Restaurant-hopping with The Honolulu Advertiser

Check out the TGIF section in today’s (4/16/10) edition of the Honolulu Advertiser, where the cover story is “How to Have a Progressive Dinner“.

In there you’ll find yours truly featured as one of three Oahu-based food bloggers mapping our own ‘Progressive Dinner’ route on the island.

Joining me on this foodie trek are fellow food bloggers Stanley Ehara of with the theme “Waikiki on Foot”, and Edward Morita of with the theme “For the Love of Foie Gras”.

Also contributing are Mari Taketa, Martha Cheng, and of course Kawehi Haug, the Advertiser’s Entertainment Editor.

I chose the theme “On the Beach”, which actually was originally submitted as “A Progressive Dinner on Waikiki Beach”, hence the restaurants that I chose.

Speaking of which, ironically, and without knowing it would turn out this way, both Stanley and I chose Waikiki as the theme. His on a walking tour and mine on the beach. Also ironically and without knowing it, both Edward and I landed at Michel’s for dessert! Very interesting.

I’ll definitely have to try Michel’s Flambe Strawberries and Foie Gras on Tiramisu Ice Cream, which Edward says is one of his favorite desserts in Honolulu. And Edward, you must try their Pineapple Lilikoi Macadamia Nut Cheesecakes! One of the best cheescakes in the WORLD!

In case you don’t know what a progressive dinner is, here’s how Kawehi Haug, the staff writer who put this whole thing together explains it: “A social trend in the 1970s and ’80s, progressive dinners were essentially mobile potlucks. A group of eaters would go from home to home, with homeowners preparing and hosting different courses of a meal.”

Because of the limitation of print, we were given up to 250 words to do this. Well, since we’re not confined by space here, without further ado, here’s my entire uncut submission for Kawehi Haug’s ‘Restaurant-hopping‘ feature…

A Progressive Dinner on Waikiki Beach

By Pomai Souza


Whether it’s a special occasion or just to relax and “play tourist”, Waikiki beach is a great place for kama’aina to come and enjoy the fantastic live entertainment, onolicious food and of course that million dollar view we are so blessed with.

If I were to organized a progressive dinner, I’d theme it “Waikiki Beach”, where I’d begin by having everyone meet for pupus and drinks at Duke’s On the Sand at the Outrigger Waikiki.

Henry Kapono performs live every Sunday afternoon at Duke’s Waikiki

Preferably on a Sunday when Henry Kapono plays, turning Duke’s into one of the most happening spots this side of Daimond Head crater. It’s such a special moment in time, that Henry even wrote a song about it aptly named “Duke’s on Sunday”. Best of all, it happens every weekend.

The drinks and pupus at Duke’s are fantastic as well. While not being the cheapest place in town, as they don’t have a “pauhana hour” or special Kama’aina discounts, still reasonably priced considering the location right on the beach and free live music by one of the biggest names in Hawaii’s entertainment industry.

As back-to-basics as it may sound, I especially love their “Beach Fries”, which are waffle-cut with a mild spice seasoning. Personally I think it’s one of the best fries on the island.

Beach Fries – seasoned and waffle cut

Another popular pupu on their Barefoot Bar menu is “Duke’s Nachos”, which as “bar food” as it is, somehow those negative ions from the ocean that’s just footsteps away makes the simplest of dishes like these taste that much more “onolicious”.

“Duke’s Nachos” with beans, cheddar cheese, jalapeños, black olives, cilantro, guacamole and sour cream

Duke’s Waikiki Hot Wings and Mango BBQ Baby Back Ribs are also fantastic, with bold ‘n tasty sauces. I’d go as far as saying their ribs give Tony Roma’s a run for the money. Their Ahi Poke has also left me quite impressed.

Moving on to the next location for the main course and perhaps a few appetizers, we’d sit down for dinner on a beachside table at Ocean House in the Outrigger Reef Hotel, which is just a hop, skip and a jump from Duke’s further up Waikiki beach heading Ewa.

Pan Seared Kona Kampachi – Topped with Shoyu, Ginger Vinaigrette, Citrus Beurre Blanc and Jasmine Rice,

I’ve had some of the best seafood dishes at Ocean House, including their Pan Seared Kona Kampachi and the Parmesan Crusted Opah Picatta; both of which were to die for.. They have the freshest catch, while their recipes and preparations are outstanding.

