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I had a great experience shopping at Swarovski Gallery. My boyfriend and I were picking out a bracelet for my belated Christmas present!
The associate who helped us was patient and showed us different charms to go with the Hello Kitty charms.
I like the variety and the customizable ability of Swarovski’s bracelets (unlike the ones we viewed at Tiffany’s).
The World's Largest Gift Shop is like the mecca of girl stores combined. They are open late and have ALL of the nick nacks and such you might possibly want/need/or just get a laugh out of. We tried on silly hats, sorted through Vegas themed apparel and photo frames.
Most of the stuff is pricey, but pretty much everything touristy is pricey. When in Vegas, shop local!
KISS isn’t really the type of music that I listen to, but my boyfriend and I thought it would be fun to try this glow-in-the-dark mini golf place out. Everything inside is decked out with KISS music, merchandise, and best of all decorations all over the mini golf area!
Their decorations, obstacles and moving obstacles are kind of cool. There are definitely a lot of photo opportunities while you are waiting. They have a staff member on the course that watches you play and can also help you take photos. They even have a small sound stage to play music and announce welcomes for guests who are visiting (local, other states, out of the country).
My only complaint would be that there were so many people on the course that it became crowded waiting for people to finish certain holes. My boyfriend and I got stuck behind a group of four who were just taking their dandy time. Each time we finished a hole behind them, we would take pictures to pass some time yet still be waiting for them to finish their hole ahead of us. Even the couple behind us got annoyed waiting for a bit. For approximately $11/person, it's not a bad deal, but you'll need to have patience to wait for people ahead of you!
I had no idea where to purchase biscuits or scones for a tea party. Thankfully there’s a Viktor Benes Continental Bakery located inside of Gelson's in the Century City Mall.
It’s a small bakery, but they offer a great variety of small cookies, baked goods and even cakes! I was impressed by the petite cookies, but not so much by the scones (which look like biscuits).
Sure it’s a little pricey, but it’s pretty much worth the convenience!
ID Cha House is a new tea shop/restaurant in Monrovia! We have anxiously been waiting for them to open.
Their layout is really large and spacious, which even includes a patio with heat lamps! I imagine this place being great for hanging out with friends or family since there wasn’t loud music playing when we went.
The food was really good and the drinks sucked (which sucks because that’s what their named after). Both food and drink are really pricey compared to tea shops in the San Gabriel Valley.
The house special spicy beef noodles and the cabbage and pork dumplings were great. The tea eggs didn’t have enough flavor but were cooked to perfection.
Woohoo, finally a Taiwanese breakfast place in Monrovia/Arcadia rather than in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley!
They just opened last month so their offerings are limited to soy milk, breakfast foods and very few lunch time items (buns and soup).
All of the food is great (soy milk, fried turnip cake, rice roll, traditional breakfast/deep fried donut). My only gripe is that the portion size is a bit small compared to other locations in the SGV.
It seems that items are made to order, which explains the freshness and why it takes a little longer to get your food.
I will definitely be returning to Yi Mei!
The Dole Plantation is a nice place for a pit stop if you happen to be on your way back from one of the beaches. You should stop by just to take some neat-o photos and sample some pineapple!
I find it funny that they have a demonstration for how to cut and serve a pineapple, yet still sell you useless products even when they don't use them for demonstration purposes. The demo lady took the crown off of the pineapple by twisting it off a few times, yet they had gadgets next to the demo area for coring the pineapple. Just saying.
The novelty items as well as the snacks are ridiculously overpriced. The pineapple ice cream was super sweet, to the point where you wanted to purchase a beverage to cancel out the sweetness.
If I didn't use the Go Oahu Card to ride the Pineapple Express train or to go through the Pineapple Maze, I probably would not have paid money to. They have patches of different pineapples from different countries that I pretty neat.
They also have a lot of random vendors around the outside of the main store that sells touristy things unrelated to Hawaii or even the Dole Plantation. The only stand that I purchased something from was a lady selling fruit to the left of the main building; she was selling apple bananas (something natives were recommending we try).
Kona Brewing Company can probably be compared to BJ’s on the mainland; they brew their own beer and operate a restaurant!
I’ve been fortunate enough to try their summer brew Wailua Wheat (passion fruit)! This stuff does not taste the same bottled so if you ever get the opportunity to be out on a Hawaiian island, try the summer brew! Bars on the mainland only serve regular Kona Brew on tap.
Back to the restaurant; I’ve only tried their pizzas but all of them have been tasty! The restaurant itself is large. I imagine that would be a great venue for happy hour or a night out with friends!
I went to a luau in Hawaii and all I got was a bunch of mosquito bites (well that and a Germaine’s Luau souvenir glass)! Yes Germaine's Luau is a place where tourists flock to, but it's a nice experience especially if it's your first time in Hawaii. I was fortunate to go in a tour group, so they picked us up from our hotel and handed us our meal and drink tickets.
Upon your arrival, you get lei'd with shells and have a photo taken; which you can choose to purchase on your way out. You have a choice of dining on a picnic table or on the floor. You'll be walking on sand, so be sure to wear sensible shoes or flip flops.
