Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Aloha Brisbane! – Part III: Koala Day! (#AlohaBNE)

February 1, 2013
Part I | Part II | Part III 

 

As with all good things, our time in Brisbane had come to an end. With bags packed, we, however, had one final expedition left in us before saying goodbye to the Queensland city by the river.

We started our morning by hopping into the van of the family-owned and operated Mr. Day Tours for their half day tour package. Val, the owner and tour guide for the day navigated and narrated our course for the day.

Mr Day Tours brochure
Mr Day Tours brochure

Our first stop was the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the world’s first & largest koala sanctuary.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary sign
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary sign

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary map
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary map

Me and da koala statue
Me and da koala statue

Directions at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Directions at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Our first koala sighting couldn’t have been any cuter. It was of this adorable little munchkin getting fed supplements. I just HAD to shoot a video of it!

 


Koala being fed supplements

 

As we continued, we saw many more, though mostly sleeping in awkward positions.

Sleeping koala
Sleeping koala

Another sleeping koala
Another sleeping koala

Hey! One's awake!
Hey! One’s awake!

We saw a bunch of other animals/creatures along the way like wombats, dingoes, reptiles and birds, but let’s be honest… they were all overshadowed by “the moment” that most of us were looking forward to the entire trip… It was time to hold some koalas baby!


“The moment”! Koala holding time!

And here are the video clips of our various experiences:

 


Me and the koala

 

 


Catherine Toth with her koala

 

 


Melissa Chang with her koala

 

 


Hawaiian Airlines’ Jeremy Althof (frightened) with his koala

 

 


Hawaiian Airlines’ Jesse Starmer with his koala

 

Eventually, with feed in hand (purchased at the gift shop), we made our way over to the kangaroo section of the sanctuary, which was equally as exhilarating.

This kangaroo smells the feed in my hand. Whatchu t'ink?
This kangaroo smells the feed in my hand. Whatchu t’ink?

Cute baby kangaroo just lounges around next to me
Cute baby kangaroo just lounges around next to me

This one let me get close and pet away
This one let me get close and pet away

Melissa feeds a baby kangaroo
Melissa feeds a baby kangaroo

This was quite an interesting scene. It appeared to be a baby kangaroo resting in his mommy's pouch
This was quite an interesting scene. It appeared to be a baby kangaroo resting in his mommy’s pouch

And here’s a video of it.

 


Baby kangaroo rests in his mommy’s pouch

 

Group of kangaroos just kickin' it. Kickin' it... get it? :P
Group of kangaroos just kickin’ it. Kickin’ it… get it? πŸ˜›

Val then drove us up to the Brisbane Lookout at Mount Coot-tha, which offered a panoramic view of Moreton Bay.

Panoramic view atop Mount Coot-tha (click to enlarge)
Panoramic view atop Mount Coot-tha

Brisbane Lookout's deck
Brisbane Lookout’s deck

Our group snapping away. Damn tourists!
Our group snapping away. Damn tourists!

Kaleo Lancaster (@islandtrails), me (@worldwideed), Melissa Chang (@Melissa808) and Catherine Toth (@thedailydish) at the Brisbane Lookout at Mount Coot-tha
Kaleo Lancaster (@islandtrails), me (@worldwideed), Melissa Chang (@Melissa808) and Catherine Toth (@thedailydish) at the Brisbane Lookout at Mount Coot-tha

We boarded up the van again and headed up to Kangaroo Point Lookout near the Cliffs Boardwalk.

The Cliff Boardwalk sign
The Cliff Boardwalk sign

The view from inside one of the lookout points
The view from inside one of the lookout points

A nice look at the Brisbane River
A nice look at the Brisbane River

With the grains of sand slowly vanishing from the top of the hourglass that was our tip, we had just enough time for one more stop: Lunch! The gastropub of choice? A place called The Shelter Bar, one of three restaurants at the Story Bridge Hotel, aptly named for its physical location, sheltered under the popular Story Bridge.

Outside the Shelter Bar
Outside the Shelter Bar

Melissa's Prime Rib Fillet Burger with bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onion, ranch dressing and beer battered fries ($18)
Melissa’s Prime Rib Fillet Burger with bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onion, ranch dressing and beer battered fries ($18)

Cat's Braised Short Rib Parpadelle with baby peas, rich Napoli sauce and shaved parmesan ($22)
Cat’s Braised Short Rib Parpadelle with baby peas, rich Napoli sauce and shaved parmesan ($22)

And my personal favorite (if I do say so myself! πŸ˜› )…


My “Aussie Pizza” with double smoked ham, bacon, free range eggs and bbq sauce ($17.50)

With our tummies full, it was time to head to the airport for our 8-ish hour flight home. The Brisbane Airport is very clean and well kept, and Hawaiian Airlines‘ entrance into the market looks to have played a key part in all of it. Here are some sights from the airport.

Hawaiian Airlines flight number 444 (HA444) to Hawaii, although just two days old at the time, was already bustling!
Hawaiian Airlines flight number 444 (HA444) to Hawaii, although just two days old at the time, was already bustling!

The fancy entrance to the departure area downstairs
The fancy entrance to the departure area downstairs

Hawaiian Airlines signage at Brisbane Airport
Hawaiian Airlines signage at Brisbane Airport

Directions at Brisbane Airport
Directions at Brisbane Airport

Lounge areas (with FREE public WiFi! - which is hard to come by in Brisbane) outside the gates.
Lounge areas (with FREE public WiFi! – which is hard to come by in Brisbane) outside the gates.

Neat sand sculpture with our Hawaiian Airlines plane in the background
Neat sand sculpture with our Hawaiian Airlines plane in the background

Although it was a whirlwind 3 day, 2 night visit, we were able to get a lot squeezed into our tight timelines. If the adventures from any part in this series of articles interested you (part I, part II, & this part III), be sure to Fly Hawaiian when booking your flight: http://www.hawaiianairlines.com/Brisbane .

A HUGE Mahalo to Hawaiian Airlines (President and CEO Mark Dunkerley, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Ann Botticelli, Director of Advertising and Promotions Kevin Yim, Ross Saito from Product Development, and the social media team: Asiana Ponciano, Jeremy Althof, and Jesse Starmer, etc.) for the unbelievable opportunity to cover such an event. Mahalos also to my fellow social medialites Kaleo Lancaster, Catherine Toth and Melissa Chang, who made the trip super rad! Yeah, I just said rad. πŸ˜‰

And with that, we say Aloha and goodbye to Brisbane. Until we meet again!

To view all of my photos from Brisbane Australia, click here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/114302480978989244855/AlohaBrisbaneAlohaBNE

Melissa Chang’s #AlohaBNE blogs:
http://www.nonstophonolulu.com/?s=brisbane&searchsubmit=Go

Catherine Toth’s #AlohaBNE blogs:
http://www.thecatdish.com/?s=brisbane

Kaleo Lancaster’s #AlohaBNE blog:
http://kaleolancaster.blogspot.com/2012/12/brisbane-australia-hawaiian-airlines.html

My #AlohaBNE blogs/posts:
http://www.world-wide-ed.com/?s=brisbane

Instagram search results for #AlohaBNE:
http://web.stagram.com/tag/alohabne/

Twitter search results for #AlohaBNE:
https://twitter.com/search?q=%23AlohaBNE&src=typd

 

Part I | Part II | Part III 

 

 

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Where In Seattle is Edward Sugimoto? – January 23, 2013

January 23, 2013

With the lack of comments so far, early this year, I figured I’d shoot myself in the foot and change locations to make things even *more* difficult. LOL! Nah, I just wanted fo’ try something different. We go see if this works…

Photo #1
Where in Seattle is Edward Sugimoto? - January 23, 2013
Where in Seattle is Edward Sugimoto? – January 23, 2013

Photo 1) Wea Dis Stay? ________________________

Photo #2
Where in Seattle is Edward Sugimoto? - January 23, 2013
Where in Seattle is Edward Sugimoto? – January 23, 2013

Photo 2) Wea Dis Stay? ________________________

Photo #3
Where in Seattle is Edward Sugimoto? - January 23, 2013
Where in Seattle is Edward Sugimoto? – January 23, 2013

Photo 3) Wea Dis Stay? ________________________


VH07V SPOTTED!

