This Week in Hawaii II

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These are so many new places opening in Honolulu…and quickly, too! It was definitely not like this when I was growing up. While I love old favorites (special hello to Fook Yuen, Helena’s, and Legend’s), it’s exciting to see new spots join the community.

Yesterday we visited PURVÉ Donut Stop, a new doughnut place opened by two former bartenders. Drive up the ramp off Kona Street (the rainbow color ramp that says ‘Made in Hawaii‘)…

The shop is located in a mini complex with an ukulele factory and aloha shirt store. Eight flavors available daily (all cake doughnuts). We shared the lemon/fruity pebbles and…

…chocolate glaze with graham and toasted marshmallows.

Then off to Chubbies Burgers (they used to roam around Kaka’ako, but now have a permanent parking place on Auahi Street)…

I had the classic burger (they call it the 50’s Burger). Dad had the Ten Gallon, which adds bacon, onion, and cheddar…

…and fries, of course. We got Chub Fries (with cheddar cheese, grilled onions, and fry sauce). Tasty but next time I’ll stick to plain fries because it was a really heavy meal.

Earlier in the week, I met Kristen for lunch at Mermaid Bar (we’ve been going since high school :), and dessert at the new HOPA location in Ala Moana.

We both had Uji Kintoki. Shave ice with matcha syrup, vanilla ice cream, azuki beans, and mochi. Ahhh so refreshing!

There was an afternoon visit to Ai Love Nalo with mom. I’ll take any excuse to go Waimanalo because it means two things: 1) sweets at Ai Love Nalo, and 2) fresh eggs from OK Poultry. This is the Lime in Da Coconut smoothie (coconut milk, key limes, avocado, coconut flakes, honey and bananas)…

…and Ulu-Mango Bread. It’s made with ulu flour, mango, and macadamia nuts. Served toasted with warm coconut cream sauce.

Thang’s for avocado smoothies (this one is a real classic). I like going with a friend and splitting an order. Perfect amount.

Via Gelato for half-haupia and half-dark chocolate. It’s the ideal combo…basically Ted’s chocolate-haupia pie in gelato form.

Strawberry-banana-whipped cream-chocolate from the crêpe place inside Shirokiya Japan Village Walk. Good to try, but probably won’t be back for this one again.

And Tim Ho Wan! For various meetings, family/friend lunches, and a solo breakfast on one occasion. Four times in a week was a record…and now I need a break.

I didn’t like Tim Ho Wan on the first visit (even though I enjoy the Hong Kong original and NYC location very much). But I kept retuning and it kept getting better with each visit. It’s our family’s new go-to dim sum spot, and the Royal Hawaiian Center location is very pleasant.

This pan-fried black rice mochi (stuffed with pineapple) is unique to the Hawaii location.

Bac Nam for Monday night dinner. Mom is obsessed with banh bot loc (not many places in Hawaii make this fresh), and that is the main reason we love this place.

Don’t miss out on the crab curry. You’ll see it on nearly every table at Bac Nam. Best with a baguette.

Christina (she’s in Taipei) and I talk on the phone every few days and the other day she was reminiscing about banana pancakes she had at Eggs ‘n Things back in February. She kept talking about how good, no, how amazing they were and I couldn’t get them out of my mind. I was trying to finish work the next day (a Tuesday) and I couldn’t focus because all I could think about were banana pancakes. So I made the drive down to the Ala Moana location (the Waikiki locations are prettier but Ala Moana is more convenient). Ordered the full stack (with mac nuts and whipped cream) and wolfed that beast down. Hit the spot so good.

I go to a pilates studio on Monsarrat, and after each class I have lunch/snack/dessert somewhere in the neighborhood. It’s part of a routine. There aren’t many areas in Honolulu that are truly walkable, but Monsarrat Street (even though it’s short), is an exception. I like the super tart lemonade at ARS Cafe

…the lilikoi loaf at the new Cafe Morey’s

…and every dessert from Diamond Head Market. Steph joined a recent pilates class and then we had a mango cream cheese tart (more of a giant fluff square, so good)…

…and coconut bread pudding. I wrote this thing about their sweets for Serious Eats years back and all of that still holds true.

I grew up in Aina Haina and Aina Haina Shopping Center was the anchor of my childhood. Breakfast at Jack’s, the Aina Haina Library (where I still pick up all the books I put on hold), even the McDonald’s my grandparents took me to after school. A number of the tenants have closed, new ones have opened…and Aina Haina is still a big part of my Honolulu life. I visit Cake Couture on a regular basis. The cupcakes are wonderful…

…but even better are the variety of sweets they make on Saturdays (and only Saturdays).

I will drive all the way from anywhere for these wild and glorious guava hand pies. Such goodness!!!

Also love smoothies from Leahi Health. This one is the Green Monster – almond milk, local greens, bananas, almond butter, and honey. (Their Kaimuki location is more popular but there’s never enough shaded seating.)

And is there anything better than takeout from Maguro Brothers on a Saturday afternoon?

Salmon and uni and rice ahhhhh. Till next week ^-^

Previously: This Week in Hawaii I

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