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Poke Paradise

I’m back! Sorry folks for the hiatus (and by folks I mean my actual parents since they are the only ones who read this blog) but luckily I have been inspired once again. Surprising, what inspired me wasn’t an exotic, international, off the beaten path destination. Instead, I found inspiration in the Aloha State, right here in our own backyard. I seized an opportunity to head to Hawaii, partially because Hawaii has nothing to do with my work at Tafari so I thought it would be a great chance to drag along a friend and get some R&R. I was actually completely wrong in thinking this because my brief trip resonated Tafari over and over again. It reminded me that Tafari is a concept not a destination. “He who inspires AWE” can happen at anytime, anywhere.

Being a sister agency to a company that has operated the Hawaiian International Music Festival for 27 years, I have been fortunate enough to visit all the Hawaiian islands, multiple times. The Hawaiian islands are beautiful but sometimes a tourist trap, which is what I especially believed true for Oahu. This time I stayed at Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore. The verdict…hands down my favorite area of all Hawaii. The hotel served its purpose but it was the location that really won me over. It felt local, true Hawaiian. Even being peak season it felt quiet and open. It had such a relaxed feel that I caught myself driving at least 5 miles under the speed limit. Everything seemed like a hidden gem, even though I knew the locals know these places like the back of their hand. I was enamored by the shrimp shacks that lined Kamehameha Highway and eager to eat everything in my path. I want to say that I discovered the places I am going listed for you below, but I know that is not entirely true. However, I cant honestly say everywhere I visited felt much more local and off the beaten path than any other place I have been in Hawaii. Here is a taste of where I went:


Poke (raw fish appetizer served in Hawaiian cuisine)
(the following places are located in Honolulu but still off the beaten path)

Tamashiro Market – 802 N. King St
This place is a little market that packs a lot of punch. You will find tons of fresh fish and shellfish and along the back wall is the poke counter. There were at least 15 poke choices (mostly ahi.) Here I tried the Ahi Chili Poke and the Ahi Llimu Poke. The chunks of ahi were huge and extremely fresh. The flavors were subtle, probably to highlight the fresh fish. I preferred the Ahi Chili Poke because I thought the green onion added a great flavor.

Ono Seaford – 747 Kapahulu Ave
I read about this place in a blog years ago and have always wanted to try it. Here I tried the Wasabi Ahi Poke and the Spicy Ahi Poke. The chunks of ahi were not as big as Tamashiro Market and slightly not as fresh tasting. However, the flavors were perfect, especially the Wasabi Ahi Poke. They also make the poke when you order it versus Tamashiro Market, who has it pre-made, deli style.

Jay Johnson

While working for his degree in Business Finance, Jay began working at the family owned At Your Service Travel Advisors in 1985. When he graduated four years later, Jay decided to “stick around” a bit longer before he went off to conquer the world in a job of high finance. He realized planning vacations and incentive travel for business travelers was a fun and enjoyable profession. And so began a long career in the travel industry. In 1997, Jay purchased the company and changed the name to Hawaii Invitational . That same year, Jay applied for and was granted membership into the elite travel organization, Virtuoso (formerly API). Rather than focus on mass market travel packages, Jay decided the path to an enjoyable career and a healthy balance sheet, lied in the luxury travel market. Business has never been better and Jay has consistently ranked as one of the top producers to some of the most well known five star travel companies. Albeit Crystal Cruises or the Four Season’s, Jay ranks as one of the top producers in the industry.
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