Each year I reflect back on the meals I’ve had and the hundreds of photos I’ve taken. As I reflect on the year’s meals I also begin to compile a listing of the best bites. 2017 was my first full year back in Hawaii and I’m very pleased that half of my list came from local restaurants. For this list the rules are simple: 1. The list cannot include dishes I’ve had from a particular restaurant/chef in previous years (otherwise a certain caviar brioche dish would most certainly be on here), and 2. While these are my 10 favorite from this year, they are listed in no particular order or rank.
Many that know me are familiar with one of my interests: Churning. For those who are unfamiliar, “churning” refers to maximizing one’s normal spend to obtain reward points and miles. These points come predominately from credit card sign up bonuses. By maximizing these bonuses I have been able to accumulate a nice stash of points across various programs which I then use to book travel. For our first trip earned through “churning”, we visited the Kansai region of Japan! Thanks to churning we were able to enjoy over $16,000 in air fare and hotel accommodations for a little over $700 in taxes and fees.
I might be a broken record by now but I can’t but express how much the Honolulu dining scene has grown over the past few years. New and exciting restaurants, exploring new avenues of cuisine, seem to be opening at a rapid pace! Newest on the scene is the long awaited Pai Honolulu, which will grand open tonight.
For those in the know, Frolic’s “Super Secret Supper Club” series was initially started by my friend and fellow food writer, Grant “Chuggy Bear” Shindo. The events start off as invitation only, with any leftover seats made available to the public through Frolic’s website. Grant and Frolic hope to host one or two of these events a month, which will make for a fun series of dining throughout the year. These dinners are designed to give the opportunity for local dining enthusiasts to experience unique menus at some of the hottest restaurants in town. Tonight’s dinner was hosted at MW Restaurant, one of Honolulu’s top fine dining restaurants.
This week we are celebrating our wedding anniversary, and so we decided to go on a weekend getaway to Kauai this past weekend to celebrate! The last time we were on Kauai was during a stop on the NCL Hawaii cruise almost 10 years ago so it was due time for us to visit the Garden Island once more. Thanks to my credit card churning hobby, I was able to get us two free nights at the Grand Hyatt Kauai along with a free roundtrip flight on Hawaiian Airlines. Any chance to spend a weekend on vacation is great, but getting to do so with zero travel costs for airfare and hotel is particularly awesome!
Occupying the space of the high-end tasting menu restaurant, costing $300+ per person, the original Vintage Cave Honolulu in the former basement area of Shirokiya was inaccessible to many. The high price point and club membership format meant that most Hawaii diners would never get the opportunity to experience the unique design of the restaurant. That was until Vintage Cave Cafe, the originals sister-restaurant, opened its doors this week.