Rainbow Drive-In – Honolulu, Hawaii

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We ate at the Rainbow Drive-In on our way to the airport to leave Hawaii.  It was our last meal in Hawaii and it did not disappoint.  We were going to eat at Ono Hawaiian BBQ as recommended by Nathan Kam who was kind enough to send us a list of several things to do and places to eat.  Unfortunately, we didn’t realize that they were closed on Sundays.  After finding Ono Hawaiian BBQ closed, we plugged the last restaurant recommendation that we weren’t able to get to into the GPS and luckily it was right around the corner. 

Rainbow Drive-In serves plate lunches, sandwiches and breakfast from 7am to 9pm daily with the exception of a few major holidays.  We decided to go all out for a last lunch in Hawaii and ordered the mix plate which included BBQ, Mahi Mahi, and chicken alongside macaroni salad and rice.  It was delicious.

rainbow drivein

While we ate, we sat at the picnic table soaking in the sun and watching the cars drive down Kapahulu Avenue wishing that our vacation wasn’t coming to an end. 

Be sure to visit Wanderfood Wednesday over at Wanderlust and Lipstick.

Ted’s Bakery – Sunset Beach, Oahu


During our self-guided tour around the island of Oahu, we stopped for lunch at Ted’s Bakery.  Ted’s Bakery is located on the North Shore.  The building is brightly painted and the bright blue umbrellas make it difficult to miss.  When we pulled into the parking lot we were lucky to get a spot as a truck piled full of teenagers and surfboards sped out of the drive.  Every table was full of locals and tourist wrapped in beach towels eating out of white styrofoam containers.   

When we walked inside Ted’s, we were bombarded by the smell of different sweet and savory foods intermingled with sunscreen, the ocean, and the gritty beach sand stuck in the sun bleached hair of the surfers who were ending their day at the beach with a meal.  Despite the fact that every spot in the building was occupied, the line moved quickly so know what you are going to order before you get up to the front.  We ordered our meals.  I ordered the garlic shrimp plate lunch and Daddy J went with a mahi mahi sandwich. 


Ted’s is “home to the original chocolate haupia cream pie” and it is worth a stop to give it a try.  I am not a big fan of pie but this one has plenty of chocolate pudding-like goodness topped with coconut pudding goodness.  Do you want to try to make the chocolate haupia cream pie yourself?  I found this recipe and I am currently trying to talk my sister into making it for me when she comes to visit!

Be sure to visit Wanderfood Wednesday over at Wanderlust and Lipstick.

Kualoa Ranch – Oahu, Hawaii

Kualoa Ranch is a 4000 acre working cattle ranch about a 45 minute drive from Waikiki.  The terrain of the Kualoa Ranch ranges from valley to rainforest to beach to cliff face.  In my opinion, it is some of the most beautiful terrain in Oahu.  When we were planning our itinerary, Kualoa Ranch kept popping up in our research but I was hesitant to book a tour.  Though my love for film locations made me want to visit, we were also trying to avoid tours and locking ourselves into a scheduled activity. 

We went to dinner with friends who have lived in Oahu for many years.  While we were out to dinner, Kualoa Ranch came up and she admitted that she took a tour of the ranch for the first time a few months before we were there.  She said that even though it is a hot tourist tour, it is well worth the time and money because a tour is also the only way to see this part of the island. 

We decided to take the Movie Sites and Ranch Tour because it is only an hour long and there were other things we wanted to do that day.  The one hour tour costs $23 per adult and $15 per child.  The Movie Sites and Ranch Tour takes you on an bus tour through the Ka’a’awa Valley with stops at different filming locations.  We saw sites of the Pearl Harbor film:


We saw where they hid from dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.  I tried to get Daddy J to pretend to hide, but he wasn’t interested!


We saw Hurley’s golf course.


As well as the submarine from Lost (Hello…do you see how tiny that is?!).


We saw Godzilla’s footprints!  That green vehicle was our ride for the tour.


