Hawaii Day 2: Kauai’s North Shore


On our second day in Hawaii, Dallas and his dad started to get to work on the deck they were going to rebuild on the house. We were staying in the house that his dad built and that Dallas grew up in. So, the deck was really old and needed repair.

After starting to tear off some boards, they needed to get going. Dallas and his parents were going golfing with Larry, so that left Makai and I do do what we wanted. The golfing was at The Prince in Princeville and I hadn’t been up to the North Shore for years, so I decided to go up with Makai too and then meet up after golf.

Makai was still a bit off from the travel and time change and he actually slept for the entire hour car ride. I was so so so thirsty and didn’t want to wake him so I went through the McDonald’s drive thru in Lihue just to get a soda. And I couldn’t resist a haupia pie! Note the other local favorites on the menu: Local breakfast sections with Portuguese sausage and spam, McTeri burger, Saimin.


My first stop on the North Shore was in Anahola at Ono-Char Burger. I was hungry for lunch and had been wanting to try this place out, since it was one of our recommended North Shore restaurants when we got married, even though I’d never even been there!

Since it was my first visit to Ono-Char, I kept it simple and got a cheeseburger, a half order of fries and a soda. It sounds stupid, since it’s in the name, but the char was great. I thought it was interesting that the cheese was shredded cheese, but whatever, it tastes the same. It was great! I want to go back now and try some of the other kinds of burgers!

Ono-Char has outdoor seating next to the building and Makai and I found a shady picnic table to sit and eat. Me, the burger, and him, a bottle. While I finished eating, he sat back and watched some chickens and roosters run around. I also was talking with a local haole lady who was married to a local Chinese guy and was going on about how cute Makai is and how cute hapa babies are in general! She also thought Ono-Char Burger was the best burger on the island and since she’s so right about hapa babies, then I’ll have to agree with her about the burger too :).


After lunch I wanted something sweet so I drove to Princeville to visit Lappert’s and get my favorite ice cream ever. We don’t really give Makai sweets at all, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for his first ice cream to be Lappert’s, so I gave him just a tiny taste. I think there was more on his face than in his mouth! I love the Kauai Pie ice cream, but I didn’t want to give Makai coffee ice cream, so I got the Heavenly Hana, which is dark chocolate ice cream with a marshmallow swirl and chocolate covered roasted almonds and white chocolate covered macadamia nuts. Yumyumyum. As we were enjoying our sweet treat, a little local girl was sitting with her mom nearby. She came over to say hi, looked at Makai and said “Your baby has a big head!” to me! No kidding, really, kid? :)

We walked around Princeville Shopping Center a bit and people kept saying Makai was so cute and commenting on his big cheeks! I couldn’t believe how much attention he was getting. Everyone was so friendly and open (and it was just the beginning, which I didn’t know at the time. Later on, people were literally stopping their car to tell us our baby is cute!).

We tried to stop by Ching Young Shopping Center, just to walk around and take a look, but it was so so so busy that we couldn’t even park anywhere. I remembered when I went with Cousin and Rob and Sarah, but it definitely was not that busy.


So, finally, we went to Hanalei Bay where Makai got his first real, close up glimpse of the ocean. Well, he probably saw it from the house in Waimea, but it’s a bit distant. I couldn’t deal with the stroller and his stuff and the sand and water just then, so we just picked a grassy spot in the shade in the park and relaxed for a while. Then a funny thing happened. Some Japanese tourists walked right up to our blanket and were speaking to each other in Japanese and pointing to Makai. One of them knew English and asked me basic questions like how old he is and what is his name. And then they all spoke to each other some more. I have no idea what was going on. It was probably about six people crowded around our blanket. Mostly women. I think maybe a couple men. And then some of them started taking photos of Makai! One wanted to hug him, but I kept him close! It was time to go anyway. Dallas and everyone were done playing golf.


We drove over to The Prince golf course and I didn’t know where exactly everyone was so I got out with Makai and went to the club house area. Just inside this was the amazing view (above). Wow! Makai and I sat outside and the host (? I don’t know what they’re called at a golf club) came over and played with and talked to Makai. Nice local guy. The breeze was awesome and it was such a nice day. I didn’t care if Dallas and everyone turned up any time soon!


… but eventually they did. And they were hungry, so we went to the golf club’s restaurant, which was The Tavern by Roy Yamaguchi, who is a super famous and well respected Japanese chef in Hawaii. (You might know him from his famous chain of restaurants called Roy’s.) Anyway, it was happy hour so we had some pupus that were on special and a few drinks. Dallas’s parents had some errands to run in Lihue, so we took Larry home, since it was on our way anyway. When we got to his house Larry’s wife Eleanor rushed out to meet Makai!

Hawaiian Thanksgiving with Billy and Ging Ging

Billy & Dallas


Two Hawaiian guys, slippers, Hawaiian t-shirts, hibachi, kalbi. Yep, looks like a Hawaiian-themed Thanksgiving!

Hawaiian-Themed Thanksgiving Dinner

For the holiday we went to visit Billy and Ging Ging in the East Bay. We’d originally planned on skipping all the traditional Thanksgiving food and just ordering Hawaiian platters from L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, but whattaya know? L&L is closed on Thanksgiving. So we ended up making Thanksgiving dinner, but still tried for Hawaiian style instead of the American classics.

