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2/25/2015 Shave Ice

I've got a little restaurant review for today.

Restaurant Review: Island Vintage Shave Ice
Type: Shave Ice
Location: Kalakaua Ave., By The Royal Hawaiian Mall
To be honest, I'm usually not a big fan of shave ice. Namely due to the syrups, which tend to be little more than sugar, water, and food coloring. Island Vintage, however, is one of the rare places that makes theirs out of real fruit (right down to bits of pulp and the occasional little seed) and the difference is enormous. You pay a little bit of a premium compared to run of the mill shave ice places, but it's worth every penny. Add in organic ice cream, fresh fruit, and other great toppings and you have what could very well be the best shave ice on the island. Naturally, you can make your own combination, but they also have several great signature combinations. The keiki size is good for a normal snack, while the regular is easily big enough for two (unless you're really hungry).
Personally, ice cream is still my top choice for a cool treats but shave ice is pretty great too, at least when you get it at Island Vintage. If you're anywhere near Honolulu, it really is the place to go for shave ice.


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2/232015 Still more Chinese New Year

More travelogue? More travelogue!

February 19th (Thursday): Lions on Poles
Apparently we still weren't quite done with Chinese New Year events. Thursday evening saw my mom, Connie, and I at Ala Moana to watch another lion dance. Though this one was done on poles. I'd only seen a lion pole dance once before at the Fantastic China expo a few months back. It was cool then and this one was even better. The combination of balance and coordination is really impressive.
On an unrelated note, we swung by the Honolulu Collectors' Expo over the weekend, which was surprisingly cool. There was a very wide variety of items, including a lot of old Japanese stuff. It was part antique shop and part that big flea market I like in Tokyo. There was even an anime/manga section with a much better selection of figurines than I would have expected. While I didn't buy much, it was a fun way to spend an hour or so.

See you Wednesday!


2/20/2015 In the garden of Ho'omaluhia

It's Friday and that means you can click the TWC button and vote to see the new bonus comic.

February 16th (Monday): Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden
Connie and I had originally planned on going hiking, but the hike was overcrowded (probably because of the holiday) so they wouldn't let us in. Now that's not normal for hiking trails, but the start of this one is in a gated housing development. Said development is required by law to let people through to access the trail, but they seem rather grudging about it and close it off as soon as the tiny parking lot fills up. Normally it's not a problem but, like I said, it was a holiday, which means more hikers.
Anyway, in the end we decided to visit a botanical garden with my parents. I've written about a couple of different gardens on this island before, but this was my first time visiting Ho'omaluhia, which is on the Windward (Eastern) side of the island. It's got a nice setting by the mountains and is divided up into a number of different sections, most of which are themed after different geographic areas (Polynesia, Africa, etc.). While the individual areas aren't huge, the garden as a whole is, so it's best to drive between the sections (all of which have their own parking lots).
There were some neat plants there, including a variety of flowering trees that I hadn't seen before. Some rather dangerous looking ones too. And hey, I think the entire trip was worth it just for this picture (Connie wants it to be named The Legend of Miss Red Mustache).
Anyway though, if you want to visit a botanical garden on Oahu, I'd recommend Foster or Waimea Valley (both of which I've written about in the past) over Ho'omaluhia. It's nice (and free), but the others have a better layout and more to see over all. Still, if you happen to be in the area, or really like plants and want to visit several botanical gardens, it may be worth a look.
And hey, if you're going from Honolulu you can stop at the Pali Lookout on the way and get a nice view of Oahu's Windward side. Or just get your picture taken there, like Connie and I did, and check out the wild chickens living in the area.

And, on a totally unrelated note, cheese and garlic wrapped in roast beef and spinach with a mushroom cap. Maybe I should go into catering...


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