One place I wanted to visit was Koko Head Cafe, run by chef Lee Anne Wong. Lee Anne Wong is the executive chef for Hawaiian Airlines so we definitely heard of her before landing in Oahu. She’s also been on Top Chef and other programs so I knew her name, but I never really watched the show. I wanted to visit because the breakfast menu sounded awesome!
We parked in a nearby lot and prepared for a wait. Luckily we didn’t have to wait too long because two spots opened up at the bar. Score.
Looking at this menu again months later I’m surprised I didn’t order the Dumplings All Day Wong. I bet I really thought about ordering it though.
I loved the mix and variety of items on the menu at Koko Head!
I encouraged Jake to order something new for him and he ended up getting the Breakfast Congee [$12] mostly because I really wanted to try it. The Breakfast Congee is a bowl of hot rice porridge and this version is topped with bacon, Portuguese sausage, ham, a soft poached egg, cheese, scallions, and cinnamon bacon croutons.
The croutons might sound totally weird because they’re sweet… BUT IT WORKED. Everything else is really savory in this dish and that little crunch of sweetness pulled together really well with the mix of meats and wonderfully fragrant rice porridge. Jake was surprised at how much he liked this dish, which when we got home, prompted us to go out and try congee at a few places near his house.
I decided on getting a skillet! I ordered the Chicky and Eggs [$15] which came with Japanese style fried jidori chicken, French-style scrambled eggs, some pickles that I didn’t eat, crispy rice on the bottom, and a side of some amazingly delicious maple tabasco sauce.
The eggs were wonderful. Like… I always want scrambled eggs like this now. In fact, I make “French style” scrambled eggs on a regular basis now because it tastes so much better to me. The eggs are fluffy, creamy, and light and amazingly delicious. This is probably where I first had them and then I remember my dad telling me how to make them at home.
I remember liking the chicken dipped in that sauce. And the crispiness on the rice. But really I liked Jake’s dish a little more than mine.
I remember as we sat at the bar at Koko Head Cafe, we sat next to a few locals who asked us about where we had eaten so far and they were impressed with the places we hit up already (like Helena’s Hawaiian). We like going to those local places!
I dug that our bill came in this old tin can. We paid the bill and we were off to our next adventure!
Koko Head Cafe
1145c 12th Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816
Just driving through Hawaii is breathtaking. It’s so lush and SO GREEN.
Our next stop was to visit the Byodo-In Temple.
It is a non-denominational non-practicing Buddhist temple that sits in the back of a memorial park/cemetery. You drive through the memorial park to the back and the temple is tucked down.
The template is a smaller scale replica of the over 950-year old Byodo-in Temple in Uji, Japan. It was established in 1968 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants in Hawaii.
It was very peaceful exploring the grounds of the Byodo-in Temple and enjoying the koi pond, seeing the wildlife (black swans, peacocks, cats), and enjoying a little time for reflection.
After our visit to the Byodo-in Temple, we drove up to the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout. This is a great lookout point that you can easily drive to. There’s a parking lot ($3) and you walk out to the lookout where it is very, very, very windy.
You can see a great distance away and the view is spectacular. We saw some tour buses stopping off here and we were glad we had our own rental car to take the time we needed to explore!
After a visit to the lookout, we had a meh lunch with some meh baked goods.
I’m gonna skip that part and go right to our visit to Modo Donuts inside of Mitsuwa Market.
Modo Donuts was definitely a place I wanted to visit because I had seen these mochi donuts on Instagram and I was dying to try them!
The base is pretty much the same for all of the donuts. The differences are the toppings! They had so many to choose from and while I wanted to try every single one I stuck to only getting a few flavors.
Of the three, my favorite was the black sesame though I could see why the cookies & cream was very popular. The honey glaze was also a really nice simple treat!
What I liked about the mochi donuts is that they break off into smaller bite size pieces. I also loved the chewy texture of the mochi donut – it tasted just how I thought it would!
Oh how I wish there was a location of this place at home – or that someone made mochi donuts here!
2330 Kalakaua Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815
We went back to Waikiki Beach to do some touristy stuff and to look for the spot where Jake used to live.
We wandered around among the sunbathing tourists and popped into one the hotels to enjoy the view of Diamond Head.
And so I could get my Mai Tai.
Another wonderful day in Oahu! Just a few more Hawaii posts left to go!