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Saturday, September 24, 2016

MY LATEST WAIKIKI VACATION: Day 1

My day started with a $6 bento from Mitsuken on my lanai--garlic chicken, chow fun and nishime:


The restaurant has had a checkered past, but their garlic chicken is good.

Yesterday, you read that I just got a TheBus Seniors Pass.  Now, I can catch any bus anywhere.  So, while millions pay thousands, tolerating all the hassle, and wasting a lot of time, for "free," I boarded the #4 just outside 15 Craigside.  One reason why I wanted to get this pass is that, as you enter, there is a sign that says NO LUGGAGE allowed.  I figured, with a small wheely, walking cane and pass, I would be allowed on board.  Yes, it worked.  The problems with any bus are the odoriferous smells, potential of being seated next to a psychopath and danger of being mugged while waiting.  However, this is true anywhere you go, so, what the heck.

At one time this bus went into town, up to the University of Hawaii, and through Waikiki.  No more, as it now does not enter Waikiki.  After showing my pass, I subconsciously asked for a transfer, and the busman looked puzzled, but gave me one.  A minute later, it occurred to me that I never again needed a transfer, for I had that pass.  So I returned the transfer to the driver, and he said he didn't want to argue, but got the best laugh of the day from my mistake.  Anyway, it is then a short walk to the Westin Moana Surfrider after the second bus.  My room view of Waikiki Beach:


Actually, that is a close-up.  A giant banyan tree blocks most of the beach, but right here is where, a weekly radio program, Hawaii Calls, started in 1935 and ran through 1975.  Hawaiian music was first conducted by Harry Owens, who wrote Sweet Leilani.


Of course, they have nightly entertainment, so the music wafts up to my lanai.  Here is a later night view from the ground level, through this tree, to my room:


This Westin has a rather nice Executive Club right next to the beach.  So I went down for a drink to prepare me for my visit to the premiere of Hawaii 5-0.


Way in the background is the screen on which will show the premiere of Season 7:


So I walked towards the screen and took some photos of the stars:

Then, my dinner hour approached, so I left.  Never got see most of main actors:


Here is a view of Waikiki Beach towards the Moana Hotel (that smallest white one in the middle):


International Market Place:


On the third floor is Michael Mina's Stripsteak.  It was in May that I had lunch at his restaurant located next to Tadich Grill in San Francisco.


The restaurant can seat 300 and the decor is fairly simple.  First came some free french fries, and the truffle dip to the left was terrific:


I had a Sapporo and junmai daiginjo sake.  Also gratis was the Kurobuta Instant Bacon, which was spectacular:


I believe this version of Berkshire pork comes from Idaho.  Unfortunately, my camera stopped operating at this point, so I had to use my ancient iPhone for the rest of the meal.  I ordered a Caesar Salad and three ounces of Japanese A5 Wagyu Beef from Miyazaki, with foie gras:


The service here is as good as it can get, and Lauren was fabulous (sorry for my iPhone photo):


I got to know the General Manager, Ron Bonafacio, who toured my through their kitchen:


I met Executive Chef Ben Jenkins:


These photos don't show the huge size (largest I've ever been in) of the kitchen and ballet-like orchestration of the cooking and serving staff.  I think Ron told me that they had 125 people working last night.  

How was the cuisine?  About the best I've had this year, but with tax and tip, the cost was $200.  I'll need to get a 15 Craigside outing here someday soon and inform Chaine des Rotisseurs about this place.

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To be Typhoon Megi looks now to reach Category 3 strength and make landfall over Taiwan:


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