September 1, 2014

An Extensive Menu at The Cheesecake Factory

I LOVE The CheesecakeFactory - not only because of the different varieties of cheesecake they offer, but also because of their extensive menu. I often order different things each time I visit.  Whether you're in the mood for sandwiches, pasta, fish, or chicken - you'll definitely find something you'll want to try.
Complimentary Bread
Kid's Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Fruit

Grilled Chicken and Avocado Club

Kid's Pepperoni Pizza
Kids Chocolate Scoop of Ice Cream

OREO Dream Extreme Cheesecake

The Kids Pizza was actually quite large, and it was more than enough for two of my kids to share.

My husband and I shared the club sandwich, and it was delicious and satisfying.

Of course, no visit to the Cheesecake Factory would be complete without some cheesecake, and

I opted for the OREO Dream Extreme Cheesecake.

It was so decadent and delicious - definitely an OREO/Cheesecake/Chocolate-lover's dream dessert!

Service was great, the food was delicious, and I'm sure the next time I'll go I'll order a different entree and type of cheesecake.

The Cheesecake Factory - Waikiki
2301 Kalakaua Ave.
Honolulu, HI  96815

August 31, 2014

Filipino and Local Favorites at Tiano's Restaurant

Having recently opened up in the old Futaba space in Waipahu, Tiano's Restaurant offers Filipino dishes, as well as many local favorites.
Cheesy Garlic Bread
Shanghai Lumpia

Keiki Mac and Cheese

Keiki Fries
Chicken Katsu
Keiki Grilled Cheese with Fries

Loco Moco

Banana Rollet

Keiki Vanilla Ice Cream

I thought the food was pretty good.  The kids loved the garlic bread, and my dish, the katsu, was tasty (I had wanted Katsu Curry, but they unfortunately ran out of curry sauce).  The Shanghai Lumpia was simply filled with pork, and I thought it was just okay.  The Banana Rollet (lumpia), was my favorite dish of the night.  Drizzled with caramel and topped with cinnamon, the banana rollet was complemented nicely by the vanilla ice cream.  I thought the presentation of all of the dishes was quite nice.

Service was excellent from the moment we were seated until we left.  

The kids meals are reasonably-priced and include a drink and dessert, and the menu is quite extensive.

Next time I go I'm definitely going to try the Halo Halo for dessert!

Tiano's Restaurant
94-235 Hanawai Cir
Waipahu, HI 96797
(808) 677-2992

August 30, 2014

Yogurt Mama - Froyo, Boba, and More!

My kids can't resist froyo shops, so while in Kailua we decided to go to Yogurt Mama.

More toppings!

And more toppings!

And even more toppings!

Chocolate Obsession

Irish Mint

Salted Caramel

Honeydew Boba Freeze

The kids got to choose a flavor and up to five toppings each (I love that they offer so many toppings, a lot more than I've seen in several other froyo shops), and they all devoured their creations (yogurts are $.48/ounce).

I ended up getting a Boba Freeze.  I asked the employee to make me whatever she thought would be good, and I ended up with a Honeydew Boba Freeze with Honey Boba.

It was SO good.  It wasn't overly sweet, but it was fruity and sweet enough, and very refreshing.

Yogurt Mama offers a great variety of yogurt flavors, toppings, and other sweet treats.  We'll definitely visit again when we're in the area.

Yogurt Mama
43 Oneawa St #101
Kailua, HI 96734
(808) 263-3368

August 29, 2014

The Canadian Trail at Canada Place

A free attraction in Vancouver that offers beautiful views along with lots of information about Canada is The Canadian Trail at Canada Place.

The Canadian Trail
We strolled the West Promenade, where Canada's Communities were represented via colorful glass tiles on the ground, and we learned about Canada's Five Foundations, which include Heritage, Destination, Treasures, Activities, and Innovation. 

The iconic Five Sails and the view of The Canadian Trail from afar

One of the Activities exhibits

My kids loved this interactive exhibit; notice the colorful tiles on the ground noting city names in colorful recycled glass tiles

Not only were there numerous informative and interactive exhibits, but we also took in some magnificent views.

Vancouver Convention Centre

Stanley Park

What a great way to learn more about Canada!

The Canadian Trail at Canada Place
999 Canada Pl
Vancouver, BC V6C 3T4, Canada

Trying Tsukemen for the First Time at Kiwami Ramen

I tried Tsukemen (Dip Noodle) for the first time at Kiwami Ramen.


