First Time + Dinner for Two, Hot Pot Heaven

WARNING: Your bag, clothes and you yourself will smell like hot pot after leaving. Be prepared.

We were in the Manoa area and wanted to avoid the traffic westbound, Jeremy looked for places to eat for dinner and found this one. He thought I’d like to try here since he knows how much I enjoy Ichiriki.

Drove to McCully Shopping Center, the parking lot wasn’t as packed as I thought it would be and we found a stall easy. Located ground level behind Taco Bell. By the time we got there, they were just opening the restaurant for dinner (5:00 p.m.). There was only one other party and we were seated quickly.

They have electric cooktops and gave us small booklets for choosing which broths we wanted. I was still indecisive by the time the waiter came back to take our orders and asked for his suggestion–mushroom. We also ordered beef, about eight slices per plate.

After, we headed to the fridges to pick the other ingredients we wanted to add in. We didn’t know my mushroom broth came with actual mushrooms in it; the waiter had to tell us and we ended up putting the enoki mushroom plate back in the fridge, ha ha. Similar to sushi places (Genki, Kuru Kuru) each plate is colored differently (red, yellow, green, purple) indicating the different prices.

What we got: choy sum, onion, tofu, cabbage–we ended up not opening/using it and our waiter came by to take it away for us. Might not sound like a lot, but their portions are huge and too much for us.They provided a plate of white rice and rice scooper.

Hawaiian (his) and Mushroom broth
Hawaiian and Mushroom broth

I thought his had a bitter taste to it and a broth that after a while you’d just get tired of having it. He brought up that it tasted like a Hawaiian dish, we couldn’t put our finger on it. Mine, very mushroomy, lol and he would have preferred mines to his. Broth was buy one, second half off.

The workers were pretty good coming around taking the trash away, refilling our waters, etc.

In reviews, we saw the mention of free mochi ice cream. I guess it depends on who’s helping you since we had to ask for ours. It could be just me, but they have certain flavors for the day? We were given blueberry and green tea mochi ice cream:

Blueberry and green tea mochi ice cream
Blueberry and green tea mochi ice cream

At the time when our waiter gave to us, we didn’t catch the second flavor so we took bites into both to see which one we liked more.

Boyfriends! If you know your girlfriend likes ice cream and you’re both sampling the ice cream, make sure to take small bites! Yeah, he ended up taking a big bite from the mochi ice cream I claimed. Girlfriends, if he does that, take his piece and take a BIGGER bite, regardless if you like the flavor or not. Lesson learned. I’m not a fan of green tea so I suffered for the moment ha ha.

We can only compare this place to Ichiriki, and after getting the bill, cheaper for two. We’ll probably be back, trying to figure out the best combinations to our taste.

Yelp Review Link | TripAdvisor Review Link



Chief’s Luau – Food and Entertainment, nuff said.

Chief’s Luau is located within Sea Life Park, behind the Kolohe Kai Sea Lion Show in the Makapuu Meadow. I thought it would be in a different location, like by the chapel on the other side. Nope!

On days that the luaus’ going to be open they have the area set up.

We didn’t get a package (Royal, Paradise, Standard) but we were given a mini-tour of Sea Life Park’s shark, dolphin and sea turtle exhibits; kukui nut leis-one per person and one (1) drink ticket each. So we got to experience a little bit of each.

They rope off the luau area and we were led to take a photo op in front of Manana/Rabbit Island with some of the cast.

As guests arrived, there was an announcer that let everyone know what was available to do before the show began.

What stations they had:
+Spear throwing
+A stick game (lol, didn’t try it, just observed)
+Fire making
+Craft area (selling, not making items)

We started with the tattoos because we thought the long would be long if we did other activities first. They have a small selection and I guess can spray on where you’d like them to. It was sprayed on with a stencil: Ha ha, I thought it was going to be drawn on, but that’s okay, the closest I’ll have to a real tattoo. It also rubs off easily. We tried touching Jeremy’s and the ink bleed onto our fingers.

After that we headed to the bar to use our tickets. The tickets only covered certain drinks, if you want something else, it’d be $10 (not sure). We just stuck with the Mai Tai, which was being pre-made on the side.

Once we got our drinks, we headed to the palm tree leaf headband making station. We were told to pick three leaves and the cast member helped us start off, along with explaining to us how to weave and finish it. Even though he explained and did it right in front of me, it took me forever to get it. Boyfriend even tried to tell me what to do exactly. It took me a while, but I got it. He’s wearing the one I made, I’m wearing the one he made: His looks better. Ugh. And, it’s possible to adjust the diameter of the headband.

We past the stick game. Stand in a circle, let go of stick, grab next stick to your right. Person that lets their stick fall is out. I guess they keep going until there is a winner.

At the spear throwing, there is a limited amount in various sizes. The first one I picked up looked taller than I was so I switched to a shorter one. The cast member at this section explained and showed us how to hold and throw the spear. Mines didn’t travel that far. T_T

Onstage they had sticks to make fire. There were only two so we had to wait a while. I did create some smoke though :D

Since we did just about everything, we went to our table and sat down. More people arrived. From the outside looking in the beginning it looked like a small luau, but they can pack a lot of people.

