The Cheapskate Springs for Lunch

Orchids at the Halekulani Hotel. Site of the massive eating experience.

Orchids at the Halekulani Hotel. Site of the massive eating experience.

The Alpha Japanese Female’s (AJF) birthday is in early September. We have a long standing tradition that we celebrate her jour de naissance by going out for a fancy dinner.

She selects the venue for her celebration. Sky’s the limit in terms of price; the wallet is laid bare, supremely vulnerable and allowed to scream like a chimp on fire.

Usually, the AJF chooses a sushi place. That girl can really tear through a lot of fish. According to Japanese lore, people have an extra stomach just for sushi. Eat all you want of something else, but you will still have room for copious quantities of raw fish on vinegary rice.

It's nice to sit on the lanai and feel the soft ocean breezes while knocking back Kir Royale.

It’s nice to sit on the lanai and feel the soft ocean breezes while knocking back Kir Royale.

Sometimes she chooses a fancy steakhouse. We have quite a few here, all delightful, and all will set you back big bucks, especially if you get crazy on the wine list.

I don’t really mind because she loves to watch the table side drama of freshly made Caesar Salads and, later, Cherries Jubilee, Crepes Suzette or Bananas Foster for dessert.

This year, she was talking about a visit to the latest, oh so trendy, fusion restaurant – a term that means “I will bankrupt you” in French. That was just fine with me. But then, one day before our precious, reserved slot at “Chez Faillite,” she went rogue.

The buffet area at Orchids.

The buffet area at Orchids.

She asked me to cancel our date at The Restaurant Too Hip for Tom and said that, instead, she wanted to go to the top Sunday Brunch on the island.

Well, without much argument, the top spot for Sunday Brunch on Oahu is at Orchids restaurant in the Halekulani Hotel, whose name means House of Heaven, a legendary resort with more culinary rating stars than the Pleiades and a reputation for service beyond compare.

Rooms at this hotel start at $600/night and go to $7,000/night. “What does that portend for a plate of pancakes?” sez I, silently of course.

Just between you and me, my wallet was hoping she’d opt for the local equivalent of a Waffle House. I would have happily sprung for Bert’s Chili or Walt’s Soup on the side. But nooooo…

Art depicting how full we were after the buffet.

Hotel art depicting how full we were after the buffet.

I called the Halekulani to get reservations for the following Sunday, still three days away, and was regaled with laughter from the otherwise sweet-voiced lady who took my call.

Between snorts and giggles she managed to let me know that even fools know to reserve their tables at least a month in advance and often up to 3-6 months in advance.

Ouch, the burn. Were it just me I’d have hung up and gotten my eggs and toast elsewhere but I was on the hook with the AJF, so I meekly submitted to the tyranny and reserved a table for two a month after the AJF’s birthday. At high noon, because the earlier times were sold out already.

Machi at Halekulani

The AJF post-lunch and pre-nap.

Well, today was the day and it was a delightful time. Starting with two Kir Royale, we paced ourselves through many trips to the buffet savoring unique and tasty offerings: sashimi, Eggs Benedict with king crab, all sorts of savories, prime meats including whole roasted suckling pig, baked goods and an embarrassing amount of desserts including a special slice of birthday cake, personalized for her, which I ate.

I earned my fair share of good hubby points and did not peep a sound about costs, an achievement which, for a cheapskate like me is significant. If my eyes were full they were tears of joy for the happiness of the day and not because I caught a glimpse of the wine prices.

The only downside was that Max had to stay at home and sulk. We didn’t even sneak him any treats. Consequently, he is still not acknowledging our existence. Malts have long memories and, sometimes, bad attitudes.


“You are both dead to me.” –Max

19 replies

  1. This made me laugh out loud for so many reasons…..ah me……still laughing. I don’t which part I like better: the screaming chimp or Max being left behind, which wasn’t funny at all. Not. One. Bit. But the photo was priceless.

    ARrOOOO! Stuart


  2. Hopefully the sulk of your adorable pup will evaporate quickly. If not, I’d say start baking some treats as a bribe. Hey, it works on Sam but then he’s of simple mind. Good luck and congrats on scoring hubby points. Judging from the menu, sounds like everyone scored (with the exception of a certain little white dog). 😉


    • I am not proud to admit that I grilled a small piece of chicken tonight as an apology to the Malt. Yes, it is ridiculous but come on and admit it – you probably have extended food peace offerings, too. The things we do for our dogs. I can’t tell if he has forgiven me yet but the chicken sure disappeared fast.


  3. My mouth was watering as I read your post. I too have a second stomach except it is reserved for dessert. I feel for Max. We went out for dinner recently at a Brazilian steak house where my eyes had exceeded my stomach and couldn’t take a doggy home. I felt so guilty and I’m sure the dogs could smell betrayal on my lips. Shame! Shame! Shame!


  4. I imagine you are still in a buffet coma. My jaw is agape at the thought of reservations for eating anything anywhere. How could you know what you have a hankering for, so early in advance? That is all very frou-frou, and I’m glad you both enjoyed it. Do they call you Beta?


    • Fortunately, with a buffet you have a lot of choices in foods so the odds of finding something satisfying are good. That’s what happened this time. The AJF went for lunch/dinner types of things while I went for the breakfast foods and desserts and desserts and did I mention desserts. I have such a terrible sweet tooth. It was a nice event, way more than I like to spend but happy wife/happy life, right?


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