For those in the party who may not care for or be in the mood for seafood, Ocean House also serves a fabulous Slow Roasted Hawaiian Salt Prime Rib, as well as chicken and steaks.

“Hawaiian Salt” Slow Roasted Prime Rib Au Jus

Ocean House features fresh, locally grown organic produce and fresh-baked breads, Their plantation home decor setting feels elegant, yet casual and relaxed at the same time, while their service is always great. Just like Duke’s, they’re situated right on Waikiki beach, so them negative ions enhance this already elevated dining experience that much more.

For dessert and a nightcap, we’d all share a cab and head on over to the footsteps of Diamond Head at Michel’s in the Colony Surf. Sticking with the theme, like Duke’s and Ocean House, Michel’s is literally right on the beach, albeit a bit further down, where you’re looking back at the heart of Waikiki instead of from it.

Reason I choose Michel’s is because it was here that I’ve had the most INCREDIBLE cheesecake in the WORLD, which would be their Pineapple Lilikoi Macadamia Nut Cheese Cake.

Pineapple Lilikoi Macadamia Nut Cheese Cake with Roasted Macadamia Nuts and Creme Anglaise.

Never mind that it was a complimentary dessert for my birthday. All I know is it’s by far the BEST Cheesecake I’ve ever had the pleasure of indulging into. If it’s not your birthday, you can still order it for $10, yet let me tell you, it tastes like a million bucks. Hats off to Executive chef Eberhard “Hardy” Kintscher for doing such a fine job on this dessert.

Michel’s also features a number of dishes prepared tableside, including dessert classics such as Cherries Jubilee and Bananas Foster done “Hawaiian Style”.

Being a French restaurant, of course they have an extensive wine list and service bar for them nightcaps. Not to forget the Dessert Martinis on the menu, with such dreamy names as “The Fantasy”, “Chocolate Classic” and “Perfection” with Bailey’s Irish Creme and Three Olives Shot Espresso.

Michel’s also has live entertainment nightly, where you can catch the nahenahe slack key and classical guitar stylings of virtuoso Jeff Peterson Thursday, Friday through Saturday evening, the soothing melodies of Shareen Lum on Harp on Sunday evenings, with Chad Kim and Richard Woltz filling in the beginning of the week.

That would round out the evening covering the entire span of Waikiki beach, putting the bookends to what should be a diverse and interesting Progressive Dinner experience.. It starts off casual, yet full of excitement with the live entertainment and fun crowd at Duke’s, toning it down with a quiet and relaxed dinner at Ocean House, and ending the meal on a sophisticated note over at Michel’s.

Sounds like we’ve got a plan.

For more details and photos of these restaurants, see these Tasty Island pages:

Burgers ‘n Fries at Duke’s Waikiki
Pacific Rim Perfection at Ocean House
Waikiki Eats: Michel’s at the Colony Surf

Once again, check out the TGIF section in today’s Aloha Friday (4/16/10) edition of the Honolulu Advertiser!

If you read online, click on the link ‘Bloggers Food Map’ at the beginning of the ‘Restaurant-hopping’ article.

Mahalo Kawehi! The whole thing looks and sounds onolicious! Now to get some friends together and do it!


17 thoughts on “Restaurant-hopping with The Honolulu Advertiser

  1. Pomai, now I am not happy but glad also. People always wonder how Pomai of Tasty Island look like. No longer mystery blogger. I didn’t know as my sisters and mom said “Hot lookling Dude.” They read on own laptops at home and works.

  2. So dats what you look like… mainly since I have the same scalp-doo! Waffle fries are the BOMB! I bought the slicing contraption after first trying them in the Bay Area some 20-odd years ago. Of course, still haven’t purchased a deep fryer yet… and baked is not the same… like someone wearing a Salma Hayek mask…

  3. AH HA! Wow! Kimo’s sisters and mom got it right on. Now to check you at KCC more often since I shop there every weekends also.

  4. Pomai, somebody get the the producers of Food Network and sign you up for a show. You be great in food travel show. You take a nice picture.

  5. Well now that the price you pay for fame I guess. Now eateries know how you look like and will try to treat you more special. Not bad come to think of it.

  6. Pomai, I had to come here to comment because I’m so glad to see what you look like!!

    When I found out they were profiling you for this piece, I was also really glad. You’re one of the nicest food bloggers I know, and so helpful. Great job!

