Fantastic Food Trucks and More Scenes from the North Shore

Anybody who has spent more than a few days on Oahu will tell you that some of the best food on the island is found at food trucks on the North Shore. These colorful restaurants on wheels first began springing up around Honolulu in the 1970s. Back then it was mainly burgers, hotdogs, and the traditional Asian cuisine. Now-a-days, a person can satisfy any cravings from zesty street tacos to wasabi-flavored poke bowls.

Some of the best food trucks on Oahu are found on the North Shore, directly across the street from Shark’s Cove.

If Rebecca and I had to pick a favorite mobile eatery it would definitely be Aji Limo Truck!

All of Aji’s dishes are made with the freshest local fish and organic produce bought from the nearby Pupukea Garden Farms.

Don’t worry, the beers were all mine! This little mommy always plays it safe and refrains from consuming raw fish or adult beverages.

This California inspired dish consisted of Sashimi, rice, avacados, and salad…. Yes, it was every bit as good as it looks!

Rebecca had the Thai poke (only she had them throw the fish on the grill to make her meal pregnancy-friendly). This tasty dish consisted of fresh salmon, mango, cilantro, crispy coconut and coconut sauce over rice and organic greens.

Our friend, Foghorn Leghorn, decided to show up for dinner unannounced. He’s lucky I had a little extra corn to spare!

This truly is my happy place!

If tacos are your thing than don’t go far. You’re not going to find anywhere better than North Shore Tacos.

North Shore Tacos offers shrimp, fish, chicken, beef, steak, pork, and even a vegetarian option as well… Yum!

For a little slice of heaven right on the North Shore, come visit Jerry’s Pizza! He also has some pretty amazing subs, salads and desserts.

 

Get your surf lessons and rentals at North Shores Surf Shop

Your momma warned you never to enter the water right after eating… but then again, your momma has probably never been to Hawaii’s North Shore!

Rebecca thought it would be fun to hide her baby-bump behind this purple Hawai sarong.

I would probably be the scariest mermaid you could ever meet at sea!

Cars line the strip in front of shark’s cove.

Shark’s Cove is a popular tourist site for snorkeling and it is fairly shallow. The water does get up to 20 feet at the cove’s mouth and many scuba divers explore the areas just outside the cove. A few caves can be found around the cove’s northwest point, and to a lesser extent to the south. The area to the left of the cove offers excellent night diving. The origin of the cove’s name is uncertain, but sharks are not any more common here than other places on Oahu.

Laniakea Beach in North Shore

Probably one of the best places to sea a Hawaiian green sea turtle basking in the sun is at Laniakea Beach.

The Hawaiian green sea turtles arrives onto Laniakea Beach most regularly around lunch time. The sea turtles and I share that in common, since lunch time is also my favorite time to visit the area. But regardless of whether you’re coming to surf, snorkel, chow down, or simply bask under a Hawaiian sun, there is never a really bad to to visit Oahu’s fabulous North Shore!

Mahalo and happy travels,

Big John


Posted in Adventurous Places, Great Dining, North America and tagged , , , by with 3 comments.

The Spirit of Aloha at Germaine’s Luau

Just recently, Rebecca and I had the pleasure of attending our first luau on the island of Oahu. Finding my knowledge of Hawaiian culture a bit lacking, I first read up a little on the history of these fascinating, food-centered events. It may be of interest to some to know that in ancient Hawaii, men and woman ate their meals completely apart. Furthermore, commoners and women of every social class were forbidden by the ancient Hawaiian religion to eat certain delicacies. When I first read this, I thought it made a whole lot of sense. The last time I had breakfast with Rebecca, she ate all of the blueberry waffles. I went to work that day with a cold hard-boiled egg and one of those crummy end-pieces of toast. If I had eaten first, or if she had been forbidden to eat such delicacies, I would have enjoyed a really tasty breakfast. I shared the idea with Rebecca just this morning, and for some reason I didn’t eat any breakfast, nor did I get any lunch.

