World Trade Centre Memorial Site

September 11, 2011. A decade has passed. The victims and heroes will never be forgotten. I am fortunate to have a birds eye view of the memorial site, also known as Ground Zero, from my home. I took this photo on Sept 11, 2011.

It is so very heartbreaking to look out the window on this serene night. The site is lit up in blues and whites and reds. The two waterfalls are flowing freely in full force, the waters' hum is almost nostalgic of a distant Paradise. And I'm certain all those heroes and victims roam through God's heaven in their personal Eden and Paradise. There was music emanating off the surrounding buildings (a beautiful saxophone harmony was being practiced). A chorus of women were also practicing the US anthem all day. I have never heard such angelic voices in harmony with building acoustics carrying it up into the heavens. Simon and Garfunkel's 'The Sound of Silence' sounded just as beautiful as it filled the entire area and drifted into the sky. It's surreal and at the same time horrifying that humans could be capable of creating so much terror and sadness. Them I leave to God's hands to deal with. (black and white photo courtesy of google).


New York, New York

Beautiful Hawaiian Landscape and Flora

Hawaiian flora is some of the most stunning I have seen. My favorite flower is the incredibly fragrant frangipane which I fell in love with on my first trip to Hawaii's Maui Island a few years back, and then again while in Australia. I was really looking forward to wearing this flower in my hair AT ALL TIMES. :)

Unfortunately the skies were mostly gray and overcast during our five week stay on the island. In fact a 65 year old rain record was broken, while the streets of most Hawaiian Islands including Honolulu were flooded. The heavy clouds and gray tones did make for some fantastic HRD'ing.  I quite enjoy the layers and depth of the final product. I hope you do to.


Vegetarian Pita Pizza

I love these, they are very healthy and so quick and simple to make. The beauty of this meal is that you can make each one your own. For example, I smothered my whole wheat pita with fig goat cheese, and topped off with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, tomatoes, capers and red onions.  Bake in oven at 190 F for 20 minutes. I'm looking forward to making the next one, with basil pesto ricotta, and chicken.

Rustic Wild Berry Pie

I love pies, sweet or savory, I LOVE PIES! Pecan pies, apple and cinnamon pies, fruit tarts, salmon pot pies, shepherd's pies, you get the idea.  A flaky, tender, delicious crust is the essence of your pie, it's very important to get this right or the whole pie will be a flop.  All in all the pastry is simple and quick to make and very rewarding when you get it right.  I added cinnamon, clove and nutmeg to my pie crust dough, which soon filled my kitchen with warm fragrant spicy tones.  I chose to fill my pie with a ricotta and cream cheese mixture infused with orange essence, topped off with strawberries, blueberries and apples.  It's delicious served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Hawaiian Locals

We come across some interesting locals on the island, but no one stood out more than this chicken man. Living in a small windward community this man raises chickens, which live amongst a dozen of beautiful kitties and one very perky dog.  He offered us a rooster for $100, we politely declined and told him we've already had lunch. :)


Oahu's Dining on a Dime

While my boyfriend and I were ecstatic that we had five weeks to play in the sun, we knew we had to do Hawaii on a budget, or we'd soon be coming home to maxed out credit cards.  I'm excited to say that with some research on best local cheap eats, and a bit of luck we were soon dining and wining for just a few dollars a day. I've tried to do my best in documenting the best places we've visited through photography. If you ever find yourself hungry on Oahu, I highly recommend hitting up any of these. They will NOT disappoint or it's on me! Well, not really, but I know you'll love them.

1.  Grilled Steaks Truck
     S/W Corner of Kuhio Ave. and Kai'Olu St. Honolulu, Oahu, HI

Don't let the food truck venue fool you. This food truck, hands down, serves the BEST grilled steak in Hawaii, if not the world for that matter, at ridiculously low prices. Look at the menu below and you'll get the idea. Situated off the tourists beaten path it only makes sense that you're joining locals in the line up. And frankly that's how you want to be dining, it's also how you know you're getting a deal, as locals simply can't afford to visit the Cheesecake Factory on a regular basis with all it's overpriced food.

