August 2010

Loco moco

The food scene in Hawaii features some of the nation’s best chefs serving up high-style cuisine. Step away from the four-star restaurants and orchid-laced drinks, though, and you’ll find the heart of Hawaii in three favorite dishes. From poi – the dish that visitors love to hate – to loco moco and Spam musubi, these foods are a true taste of local food. Better yet? You can try any one of them for under ten bucks.

Loco moco – This island specialty is a favorite of locals and a must-try when you visit the islands. The standard loco moco consists of white rice topped with a hamburger patty, an egg, and (warn the arteries) gravy. Portions are generally very, very large so if you don’t have a huge appetite, consider making it a meal for two. Not a fan of hamburger? No worries. Choose from a variety of other meats, such as Portuguese sausage, beef teri, shrimp, or the ever-present Spam. Try the loco moco at Big City Diner, located in Ward Entertainment Center, or Zippy’s in the Ala Moana Center. Both restaurants are located not far from the Ala Moana Hotel.

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The lobby at The Fairmont San Francisco

There are numerous notable museums in San Francisco that you won’t want to miss — the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Fine Arts Museum, and the Asian Art Museum to name just a few. If you’re the type whose vacation itinerary can never be too jam-packed with museum visits, how about turning your hotel stay into a museum-like experience of its own? We’ve found the San Francisco hotels that best encapsulate different artistic eras. So whether you swoon over flying buttresses or  prefer ultramodern decor, there’s a San Francisco hotel where you’ll feel right at home (or at least like you’re in a museum gallery designed just for you).

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Street at the Omni Parker House

Although time travel has not been invented, we here at Oyster can still take you back to the days when Paul Revere trotted along on his horse and George Washington planted big, sloppy, wooden kisses on Martha. Last week, we gave you a look inside the past lives of three of our favorite historic hotels. After the jump, check out four more hotels that have been around to witness momentous events in our nation’s past and played host to political figures, celebrities, and world-famous athletes. Luckily for you, these hotels are all on sale for Labor Day, so you can experience a bit of history and save a little cash.

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Flying Pig in Los Angeles

Gourmet food trucks are all the rage right now in Los Angeles.  Many of the trucks are operated by the city’s top chefs, and some are making unknown chefs famous. They’re a great way to get delicious, inexpensive food without paying the high prices that some of these chefs charge in their restaurants. Plus, getting breakfast, lunch, or dinner (or a snack) from a truck is always a fun, unique experience and everything is served with great love and a smile.

You can get anything from a cupcake to a kogi taco, from a grilled cheese to chinese dumplings.  And these aren’t the ubiquitous taco trucks of yore that you would see at construction sites all over Los Angeles — these trucks are brightly painted, diverse, and always fun. While many people are following these trucks on Twitter, there are a few websites (see below) that enable you to find the trucks when you’re in L.A.  There are also a few sure-thing spots where the trucks park at lunchtime and also at night (near nightlife epicenters).

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Only the Freshest Seafood from the Oceans of Planet Earth!

Mmmm… delicious seafood.

The setting: I headed out the other night to the area in Orlando with the most upscale restaurants per square foot: Sandlake Road, AKA Restaurant Row. Located just off Universal property, this strip of road is infamous for its great food. And Moon Fish is definitely included.

Owned by the conglomerate Talk of the Town, Moon Fish doesn’t fail to be, well, the talk of the town. Swanky and hip without being snooty, this is exactly the atmosphere that works for a restaurant. The seating is comfortable, the music is trendy in that semi-trancy kind of way, and I literally felt like I was transported to a far away vacation spot while I was dining.

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Want to spend the night in a former jail or a Gilded Age mansion? Guests can take a trip into the past at these historic properties.

The Liberty Hotel in Boston was once the Charles Street Jail.

Charles Street Jail

For nearly 150 years, the tall granite building at 215 Charles Street was known as the Charles Street Jail and housed some of Boston’s most heinous criminals. In 2007, after a painstaking restoration that preserved elements of the prison design, it reopened as the Liberty Hotel. The result is stunning, with 298 rooms, a 90-foot-tall atrium, winding catwalks, and high, circular windows that flood the lobby with light.

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Pizza from Americano

I’ve eaten at Americano three times in the past couple of months, and each time it was better than the last. Located on the ground floor of the Hotel Vitale, it’s main architectural feature is a large patio that runs the length of the restaurant and faces the bay. With heat lamps, plenty of tables, chairs and even couches, it’s one of my favorite outdoor dining spaces in San Francisco (Foreign Cinema is the other).

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Stairs at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino

Now that Mexico’s Jimena Navarrete has been crowned Miss Universe and the ladies (and pageant host Bret Michaels) have left Las Vegas, the city has returned to normal — well, as normal as Vegas gets. But while the international beauties were in town, they rested their well-groomed heads at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, where the televised competition was held on Monday night. The contestants participated in charitable and promotional events at the hotel, but ventured elsewhere for entertainment. After the jump, check out where the ladies stayed and played during their 3-week stint in Sin City!

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The Wellness Spa at Canyon Ranch

Florida’s spa industry is over-saturated with its fill of cheese and low quality fillers. However, a handful of notable hotel spas provide consistent excellence and the full experience of desired bliss. Below are some of Miami’s most memorable spas.

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Oyster is so hot in Chicago right now! Not too long ago, our CEO Elie Seidman appeared on Fox Chicago News, and last week, he was interviewed on WGN Chicago. He showed viewers some of our Photo Fakeouts and told Chicagoland why hotel guests should be careful about judging a hotel based on marketing images from other hotel sites. Because we have visited all of the hotels on our site, we can show you what you can really expect during your stay based on our own experiences.

Watch Elie on WGN Chicago:

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