Once a month at Formaggio Grill, guests indulge in four-course meals paired with fine wines. It sounds like a typical dinner party, save one difference: no one can see a thing. The monthly event is called Dining in the Dark, and Formaggio Grill hopes that it will encourage guests to slow down, savor their dinners, and even reconsider their approaches to fine dining.
Even without the blindfolds, Formaggio Grill touts that mission with careful preparation of Mediterranean-style cuisine in a warm, welcoming space. Chefs smoke prime rib over kiawe wood and toss pastas with housemade sausage. Servers are happy to help pair entrees with selections from a list of more than 50 wines from around the world.
The restaurant envelops diners in warm reds and golds, and low light casts plush red stools and a wooden bar in a warm glow. The artwork of Ron Genta adds splashes of color to the walls, and local musicians take to the stage on the weekends to entertain patrons with smooth guitar sounds or the dulcet tones of a whale’s song.
On his webpage, iDcard CEO Shawn Dohmen explains that his title stands for "Cheap Executive Officer"—a joke that references his fondness for finding deals on everything from restaurant tabs to golf games. Shawn's knack for saving money spawned the idea for his company, which provides discounts on goods and services from hundreds of businesses in Hawaii and elsewhere. It was his desire to save trees, however, which led to the iDcard. Instead of carting around a cumbersome coupon book in a baby stroller, customers redeem their deals by handing their iDcards to the many merchants that accept them.
Participating businesses in the iDcard network include restaurants, hotels, gyms, nightclubs, and pet groomers. Customers can show their card to sponsors over multiple visits, and receive the same discounted massage or meal each time. A downloadable phone app even alerts them to valid sponsors nearby, allowing them to easily locate opportunities for savings.
An ideal spot for the whole family to get active, The Groove's facilities feature a range of activities for all ages. Kids as young as 8 can buckle up during go-kart races, which last about 8 minutes and zip around a custom-designed track. Those seeking something a little slower-paced can climb into the party bike, a people-powered trolley that is led around the city by guides for bar crawls, local tours, or just to prove to cars that we don't need them.
At the boutique wine shop Waikiki Wine Closet, owned and operated by a father and son who hail from the vineyard-speckled land of California, varietals from around the world line the shelves. Coolers are filled with large bottles of craft beers such as Chimay and Duvel, as well as six-packs from the likes of Lagunitas and Hoegaarden. Waikiki Wine Shop also stocks fine spirits, including whiskey and the ghost of Humphrey Bogart.
Paradise Pedals Hawaii offers fun, pedal-propelled tours through the streets of Oahu on a 15-person “bike café.” These Waikiki Tours on wheels are led by a guide and protected from the elements by the vehicle’s attached roof. Depending on the route, captains steer the road-ship to various bars, restaurants, and scenic beer gardens in the city.