What's new in Oahu?

Catherine E. Toth

Over the past few years, there's been a proliferation of farmer's markets all across the state.

The latest one in Honolulu is the Ala Moana Farmer's Market (Ala Moana Center, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., 808-388-9696) on Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings on the upper deck of the parking lot overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Dozens of vendors sell fresh locally grown produce (like the mangoes above), homemade bread baked on site, gourmet treats and even fresh pasta dishes.

The owners and operators of this farmer's market also put on similar ones in Hawaii Kai (Saturday mornings), Haleiwa (Thursday afternoons) and Kailua (Sunday mornings).

These markets also feature live music and seating areas so patrons can sit and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere.

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Earlier this month a new milk tea cafe opened on Kapiolani Boulevard in Honolulu.

Taste Tea (1391 Kapiolani Blvd., 808-951-8288) offers milk tea drinks that can be customized to your sweetness preference. You can even add tapioca balls — various sizes — and ice cream. It offers five varieties of tea, all brewed fresh daily. The tasty teas and the fact that this café is open late on Fridays and Saturdays have quickly made this a popular spot for milk tea aficionados.

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Though it's already two years old, ART & FLEA (831 Queen St.) is only getting more and more popular every month. This urban-inspired monthly art and flea market held at Fresh Cafe in Kakaako showcases local designers and artists in an event that draws an eclectic crowd of shoppers and music lovers. Here, you'll find handmade products, vintage art, locally designed fashion, handcrafted jewelry and more.

  • On December 27
    Scott Ingwers answered the question: Scott Ingwers

    What are the best places to stay on Oahu?

    Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk | 223 Saratoga Rd, Honolulu
    One of the best places to stay in Oahu is the Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk. The well-appointed studios and 1 bedroom suites are great for couples, while the 2 and 3-bedroom suites are ideal for families who desire a luxurious, spacious, comfortable retreat. Italian marble five-fixture bathrooms with deep soaking tubs, fully-equipped kitchens, in-suite washer/dryer units, and private lanais are just some of the reasons why guests enjoy these gorgeous suites. The hotel is situated steps from the beach, and is surrounded by diverse dining options, and all of the shopping and entertainment that Waikiki has to offer.  Wind down at Wai’olu Ocean View Lounge, which is home to the Ilikea Mai Tai, winner of the World’s Best Mai Tai competition.

    The Waikiki destination is famed for its warm hospitality and gracious “aloha spirit”, which is shared by the ambassadors of this island community as they welcome you to paradise.
  • On December 27
    Scott Ingwers answered the question: Scott Ingwers

    What are the best seafood restaurants in Oahu?

    Roy’s | 226 Lewers St, Honolulu
    Roy’s restaurant in Waikiki is a go-to spot for those who crave seafood. Chef Roy Yamaguchi’s Hawaiian fusion cuisine uses fresh Hawaiian fish along with local ingredients and a combination of European and Asian spices, to create dishes that are as delicious as they are unique. Try the classic Macadamia Nut Crusted Opah or the original Blackened Island Ahi to experience Hawaiian fish at its finest.
  • On December 27
    Scott Ingwers answered the question: Scott Ingwers

    What are the most romantic restaurants in Oahu?

    BLT Steak | 223 Saratoga Rd, Honolulu
    Your date will definitely be impressed with a meal at BLT Steak. With indoor and outdoor seating options, the chic décor, rich furnishings, and warm color scheme set the tone for this classic American Steakhouse with a bistro twist. Prime cuts of beef and fresh seafood prepared with French culinary techniques make for a menu with so many appealing options it’s hard to choose what to eat.

    Taormina Restaurant | 227 Lewers St, Honolulu
    Located along Waikiki Beach Walk, Taormina creates a charming and elegant ambiance that inspires romance. The Sicilian cuisine includes plenty of fresh pastas topped with seafood and meat of the highest quality. Pair your meal with a glass of Italian wine expertly selected by Roberto Viernes, Master Sommelier, and you’re certain to have feelings of amore.
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  • On December 27
    Scott Ingwers answered the question: Scott Ingwers

    What are the best coffee shops in Oahu?

    Honolulu Coffee Company | 2365 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu
    Honolulu Coffee Company brews fresh Kona Coffee in their bright and cheery cafés. The Waikiki location, on the second level of the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, is open-air with seating along a balcony that allows you to people watch as you indulge in your morning ritual.

    Island Brew Coffeehouse | 377 Keahole St, Honolulu
    Island Brew Coffeehouse is a delightful little spot to caffeinate before touring around the east side of Oahu. Set along the aqua waters of the Hawaii Kai Marina, the island-inspired décor and cushioned outdoor seating make it easy to sit back and relax. Their delicious premium coffees are complemented with organic milk and other non-dairy alternatives including almond, soy, and rice milk. Pastries, acai bowls, sandwiches and other tasty food can be ordered up along with your cup of java.
  • On December 27
    Scott Ingwers answered the question: Scott Ingwers

    What are the best bakeries in Oahu?

