Bluenami Burger at Islands

Burgerology: Island’s Fine Burgers

Welcome back to Burgerology: Today we’re checking out Island’sFine  Burgers in Ala Moana Center. 

Islands Fine Burgers and Drinks at Ala Moana Center, Honolulu

We often leave the house with the best of intentions, but we usually end up eating something we shouldn’t before we can make it back home. When Mai Tai bar is full, it’s just too tempting to walk twenty yards to Islands Burgers. Before you know it, what was supposed to be a quick drink after work turns into a huge burger and fries.

Bluenami Burger at Islands

This place is in a mall, so it’s not the hippest, but it’s located on the upper level, and they have an open air lanai. The bar across the “hall” has live music on the weekends, so you can get a table and still watch the band while you eat your dinner. The staff has always been quite friendly, and the food comes out on time; not exceptionally fast, but not slow either. Just baby bear. 

Mangorita at IslandsMangorita at Islands

They have a nice cocktail selection, and they’re pretty expensive, but not the most expensive I’ve seen. There’s a good choice of drinks for under $8. This time I had the mangorita. It was delicious, and huge. There was no need to order a second round. The sweet and slightly tart mango puree complimented the Suaza tequila perfectly. It’s one of the nicest margaritas I’ve ever had. And when our bill came, it was magically a dollar cheaper then what was listed in the menu. I don’t know why, and I didn’t ask. Just in case.

Bluenami Burger at IslandsBluenami Burger at Islands

I ordered the Bluenami burger, which had blue cheese dressing and crumbles. My burger was cooked precisely to my specifications and still nice and juicy. It was a bit skimpy on the blue cheese, and I thought the wheat bun was perhaps a bit too heavy. Maybe I’ll try a white bun next time. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t make me sing. I give it a B. I did love that I could order macaroni salad instead of French fries. For some strange reason, I absolutely love mac salad, and even though I wasn’t really hungry anymore, I couldn’t stop myself from eating it.

Kilauea Burger from Islands

Geoff ordered the Kilauea burger, which was loaded with black pepper. He reports that he thought the black pepper was perhaps overkill, as that’s all he could really taste. He really liked his fries, which had a hint of garlic and still had the skin on.

This is definitely a date night, visit occasionally sort of place. The burgers are in the $12-$15 range, and the drinks start at around $6 for beer and $8 for cocktails. If you get there after 3:00 try and get a seat in the bar area. It’s happy hour from 3:00 ’til close in that section, and you can get drinks and appetizers on special for around $5. This makes the restaurant much easier on the wallet.

Kilauea Burger from Islands

I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to eat here again, but if it was convenient, and I was hungry, I’d definitely stop in. It’s good, but not great.

Makapu'u Tide Pools
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Loco Moco from Awesome on 20
Makapu'u Tide Pools

Makapu’u Tide Pools

Makapu'u Tide Pools

Living on a beautiful tropical island sometimes has its trade offs. Everything is so expensive. Living from paycheck to paycheck often leaves practically nothing leftover for entertainment. Especially when you love to eat as much as I do. 

The bright side is that this island is full of unbelievable natural beauty, most of which you can explore for free. Recently, we visited the tide pools at Makapu’u, and they took my breath away.

Makapu'u Trail

The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail is on the windward side of Oahu near Sea Life Park. There’s an easy but steep trail that leads to a lighthouse with stunning, expansive ocean views. It’s a great spot for whale watching in the winter months. You can also veer off to the right, if the beach is more you style. On this day, however, we were headed for the tide pools.

tidepools3

About halfway up the trail there’s a sign about whale watching. This is where you leave the nice wide paved path and hike down the side of a lava rock cliff. It’s a bit challenging, especially if you’re out of shape like me. There are loose rocks and several places where you have to jump down to the next level. Proper footwear is a definite bonus. I wouldn’t recommend this trail for small children.

Blow hole near tide pools

Also be sure to check the surf report before going out. Large waves can rush over the rocks into the tide pools creating dangerous conditions. Even strong swimmers can get swept away. I’m not saying you have to be a scaredy baby, just respect the ocean. It’s a powerful force.

