HONOLULU Small Bites: 8 Happenings Worth Buzzing About in August 2018

Here’s a quick-bite guide to the latest foodie news around the Islands.

New menu items at Burger Hale, The Bar at Azure opens with an all-new cocktail menu, Vegan Hills in Kaimukī reopens and Hawaiian Sun launches a liliko‘i lychee drink.


1. Get More Than Just Burgers Now at Burger Hale

Chefs Michelle Karr-Ueoka and Wade Ueoka launched Burger Hale this summer and, starting this week, expanded its menu to include more than just burgers.
Photo: Courtesy of Burger Hale


With a name like Burger Hale, you’d expect burgers.


But the couple behind the new concept at The Street, A Michael Mina Social House in Waikīkī—MW’s Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka—are unveiling new menu items that go beyond the burger starting on Friday.


The new items include a karaage chicken sandwich with yuzukoshō (a spice blend of yuzu, chilies and salt) slaw and furikake mayo ($7.99); Baja fish tacos with a caper tartar sauce, cabbage slaw, pico de gallo and grilled limes ($9.99); and the Hale egg and cheese sandwich with Portuguese sausage, an over-easy egg and crispy cheddar cheese ($5.99).


In June, the couple took over the space formerly occupied by Maui Onion Burger and introduced ethnic flavors to the traditional burger.


SEE ALSO: Get Authentic Mexican Food and Quality Burgers Now at The Street


The hand-shaped burgers are still the draw, but the menu also features hot dogs, three different loco moco dishes, crinkle-cut fries, Kona Brewing Co. beer-battered onions rings and Karr-Ueoka’s invention of shave ice shakes.


2309 Kūhiō Ave., ground floor of the International Market Place, lunch and dinner from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., (808) 377-4402.


2. End Summer With—What Else?—Beer on the Beach

Photo: Courtesy of Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikīkī Beach Resort


The 4th annual Great Waikīkī Beer Festival, which takes place on Saturday on the beachfront lawn at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikīkī Beach Resort, will showcase more than 100 seasonal, local and craft beers from Hawai‘i and beyond. Try brews from Aloha Beer Co., Seattle’s Elysian Brewing Co., Chicago’s Goose Island Beer Co., L.A.’s Golden Road Brewing, Maui Brewing Co. and more.


Not into beer? Hilton’s bartenders will be serving specialty cocktails, sake and wine. And the beer-friendly nosh includes coconut shrimp, kīawe-smoked beef brisket, soft salted pretzels, gochujang chicken wings and okonomiyaki tater tots.


A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Wounded Warrior ‘Ohana, a local nonprofit dedicated to caring for injured military service members.


6 to 9 p.m. (4 p.m. VIP early admission), $75 to $100 with discounts for military. Must be 21 or older to attend. (808) 947-7955, thegreatwaikikibeerfestival.com.


3. Vegan Hills Reopens in Kaimukī

Vegan Hills reopened in Kaimukī this month, with a new menu that still features some of the old favorites including the Why Not Chos?, Mexican-style nachos with black-bean chili, cashew sauce, tomatoes, avocado and a house-made hot sauce. All vegan!
Photo: Robbie Dingeman


On July 28, Vegan Hills posted its first Instagram pic announcing its reopening in Kaimukī. (The vegan restaurant had closed for a few months.)

The response? “Yaaaas!” “Finally!” “Best news ever.”


SEE ALSO: First Look: Vegan Hills


Vegan Hills, which opened last year, earned a devout following for its tasty vegan dishes that even had omnivores craving plant-based foods. It closed for renovations, then re-opened last month with revamped breakfast and lunch menus and the launch of a weekend brunch.


“Thank you so much for waiting to see our new and improved Vegan Hills,” the post read. “We look forward to feeding you our pure food so you can feel and fuel your inner beauty.”


Who doesn’t want that?


3585 Waiʻalae Ave., 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for brunch, closed Monday. (808) 735-3585, veganhills-hi.com.


