Posts filed under ‘Tiki’

10 Lbs in 10 Days : Hawaii Trip 2006

I’ve been trying to write the entire trip in this blog before publishing it, but it’s alot, so this is a WORK IN PROGRESS….What you see is unfinished, and I’m werkin on it. I need to add photos, stories etc…So Here’s what I got so far…

Just got back from 10 food and fun filled days in Hawaii. All the usual rules of vacation applied here…eat whatever I want and however much of it. So…10 lbs in 10 days, I hope not, but it sure feels like it. Anyway, this trip included 2 islands.
Oahu and the Big Island.

So, a quick itinerary rundown.
Dec 4-14
6 Days on Oahu. Stayed in Kailua 1 block from beautiful Kailua Beach.
4 Days on the Big Island in Kailua-Kona, oceanfront.


The first part of the trip we were in Kailua, which is small-ish beach town on the windward (east) side of Oahu. Both times in Oahu I opted for NOT staying in Waikiki, because I wanted to avoid the city and main tourist destinations, and get a better feel for the local, small town feel. Oddly enough, we spent a pretty fair amount of time in Waikiki, shopping, sighseeing, swimming even….Hey, after alll, we ARE tourists, so who are we to avoid doing touristy things ? So, despite trying to avoid the tourist traps, we fell into many of them anyway, all blissfully I might add.


The road to Kailua Beach….We stayed on this street about a minute from the beach….
At the end of the path is this….

Kailua beach in the early a.m.

As far as Kailua goes, it’s a great little town, with shopping, restaurants, and coffee places, as well as one of the most amazing beaches I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, since our trip was in December, the water was a bit chilly, so we didn’t swim as much as I’d hoped. So, we set out to explore the island, and revisit the spots we loved last time. That being said, Kailua Beach in the early a.m. just after the sunrise is a pretty magical place.

We stayed in a guest house about 1/2 a block away from the beach, and with the windows open, we could hear the ocean when we went to sleep…always a great sound. In the morning, we awoke to dogs barking, tropical birds, lawnmowers, cars on their way to work, a rooster in the distance, and kids having their breakfast…ie: your typical neighborhood stuff. It was nice living amongst the locals…I got a little taste of living in Hawaii. I’d get up, and walk down the beach with the sun blazing behind those two little islands by Lanikai….Sweet!

The Street where we stayed in Kailua.

We’d go for our morning coffee at Morning Brew, which is a great little coffee house with free wireless internet, yummy breakfast and lunch stuff, and treats. More than good enough to break our Starbucks ritual….there was a Starbucks right across the street…the espresso was strong like bull, the scones were yummy, and free wireless internet….StarWHAT? Good stuff ! One thing…bring cash, they don’t take cards.


Diamond Head State Park…this was AFTER the hike….exuasted!

Well, it’s one of those things they tell you you HAVE TO do if you’re on Oahu, so we decided to do it. The Diamond Head hike was exhausting, but SO worth it. The view from up there is just amazing. The hike is pretty strenuous for non hiker types like us, and those damn stairs at the top just kill ya when you get to them. Still, the view made it worth the near heart failures we all experienced.

Up the trails…
climbing stairs…
through tunnels
and finally to the top !


Well, one things for sure, not only was there not much swimming in Kailua, the winter season on the North Shore is no place you wanna be swimming either . With the reported 28 ft waves (yes 28 FEET), it was all about watching the sheer magnitude and violence of the waves breaking on the beach. The Surfing Triple Crown was in it’s last legs at this time, and people were out watching the surfers ride these monstrosities. Hale’iwa was way busy, and pretty much comes alive this time of the year because of the surfing.

We ate at the Grass Skirt Grill A great little place next to the Strong Current Surf Shops, and I think they’re owned by the same people, but I’m not sure.

Anyway, I had a grilled Mahi Mahi sandwich, which was good, tho I enjoyed the grilled Ono I had last time more. Still a great place with, fish, burgers, salads and vegeterian dishes. Sit out on the front porch and peoplewatch Hale’iwa style

It was here that I got turned on to the artwork of Swanson, and bought home a print of his last time. Awesome Tiki art…if you’re a fan of SHAG, you’ll like Swanson. They sell all kinds of his merch at the Strong Current Stores. Good stuff.