This week’s “Spotted” shot for VH07V is with another Hawaii-born pro athlete! A big mahalo to Shinogu Sato of Hawaii Web TV who was able to snap this shot of former Kamehameha Schools player and US National Team champion (2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup), and current Houston Dynamo striker Brian Ching at the 2012 Pro Xtreme Soccer Camp where Ching was teaching!

Houston Dynamo striker Brian Ching loves his VH07V Tee!
Houston Dynamo striker Brian Ching loves his VH07V Tee!

Weekly VH07V Updates!

* I think I may be doing (having a booth at) the Ukulele Picnic event next month. More details to come!

* Still waiting on my HUGE re-fill order to come in (the holidays wiped me out)! Hopefully it doesn’t take too much longer.

* Getting closer to finalizing new styles (wicker type polo) and designs.

* Started the voting process on our next new design. Which one you guys like da bes’? Post it in the comments below!

VH07V design concept 1
Concept 1
VH07V design concept 2
Concept 2
VH07V design concept 3
Concept 3
VH07V design concept 4
Concept 4
VH07V design concept 5
Concept 5
VH07V design concept 6
Concept 6
VH07V design concept 7
Concept 7
VH07V design concept 8
Concept 8
VH07V design concept 9
Concept 9

* Get all of the latest VH07V gear at:

SHOP.VH07V.COM

As always, a big mahalos to everyone for your support and for helping to spread the VH07V! 8)


Missing Cat – FOUND!

Remember that missing cat I asked you guys to help me find for my friends? Well, after being gone for 24 days, his parents are proud to announce that he has been found!!! Here’s a message from them:

24 days later, hachi is HOME!!!!! unbelievable! big ups to Teylor for spotting him near a friend’s house near longs/rec 4 side! so crazy! we have lifted hearts tonight. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Missing Hachi - Found!
Missing Hachi – Found!

Have a happy VH07V Wednesday y’all! Shoooots!

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Hawaii Self Storage’s Clear the Clutter New Year Promotion

Hawaii Self Storage's Clear the Clutter New Year Promotion
Hawaii Self Storage’s Clear the Clutter New Year Promotion

Aloha Brisbane! – Part II: Exploring the City (#AlohaBNE)

January 1, 2013

 

Part I |  Part II  | Part III

 

After a 10 hour flight and a long night of heavy and indulgent eating and drinking, a serious siesta in the plush, cloud-like hotel bed was just what the doctor ordered. With the exception of that psychopath Catherine Toth (who decided to wake up early to work out!), the rest of us bloggers headed up to the 30th floor at a reasonable hour the next morning for the Special Club breakfast (served from 6:30am-10am) at Club Sofitel, Australia's largest executive club lounge.

My (2nd helping) breakfast plate with Melissa Chang & Kaleo Lancaster doing their thang
My (2nd helping) breakfast plate with Melissa Chang & Kaleo Lancaster doing their thang

On my plate, you'll notice a little container of Vegemite, a popular spread in Australia made from yeast extract (yes, I got brave). On paper, as a beer lover, I was supposed to enjoy it, but it was definitely something one needed to get used to. Here's Melissa and Cat's take on the Australian specialty:

 


Melissa Chang and Catherine Toth try Vegemite (via thedailydish's YouTube channel)

 

Refueled and ready, us four blogsketeers embarked on our journey to see Brisbane on the best mode of transportation on earth: foot. The stroll afforded us the opportunity to take in the scenery that Brisbane had to offer.

Going southwest through Queen Street Mall
Going southwest through Queen Street Mall

Treasury Casino & Hotel
Treasury Casino & Hotel

Art on Queen Street
Art on Queen Street

Brisbane Square Library
Brisbane Square Library

Chanukah display at Brisbane Square
Chanukah display at Brisbane Square

Crossing Victoria Bridge
Crossing Victoria Bridge

Outside the Queensland Art Gallery
Outside the Queensland Art Gallery

Queensland Museum & ScienceCentre
Queensland Museum & ScienceCentre

Cat navigating while Melissa and I document
Cat navigating while Melissa and I document

We made it to the Queen Elizabeth II Park/Parklands area on the banks of the Brisbane River
We made it to the Queen Elizabeth II Park/Parklands area on the banks of the Brisbane River

Nice look back at the metropolitan city we just walked from
Nice look back at the metropolitan city we just walked from

Cat, me and Melissa posing along the Brisbane River
Cat, me and Melissa posing along the Brisbane River

As we made our way along the river on Clem Jones Promenade, we noticed that there were a fair amount of joggers and bicyclists getting their exercise on. Here's a site you don't often see in America (at least one that's not destroyed or vandalized): a Community Bike Station, complete with tools, a place to mount your bike for repairs, and even a tire pump!

Community Bike Repair Station along the Clem Jones Promenade
Community Bike Repair Station along the Clem Jones Promenade

Along Clem Jones Promenade
Along Clem Jones Promenade

Panoramic shot of the Brisbane River
Panoramic shot of the Brisbane River (click to enlarge)

And then we got to the South Bank Parklands area where we found nice picnic areas, pools, and even a manmade beach called Streets Beach.

Pool at the South Bank Parkland
Pool at the South Bank Parkland

Manmade beach called Streets Beach
Manmade beach called Streets Beach

The sights were good enough to get Kaleo, Melissa and Cat a snappin'
The sights were good enough to get Kaleo, Melissa and Cat a snappin'

On the way back, we headed to the Queen Street Mall main stage to attend the Hawaiian Airlines Consumer Event. The locals got a total kick out of our folks from Hawaii spreading their Aloha with song and dance.

 


Hawaiian Airlines Consumer Event at the Queen Street Mall in Brisbane Australia

 

Shortly after returning to our hotel, some of Hawaiian Airlines' execs invited us to join them for an informal lunch in Fortitude Valley's Chinatown district, which was a short 15 minute stroll from our hotel. Twelve hungry Americans pounding "Hawaiian style"? Ouuuuraaaaiiii!

The sights along the way to Chinatown
The sights along the way to Chinatown

The first signs of Chinatown
The first signs of Chinatown

We landed at King of Kings (Chinese) Seafood Restaurant, which was a hit with a few of them on a previous visit.

King of Kings Seafood Restaurant in Brisbane Australia
King of Kings Seafood Restaurant in Brisbane Australia

It wasn't long before we found out why.

When in Chinatown...
When in Chinatown…

King of Kings Roast Duck
King of Kings Roast Duck

Just getting started...
Just getting started…

Custard Tarts off the Yum Cha menu
Custard Tarts off the Yum Cha menu

One of the highlights of the afternoon was watching Kaleo Lancaster go from blogger to "Dragon Slayer" as he took down the legendary "Dragon Drink", a series of three, increasingly potent drinks that King of Kings is known for. Here's a video I took of the momentous, yet painful looking event.

 

Kaleo Lancaster takes on the Dragon Drink from King of Kings Seafood Restaurant in Brisbane Australia

 

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel to unwind before getting ready for another walk through South Bank and meal in Fortitude Valley. Part of the unwinding process naturally included Happy Hour at another visit to Club Sofitel.

Pre-gaming at Club Sofitel with some bubbly
Pre-gaming at Club Sofitel with some bubbly

And then, it was off – on foot again! – to South Bank, this time guided by Hawaiian Airlines staffers Jeremy Althof and Jesse Starmer. The sights and sounds of Brisbane at night give a totally different perspective to the scenic city. Highly recommended!

Remember the Treasury Casino & Hotel earlier today? Here's what it looked like at night.
Remember the Treasury Casino & Hotel earlier today? Here's what it looked like at night.

Walking through Brisbane Square, we saw some filming going on, which appeared to be a TV news segment.
Walking through Brisbane Square, we saw some filming going on, which appeared to be a TV news segment.

Getting reminiscent of Hawaii: here's a gecko sighting. I wonder if it has an Australian accent too? 8)
Getting reminiscent of Hawaii: here's a gecko sighting. I wonder if it has an Australian accent too? 8)

Here's a close-up of the famous Wheel of Brisbane.
Here's a close-up of the famous Wheel of Brisbane.

