Sunday, August 1, 2010

Two Scoops Ice Cream in Ko Olina Station


"Holoholo" (to walk or travel for fun) over to Two Scoops Ice Cream Parlor and English Tea Room for some "Ono" (delicious) ice cream flavors such as Chocolate Macadamia, Hawaiian Mud, Coconut Macadamia or Rainbow Sorbet along with standards like Strawberry, Chocolate and Vanilla.

Check out the beautiful mural inside the shop, painted by Laura Margulies.





Transplants, Pat & Nathan from England fell in love with Hawaii in 2006 and lucky for us, they "transplanted" themselves and their Scoops Ice Cream Parlor to beautiful Ko Olina, thus Two Scoops.





Located at the right front corner of the Ko Olina Station shopping center within the Ko Olina Resort. Next to the Golf Course.

Two Scoops Ice Cream Ko Olina
Mandarin Orange or Knickerbocker Glory Sundae anyone? Let's meet up at Two Scoops. It would be our pleasure!

The Hardings--
Homeowners & Proprietors, the Beach Villa Resort

The Beach Villa Resort is located in West Oahu within the beautiful Ko Olina Resort. We offer luxurious vacation rentals with two and three bedroom villas right on the beach. Luxury hotel accommodations and amenities at condo prices.

The Ko Olina Resort is located 17 miles from Honolulu International Airport and just over a half-hour’s drive from downtown. If you've been to the Paradise Cove Luau or have been shuttled from Waikiki to golf, you've already been to our beautiful resort. Click HERE for reservations

Monday, July 26, 2010

Disney Aulani at Ko Olina Reservations

The new Disney Aulani Resort in Ko Olina is accepting reservations with introductory rates for a room, called a "studio" for $399.00 per night. The hotel has been staying pretty full since it opened in the fall or 2011.

Aulani has 481 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club rooms and 359 traditional hotel rooms. The resort has Disney touches that evoke a Polynesian village, drawing upon Hawaiian landscapes, culture, art and stories that are being developed with the assistance of various local advisors or "Kapuna".

Rooms are located in two,15-story towers with views of the ocean, mountains and the lush grounds. One of Aulani’s visual highlights is the volcano in the center of the two towers that anchors the resort’s water park feature. Imagineers incorporated details and images that reflect Hawaiian stories and animals.

Look for the “Hidden menehunes" Instead of "Hidden Mickeys" that are placed around the resort. Menehunes are the mythical people of Hawaiian culture (a leprechaun is the closest thing that comes to mind).

If your thinking about staying in Ko Olina for your next vacation, give the Disney Aulani Resort or our Beach Villa Resort a shout. I think you'll find our luxurious two and three bedroom accommodations at the Beach Villa Resort to offer the perfect vacation spot for you and your family.

We look forward to welcoming you and your family along with Mickey, Minnie, Lilo and Stitch to our neighborhood. It would be our pleasure!

The Hardings--
Homeowners & Proprietors, the Beach Villa Resort

The Beach Villa Resort is located in West Oahu within the beautiful Ko Olina Resort. We offer luxurious vacation rentals with two and three bedroom villas right on the beach. Luxury hotel accommodations and amenities at condo prices.

The Ko Olina Resort is located 17 miles from Honolulu International Airport and just over a half-hour’s drive from downtown. If you've been to the Paradise Cove Luau or have been shuttled from Waikiki to golf, you've already been to our beautiful resort. Click HERE for reservations

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pirates of the Caribbean to Start Filming during August 2010 in Ko Olina, Oahu, Hawaii



The pirates are coming, the pirates are coming! The fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is set to start filming in and around the Ko Olina resort on the Island of Oahu in August. The film crew started filming during the middle of June 2010 on Kauai.

If you are staying at the Beach Villa Resort in Ko Olina during the month of July, you may already see the the Pirate Ship next door at Kalaeloa Harbor being readied. Filming is set to start on Oahu in August.


The new Disney Aulani Resort is being constructed, one lagoon over from our property, the Beach Villa Resort and is set to open in the Fall of 2011.


Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, is set to be released on May 20, 2011 in traditional 2D, IMAX, Disney Digital 3-D and IMAX 3D.

According to wikipedia, the plot of the movie involves Jack Sparrow crossing paths with a woman from his past, but he's not sure if it's love or if she wants to follow him so she can find the lost Fountain of Youth. Things seem clearer when she forces him aboard The Queen Anne's Revenge, the ship of the infamous Blackbeard. Here, Jack finds himself on a brand new journey -- and unsure as to who he should fear more, the woman from his past or the cutthroat pirate.

So come stay with us and keep on the lookout for pirates! We look forward to welcoming you and your family along with Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Lilo and Stitch to our neighborhood. It would be our pleasure!

The Hardings--
Homeowners & Proprietors, the Beach Villa Resort

The Beach Villa Resort is located in West Oahu within the beautiful Ko Olina Resort. We offer luxurious vacation rentals with two and three bedroom villas right on the beach. Luxury hotel accommodations and amenities at condo prices.

The Ko Olina Resort is located 17 miles from Honolulu International Airport and just over a half-hour’s drive from downtown. If you've been to the Paradise Cove Luau or have been shuttled from Waikiki to golf, you've already been to our beautiful resort. Click HERE for reservations

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Local Hawaiian Rums and Tropical Cocktails

A recent Beach Villa Resort guest, asked us about the local Hawaiian Rum scene. I never really thought about locally produced rums before. Mai Tai's are kind of ubiquitous around here, being the local drink and all, so you never stop to think where the rum comes from.

So after researching the local rum scene for our guest, I thought I would share my discoveries. So enjoy a Mai Tai, Lava Flow, Tropical Itch, Rum Runner, Zombie or other Hawaiian Tropical Cocktail created with a locally produced Hawaiian rum while on vacation at the Beach Villa Resort in Ko Olina, Hawaii.

As always, please drink responsibly!

If you would like to make your own cocktails while watching a sunset or ten, we provide the glasses, blenders and cocktail recipes in the kitchen of your villa. Costco sells various rums and Target and Safeway also sell the needed ingredients to make your own Mai Tai's or other tropical libations.

Koloa, a dark rum from Kaua'i, Hawaii was the first rum brand that sounded promising.

Their product is produced in Kaua'i, Hawaii using sugar supplied by Gay & Robinson Sugar Plantation. Gay & Robinson has subsequently shut down so before Koloa runs out of sugar, they will be looking to work with small local growers. Sugar production has all but stopped in Hawaii so hopefully Koloa's business will continue to grow and support local farmers.

According to the write up:
This rum has a bold, rich flavor with tropical undertones and a deep mahogany color.

A nose of Vanilla, crème brûlée, cola and spice.
The initial taste is rich caramel, warm molasses
and honey leading to bright vanilla and toffee flavors. The finish is warm and smooth for a rum
of this young age.


The Koloa dark rum won a Gold Award at the RumXP International Competition at the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival. However, there were only two entrants in the dark rum category so this may not mean anything.

Well, I stand corrected as Koloa just won a Bronze in the White Rum category, a Gold in the Gold Rum category and a Silver in the Dark rum category at the March 2010 Rum festival. They competed against 42 other producers from around the world.

If you give the Koloa or any of the other rums a try, feel free to leave a comment at the end of this blog as to how you liked it.

Koloa purchased their production facility from the Tateishi family which has produced hand made jams, jellies and syrups since 1931 using hand picked local fruits. The company continues to produce the Kukui brand, honoring the Tateishi family.

The Koloa company produces a white, gold, dark and spiced rums, as well as a Mai Tai mix.

Maui Dark Rum from Maui, Hawaii was another rum brand that I came across.

It is an inexpensive rum that makes a fine base for bold tropical drinks such as Mai Tai's and Zombies.



Maui Dark Rum is produced on Haleakala Ranch using Maui sugarcane molasses and purified Maui water. Haleakala Ranch is a 30,000 acre ranch that borders the Haleakala National Park.

