Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Annual Whale Count, January 26, February 23, and March 30, 2013


On your next visit to Hawaii, do something different and join other conservation minded residents and visitors for the Sanctuary Ocean Count project. This annual whale count gives you the opportunity to view these creatures in their natural habitat and participate in the conservation of humpback whales in a state-wide effort to estimate their population.

The count is held on the last Saturday of January, February, and March (during peak whale season) of each year from 8:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

The sight of a whale breaching must rank among the most magnificent natural spectacles on earth! You can help ensure the survival of these majestic creatures.

Group leaders guide volunteers in a systematic count at selected shorelines and lookout points around the Islands including our very own lagoon four in Ko Olina. Leaders provide the necessary tools and information. Visit the Website for further details on how to participate.

Directions:
From our Beach Villas property on Lagoon Two, stroll along the beach boardwalk to Lagoon Four which is just a few minutes away on foot. Stop off at Kolohe's on Lagoon Three for a delicious refreshment or for some morning coffee on your way too or from. Give yourself about 30 minutes for a leisurely stroll and refreshments. (You can also watch the Whales from your balcony if your villa is on a higher floor and has an ocean view.)


Site 2: Ko `Olina, Lagoon Four
Elevation: 10-40 feet
Comments: Good viewing site.
Bathymetry: The shallow reef here (3 fathoms) includes a complex reef bottom with a mixture of limestone boulders and outcrops, as well as hard bottom and rubble. Further offshore, at approximately 3-10 fathoms, the bottom is consolidated, grooved limestone with sand in the grooves. Ocean bottom is soft with a strip of limestone sand bottom extending about 875 feet parallel to the shoreline.

So come join us at the annual Whale count, it would be our pleasure!

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

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

Billabong Pipe Masters at the Banzai Pipeline - Dec 8 - 20, 2012


Time to head to the beach (no swimming!) for the Billabong Pipe Masters on Dec 8 - 20, 2012 near the beach that I grew up on, Ehukai Beach on Oahu's North Shore. Billabong Pipe Masters caps off the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and is the final event in the men's World Championship Tour. It is the BIGGEST surfing event in the world on the most dangerous waves on the planet. Watch surfers from around the globe compete for $425,000.00 in prize money.

The waves at the Banzai Pipeline are awesome with huge winter swells coming in from the Aleutian Islands, all the way across the Pacific ocean. You'll recognize the waves as they have that beautiful distinct curl where the surfers are able to ride inside and “shoot” the Pipeline.

The Banzai Pipeline got it's name in the 50's when Bruce Brown, famed surf cinematographer screamed "Banzai" while watching another surfer ride down the face of a gnarly wave.

So grab your sunscreen and get here early to find a prime spot on the white sand beach and join the other bronzed and beautiful as they kick back, talk story and check out the action, both on and off the waves. It would be our pleasure!

Billabong Pipe Masters - North Shore, Dec 8th - 20th, 2012. This site will be updated with all of the latest news. LIVE webcast of the contest starting the 8th.

Directions:
To get to the North Shore from Ko Olina, go Mauka (towards the mountain) on the H1 freeway to the H2 freeway. The H2 freeway ends in Wahiawa, continue on past the Schofield Barracks (Army) and follow the signs to the North Shore. Continue Makai (toward the Ocean) and pick up some breakfast as you travel through Haleiwa on your way. Continue on until you pass Waimea Bay (Where you'll see the famous church steeple overlooking the bay). You are two miles away at this point so start looking for parking as you travel along on Kam Highway because it's going to be crowded!

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, August 1, 2010

Ko Olina Taste at Kapolei - Sept, 2012

If your staying at our property in September, your in for a treat. This years Taste at Kapolei will be serving up "Ono" Grinds from 6:00pm-9:00pm and will feature 24 tasting tents where you can enjoy Pacific Rim Cuisine from Hawaii’s top chefs.

Among the restaurants participating in this year’s event are Formaggio Grill, Indigo Restaurant, Auntie Pasto’s, Souvaly Thai Cuisine and Big City Diner. Among the chefs in attendance at the VIP tent will be Chai Chaowasaree from Chai’s Island Bistro, Ed Kenney from Town, and Dean Okimoto from Nalo Farms.

Parking is hard to find but don't worry, take a short stroll along the beach walkway from our beach front location (on lagoon two) over to the taste (on lagoon four). I recommend walking over to the taste between 5:00 - 5:30 pm as the event fills quickly. Remeber that the hot sun will be out until around 7:00 pm so dress accordingly.