The Oahu mom was right when she guessed Godzilla’s footprints but like she said, she kind of has an unfair advantage!


We saw what is left of the Windtalkers scene.


We saw some of the Mighty Joe Young film spot too…


We also saw some beautiful scenery.





Kualoa Ranch offers many different tours.  You can take one tour or you can take several tours and spend all day on the ranch.  There are horseback tours, ATV tours, boat tours and more.

Things to Know Before You Go:

  • Tours begin early in the morning.  The early morning and evening tours are usually the least crowded according to the employee we spoke to.  The tours often fill up so you will want to buy your tickets in advance.  That being said, we showed up for the 9am tour and had no problem getting on to the tour.
  • There is a small cafeteria style restaurant that is open during different times of the day.  Depending on which tours you choose, lunch/dinner may be provided.
  • Because of traffic, it will take you about 45m to get to the Kuaoloa Ranch from Waikiki.
  • If you are only going to do one tour, plan it for the morning and take a ride up to the North Shore for lunch at one of the many Shrimp Trucks or Ted’s.

Stop by Trekaroo Spotlight Thursday to see many different travel posts!

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Doraku – Waikiki, Hawaii

You know when you hit that point on vacation where you can’t possibly eat another bite? 

We had enjoyed so many different meals at all the different recommended restaurants.  We had also spent A LOT of money on said meals.  When we are at home we do not eat many fancy meals out because we are trying to save money for our next vacation!  We had already splurged a lot!  On our second to last evening of our Hawaii vacation, we couldn’t decide what to eat.  We weren’t incredibly hungry and we were looking for something that was not extremely expensive.  We just decided to wander around Waikiki until we found something that caught our attention.  As we walked past the Royal Hawaiian Center, we decided to venture in and wander around.  When we got to the third floor, we found Doraku

doraku sushi

After looking at the menu we decided to grab some sushi.  It was worth it!  I had the Doraku roll because it was something different from what I had tried before.  It is tempura fried and so good!  Daddy J had a spicy tuna roll.  It was the perfect amount of food at a tolerable price.

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Doraku has several locations: Waikiki, Miami Beach, and coming soon to Honolulu, HI.

Be sure to visit Wanderfood Wednesday over at Wanderlust and Lipstick.

Macadamia Nut Pancakes – Honolulu, Hawaii

By the end of the week, the predictability of my breakfast choice was almost laughable.  While my husband was daring and adventurous trying all sorts of island fare at the various restaurants, I ate macadamia nut pancakes every chance I could.

macadamia pancakes

To make them yourself at home, the easiest way would be to mix up your favorite pancake batter and throw in a 1/2 to a cup of chopped macadamia nuts.  I like this recipe at Baking Bites that uses bananas as well.

Be sure to visit Wanderfood Wednesday over at Wanderlust and Lipstick!

LOST on Oahu!

I suffered through all of the seasons of Lost with much of the rest of the television watching public.  I really enjoyed the show andI loved the many beautiful places that were used during the filming.  Although the show has since gone off the air, I still wanted to find a few of the filming spots while we were on the island of Oahu. 

During our self-guided tour around the island of Oahu tour, we went all the way to the end of the road…literally.  We drove until the road ended at a dirt road that is only for government use.  A few minutes before the road ends, you will drive past YMCA Camp Erdman.  It might look a little familiar…but then again, it might not.


I was excited that a couple of you knew that this was the home of The Others in LOST when I posted the picture on Photo Friday.  It has since had a paint job so it might not look too familiar but they were indeed the homes of Ben and Juliet! 

Things to Know Before You Go:

  • This is a working YMCA camp.  There are families and children staying in the little cabins so you cannot just wander around at will. 
  • The YMCA offers $5 self-guided tours of the camp.  You must register at the camp Welcome Center. 
  • You can take pictures while you are there but you are not allowed to include any of the camp attendees in your pictures. 

A Mystery Photo Friday – Where was I?