And here's us in front of it (l to r: Kaleo Lancaster, Melissa Chang, me, Catherine Toth)
And here's us in front of it (l to r: Kaleo Lancaster, Melissa Chang, me, Catherine Toth)

Moonlit Brisbane skyline from South Bank
Moonlit Brisbane skyline from South Bank

With our restaurant reservation coming up, we jetted off via taxi to our dinner destination: Alfred & Constance, an eclectic collection of random, mini restaurants (sorta), serving food, drinks and desserts. Here's a description of each of them:

  • The Vanguard Beer Garden & Restaurant: Booze, Beer and sharable feasts
  • White Lightning Tiki Bar: Tropical drinks and a party that never stops
  • Alfred's Café: Workday bites, salads, coffee and sweets
  • Late-Night Dessert Café: Featuring alcoholic juice & boozy smoothy stations

Since Jeremy and Jesse knew the owner there, we had a table waiting for us at the Vanguard Beer Garden. Perfs!

Here's one of two Cocktail Jugs we ordered: Watermelon & Ginger Swizzle, which consisted of Gin & watermelon liqueur shaken with homemade rhubarb syrup & topped with soda. The other one we got was the Pimms & Lemonade jug: Pimms No. 1 & Fresh house made lemon syrup, swizzled down with fresh mint & topped with soda.

Watermelon & Ginger Swizzle (Gin & watermelon liqueur shaken with homemade rhubarb syrup & topped with soda).
Watermelon & Ginger Swizzle (Gin & watermelon liqueur shaken with homemade rhubarb syrup & topped with soda).

Salt & Pepper Squid with Lemon & Sweet Paprika Mayo ($14.90)
Salt & Pepper Squid with Lemon & Sweet Paprika Mayo ($14.90)

Here, they are known for their free-range meats which are cooked whole in wood and charcoal ovens. We went with their popular roast pork with crackling.

250g of Roast Pork carved from the whole pig w/crackling ($29)
250g of Roast Pork carved from the whole pig w/crackling ($29)

Oysters Kirkpatrick (6 for $24). Raw oysters, barbeque sauce and bacon. 'Nuff said.
Oysters Kirkpatrick (6 for $24). Raw oysters, barbeque sauce and bacon. 'Nuff said.

Cat and Melissa opted for dessert from Alfred's Café. Melissa got the Baklava Muffin, while Cat got the Classic Crème Brulee.

Cat's Crème Brulee ($12)
Cat's Crème Brulee ($12)

And there's day 2 in the books. We've got just half a day left in Brisbane, but lots to see & do. Come back next month to witness koala and kangaroo petting, majestic views of Mount Coot-tha and grindz at The Shelter Bar.

To view more photos from the trip and get a sneak preview of what's to come:
https://picasaweb.google.com/114302480978989244855/AlohaBrisbaneAlohaBNE

Melissa Chang's #AlohaBNE blogs:
http://www.nonstophonolulu.com/?s=brisbane&searchsubmit=Go

Catherine Toth's #AlohaBNE blogs:
http://www.thecatdish.com/?s=brisbane

Kaleo Lancaster's #AlohaBNE blog:
http://kaleolancaster.blogspot.com/2012/12/brisbane-australia-hawaiian-airlines.html

My #AlohaBNE blogs/posts:
http://www.world-wide-ed.com/?s=brisbane

Instagram search results for #AlohaBNE:
http://web.stagram.com/tag/alohabne/

Twitter search results for #AlohaBNE:
https://twitter.com/search?q=%23AlohaBNE&src=typd

 

Part I |  Part II  | Part III

 

 

VH07V
VH07V Gear
The latest in Hawaii lifestyle apparel. Check it out!

 

Aloha Brisbane! – Part I: Hawaiian Airlines Launches Their Newest Route to Australia (#AlohaBNE)

December 5, 2012

 

 Part I  | Part II | Part III

 

Traveling to Australia has always been a dream of mine. I mean, let's face it, they've got so many interesting and unique things going for them…

  • Their seasons are completely opposite from ours.
  • They've got koalas and kangaroos to ogle over.
  • They have cute sayings like "G'day Mate!", "Barbie" (BBQ), and "Oi (Oi Oi)!" (LOL!)
  • Their toilet seats (supposedly) flush in the opposite direction.
  • Regional Beers like Hahn, Tooheys and XXXX.
  • And, uh, Vegemite… I guess.

So when the opportunity arose for me to join Hawaiian Airlines' inaugural flight to Brisbane, I could not say "Yer, mate" fast enough!

On Tuesday, November 27th, of 2012, Hawaiian Airlines launched its newest direct route to Australia's third most populous city: Brisbane. Like some of Hawaiian's previous inaugural flights (Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Seoul, New York City and Sapporo), they invited members of the (new) media to help document the journey, every step of the way. The recruits this time around were Melissa Chang (@Melissa808) of NonstopHonolulu.com, Catherine Toth (@thedailydish) of TheCatDish.com, Kaleo Lancaster (@islandtrails) of Island Trails, and myself (@worldwideed) of World-Wide-Ed.com.

 


Hawaiian Airlines Flies to Brisbane, Australia! (via HawaiianAirlines' YouTube channel)

 

It was a whirlwind 3 day, 2-night tour, but we definitely got to experience Brisbane the only way Hawaiian Airlines knows how: with Aloha. Here are some of the sights and sounds that we were fortunate enough to experience.

Hula dancers giving us a nice sendoff
Hula dancers giving us a nice sendoff

HA443 departs Honolulu at 10:20am every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and arrives in Brisbane (BNE) at 4pm the following day.

Blessing by Kahu Richard Kamanu
Blessing by Kahu Richard Kamanu

The awesome Hawaiian Airlines crew for our HA443 flight to Brisbane
The awesome Hawaiian Airlines crew for our HA443 flight to Brisbane

 


On the flight to Brisbane (via AlohaMelissa808's YouTube channel)

 


On the flight to Brisbane (via thedailydish's YouTube channel)

 

After about 10 hours in the air, we finally get to the beautiful city of Brisbane
After about 10 hours in the air, we finally get to the beautiful city of Brisbane

These two (Melissa Chang and Catherine Toth) are happy to be on the ground
These two (Melissa Chang and Catherine Toth) are happy to be on the ground

Our hale for the next few days was the French based luxury hotel chain called Sofitel Brisbane Central Hotel. Conveniently located in the middle of the city, it was in walking distance to quite a few key points during our trip, including ANZAC Square, which was literally across the street. Here's the view from my hotel room window!

Looking down at ANZAC Square from the Sofitel Brisbane Central Hotel
Looking down at ANZAC Square from the Sofitel Brisbane Central Hotel

It wasn't long before we had to get dolled up (I wore a tie!) and head down to the Ballroom Le Grand for the official Welcome Gala.

Hawaiian Airlines Welcome Gala
Hawaiian Airlines Welcome Gala

It was a packed house filled with members of the local (Brisbane) media, tour industry professionals, airline executives, and local entertainers Sean Na`auao and Lehua Kalima (formerly of Na Leo), among others.

 


Lehua Kalima Sings "Waikiki" at the Hawaiian Airlines Welcome Gala

Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Mark Dunkerley addresses the crowd
Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Mark Dunkerley addresses the crowd

And of course, we can't forget about the food p0rn shots! πŸ˜‰

Bomboocha wok of fried rice!
Bomboocha wok of fried rice!

My serving of fried rice
My serving of fried rice

Poke samplers
Poke samplers

Chef Chai's popular Fried Kataifi Prawns
Chef Chai's popular Fried Kataifi Prawns

Following the gala, we decided to take a stroll around our neighborhood.

The Shrine of Remembrance at ANZAC Square
The Shrine of Remembrance at ANZAC Square

Possibly the best named street in all the land: Edward Street. 8)
Possibly the best named street in all the land: Edward Street. 8)

Brisbane's cool CityCycle bike hire program
Brisbane's cool CityCycle bike hire program

We decided to check out a popular local pub called the Pig 'N' Whistle on Queen Street.

Partial beer selection on tap
Partial beer selection on tap

Since we weren't that hungry, we just got a side of "chips" (fries in the U.S.) to share.

Chunky Chips with Garlic Aioli ($8.90)
Chunky Chips with Garlic Aioli ($8.90)

After all that eating and drinking, combined with our jetlag, it was time to call it a night. From the expressions on the ladies' faces, I think they agreed.

Cat and Melissa are either extremely drunk or jetlagged. You decide.
Cat and Melissa are either extremely drunk or jetlagged. You decide.

