Queen’s Surf Cafe & Lanai Waikiki Ocean Views and Good Food

Queen’s Surf Cafe & Lanai in Waikiki offers spectacular ocean views and good food. Prices are reasonable at around $10 for most entrees. Outdoor seating offers an unobstructed view of the Pacific and incredible sunsets. Cheerful flowers spill out of colorful pots around the large lanai. Comfortable seating choices include picnic tables with bright red umbrellas outside or covered seating inside the gazebo.

The new owners transformed a run down beach concession stand which had been long vacant. The Queen’s Surf Cafe & Lanai is a gem and favorite with the locals. The crowds are there Friday and Saturday nights for live music and food on the grill.

Chili Frank Plate Lunch at Queen's Surf Cafe and Lanai

Chili Frank Plate Lunch at Queen's Surf Cafe and Lanai

Food is served on square wooden plates with an orchid. Pineapple garnishes, herbs and sauces are artfully arranged for picture perfect presentation.

Menu items include plate lunches and dinners, salads, soups and vegetarian items. Thursday nights feature made to order pastas on the lanai and live music. Friday and Saturday the grill is open, live music and fireworks. Queen’s Surf Cafe & Lanai is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Ocean views at Queen's Surf and Lanai in Waikiki

Ocean views at Queen's Surf and Lanai in Waikiki

Queen's Surf Cafe & Lanai on Urbanspoon

Honolulu Waikiki Toys for Tots motorcycle parade SBU 2011

Street Biker United Oahu hosted the 37th annual Toys for Tots motorcycle parade December 4, 2011. The ride starts in Honolulu at Magic Island continues through Waikiki ending at Kapiolani Community College. Marines collect the toys which are distributed to Hawaii girls and boys.

This event is organized by President Rick Davis and Public Relations Officer Ray Pagan of the Street Bikers United Oahu chapter. About 4,000 riders from all over Hawaii, mainland and Japan participate.

Tourist in Waikiki stop to watch the bikes as the roll by many with large toys on the front or back. Riders often dress in holiday garb.

Click on the image below to see video of the 2011 Toys for Tots ride in Honolulu.

Waikiki Honolulu Motorcycles at Toys for Tots Biker Event

Harley Davidson motorcycles will roar in Honolulu, Hawaii and along Waikiki Beach on Sunday December 5, 2010. This is date of the 36th annual Toys for Tots Motorcycle Ride sponsored by Street Bikers United Hawaii. The motorcycle toy run benefits United States Marine Corps’ Toys For Tots program.

Waikiki Honolulu Motorcycles at Toys for Tots Biker Event 2009

Waikiki Honolulu Motorcycles at Toys for Tots Biker Event 2009

According to Ray Pagan, State Treasurer for Street Bikers United Hawaii, the event draws participants from Honolulu and parts of Oahu as well as other Hawaiian islands, mainlanders and even motorcycle riders from other countries. The ride begins in Honolulu at Magic Island, rides though Waikiki along Kalakaua Avenue beside the blue water of Waikiki Beach, ending at Kapiolani Community College where the toys are loaded into awaiting trucks.

Street Bikers United Hawaii sponsor the Honolulu Toys for Tots Motorcycle Event

Street Bikers United Hawaii sponsor the Honolulu Toys for Tots Motorcycle Event

Spectators line the route cheering the bikers who ride in a variety of outfits. Some wear their club colors and leathers while others dress more seasonally in t-shirts and shorts. Last year we saw Mrs. Claus, the Grinch and an elf riding in the parade. I even saw Santa riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle. These rider donate 10,000 toys to brighten the holidays for keiki.

2009 Tots for Tots Motorcycle Event in Honoulu, Hawaii

2009 Tots for Tots Motorcycle Event in Honoulu, Hawaii

Click on the picture below to watch video of the 2009 35th annual Toys for Tots Motorcycle Ride sponsored by Street Bikers United Hawaii. Notice how quiet Waikiki Beach, Honolulu is at the start of the video and how loud things get when thousands of bikes take over Kalakaua Avenue.

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

If you plan to be in Honolulu and ride a motorcycle, come on down for the Toys for Tots parade and bring a new toy. If you do not ride, check out the parade and cheer on these riders who are supporting the United States Marine Corps’ Toys For Tots program and making the holidays brighter for tots.

Contact Ray Pagan from Street Bikers United Hawaii for more information or find out if your city is hosting a Toys for Tots Motorcycles Biker Event.

