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The Annual Honolulu trip

Author: John Rybczyk
Date of Trip: December 2012

We lived in Hawaii for 15 years. Moved to Florida in 2000. Go back to Honolulu every year. Love the weather, love the beaches, love the restaurants. We only stay 5 nights in Honolulu and then we are off to the Big Island to visit with our daughter and her family. But the visit to Honolulu is the highlight of the trip. This trip review will only cover the Honolulu portion.

We arrived Wednesday and parked the car at the Hale Koa (Military) parking facility. Big surprise. Price doubled since last year. Doubled. Checked into the hotel, cleaned up and went off to have dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Honolulu (we have several) but Verbano’s on King Street is at the top. Food is great, service is great and the owner Jeffery makes us feel as we never left. Oh no, Verbano’s on King street is CLOSED. I mean CLOSED, not just for the holidays, I means CLOSED as to never to open again. Things are not going good. First double the price to park the car and now Verbano’s is closed. Since Kings street does have 3 of our favorite restaurants, we are off to Chaing Mai Thai restaurant, also on Kings street. Nothing has changed, food, service and prices all good. Great dinner.

Thursday morning we are off to walk around Waikiki and stop at Duke’s for Breakfast. You are right on the beach, its a buffet and is definitely worth the stop. Thursday night for the sunset we go back to Waikiki and upstairs of Duke’s is Chucks’s. We sit at the bar, same bartender from last year, its happy hour and we also have the the Steak Teriyaki from the pupu menu. Beautiful sunset and then dinner at Alan Wong’s on King street. Now Alan Wong’s is our one big splurge. Alan is one of the top Chiefs in Hawaii if not the top Chief. Reservations are definitely needed, the food is outstanding. Two days and I think I gained 5 pounds.

Friday morning is another walk around Waikiki and a stop at IHOP on Kuhio street for a light breakfast. Then off to Waikele shopping mall. Its listed at a discount mall, but the prices don’t look it. Crowded – parking at a premium. Why out there, because in Mililani is our favorite of all favorite restaurants Assagio’s Italian Restaurants. We have eaten there for approximately 20 years. We lived in Mililani for 10 years and was there when it opened and have been coming back for 12 years. And yes, they still remember us. Unbelievable but they still have some of the same staff. Back to Waikiki and drinks and music at Lewers Lounge at the Halekulani. Maggie Herron and Rocky Holmes, this duo is a definite stop and see. Light jazz, Maggie is a pianist and vocalist and Rocky plays sax, clarinet and flute. Outstanding.

Saturday is Chinatown. You cannot go to Oahu and not stop at Chinatown, especially a stop at the bead shop – thats what my wife tells me. Dim sum for lunch and back to get ready to see the Honolulu Boys Choir for their Annual Christmas Show. Fantastic. HBC was not just them, a Women’s choir La Sorellanza, the Samoan Gospel Heralds and Frank Delima were also part of the Christmas show.Even after being in Hawaii for 15 years, this is the first time we have seen the Christmas show. It was terrific.

Sunday, church in the morning, and then out to Hickam AFB for the Sunday brunch. We met some friends my wife worked with. I think we have been doing this for about the last 6 or 7 years, its getting to be the Christmas tradition. Sunday night back to Lewers Lounge to see Jimmy Borges. Now if you are from Hawaii, you know who he is, if you are a Jazz fan and visited Hawaii you probably have heard of him and if you are both (we are) you definitely will go out of your way to see him. A great show, and we stayed to the end and closed Lewers Lounge. Monday left for the Big Island and thats another trip review. All in all a great 5 nights. Missed Verbano’s, dropped our card off at his family;s restaurant to let him know we stopped and when we got home we had a message on our phone from Jeffery telling us he was sorry he missed us. Can’t wait till next year.

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