Catherine E. Toth

Correspondent

  • Oahu, Hawaii, USA

Catherine E. Toth is a correspondent who lives in East Honolulu and covers Oahu for Forbes Travel Guide. Born and raised on the island, Toth has been chronicling her adventures in her blog, The Cat Dish, for almost a decade. She worked as a newspaper reporter in Hawaii for 10 years and continues to freelance — in between teaching journalism, hitting the surf and eating everything in sight — for national and local print and online publications. She earned her master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1999. Toth lives with her two dogs, Sunny and Indy, and has an extensive collection of surfboards.

  • On June 25, 2013
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    What are the best places for breakfast in Oahu?

    Catherine E. Toth The best way to start your day on Oahu is with a good breakfast.

    Here are three of my favorite breakfast spots on Oahu that offer delicious dishes, great coffee — because that's important — and the kind of ambiance that makes you want to linger a little longer:

    Sweet E's Cafe (Kilohana Square, 1016 Kapahulu Ave., 808-737-7771) is a quaint little breakfast and brunch spot just outside of Waikiki. Its menu features signature items such as banana and blueberry pancakes, French toast stuffed with blueberries and cream cheese, and kalua pig eggs benedict (shown). Breakfast and lunch is served until 3 p.m. daily. Parking is a bit tight. Service is stellar.

    Moena Cafe (Koko Marina Center, 7192 Kalanianaole Hwy, 808-888-7716) — pronounced "mow-eh-nah" — opened last year by husband-and-wife restauranteurs Eric and Nicole Chang in Hawaii Kai. This charming little eatery tucked away in an open shopping complex en route to Hanauma Bay features menu items like fried rice, eggs benedict, sweet bread French toast and Belgian waffles. But worth trying are its more signature items like the short rib loco moco (a local dish with meat and white rice topped with a fried egg and ladles of brown gravy), the cinnamon roll pancakes, and the homemade scones. Moena Cafe has lunch items, too, including sandwiches, salads and burgers. Lots of parking. Great service.

    Cinnamon's Restaurant (Kailua Square, 315 Uluniu St., 808-261-8724) is a popular breakfast spot on Oahu's Windward side with classic morning items like omelets and pancakes. But it also serves up specialities like crabcake eggs benedict, open-face frittata, red velvet pancakes and homemade cinnamon rolls. Consider Cinnamon's if you're heading to Kailua Beach or the North Shore. Huge menu, lots of parking, great service.


  • On June 14, 2013
    Quia Querisma is now following Catherine E. Toth
  • On June 7, 2013
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    Should visitors rent a car in Oahu?

    You don't have to rent a car on Oahu — if you're staying in Waikiki or on a resort.

    But if you want to explore the best of what the island has to offer, I'd highly suggest getting your own transportation and ditching your hotel, if even for a day.

    Renting cars isn't any different in Hawaii than in any other major vacation destination. Most car rental companies are located near the Honolulu International Airport and can be booked online.

    I won't lie: the roads aren't the easiest to navigate with street names in Hawaiian and a city that doesn't use a grid system. Most airlines and car rental companies provide complimentary maps and your hotel conceirge should be able to help you get to your destination.

    That said, have a plan.

    Don't just jump into your rental car and drive. You should know where you want to go and map out the best way to get there.

    There are lots to see on Oahu that would be best reached on your own, including Kailua Beach, the North Shore, the entire eastern coastline and Kaena Point (pictured) on the island's west end.

    While Oahu has great public transportation, sometimes it's better to rent your own car and travel around on your own. You can't really get lost on an island.
  • On June 6, 2013
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    What is the best time to visit Oahu?

    Catherine E. Toth There's really no bad time to visit Oahu.

    Summer months are typically the busiest, with visitors from around the world flocking to Oahu's shores for sun and surf. And winter months lure folks from colder parts, looking for sunny skies and warm weather.

    The weather is pretty agreeable all year round in Hawaii, though it's a bit rainer in winter months. You can usually find deals on hotel and airfare in the spring and fall months — typically the "shoulder season" for the visitor industry. Early May brings Japanese visitors during their Golden Week, a period of public holidays in Japan when many travel.

