The Green Guy’s Perfect Day: Honolulu
Honolulu may be the most cosmopolitan of Hawaiian cities, but that hardly means you’ll find the hustle and bustle of more traditional cities on the Mainland. From sleek modern hotels to gorgeous beaches to elegant restaurants, just about everything you’re looking for is right here on the southern tip of Oahu. Things are more relaxed on this beautiful island and the vibe of Honolulu reflects that. As long as you can ignore the endless stream of tourists in Waikiki, you’ll be ready to enjoy a perfect day.
Saturdays were made for Honolulu. No work means no worries. Start your day early with a hike up Diamond Head Crater. The trail is only mildly challenging and once you make it up the 175-step staircase to the summit, you can look out over all of Oahu. Get here before the sun comes up and you’ll be eye to eye with nearby clouds as the rest of Hawaii is still in bed. When you’ve had your fill of the breathtaking views, climb back down and head across the street to Kapiolani Community College (KCC) for some breakfast at the weekly farmer’s market.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the KCC Farmer’s Market is enormous. Locals and tourists alike crowd the aisles looking for great deals on organic Manoa lettuce, lilikoi (passionfruit), and all kinds of other produce you’ll never find at home. The market is split between farmers and prepared food vendors and you can’t go wrong with a pineapple-coconut smoothie from Hawaiian Crown Pineapple or a traditional Hawaiian loco moco from North Shore Cattle Company, the only ranch providing locally raised beef on Oahu. The loco moco is a grass-fed hamburger patty on a bed of rice topped with a rich brown gravy and if you eat the whole thing, you won’t even think about food until dinnertime.
With your legs tired and your belly full, it’s time for some well-earned relaxation. Head to the Moana Surfrider Hotel in Waikiki for the Moana Lani Spa (part of the heavenly spa collection by Westin). Not everything here is fully organic, but they make a concerted effort to use organic products as much as possible and the conventional products they use are both natural and local. Opt for the Lomi Lomi massage ($210/80 minutes) and you’re getting the true Hawaiian experience with this ancient technique that’s both rejuvenating and spiritual. The organic plumeria oil used in the massage is made by Mālie Organics on nearby Kauai and you’ll be happy to leave the spa smelling like a human lei.
As the sun sets and you’ve finally regained your hunger, take a short cab ride to Chef Mavro, the restaurant of Chef George Mavrothalassitis, a forefather of Hawaii Regional Cuisine and one of only three chefs in Hawaii to earn the prestigious James Beard Award. The restaurant itself is in an unremarkable part of Honolulu, but once you step inside, you’re whisked into the elegant dining room where the food is as artfully presented as the paintings on the walls. The menu is only available as a tasting, so choose how many courses you’d like (three, four, six, or the grand degustation which includes every course available) and allow the hyper-attentive staff to take care of everything. According to Chef Mavro himself, almost all of the ingredients come from Hawaii with the exception of some of the proteins which are flown in from the Mainland. Don’t miss any dish with seafood. Mavro does wonders with local ahi and broadbill swordfish.
After dinner, head back to your hotel and go to sleep knowing you just had a perfect day in Paradise.
Tags: eco vacation, fine dining, Hawaii, hiking