May 27, 2011

Diamond Head. The Cheesecake Factory.

There were visual food cues everywhere.

There comes a time during too many of my holidays where I find myself having to create a respectable apetite in order to do justice to the restaurant I have lined up for that night's dinner.   Lately, this happy crisis point has been occuring earlier and earlier into my trips.  There's just too many good foods I want to try and not enough meals in a day.  Aside from the restaurant meals, there's the on the run food hall meals plus the snacks and there's always the dilemma surrounding whether or not to eat the same thing twice.  There's a whole different set of issues surrounding the need to squeeze in at least one healthy food per meal.

Which is why I found myself on our second morning in Hawaii folding up my flying kangaroo PJs (thank you QANTAS) and pondering the day's kilojoule burning itinerary.

Florence Broadhurst's designs grace QANTAS' toiletry bags.

I seemed to remember seeing a volcanic crater somewhere on the beach....

Diamond Head from Waikiki Beach.

It looked pretty far away with a pretty steep upward climb too.

That's what we'd do.  A brisk walk to mingle with the locals, a climb to the top of a volcanic crater and then .... a dinner featuring burgers and cheesecake.

You know, just our average run of the mill beach front avenue in the heart of the city.

So, off we went to Diamond Head which is probably 3 kilometres down the road and up another one from The Royal Hawaiian (I'm even worse at street names when I'm on holiday, my iPhone makes me so lazy). 

I like trying to find where the locals do their thing in a new city.  It's grounding to be in the streets of surburbia, far away from the glitz of the stores and the somewhat transient atmosphere that suitcases and tour buses seem to give a street.

Coconut Street.
When I got a little more confident of my bearings, I managed to go for a run through the 'burbs most mornings and it was so much more pleasant than the treadmill in the gym.

Diamond Head lighthouse.
Most mornings, these more challenging beaches would be full of local surfers catching some great waves.

Even on a such a small island, canine Hawaiians have their own Bark Parks.

Okay, here we are.  The start of the serious hike.

But first, some freshly cut pineapple and a Gatorade from the esky.

It was a pretty challenging hike.  And then we got to these stairs.

Some keen children reckoned they counted at least 66 stairs, others 59.  I didn't have the breath to count and climb simultaneously.  They felt like buns of steel at the top, even if they didn't look it yet.
But, we were well rewarded at the top.  The air was so cool on our flushed and sweaty faces.

That's the Diamond Head Lighthouse we were face to face with on the ground.

The Royal Hawaiian is nestled in the centre of this photo.

A sign of Hawaii's strong military role within the US.  These are barracks from past conflicts.  Never used.

This young lady was close to calling it a day.  She was all of 4 years old but yes, that is indeed a black velour play suit accessorized with a fresh plumeria behind her ear.

Whilst hiking, it really was difficult to appreciate that we were in fact on the rim of a volcanic crater and looking into the Pacific Ocean.

I've been googling away and this is what Diamond Head looks like with the benefit of an aerial view and a panoramic lens.

Image courtesy of wikipedia.

Enough with the geography!  All that walking and climbing left me starving  but at least I had the start of a killer total body tan.  On holidays, I have a habit of conveniently forgetting my Slip, Slop, Slap.  Just don't tell the Australian Cancer Council on me.

Our treat for the day was dinner at The Cheesecake Factory's only branch in Hawaii.  This place is a legendary stop for tourists.  It is always full, there are lines out the door and they do a mean takeaway trade.  I think my photos will help you understand why.

At the risk of sounding like a whingy tourist, American bread is really sweet.  Even to the sweet toothed tourist.  That being said, the oat and honey bread at The Cheesecake Factory was really up my alley.  The sweetness suited the texture of this bread.

Staying well hydrated is crucial to a carb laden dinner.
Mr SSG and I shared an entree, the Roadside Sliders.  Mini hamburgers with a side of pickles and lettuce.

So tasty as they were, I resisted the urge to douse my share with extra tomato sauce.

They look simple and generic but they tasted as good as I remembered American hamburgers to taste from our last trip in 2009.  The beef is sweeter and had a richer taste here compared to Australian beef.

Then I went all wholesome with a herb crusted salmon salad.  A very generous serve of greens with the perfect amount of dressing. The salmon was cooked just the way I like it.

Mr SSG went Mexican with the stuffed chicken tacos.  They were everything he hoped for - carbs, cheese, sour cream and 100% comfort on a plate.

We couldn't go to The Cheesecake Factory without having cheesecake, could we?  So we shared the Red Velvet Cheesecake.  Where do I start?  Many of the cheesecakes here do not have a crumb base and are in fact layers of cheesecake between layers of regular cake.  They aren't overly sweet either.  They are full of flavour and the cake layers are dense and moist.

They are the reasons why I was so addicted and could not leave until the last forkful was lifted from the plate.

By this stage, my eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach so I contented myself with a look at the takeaway counter.

And pondered options for my next visit.

Which was exactly 6 days later....

The lines were crazy this time so Mr SSG and I got takeaway.  We ate our spoils on some comfy couches in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Centre which surrounds the restaurant.

White chocolate and raspberry truffle cheesecake.

Pina Colada Cheesecake.
We were both pretty quiet for a while there.

By the way, I hope you're not sick of the Hawaii posts yet.  Because tomorrow looks like it's going to be sponsored by Hawaii Shop Girl.

Have a lovely evening.  I've really enjoyed all your comments about the trip.  Keep 'em coming in.

The Cheesecake Factory on Urbanspoon


  1. Loving the big plastic pineapple!

    Gorgeous photos of what looks like a fantastic holiday.

    Take good care.

  2. Definitely enjoying your Hawaii posts - it's one of my shortlist destinations for next year's trip and I like what I've seen so far. Keep them coming please!

  3. Your Hawaii trip looks like it was fantastic.

    If you ever come to Beverly Hills, I would be my pleasure to invite you to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory which is a block from my office. They have a sidewalk patio where you can watch the locals walking by as you have your mean.

  4. The Cheesecake Factory is fab. On this trip, we ate at versions in Marina Del Rey, Rancho Mirage (Palm Springs) and Las Vegas). I am a huge fan of the Key Lime cheesecake - it has a beautifully sour taste and is lush. Definitely not too heavy after one of their infamously huge mains. We never opted for entrees (appetizers) - the mains we always far too big for me. The salads are gigantic!

  5. cheese cake oh god.. so bad for my wasitline.. but oh soooo delishhh!!!

  6. Belle: you are on! I will look you up should my travels take me to your neck of the woods.

    Kitty: duh! How could I forget to try a Key Lime cheesecake.

    SSG xxx

  7. I admire your dedication to exercise and food.

  8. Wow, great pics! And the cake shots making me hungry...


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