Also not far away, is Resurrection City, which is an art and music studio centered around musician/artist Ron Artis,his wife and 11…yes you read that right 11…children. Ron is a mural painter, who’s painted alot of the murals you see around the island, as well as submarines, and broken surfboards, which are on display all around the property. Throughout the day, Ron and his entire musical family jam, and he talks about his kids,god,art, and everything else in “ART-IS” world. Of course, there’s lots of stuff for sale, and if you got $1500 (or more), you can get one of his painted surfboards, all of which were ridden and broken by pros, then Ron paints em with his island flair. They family jam all throughout the day, and you can sit there and watch inside the house…pretty cool.


Just another Waikiki Sunset…amazing.

Yea, that place I tried to avoid because everyone told me so ended up being a good time.

Tourists, tourists, amd even more tourists flooded the streets, shops, restaurants, hotels, buses and beaches and the place is really alive from it. Although, a mega crowded city can be really annoying, the fact that almost everyone here is on vacation means that you’re surrounded by happy people. It’s an odd thing. being from LA and NY and being in a busy city situation and everyone is happy…the beach is crowded, but everyone is happy…the restaurants are crowded and overpriced, and everyone is happy, the streets are crowded, and everyone is happy….it’s almost surreal.

The International Marketplace…Once home of Don The Beachcombers and trader Vics. Unfortunately, it’s not long for this world. It’s getting the dreaded “upscale makeover” soon.

Here’s how it used to look….

Either way, the tourist trap I tried to avoid so much ended up being aot of fun.Swimming at Waikiki Beach at sundown, with Diamond Head off in the distance, the tiki torches getting lit, the X Mas lights all over…surreal. The International Marketplace, who’s heydey is in the past is still a fun place to walk around, even tho’ it’s mostly foreigners selling the same old trinkets and souveniers from booth to booth, but you can still see guys carving tikis, barefoot and all.

Barefoot Tiki carver at the International Marketplace.

We ate dinner at TIKIS which has paintings by SHAG, Mark Ryden, as well as carvings by Gecko all over the walls….The food was good, tho’ a bit pricey naturally. I had the Mac Nut crusted Mahi Mahi. They served up taro rolls with banana/tahitian vanilla butter, and the clam chowder was damn good, and then there is the decor….

Waikiki ended up being alot of fun, and we spent 2 days hangin’ around there.


On the flipside of Waikiki, and not too far away is Chinatown. We got the real deal Chinatown tour from Auntie Lynn, whom I hooked up with via Hawaii Threads and Wala’

Upon meeting Auntie, I walked over to her, and she got up and started limping. When I asked why, she said, “Aw, I got in a fight last night, from here, all the way dow to there”…(like a block and a half) !

What can you say about someone who raises money to buy low income kids rubber slippers for X Mas, helps feed like 900 homeless people every week from da KauKau wagon, blogs more than a geeky 15 year old, and gives lei greetings and tours of Chinatown to strangers from cyberspace ? Give this woman a tv show, please ! I’d watch it.

This day, she was dressed in all black, cos she was just a Policeman’s funeral. She knows everyone, and everyone knows her. She led us thru the back entrance of dumpling places, into stores, plazas,food courts etc all the time giving us all the historical facts, and saying to hello to everyone along the way. Unfortunately, she lost a meaningful gold broach in our travels, and I only wish we could have found it.

I just want to give auntie a personal Mahalo for taking time out of her busy day and giving us the Chinatown Tour, Auntie Lynn style. She’ll kick your ass if you act up, but she’ll feed you if you’re hungry.

Me and Chinatown’s (in)famous Auntie Lynn…Hollywood…give this woman a tv show!

Angie,Auntie Lynn, Coco

Later that night we met up with Auntie at the Hawaii Threads and Wala’au X Mas party at La Mariana Sailing Club.

Basically, MECCA for Tikiphiles like myself, La Mariana has been in business forever, and is one of the last of the great Tiki establishments in Hawaii. The party was great and I got to meet, face to face, lots of people from HT and Wala’au. An awesome bunch of folks, and we got to talk story in person, and attach the person to the screen name. So, everyone there (too many too mention), it was great meeting you all and Mahalo for a great night.