For the past 12 years, the Ko Olina Tast of Kapolei has brought together top chefs to presents their finest signature dishes. Now in its 11th year, it is one of the most popular culinary events in West Oahu, drawing a sell-out crowd every year.

Fabulous food, wine, beer and beverages from over 20 restaurants are included in the ticket price. Bid on silent auction items, browse a “Buying Local” exhibit, enjoy live music, then end the night with a dazzling fireworks display. Advance tickets cost $75 for adults and $35 for children (ages 7-12).

For ticket information visit www.hawaiisbesttickets.com or call 808.545.2772. You can also buy tickets at Menchie's Yogurt in Kapolei. Check out www.tasteatkapolei.com for more event details.

So come and join us for some "Ono" grinds at this years taste. 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

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

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ko Olina Dining

Ko Olina Dining & Restaurant Options while on vacation at the Beach Villas


On vacation at the Beach Villas and considering your dining options? Even though you have a beautiful kitchen with Sub Zero, Wolf & Fisher-Paykel appliances, you'll want to venture out and not cook every meal yourself!

Here is a list of our families favorite restaurants in the Ko Olina Resort and the Kapolei area. All of these restaurants are convenient and close to our property, the Beach Villas at Ko Olina. For reference, our property, the Beach Villa Resort is located on Lagoon Two.

Within the Ko Olina Resort:
Lagoon Two (Beach Villas) - The Beach Bar is open from noon until seven thirty in the evening and has live music on Wednesday's. (Sunset is around 6:00 pm) Beer, wines, cocktails, sodas, water and "Brain Freezes" for the kids are available. The Beach Bar is for the exclusive use of our guests so it's not crowded. The staff is always ready to talk story with you and is also able to book excursions for you such as surfing lessons or to the luau.

We also have BBQ grills on the property by the lagoon pool. One exit down on the highway (a 5 minute drive) is our personal favorite, Costco. They sell USDA Prime Beef and fresh fish (The Ahi steaks are fantastic, marinate them in some huli huli sauce, garlic & ginger) and grill poolside with our outdoor Wolf BBQ grills. Grill out by the pool, swim, eat, watch the sunset, not a bad way to end the day.

Lagoon One (One lagoon over from the Beach Villas) - The Four Seasons Resort at Ko Olina has a pool side bar, the Waterman Bar & Grill adjacent to the family pool which is great for sunset cocktails with food truck cuisine. Fine dining options include the Fish House overlooking lagoon one, La Hiki Kitchen on the main pool level, and Noe for fine southern Italian cuisine. There is also the lounge Hokulea for a perfect morning break and live entertainment from 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm by the Serenity Pool. These dining options are about a five minute stroll along the ocean via a palm lined pathway that connects all of the lagoons together.

Lagoon Three (One lagoon over from the Beach Villas) - Longboard's on Lagoon Three is good for lunch, it overlooks the beach which is great for sunset drinks. Longboard's is one of our favorite lunch spots. Longhi's is also located here serving Italian cuisine, steaks and seafood.

Either lagoon is only a couple minute stroll along the beach in either direction from the Beach Villas at Ko Olina.

Dining at the Golf Course within the Ko Olina Resort:
Located between lagoon's one and two at the 18th hole.
Roy's is great for Pupu's and listening to live music on Wednesday's while overlooking the 18th hole. Roy's is also a full service restaurant, their Chocolate Soufflé is famous. The restaurant is a short walk along the golf course or you can drive over.

Ko Olina Station Shopping Center located behind the new Disney Aulani Resort. On the entrance road to Coconut Plantation.

Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman's is our favorite dining spot in Ko Olina. They opened in 2012 and we've been fans ever since. They have 36 craft brews on tap served at 29 degrees, kiawe wood oven pizza, and live music twice a day. I like their No Ka Oi cocktail which has ocean vodka, thai basil, lime, simple syrup and honey-lilikoi puree. I like their fish dishes and their rib eye steak with wasabi mashed potatoes is excellent.


Just Taco's, we had dinner here the other night and my son went on and on about the Tamales. We spoke with the General Manager who is from Baja California and the owners mom hand makes all of the Tamales herself. You could tell as they were quite tasty.

Also try the Molcajete's which is their specialty. A Molcajete as quoted by someone on Yelp, is "Shrimp, steak and chicken swimming in melted cheese".