Not only do you get the juiciest grilled 8oz TOP SIRLOIN STEAK, but you also get savory grilled onions, a green salad, two scoops of rice, a piece of corn on the cob and garlic bread all for only $6.95! The garlic shrimp is finger licking good!  The plate is so action filled, there is more than enough food for two. This was our go to place for lunches and dinners, the food is so divine we've indulged twice a day numerous times. A must go to food truck when in Waikiki. There is ample communal dining table room for eating in. Drinks are $1 from the vending machine.

2.  Andy's Kahuku Shrimp
     745 Keeaumoku St. Ste 105, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 
     (808) 944-4040

It's no surprise this Korean owned diner started off as a food truck, as local food trucks are know for some of the best food served on the islands of Hawaii. It offers the best take on shrimp scampi with their own spicy garlic shrimp twist.  For $9.95 you get a good dozen jumbo grilled shrimp tossed in garlic with their secret spicy sauce served over a massive bed of rice, but not before you're served a selection of five Korean starters on the house! BUT, don't stop there, for $7.95 per plate I recommend their succulent grilled kalbi (Korean short ribs). Being a short rib fanatic, I can say with the utmost seriousness, these are the best kalbi on Oahu.  This place has consistently amazing online reviews from Yelp and the likes. It's surely NOT going to disappoint.  You can join the thousands before you in signing the establishments walls and making your own mark on the place.

3.  Teddy's Bigger Burger
     Waikiki, Hawaii, Oahu
     134 Kapahulu Ave. Honolulu, HI
     Kailua, Hawaii, Oahu
     539 Kailua, HI

This old time burger diner is everything it's cracked up to be. While the burgers themselves can run for $10 if you choose to indulge in their extra toppings it's surely worth every penny! These are massive, thick, juicy, grilled to order, kobe grade beef burgers, not the thinly sliced processed looking burger patties served at Cheeseburger in Paradise Restaurant chain, which in my foodie opinion is seriously overhyped and overpriced ($15-$18 per burger). Teddy's Burgers are honestly the best burger I have ever had and I'm sad that the only locations outside of Hawaii are Tokyo, Japan and Woodinville, Washington. 

However Teddy's Bigger Burgers has an often overlooked item on their menu that will make you go WOW, which is also the reason I'm adding Teddy's Bigger Burger to my list of Oahu's Dining on a Dime. It's the create your own salad, which Teddy's describes as giant. This salad is the GIANT of all GIANTS! With an extra 4 toppings to choose from such as avocado, walnuts, blue cheese, cucumber, tomatoes and the list goes on, it runs you less than $5.50 taxes included! This salad is truly large enough to feed 3 people, and the 4 toppings are ridiculously generously sized. While I'm not sure why this salad is not $15 or $20 dollars, it's best not to ask and just enjoy this steal.

4.  L&L Drive-Inn @ Ward Entertainment Center
     310 Kamakee Street, Honolulu, HI 
     +1 808-597-9088

We feel very fortunate to have come across this particular L&L Drive-Inn during our first week on the Island and we swore we'd eat there everyday. While we may have been overly eager, we did frequent this location many times over. This Hawaiian barbecue chain offers great local food at very affordable pricing, but you have to be very careful which location you visit as the food is anything from consistent from one location to another, and in most cases can prove to be very disappointing.  This location made our list as tried and true in quality, freshness, taste and importantly affordability.

Their $3.25 salmon burger rocks. Other must try meals include a choice of chicken or beef teriyaki on brown rice with vegetables for $3.95!  What became close to our stomachs and hence hearts is their garlic shrimp scampi salad, served over brown rice and beans. It's the MOST shrimp for your buck on the Island of Oahu at $9.95 per plate, and is also an incredibly healthy option.

