4 Off the Beaten Path Lunch Spots on Oahu

You know how it is. You’re at the beach, you’re a little sun tired, you’re sweaty, you’ve lost salt and you need something delicious for lunch that will fill your belly and, just maybe, your heart. If you’re headed to Oahu, I’ve got you covered.


Before we left, I loved scouring Eater articles and personal blogs to gather ideas about where to eat lunch while on Oahu. I made lists and maps and filled pages of my tiny notebook. We had 4 full days, so I wanted to plan well in order to hit most of the places I had researched. I had a few vague criteria about lunch places…it had to offer poke, it had to be able to travel to the beach, and it had to be highly recommended.

Here are 4 hole in the wall, must go, places for you to eat lunch while you’re on Oahu. I like to think of them as five star dives. At each of these places we paid under $30 total for two people to eat a very full lunch. Here we go:

1. Kyung’s Seafood

I had read about Kyung’s Seafood on a few of Eater’s lists while I was gathering ideas pre-vacation. In fact, I was so excited to try it, we went straight from the airport to Kyung’s for lunch. Clearly it didn’t disappoint. The ahi poke was to die for. I ordered the poke & lau lau (pork) plate, but I wished I would have skipped the lau lau and eaten as much poke as possible. BF ordered a poke and BBQ chicken plate, which was a real win. Kyung’s Seafood stays open late, so it would also be a great place for dinner or second dinner. IMG-9272


What to order: poke & BBQ chicken plate, sashimi plate

Parking situation: a few spots around to the side
Eat in or take out: eat in! They have table service and also do take out orders.

2. Hibachi

Hibachi is inside a small market where they also offer smoked meats that smelled out of this world. We visited after a hike on the east shore Kaiwa ridge and before heading to Kailua beach. We sampled salmon, tobiko, ahi, hamachi, and shrimp poke–they were all outstanding. I settled on a spicy salmon with ginger over salad, but was almost swayed by the spicy tobiko with thai basil. They make so many different daily specials, you’ll find something to love.




What to order: one of the fresh daily specials in a mini poke bowl

Parking situation: there’s a small parking lot around back

Eat in or take out: take out to the beach. There’s a few tables outside, but it’s much more fun to go to one of the nearby beaches in Kailua

3. Barbecue Kai

Barbecue Kai is on the west shore and we had lunch here after spending time at Maili beach. Their mixed barbecue plate HIT THE SPOT. It was smoky, salty, tangy, meaty tastiness. I also had a renaissance in my love of mac salad. Probably because I’m lactose intolerant and anything creamy reminds me of the good old days when I could digest dairy. I digress. Smoked and roasted meats, that’s all you need to know.


What to order: mixed BBQ plate. Comes with bbq steak and chicken with rice and mac salad. Plenty for two people to split one combo.

Parking Situation: small lot attached, no parking issues.

Eat in or take out: take out to the beach. There’s two picnic tables available, but I would go to the beach down the street.

4. Alicia’s Market

Alicia’s was our final lunch stop, before heading to the airport. We went out with a bang here. BF and I were sitting in the rental car, in a gas station parking lot eating our Alicia’s spoils and not talking, but making eye contact that said everything that needed to be said. Like, how is roast pork this crispy & juicy? What in god’s name is this sauce on my spicy ahi poke and how do I make it at home? Do we really have to leave?



What to order: Poke bowl and roast pork plate.

Parking situation: TOUGH! There are a few spaces but if you’re here any time around lunch, you’re going to wait for one. There’s not much street parking available either.

Eat in or take out: only take out. There’s no option to sit here.

Thanks for checking out my ideas for 5 star dives. I hope this gives you great ideas if you’re headed to Oahu! If not, I hope this intrigues you to plan a trip!



All images except first taken on iPhone because I was too hungry and excited to use my real camera.

Portrait Photography: Tobey in Cadaqués



Let’s step into the small Spanish town of Cadaqués for a moment…

cadaques_spain_travelphotographer_beach_travel_europecadaques_spain_travelphotographer_beach_travel_europe-2cadaques_spain_travelphotographer_beach_travel_europe-16Cadaqués is on the unbelievably beautiful, incredibly picturesque Costa Brava. It’s a quiet beach town, made famous by Salvador Dalí and the time he spent there. During my time in Spain, I visited the town twice and couldn’t get enough of its charming windy streets and whitewashed architecture. On my second visit, I asked my friend, co-worker, and resident muse Tobey to model for me. She and I get to work together once a year on our trips to Barcelona and she is just one of my all time favorite portrait models! She let me photograph her as part of a portrait workshop I did for my travel photography students.



cadaques_spain_travelphotographer_beach_travel_europe-30Que linda!