Hawaiian-Themed Thanksgiving Dinner

Dallas and Billy took care of the meats: Kalbi Korean short ribs and chicken katsu. Ging and I made the rest. Mostly Ging, ok at least under her supervision. We made a chinese salad with ramen crunchies, a warmed spinach/cranberry/pecan salad, tofu, mac salad (with and without wahoo/ono), mashed sweet potato, and fresh pineapple with li hing powder. For dessert we made haupia and a pumpkin mochi.

Damien & Matt

Matt and Amy joined us for dinner. Made made lemon meringue pie and they brought a couple bottles of wine as well.

Damien & Billy

Matt, Amy, Billy

Ging Ging, Damien, Dallas, Rachelle

Amy wasn’t sure what Billy and Ging meant when they said we were having Hawaiian foods for Thanksgiving but when we told her the menu she told us she was looking forward to all of that more than turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes!

Matt’s beautiful lemon meringue pie.

Lemon meringue pie, haupia, pumpkin mochi.

Ging and I prepared dessert plates for everyone. Each got a slice of Matt’s lemon meringue pie, a piece of haupia topped with chocolate pudding and freshly-whipped cream (kind of like haupia pie with no crust), and a piece of pumpkin mochi. The mochi didn’t really stand up to the sweetness of the pie or haupia, but when we ate it the next day on it’s own it was much better. The lemon mirengue pie was so delicious. I ate it for breakfast the next day too! And the haupia reminded me of Hawaii. I made it the night before. It was simple with a mix that Ging had from Lihue.

Ging (talking to her family & rubbing baby #2 due in April!), Matt, Amy, Billy, Damien, Dallas

After dinner and after Damien went to bed we watched a couple of movies: Super 8 and 50/50. I saw 50/50 in the theater and really liked it. I thought Super 8 was pretty good too.

I love turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and pecan pie, but this was a good alternative dinner and I was glad we did it! Also, remind us to tell you the story about how Billy and Ging don’t have a TV but borrowed one (+Direct TV). And then Dallas and Billy had to configure it so we could watch the football games on Thanksgiving. Craziness!

Kamehameha Schools Luau

On our last day in Oahu our big plans were to attend the Kamehameha Schools Luau, but first we went and visited Dallas’s grandma one more time. Dallas and I were up really late the night before and Grandma is getting up there in age so it was really just like Dallas, Grandma and I sitting on the sofas trying not to fall asleep while Kala watched some 80s countdown show on VH1. Nevermind that Kala was born in 1992 and didn’t know any of the songs. Grandma would keep waking up and making comments like how she didn’t like Flock of Seagulls hairdos and stuff like that. Kind of funny.


Later in the afternoon we drove up to the Kamehameha Schools campus for the all-class luau. All of the classes from the 1930s or 1940s on were in attendance.. well, every 5 years.. so like 5 year reunion, 10 year reunion, etc. Each year the class celebrating their 29th year reunion puts on the luau to honor the class celebrating their 30th year reunion. And all of the kids that are coming back as seniors have traditionally been servers at the luau. This year, though, they couldn’t serve because alcohol was being served at the luau so the parents of the seniors had to do it. Dallas’s Uncle Bob and Aunty Helen had to serve because Kala is an incoming senior.

First off, each class had to get their official photograph taking. I think some people just blew this off, so the Class of ’94 photo is looking pretty sparse.




After this we hit up the beer booth and the pupu stand and then made our way to the designated Class of ’94 area under the big tent where Kilo had saved us seats.



The pupus at the booth changed out every half hour so people from our table just kept going up and getting more. I had previously had many of the dishes served, but there were definitely some I had not. I was sitting by Donovan and he kept passing me all the pupus and making sure I tried everything I’d never had before. Like pickled Maui onion, a’ama crabs, limu salad, and raw Maui onions dipped in Hawaiian sea salt. And other favorites I’d had before like boiled peanuts, poke, smoked meat, edamame.

The whole time we were socializing and eating and drinking there was a big stage at the middle front of the tent and people were speaking and playing music. We couldn’t really see because we were too far off to the side. I heard there were something like 1,600 guests at the luau, so you can imagine how big that tent was! We were alerted when Monte and Kilo went up to do the hula. Kekoa’s band Holunape was playing (same classmate and band that played earlier in the week at Aku Bone). So I ran up to get a few photos.




In years past I heard the luau dinner was served buffet style. This year each person got served a plate. Some people were leery about this but everyone agreed the food was really ono and the portions were generous. Here’s what we had:


Clockwise, starting with rice: Rice, kalua pig, chicken long rice, sweet potato, Heineken, poke, lomi-lomi salmon, poi, squid luau, fruit punch.

And for dessert there were trays in the center of the tables with chocolate cake, haupia and kulolo.

It was great to see many of Dallas’s friends again. I wasn’t sure what to expect really from alumni week. I thought I’d be on my own more. I knew I’d be designated driver and do whatever for Dallas to do everything he wanted to… but I didn’t expect to have so much fun. All of Dallas’ classmates were really nice and welcoming me into the group. It was fun to meet a lot of people that mean so much in Dallas’s life.

And I always knew that he went to Kamehameha Schools, but I never really “got” it. So.. you went to a school.. So what. But Kamehameha Schools is so rich in Hawaiian culture and tradition. Generations of Dallas’s family have attended. Going to these reunion parties finally made me realize what it’s all about. It’s like a family. Everyone was nice to me because through Dallas, I’m ohana.