The bottle comes with a miniature lei around the neck as shown in the photo.

Tasting notes suggest that it is a really smooth rum with a nice finish. Much smoother than expected considering that the rum is not aged. It doesn't have a lot of depth for sipping however, but it makes a great tropical drink.





Old Lahaina rum from Maui, Hawaii is a rum brand that I came across at the Island Country Markets in Ko Olina. See the Island Country Markets blog entry for directions.

Old Lahaina rum is produced in Maui's historic plantation town of Paia, Hawaii using sugar supplied by HC&S. HC&S produces some of the finest raw sugar in the world.

Old Lahaina rum is located in the old HC&S sugar mill where the father and son team spent three years constructing the distillery. They have two steam-fired 500 gallon Badger "pot stills" that were originally built for the New England Rum Company in 1946. This is really cool.

You may have seen HC&S "Sugar in the raw" products in the brown box at stores on the mainland. However, I have noticed that the latest "Sugar in the Raw" boxes have changed their wording from 100% Hawaiian Cane sugar to just 100% Cane Sugar so I hope that doesn't mean HC&S has stopped growing sugar cane.

I have a call into the folks on Maui to verify if HC&S is still in production. In the mean time, If you know, please leave a comment at the bottom of the blog.

Old Lahaina crafts three different rums, a Silver, Gold and a Dark. The Silver according to their website is good for drinks like Mai Tai's as the Silver does not have a strong rum flavor which allows the fruit notes of the tropical drinks to come through. The Gold has a superb mouth feel and is good straight up. The Dark is the perfect topper for your very own Mai Tai with great floating properties. It has a deep molasses and vanilla flavor.

Old Lahaina just won it's first award, at the March 2010 Rum festival. A Bronze Award for both their Gold and Dark rums. They just started distribution in February of 2010 so their first award came pretty quickly. They competed against 42 other producers from around the world.

"So great job to both Koloa and Old Lahaina for competing against some really tough famous and not so famous rum producers and coming out on top. This bodes well for our new cottage industry of local rum distillers."

Mai Tai

Here's a popular version of the traditional Mai Tai from the "Mai Tai" Bar located on the beach at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki. The Royal Hawaiian just completed an $85 million dollar renovation and the "Pink Palace" probably looks the same now as when Victor Bergeron created the original Mai Tai recipe and brought it to the Royal Hawaiian and Moana Hotels in Hawaii in the early 1950's. If you can believe it, back then those hotels along with the Surfrider made up all of Waikiki!

Ingredients:
1 oz. Dark Rum (Koloa, Old Lahaina or Maui Dark)
1 oz. Light rum (Koloa or Old Lahaina Silver)
1 oz. Orange Curacao
3 oz. Orange Juice and/or Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz. Lime Juice
1 oz. Orgeat (*Use something good like Monin Almond Syrup.)
Dash Grenadine or **POG

*Second choice, Finest Call. A distant third choice, Fee Brother’s. The quality of the Orgeat is important.

**POG is Pineapple, Orange and Guava Juice mixed together. You can buy it pre-made at any grocery store in Hawaii including Safeway, Target & Costco, all located one exit away in Kapolei.

Preparation:
Pour all of the ingredients into a glass in the order listed above. Stir and garnish with a slice of pineapple and a cherry. As an extra special treat, put the Mai Tai in a hollowed out pineapple like they do at the Royal Hawaiian hotel.

So come enjoy a drink with us and create your next cocktail in your fully equipped luxurious vacation villa at the Beach Villa Resort in Ko Olina, Oahu, Hawaii. Take a sip as you watch the sun set into the blue green waters off of your sandy beach, another perfect day in paradise. It would be our pleasure.

The Hardings--
Homeowners & Proprietors, the Beach Villa Resort

The Beach Villa Resort is located in West Oahu within the beautiful Ko Olina Resort. We offer luxurious vacation rentals with two and three bedroom villas right on the beach. Luxury hotel accommodations and amenities at condo prices.