  7. I was hoping for a St. Louis / Waialae hopping that would include a couple of ideas like pasta, greek and mexican foods all on one block. I could have greek salad, Sabrina’s pasta(and byob), Mexican tamale and then have desert back at Sabrina’s and a night cap. All for about $40 including wine for 2. I like the area and go there often. I have never hopped but like the idea. SO if I first go to Tamura’s up the street I do not have to pay high prices for a great wine. Also I bought 2 $25 certificates on KGMB half price for Sabrina’s so it really cost less. I could go twice for the fun and food.
    And local style dress code with no Waikiki parking fees!

  8. The Big Time! Congratulations on your share of the newsprint and ink! Great column!

    As for your picture, I think the closest up until now was your “Bento Man” costume shot, right? Nice to see the man behind the mask!

  9. Brian, if not “Bento Man”, it would have been “Hayn” Kikaida! Glad to hear the word “nice” and not “ugly”.  lol
    Kimo Sabey (great S/N!), I totally hear you on that. Waialae avenue would would have been AWESOME. I just didn’t have enough archived content on all there is to offer in this amazing neighborhood area. I also considered Kapahulu avenue just down the street, which also has so many great restaurants!
    Melissa, while this was a good starter, I think there could be a bigger and better follow-up to this subject in the future!
    Kat, domo arigato gozaimasu!
    Aaron, next time you see me, think Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. lol
    Amy, when it comes to video (and stills for that matter), I’m kinda’ shy. Yet mahalo for the kind words!
    Erica, I’ll be at KCC Farmer’s Market tomorrow morning, 9am sharp, where I need to look for ingredients for an upcoming post. If you recognize me (from the photo above), flag me down!
    Menehune Man, probably lots of folks will consider our choices narrowly-focused within the Waikiki area. Yet I remain confident and steadfast in my picks!
    Ryan, shucks! I was expecting a great wine pairing suggesting with them “Beach Fries”! But no way would I attempt making my own waffle-cut fries. I’m happy paying for a plate of it right on the beach at Duke’s!  To note, we also had mighty fine waffle-cut fries at Jameson’s in Haleiwa, along with what may have been the best burger on the island there. An isolated experience? Perhaps. Yet very memorable!
    Kimo, “Hot lookin’ dude”? lol! How flattering! Some have said that I resemble Andre Agassi (the tennis player), yet from a “foodie” standpoint, I suppose you could say I’m a more Portuguese-looking version of Andrew Zimmern. lol!
    So where would you folks have chosen for your Progressive Dinner Route? Any themes and/or restaurant suggestions would be great!

    Kimo Sabey, once again, great idea!

  10. Sheesh, I go away for a week and come back to find a TON of posts. You’ve been busy! Just a quick note to say “nice job” on the article. Now I will be on the lookout for the bolohead guy with the camera. 😀

  11. Great job, Pomai. I was wondering where both you and Aku were going to go. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to participate, but there were too many things going on for me personally.

    Looking forward to meeting you in about a month’s time.

  12. Reid, Stanley mentioned something about you misplacing an email or something. I think Kawehi should do a follow-up to that story, as there’s so many more areas and subjects to cover for a Progressive Dinner. Amongst everywhere else, you’d be a great expert at doing one covering the Kalihi area! I got close to doing that, but chose Waikiki instead at the last minute.
    Lookin’ forward to meeting you all at Town!
    Spotty, yup, if you see a “bolohead guy with a camera” taking pictures of food, that’d be me! lol

  13. Reid, Stanley mentioned something about you misplacing an email or something. I think Kawehi should do a follow-up to that story, as there’s so many more areas and subjects to cover for a Progressive Dinner. Amongst everywhere else, you’d be a great expert at doing one covering the Kalihi area! I got close to doing that, but chose Waikiki instead at the last minute.
    Lookin’ forward to meeting you all at Town!
    Spotty, yup, if you see a “bolohead guy with a camera” taking pictures of food, that’d be me! lol

  14. Awesome awesome! Wanted to do a full page like you but guess what? I broke my camera while taking an entrance shot at Garlic House Ninnikuya – was dodging cars on the middle of Waialae Avenue!!! Uuuughhh!!! No worries, I’ll get it back in a few days, though. When are we all going out?!!!

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