Category: Tom’s Blog

Waikiki, Downtown

August 15, 2014

Tom’s Favorites – Izakaya Torae Torae

I first met Chef Hide Yoshimoto when he was brought in by my friend Kevin Aoki to revamp the first Doraku Sushi restaurant, our neighbor in the Royal Hawaiian Center. Hide brought a fresh and radical way of creating modern Japanese cuisine to Doraku.

Fast forward a few years and Chef Hide has opened his own izakaya on McCully Street at Young Street. At Izakaya Torae Torae (pronounced To-Rray To-Rray), Hide continues to offer out-of-the-box, but amazingly flavorful and fresh Japanese dishes to his loyal fans.

Tom’s Tip: If it’s not too busy, ask Chef Hide to make you his special Dashimaki Tamago w/Unagi and Cheese. It’s not on the menu but Chef Hide will make it for you if he is not too busy. It’s simply amazing.

Izakaya Torae Torae
1111 McCully Street
Honolulu, HI 96826

Categories: Tom's Blog

Waikiki & Beverly Hills

November 15, 2013

Tom’s Favorites – Vintage Cave

EDIT: Chef Kajioka has left Vintage Cave as of July 2014. At this time, he is looking to open his own restaurant in Hawaii.

“It doesn’t matter how much it costs, even if it’s $10 million or $100 million…”

Those are the words of Mr. Takeshi Sekiguchi, the self-described crazy Japanese real estate developer who has single handedly changed the dining scene in Hawaii through the opening of his $20 million Vintage Cave.

Mr. Sekiguchi put his trust, and a signed blank check book, in the hands of my fellow Iolani School grad, Chris Kajioka. Now at the ripe old age of 30, Chris is the head chef of the top restaurant in the State of Hawaii. After making his mark on the mainland at Per Se and Willows Inn, Chris is now responsible for the wonders of amazement that diners are now able to experience here in Hawaii.

Chris, you are the man.

Tom’s Tip: No tip needed, if you are lucky enough to get a reservation, do it.

Vintage Cave
1450 Ala Moana Blvd. #2250
Honolulu, HI 96814


Categories: Tom's Blog


November 4, 2013

Tom’s Favorites – The Manifest

The “Old Fashioned” is my favorite cocktail. Sugar, bitters, and bourbon equals happiness in my book.

My favorite Old Fashioned in Hawaii is made by my friend Justin Park at the Manifest. Justin is a partner owner of the Manifest and one of Hawaii’s most celebrated mixologists. He has competed and won at many national competitions and after trying his cocktails it’s no secret why he has so much acclaim.

The Manifest itself is an amazing space and concept. Once you step inside you forget where you are. I always love spaces like that, where you can escape from your everyday reality, even if just for a moment.

Tom’s Tip: Try the Shoedaddy downtown crawl. Start at the Manifest for a few Old Fashioned, grab a “Sweet Bangkok” at Bar 35, a few beers and a slice at JJ Dolan’s, then finish with pho from The Pig and the Lady (when they open shortly in Downtown).

The Manifest
32 North Hotel Street
Honolulu, HI 96817

Categories: Tom's Blog

Waikiki & Beverly Hills

August 5, 2013

Tom’s Favorites – Ono Seafood

Poke, or Hawaiian style marinated raw fish, is one of my favorite foods and nobody does it better than Ono Seafood in Honolulu. Not to be confused with Ono Hawaiian Foods which is confusingly right across the street, Ono Seafood features the freshest ahi (tuna) and tako (octopus) poke in Honolulu.

Tom’s Tip: Get your poke bowl as a combination. Try the shoyu ahi and spicy ahi together for a perfect blend of salty, sweet, spicy, and creamy. It’ll make your taste buds go crazy, in a good way!

Ono Seafood
747 Kapahulu Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816

Categories: Tom's Blog

Waikiki & Beverly Hills

April 11, 2013

Tom’s Favorites – 12th Ave Grill

12th Avenue Grill in Kaimuki is a well known hidden gem, if that makes any sense. It’s a true “neighborhood restaurant” that serves good tasting food, focusing on local ingredients and big flavors.

Mike, the manager/mixologist, is the true star of the restaurant in my opinion. Although the food is great, Mike’s cocktails are true bliss. Tell him Tom from Leather Soul sent you.

Tom’s Tip: Ask Mike for the “Benson.” It’s a secret drink named after a friend of mine.

12th Ave Grill
1145 12th Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96816

Categories: Tom's Blog

Waikiki & Beverly Hills

January 15, 2013

Tom’s Favorites – Self Edge

Self Edge is the only place to go outside of Japan for the best selection of premium Japanese jeans, clothing, and accessories.

With three locations in the US: San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City, my friends Kiya and Demitra Babzani have an amazing business, one that I truly look up to and respect.

Tom’s Tip: Start with a lighter weight denim, then work your way up to one of Iron Heart’s famous heavier denims. They are intense but well worth their weight.

Self Edge

Categories: Tom's Blog


January 9, 2013

Tom’s Favorites – JJ Dolan’s

JJ Dolan’s has been serving the best NY style pizza in Hawaii since 2008, in of all places, Chinatown. My buddy Jay Niebuhr and his pal Danny Dolan, veterans of the Honolulu restaurant and bar business, decided to combine two of my favorite things: the Irish pub and the NY style pizza parlor, thus creating my go to “pau hana” spot, walking distance from Downtown Honolulu.

Tom’s Tip: Get the Giacomo, it’s their signature pie, but add onions to make it a Shoedaddy special.

JJ Dolan’s
1147 Bethel Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Categories: Tom's Blog

Waikiki & Beverly Hills

January 8, 2013

Tom’s Favorites – The Armoury

The Armoury in Hong Kong is my favorite menswear shop in the world. My friends, Mark Cho, Ethan Newton, and Alan See run the most incredible store you will ever step foot into. The curated selection of clothing: Ring Jacket, Orazio Luciano, Liverano & Liverano, as well as a fine tuned collection of leather goods and footwear, make this haberdashery second to none.

Tom’s Tip: Follow their Tumblr page: The Armoury Lightbox to completely and insanely inspired.

The Armoury
307 Pedder Building
12 Pedder Street
Central, Hong Kong
+852 2804 6991

The Armoury 2
B62 Landmark Central
15 Queen’s Road Central
Central, Hong Kong
+852 2810 4990

Categories: Tom's Blog


January 7, 2013

Tom’s Favorites – Yakiniku Hiroshi

Yakiniku Hiroshi is probably my favorite place to eat in Hawaii. The quality and cuts of meat are second to none and comparable to some of the better yakiniku restaurants in Japan in my opinion.

For those who are unfamiliar with yakiniku style dining, flavorful cuts of raw meat are served to you and you grill the meat right on your table to your liking. A variety of side dishes and soups accompany the meal.

Yakiniku Hiroshi also boasts a great selection of fine wines but I prefer their Japanese “nama” or draft beer on tap.

Tom’s Tip: Order the Platinum Course. It’s the priciest course meal on the menu but also the best value and will leave you completely satisfied.

Yakiniku Hiroshi
339 Royal Hawaiian Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815

Categories: Tom's Blog