    But there are small seasonal changes.

    If you're into big waves, you'll likley want to visit during the winter months, when Oahu's North Shore, argubly the best seven miles of surf in the world, gets monstrously huge. If you want to see the annual migration of humpback whales, you'll want to be in town between late December and early May. If you're a runner, you might want to fly to Honolulu for the Honolulu Marathon in December. And if you're looking for cultural activities, the summer months are usually filled with festivals and other outdoor events.
  • On June 6, 2013
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    What is the best time to visit Oahu?

    Catherine E. Toth There's really no bad time to visit Oahu.

    Summer months are typically the busiest, with visitors from around the world flocking to Oahu's shores for sun and surf. And winter months lure folks from colder parts, looking for sunny skies and warm weather.

    The weather is pretty agreeable all year round in Hawaii, though it's a bit rainer in winter months. You can usually find deals on hotel and airfare in the spring and fall months — typically the "shoulder season" for the visitor industry. Early May brings Japanese visitors during their Golden Week, a period of public holidays in Japan when many travel.

    But there are small seasonal changes.

    If you're into big waves, you'll likley want to visit during the winter months, when Oahu's North Shore, argubly the best seven miles of surf in the world, gets monstrously huge. If you want to see the annual migration of humpback whales, you'll want to be in town between late December and early May. If you're a runner, you might want to fly to Honolulu for the Honolulu Marathon in December. And if you're looking for cultural activities, the summer months are usually filled with festivals and other outdoor events.
  • On May 29, 2013
    Catherine E. Toth is now following Ankita Sinha
  • On May 29, 2013
  • On May 29, 2013
  • On May 29, 2013
  • On May 29, 2013
  • On May 29, 2013
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    What language is spoken in Oahu?

    Hawaii is the only state that has two official languages: English and Hawaiian.

    While most streets and public buildings have Hawaiian names, all signage, documents, brochures and other materials are in English (though many can be requested in other languages including Japanese, Korean, French, Mandarin and Spanish).

    And despite our very diverse population, including large immigrant communities, most people on Oahu speak English.
  • On May 29, 2013
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    What is the tipping etiquette in Oahu?

    Catherine E. Toth The tipping etiquette on Oahu is the same as it is anywhere in the United States.

    You should tip everyone from bellhops to bartenders to the guide who took you to the Mokulua Islands on a kayak.

    For restaurants, spas (above) and salons, tips should range from 10 percent for average service to 20 percent or more for a stellar experience.

    Pay between $2 to $5 per car at valets, $2 to $3 per bag for bellhops and skycaps, and a couple of dollars a day for hoursekeepers at your hotel. 

    There's no obligation to leave a tip for take-out at restaurants, though you should always tip delivery drivers.

    And always be nice and say thank you. Good manners and sincere appreciation will almost always be met with even better service, and that could make a great vacation even better.
  • On May 29, 2013
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    What is the weather like right now in Oahu?

    Summer is right around the corner. And while it may seem like Hawaii's weather hardly changes — it's pretty consistent, we have to admit — there are actually seasonal changes in the Islands.

    There are only two distinct seasons in Hawaii. Summer — called kau in Hawaiian — is from May to October with temperates in the mid-80s F. Winter, or hooilo, is from November through April with temperatures hovering in the high 70s F.

    Summer is also the drier season, though, like right now, there can still be bouts of heavy rain and even flood advisories. The wettest months are from November to March.

    Summer is also when surf rises on south shores, as it did last week. Wave heights surpassed high surf advisory levels on southern shores, particularly at popular surf spots like Diamond Head and Ala Moana Bowls.

    And all year round, there are tradewinds, which come from the east, to cool off the islands. Southernly winds, called Kona Winds, bring storm or hot and sticky weather.

    So right now, this week, temperatures will range from a high of 86 degrees to a low of 72, with mostly sunny conditions. Winds are light and the monthly influx of box jellyfish on south shores are expected to arrive over the weekend.
  • On May 27, 2013

    South shores on Oahu are expecting small waves all week. Can't wait! #surfreport

  • On May 25, 2013