The Ko Olina Resort is located 17 miles from Honolulu International Airport and just over a half-hour’s drive from downtown. If you've been to the Paradise Cove Luau or have been shuttled from Waikiki to golf, you've already been to our beautiful resort. Click HERE for reservations

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Matsumoto's Shave Ice in Haleiwa is Onolicious

Photo of the famous bridge in Haleiwa, taken by my Dad in the 1960's
Photo of Haleiwa taken by my father, Peter in the 1960's


I grew up in Haleiwa and I remember my mom taking me to Matsumoto's for a cold Shave Ice on a typically warm day as a reward for sitting still while getting my haircut. Great memories. The barbershop is now a dress shop and also the new location for Aoki's Shave Ice, but Matsumoto's is in the same spot as when I was a child, some 60 years ago.

Since then, they've recently expanded, spruced up the place and added a larger tee-shirt shop.

Matsumoto's has been around for almost 70+ years and this review will be just as appropriate 10 years from now as it is now. (In fact it is, as I wrote this originally in 2010 so next year in 2020 it will be 10 years!)



Matsumoto's is by far the most-famous Shave Ice place in Hawaii,
maybe anywhere.

So what is Shave Ice? If you've every had a snow cone on the mainland your headed in the right direction with "Shave Ice" having a finer texture. It starts off as a block of ice that is shaved with a machine into a fine powdery "snow" and then scooped up and put on top of a paper cone in a ball. It resembles an Ice Cream Cone in shape when it's all done.

Poured over this powdery snowball is any number of syrups that range in flavors from tropical such as Pineapple, Mango, Lychee or Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) to traditional flavors such as Cherry, Apple or Bubblegum. You can ask for more than one flavor to be poured onto your "Shave Ice" including Rainbow which is three pre-selected flavors.

In addition to the Syrup's you can also ask for Ice Cream or Azuki Beans which are red Japanese sweet beans that are placed into the bottom of the cone or the latest addition which is coconut cream which is poured on top of the "Shave Ice" if you need an additional dose of sugar to get you going!

In the end, you walk out of Matsumoto's with a rainbow of yummy sweet goodness. (If you don't like it too sweet, you can always tell them to use half the syrup.) If your afraid your concoction will drip all over your clothes, you can also purchase a plastic holder to contain all of the sweet goodness. However, die hard "Shave Ice" eaters will forgo the "touristy" touch since they will be in their bathing suits anyway and can just rinse off in the ocean. I'll have to say that I have purchased the holder from time to time when taking it with me in the car instead of eating it on the spot.

Matsumoto's has been open since 1951 and is a popular spot for both tourists and locals and they make 1,000+ servings a day. Don't be alarmed if the line is out the door, down the sidewalk and into the parking lot. This is normal and the ordering process moves the line pretty quickly. If it's a shorter line, count your blessings!

The Matsumoto's Ordering Dance

As the line approaches the front door, you will notice a menu board with all of your options. Here is how you choose.

I. A person will be standing half way down the line taking orders. You don't wait until you reach the cash register.
1 - Select a Large or Small Cone. I always order a large, the rest of the family typically a small.
2 - Decide if you would like Ice Cream, Azuki Beans on the bottom or the Coconut Cream topping. I get Ice Cream or Beans, the rest of the family doesn't want any extra fru fru touching their "Shave Ice".
3 - Decide on your flavors, my favorite (I get all three): Lilikoi, Li Hing Mui and Lychee. My daughter orders Cherry and my Son Pineapple, Mango and his flavor of that moment.
4 - Ask for the plastic holder as needed.

II. When you reach the cash register, pay for your order.

III. Wait over on the side until they call your name at which time you go back to claim your delicious prize. You can use the time to look around at the tee shirts. We buy them from time to time to remind us of home.

We usually visit Matsumoto's after we have had our Mahi Mahi fix at Kua Aina's. If we're headed to the beach, we just take our "Shave Ice" with us. We'll post some of our favorite beaches in a separate post.