    Leonard’s Bakery | 933 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu
    You can’t visit Oahu without trying one of the island’s favorite desserts – malasadas. Leonard’s Bakery in Honolulu has been wowing customers with these puff pastries for over 50 years. A malasada is a Portuguese doughnut that can be filled with custard and dusted with sugar, cinnamon sugar, or li hing powder. Enjoy these treats when they are hot and fresh out of the oven.

    Ted’s Bakery | 59-024 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa
    For a delightful dessert on the North Shore, swing by Ted’s Bakery. Located near Sunset Beach, this shop is known for their scrumptious pies. I highly recommend the Chocolate Haupia Cream Pie - a layer of rich, smooth dark chocolate custard cream, filled with another layer of haupia (creamy coconut pudding,) and topped with whipped topping.
  • On December 27
    Scott Ingwers answered the question: Scott Ingwers

    What are the best food gifts to buy in Oahu?

    Coffee lovers will be thrilled to receive a bag of gourmet Kona coffee. Grown in the volcanic soil on the Big Island of Hawaii, the rich and flavorful Kona coffee beans are among the best in the world. Check the label to be sure you’re buying 100 percent Kona coffee, as there are many “Kona Blends” on the shelves that contain just 10% Kona beans.

    Hawaiian macadamia nuts are always a crowd pleaser. You can find a wide variety of seasoned nuts with flavors like wasabi, honey roasted, and Maui onion. For your loved ones with a sweet tooth, bring back chocolate covered macadamia nuts.
  • On December 27
    Scott Ingwers answered the question: Scott Ingwers

    What is the best thing to bring home from Oahu?

    A piece of Hawaiian artwork is a great way to remember your trip to paradise. Art galleries around the island feature the work of talented local artists, with famous names like Heather Brown and Wyland along with lesser known painters and photographers. Seascapes, surfers, flora and fauna of Hawaii are beautifully depicted in these pieces and are sure to add brightness and color to wherever you display them when you return home.

    Koa wood is another prized item sought after by visitors from around the world during their trips to Oahu. The unique tree grows only in Hawaii and long ago was used to make surfboards, canoes, paddles, and tools. Today Koa wood products are available in a wide variety of forms -from furniture and jewelry to kitchen and home accessories.  Distinctive, fine quality Koa wood makes for a wonderful memento.
  • On July 31, 2013
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    What should I pack for a trip to Oahu?

    The beauty about packing for a vacation on Oahu is this: you don't need much — and whatever you forget to bring, you can buy.

    You don't need heavy sweaters or thigh-high boots or scarves. With consistent weather in the Islands — I'm talking the average summer temperature is 85 degree, the average winter temp around 78 degree — you can keep all your bulky, winter clothes at home.

    What you do need are the following:

    Swimwear: Even if you don't plan on hitting the surf or snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, it's good to have at least one swimsuit or board shorts in your luggage. At the very least, your hotel will likely have a pool.

    Sun protection: Most resorts will provide sunscreen for their guests, but it's always good to have your own bottle of high-SPF sunscreen, lip balm and face moisturizers. You might want to consider bringing a hat and sunglasses (preferably with Polarized lens), too.

    Waterproof camera: While Honolulu is a bustling city, it's still in the middle of a tropical island. That means there are photographic treasures everywhere, from the mountains that backdrop the city to the turquoise waters off the coastlines. Consider getting a waterproof camera, though, to capture shots from catamarans and surfboards.

    Comfortable shoes: Most residents wear slippers — or flip flops — around town. And that's perfectly fine. In fact, most establishments are OK with patrons wearing that for footwear. (Waikiki restaurants are particularly lenient.) But if you plan to walk around the city or hike on one of Oahu's many trails, you should bring along a comfortable — preferably broken-in — pair of shoes. Your feet will thank you later.

    Cash: While most businesses take credit cards, some only take cash, so have some on hand. ATMs are plentiful on Oahu, particularly in urban areas, but it's always good to have cash and coins nearby. (Parking meters on Oahu aren't outfitted to take credit cards, for example.)

  • On July 31, 2013
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    What are the best bakeries in Oahu?

    Catherine E. Toth There's no shortage of great bakeries on Oahu, each of them selling its signature dessert or baked good.

    Here are my six favorite bakeries on the island — and what you should buy from each:

    Kamehameha Bakery, 1339 N. School St., Kalihi

    This hole-in-the-wall bakery has been baking up some of the best glazed and poi (taro) donuts for generations. It's hard to find, tucked away in a brick building in Kalihi with a small storefront that's easy to drive past. But in the early morning, before the sun comes up, there's usually a line snaking out the door and on the sidewalk. WHAT TO GET: Poi glazed donuts, banana bread.

