726 Kapahulu Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816
Fresh off the plane for this fall's trip to paradise, we met Dad for a quickie lunch at Ono Hawaiian foods on Kapahulu. There are two food venues called Ono on Kapahulu, I intended to visit the other one. Oishii Eats! has recently written about her trip and poke scores across O'ahu, and her post about Ono Seafood had my mouth watering.
However, Ono Seafood is only a walk-up counter, and my dear DH was not Hawaiianized enough only an hour into our arrival to be willing to picnic it. So we strolled down to Kapahulu looking for foods. Turns out Ono Hawaiian Foods is very highly rated on Yelp and Trip Advisor, so we dove in. (And Irifune on Kapahulu closed at 1:30 for lunch. WTF?)
I ordered tako poke spicy, 'twas deliciously unspicy. I love the way Ono Hawaiian Foods prices everything. This was $8.25.
I wasn't super hungry after flying United, an airline on which one is not served food unless one pays through the nose for it (and are only allowed one free checked piece of luggage), and even then it was simply a box of assorted crackers. Starving and bored I ate the crackers and was thus unhungry for lunch. But I can never resist some poke. The ahi poke here comes unmixed, you get to concoct it to your liking. This ended up v spicy. And damn, was that fish fresh.
One of the things to love about the ahi poke at Ono Hawaiian is both the large quantity of seaweed to fish, I like to call this kind the branchy kind as opposed to nori (the dried sheets wrapped around maki) or the flat wet type (wakame used in miso soup). Also, at Ono Hawaiian, I could feel the crunch of Hawaiian salt crystals as I nommed. I love the larger crystals...
D ate a delicious bowl of chicken and glass noodle soup. With large slices of mushroom, and a dark clear broth this was delicious. $5.60.
L&L Hawaiian BBQ710 Keeaumoku St
Honolulu, HI 96814
The morning of day 2, we set out to play tennis. Needing tennis balls and other bits and pieces, we stopped in at the Walmart behind Ala Moana. There right in the lobby of Walmart was L&L Hawaiian BBQ. In need of breakfast before playing tennis, I strolled over and asked for something that was easily eaten by hand.
View of downtown Honolulu from the Punahou tennis courts. We play here every time we are in Hawaii. Both my brothers graduated from Punahou and the athletic facilities here are top notch.
The woman at L&L handed me a musubi, a yummy BBQ piece of spam over rice wrapped together with nori. I ate one of these every day this trip as well. Tweeting about the musubi, I was informed by Sam that musubi can be found in several places in LA. Yelp tells me a spam musubi can be had at The Beach Hut in Manhattan Beach, Aloha Food Factory in Alhambra and Rutt's Hawaiian Cafe in West LA. But there are frigging L&L Hawaiians in Eagle Rock and Glendale. Broak da mout!
Mai Tai Bar1450 Ala Moana Blvd Ste 3247
Honolulu, HI 96814
Humans are nothing if not ritualistic, and one of our rituals when in Honolulu is to head to Mai Tais, the sports bar at the top of the Ala Moana mall. This is the most beautiful sports bar on the entire planet. I dare someone to come up with one better.
After some tennis, D, Dad and I hit Mai Tais to watch the Broncos v. Chargers. Some guy gave up his table with the promise that we would root for Denver. We lied.
With a name like Mai Tai, they better throw down a deliciously potent beverage. I had two.
Sports bar food, Hawaiian style. Poke. Good, fresh.
Pu'pu beef platter. Iono about that mayo-miso stuff on top, but the beef was cooked perfectly medium-rare and really pretty durn good.
But what really delighted me was the mixed calamari platter. Calamari mixed with deep fried peppers. I picked through this and ate all the peppers, red and green. So good, a leedle spicy.
Ono Seafood747 Kapahulu Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816
Monday we finally made it to Ono Seafood, after sea kayaking out to the Seabird Refuge in Kailua, another spam musubi, and right before an afternoon nap.
There are so many options listed because they make everything fresh, by-hand to order.
Back in our hotel room, with a little sake, Hawaiian style poke, spicy with a little Sriracha, chili pepper flakes, green onions and white onion slivers. This one had some pop!
And to be experimental, I also ordered miso poke. This is one I could eat every day. Just the freshest of fish with a beautiful sweet and savory miso dressing. Miso, high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals apparently played a key part of the diet in feudal Japan. Who knew? It played a key role in both my lunch and my nap
On our very last night, right before eating our traditional farewell dinner at Maguro-Ya on Waialae, we stopped in to Tamura's to grab some poke for that cheap ass United flight back home. Pre-made, we ordered three types. Dried salmon poke, wasabi ahi poke and tako poke. All were decent, but didn't touch the poke from Ono in terms of flavor. It probably was an issue of freshness, leaving it overnight before eating it. But it was head and shoulders above a box of crackers.
I hate to leave Hawaii. Every single trip is bittersweet.