Our tabled was located to the left of the stage (if you’re facing the stage), in the standard package area. We were going to be the only ones at the table, but they let a newlywed couple join us. They asked and thought we were engaged/newlyweds too.

The show began with Chief Sielu after giving those that wanted a hula lesson. Followed by a prayer, pulling the pig from the imu–used next day from what I heard, and getting dinner: Really good btw. Not photographed because I didn’t want any: salad, vegetable stir fry, mahi mahi, and pineapple cake.

Once everyone got settled, the performance began and by the end of the night, we warmed up from the fire dancing and saw the stars when all the lights were turned off.

We enjoyed the show and Chief Sielu. He made us laugh the entire time. I’ve only been to Paradise Cove’s luau, the luau in Pacific Beach hotel and recently Germaine’s Luau, and so far I’ve enjoyed Chief’s Luau the most.

Aside from the cast members, the other workers were friendly and came around to gather trash so we didn’t have to get up and do it ourselves. I know, makes us sound lazy but it’s dark and you wouldn’t want everyone to be getting up and blocking views.

It does get windy and cold, so hold everything down and if you get cold easily like I do, bring a jacket!

Show ended at about 8:15 p.m.

Yelp Review Link | TripAdvisor Review Link


Sunset Dinner Cruise, Makani Catamaran

Sunset Dinner Cruise (5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.)

2014 04 07 CR

Yesterday (April 8, 2015) I got the chance to be on board the Makani Catamaran. First of all, I get sea sick really easily so I bought motion sickness pills from Longs. Took TWO and still felt a bit dizzy, but that’s better than being totally seasick. I just have to take one more to probably avoid it. We’ll see the next time I’m out at sea.

The Makani Catamaran is Ewa side of the pier, the parking look is at the Diamond Head of the pier. It’s a dollar an hour, cash only! They accept quarters too. This is only if you plan on driving to the location yourself. For those visiting in Waikiki, they do offer a shuttle service when you book, but that will be an additional cost per person in your party.

It is recommended to arrive 30 minutes prior to sail, so get there on time! We checked in at their Makani Catamaran booth, given boarding passes and were told to wait in line before we were let on the catamaran. They are quite punctual and close up the catamaran at exactly 5:00 p.m. I watched O_O

Before sail, they introduced themselves: Captain Johnny, Trevor (Bartender) and Amy (First Mate). Amy went over safety, located bathrooms (in the cabin area, down the ladder to the left, if you’re facing the front of the catamaran), do’s and don’t’s, etc. Trevor went over the bar. Drinks are on the rocks, there are no blenders and they had a blue souvenir cup for sale. Unfortunately, by the time I decided I wanted to purchase one, they were sold out. :(

A friend recommended their High Tide to order. Trevor had a different drink he made, which I thought tasted better than the High Tide. Ask him! It had white rum, with pineapple juice, orange juice and a splash of triple sec. We were given two (2) complimentary drink tickets each. After that, non-alcoholic beverages were $2 and alcoholic drinks varied from $6-7. Miller Light on special for $4. So you know what to use those tickets on ;) PS bring cash and your ID, he does check!

At the beginning, as we left dock, we sat within the cabin area, but others were all over the catamaran, picking the spots they wanted. As we were leaving the harbor, we got up and walked around to see what was there. We stayed at the front of the catamaran most of the time. There are two sunbathing nets upfront, which a lot of the passengers, mostly the children, took to seating right away. Holds up to three (3) adults, I think. I stood by the railings, trying to take photos and making sure my phone wouldn’t go overboard! It’s much better to be out in the fresh air than sitting in the cabin.

Dinner was an island-style buffet. We went back into the cabin to eat since it was getting windy.
+Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Breast
+Island-style beef & vegetable stir fry with sweet onion, zesty carrots, & crisp celery
+Steamed white rice
+Vegetable spring rolls with sweet & sour dipping sauce
+Curry tofu & vegetable wraps
+Rotini pasta salad with zesty carrots, spiced red onion, & grated parmesan cheese
+Macadamia nut & chocolate chip cookies
If anyone has allergies or needs a specific menu, make sure you mention when you book, if not, OH WELL. Get drunk. I didn’t eat much but what I had was good (chicken, beef, stir fry, and salad).

It being a sunset cruise, I didn’t think I would need sunscreen, but I think you need! Since the sun was still up as we headed out towards Diamond Head. It’s also windy so a light jacket is needed, if you get cold easily.

Attire: casual, just depends on you and your party. There is a chance of getting wet, so be careful, especially if you have a drink in one hand and a phone in the other, haha. As for bags, try not to bring your over-sized ones or ones that don’t zip up, just in case it falls over and things start falling overboard.

It felt crowded with forty-seven people on board, the catamaran holds up to sixty-five. I’d probably want to go on when there’s less people signed up.

Some of the views on board, I tried to make my photos straight:
Ocean Views:

Unfortunately we saw no wildlife :(

Yelp Review Link | TripAdvisor Review Link