Once you make it down, you’ll see several pools with clear water and adorable colorful fish. You can wade right in with the fish, but remember, you’re in their home. If you have an underwater camera, this would be a fantastic time to use it. The fish will swim right past you.

tidepools7

The ocean was putting on a pretty great show for us when we were out there. The waves crashing against the rocks, and the sound of the ocean churning beneath the blow holes and in the lava tubes is powerful. Just be careful and don’t turn your back on it.

tidepools6

Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and water. There’s no shade down there, and once you hike down, you have to get back up. There are chalk arrows on the rocks to guide you on the safest path. There are also no restrooms out here, so…. Well, just be prepared.

tidepools5

I love the opportunity to explore new and beautiful places so near my home. A sandwich, some water, and a camera are all you really need to enjoy an awesome day in the natural world.

Dill Potato Salad by Awesome on 20

Dill Potato Salad

Dill Potato Salad by Awesome on 20

4th of July is looming on my calendar. I’m not gonna lie. I’m a bit disgusted that it’s here already. Time needs to take a bit of a break if it doesn’t mind. I’m about to be the mother of a teenager. Can we please make the next month go by as slowly as possible?

Of course, when I think of the 4th, the first thing that pops into my mind is a backyard barbecue with charred hot dogs, chips and dips, potato salad, and a million cans of soda, all from the neighborhood grocery store. I had a lot of fun as a kid eating all that junk food and running through the sprinklers to keep from melting. These days, though, it takes a bit more to impress me. But just a bit.

Making your own potato salad takes about fifteen minutes of work, and it’s at least a million times better then that mushy, gloopy stuff from the store. And you can customize it to your own taste, which means you don’t have to pick out any celery if you don’t want to.

Dill Potato Salad by Awesome on 20

This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten’s potato salad. I fell in love with it because it contains dill, which is a phenomenal flavor, in my opinion. Now, if you have a house in the Hamptons and have fourteen kinds of imported French mustard in your fridge and a gardener to provide you with every type of fresh herb known to man, invite me over. And make this potato salad with the very best ingredients you can get your hands on.

If, on the other hand, when you visit the store, you find yourself searching for the most inexpensive ingredients available, don’t worry. Expensive ingredients do taste a bit better, but the inexpensive ones can still taste awesome, and making it yourself makes it automatically better. I changed a few things to make this recipe a bit more accessible by using condiments I had in my fridge, and a dill paste rather then using a few snips of the fresh stuff and then letting the rest go to waste. The paste is full of flavor and lasts much longer, so you’re more likely to get your money’s worth out of it.

Dill Potato Salad by Awesome on 20

I hope you get to spend your 4th with some awesome people eating some awesome food. And by all means, see some stuff explode!

Dill Potato Salad
Serves 4
A creamy flavorful potato salad with a punch of dill.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1-1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
  2. Salt
  3. 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  4. 1/4 cup buttermilk
  5. 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  6. 1 tablespoon dill paste*
  7. Black pepper
  8. 1 green onion
Instructions
  1. Put your potatoes in a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook until you can pierce the largest potato with a sharp knife. Mine took about 30 minutes, but it will vary depending the size of your potatoes.
  2. Drain the potatoes then put the colander back over the hot pot. Place a clean kitchen towel over the colander and allow your potatoes to continue to steam for another 15 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, whisk together the mayo, buttermilk, mustard, dill paste, and salt and pepper. The mixture will be quite thick.
  4. When the potatoes are cool enough to not burn your fingers off, cut them into bite-sized pieces. The skin of Yukon golds is quite tender, so if the skin sticks you can leave it on. If it falls off, I discard it. Don't stress yourself out.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and toss with dressing.
  6. Using scissors, cut your green onions directly into the bowl and give it a final stir.
  7. Allow your salad to hang out in the fridge for a couple of hours before revealing it to your family. Then go blow stuff up. In a fun way.
Notes
  1. *You can, of course, substitute fresh or dried dill. Use whatever is easiest.
  2. This is actually half the original recipe, so you can easily double this to feed a larger crowd.
Adapted from Ina Garten
Adapted from Ina Garten
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