** See video of the 2010 Honolulu Toys for Tots Parade.

Puka Dog Hawaiian Style Hot Dogs in Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

When we heard about Puka Dog Hawaiian style hot dogs in Waikiki, Honolulu from the Anthony Bourdain Travel Channel show, Noel said “I have to try those hot dogs.” We live in Chicago, the hot dog and pizza capital of the world and it is hard to beat our local restaurants on these items. Noel was ready for the taste test. Being a vegetarian, I agreed to join him but did not expect to partake.

When we arrived I found the “hot dogs” choices on the menu either Polish Sausage which Noel likes and (surprise!) veggie dogs. We both were going to have lunch. The choice of dog was just the first of our options.
April M. Williams Hawaii restaurants
Any good dog needs a bun and this is not your typical bun split down the side. The Puka Dog bun is tube shaped with a hole at one end. After you choose your dog your bun is slide onto a toasting spike. Seconds later, you watch as your Puka Dog is assembled.

Puka Dog Hawaiian Style Hot Dogs in Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

Puka Dog Hawaiian Style Hot Dogs in Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

Your sauce selection, either mild or spicy, is dispensed into your bun. Next comes the relish. While some may be traditionalists, opting for ketchup or mustard, we tried the unique tropical versions. Tropical papaya, pineapple, coconut, guava, star fruit, mangoes or bananas relish is squirted into your bun on top of your sauce selection.

Finally, they slide your choice of dog into the tube. You’ll be glad these are served wrapped in a paper sleeve to keep the sauces from ending up in your lap. Dine alfresco on the patio or opt for take out.

Staff here was animated as they explained the menu to us and answered all our questions. The Waikiki store on Oahu is Puka Dog’s second location. The original Puka Dog is on the island of Kauai. Follow Puka Dog on Facebook too.

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?” as we visit Puka Dog Waikiki.

Puka Dog Inc.
2301 Kuhio Avenue # 334
Honolulu/ Hawaii 96815
Phone: 808 923-4510

Puka Dog (Waikiki Town Center) on Urbanspoon

Waikiki Honolulu Mango Throw Down

We met with Beachhouse Chef Rodney Uyehara at the Hawaii in Real Life tweetup in the Monoa Surfrider. Overlooking the blue Pacific of Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii Melissa Chang and Russ interviewed Chef Rodney Uyehara and sampled his entry for the “Tree to Table – Mango Throw Down” tonight at the Surfrider: Lollipop Lamb Chop with Curried Mango Couscous. This special event is part of the “Mangoes at the Moana” celebration of the mango season.

Melissa Chang tastes Chef Rodney Uyehara's entry for the Mango Throw Down

Melissa Chang tastes Chef Rodney Uyehara's entry for the Mango Throw Down Aug. 27, 2010

Tonight 17 of the best Hawaiian chefs will compete to see who can create the best wine and edible tastings using mangoes as the main ingredient. A panel of celebrity judges will be on hand to pick winners in these categories: Best Use of Mango, People’s Choice, Dessert, and Overall Best Dish.

The public is welcome to this event. Tickets are $85 and available at the door. Proceeds benefit University of Hawaii’s Culinary Institute of the Pacific. The event is tonight from 6 – 9:30 p.m.

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”

Waikiki Beach Reef and Ocean Expo

This week we visited Duke’s Waikiki sponsored Reef and Ocean Expo. Ross Anderson, Regional General Manager was inspired to host this event by local fisherman Mac Poepoe who created a sustainable fishing plan for Moloka’i bay. By working with local residents, the retired firefighter created a plan allowing locals to fish and the Bay to replenish.

When we met with Ross on the beach he talked about Mac Poepoe, his passion for the ocean, sea life and his kids. His son Dakota and his schoolmates spent the day helping out and greeting attendees.

Educational displays were set up beach side with a variety of information on ocean life and conservation. We learned about non-native seaweed that raises havoc with our native plants. Volunteer divers put this vegetation from the waters and have disposed of truckloads of these invasive plants.

Ryan, a Waikiki lifeguard was on hand showing jellyfish caught off Waikiki Beach. These ocean critters are abundant in the waters about 10 days after a new moon. According to Ryan, the jellyfish tendrils are covered with thousands of pockets of venom. When swimmers are stung these pockets are transferred to our skin and the pocket opens. Some swimmers feel a faint twinge while others experience a more severe stinging and swelling. Each Waikiki lifeguard station is stocked with vinegar they can spray on victims to prevent the venom pockets from breaking, releasing their toxins. Occasionally, the stings produce an allergic reaction that may become deadly if untreated.

Two artists practiced fish painting called gyotaku. They brushed paint on an octopus then transferred the design onto t-shirts and posters.