And that's it for our first night in Brisbane. I'll be back again soon to post more about our adventures including South Bank, King of Kings Seafood Yum Cha Restaurant in Chinatown, Alfred & Constance, koala and kangaroo sightings at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, The Shelter Bar, and our departure.

To view more photos from the trip and get a sneak preview of what's to come:
https://picasaweb.google.com/114302480978989244855/AlohaBrisbaneAlohaBNE

Melissa Chang's #AlohaBNE blogs:
http://www.nonstophonolulu.com/?s=brisbane&searchsubmit=Go

Catherine Toth's #AlohaBNE blogs:
http://www.thecatdish.com/?s=brisbane

Kaleo Lancaster's #AlohaBNE blog:
http://kaleolancaster.blogspot.com/2012/12/brisbane-australia-hawaiian-airlines.html

My #AlohaBNE blogs/posts:
http://www.world-wide-ed.com/?s=brisbane

Instagram search results for #AlohaBNE:
http://web.stagram.com/tag/alohabne/

Twitter search results for #AlohaBNE:
https://twitter.com/search?q=%23AlohaBNE&src=typd

 

 Part I  | Part II | Part III

 

VH07V
VH07V Gear
The latest in Hawaii lifestyle apparel. Check it out!

We Do It Big Island Style – Part II

September 1, 2012
Part I |  Part II 

Wow! Has it really been 5 years since I last wrote about our Big Island of Hawaii? To give it some perspective on how long ago that really was, since then, I’ve gained a ring, a wife, a baby, and a few extra pounds. πŸ˜‰

To be fair though, we actually haven’t done much traveling at all since da bebe came into our lives. Needless to say, this recent trip to the youngest island in our Hawaiian chain was a welcome change in scenery. The secret, ulterior motive/reason for the trip? To get the little squirt used to the idea of flying in a plane – call it “practice” – so that we could one day take her on a trip to the mainland U.S., Japan, or beyond.

Baby's first plane ride
Baby’s first plane ride

Our adventure started like any other trip would… NOT! Boy, traveling with a little one ain’t easy. There are soooo many things you need to worry about. Things like:

  • Bottled milk
  • Baby snacks
  • Clothes
  • Baby swimsuit
  • Baby lotion
  • Hat
  • Inflatables
  • Bibs
  • Baby wipes
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Diapers
  • Baby carrier
  • Etc.

Wifey literally had to pack one of those HUUUUGE (pronounced like Donald Trump) suitcases that you take on month long European vacations… For a two night neighbor island trip! Seriously?

Then again, she always packed like that. Kidding! No tell on me ah! 8)

And then there are the other baby essentials that come in larger form factors. Things like the infant car seat, stroller, crib, etc. Again, things you don’t really think or worry about when you’re a baby-less traveler.

Since we didn’t exactly want to take our “good” stuff (for fear of it getting mangled on transport), we decided to rent the car seat from the car rental place. A good idea, so long as you don’t mind using a “worn in” car seat and paying a few extra bucks on your rental car bill. For us, the convenience of it all just made more sense.

Baby and momma pulling maps while waiting for our car
Baby and momma pulling maps while waiting for our car

Ed’s Tip: Be sure you know how to install standard car seats for babies. The rental car people aren’t allowed to install it for you, probably for legal reasons (they don’t want to get sued if something happens).

For the stroller, we were fortunate enough to stay at the beautiful Hilton Waikoloa Resort where they actually provide it as a service to their clientele. With Hawaii’s weather (causing a lotion-lathered baby to get quite sweaty) and elements (sand, salt water air, etc.), borrowing a stroller is definitely the way to go if you want to preserve your personal “good” stroller.

And then there’s the crib. Again, thank goodness that the resort provided this to us for free. Not sure how many they have available, but I would recommend calling in advance to request it for your room. Even though ours turned out to be more of a dryer rack (a place to hang our wet swim attire) as baby slept in the bed with us (see sleep diagram here), it was nice not to have to worry about lugging around a portable crib all the way from Oahu.

My “goal” when we first arrived at KOA (Kona International Airport), was to eat some famous Pork Chops from my friend’s family’s place: the Manago Hotel. Heck, I even skipped breakfast in anticipation of the blessed event. Since I knew it was in the Captain Cook area (which is even further south from our hotel than the airport), I thought it would be best if we went straight there from the airport rather than making a special trip there.

The drive was a bit longer than I thought (20 or so miles, and a good 30-40 minutes), but pretty straight-forward. You pretty much drive south on Queen Kaahumanu Highway (HI-19) until you get there.

Outside the Manago Hotel
Outside the Manago Hotel

The restaurant sits inside the lobby area of the 64 room hotel. It was perfect. We arrived just before 11am when they open for their lunch shift, so getting seated was a breeze.

Inside the Manago Hotel restaurant
Inside the Manago Hotel restaurant

Ed’s tip: Speaking of breeze, the hotel sits on the slopes of Mauna Loa at an elevation of 1,350 feet, so I would imagine that it gets quite nippy here at night or during the “winter” months. Be sure to bring warm attire with you. We were there in the middle of the afternoon in the midst of summer, and you could still feel the bite in the air.

On to the menu.

Manago Hotel menu
Manago Hotel menu

I already knew what I wanted, so looking at the menu was just a formality. πŸ˜‰

First up though, were the inclusive starters… A nice little old school touch.

Steamed veggies
Steamed veggies

Home made mac salad (with potato chunks!)
Home made mac salad (with potato chunks!)

And my personal fave…

Ogo namasu
Ogo namasu

I’m not a big fan of raw onions and tomatoes, but the third item in this dish (ogo) is one of my faves (see Poke Paradise series)! Don’t think I’ve ever had ogo namasu style. She go!

And then it was on to the main course. Wifey ordered the Mahi ($9.75) for her and baby, but I just noticed that I don’t have a single picture of the dish. I think I may’ve been in a pork chop trance by this point. LOL! That’s ok. My friend Nathan Kam to the rescue! Here’s a shot of the Mahi he took a few years back. Thanks Big Nate!

Mahi from Manago Hotel [Photo Credit: Nathan Kam]
Mahi from Manago Hotel [Photo Credit: Nathan Kam]

I feel bad because wifey ordered it mostly so that baby could have something healthy (and chewable) to eat. She said it was good, but nothing out of the ordinary. Though she did say that after tasting (and tasting, and tasting!) my pork chops so her palate may’ve already been tainted by then. 8)

And then my dish came… Did somebody say PORK CHOPS!? (cue 2 Unlimited’s “Get Ready for This”)

Yes, I was a bit excited about getting those chops in mah belleh, and Manago Hotel definitely did not disappoint.

Manago Hotel's world famous Pork Chops ($9.75)
Manago Hotel’s world famous Pork Chops ($9.75)

Dauym! Buggah fo’ real kine brok’ da mout! The crispy texture of the breading was perfectly offset by the creaminess of the gravy. And the flavor… POW! Hit me right in the kisser. I want to go back again like right NOW!

Side note: There are many purists who think that you should enjoy the pork chop here sans the gravy. It’s up to you how you want to eat it. To each their own. I personally prefer gravy all ova!

Overall, it was a really great way to kick start our neighbor island vacation. Manago Hotel has that old school charm that I absolutely love and I know you will too. Go check um out goo…

Manago Hotel
82-6151 Mamalahoa Hwy
Captain Cook, HI 96704 (Street View)
(808) 323-2642
mail@managohotel.com
Restaurant hours:
7am-9am (Breakfast)
11am-2pm (Lunch)
5pm-7:30pm (Dinner)
Closed on Mondays

Our next stop was full on spontaneous. As I was posting my pictures from Manago Hotel on the Interwebs, I got a bunch of comments asking if I was going to go check out Kona Chips. Being the Oahu boy that I am, I was like hah? Wea dat? Come to find out, it’s actually just a few steps away from (outside of) Manago Hotel! I would’ve totally missed it had they not told me. And thank goodness they did. Their star product, aptly named “Ugly Cookies” was winnahz!

Ugly Cookies from Kona Potato Chips (company)
Ugly Cookies from Kona Potato Chips (company)

Made with your standard oatmeal, rice cereal, flour, chocolate, butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and baking soda, the real kicker here is that they include bits of their popular Kona potato chips in the mix, giving the cookies their trademark “ugliness”. πŸ˜‰ We still have about 3 more cookies left in the fridge from our batch of omiyage to ourselves, and believe you me, I’m trying my darndest to make it last as long as possible! LOL!