4. The Bar at Azure Opens with Craft Cocktails and Private-Label Spirits

The new Bar at Azure is led by veteran mixologists Alicia Yamachika, Ryan Tanji and Robert “Sully” Sullivan.
Photo: Courtesy of The Royal Hawaiian


There’s something magical about sipping a throwback cocktail at a beachfront bar in Waikīkī.


The Royal Hawaiian Hotel recently revamped its bar at Azure—aptly named the Bar at Azure—expanding the seating area and unveiling an all-new cocktail menu that pays homage to the hotel’s history. (It did introduce the world to the original Mai Tai 65 years ago.)


Among the signature drinks are the Kō Hana daiquiri ($23), using local distilled rhum agricole, and a hibiscus margarita ($16) with fresh lime juice, a house-made hibiscus and white cane sugar reduction, served on the rocks with a spicy and citrusy salt rim.


In addition to the opening of this new bar, Azure also welcomes Shingo Katsura as chef de cuisine. Born in Japan but raised on O‘ahu, Katsura spent most of his culinary life in California, working at the Michelin-starred Madera Restaurant in Menlo Park and, most recently, at Roots & Rye in San Jose.


2259 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 921-4600, azurewaikiki.com


5. Taro Shortbread Cookies and Furikake Palm Leaves from Big Island Candies



It’s hard enough to choose from Big Island Candies’ long list of treats, from its signature diagonally dipped shortbread cookies to pineapple-filled manju. Now, the Hilo-based company has launched three more items to consider: taro shortbread, chocolate-chili cookies and furikake palm leaves.


The taro shortbread is made with both taro and purple sweet potato, which gives the cookies an earthy purple hue. We loved the white-chocolate-dipped version; these make great omiyage for friends and family on the Mainland. The chocolate-chili cookie is both crispy and spicy, flecked with locally grown Hawaiian chili peppers and white chocolate morsels. The furikake palm leaves (only available at the Hilo store) combines salty-savory seaweed with the sweet, flakey French palmiers in an interesting and addictive way.




6. Hawaiian Sun Launches Liliko‘i Lychee Drink

Photo: Courtesy of Hawaiian Sun


Hawaiian Sun juices are a staple at soccer games, picnics and potlucks in Hawai‘i. The family-owned Honolulu-based company has more than 15 different juice flavors, including black tea ginger, green tea and Pass-O-Guava.


Debuting at the Made in Hawai‘i Festival this weekend will be the company’s newest drink—liliko‘i lychee, a combination of two beloved flavors in the Islands. The new canned juice will be sold at Foodland, Safeway, Walmart and Sam’s Club starting this week.




7. Chef Roy Yamaguchi Brings Fire & Rice Event to Waikīkī

Two things have converged this year: Chef Roy Yamaguchi is celebrating his 30th anniversary and the Islands are celebrating 150 years of Japanese heritage. To mark both milestones, Yamaguchi is throwing a Fire & Rice event on Aug. 23 at his Eating House 1849 restaurant at the International Market Place. (The one at his Kapolei Commons location in July sold out.) The event, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m., will feature taiko drumming, sake bombs and a menu inspired by both plantation life in Hawai‘i and traditional Japanese cuisine. Dishes include Hokkaido-style beef soup curry, Okinawan braised pork belly rafute, chirashi, kinako mochi and kohi zeri “coffee jelly” dessert. Cost is $108 and includes two drinks. All of the proceeds will support the Bishop Museum and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i.


2330 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 924-1849, royyamaguchi.com, eatinghouse1849.com.


8. Keep Calm and Drink Red Wine

Photo: Courtesy of the Moana Surfrider


When National Red Wine Day falls on a Tuesday, as it does this month on Aug. 28, you know the universe is telling you something. (That it’s time to get a glass of wine.)


Vintage 1901, a cozy wine lounge at the Moana Surfrider, is celebrating with a flight of three Italian red wines for $20 from 5 to 8 p.m. on the hotel’s ʻEwa veranda. Special food offerings include a Hāmākua mushroom toast ($10), fried cheese wontons ($10) and prime rib sliders ($12). Reservations are recommended.


2255 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 921-4600, moana-surfrider.com.