I posted this picture on my Facebook page and asked if anyone could guess where I was while we were vacationing and I was so disappointed that only one person knew what it was!!!  Obviously, my friends don’t have the same affinity for finding movie and television locations that I do!

Do you know where we were?


Here are two hints:  It has recently had a paint job and we spotted it while we were in Hawaii!

Stop by Delicious Baby to see other Photo Friday entries.

Hiking Manoa Falls – Honolulu, Hawaii

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On Tuesday, I shared the story of a few stolen moments in the middle of a stormy rainforest with my husband.  It was romantic and fun and exciting all at the same time.  I did want to share a few things we learned while on that hike.  When we asked a local friend which hike is the best one for a waterfall, she immediately suggested Manoa Falls.  She said there were a lot of other hikes but that if we wanted to see a waterfall, Manoa Falls would not disappoint.  Another reason we chose Manoa Falls was because our friend said that it was a relatively easy hike and I was concerned about my freshly healed broken foot (the first broken foot!).

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Here are a few things to know before you go:

  • Leave the small children at home.  This is not a difficult hike, but I would not bring my four and six year old until they are older.  I probably wouldn’t take my own children until they were at least ten years old and that might be pushing it.  There are a lot of big steps to climb up and it is a true hike-no guardrails and in some areas it drops down VERY far!
  • Try to go on a semi-dry day.  Although I talked about how wonderful our very rainy hike was, in retrospect, it was not very safe.  As we were walking in, a local van driver waiting on a tourist group told us to be very careful because several people have slipped down the side of the mountain while hiking and had to be rescued.  Sometimes it takes hours to get rescue crews in.  He might have been trying to scare us, but it was definitely something to consider!  By the time we were on our way back down, the hiking pathway was flooded and water was up over the top of my tennis shoes in several places.

manoa falls

  • The waterfall is blocked off and you cannot swim in the pool.  It is a very small area and if it gets crowded it will be hard to manuever. 
  • Watch where you step!  There are tree roots in the path, rocks that can be slippery, and a few small wooden pathways.

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  • Be sure to look around, too!  You will see the Waihi Stream, wild fruits such as guava and ginger, as well as lots and lots of bamboo.  We especially liked the giant ferns that reminded us of Jurassic Park!

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  • You exit the hike the same way you enter.
  • The hike is about a mile and a half roundtrip.
  • Do not leave valuables in the car. 

We are participating in Trekaroo’s Spotlight Thursday!  Stop by to see what everyone else is talking about!

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Wailoa Ice – Honolulu, Hawaii


Besides my ridiculous (almost obsessive) love for guidebooks, I also tear articles from magazines about our destinations, send away for brochures, and scour the Internet for information. 

In September of 2009, my husband and I made our reservations for a 10 year anniversary trip to Hawaii.  We were going to go at the end of October 2010.  A few weeks later, my Everyday with Rachel Ray October 2009 issue arrived.  I was so excited to see an article in there about shave ice from all over.  One of the places listed was Wailoa Shave Ice in Honolulu, Hawaii so I tore out the page and taped it above my desk. 


For awhile, it was the only thing I collected on our trip to Hawaii.  Everytime I walked past or worked at my desk, I would look at that shave ice article and dream about our upcoming trip, a 2nd honeymoon if you will.  After I started collecting other articles and brochures, I moved the shave ice article to the Hawaii folder and forgot about it. 

A few weeks before the trip, I pulled all of the brochures, articles and guidebooks and started officially planning our week.  For this trip, we just made a list of everything we wanted to do and made decisions on what we wanted to do each day once we were in Hawaii.  As I was flipping through the pages, I got to the shave ice article.  It made me smile thinking about how it hung on my desk over a year before we were going.  It kind of became a symbol of our trip! 

Then the author of the article caught my eye…Kara Williams. 

Kara Williams?  Wait?!  Kara from The Vacation Gals?!?!  Is that the same person?  I know her…well, not really but she is one of my imaginary Internet friends!  I sent her a quick note and it was in fact her article.  The whole thing made us chuckle and I made sure that I definitely made it to Waioloa Ice!

