p1150716-w500-h500.jpg On a recent too-short visit to Honolulu for a dance competition I decided that the best use of my few free dining opportunities would be to visit some of Honolulu's most highly recommended restaurants in and near the neighbourhood of Waikiki. My picks for dinner were La Mer at the Halekulani Hotel and the Beachhouse at the Moana Surfrider, both a short walk from the Sheraton Waikiki which was the host hotel for the competition;  and Hoku's  at the Kahala Hotel and Resort, a short taxi-ride away. I also managed to enjoy a lunch at the Surf Lanai at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. The links in this post will take you to my brief review for each restaurant.

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Hoku's at the Kahala Hotel and Resort
5000 Kahala Ave.
Honolulu, HI
Ph: (808) 739-8760 or reserve online

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The Kahala Hotel is a luxury resort in the Kahala district of Honolulu, about a twenty  minute taxi ride from the hotel where we were staying in Waikiki. Hoku's is one of about five dining options at the hotel, and offers innovative fusion food melding Hawaiian, Asian and European influences.

We booked for an early dinner hoping for a spectacular sunset. We were warmly welcomed and shown to a pleasant window table. Our view was more north-west than west so I didn't really see the spectacular sunset. I sipped a glass of Riesling from the Weingut Gunderloch winery in the Rheinhessen region of Germany while perusing the menu. As I read, I realized I really need a primer of terms used in the local menus.

 

p1150753-w500-h500.jpgBeachhouse Restaurant
at the Moana Surfrider Hotel
2365 Kalkaua Ave.,
cross street Kaiulani
Honolulu, HI
Ph: (808) 921 4600 or reserve online

Arriving at the Beachhouse restaurant we waited a few minutes to be shown to our patio table. While waiting I enjoyed the view over the garden pub to the sea beyond. We were seated on the Beachhouse verandah overlooking the bandstand in the garden area below. This evening we enjoyed a perfect view to the west so that we could actually watch the sun dip below the horizon. I watched for the perfect green flash but did not see it. Perhaps I was too focused on taking a picture.

p1150677-w500-h500.jpgLa Mer at the Halekulani Hotel
2199 Kalia Road
Honolulu, Hawaii
Ph:  (808)  923-2301 or reserve online

This elegant restaurant is the signature restaurant for the Halekulanip1150674-w500-h500.jpg Hotel. It is a Five diamond (AAA) and five star (Forbes Dining Award) restaurant featuring French cuisine with local tropical ingredients.
It was a short walk from the hotel where we were staying. On arrival we were seated at a window table next to an open window, looking out over the outdoor entertainment area to the blue water beyond. A warm breeze wafted in from time to time, and I had a great view of the singers and the Hawaiian dancer on the stage below.

Three Tall Women
By Edward Albee
directed by Terence Kelly
PAL Studio Theatre (581 Cardero St.)
Oct 23 to Nov 9, 2014

Vancouver, BC: I really liked this show; this is a play you do not want to miss. Albee's intriguingly crafted work is sensitively interpreted by the cast of Anna Hagan, Beatrice Zeilinger, Meaghan Chenosky and Matt Reznek.

When Three Tall Women premiered in 1994 off Broadway, it garnered for Albee the Pulitzer Award for Drama, the Drama Critics Circle Award for best play and the Outer Critics Circle award for best off-Broadway play, among many other accolades.  Interestingly I was not expecting to like it as much as I did. When I thought back to the 95/96 Vancouver production, the first time I saw this play, I remembered thinking at the time that it was a whole lot of talking and there was not much going on. This time,  being 20 years more "mature" and with two more decades of life experiences behind me, I understood, and was caught up in, just how much was in fact "going on" in this play.

p_1827-w270-h270.jpg A light Vancouver rainfall dripped from my umbrella as I crossed the street to enter the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. I was wishing I could be enjoying the blue skies, turquoise seas and white sand beaches of the islands of the Bahamas but no matter how many times I clicked the heels of my chic black boots together the grey sky of Vancouver was still shedding rain drops. Maybe if I'd worn red shoes instead of the boots... but then on the other hand maybe I would have landed in Kansas, instead of the Bahamas.