Me and Chris (Diver Down) at Hawaii Threads, Wala’au X Mas Party

Angie and Manoa123/Warriorfan Jr (from Hawaii threads and Wala’au)

Other Stuff

A few other places we stopped at was the Byodo In Buddhist Temple in Kaneohe, which is a replica of a 900 year old temple in Uhi, Japan. Upon entering, you ring a 3 ton peace bell, even tho there was no peace for us, as the mosquitos waged war on our legs, arms and any other body part they could get to. There were beautiful koi ponds, lush Japanese gards and waterfalls and a place to pray to Buddah.

On our last day we were treated to breakfast at the Big City Diner in Kailua by another Hawaii Threads friend Pomai. Pomai is a major food blogger, and he blogged about it on his Tasty Island Blog. I had some really awesome french toast, and Pomai gave us a nice big ole tub of chocolate mac nut candy and coffees. Mahalo Pomai for the breakfast, treats, and Aloha.

Next…..the Big Island.

HAWAII – The Big Island

Upon arriving we were greeted with a lei greeting by “that gnome guy” Tony, whom I know because of his Punagnome, which is a travelling gnome that you get to “host”, take pictures of, and then send on it’s way to the next participant. I was the first to host the gnome, I added one of my Tikis, Tikiyaki Jr as a travel companion, and at the time of this writing, I believe they are in northern California. Check out the website for pics of all their travels.

As soon as I hit the Kona air, my fond memories of my first-ever trip to the Hawa’iian islands came rushing back. The Big Island is a special place for me. Mine and Coco’s first trip together was here, and it was the first trip to the Islands for both of us.The lo-fi Kona airport, the warm air….paradise.

Tony wasted no time in taking us sightseeing. About 5 minutes from the airport he took us to a nice “hidden” beach. Not really hidden, but he took us in through a way which wasn’t through the normal entry. Here we are with this guy I just met in person taking us across marshes, through brush etc….I checked…he had no axe on him, so, other than his camera, no visible weapons.

When we finally made it to the beach, it was beautiful. Black sand, tide pools, sea turtles….in other words, the Big island.

When we finally got into KONA, Tony left for an appointment, and we checked in to our condo (waterfront!) , and hit Alii Dr.
Alii Dr is, where all the hotels and condos are…restaurants, tourist gift shops,bars etc…it’s all there. It changed a little since 2004, but not that much. Island Lava Java cleaned up a bit, and is more crowded now. Great place for coffee, treats, and now food (last time I don’t believe they served luch and dinner items), and best of all, sit out with your laptop 50 feet from the ocean in the warm Kona sun and just chill. Coffee, free wireless with the purchase of a drink, and that awesome Kailua Kona ocean view…it don’t get any better.

There are some more restaurants, and it seems that some of the shops and condos have painted and fixed up, but Uncle Billy’s is still there, as well as the Kona Seaside Hotel (we stayed there last time) so, other than being a little less “lo-fi”, Kailua Kona is still the same. At the end where our condo was, there was some new construction going on, probably new condos being built, so the face of Kona is changing, but I doubt it will become Waikiki any time soon.


January 25, 2007 at 5:25 am 9 comments

Gnome Sweet Gnome


Be a host to a new cult phenomenon…the PUNAGNOME !

This past week I was the first of a growing number of people around the globe to partake in what I like to call an “interactive art and social experiment”. PunaGnome.
Basically, PunaGnome is a travelling garden gnome. He originated in Puna, Hawaii, and already has a travel itinerary booked until February of 2007! He’s “hosted by different people for a week or so, and is photographed in and around the host’s city, and is then sent off to a new destination.

A travelogue is kept and Bud tells stories of his visits.

I’m very excited to have been the first to host “Bud”, and I even gave him a travel companion, TIKYAKI JR . I think this will become a cult phonemenon, and it will be great to have all my own Tikiyaki Jr photographed all around the globe.

To become a host, go HERE. Better do it fast, BUD is on a fast track to stardom.

