I know it seems kind of backwards to start with dessert, but since it's my favorite and it's my blog, I will do as I please. :)
1: Bubbie's Homemade Ice Cream - There are a few locations, but we found this one on our way to Halona Blowhole and came back a second time on our way back from snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. They also have them at some restaurants as dessert and even at Coffee Bean. There are more flavors at the actual shops though. We got honeydew, strawberry and azuki bean. I loved the first two, but was not a fan of the azuki bean because...well, I don't really like red beans. That was Chris' idea and he ended up not liking it that much either. They also have homemade ice cream which was pretty tasty too.
2: Patisserie La Palme D'Or - Located in a pretty obscure part of the the Ala Moana Shopping Center, this little patisserie had lots of pastries. This particular cake was only okay. I should have gotten the chocolate one. However, all the Yelp reviews said that their Pineapple Jelly Plantation Tea and Jelly Au Lait were phenomenal. Since we went right after dinner, we couldn't get both drinks and decided to try the Jelly Au Lait. The entire drink was smooth and silky. It was really rich though so it was hard to finish.
3: Ailana Shave Ice - I feel like we're about to give away a secret right now. On our first trip, my brother Yelp'ed a bunch of shaved ice places and this was one of them. It didn't have a ton of ratings, but the ones they did have were all very good. It's located just across the way from Ala Moana. Gene and his wife started the shop and as we chatted with them, we found out that they were actually from Gardena! We got normal shaved ice flavors and it was really good. At the time, the main thing that made Ailana stand out was the island hospitality we felt there (oh, and a place to sit down to eat your shaved ice). But then, one day (because we went there three times in five days), I noticed that they had some homemade flavors on their menu and I decided to give it a try since I had my fill of melona and strawberry from other shops. I chose strawberry milk and it was love at first bite! It was so good that it became one of the highlights of our trip. The photo you see has mochi that is handmade by Gene's wife! By the time we went back to Oahu a year later, Ailana has a million more Yelp reviews and everyone now knows about their awesome homemade flavors, especially the strawberry milk. They also opened a second location on the main drag in Waikiki which is pretty convenient if you stay out there. But if you do that, you don't get to talk to Gene and find out that he was a basketball scout in Japan and get invited behind the counter to look at photos of him with NBA players like Chris did. :) Okay, cats out of the bag. Hurry up and go eat some strawberry milk shaved ice.
4: Leonard's - What's better than a warm, sweet malasada? One that is cream-filled. Seriously, so yummy. It's the only thing we order there now.
5: Waiola Shave Ice - Waiola is located in the middle of a neighborhood. I'm sure it was fun to grow up in that neighborhood with shaved ice just around the block! The flavors are standard, but this place is popular because of the super soft shaved ice. Melts in your mouth!
6: Matsumoto's - You can't go to Northshore and not stop here since the line is always out the door. Their shaved ice has a crunchier texture and is huge. They charge you extra to get this plastic cone to put your shaved ice in so you don't lose all your sweet, icy goodness. I guess you don't need to buy it if you can eat your shaved ice quickly!
7: Goma Tei Ramen - Also located at Ala Moana, this ramen shop always has a wait. The flavors were solid and the kurabota pork was super tender. We both got ramen, but they have other dishes that are popular on Yelp.
8: McDonald's - I love visiting chain fast food places in different parts of the world just to see what's different there. We picked this up before heading to hike Diamond Head. Yup, spam and eggs! Chris got portugese sausage and eggs. We decided to pass on the haupia pie since it was a bit early, but we did put Hawaiian shoyu on our eggs instead of ketchup.
9: Iyasume Musubi - This little musubi shop is hard to find because it's tucked away into a very small alleyway. There is literally no parking on this street so if you decide to try it, make sure you bring someone with you who can hop out of the car to buy musubis while you circle around. Bacon and spam, egg and spam, bacon, egg and spam, spicy chicken, salmon -- they have 20 or so different types of musubis. They also have little boxes of kara-age chicken and bento boxes. This is the perfect place to pick up a snack when you're on your way to a long day at the beach.
10: Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin - I found this place on Yelp and it ended up being one of Chris' favorite meals on our trip. They serve different cuts of pork tonkatsu, but it's a little more like the tonkatsu we had in Japan because they serve it with super finely shredded cabbage and offer you a variety of house made dressings for the cabbage. The cabbage is unlimited although one heaping plateful was way more than enough for me. The service is so awesome, for a moment, I felt like we were in Japan again.
11: Young's Fish Market - This was out first stop when we got into Oahu with my brother and his family. Beef stew, short ribs and a kalua pork and lau lau lunch plate. Everything was tasty, but my favorite was the beef stew.
12: Giovanni's Shrimp Truck - There are two Giovanni shrimp trucks in Northshore, but there are a million other trucks selling shrimp all along Kamehameha Highway. I'm a big fan of garlic, but it was a little too greasy for my taste. It's definitely worth a try as a part of the Northshore experience.
13: Boots and Kimo - YUM. Mac nut pancakes with mac nut sauce. I hardly ever order a stack of pancakes for breakfast, but I will for these. The bacon fried rice was delicious and you can add it on as a side to your breakfast. The wait is ridiculous though. I think every time we've gone we've waited at LEAST an hour for a table and another 30 minutes to get your food. But for mac nut pancakes, it's worth it.
Alan Wong's Restaurant - Chris and I decided to go for a fancy dinner since our second trip to Oahu was our babymoon. This was one of the fanciest in town so we tried it out. We got the classic tasting menu at the recommendation of our server so we could taste all of their signature dishes. Every dish was super delicious, but my favorites were the fish and the mini coconut. The coconut shell was made of chocolate and dipped in toasted coconut flakes.
There are a few other notable places we tried, but I guess I was too exhausted from the day's activities to snap any photos!
And this just in...we have plans for Maui in 2013!