Monday, February 20, 2017

Da Hawaii Trip

Mai Tai Heaven

In January, Brittany and I flew to Oahu for a long weekend to celebrate lots of things: 30th birthdays, 20 years of friendship, and apparently our shared obsession with food.

We stayed at the Hyatt in Waikiki, with an ocean-view balcony and a queen bed each.  We didn't hate it.

View from our balcony

The weather wasn't ideal over our five days, but we made the most of our time and enjoyed sleeping in, dining out, and swimming around.

First things first we ate SO WELL.  Brittany and I had each been to Oahu a couple times (and once together as teens), but it had been many years.  The one thing we couldn't wait to do was eat kalua pig at Ono's.  After returning to our tried and true nostalgic favorite, it remained top of our list. 

Favorite Meals of the trip:
  1. Ono Hawaiian Food
  2. Da Hawaiian Poke Co
  3. Heavenly
  4. Giovanni's Shrimp Truck on the North Shore
  5. Tonkatsu Ginza
  6. Leonard's Bakery (Portuguese Malsadas!)
  7. Hawaiian Crown Plantation
A photographic tour of our biggest delights:

Ono Hawaiian Food

Kalua Pig Benedict at Heavenly

Acai Bowls (complete with macadamia nuts and mocha nibs) 
at Hawaiian Crown Plantation

Best Poke we've ever had (will ever have?)
at the coolly named Da Hawaiian Poke Co.

Doing mom proud with some 
Portuguese Malasadas at Leonard's

We had a good time hanging around the neighborhood, slurping frozen cocktails under intricate banyan trees, enjoying local beaches like Sans Souci (which means "without a care"), and generally melting into said carefree lifestyle.

One day we hiked our butts up Diamondhead (and saw a mongoose for the first time!)...

 ...and another day we did NOT hike to the beautiful Manoa Falls, as the path was drenched and high winds had knocked down trees and power lines alike.

Oscar the Grouchy

On this ill-fated day, we tried everything: the waterfall hike, the beach, the pool-but after a hearty gust of wind poolside almost took Brittany's shoe away from us forever, we gave in and crawled into our respective beds to drink our spiked pineapple tea cocktails, eat Pringles, and binge-watch The Crown.  By evening the gusts hadn't subsided, and as we left our tonkatsu restaurant with full, happy bellies, we had to take cover as the wind whipped palms right off the trees onto unsuspecting tourists below!

Another night, things were calm, and we enjoyed the Hilton's hula show (in free seats from afar, with our own spiked pineapple iced tea in plastic cups) followed by fireworks and a long walk on the beach.

Perhaps our favorite day was Sunday, when we drove to the windward side and North Shore.  We packed a lot into that day, including...

...a smidgen of the Lanakai Pillbox Hike...

(it really IS windy on the windward side)

...watching kite surfers fly through the air like bosses at a windward beach...

 ...pretending we were in Jurassic Park at Kualoa Ranch,

where we jumped into the animal pens only to find...

...a smug little goat in a frickin' tree!

Needless to say, he was Brittany's favorite.

Next, we enjoyed shrimp scampi, macaroni salad, and grilled corn on a stick at the famous north shore food trucks.  After a quick stop at Waimea beach where we optimistically tried to lay out by the water but had to abort because we were being pelted by sand daggers, we redirected our afternoon to Waimea Valley, where we...

...were reminded of our place in the universe...

...finally took a picture with both of us in it...

...became one with nature...

...gloriously swam in a chilly fresh water waterfall 
(where everyone sits on the rocks and watches you yelp 
as each new appendage plunges into the freezing water)...

...took to the stage for an impromptu hula routine 
(well, one of us)...

...and found a new happy place.

Before heading home, we caught the sunset and a delicious meal (including kalua pig grilled cheese-I swear we are all about the kalua pig) at Haleiwa Beach House.

Our last day was our sunniest, and we took full advantage back at Waikiki, floating and sunning, strolling and sipping.  This was our poke bowl and malasadas day, both of which we had gotten to-go, and proceeded to eat as breakfast and lunch in rapid succession back at the beach. 

Always the fashionista

Our most exciting natural encounter of the trip (yes, even more than smug goat) was this sea turtle!  We heard excited buzz along a waterfront deck, and peeked over to find not one, but two gigantic sea turtles lazily floating about, and occasionally popping their heads out for air to say hello.

The last sunset of a trip is always so bittersweet, but we were finally relaxed and just played around in the lapping waves, people watching and not caring as drops fell from the sky and the sun bid us aloha.

It was really special to have a girls getaway just with my BFF, to look back (one night we tried to come up with a memory from each year we've been best friends, starting with 5th grade) and forward.  How lucky I am to share this life with her and have her as part of my ohana.  Love you, Britt!  

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