Directions:
Head out of the Beach Villa's Resort on the H1 freeway heading East ("Mauka or towards the mountain"), next take the left exit on the H1 freeway onto the H2 freeway going North ("Makai, towards the Sea"). Continue Makai until the H2 ends. Continue to follow the signs to the North Shore and Haleiwa. There are multiple routes but as long as you continue Makai, your fine as eventually, you'll fall off into the Ocean! At the traffic circle, you'll follow the signs for Haleiwa which is towards the right heading North/East, Waialua and Mokuleia are the other way which we'll cover in a blog for another day. You'll pass Kua Aina on the right and a little past there you'll see a church on the right with Matsumoto's on the left. You may see another line on the left right before Matsumoto's, it's for Aoki's, another Shave Ice place in Haleiwa. It wasn't there when I was a child so being a die hard traditionalist, I have never been.


Come stay with us, it would be our pleasure and we'll see you in line at Matsumoto's!

The Hardings--
Homeowners & Proprietors, the Beach Villa Resort

The Beach Villa Resort is located in West Oahu within the beautiful Ko Olina Resort. We offer luxurious vacation rentals with two and three bedroom villas right on the beach. Luxury hotel accommodations and amenities at condo prices. If you've been to the Paradise Cove Luau or have been shuttled from Waikiki to golf, you've already been here. Click HERE for reservations

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Wife's favorite North Shore lunch spot


I'm in big trouble (not really) if I don't take my wife to Kua Aina's for lunch at least once during our trip to Hawaii and the North Shore where I grew up.


The Kua Aina menu features hamburgers but in my opinion, the real draw here is the Mahi Mahi burger. I've had the hamburger, and well it's a hamburger. The Mahi burger on the other hand contains two tasty pieces of Mahi Mahi, lovingly placed on a Kaiser Roll, lathered in a home made sauce that is onolicious. Wish I could sneak out the recipe! Lettuce and Tomato accompany the burger. Add a large order of shoe string fries, the perfect companion to the Mahi Mahi. They have the perfect texture of soft and crunch. My mouth is watering!


I like to order mine with Ortega Green Chiles (my years in Santa Fe, New Mexico) or Pineapple. My wife likes to order it with Pepper Jack Cheese.


If your children don't appreciate the Mahi Mahi, here's my suggestion. On the days our children 12 & 14 don't feel like having Kua Aina's, they have us drive through the McDonalds in Haleiwa where my daughter likes to order Saimin (Ramen Noodles) and my son likes to order a double cheese burger with fries. Kua Aina is expensive and they only take cash, so if the kids in your family are not craving a Mahi Mahi burger, just order at McDonalds and bring their lunch to Kua Aina. The McDonalds is on the left side of the road in a plantation looking building when driving in from the Beach Villa Resort. Kua Aina also makes good grilled cheese sandwiches, according to my daughter.

Directions:
Head out of the Beach Villa's Resort on the H1 freeway heading East ("Mauka or towards the mountain"), next take the left exit on the H1 freeway onto the H2 freeway going North ("Makai, towards the Sea"). Continue Makai until the H2 ends. Continue to follow the signs to the North Shore and Haleiwa. There are multiple routes but as long as you continue Makai, your fine as eventually, you'll fall off into the Ocean! At the traffic circle, you'll follow the signs for Haleiwa which is towards the right heading North/East, Waialua and Mokuleia are the other way which we'll cover in a blog for another day.


Enjoy the Ono ("Delicious") Grinds ("Food in Pidgen English*") and we'll see you there!

*(Pidgin is not Hawaiian but a local dialect made up of words from many different languages by the people who settled here to work on the sugar and pineapple plantations. It's a mix of Hawaiian, English, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino and others. (Let me know if I missed some languages.)

The Hardings--
Homeowners & Proprietors, the Beach Villa Resort

The Beach Villa Resort is located in West Oahu within the beautiful Ko Olina Resort. We offer luxurious vacation rentals with two and three bedroom villas right on the beach. Luxury hotel accommodations and amenities at condo prices. If you've been to the Paradise Cove Luau or have been shuttled from Waikiki to golf, you've already been here. Click HERE for reservations