Other popular items here include their Furikake Chips, their “Sumo Style” Shrimp Chips and, of course, their namesake Kona Potato Chips.

Side Note: While penning this article, I gave Kona Chips a call to find out what their hours of operation were. To my surprise, the company president himself Jerome Furukawa answered the phone and he was very humble and nice and appreciative of the piece I was writing. Gotta love those kinds of folks. Go and support um gang!

Kona Potato Chips
82-6155 Mamalahoa Highway
Captain Cook, HI 96704 (Street View)
Phone : 808-323-3785
KonaChips@hawaii.rr.com
Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri: 8am-5pm
Wed: 8am-3pm
Sat: 9am-1pm
Sun: Closed

With our pon-pons full, we packed up and made the northerly trek back up the Kona coast towards our home for the weekend at the Hilton Waikoloa. The drive was about an hour (approximately 40 miles), which only meant one thing: Daddy, the designated driver, was the only one awake. What’s new? πŸ˜‰

The drive was definitely worth it though. Once we reached our room and unloaded all of our stuff, this is the view we were treated with. Ahhhh, lucky we live Hawaii, no?

The view at Hilton Waikoloa
The view at Hilton Waikoloa

After feeding da bebe, and a quick dip at the Kohala Pool, it was already time for dinner. We washed up and psychologically prepared ourselves to experience DK’s Crab Ramen again from nearby Sansei Restaurant & Sushi Bar. If you recall in part I of my Hawaii Ramen Quest series, the Crab Ramen at this particular Sansei (Waikoloa location) was the only dreamy one worth splurging on. The same exact ramen from the Sansei Waikiki and Kapalua locations both, for some reason, disappointed us (I didn’t try it from their Kihei location). We’re happy to report that the Crab Ramen at Sansei Waikoloa is still dope! We would’ve been so sad if that one also failed us. πŸ˜›

D.K.'s Crab Ramen with Asian Truffle Broth from Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar (Waikoloa) - $17.95
D.K.’s Crab Ramen with Asian Truffle Broth from Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar (Waikoloa) – $17.95

Instead of our usually faves like the Shrimp Dynamite and Panko Crusted Ahi Sashimi Sushi Roll, we decided to try a few different things this time. Wifey got the Matsuhisa Style Miso Butterfish for her and bebe, while I ordered the Japanese Yellowtail Nori Aioli Poke off their “New Looks” section of the menu.

Japanese Yellowtail Nori Aioli Poke with Crispy Lotus Root Chips and Tobiko ($14.95)
Japanese Yellowtail Nori Aioli Poke with Crispy Lotus Root Chips and Tobiko ($14.95)

Ironically, bebe crashed out and decided to sleep through our entire meal. The one positive? Mommy and daddy got to enjoy a little adult time.

Mommy on a hot date! :P
Mommy on a hot date! πŸ˜›

Daddy posing with the K.O.'d bebe
Daddy posing with the K.O.’d bebe

Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar (Queens’ MarketPlace, Waikoloa Beach Resort)
201 Waikoloa Beach Drive Suite 801
Waikoloa, HI 96738 (Map )
(808) 886-6286
Dinner Nightly: 5:30pm-10pm
Late Night Dining: Friday and Saturday: 10pm-1am

Of course it wasn’t long after dinner when bebe decided to wake up and get hungry, so we headed straight back to the room to feed our little Tamagotchi. Shortly thereafter, it was time for bed. It was then that I was able to capture this precious (IMHO) moment.

Bedtime stories with momma and bebe
Bedtime stories with momma and bebe

The next morning we headed back to Queens’ MarketPlace to pick up some breakfast and snacks at Island Gourmet Markets. If y’all don’t know, convenience-wise, this place is the greatest invention since sliced bread! They’ve got a bakery, deli, produce department, meat and seafood department, stuff for omiyage and even a wine bar! Island Gourmet Markets is actually a division of ABC Stores so picture an ABC store and add like a mini supermarket all up in it. It’s like an ABC store on steroids. Wifey was able to pick up whole milk in small portions for the baby, which was perfect, since we weren’t able to bring much over on the flight and the refridge in our room wasn’t big enough to hold anything bigger. We also picked up some drinks, snacks, and bentos and sandwiches for lunch.

Wifey and baby enjoying a quickie picnic at the Queens' MarketPlace
Wifey and baby enjoying a quickie picnic at the Queens’ MarketPlace

After lunch, we showed baby this neat water display that shoots a single stream of water over and across a walkway. It’s meant for people to walk under it, but baby found another way to have fun with it!

I guess she's a fan of water!
I guess she’s a fan of water!

It was funny because although she kept squinting and making a scared face every time she touched the water, she insisted on continuing to go back for more! With her entire body pretty much covered with water, we figured it was time to head back to the resort to get ready for some pool action. The little squirt had other plans. After a brief stop to catch a glimpse at some of the flamingos on property…

Pointing at the flamingos (baby's eyes are getting heavy...)
Pointing at the flamingos (baby’s eyes are getting heavy…)

Flamingo area near the Kona Pool
Flamingo area near the Kona Pool

… the little one decided to crash out. Must’ve been the water fountain! πŸ˜‰ A couple hours later, we made our way back to the Kona Pool to finally get our swim on.

Kona Pool at Hilton Waikoloa Village
Kona Pool at Hilton Waikoloa Village

I live for days like this!
I live for days like this!

After getting nice and toasty, we went back to our room, rested up and got ready for dinner. Whereas normally, we would’ve probably adventured off site to see what kind of neat, hole-in-the-wall eateries we could find, with the little one, we opted to stay close and head back to the Queens’ MarketPlace yet again. This time, we ate at Romano’s Macaroni Grill, for your standard, Italian fare.

Mac & Cheese Bites, Truffle Dip
Mac & Cheese Bites, Truffle Dip

Mama's Trio (Chicken Parmesan, Lasagna Bolognese, Chicken & Mushroom Cannelloni)
Mama’s Trio (Chicken Parmesan, Lasagna Bolognese, Chicken & Mushroom Cannelloni)

Romano’s Macaroni Grill (Queens’ MarketPlace, Waikoloa Beach Resort)
201 Waikoloa Beach Drive, Suite 1010
Waikoloa, HI 96738 (Map)
(808) 443-5515
Daily: 8AM-10pm

We followed dinner with our ritualistic visit to Island Gourmet Markets before heading back to our room and calling it a night.

Down to our final day on the B.I., we decided to try and get an early start to our day. For us, that meant somewhere in the neighborhood of 9am, which enabled us to check out the Big Island Breakfast buffet at Water’s Edge.

The view at Big Island Breakfast at Water's Edge
The view at Big Island Breakfast at Water’s Edge

Ed’s Tip: There is typically a wait to get seated here, but even if you see a big crowd here ahead of you, don’t be scurrred. They turn (and burn) the tables pretty quick so you won’t be waiting very long.

Family photo opp. She's actually posing and smiling!
Family photo opp. She’s actually posing and smiling!

With a check-out time of 12pm (no extension available that day), we headed back to our room for the dreaded pack up. Whyyyy did it have to ennnndd? πŸ˜‰

Das ok, I had one more trick up my sleeve.

During our stay there, I learned about a neat little place called Da Poke Shack. Just a couple miles south of the “touristy” part of Alii Drive, this little, well, poke shack averaged 5 stars on Yelp with 271 reviews! Say whaaat? Since me and poke are one, I just HADSTA get us there to check it out!

Da Poke Shack
Da Poke Shack

Inside was your typical looking mini fish market…

Inside Da Poke Shack
Inside Da Poke Shack

… Complete with a seafood and poke display case.

From L to R: Kim Chee Shrimp, Chuka Idako (Octopus), Pipi Kaula, Kim Chee Tako, Spicy Tako, Raw Wasabi Tako, & Taegu
From L to R: Kim Chee Shrimp, Chuka Idako (Octopus), Pipi Kaula, Kim Chee Tako, Spicy Tako, Raw Wasabi Tako, & Taegu

The choices for poke for that day were Pele’s Kiss (which was their cute name for Spicy Ahi), Dynamite (Avocado Aioli), Shack Special (which looked like a shoyu based poke) and Sesame Poke. And you could pick from a variety of sides like seafood salad, mussels, imitation crab salad, edamame, etc. I went with the Poke Bowl, which comes with a choice of brown or white rice, 1/3 pound of poke and one of the sides.