5.  Yogurtland Waikiki
     2490 Kalakaua Avenue Suite 1A, Honolulu, HI
     +1 808-922-2626

What's a dining list without dessert options. Yogurtland Waikiki is simply to die for! What a 
fun and interactive way of getting dessert. The best part...by the time you've decided on your 
ice cream yogourt you get to sample all the flavors to your hearts content! You grab a bucket, 
and fill it with yogurt of your choice, and head over to the toppings station where fresh fruits, 
tapioca balls, cookies, nuts, sprinkles, syrups and everything else your heart can desire awaits 
you. You pay by weight, and the ridiculously low pricing means you get a full two cups of 
yogurt and toppings for under $4.00!

6.  Shrimp Shack (World Famous Yellow)
     53-360 Kamehameha Hwy
     Hauula, Hawaii 96717, United States
     (808) 256-5589

Just south of Punaluu Valley Road, on Kamehameha Hwy is a yellow food truck that serves hands down the best spicy shrimp scampi, amongst other amazing menu choices. While this place is not cheap, shrimp scampi is about $10, and crab cakes $9, it is totally worth the drive and the extra few bucks. There is a reason this place has been featured on the food network and the travel network! I recommend the spicy option for the shrimp preparation which makes the succulent finger licking shrimp that much better. 

While accidentally passing Giovanni's Shrimp Truck and feeling hungry, we've decided to make a stop.  It's ads grace just about every tourist magazine.  While tourists flock to this food truck hoping for something outstanding, they are unexpectedly paying for the MOST expensive, mediocre shrimp scampi on the island at $14 per dozen served over white rice. We both felt like we've just been suckered into a tourist trap and had been taken advantage of. Not to mention the Giovanni Shrimp Truck having some of the worst service on the island, their acne ridden teenager cooks are just plain rude. There are so many other shrimp trucks on the island that are far superior and have such a higher quality of shrimp scampi and reasonable prices, that this place is just not worth your money.

7.  Ohana Bar-B-Q
     16 Kainehe Street
     Kailua, HI 96734-6129, United States
     (808) 263-0024

Great Korean diner in Kailua, fantastic, succulent, delicious Korean short ribs and spicy chicken. What's great about this place is the portions,  unless you're planning on taking a lot home order only one meal as it's more than enough for two. While the service is hit and miss depending on whether you get the rude mother, or the not so bad daughter, the food is worth the stop and more than makes up for the bad service. 

8.  Crepes No Ka'Oi
     131 Hekili St # 106
     Kailua, HI 96734-2868, United States
     (808) 263-4088
Situated near the beaches of Kailua, this creperie serves the most delicious savory and sweet crepes as well as dessert waffles and fantastic tea varieties. We ordered the scrambled eggs, ham and cheese crepe and for dessert a strawberry, banana, nutella crepe.  Bring a big appetite as these amazing crepes are super filled.  Looking back at the portions, two crepes was too much food for us, and I recommend splitting one. One super large portion is under $10.  The staff here is like one big family, they are super sweet and friendly.  Our teas were on the house just because they liked us! And we were asked whether we'd like to be on their new wall of friendly customers.  We went back for more but this place as well as others are closed on Tuesdays.  Highly highly recommended!

9.  Kona Brewing Company
     7192 Kalanianole Highway, Honolulu, HI 96825, United States 
     +1 808-394-5662

We were delighted to find this bar.  Not only do they specialize in hand crafted ale, they make hand 
tossed pizza that is simply outstanding.  Give their cocktails a try they are  spectacular as well.  
While this place is the priciest on my list, as a large pizza runs at $20 - $25, the portion is giant and the
two of you will be eating leftovers the next day.  Great local musical talent is surely to entertain you, as 
well as the little duckies that let themselves onto the waterfront patio and wander from table to table 
hoping for a dropped bite. 

10.  Ezogiku
       2146 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI
       (808) 926-8616

Open late this place is affordable and delicious.  It's ramen at $6 - $8 is a fraction of the price of that from Ramen Nakamura across the street $12 - $15.  We loved the senior Asian ladies that worked the floor and they were absolutely lovely.