I just got back from two great weeks on Oahu and thought I'd give some quick write ups of things I thought were new (to me) or noteworthy. I've been many times over the years but hadn't been in a couple of years.
Whole Ox - Love this place and hit it twice for breakfast. It would actually fit right in here in LA. The smoky pork hash, eggs benedict with foie gras and piggy griddle cakes (a fried patty of pork and steel cut oatmeal) were all great.
Uncle's and Nico's - I'd never made it to either of these places and had heard a lot of raves. They were good but I didn't go nuts for either of them. I'd say I preferred Uncle's. I liked their poke trio (particularly a kukui nut poke) and an opakapaka in garlic cream sauce with crab meat (reminiscent of a dish from the old Sam Choy's on Kapahulu). I had a fish chowder at Nico's that was lacking in seasoning and overall their food was not very memorable.
Shimazu Shave Ice: I know it's the favorite these days but I didn't think the snow and flavors were as good as Waiola. They are so big that the outside gets frozen and crusty without much flavor.
Snow Factory: Shave ice...cream. Fun, but I think I liked the little passion fruit balls that explode in your mouth more than anything.
New thoughts on a few old favorites.
Ono and Helena head to head. Hadn't ever done these old favorites one right after the other. What's to say? They're both great. Helena's Kalua pig is a bit saltier, Ono a bit smokier but I like them both. Helena's lau lau had a bit more flavor in the meat and their prices are much better. Also loved Helena's haupia which is sort of a throw away at Ono. I like that Ono offers day old poi, which is so much more flavorful. Helena didn't offer it but maybe you had to ask (I didn't think to so my bad).
Fukuya: Still my favorite Okazuya. Love the mochiko chicken, various musubis, etc.
Alan Wong: Hadn't been in ten years. Had the classic tasting menu and loved it. I was excited about the kalua pig/foie gras sandwich but it was the tomato soup that accompanied with it that blew me away. Love the haupia sorbet in a chocolate shell and seafood lasagna (lobster and scallop with a cream sauce wrapped in a noodle).
Diamondhead Farmer's Market: Love this place as well. Found some great peri mangoes, the small yellow ones that are about the best fruit ever. Also really liked the "sea asparagus" - salty, cruncy, addictive little seaweed things.
Waiola Store. The service seems to have gone downhill a bit on the Kapahulu (now just off Kapahulu banch) but the ice was still tasty.
Side Street Inn: This was the first time I went to the Kapahulu branch to eat in. It loses some of the divey feel of the original but it was nice and roomy, easy to get a seat and great for kids.