Da Poke Shack's Poke Bowl with Pele's Kiss poke, white rice and Seafood Salad - $8.50
Da Poke Shack’s Poke Bowl with Pele’s Kiss poke, white rice and Seafood Salad – $8.50

The Poke Plate is the same except you get 2/3 pound of poke and 2 sides. Since wifey also got the Poke Bowl, I made a new friend on Instagram who shared with me her recent photo from Da Poke Shack. Thanks Amy!

Half Pele's Kiss Poke, half Shack Special poke with double Kim Chee Mussels and brown rice - $16.50 (Photo Credit: Amy Tsang)
Half Pele’s Kiss Poke, half Shack Special poke with double Kim Chee Mussels and brown rice – $16.50 (Photo Credit: Amy Tsang)

The reviews online raved about the poke, which I will admit was super ono. Their poke is always fresh (never frozen), which is a HUGE (there’s that word again!) deal to people like me.

They also gave props to the friendly staff, which, in my particular experience, was nowhere in sight. To be fair, it was towards the end of the day and all of the “main” workers were probably gone for the day. And I was also in a rush (we were scrambling to get to the airport), and making odd requests (wifey told me to order a mini “anything with chicken” for the baby). I definitely need (and want) to go back to have a calmer, not-so-rushed Da Poke Shack experience.  I’m sure I’ll enjoy it a lot more because, like I said, the fish was super fresh and delish and that to me is numbah 1!

Da Poke Shack
76-6246 Alii Dr
Kailua, HI 96740 (Street View)
(808) 329-POKE (7653)
Daily: 10am-6pm

After a quick stop at KTA (of course) and the gas station to fill up, it was time to bid the Big Island farewell. Quite a different experience traveling with a little one, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world… Even if that means keeping on these extra few pounds! πŸ˜‰

 

* Special thanks to Big Island blogger extraordinaire – Damon Tucker and to Hilton Waikoloa‘s Director of Marketing Communications – Leanne Pletcher for your info and hospitality! What a way to travel for the first time as a family. We had a blast!

Part I |  Part II 

Don’t forget… THIS month…

===========================================
Rice Fest
The 3rd Annual Hawaii Rice Festival
Ward Warehouse
Saturday, September 29, 2012 @ 11am-7pm
For more info: Ricefest.com / Facebook / Twitter
To RSVP: Facebook Event / Twtvite
===========================================
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Sam Sato’s – Dry Mein & More!

April 1, 2012

So this review of the legendary Sam Sato’s on Maui is more than a few years delayed. My bad. I guess it’s shmall kine hahd for this Oahu boy to get around these days, especially with the little one around. But trust… It’s worth the wait! πŸ™‚

Sam Sato’s is a pseudo hole-in-the-wall type eatery, located in Wailuku Maui, in the same “historical” lineage of the Hamura’s Saimins (Kauai), Nori’s Saimin & Snacks (Big Island) and Shiro’s Saimin Havens (Oahu) of the world.

Sam Sato's sign
Sam Sato’s sign

On any given day, there will usually always be a wait to get in. Be prepared.

The wait outside Sam Sato's
The wait outside Sam Sato’s

Don’t forget to sign in on their cute, self-waitlist system: a pen and a pad.

The waiting list system at Sam Sato's
The waiting list system at Sam Sato’s

Once you hit the lottery and your name gets called, you are seated inside, which has all the charm and nostalgia of yesteryear including palaka style window trimmings, old school paintings, and black & white photos from back in the day.

Inside Sam Sato's
Inside Sam Sato’s

You’ll even find posters/photos signed by local celebrities like Na Leo, Frank DeLima, & Maui natives Ekolu, as well as our two Hawaii-born living legends BJ Penn & Shane Victorino (also a Maui boy).

Signed photos from Shane Victorino and BJ Penn
Signed photos from Shane Victorino and BJ Penn

Sam Sato’s has a variety of popular noodle dishes like their Saimins, Won Ton Meins and Chow Funs, but none are as popular as their Dry Noodles, endearingly referred to as Dry Mein, due to their lack of a traditional soup base.

Sam Sato's Dry Noodles, aka Dry Mein
Sam Sato’s Dry Noodles, aka Dry Mein

The noodles aren’t exactly dry-dry. In fact, the consistency and flavor almost reminds you of a fried saimin/noodle type dish. The kicker here is that the dish comes with a small bowl of a chicken based stock/broth, which you are supposed to drizzle on before every bite.

Sam Sato's Dry Mein order with broth (S - $4.95, L - $5.75, Double - $7.25)
Sam Sato’s Dry Mein order with broth (S – $4.95, L – $5.75, Double – $7.25)

Like many of the other old school saimin shops, Sam Sato’s is also known for their BBQ sticks. My buddy Joel, a Maui native, ordered a couple BBQ Beef Sticks for good measure.

BBQ Beef Sticks from Sam Sato's ($1.25 each)
BBQ Beef Sticks from Sam Sato’s ($1.25 each)

Since he’s been here many times, Joel decided to forego the Dry Mein and feed his craving for Hamburger Steak, which he claims was also “Bomb.” Here’s a shot of our food.

BBQ Beef Sticks, Dry Mein and Hamburger Steak ($7) from Sam Sato's
BBQ Beef Sticks, Dry Mein and Hamburger Steak ($7) from Sam Sato’s

As if that weren’t enough, these buggahs also make some of the most ono kine manjus & turnovers evaaaar!

Partial Manju display at Sam Sato's
Partial Manju display at Sam Sato’s

Pictured here is the Azuki Bean Manju, with the Coconut, Peach and Apple Turnovers. They also had a Lima Bean Manju along with the Pineapple-Coconut, Pineapple-Peach, and Blueberry Turnovers. I’m not really a sweets person, but bruddah ova hea went to town! For omiyage of course! πŸ˜‰

Manju and Turnovers from Sam Sato's
Manju and Turnovers from Sam Sato’s

My favorite part was the “key” they stamped on every take out box so you knew exactly which turnover was what.

Turnover 'key' stamped on take out box
Turnover “key” stamped on take out box

Sam Sato’s is one of those “must-visits” whenever you are in Maui. Personally, I’m already trying to figure out when my next visit there will be. Likely not soon enough.

Sam Sato’s
1750 Wili Pa Loop
Wailuku, HI 96793 (map)
(808) 244-7124
Mon-Sat: 7am-2pm (meals), 7am-4pm (manju pick-up)

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Vegas Kine Grindz – Part II

March 1, 2012
Part I |  Part II 

The last time I wrote an article devoted to the ono grindz of our 9th island of “Lost Wages”, Crash won Best Picture at the Academy Awards and George W Bush was our President. It was actually my very first foray into food articles here on AroundHawaii (way back in April of ’06) and was aptly titled “Vegas Kine Grindz“. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane shmall kine and continue the series with part II, an almost 6 years later!

Since we literally just completed a 5-part series on Hawaii’s best ramen, and my brain can’t function any other way yet πŸ˜› , let’s start off this trip with one of Las Vegas’ best ramens…

 

Monta Japanese Noodle House

Located conveniently on Spring Mountain Road, this popular noodle house regularly receives rave reviews from tourists and locals alike.

Outside Monta Japanese Noodle House. Expect to wait in a line.
Outside Monta Japanese Noodle House. Expect to wait in a line.

Before we left, my friend Dave’s friend recommended Monta, as did my friend and co-worker Shane. On this occasion, we were taken by Jeff, an old high school classmate turned Las Vegas resident. He says he goes there at least once a week and is practically an expert when ordering his bowl.

Shoyu Ramen ($6.95) with extra Chashu Pork ($2.50) and two Nitamago (soft boiled egg) ($1.50 each) [Photo Credit: Jeff Hee]
Shoyu Ramen ($6.95) with extra Chashu Pork ($2.50) and two Nitamago (soft boiled egg) ($1.50 each) [Photo Credit: Jeff Hee]

If you’ve been following my ramen series for the last 5 months, you’ll know that I’m a tonkotsu fiend, so there really was no other option for me.