We sampled a lot of shave ice in Hawaii, but I think our favorite was Wailoa Ice.  The shave ice was so thinly shaved that it really felt like snow.  It was a very creamy texture, not icy.  Our favorite flavor was Liliko’i, which is passionfruit. 


Wailoa Ice is in Honolulu but it is not near the hotels in Waikiki.  You will want to drive or take the bus or a taxi.  There is a small parking lot on the side of the building that is hit or miss.  We drove by it one time, and the place was packed so we decided to come back.  When we returned a few days later, there was only one car in the parking lot. 

The shave ice can be purchased in many flavors, colors, and sizes.  You can also have it with ice cream or other additions.  Prices start at just a few dollars.

To read about other shave ice places on the island of Oahu, stop by my article at Traveling Mom.

Be sure to visit Wanderfood Wednesday over at Wanderlust and Lipstick!

A Quiet Moment at Manoa Falls – Honolulu, Hawaii

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I have had a hard time going through my Hawaii pictures since we got home at the beginning of November.  I think it is just because I miss it so much.  Every time we leave a place we have visited, we always say things like “wow…we could definitely live here” or “I can’t wait to come back”.  But Oahu…with its 70’s style buildings, laid back North Shore where we spent a lot of our time, hiking trails, waterfalls, island music…it got inside of us and hasn’t left.  It was the first time that we really didn’t want to get on the plane to come home.  I truly believe that if we had our kids with us, we would have hired someone to pack up our house, ship our stuff and we would still be sitting on that island!  My husband has been listening to a local Oahu radio station on the computer, I have been comparing every meal out with the meals we had on the island and we are both trying to figure out how to get back there as soon as possible.

When a friend asked me what my favorite activity was, I told her that trip was so amazing that it was hard to pick a favorite activity.  If I had to pick one, I think I would choose hiking Manoa Falls.  It wasn’t just the hike, though.  Sure, it was an amazing hike through a rainforest and bamboo forest ending at a pool at the bottom of a beautiful waterfall.  It was the quiet moment that my husband and I stole together.  It was the feeling of being completely alone in this wild part of Hawaii when, in actuality, we were minutes away from Waikiki, a university, and many neighborhoods.

We went on a very rainy day.  As we entered the hike area, we watched two or three small groups come out and they looked like they had just taken a shower fully clothed.  It was pouring!  We decided to come back another day and did a U-turn in the parking.  We drove about three minutes back into Waikiki where the weather was beautiful and my husband talked me into trying the hike. 

“Don’t worry, honey.  The rain will go away soon.  Look how beautiful it is right now!”

HA!  It is moments like these that remind me why I love traveling so much…moments where I am talked into doing something I would never do at home…like hiking a mile and a half in a torrential downpour.  We would most certainly have stayed at home and scheduled the outing for another day. 

And so we hiked. 

It was wet and peaceful and wild and rainy.  It was beautiful and muddy and romantic all at the same time.  Except for one small group of tourists and a few college students, we were completely on our own.  We held hands as we wandered up the slopes and climbed the rocks.  We snapped a few pictures and just enjoyed the quiet, magical moments together.  That was on the way up to the waterfall.

On the way down to the car, after it had rained and rained, I was hoping that we wouldn’t have a “Romancing the Stone” moment.  You know, the moment when Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas get caught in a mudslide?

Go to :50 seconds to see the Romancing the Stone mudslide!

Luckily, this hike ended without any complications or mudslides.  When I dream about Hawaii, I remember this moment.  I remember how wonderful it was to spend time with my husband of ten years and enjoy the quiet moments without the worry of housework, bills, or kids pulling on our shirts vying for our attention. 

It was just him and me.  In a rainforest.

Stop by Mara’s at Mother of All Trips to see what other are dreaming about.  Stay tuned tomorrow for things to know before you hike Manoa Falls.