In true fashion, I woke up super early because time zones and jet lag and I just generally am an early riser. Luckily I had made cold brew coffee to tide me over until breakfast. We made reservations at Hau Tree Lana, which is famous for their breakfast. The restaurant is literally on the waters edge, dripping in pink table cloths and filled entirely with Japanese tourists. I ordered the seafood omelette and James had the Hawaiian breakfast platter which consisted of poi pancakes, sausages, eggs and half of a pineapple. Breakfast was good, but we both agreed that the day before was better.
Following, we headed down to Waikiki for James’ surf lesson. Since we were early, I decided to go for a swim. I wouldn’t say that swimming on Oahu is easy. The currents were definitely more manageable, and the water was not nearly as cold as Kailua Beach, but the coral. The coral is everywhere. Sharp and scary. I swam for 20-25 minutes, but would often have to stop because suddenly I was on top of coral, despite being way over my head. It was definitely an experience!
We headed over to Ty Gurney’s surf school, where I had booked James a two hour private lesson. After signing a waiver and getting fitted for a rash guard, we headed down to a small “private” beach area. I planted my butt down in a chair that the surf shop loaned me and spent the next two hours enjoying the sun and reading. James officially loves surfing, reported he was able to stand up a few times on waves (I can’t confirm as he was literally a speck on the ocean from my viewpoint) and left ravenously hungry.
We had packed a picnic, but since we are in the land of poke, and it is a new found obsession (thanks to the sushi burrito place that just opened in Somerville!), we decided to try it where it’s common fare. We looked up the closest place with the best poke, and set off on a 1.5 mile trek. We did take a slight detour to Olive & Oliver, a delicious coffee bar inside a hotel slash swim club (if I was here on a girls trip, this would definitely be a pit stop, but I am nice and spared James of a day at a secluded pool with a coffee bar).
After walking through the parts of town tourists definitely don’t go through, we arrived at Fresh Ahi Off the Boat, which was settled next to a strip club and across from a McDonalds. The poke bowls were amazing, and worth every painful step in my flip flops. I had the spicy ahi bowl on black forbidden rice. James had the ahi poke bowl on sushi rice. Both were served with miso soup.
Lunch was followed by a hike to Manoa falls – about 15 minutes outside of Waikiki. There is a small parking fee (so don’t be turned away by the no parking signs! There is a lot at the end!). We changed into our hiking boots and took off into the rain forest. The trail is muddy, slippery and super cool. We walked through bamboo groves and up steep terrain, to be greeted by a very cool and steep waterfall. Our descent down might have been even more difficult than up, given how slippery it was, but we made it, and raced home for desperately needed showers.
For dinner I made reservations at Alan Wong’s – which is one of the famous, must try restaurants in Honolulu. I emailed ahead about gluten free, and they were quite accommodating (though when the waiter asked me how the gluten free bread was, and I replied “it’s definitely gluten free” he was a bit crestfallen – apparently this is the best gluten free bread on Oahu. Pretty sure it was Udi’s!). I ordered the goat cheese salad and the red snapper. The red snapper was made specially for me since it’s not usually gluten free (usually covered in panko!) but oh my god, the sauce that they serve it with was amazing. Definitely my favorite part. It was a miso ginger sauce, and I must learn how to make this at home because it’s going on everything. James had poke tuna tacos and short ribs. His favorite part of the meal? Dessert. Instead of shaved ice, they freeze a pineapple and shave that instead. It’s served on top of a vanilla panna cotta and also boasts a lot of ginger.
I was surprised by the total cost of the meal – two courses each, plus one drink and one dessert came out to be around $70 each. I had expected a far higher bill – so something to keep in mind if you go!