Luckily, from mid-December, Vancouverites will not need magic slippers to transport themselves directly to the island of Grand Bahama, because Sunwing Airlines will be offering new direct flights between Vancouver International Airport and Freeport, on Grand Bahama Island.

Starting from  November 1st for seven Saturday Vancouver departures, Sunwing will fly via Calgary to Freeport.  From December 19th through to April 10th, 2015 flights will depart Vancouver on Fridays for a non-stop flight to Freeport. The Memories Bahama Beach Resort on Lucayan Beach, Grand Bahamas, opened earlier this year.

 

p1150761-w500-h500.jpgChambar
568 Beatty Street,
Vancouver, BC:
Ph: (604)  879-7119 or reserve online
Chambar on Urbanspoon

I have not eaten at Chambar since they moved a short while ago to their new location just up the street from their first spot. This was a good choice for lunch with a friend before we went to a VIFF screening at the Vancouver Playhouse a few blocks away.

The new restaurant had a lighter more open feel. We sat at a table toward the back of the restaurant. It was very busy for lunch time but our service was prompt and efficient.. 

p1150769-w500-h500.jpgEarls Vancouver Downtown Test Kitchen
905 Hornby Street

After seeing a film at the Scotiabank Cinemas  we exited the complex to find that rain was pelting down with gusts of wind blasting our umbrellas inside out. We speed-walked a few yards to the corner of Smythe and Hornby to have supper at the Earls restaurant round the corner.

We asked to be seated where it was reasonably quiet and the lighting was  good. The area in the dining room where we sat was excellent. We were not bothered by any booming loud music as  so often happens these days. The light was bright enough so that the menus could be read without the aid of my mini-flashlight, and the food photographs worked well too.

I liked the sound of the dynamite prawn and mango roll - a panko-breaded prawn and mango with avocado, cucumber, unagi maple and sriracha mayonnaise. It was beautifully presented and tasted as good as it looked.

 

img_6624-w500-h500.jpgDarling, A Musical
Music and Lyrics  by Ryan Scott Oliver;  Book by Brett Ryback
Directed and choreographed by Dawn Ewen
Musical direction by Steven Greenfield
Springboard Theatre Production
Renegade Production Studios, 125 East 2nd St., Vancouver
October 8 to 18th, 2014

Vurs-w500-h500.jpgancouver, BC: Many of Vancouver's successful independent theatre companies were started by the entrepreneurship of new grads or young actors to provide a vehicle through which they could practice their craft of theatre and gain practical  experience in performance, technical or production aspects. Springboard Theatre was founded a year ago by Capilano University Musical Theatre Program grads, Michelle Bardach, Kayla Heyblom and Katie Purych with the objective of putting on a musical that was youthful and provocative, and had not been done before in Vancouver. The musical they selected was Darling, the Musical written by Ryan Scott Oliver and  Brett Ryback in 2009.

Set in 1929 Boston just before the Great Crash, Darling gives a gritty, down-and-dirty twist to Barrie's tale of Peter Pan, Wendy Darling and the Lost Boys.

p1140597-w500-h500.jpgÇa Va Brasserie by Todd English   
310 West 44th Street (Cross Street 8th Avenue)
Ph: (212) 803 4545  or reserve online

p1140596-w500-h500.jpgDuring my brief stopover in New York I had only two opportunities for evening dining before I was to once again board Cunard's majestic Queen Mary 2 ocean liner. The QM2  features a Todd English restaurant as their fine dining alternative. On previous trips I had dined several times at this restaurant and tried many of the menu items. I was curious to compare the Todd English  Brasserie in New York (which serves French cuisine) with the current menu items of the on-board restaurant.

So before heading off  to see Beautiful: The Carole King Musical we had dinner at Ça Va Brasserie. It was only a short distance away from the theatre so we could relax over an early dinner.

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