I didn't enjoy my Fish Tacos as much. Having spent some time in Ensenada, Mexico I know what a great fish taco tastes like. Since the GM is from that part of the world, I thought they would be similar but they lost something in translation. Also, the Margarita's were way too sweet but they do have a great Tequila selection.

Desert was over at the new Two Scoops Ice Cream Parlor and Tea Room, right across from Just Taco's. You can't miss Two Scoops as it's on the right at the entrance of the shopping center. The owner is very nice and friendly and enjoy's chatting with customers.

Two Scoops serves David Lappert's home made Hawaiian ice cream from Kauai. Lappert’s Hawaii was founded in 1983 and is based in Hanapepe. Their super premium ice creams come in both classic and island flavors, and all are produced locally in small batches.

My sons favorite is the Coconut, Pineapple & Lilikoi (passionfruit) Sorbet. My wife and daughter stick with their traditional chocolate Ice Cream.

Personally I love all of Mr. Lappert's flavors but Two Scoops is expensive and they don't give a lot of ice cream for the price. The store is really cute and the owner is really nice, so I'm hoping that they increase their scoop size to match their price. If I'm paying Häagen-Dazs prices, I want Häagen-Dazs sized scoops.

The new Hawaiian Bar-b-Que plate lunch shop opened recently and although we haven't had a chance to eat here yet, the manager of the Ko Olina Sports Club said the food here is really "Ono". Ono is delicious in Hawaiian.

They serve the assortment of dishes that you would expect in a plate lunch joint and they also make party sized trays in case you would like to host a gathering in our guest lounge and would like to bring in some prepared food. We have a catering kitchen in the guest lounge which is perfect for staging the food for your invited guests. Our guests who are here for weddings enjoy hosting their rehearsal dinner in the guest lounge for example.

Hope this gets you started with a great list of restaurant choices in Ko Olina, have a great vacation! 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

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Haleiwa Arts Festival, July 15th & 16th, 2017



The 20th Annual Haleiwa Arts Festival is quickly approaching! My artist friend Lynne Boyer will be displaying her paintings at booth #16 during the Haleiwa Arts Festival on July 15th & 16th, 2017.


Picking up our painting from Artist Lynn Boyer


You can also see Lynne's work in our condo when you stay in our families three bedroom vacation villa at the Beach Villas at Ko Olina.

The North Shore painting in our living room


At the Haleiwa Arts Festival, approximately 140 juried visual artists with original works and limited editions, both traditional and contemporary, in oil, acrylic, ceramic, photography, sculpture, watercolor, fabric, serigraphy, jewelry, and glass as well as other media will be on display. The art will be available for viewing, browsing, and purchase directly from the artists. Items will be available at all price points from inexpensive to expensive and in-between.

Visit Lynne at booth #16 , which is nearby the "Cool Things to Buy" tent. She will have lots of new "hot off the easel" Original Oil on Canvas paintings as well as her large selection of Giclées on Canvas and Paper.

Here are three of Lynne's latest works:

"Chun's Morning Charm" 9" x 21" x 1/2" Oil On Canvas Panel


"Haleiwa Rainbow Bridge" 16" x 20" Oil On Canvas Gallery Wrap


"Kailua Magic" 9" x 22" Oil On Canvas

We support our local Hawaiian artists and hope that you enjoy the art pieces in our three bedroom, three bathroom condo, during your next Hawaiian Vacation at the Beach Villas at Ko Olina. We have filled our home with Aloha and we hope you enjoy the results. (If not, we also have other villas that contain more hotel type furnishings if that's to your liking.)

I grew up near the beach in Lynne's painting and it brings back many childhood memories. Create your own family memories during your next visit and then pick up an art piece at the Haleiwa Arts Festival. It will be a great way to remember your time here in our little slice of paradise, the Beach Villas at Ko Olina on Oahu, Hawaii. 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 the best in Hawaii

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 but Matsumoto's remains as it was when I was a child, some 40 years ago. I'm glad some things never change. Matsumoto's has been around for 60+ years and this review will be just as appropriate 10 years from now as it is now.

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

July 8th - July 25th, 2010 - Manoa Valley Theatre - Once Upon One Time

The Manoa Valley Theatre is such a great local theater company. I consider it one of the must do's if you enjoy live theater and won't be heading to New York City any time soon.