Tonkotsu Ramen ($6.95) with Nitamago ($1.50), Nori ($0.75) and Shredded Green Onion ($0.75)
Tonkotsu Ramen ($6.95) with Nitamago ($1.50), Nori ($0.75) and Shredded Green Onion ($0.75)

If you’re a big eater, portions are relatively small here. I would recommend saving some soup at the end and going for the Kaedama (extra order of noodles) for an additional $1.50.

Your other options here for ramen are Tonkotsu-Shoyu ($6.95) and Miso ($7.25), and for Toppings, Takana Mustard Leaf ($1.50), Kimchi ($1), Corn ($0.50) and Butter ($0.50).

Here’s their complete menu: http://www.montaramen.com/menu.php

I would rate this as one of the top 3 ramens I’ve ever had in the U.S. Yes, it’s THAT good. The tonkotsu broth is legit, and the Chashu pork melts in and “brokes” your mout’ at the same time! πŸ˜‰ This is a MUST visit on every Vegas trip.

Monta Japanese Noodle House
5030 Spring Mountain Road Suite 6
Las Vegas, Nevada 89146 (Street View)
(702) 367-4600
Daily: 11:30am-11pm

 

Secret Pizza (No Name Pizza Kitchen)

When a place has no signage to speak of and goes by the name of “Secret Pizza”, you know you’re onto something good. In fact, the only way people know about this place is by word of mouth. Heck, they even answer the phone with a plain & simple “Pizzeria”! I was super excited to eat there, primarily because of the mysteriousness of it all.

The entrance doesn’t look like much of anything and is pretty much just a dark hallway. You would probably walk right past it if you weren’t paying attention.

Dark, inconspicuous entrance to Secret Pizza with no signage to speak of
Dark, inconspicuous entrance to Secret Pizza with no signage to speak of

Also known as the “No Name Pizza Kitchen” (NNPK), you’ll be sure to find the makings of a traditional pizza kitchen at the end of the hall, in addition to a long line of “in-the-know” patrons.

The line inside Secret Pizza
The line inside Secret Pizza

I’m not really a big pizza eater, but these pie slices literally had me panting for more. The first night I had their sausage and jalapeno slice, and the next night (yes, we went twice! πŸ˜‰ ), I picked up a mushroom pepperoni slice.

My mushroom, pepperoni slice ($4.50)
My mushroom, pepperoni slice ($4.50)

You can customize any slice of pizza for $0.50 additional per topping. Also popular is their “White” pizzas which have ricotta cheese and no red sauce. They go for $5 a slice.

Rumor has it that all of the ingredients for the pizza are actually homemade right here in the kitchen and restaurants from other hotels & casinos actually buy their ingredients from them. Another rumor is that they only use Evian water when mixing their dough. Not too sure how true these rumors are, but the pizza was really dang good!

Secret Pizza, aka No Name Pizza Kitchen, aka NNPK
At the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
3708 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109 (Street View)
(702) 698-7000
Fri-Mon: 11am-5am
Tue-Thu: 11am-4am

 

Sushi Mon

All-you-can-eats in Las Vegas is like saying beaches in Hawaii. You’ll find them everywhere, some better than others. Sushi Mon is one of those popular all-you-can-eats off the strip that is still reasonable and maintains good quality.

Outside Sushi Mon
Outside Sushi Mon

There were 7 of us there that night for the $26.95 All You Can Eat Dinner special, so I’m sure they were a bit afraid of the damage we were about to cause. They churned out order after order like champs though (and fast!) so mad props to them. Here’s some of what we ordered that night as well as from a previous visit there.

2 orders of Ikura (salmon roe) and 2 orders of Masago (smelt egg)
2 orders of Ikura (salmon roe) and 2 orders of Masago (smelt egg)

2 orders of Hokkigai (surf clam) and 2 orders of Hamachi (yellowtail tuna)
2 orders of Hokkigai (surf clam) and 2 orders of Hamachi (yellowtail tuna)

Their popular Cajun Albacore sushi
Their popular Cajun Albacore sushi

Snow Crab Meat Sushi (you're only allowed one order per person)
Snow Crab Meat Sushi (you’re only allowed one order per person)

Ed’s Tip: Be aware that you only have a 60 minute time limit here, but as mentioned above, the chefs here churned out our orders pretty quickly so it was never an issue for us.

Sushi Mon
8320 W Sahara Ave, Suite 180
Las Vegas, NV 89117 (Street View)
(702) 304-0044
Daily: 11:30am-2am
@SushiMonVegas

 

Hikari Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar

In the mood for sushi again, 5 of us headed to a placed called Hikari, based on a tip we got.

Outside Hikari Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar
Outside Hikari Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar

You can actually get all you can eat steak here too, but you have to choose one or the other. We opted for the $26.95 sushi route.

All you can eat sushi menu from Hikari
All you can eat sushi menu from Hikari

Although they were out of a few items (as was Sushi Mon), the choices here seem to be a little deeper. Here are some highlights of the choices we went with.

Sashimi combo
Sashimi combo

Raw fish without the rice is always a good thing during all-you-can-eat dining! 8)

Soft Shell Crab
Soft Shell Crab

Amaebi sushi
Amaebi sushi

Screem Inor Gazim
Screem Inor Gazim

Hikari
4175 S Buffalo Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89147 (Street View)
(702) 889-6660
Daily: 5pm-2am

 

And finally, we’ll close things out with a sweet sandwich find for this sandwich obsessed lover.

Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop

Capriotti’s is a franchise sandwich shop with 75 locations across the U.S. (32 in Nevada alone). My friend’s wife swears by their Capastrami subs (Hot pastrami, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, and cole slaw), so we had to go and check it out.

Capriotti's sandwich making station
Capriotti’s sandwich making station

We visited the Paradise Road location right near our hotel at the Hard Rock. In addition to the Capastrami, the New Jersey sounding guy taking our order (whom I assumed to be the owner), suggested the Bobbie (The nationally acclaimed best-seller! Hand-pulled, slow roasted, homemade Turkey, fresh cranberry sauce, homemade stuffing and mayo).

Special sign for the Bobbie
Special sign for the Bobbie

Here’s a cross sectional look at the sandwich.

The Bobbie from Capriotti's
The Bobbie from Capriotti’s

Buggah was grindz! I gotta go back and try some of their other subs!

Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop
4480 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89169 (Street View)
(702) 736-6166
Mon-Fri: 10am-7pm
Sat-Sun: 11am-5pm
@capriottis

 

The primary reason for this trip was to celebrate the engagement of my brother-in-law Lee, bachelor party style. Congratulations bro!!!

Da boyz celebrating Lee's final days as a single bachelor
Da boyz celebrating Lee’s final days as a single bachelor

Now… If we can ever find a bride for my friend Todd (center), we can work on Vegas Kine Grindz – Part III. I wouldn’t hold your breath though. That may take more than 6 years… πŸ˜‰

Part I |  Part II 

Where In the Vegas is Edward Sugimoto? – February 15, 2012

February 15, 2012

Many of you have been telling me lately dat da photos stay too hahd. So I figgah I mix t’ings up and fly us all to Vegas this week for a very special “Where In Hawaii Vegas…?”! We all love and reconotice places in Vegas after all right? 8) Plus too, I going dea for one bachelor party pretty soon! Wahoooooo!

