Osaka & Kyoto

Selfie taken with my iPhone gimbal on our approach to Osaka Castle

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. 

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Dinner @ Pai Honolulu

My wife and I seated at the bar for the soft opening of Pai Honolulu

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.

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Super Secret Supper Club @ MW Restaurant

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.

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A Weekend on Kauai

The view of the ocean and the pools of the Grand Hyatt Kauai

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!

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New Eats: Vintage Cave Cafe

The unique entrance is just a preview to the design aesthetic of this new restaurant

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.

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New Eats: Gen Korean BBQ House

The long awaited all-you-can-eat yakiniku restaurant opened to big crowds this weekend

One of the culinary downsides to living in Minnesota was the utter lack of yakiniku restaurants. Right at the tail end of our five years there one place did open up, but for 5 years we went without being able to satisfy our craving to go to a restaurant and cook Korean-style bbq over a hot grill. Since we’ve moved back I’ve been to a fair number of yakiniku places around town, but I’m not really one for the “all you can eat” scene. I made an exception this past weekend to visit Gen Korean BBQ House, which opened its first Hawaii location in Ala Moana.

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