I know the pools and sauna, steam room, hot tubs, beach, golf course, marina and restaurants are hard to tear yourself away from when staying at the Beach Villa Resort in Ko Olina, but how about a little local culture to round out your vacation. This production is good for ages six and up so take the whole family.

I've been entertained by these folks since I was in my 20's which was many moons ago. It has never lost it's luster and keeps on getting better and better every year. The quality of the productions is first rate.

Another cherry is the up coming production, Once Upon One Time from July 8th - July 25, 2010 which mixes local Pidgin English with age old fairy tails to give it an Island twist. I predict that you will be rolling in the isles in stitches. If you are a repeat visitor to the Islands and understand some Pidgin, tears will be rolling down your face, you'll be laughing so much.

To brush up on your Pidgin, you could order Frank Delima's comedy CD, Hawaii I love it from hawaiianmusicstore.com or just listed to some tracks to see what Pidgen sounds like. You could also read the Pidgin to da Max book online from google.com books or you could order Pidgin to da Max online from amazon.

Directions:
To get to the Manoa Valley Theatre from the Beach Villa's Resort in Ko Olina, take the H1 freeway towards town. You can take the H1 all the way but it is faster to go H1 to 78 (exit 13a) to H1, (78 is more of a straight shot, H1 curves around), on H1 take exit 24B and merge onto University Ave and then a slight right at Oahu Avenue. Turn right at East Manoa Road, the Manoa Valley Theatre will be on your right. It's about 45 minutes into town and you will be going in the opposite direction of rush hour traffic. Manoa Valley is up on the mountain behind Waikiki.

Opening night is the 8th of July and we plan on attending so we'll be adding our review soon after that.

So if you're visiting us in Hawaii, come laugh until your sides hurt and then come stay at our place, the Beach Villa Resort in Ko Olina. Luxurious accommodations by the beach for your family, 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. 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


Manoa Valley Theatre's Once Upon One Time (Manoa Valley Theatre (MVT))
Once Upon One Time
a musical fairytale

by Lisa Matsumoto, Paul Palmore
and Roslyn Catracchia

July 8 - 25, 2010

This award-winning pidgin musical comedy adapts and intertwines familiar fairy tales into a fun Hawaiian kine 'local-style' fantasy for the whole family. The action takes place in a mythical local kingdom where outrageous characters meet for one crazy, kapakahi (mixed up) adventure. Characters include Noelani an da Six Menehunes (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), Kekoa and Maile (Hansel and Gretel), Red Rose Haku (Little Red Riding Hood), Da Keed Who Wen Cry Mongoose (The Boy Who Cried Wolf), and many more.
Guest Director is Elitei Tatafu, Jr. , Guest Music Director is Roslyn Catraccia ; Guest Choreographer is Kat Jones .

The cast is: Michael Ng as Narrator 1; Jarod Bailon as Narrator 2; Pomai Lopez as Da Wicked Queen; Levi Oliveira as Da Prince; Lloyd Mundon as Da Oddah Prince; Kala‘au as Hunta; Tesia Worley as Noelani; Blaise Baldonado as Hauna; Chevy Martinez as Tantaran; Michael Pa‘ekukui as Step Mudder; Nicole Sandry as Lehua; Thomas Antonio Garcia as Juniah Boy; Jessica Kauhane as Red Rose Haku; Michelle Matias as Tutu/Fairy God Tutu; Daryl Bonilla as Da Mean Mongoose; Shawn Tomsen as Who; Chris Reil as Wat; Braddoc DeCaires as Wen; Allan J.N. Lau as Wea; Marvin Miyoshi as Why; Allan Okubo as How Come/Lolo; KoDee Martin as Kekoa; Leilyn Lui as Maile; and Ashley Weismantel as The Lost Princess .

Costumes are by Dusty Behner, set design is by MJ Matsushita, lighting design is by Janine Myers, sound design is by AJ Treigle, hair and makeup design is by Greg Howell, and props design is by Sara Ward.

TICKETS:
Adults: $35
Senior Citizens/Military: $30
Under 26yo: $20

To purchase tickets, call (808) 988-6131.

Show times:
Thursdays 7:30pm
Fridays 8:00pm
Saturdays 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sundays 4:00pm

Please Note:
All seating is non-reserved. The theatre has been configured in proscenium (row) seating for this production. Doors open 30 minutes prior to show time.

Approx. running time of show: 2 hrs with one intermission.

