Today’s happy shot

We had grabbed an early dinner at the Korean Festival over the weekend and caught this: a rainbow over Diamond Head. Truly a sight!

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Today’s happy shot

There’s just something magical about Waikiki.

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FUUD: Bernini Honolulu

FUUD: Bernini Honolulu

I had heard about it and I always think about trying it whenever I drive past.

So when my girlfriend invited me to dinner at Bernini Honolulu, a new contemporary Italian restaurant that opened in April near Ala Moana Center, I didn’t hesitate.

In fact, I already knew what I wanted to order.

Bernini Honolulu isn’t your ordinary Italian restaurant. Its chef is Kengo Matsumoto, who got his chops in northern Italy before opening three restaurants in Tokyo. Bernini is his first eatery in Hawaii.

It’s pretty evident by just looking at its menu that Bernini serves its signature brand of Italian fare: fresh sea urchin spaghetti, king crab atop linguine with a tomato cream sauce, penne with swordfish and an oregano tomato sauce and the Vongole Bianco (shown) consisting of fresh clams in a white wine sauce.

And if you love authentic Italian-style pizza, Bernini won’t disappoint, offering 18 different varieties of pie all cooked in a WoodStone pizza oven.

Here’s what we ate:

Bernini Honolulu

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This new restaurant opened in April in the space vacated by Sweet Nothings on Waimanu Street.

Bernini Honolulu, 1218 Waimanu St., Honolulu. Hours: 5:30-11 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, closed Monday. Phone: (808) 591-8400

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Today’s happy shot

I’m not much of a salad eater, but this one from Tango Market in Ward Centre is mouthwatering good. (It’s the sweet-and-tangy raspberry vinaigrette that makes it!)

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Your favorite Hawaii beaches

Your favorite Hawaii beaches

On Sunday, on our way to Kaena Point, we stopped at Makaha Beach (left) to kill some time.

I had forgotten how nearly perfect this place is.

The beach itself is a relieving exhale; it’s wide and usually uncrowded, with enough room for you to stretch out. Unlike popular beaches in town, you won’t likely be disturbed by beach-goers blathering on their cell phones or chain-smoking on the beach mat next to you.

And there’s surf. Not the occasional freak set of swells. We’re talking serious waves from north and south swells that can reach advisory levels in the winter that can generate dangerous shorebreak and strong rip currents.

It’s easily one of my favorite beaches in Hawaii.

I get asked that question all the time — people visiting the Islands always want to know where the best beaches are. Some want calm waters with living coral reefs perfect for snorkeling. Others want world-class surf breaks. Still others want beaches where all the hot chicks frequent.

I like beaches that offer options.

The beaches in Waikiki (right) has a plethora of things to do, from snorkeling to swimming to surfing. You can rent everything from stand-up paddleboards to inner tubes at concession stands along the beach. And if you want to lie back and watch the world pass by, you can do that, too.

And if you get bored with the beach, you can always ditch the towels and walk along Kalakaua Avenue for frozen yogurt, shave ice or a li hing margarita.

See? Options.

But I can appreciate a more secluded beach like Wailea Beach on Maui.

This crescent-shaped golden beach on the southern shores of Maui (left) was voted “America’s Best Beach” — and for good reason. It offers ideal swimming and snorkeling in its protected waters, with restrooms and equipment rentals nearby. Like other Neighbor Island beaches — Secret Beach on Kauai, Papohaku Beach on Molokai — Wailea isn’t very crowded, at least by Oahu standards. And sometimes I like going to the ocean to get away from the noise and commotion that is my life. Crowds aren’t what I’m looking for.

So I’m throwing it out there: what are your favorite Hawaii beaches and why?

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