cadaques_spain_travelphotographer_beach_travel_europe-32Tobey has a style that’s the perfect mix of eclectic, boho, and funk and the confidence to pull off anything she wants. And, she trusts me as her photographer…which is the best quality of all :)



cadaques_spain_travelphotographer_beach_travel_europe-27cadaques_spain_travelphotographer_beach_travel_europe-29These streets, the wind, her dress perfectly blowing…just the stuff all of my photography dreams are made of








cadaques_spain_travelphotographer_beach_travel_europe-12Tobes, muchas gracias for all your confidence and portrait modeling skills. You’re a pro!

xoxo//besos & abrazos



Barcelona with National Geographic Student Expeditions

I’m halfway through my month in Barcelona teaching photography and trip guiding. My first trip with National Geographic Student Expeditions just ended and my second trip with Putney Student Travel began yesterday! I love this job. It’s a crazy mix of shooting, teaching, entertaining, and chaos management. Personally, I think it has all the ingredients for a great reality show. Barcelona is the perfect setting for teaching travel photography and photojournalism in the Nat Geo style. I loved watching my students jump right in and abandon their comfort zones in order to become better photographers. My 3 co-leaders are each amazing photographers and fabulous people to hang out. I miss them already, since we were kind of a dream team. We had the absolute pleasure of having the National Geographic photographer extraordinaire Tino Soriano join us for the entirety of our workshop! Tino began our trip with the best advice for photographers, “This workshop will half be about learning to take good photos, and half be about learning to enjoy your life. Because you cannot take good photos if you do not enjoy your life.” Snaps to that Tino, you photographic genius. Here’s a few of my shots from the past few weeks…







Of course, we visited Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia






Visited the Dali Museum in Figueres…




Went to a total hipster artisan market…




Visited the Medieval city of Girona




In the same day as the heatwave swept across Europe…we visited Besalu



And ended our day trip in Tino’s quiet hometown of Banyolesnationalgeographic_barcelona_travelphotography_seattle_barcelona_natgeostudentexpediations-9677


nationalgeographic_barcelona_travelphotography_seattle_barcelona_natgeostudentexpediations-9705nationalgeographic_barcelona_travelphotography_seattle_barcelona_natgeostudentexpediations-9693Check out my kick ass students!



Our third day trip was to Castellar de N’Hug in the Spanish Pyrenees




nationalgeographic_barcelona_travelphotography_seattle_barcelona_natgeostudentexpediations-9795We also put on a pop up gallery show for our final night!






nationalgeographic_barcelona_travelphotography_seattle_barcelona_natgeostudentexpediations-9910And then there was the dream team: Jill, Sarah Marie, and Jes.



nationalgeographic_barcelona_travelphotography_seattle_barcelona_natgeostudentexpediations-9990nationalgeographic_barcelona_travelphotography_seattle_barcelona_natgeostudentexpediations-9923I can’t say enough good things about this group of students and leaders. They hit it out of the park with their enthusiasm and hard work. Keep that sense of adventure and you’ll only become better photographers. Thanks for making my job so unbelievably awesome, guys. After we sent them back to the US on the plane, I was exhausted and full of inspiration…which is the best kind of exhaustion. And now, round 2 begins…
Un Abrazo,

Mt. Rainier National Park Hike


Last weekend the Boyfriend and I took a drive from Seattle to Sunrise at Mt. Rainier National Park and good god, it was beautiful! See, I’m a recent immigrant to Washington and I had never been to Mt. Rainier before this. I’m not exactly outdoorsy…but this day could certainly nudge me in that direction. It’s so lovely to get out of the city and have a little adventure. Even though the first 15 minutes of our hike to Frozen Lake had us feeling super out of shape, the rest of the way was easy and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to get great views of Mt. Rainier. mtrainier_seattle_photographer_mtrainierphotography_hike

mtrainier_seattle_photographer_mtrainierphotography_hike-3mtrainier_seattle_photographer_mtrainierphotography_hike-4mtrainier_seattle_photographer_mtrainierphotography_hike-5Sunrise is about a 2 hour drive from Seattle. It’s also “the highest point that can be reached by vehicle at Mt. Rainier National Park.” There are lots of trails that offer varying degrees of difficulty, I’m looking forward to bringing some of my nieces and nephews back to this spot so we can take a family hike! Although next time, I probably won’t wear sandals with zero tread…lesson learned.

mtrainier_seattle_photographer_mtrainierphotography_hike-6mtrainier_seattle_photographer_mtrainierphotography_hike-7mtrainier_seattle_photographer_mtrainierphotography_hike-8Summer in the PNW is off to a great start!




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