Minimum age: 6 yrs old (all attendees must be ticketed and occupy a seat)

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

Friday, June 18, 2010

August 7th, 2010 - Moonlight Mele at the Bishop Museum



Our family enjoys live Hawaiian Music and one of the activities we enjoy and recommend to our guests is to go to Moonlight Mele at the Bishop Museum. If your traveling to Hawaii on vacation and are looking for something other than the standard tourist fair, this is the perfect activity for culture, music and food. Our family went on June 5th, 2010 and it was a blast!



During the summer, the Bishop Museum hosts live Hawaiian Music acts on the lawn of the museum. This month, June 2010, we saw Kaukahi one of my favorite artists along with John Cruz.


Bring your beach mat, towels and/or folding chairs and holo holo "to go strolling or walk" over to claim your spot on the grass lawn outside of the museum. The stage is elevated and you have a good vantage point from pretty much anywhere. The lit palm trees that change colors are also cool. Our family, parents and kids, had a great time.


You may order picnic baskets in advance or purchase from food vendors selling Ono "great tasting" kau kau "to eat or food" such as Kalua Pig and Laulau. They also sell Poi which I happen to love but it is an acquired taste for some.

The picnic baskets contain fried chicken or sandwiches with salads. We ordered the picnic baskets and some extra Hawaiian food while we were there. You are able to order baskets with or without wine so we ordered one of each.

In August, it's Nā Palapalai, my favorite Hawaiian group. (Plan to arrive right before 5:00 pm or so, we arrived around 5:30 for the June concert and the parking lot was almost full.) Gates open at 5:00 pm, wander the museum before it closes and then enjoy your picnic on the lawn before the concert at 7:30 pm. The time fly's by fast.

The museum is great for both adults and children. In the Hawaiian Hall, they have one of the Tiki's "Ku" along with two other brought in special for this exhibit from two other museums around the world. The statues must be about 20' tall? Also great exhibits of various Hawaiiana and history. Feather capes, weapons, history and all that jazz. Bishop Museum Ku Exhibit

Link to Moonlight Mele


Directions:
To get to the museum from the Beach Villa's Resort in Ko Olina, take the H1 freeway towards town. You can take the H1 all the way but it is faster to go H1 to 78 (exit 13a) to H1, (78 is more of a straight shot, H1 curves around), you'll see signs for the Bishop Museum (exit 20A on the H1). You'll see a brown building above you along side the freeway on the left which is part of the museum. It's about 30 minutes into town and you will be going in the opposite direction of rush hour traffic.

Nā Palapalai and George Kahumoku - Saturday August 7, 2010

Nā Palapalai and George Kahumoku will double headline, supported by the Royal Hawaiian Band, ukulele whiz Taimane Gardner, Waipuna, the Galliard String Quartet, and Hālau Hula Ka No’eau, led by kumu hula Michael Pilipang. The realm of Wao Lani represents the gods, the ali‘i and key moments in Hawaiian history, so the subtitle of the evening will be “The Queen’s Songbook” as classic Hawaiian songs and monarchy music ring out from all three stages. Samadhi Hawaii will bring aerial dancing to accompany the headlining Nā Palapalai.

New this concert season, we are pleased to offer Gourmet Picnic Baskets for Two from the Museum's Café Pūlama. Baskets are available through pre-sale only.

Order a basket now for the August concert.

Picnic Basket - $27.50: a gourmet dinner for two. Your choice of one entrée: roast beef sandwiches on focaccia, southern fried chicken, or sundried tomato & spinach tortilla wrappers. Also includes fresh fruits & berries, vegetable crudite w/ spinach dip, pasta provencale, fresh baked cookies, and bottled water. NO SUBSTITUTIONS OR MIXING ENTREES. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Deluxe Picnic Basket - $37.50: a gourmet dinner for two and a full bottle of wine w/ two glasses. Your choice of entrée: roast beef sandwiches on focaccia (accompanied by red wine), southern fried chicken (accompanied by white wine), or sundried tomato & spinach tortilla wrappers (accompanied by white wine). Also includes fresh fruits & berries, vegetable crudite w/ spinach dip, pasta provencale, and fresh baked cookies. NO WINE SUBSTITUTIONS OR MIXING ENTREES. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Tickets are available from the Bishop Museum box office during business hours (Wednesday through Monday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or by phone at 808-847-3511. Advance tickets for each concert are $20 general admission and $15 for Bishop Museum Members and military with valid ID. General tickets purchased the day of the event will be $25.

Have a wonderful time and we'll see you there!

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