On a side note… So wot? How was your Valentine’s Day yesterday? I hope you did something special for the ladyfriend or manfriend. For those of you (men) who are single, the first two photos stay fo’ you… Enjoy! πŸ™‚

Photo #1
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - February 15, 2012
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – February 15, 2012

Points for Photo #1…
* Funniest name for each girl: 2 points each
* Funniest perv name for da guy in black: 3 points
* Location: 2 points
* Hotel name: 2 points
* Closest street(s)?: 1 point each
* Google Street View link (if get)?: 2 points
* Why wuz I dea?: 3 points
* Month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the week photo was taken?: 1 point
* Year photo was taken?: 1 point
* Exact time photo was taken?: 5 points

Photo #2
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - February 15, 2012
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – February 15, 2012

Points for Photo #2…
* Funniest name for statue: 3 points
* Location: 2 points
* Closest street(s)?: 1 point each
* Google Street View link?: 2 points
* Why wuz I dea?: 3 points
* Month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the week photo was taken?: 1 point
* Year photo was taken?: 1 point
* Exact time photo was taken?: 5 points

Photo #3
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - February 15, 2012
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – February 15, 2012

Points for Photo #3…
* Location: 2 points
* Restaurant name: 2 points
* Closest street(s)?: 1 point each
* Google Maps link?: 2 points
* Why wuz I dea?: 3 points
* Month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the week photo was taken?: 1 point
* Year photo was taken?: 1 point
* Exact time photo was taken?: 5 points

Photo #4
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - February 15, 2012
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – February 15, 2012

Points for Photo #4…
* Location: 2 points
* Name of closest restaurant: 2 points
* General area?: 1 point
* Closest street(s)?: 1 point each
* Google Maps link?: 2 points
* Why wuz I dea?: 3 points
* Month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the week photo was taken?: 1 point
* Year photo was taken?: 1 point
* Exact time photo was taken?: 5 points

Photo #5
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - February 15, 2012
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – February 15, 2012

Points for Photo #5…
* Location: 2 points
* General area?: 1 point
* Closest street(s)?: 1 point each
* Google Maps link?: 2 points
* Why wuz I dea?: 3 points
* Month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the week photo was taken?: 1 point
* Year photo was taken?: 1 point
* Exact time photo was taken?: 5 points

Photo #6
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - February 15, 2012
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – February 15, 2012

Points for Photo #6…
* Name of area: 3 points!
* Location (Hotel): 2 points
* Closest street(s)?: 1 point each
* Google Maps link?: 2 points
* Why wuz I dea?: 3 points
* Month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the week photo was taken?: 1 point
* Year photo was taken?: 1 point
* Exact time photo was taken?: 5 points

[Da Leadahboard]

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Weekly VH07V T-Shirt Update!

WOWZAS!!! The VH07V T-shirts have been “selling” like hotcakes! Mahalo for all of your support so far! I put “selling” in quotes because I’m not really in full blast mode yet, and I’ve also been doing a few giveaways here and there as well. But still, from my original order of 20 dozen (240), I’m down to only a handful of shirts… In just one week! I gotta re-order again awredde! But I guess that’s a good thing! At least people are interested in buying da buggahs. Either that, or my friends and family (and extended friends and family) are just being nice to support. Haha, nah!

Eventually, when I get time, I’ll build a shopping cart site so everyone can just order um direct dat way. I’m also thinking about doing a craft fair or two to get a feel for how the public (not just friends and family) reacts to it. And don’t forget, there is also a limited supply of Ls and XLs at Novel-T World at Ward Warehouse.

Ho! Fulfillment is not easy I tell you! Of the 15 of you VH07V Free T-shirt Winners, I successfully delivered to 8 of you. Ova half way dea! But actually, I stay waiting for a response from 4 of you too (color preference) so once I get that, I can keep jammin’.

Here are the colors that I will be re-ordering. Click on each link to see what they look like:

I’m also looking to do a new color combo and just posted a poll on the VH07V Facebook page. White on Green is in the lead so far. Whatchu tink? She go? Cast your vote if you want to see a different color combo next!

POLL:
What color combination would you
most like to see next for VH07V?

Also, what are your thoughts on a women’s line? A keiki line? Hats? I’ve been getting a lot of requests for those three so far too. Annnnywaaaaay…


Have a happy VH07V Wednesday y’all! Shoooots!

Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – August 17, 2011

August 17, 2011

Whew! The first Tuesday in a long time when nothing crazy happened. *knocks on wood* Other than the comments, your boy is finally all caught up. Can somebody please give me a “holla”lujah?

This week, we get tree new photos. One people shot, one mystery IntelliGo shot, and one “like d’uh!” shot… Can you guess where they are???


Photo #1
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - August 17, 2011
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – August 17, 2011

Points for Photo #1…
* Best Caption!: 3 points
* Location: 2 points
* General area?: 1 point
* Closest street(s)?: 1 point each
* Where did we just come from?: 2 points
* First name of each person?: 2 points each
* How do we know each other?: 2 points
* How many people are in this photo?: 5 points
* Month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Year photo was taken?: 1 point
* Exact time photo was taken?: 5 points
* Google Street View link?: 2 points

* HINT: “Donkey”: 3 points


Photo #2
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - August 17, 2011
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – August 17, 2011

Points for Photo #2…
* Best Caption!: 3 points
* Name of Location: 2 points
* General area?: 1 point
* Closest street(s)?: 1 point each
* Month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Year photo was taken?: 1 point
* Exact time photo was taken?: 5 points
* Google Street View link?: 2 points

* HINT: “Duke”: 3 points


Photo #3
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - August 17, 2011
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – August 17, 2011

Points for Photo #3…
* Best Caption!: 3 points
* Location: 2 points
* What island? 2 points
* General area?: 1 point
* Closest street(s)?: 1 point each
* Why wuz I dea? 3 points
* Month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Year photo was taken?: 1 point
* Exact time photo was taken?: 5 points
* Google Street View link?: 2 points

* HINT: “Ryu”: 3 points


2nd Annual Hawaii Rice Fest
2nd Annual Hawaii Rice Festival

Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park
 Sunday, September 11, 2011 @ 10am-6pm 
For more Info: RiceFest.com / Facebook / Twitter
To RSVP: Facebook Event / Twtvite


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Have a happy VH07V Wednesday y’all! Don’t forget to post your guesses below k? Shoooots!

Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – May 4, 2011

May 4, 2011

Mahaloz to errrrone who wished WWE a happy 3rd last week! Sooo sorry, I’ve been late on my replies here lately, but WIH Wednesdays is always on time right? OK, most of da time!

This week’s rating scale for the photos is “Easy” –> “Kinda Easy (I tink)” –> and “Should be Easy”… Confused? Good! Go getum! Hehe!


Photo #1
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - May 4, 2011
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – May 4, 2011

Points for Photo #1…
* Best Caption!: 2 points
* First names of peeps in the pic?: 1 point each
* Name of Location: 1 point
* Island? (*grin*): 1 point
* General area?: 2 points
* Closest street(s)?: 1 point each
* Month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Year photo was taken?: 1 point
* Exact time photo was taken?: 10 points
* Google Street View link?: 2 points


Photo #2
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - May 4, 2011
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – May 4, 2011

Points for Photo #2…
* Best Caption!: 2 points
* Name of beach/location? (P.S. I don’t even know. LOL!): 2 points
* Island? (*grin*): 1 point
* General area?: 1 point
* Closest street(s)?: 1 point each
* Month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Year photo was taken?: 1 point
* Exact time photo was taken?: 10 points
* Google Street View link?: 2 points


Photo #3
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - May 4, 2011
Where In the Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – May 4, 2011

Points for Photo #3…
* Best Caption!: 2 points
* Name of Location: 2 points
* Island? (*grin*): 1 point
* General area?: 1 point
* Closest street(s)?: 1 point each
* Month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Day of the month photo was taken?: 1 point
* Year photo was taken?: 1 point
* Exact time photo was taken?: 10 points
* Google Street View link?: 2 points

Last Week’s Results:
Seven returnees to our winner’s circle last week, including Paco, Rosette, Ynaku, kuya.d, c, carokun, and Coconut Willy, aka 2Pac, Rosey, knockers, dewz, sizzle, c-chan, and Dubbs! Check out da leadahboard below for da updates below!

Da Leadahboard (Round 3)!

  • 37.0 – carokun
  • 34.0 – Coconut Willy
  • 27.0 – Paco
  • 19.0 – kuya.d
  • 17.0 – Rosette
  • 11.0 – c, Kel Sr.
  • 10.0 – tweetpeep22
  • 09.0 – Rick Nakama
  • 08.0 – Takeshi, honugurl79
  • 07.0 – tita leerz
  • 04.0 – Ynaku, che, k15
  • 03.0 – ElTee, SteveO, bB
  • 02.0 – rayboyjr, NeedaHobby, sooooogs
  • 01.0 – Ijiwarui

My New AroundHawaii Article!
Don’t forget to read my new AroundHawaii article for the month of May. This month, we’re featuring the new udon shop in Waikiki named Marukame Udon!

Marukame Udon - Homemade Japanese Style Noodles on the Cheap!
Marukame Udon – Homemade Japanese Style Noodles on the Cheap!


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Have a happy VH07V Wednesday y’all! Don’t forget to post your guesses below k? Shoooots!