If you purchase a souvenir glass, they give you a larger amount of alcohol because more fits in that glass. The buffet had a large selection of traditional and American dishes. Some of the traditional selections includes: roasted pig (they make a whole show of how it takes hours to cook it under hot coals), chicken long rice (which is actually glass noodles), poi (traditional side dish, stone ground taro), lomi lomi salmon (prepared with diced tomato and Maui onion), haupia (coconut jello), etc. Everything is pretty tasty, or at least worth trying and not being disappointed.
The entertainment ranged from dances from all over Polynesia, it was pretty neat to see the colorful and intricate costumes. Of course there was audience participation where ladies learned how to hula, and other silly things for family entertainment!
Come with an appetite, willingness to learn some new moves, and with bug repellent! Reservations are needed!
Like Hawaiian Style Rentals and Tour’s website says, “Hawaii’s better on two wheels!” When on vacation, doing something fun like renting a bicycle, scooter or other vehicle is a really fun way to explore (especially on a tropical island like Hawaii!!).
The great thing about Oahu is that it’s populated, but not a scary place to drive a scooter. Take in mind that you can’t take these babies on the highways, just local streets! My dad jokes that the standard 49cc scooter rental has the engine size of a lawnmower, but who cares because you’re just using it for a scenic drive!
Even though I’ve driven an ATV before, this was my first time riding a scooter and the employee who helped me out was super patient. He ran down the alley and block to make sure I was doing ok before I went on my own.
Everything from the online rental process, check in, exploring/riding, and checking out was pretty! The experience was a lot of fun and I would highly recommend them!
Pro tip: They are on the list for the Go Oahu card, valid once for the lifetime of your card! If you don’t know what a Go Oahu card is, you can purchase one from Costco online and rsvp for activities before you actual vacation!
Makani Catamaran’s scenic tour was one of my favorite activities when I visited Oahu. The morning/breakfast sail is recommended because you are more likely to see sea creatures like fish, turtles, dolphin, whales, etc. It’s probably also cooler in the morning!
The breakfast sail includes complimentary fruit and donuts, as well as one drink ticket (I got a bottle of water so it wasn’t easy to spill).
Catamarans are pretty sturdy and I thankfully didn’t get motion sick! The view from the deck is amazing, but you run the risk of getting a little wet! But regardless of where you are on the boat, you’ll get a great view of it all!
The crew was really friendly and a lot of fun. You can even visit the captain and he’ll let you take a picture of you steering!
I really recommended this excursion because it’s great for the whole family! Bonus that they are on the list for the Go Oahu Card! You can purchase a Go Oahu Card online through Costco and reserve your activities ahead of time, long before you arrive in Oahu!
Waiola Shave Ice is a small store in the middle of a residential neighborhood. It’s known to the locals and was recommended to me by a local. They are mainly famous for their shaved ice (served to you through a window), but also sell items inside (also great for the locals!). You can’t miss this place because there will be a small line waiting for this delicious treat!
I tried one of their suggested combinations with azuki bean, mochi and condensed milk. One portion is actually too much for one person, but it really is for the novelty of the experience! The shaved is was really fine, smooth, fluffy and perfect!
One of my local friends brought me to La Mariana Sailing Club for dinner when I was visiting Oahu. The place was pretty empty for a Tuesday night. The food was just ok, a bit on the bland side. I ordered a pasta dish with fish, but nothing to write home about. The drinks were decently priced.
Aside from the mediocre food, the atmosphere is pretty intimate, especially with the lights in the evening. This is a good place to come after work or just for drinks. Too bad there wasn't anyone playing the piano when we went!
By the way, they used a Patron bottle as a vase in the ladies room (yes I'm easily amused!).
Lulu’s is a great place to hang out with friends and enjoy a drink! I wanted to try a place where the locals hang out and this is where my friend brought me!
We came on a Tuesday night during the summer and they had open mic night (some singers were better than others, but overall very fun!).
There are plenty of TV’s and a full bar! I would totally come back if I came back to Oahu!
I have yet to find a great place like Tae’s Teppanyaki in Los Angeles! The portions are generous and the sauce and toppings are drool worthy. You can get a plate for about $7 with your choice of meat and topping/sauce. I loved this place so much that I ate here more than once!
I loved the ponzu sauce, the garlic chips, and the thinly sliced meat. If you order a roll, it's basically slices of meat covered stuffed with grated raw potatoes over a bed of romaine lettuce (not really a “roll” like sushi).
The owner was friendly and is great with answering questions you might have and the place was clean, what else can you ask for? I still think about Tae’s Teppanyaki and will come back and visit the next time I’m in Oahu!
Aside from the equipale chairs in the bar area and the Spanish speaking staff, there was nothing authentic about the food at Oaxaca Restaurant & Cantina.
For my fish taco, there was more batter then actual fish. The fajitas were a bit better, but the vegetables on each hot plate were over cooked. There was also a splitting plate charge of $7 for people sharing fajitas. The food was not worth the price.
The tamarindo drink was so watered down that we had to complain. They explained that it was at the end of the pitcher. We complained to one more person; then that person brought us a new pitcher that was twice as dark in color than the original. Much better tasting the second time around!
You do get a scenic view of the red rocks that Sedona is known for though!