    Anges' Portugues Bake Shop, 46 Hoolai St., Kailua

    While Leonard's Bakery in Kapahulu has built a reputation for churning out the Portuguese fried dough called malasadas, this bake shop in Kailua on Oahu's windward side arguably makes the best on the island. The malasadas — fried dough doused in white sugar — are made fresh, perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. WHAT TO GET: Malasadas, of course!

    Liliha Bakery, 515 N. Kuakini St., Liliha

    Since 1950, this neighborhood bakery has been serving up pies, pastries and cakes that draws customers from around the island. It even has a lunch counter — open 24 hours except on Mondays — where you can get pancakes, mahi mahi plates, beef stew and hamburgers. WHAT TO GET: Cocoa Puffs (cream puffs with a chocolate filling and topped with chantilly frosting), green tea rolls.

    Paalaa Kai Bakery, 66-945 Kaukonahua Rd., Waialua

    When you're on Oahu's North Shore, head to this hard-to-find bakery in the charming town of Waialua. It's one of those neighborhood bakeries that residents know about — but you likely won't find in any travel guide books. WHAT TO GET: Snow Puffies, delicate Napoleons filled with a smooth cream, and malasadas.

    Deluxe Pastry Shop, 45-1042 Kamehameha Highway, Kaneohe

    Located near another bakery — Kaneohe Bakery, which has great custard pies — is Deluxe Pastry Shop, a small bakery next to a laundromat with three parking stalls outside. It has daily specials on pies — the lemon custard is a favorite, though it's only made twice a week — and the pastries are almost always fresh. WHAT TO GET: Long Johns, apple pies.

    Larry's Bakery, 4369 Lawehana St., Salt Lake

    Once exclusively a wholesale bakery, Larry's Bakery offers old-fashioned desserts like chantilly cake, chiffon cake, dream cake, chocolate fudge cake, bread pudding and various roll cakes. It's located near Target, just a small window with hardly any signage. (Get your GPS ready!) WHAT TO GET: Iris' OMG (a brownies with cream cheese on a shortbread crust), white chantilly cake, haupia dobash double cake.

  • On July 31, 2013
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    What are the best bakeries in Oahu?

    Catherine E. Toth There's no shortage of great bakeries on Oahu, each of them selling its signature dessert or baked good.

    Here are my six favorite bakeries on the island — and what you should buy from each:

    Kamehameha Bakery, 1339 N. School St., Kalihi

    This hole-in-the-wall bakery has been baking up some of the best glazed and poi (taro) donuts for generations. It's hard to find, tucked away in a brick building in Kalihi with a small storefront that's easy to drive past. But in the early morning, before the sun comes up, there's usually a line snaking out the door and on the sidewalk. WHAT TO GET: Poi glazed donuts, banana bread.

    Anges' Portugues Bake Shop, 46 Hoolai St., Kailua

    While Leonard's Bakery in Kapahulu has built a reputation for churning out the Portuguese fried dough called malasadas, this bake shop in Kailua on Oahu's windward side arguably makes the best on the island. The malasadas — fried dough doused in white sugar — are made fresh, perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. WHAT TO GET: Malasadas, of course!

    Liliha Bakery, 515 N. Kuakini St., Liliha

    Since 1950, this neighborhood bakery has been serving up pies, pastries and cakes that draws customers from around the island. It even has a lunch counter — open 24 hours except on Mondays — where you can get pancakes, mahi mahi plates, beef stew and hamburgers. WHAT TO GET: Cocoa Puffs (cream puffs with a chocolate filling and topped with chantilly frosting), green tea rolls.

    Paalaa Kai Bakery, 66-945 Kaukonahua Rd., Waialua

    When you're on Oahu's North Shore, head to this hard-to-find bakery in the charming town of Waialua. It's one of those neighborhood bakeries that residents know about — but you likely won't find in any travel guide books. WHAT TO GET: Snow Puffies, delicate Napoleons filled with a smooth cream, and malasadas.

    Deluxe Pastry Shop, 45-1042 Kamehameha Highway, Kaneohe

    Located near another bakery — Kaneohe Bakery, which has great custard pies — is Deluxe Pastry Shop, a small bakery next to a laundromat with three parking stalls outside. It has daily specials on pies — the lemon custard is a favorite, though it's only made twice a week — and the pastries are almost always fresh. WHAT TO GET: Long Johns, apple pies.

    Larry's Bakery, 4369 Lawehana St., Salt Lake

    Once exclusively a wholesale bakery, Larry's Bakery offers old-fashioned desserts like chantilly cake, chiffon cake, dream cake, chocolate fudge cake, bread pudding and various roll cakes. It's located near Target, just a small window with hardly any signage. (Get your GPS ready!) WHAT TO GET: Iris' OMG (a brownies with cream cheese on a shortbread crust), white chantilly cake, haupia dobash double cake.

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