Posts tagged Hawaii
weeknight cocktail | coconut crush
Ali Hedin | Coconut Crush Cocktail

Every Friday night needs a good cocktail!  Pair this one with my Hawaiian Burger and you're in for a fabulous little dinner - it's a perfect menu for hosting a few friends and celebrating summer, spring break, or a wish to be somewhere warm.  

Ali Hedin | Coconut Crush
Ali Hedin | Coconut Crush Cocktail

Pair the cocktail with my Hawaiian Burger for a perfect dinner!  Also, friends love this too.  So invite friends over.

tropics on a bun | hawaiian burger

Sometimes all it takes to feel like you're on vacation is the right dinner.  That's where a Hawaiian Burger come in.  It's a vacation on a bun.  The combination of fresh pineapple + teriyaki sauce + a little spice is a perfect tribute to the Hawaiian islands.  

Also, because it's done in 20 minutes, you can kick back and relax with a little tropical cocktail to really sell the whole vacation thing.  

Ali Hedin | Hawaiian Burger
Ali Hedin | Hawaiian Burger


serves 4


In a saucepan over low heat, cook together ¼ cup soy sauce, 1 cup reserved pineapple juice (drained from the can), 1 tsp grated ginger, 1 clove grated garlic, and 2 tbs brown sugar until bubbling.  In a small bowl whisk together 2 tbs corn starch and ¼ cup water – quickly whisk into the bubbling pan and cook one minute until thick.



In a bowl, combine ground beef, 1 tsp grated ginger, and ¼ cup teriyaki sauce that you just made.  Mix until well combined.  Form into patties. 



Chop pineapple slices and combine them in a bowl with jalapeno and red onion.  Set aside.



Cook hamburger patties in a grill pan on the stove or on the barbecue until a meat thermometer reads 135 degrees.  Butter the buns and grill them along side the burgers. 



Spread mayonnaise on one side of the buns and top with hamburger patty, pineapple salsa, lettuce, a slice of swiss cheese, and a spoonful of teriyaki sauce. 


1.5 lb ground beef

2 tsp ginger, grated

1 can pineapple slices

¼ cup soy sauce

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons corn starch

1 egg, beaten

1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped

½ red onion, chopped

4 ounces swiss cheese, sliced

1 head romaine lettuce

2 tbs Mayonnaise

4 Hamburger Buns

Ali Hedin | Hawaiian Burger
hawaii on a plate | hawaiian kabobs
Ali Hedin | Hawaiian Kabobs

I have found that if I put food on a kabob my kids will eat it.  So when I find flavors that I love, I put them on a stick so we don't have to argue about how many bites we have to eat before I lose my mind.

These Hawaiian Kabobs with pineapple and bell pepper and a delicious teriyaki sauce on top are the perfect "trip on a plate" dinner.  Make a mai tai, grab fake leis for the kids and do a little hula.  At my house, we'd also have to screen Forgetting Sarah Marshall after the kids were in bed.  That part's optional, but HIGHLY recommended.  

Ali Hedin | Hawaiian Kabob
Ali Hedin | Hawaiian Kabob


serves 4


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Mix together soy, lime juice and zest, sesame oil, and pineapple juice from the can.



Combine cubes of pork with half of the pineapple sauce.  Let rest.



In a sauce pan, combine 3 cups water with rice.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cover until cooked – about 20 minutes. 



Thread pork, bell pepper, pineapple, jalapeno rings, and onion on a skewer.  Place skewers on a lined baking sheet.  Bake 10 minutes until pork is cooked through.



Whisk cornstarch into remaining pineapple sauce and heat in microwave for three minutes at one minute intervals whisking between each minute. 



Serve skewers over rice and pour the thickened pineapple sauce on the skewers.


1.5 lb boneless pork chops, cubed

1 can pineapple chunks

1 jalapeno, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 onion, sliced

2 tbs soy sauce

1 lime zested & juiced

2 tbs sesame oil

½ cup pineapple juice, drained from the can

1 ½ cups rice

1 tbs cornstarch

Ali Hedin | Hawaiian Kabob
a fun & funky Oahu eating guide
Ali Hedin | Oahu Travel Guide

I have debated on posting this because I don't really want all of my favorite spots to become overly crowded.  But since they are THE BEST places and I don't want any of you to go to Hawaii and eat something sub-par or miss something truly extraordinary, I'm spilling.

We travel to Hawaii at least once a year because my parents are there.  Because we get to "live like a local" when we are in town, we don't tend to choose the places that every tour bus goes.  

But the places we go are SO FABULOUS.  I tend to choose spots where the drinks are stiff, the waitresses are rude, and the atmosphere is top notch.  Unfortunately in a tourist town like Hawaii, you don't get a lot of rude waitresses, but I'll let that slide since the weather is so nice.  

Here are my top picks for the best of the best on Oahu.

Ali Hedin | Oahu Travel Guide

Buzz's Steak House in Kailua is my very favorite restaurant in the world.  It has been for 25 years -since my parents first started staying in Kailua.  The drinks are amazing (sound like a local and order a BFRD - a big f'ing rum drink), the food is outstanding, and the location near the beach could not be better.  It's the ultimate Hawaiian dining experience.  

I'm not alone in thinking that.  The Obamas frequented the deck when they stayed in town.  

Ali Hedin | Oahu Travel Guide

If you've never been to an old tiki bar, then this is the spot for you.  La Mariana in Honolulu is a bit dicey to drive to.  You literally drive on the docks like you're going to a shipping yard before you park at an overgrown wall and walk around the corner to the best tiki bar in Hawaii.  You can even get your drink in a souvenir tiki mug.  

Don't forget to order the ahi spring rolls.  There is nothing better.  Seriously.  Nothing.

Ali Hedin | Oahu Travel Guide

Ok, so everyone has found Haleiwa Joe's.  Like everyone, but it's for good reason.  The location is in the hills over Kaneohe and the view of the gardens is gorgeous.  They don't take reservations for parties under 8 people.  We think we've discovered the trick to go a little later, like at 7pm for dinner.  If you arrive at 5pm you will wait.  And wait.  And possibly wait.  

Ali Hedin | Oahu Travel Guide

Malasadas are Portuguese doughnuts and when they are filled with Haupia (coconut cream) they get elevated to the most epic treat ever.  Leonard's has an actual shop in Honolulu or a food truck that's easy to spot on the island thanks to it's classic red and white stripes.  Grab a few and eat them while they are warm.  


Plate lunch is the epitome of Hawaiian lunch.  Two scoops of mac salad, a scoop of rice, and some meat product along side.  I choose Chicken Katsu every time, but popular options in my family are also Teriyaki Chicken or Kalua Pork.  Fat Boy's is my favorite spot because it's literally around the corner from our place.  But L&L is also epic and if you're in the mood for airplane noise and freeway traffic, then Byron's is the place for you!

Ali Hedin | Oahu Travel Guide

Ali Hedin | Oahu Travel Guide

Need a good beach read?  Here's what I read - it's hilarious and a REALLY fast read.