu o Kona (elev. 2,200-ft).
Kalaau Pl (end) to intersection: 0.2-mi / +50 ft
Switchbacks – int. to ridgeline: 0.7-mi / +740 ft
Ridgeline to Koolau crest: 0.8-mi / +910 ft
Crest junction to Puu o Kona: 0.4-mi / +170 ft
Both Kuliouou trails begin on the right-hand, mauka (uphill) side about 25 yards beyond the chained entrance to the Board of Water Supply access road at the end of Kalaau Pl. Several signs mark the beginning of the foot-trail, including one that reads: “Kuliouou Public Hunting Area”.
Accessing the Trail:
Both trails are part of the Na Ala Hele inventory meaning they are open to the public and well-maintained. There is no designated parking except what hikers can find within the residential area on Kalaau Pl. Do not park along the cul-de-sac: it is designated “no parking”.
From either direction along Kalanianaole Hwy (Rte 72), turn at the traffic light onto Kuliouou Road and drive 0.3-mile to the end (stop sign). Do not continue straight for that housing complex is the Haleloa residential area (there are no trailheads there). Instead, follow Elelupe Road a block to the left, then make an immediate right back onto Kuliouou Road (yes, for some reason it is disjointed). Proceed 0.7-mile and turn right onto Kalaau Pl. Total distance between highway and trailhead: 1.3-miles.
Do’s and Don’ts on this date: Hike this ridge on a hot day, as foliage and elevation make it a cooler trek than some others.
Hidden in the now blossoming Kaimuki in Honolulu is the Japanese Garlic Restaurant, Ninniku-ya, which means Garlic House in Japanese. Owner Chef Eiyuki Endo uses 5-10 pounds of garlic per day creating just about everything garlic: whole roasted Garlic Cloves, Garlic Spinach Salad, Garlic Soup, Garlic Avocado Ahi appetizer, Escargot, Ahi in a Garlic-Ginger sauce, Pasta with creamy Garlic-tomato sauce spiked with king crab, and Angus steaks served on a sizzling hot stone with Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Finish it off with Sorbet with light Garlic sauce. Anything without garlic? The Blueberry Martini, ahhhh…. Open since 1976 on Waialae Ave near Chaminade University, this little gem features indoor and outside seating, and casual dress code (where do you have to dress up in Honolulu, anyway?). We split the filet, escargot, spinach salad, avocado ahi pupu with a side of roasted garlic and were pleasantly stuffed.
Cost of Date: Most appetizers $12-16; Filet $38; Roasted Garlic $8; Blueberry Martini $8
Do’s and Don’ts on the date: Do get there early to find parking. Don’t expect anyone down wind (for the next 2 days) to not wonder where you’ve been.
Looking for a quick stroll in the forest or for a refreshing swim? This is the ticket. Right off the Pali Highway, just outside of Downtown Honolulu, the Judd Trail is an easy hike that runs along Nu’uanu Stream to Jackass Ginger Pond and then continues in a 1 mile loop, with minimal elevation gain. Jackass Ginger Pond is a great swimming hole with a 10 foot waterfall into the pond and a rope swing to jump from into the water, which is up to 8 feet deep in some places. Be warned that this pond is surrounded by boulders, which means there might be boulders in the water. Remember, “sticks and stone can break my bones,” so jumping is at your own risk.
Those looking for more of a workout can take an alternative path to a higher elevation, Pauoa Flats, and finally Nu’uanu Valley Overlook (1600 feet) which has views of the Pali, higher peaks in the Ko’olau Range, the Wai’anae Range, Nu’uanu Valley, and Punchbowl.
Do’s and don’ts: Do consider mosquito repellent or walk fast. Don’t try anything fancy off the rope.