I had the regular Tsukemen - Shoyu Dip with Warm Noodles - and I thought that it was quite good. The chicken-based broth was very flavorful, and they sure gave a lot of noodles (I had a lot leftover).

I thought the Gyoza was just okay, but the complimentary Charsu Rice (not pictured) was really tasty.

Service was friendly and very efficient, and overall I thought the Tsukemen was very good!

Kiwami Ramen
641 Keeaumoku St. Suite #2
Honolulu, HI 96814
(808) 955-1122

August 28, 2014

A Dining Experience Like No Other at Opal Thai Restaurant

I love Thai food, so when we went to Opal Thai in Haleiwa, I couldn't wait to dig in Thai dishes that I usually order at Thai restaurants - Chicken Pad Thai and Spring Rolls.

However, it was not meant to be...

The place was packed when we arrived around 11:30am, but there was a couple of empty tables, and we were quickly seated.

Opel (it's Opel, not Opal, despite the name of the restaurant), gave us our menus, and a few minutes later, he took them away before even asking us what we wanted.  I thought to myself "I sure hope I remember everything we were supposed to order."

But instead of asking for our order, Opel asked us to name 5 Thai dishes.  We proceeded to say some of our favorite Thai dishes. 

He then asked about how spicy or mild we liked our foods, and if we liked seafood, vegetables, chicken, etc.

Once he found out our preferences, he jotted down a few items on the Guest Check pad, shook our hands, and we were left wondering what we'd be in store for.


Panang Curry

Chicken and Tofu Pad Thai

Garlic Noodles

Pineapple Fried Rice

Cheesecake with Ginger-infused Crust and Blueberry Topping

For the kids he ordered Garlic Noodles and Pineapple Fried Rice, which my kids enjoyed. 

For my husband and I, first we were given the "Special."  Neither Opel nor the server would tell us what it was, but after doing some sleuthing online it appears to have been some kind of radish cake.  It's quite funny to read how some said they were told rattlesnake, and another stingray.

Whatever it was, it had a mild fish-like taste, and it was very delicious!

The Pad Thai was very tasty, and my husband loved the curry.

The cheesecake was very good as well.

If you prefer, you can insist on ordering from the menu as I saw some customers do, but I'm glad we trusted Opel, as had we not, I never would've tried the "Special."

It was quite a dining experience!

Opal Thai
66-197 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa, HI 96712
(808) 637-7950

Blue Man Group - Innovative Family-Friendly Entertainment

I've heard about the Blue Man Group before, but I really had no idea what I was in store for while watching them perform live at the Neal S. Blaisdell Concert Hall during Media Night.

From the little I did know about the Blue Man Group, I expected to see a colorful and innovative show featuring the Blue Men, and that's exactly what I saw - and SO much more.

The Blue Man Group show is a treat for the eyes and ears - full of colors, sounds, lights, and unusual props used in ways to captivate the audience and get them to laugh A LOT - all without the Blue Men uttering a single word.   

The show combined music (showcasing the Blue Men using all sorts of unusual "instruments"), comedy (I had no idea it was going to be so funny from start to finish), and lots of technology and visual effects to create a show that was total entertainment.

I really enjoyed the audience involvement throughout the show.  Whether it was giving an audience member a special piece of "art," having people brought on stage for certain skits, or encouraging the audience to dance, there was a lot of audience participation which made the show even that much more fun.

The "ultimate party" at the end was the highlight for me - the Blue Man Group sure knows how to party!

I also loved how they tailored certain elements to Hawaii - a nice way to acknowledge the local audience.

The Blue Man Group show is very family-friendly.  I saw many, many kids, and throughout almost the entire show there was a little boy sitting near us who kept giggling.  There are, however, a few parts where the humor is intended for adults, but overall the Blue Man Group is a show the entire family can enjoy.

During the Blue Man Group show there is no intermission.  The show was a little over an hour-and-a-half long, but the time sure went by quickly because it was just so engaging.  I highly suggest you arrive on time, as the laughs start even before the Blue Man Group get on stage (and also, the Blue Man Group may just make it known to the ENTIRE Concert Hall that you're late).

There is a poncho section (the first couple of rows) where you may get splashed on with certain materials used during the performances, but no matter where you sit, I'm sure you'll enjoy the show as much as I did.

Click here for tour dates.

Thank you to the sponsor for providing complimentary media passes.

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