Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Jeffrey Osborne LIVE - Check!

It all started back in May. I did a google search for "hawaii R&B". Blue Note Hawaii came up with its calendar of exciting artists. I missed Chaka Khan in June. Jody Watley & Shalamar is coming up in August. Incognito in September. I am so excited about this Blue Note venue and the representation of REAL live music. Real instruments. Real voices. Real talent.

This past weekend I checked an item off my bucket list.

I saw Jeffrey Osborne, live, here in Honolulu. **swooning**

I was just a toddler when Love Ballad was released but that song is the reason I fell in love with Jeffrey Osborne. I only discovered it after hearing all of Mr. Osborne's hits in the 80's. I am sure you are familiar with some of them.

"On the wings of love, up and above the clouds, the only way to fly, is on the wings of love..."

"You should be mine. Anything you want. You got to fortify my love to fortify me. Can you woo woo woo? Can you woo woo woo?...."

His voice is so silky and it has a distinct, unique quality that I just absolutely love.

Hubby and I attended the 9pm show. Jeffrey Osborne's scaled down band hopped on stage at 9pm and did a great jazz intro featuring the best trumpet soloist I have ever heard. He is fabulous. By 9:10, Jeffrey Osborne hopped on stage and went non-stop until 10:45'ish. He is such a funny guy.

The highlight of the evening was when he sang the famous LTD song, Love Ballad. In one of my unfinished novels, The Adventures of Slim Williams, I feature this song. I just absolutely love it. It makes me feel so in love and so ready to be loved. To hear it live by the man himself is just a priceless experience for me. To share it with my husband was a beautiful thing. I am so grateful that we were able to attend this show. It was worth every penny. Premiere seating was $75 a pop.



LOCATION: 2nd Floor of the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort (above Duke's Waikiki)

PARKING: Ugghhh - about two blocks away at the Outrigger East. Walking the two blocks in heels is not fun. I should have brought my crocks to walk back to the car in. I would have paid to valet but that was full.

RESERVATIONS: There are three tiers of pricing that determines seating. The bar area is the cheapest but does not have guaranteed seating and you could possibly end up standing all night. If you want to dance all night, I guess that would be a great option. The loge area is about the same distance from the bar as the stage is however you have guaranteed seating in a booth or table. The final tier is the premiere seating, which is right in front of the stage. It is a very intimate setting and I absolutely love it! We selected the premiere seating and we had a great view of the stage.

Seating is open but if you're a couple, you will end up sharing the table. Most of the tables and booths are for four people. We lucked out because a really nice couple sat with us. Her name is Dee. I can't remember her husband's name.

AMBIANCE: The room is bathed in blue light even with the house lights on. It is very clean and super romantic. The tables and booths have cute little votive candles. One downer is how hot it was in there. Maybe they need some overhead fans or a better a/c system.

SERVICE: The hostess actually selected our table. I asked her to take us to the best seat and that is exactly what she did. Our Server was very attentive and professional. Plates and glasses were cleared quickly.

$16 for an Italian sausage cut in half, grilled and served with red and green pepper in a tomato sauce - this dish was overpriced, in my opinion.
$14 for caprese salad - this was actually very delicious and, for the size of it, well worth the $14. It was served with a scoop of a balsamic sorbet of some sort. It was the color of wasabi so when I tasted it, I was expecting for it to be spicy. It was a frozen presentation.
Drinks were quite expensive also. Based on the drink menu, it was $10 and up.

I will definitely be back. Blue Note Hawaii is a beautiful venue. They have been hosting excellent artists.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Restaurant Review: HY'S STEAK HOUSE | Waikiki, O'ahu

KNEE-JERK-REACTION: Ummm... we should have gone to our favorite Steak House -- RUTH'S CHRIS @Restaurant Row.

Husband and I have a few things to celebrate so we decided to do it at Hy's Steak House in Waikiki last night. We celebrate my successfully passing the SAP Certification Exam. Second, husband got a new job. Yayy for celebrating great achievements!

LOCATION: Hy's is housed on the first floor of a condominium on Kuhio Ave in Waikiki. It is not the most convenient place to get to. A simple google search will get you there without a problem. Let the GPS guide you.

PARKING: Free valet --  nice touch!

DRESS CODE: Men are required to wear collared shirts. Based on the other women that were in the dining room, we aren't required to wear anything special. I saw women there with khaki capri pants and tshirts. **shrugs** Why did I go through the trouble of dressing up when, apparently, women can wear whatever they want?

RESERVATIONS: Yes! We did it online, through the Hy's website, "powered by OpenTable".

AMBIANCE: Dark. I felt like I was in an old white man's cigar room. The walls are beautifully finished wood and shelves filled with old books. There are paintings of white men with long white hair. Personally, I did not care for the art work on the wall. It would have been sufficient to feature the wood finishes and the shelving and books. The noise level was nice. It could be because we were seated, as requested, in a corner booth.

SERVICE: The staff were attentive but not friendly. Contrived? Yes! They were all trying a little too hard. Some of them felt..... rehearsed like they say the same thing to the guests over and over. And every dish you select is their favorite. **rolling my eyes** We interacted with five different servers throughout the evening.

Stewart took our drink order, delivered on the waters then took our order for the rest of the evening. The timing between delivery of appetizer to delivery of the entree was about thirty minutes. I am disappointed with that. What was even crazier is that not one server had come to tell us how long it would be or if we would like to order a drink. We just sat there until the entree was served.

FOOD: For appetizer, I ordered the Duck Foie Gras with Poached Figs and Brioche. This dish was one of two reasons we went with Hy's instead of going to my favorite place - Ruth's Chris. The one thing that came out of this one and only visit to Hy's is my new obsession with Foie Gras. It is, by far, the most delicious thing I have tasted in a very, very long time. If I do ever go back to Hy's, it will be for the Foie Gras. Even though it was an extremely tiny serving, it was very delicious.
Duck Foie Gras

Husbands appetizer was the Lobster Bisque. They only prepare this for the weekend crowd so of course we had to try it. It was tasty. I wish they had served it with crackers or toast. It needed some crunch for texture. A slice of toasted baguette would have been really nice to go with it.

I ordered Beef Wellington for my entree. I ordered it medium-rare. It came well done. There was not an ounce of pink. :-( I was supremely disappointed by this but did not want to make a fuss cause I was darn hungry. Ugghhh!!! This dish lacked seasoning! I should have ordered horse radish cream to go with it because it was so bland. Even the buttery crust did not add much flavor.
Beef Wellington
Husband had the 32oz Bone-In Ribeye. His, oddly, was medium-rare and he ordered his medium-well. Husband also did not make a fuss because he was darn hungry! Sad to say, the steak was not seasoned very well. We were all kinds of disappointed. We didn't even bother to look at the dessert menu.
Bone-In Ribeye
SUMMARY REVIEW: I would skip Hy's. The service is not exceptional. The food even less than that. What I liked most about my trip there was the foie gras and the valet parking and that's it.