If you are in Waikiki, take a break at Duke’s and check out the memorabilia of legendary Duke Kahanamoku. You never know who you might run into while you are there! Follow them on Twitter.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Gyotaku Fish Painting Waikiki Beach Reef and Ocean Expo

Gyotaku Fish Painting Waikiki Beach Reef and Ocean Expo

Ryan shows us jellyfish Waikiki Beach Reef and Ocean Expo

Ryan shows jellyfish found in Waikiki Beach

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Handsome Devil Made Me Do It

I just got a tweet from my buddy the Travelocity Roaming Gnome who said “@AprilMWilliams: Let’s have a peek at the photos! I can only imagine I look stunningly handsome.”

Well of course the Roaming Gnome is handsome and dashing. And I have photos to prove it.

While I posted the photos on my Twitter feed and often use this photo in my presentations as an excellent example of building relationships with customers, I did not post the photo to my blog. So I am fixing this today.

On a recent trip to Hawaii Nathan Kam @NathanKam let us in on a inside scoop. We took advantage of this photo op during the gnome’s busy and adventure packed visit to Hawaii. We snapped this shot at Duke’s Waikiki Restaurant & Barefoot Bar at the Outrigger Hotel Waikiki. He has a bit of a tan from all the surfing he did the day before. Fortunately, he was slathered in maximum sun screen protection.

Here’s the Roaming Gnome and I enjoying breakfast overlooking Waikiki Beach. Aloha!

Travelocity Roaming Gnome and April M. Williams at Duke's in Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

Travelocity Roaming Gnome and April M. Williams at Duke’s in Waikiki Honolulu Hawaii

So You Think You Know Hawaiian History?

We travel to Hawaii often and likely know more about Hawaiian history than the casual tourist to the islands. Our visits include stops at cultural and history sights important to making Hawaii the diverse location that it is. Then we met Richard Wong, tour guide for Ohana Tours. When our friends at Ohana Tours heard about our love of history and Honolulu they invited us to check out the weekend walking tour of the downtown area. We took our ohana (family) to meet Richard on a recent Sunday morning.

Our adventure began in downtown Honolulu in front of the golden Kamehameha Statue in the heart of the city. You can see this statue on the Hawaii state quarters released as part of the state series. For the next two hours Richard shared history of Hawaiian culture, religion, politics and people. As history buffs ourselves, we were overwhelmed by the detailed stories our guide shared with us. Richard is a gifted story teller. His vivid words and smooth delivery made the tales come alive for us. Drawing on a long career as a Honolulu police officer, he personalized his tales with accounts from his time on the force.

We found another link between us and our guide. To bring the islands to us when we are in the Midwest, we started watching the Hawaii 5-0 television series starting at the pilot. I get chills every time I hear the Hawaii Five-0 theme song playing. The show ran for 12 years from 1968 to 1080 and was filmed in Hawaii. The second floor of the Iolani Palace was the fictional state police headquarters. Many scenes were filmed at the iconic Ilikai Hotel in Waikiki overlooking Duke Kahanamoku’s Lagoon and the Honolulu Marina. Richard worked security during many of these shoots and shared stories of the cast and crew. He even had a few on screen parts.

You can read more about our tour on the www.808talk.com article. Listen to how Richard started out our tour below. If you are  staying in Honolulu over a weekend, check out Ohana Tours for information or reservations.

Elephant at the Honolulu Hawaii Zoo

Looking for a great way to spend an afternoon in Honolulu? Stop by the Honolulu Zoo just a block away from world famous Waikiki Beach. This jewel in the Waikiki neighborhood is just the right size for a  few hours of leisurely strolling.

Elephant at Honolulu Zoo Hawaii

Elephant at Honolulu Zoo Hawaii

When you walk into the park, the first exhibit you’ll see is the scarlet flamingos. Did you know they are pink because of the seafood they eat?

This is one of the few places you’ll be sure to see the native Nene birds. Other favorite exhibits I make sure not to miss include the Galapagos tortoise, monkeys, orangutan and African elephants.

Tikis Waikiki Hawaii Tweet with Chris Pirillo

This week, I was invited to meet up with Chris Pirillo tech writer for CNN.com, Traci Toguchi, Ryan Ozawa, Vern Brown and other Hawaii friends.

I write for Vern’s Insider’s Guide to Hawaii travel website 808Talk.com.

We met at Tiki’s Grill overlooking Waikiki Beach and the Pacific Ocean. Chris Pirillo set up a Ustream live feed and you can watch some of the video below. Many other Hawaii social networking friends were there and it was fun to see them in real life.

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