October 4, 2006 at 6:34 am 3 comments

Aloha Grill – Huntington Beach, CA

“I heard the pounding of the drums not far away…” Meet (meat?) the “Hawaiian Drums”…the best chicken wings on the planet.
Hawaiian Drums…It’s ALL about the Hawaiian Drums…I’ve had nothing to do, and a craving for these things, and made the hour plus trip to Huntington Beach just to have these. These mysterious drums are the best chicken wings I’ve ever had in my life.
They’re only the “drumstick” part of the wing, not the other part, so it’s like little chicken legs, and you don’t have to fuss with the other part with no meat.

Described in the menu as “Marinated Chicken drumettes, slow roasted then tossed in a spicy cherry char siu with pineapple and green onions” , Hawaiian Drums are an appetizer on the menu, but it’s the main reason I’ve been coming to the place for the last 5 years since I stumbled on it with a friend. First off, they’re roasted not fried, which sets them apart from most other chicken wing dishes. Second, the sauce. Char Siu, a Chinese BBQ sauce most commonly used on BBQ Pork and classic Spare Ribs, is the main ingredient, but the cherry flavor,green onions, pineapple and mysterious other ingredients makes these things SO ONO.(One thing tho’ they’re not at all spicy, that’s ok by me, but the description is misleading) Add to that the price…$5.95 for a big ass plate…no meal necessary, this IS the meal.

Hungry yet ? Maui Wowie Egg Rolls w/fried wontons and mango salsa.

Oh, they have other stuff too like the not too imaginitively named Maui Wowie Egg Rolls…basically, an egg roll filled with seared ahi tuna, mac nuts, green onions, cabbage,carrots, served up with some teri-style dipping sauce, big fried wonton chips and a mango salsa on the side…pretty ono.

To tell you the truth, I’ve never gotten to a main course, due to the Hawaiian Drums stopping me dead in my tracks, but they have some interesting items including some of the Hawaiian standards, Kalua Pork, Loco Moco, Teri Chicken Hawaiian Plate, all served up with one scoop rice, one scoop macaroni salad, as well as Fish and burgers.

Don’t be fooled by the bland, stripmall frontage…. Inside the scene gets way better…

Tiki greets you at the front door…always a good thing to see walking in

Big Bamboo…Inside the Aloha Grill

Tiki decor, bamboo furniture and overall classic Polynesian style. This Place gets the Tikiyaki “2 shakas”. The only negative I can say about this place is that, like most of the Eating establishments on Main St and alot of the South Bay’s beach town areas, The Aloha Grill has the dreaded Sports Bar thing going on with “the game” blasting from many tv’s placed around the restaurant, and the even more dreaded drunk sportsfan knuckleheads cheering at the game way too loudly in the bar area.

On this particular outing, after we were finished and outside there was a ruckus at the front door with some big fatass yelling profanities at the employees who asked him to leave, no doubt for being rude and loud. So my 15 year old had to endure hearing this dumbshit hurl a string of profanities including the “C word at the emmployees as he was storming out. Nice ! Unfortunately, the South Bay is filled with these kind of knuckleheads. Instant Idiot…Just add alcohol.

That aside, the Aloha Grill is a mandatory stop every time I’m in HB.

ALoha Grill
221 Main St
Huntington Beach, CA

September 10, 2006 at 7:27 am 5 comments

House of Tiki / Hot Lava Java Coffee House


Hot Lava Java Grand Opening Party, Costa mesa, CA

Hot Lava Java, a super cool tiki coffee house threw their grand Opening party on September 2nd in true tiki style, with a luau style bash, complete with free shave ice, da kine Hawai’ian grindz such as Kalua Pork and Manapua, Hula dancers of all ages, and live Hawai’ian music.

Hula Dancers both (very) young and (not so) old, demonstrated their Aloha skills.

The coffee bar at Lava Java(left), and a nice gaggle of tikis at House of Tiki(right)

Being the tikiphile that I am, I caught wind of the whole scene from a posting on, and decided I had to be there to check it out. The coffee shop is in the adjoining storefront to their main business, House of Tiki, and is the perfect compliment to the store. The coffee was ONO, and the vibe was pure aloha. Everyone was having a great ole time, eatin’ da kine grindz (free, no less!) and shave ice, which was served up by some young wahines at a tiki bar in front of the store.

House of Tiki / Hot Lava Java Coffee House is located at 1860 Newport Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

September 3, 2006 at 2:30 am 2 comments


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