Big John at Germaine’s Luau

Separate meals between the sexes continued all the way up until 1819, when King Kamehameha II finally abolished the practice by throwing a feast where both men and women could attend. The king’s symbolic act forever ended the religious food taboos on the islands and the Hawaiian luau was born. Had Rebecca been around back then, and the king had been forced to share waffles with her, it’s highly doubtful that he would have been in such a festive mood. For that reason alone, I hope the Hawaiian people are truly thankful that Rebecca did not come to share a meal with them until some 200 years after the food ban was lifted…. and also thankful they weren’t serving any blueberry waffles.

Rebecca is all smiles at Germaine’s!

Rebecca smiles for the camera, oblivious to the fact that if history had been any different, she could have easily destroyed the luau that so many have come to know and love!

Germaine’s Luau is located next to Barber’s Point lighthouse on the west side of Oahu.

Far removed from the hustle and bustle of downtown Waikiki, Germaine’s location is both beautiful and serene. Visitors to Germaine’s Luau can experience all the tradition of a luau and capture much of the essence of that old Hawaiian culture.

A fisherman casts his net near the beachfront property of Germaine’s Luau.

 

Germaine’s Luaua is a family run event.

To ensure that the family would be forever united and always remain Keiki o Ka ‘Aina (children of the land), an individual coconut tree was planted for each member of the Stephenson family throughout the property.

Rebecca stands in line to use the ladies room…. Joking! It’s just a hut that people probably don’t use the restroom in.

Many may not know my former title as “Outrigger King of the Pacific”. I try not to talk about it much because I don’t want all of that publicity and fanfare.

This kid had some real skills working the luau fire dance…. I taught him everything he knows.

 

A pretty hula dancer at Germaine’s Luau

Here is a helpful piece of information for all you ladies coming over from the mainland. A flower worn on the right side of your head means you’re available. A flower worn on your left side, or closest to your heart, means that you are spoken for.  When Rebecca heard about this she said that it was always nice to have options… joking!

The strength and beauty of Polynesian culture on full display at Germaine’s Luau.

 

Two strong men pull the roasted pig from the imu, or underground oven.

The word kālua, which literally means “to cook in an underground oven”, is used to describe the way in which the pig is prepared at luaus. The word Luau, in Hawaiian is actually the name of the taro leaf, which when steamed for a few hours, resembles cooked spinach. The traditional luau was eaten on a floor of mats woven together by the leaves of the hala tree.

Traditionally, a hardwood fire is built inside a pit large enough to contain the food being cooked. Large stones and vegetation are than used to cover the food. Stones are placed on top of the fire in the pit, taking around 2-3 hours to reach their maximum temperature. Special care is made in the selection of stones to ensure they contain very little moisture. It could become vey dangerous if stones exploded from the steam during the intense heating process.

Once the stones become extremely hot, they are spread out over the coals and the pit is lined with vegetation such as banana trees that have been pounded out to make them pliable. Sometimes these hot stones are also be placed inside the body cavity of the pig to ensure the meat is fully cooked. The end result will be some of the best pork you ever tasted! Don’t take my word for it though, you need to experience a luau for yourself.

Do you even lift, bruh?

 

A luau is more than just a feast, it is a culturally-themed party with magnificent pageantry. 

 

The food at Germaine’s is fantastic!

All though Germaine’s advertises themselves as being an all-you-can-eat buffet, I could only manage one really big plate of food. Of course I had a healthy portion of the kalua pork, then I tried a little poi, some Hawaiian sweet rolls, rice, Lomilomi salmon, Haupia (coconut pudding), island fish, fresh pineapple, teriyaki beef, pineapple slaw, green salad (I’m dieting), Hawaiian Pulehu chicken, potato-mac salad, chocolate cake… and beer.

Once the sky goes dark the show really begins to heat up!

 

The Tahitian and Samoan dancers really bring out that warrior spirit! 

 

From the allure of the hukilau hula to the thrill of the blazing fireknife dance, the entertainment of Germaine’s was something we will never forget!

 

The one thing I loved most about Germaine’s Luau was their abundance of “Aloha” spirit.  The Hawaiian word Aloha means many things to include love, affection, peace, compassion, and mercy. To participate in a luau, and share that experience with ohana (family), is what the word aloha is all about. Thank you for visiting Big John’s Adventures in Travel and please feel free to explore more of my site.

Mahalo and happy travels,

Big John


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Cruising the Mediterranean Aboard the Celebrity Reflection

In June of 2017, I became the luckiest guy alive when I married Rebecca – my best friend and love of my life. To celebrate our joyous occasion, I planned a honeymoon that would be second to none. So, the day following our ceremony we boarded a plane to Rome, Italy and then found our way to the Italian seaport of Civitavecchia. Docked at the port was the Celebrity Reflection,  the luxury cruise vessel that would carry us around the Western Mediterranean. The Celebrity Reflection is the largest their Solstice class ship in their entire fleet. The vessel has a 3,046 max occupancy, is 1,047 feet long, and boats an impressive cruising speed of 24 knots. These are just some of the amazing memories we captured while underway.

Big John and Rebecca go cruising the Mediterranean aboard the Celebrity Reflection.

 

The Celebrity chefs surprised us with this delicious treat to commemorate our special occasion!

My beautiful wife takes a moment to wind down in our cozy little cabin.

One of the many lounge areas aboard the Celebrity Reflection.

Our shirts seemed to be a big hit on the ship.

Rebecca gets a top deck view as the Reflection prepares to shove off at Civitavecchia, Italy.

There are four swimming pools aboard the ship.

 

The Sky Lounge aboard the Celebrity Reflection.

There was food for every type of palate aboard the ship. I decided that I couldn’t go wrong with a crunchy plate of tacos!

 

The Celebrity Reflection has 13 fun-filled decks featuring various amenities. 

Fun in the sun aboard the Reflection.

There was even an outdoor walking/ jogging track to burn off some of those extra calories.

 

Believe it or not, this was a lawn of real grass!

 

This chair was probably bigger than the car we rented in Rome!

Twin hammocks outside the Lawn Club Grill.

 

 

The ship has over a dozen diverse bars, clubs and lounges.

Preparing for some nightly entertainment.

 

Sushi on 5

 

The main dining room offered fine dining with an ocean view.

 

That girl has class!

The Park West Gallery offered extraordinary art auctions on both sea and land.

Anchored off the coast of France.

Villefranche-sur-Mer on the French Riviera

 

Docked in Barcelona, Spain

The talented Celebrity Reflection chefs do a meet-and-greet with their passengers.

I taught this guy everything he knows… kidding!

A behind-the-scenes glimpse of all the magic made in the kitchen.

 

All of this prep work is making me hungry!

 

These guys take great pride in all of their culinary endeavors.

I plan to wine-n-dine this pretty girl!

Now that’s a pretty picture!

Off the Rock of Gibraltar, UK.

The beaches in Spain were breathtaking!

She was the most beautiful woman on the Spanish coast!

Sailing around the Mediterranean is hard work!

Nobody ever takes a cruise and loses weight!

Look at all those desserts!

There was plenty of fresh fruit for a more natural sweet experience.

The wine and cheese was to die for!

I’ll try one of everything, please.

The main buffet offered food any time, day or night!

Our cabin was conveniently located on the 8th deck.

 

Just in case you were still wondering about the food.

 

There were foods aboard the Celebrity Reflection from every nation.

 

 

On Celebrity cruise lines you can have your cake and eat it too!

Rebecca takes in the view from the stern.

 

 

A beautiful sunset from the Celebrity Reflection.

I hope customs doesn’t discover I smuggled these guns on board!

I think she’s into me!

Who knew she played the drums!

 

 

Nothing beats lawn games while out at sea!

 

Somewhere off the Spanish coast.

 

Cheesecake always makes my baby smile!

It was here that I witnessed the most beautiful view of my entire cruise!

 

 

Well, I truly enjoyed sharing these magical days with you aboard the Celebrity Reflection. Thank you for visiting my page at Big John’s Adventures in Travel. If you plan on taking a cruise soon, choose the very best and sail with Celebrity cruise line.

Happy travels,

Big John


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