Last December, I struggled to pull together a huge end of the year party in a warehouse so big it felt like it was an airplane hangar. Bringing in risers for a DJ stage, having artists paint the walls and renting tables and chairs didn’t do much to make the place appear any smaller, and the amount of people I expected to come was considerably less than what it would take to fill the place.
When it comes to the nightlife, it seems like there are plenty of good motivators to get everyone out of their comfort zones and out the door; free stuff, DJs and music everyone knows, good-looking people and great parking all seem like golden carrots bright enough to bring anybody out, but more often than not Honolulu at night is the same scene, with the same crowd. Look at First Friday.
For this year’s Food + Drink issue, we compiled 100-plus memories of the fantastic bites we’ve taken, the culinary experiences we’ve undergone and other tasteful moments of absolutely loving what Hawaii’s food scene has to offer. The result is a mixed plate of the Weekly ‘ohana’s favorite dishes, libations, produce, places and some lesser-known joys.
Respect Your Veg At long last, vegetables are being recognized as culinary stars. The following dishes have two things in common: They’re veggie-centric, if not strictly vegetarian, and best eaten on the spot.
Paitan Broth: Kyoto Ramen Yotekko-Ya If you’re a ramen lover, you know the most important element of the bowl is the broth. At Kyoto Ramen Yotekko-Ya, the paitan broth ($9.95 for paitan chashu ramen) is deeply savory.
Naan: Cafe Maharani “The dough is just special,” says owner Chris Rahman of Cafe Maharani. The naan ($2.99) is made to order and handled very delicately.
Asian: Green Door Cafe Enter into Green Door Cafe to find a whole ‘nother world. Owner Betty Peng is a one-woman show (don’t start with her, or else) and cooks all of her Singaporean dishes to order.
Byron’s Drive-in The vacant, former Byron’s Drive-in building still stands near the airport since closing its doors in February. “We’d always go [to Byron’s] late at night,” says Sabrina Thompson, a Tripler Hospital nurse.
Shinsato Pork: Guava Smoked Scott Shibuya of Guava Smoked made a splash in the farmers’ market scene with his finger-licking good, guava wood-smoked Shinsato Pork. “I really wanted to be my own boss,” he says.
Cheese: Surfing Goat Dairy Owners Thomas and Eva Kafsack moved from Germany to Maui and found that they missed receiving fresh goat cheese from their neighbors’ backyards. A few goats from the Big Island (and a huge investment) later, Surfing Goat Dairy was born.
Decadent Fries: Home Bar and Grill These aren’t ordinary fried potatoes. Chef Neil Nakasone’s Parmesan truffle fries ($8) are an elite class of spuds.
Rotations: Taste Some might say Chef Mark “Gooch” Noguchi and partner Amanda Corby, with the help of another power couple, Poni and Brandon Askew of StreetGrindz, fleshed out the pop-up trend with Taste. But: “Actually, Adam is Taste,” Gooch explains, referring to Taste’s general manager, Adam Lock.
Healthy Food Truck: Beet Box Cafe The Beet Box Cafe is a sit-down eatery located in Haleiwa Town, but their bright yellow lunch wagon is also worth following. The lunchtruck serves organic, vegetarian burritos ($7-10), a special of the day made with farm-to-table ingredients ($10-12), smoothies ($7.50), kombucha ($5) and snacks such as baked goods and dried fruits ($3).
A Cook’s Catch When it comes to fish, freshness really matters, so eating local from our Hawaiian waters is always in the best of taste. Health and sustainability also count.
Whole Foods & Down To Earth Down to Earth offers strictly vegetarian delights such as Bombay spinach, eggplant parmesan, stuffed shells, Thai curry and vegetable korma ($9.59/pound). The tofu and eggplant are always sourced from local producers.
Edible Land: Permablitz Fruit trees flourish in Hawaii but sadly, much goes to waste. Permablitz aims to change that.
Foraging: Strawberry Guava at Waahila Ridge Strawberry guava is invasive to Hawaii, which is why I don’t feel an ounce of guilt picking the small, red fruits in (free!) handfuls whenever I hike up Waahila Ridge. When they’re a light red color, just pull them off the trees, check for bug-made holes and bite in.
Nutmeg and Cloves: Frankie’s Nursery Want to spice up your kitchen? Lynn Tsuruda of Frankie’s Nursery says they sell spices grown in Hawaii, by the plant or the fruit.
Filipino: Pacific Drive out to Central Oahu and find Pacific Supermarket, a haven for all things Southeast Asian. With the Leeward community’s large Filipino population, access to local favorites at Pacific is a big deal.
Korean Chew: Taegu Taegu, more properly pronounced as dae-goo, is either a variety of cod, sliced into strips and seasoned, or a seasoned side dish. There is some confusion, as I came to realize while asking my born-and-raised-in-Korea mom, because those side dishes are made with different fish.
Matcha Latte: Peace Cafe Peace Cafe, a second home for vegans, carries a matcha (green tea) latte with a secret. “The first sip is always the most important,” explains an employee.
Good For You: Kombucha A SCOBY is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast integral to making kombucha. Kombucha, a fizzy tea, is full of promises to boost detoxification, immunity and digestion and joint health.
Free: Whole Foods Whole Foods Market Kahala offers free cooking classes at CookSpace in Ward Warehouse. “We just did a Health Starts Here cooking class,” says Whole Foods marketing supervisor Natalie Aczon.
Wine Tasting: Kalapawai Cafe Every second Sunday of the month at 3:30 p.m., Kalapawai Cafe holds a free wine tasting. “We [have] five wines.
Dear Friends, Readers, and Advertisers, I am sorry to say that this will be the last issue of the Weekly that we will print. I am sad about closing but I see no way that we can maintain our revenue stream and our fiscal health.
Native Hawaiians and preservationists have pledged to fight a law, signed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie on May 28, that will allow some construction projects to begin before the site has been fully inspected for ancient burials.
Imagine you’re walking through downtown Honolulu and, rather than bypassing an empty, blighted park, you’re drawn into an urban oasis–a forest of fruit-bearing trees and shrubs. You could spend your lunch break chatting with friends in the shade of an ‘ulu tree–and, if you’re hungry, pick whatever’s in season.
Road Rule On May 20, Gov. Abercrombie signed Act 73, requiring all vehicle passengers to buckle up regardless of age or seating arrangement.
Tourists enjoying the Waikiki waterfront were treated to Hawaiian phrases such as “Aole, aole, aole GMO!” chanted by protesters in the March Against Monsanto on Sat., May 25. Translation: No GMOs, ever.
The Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) made its proposed plan to redevelop the Kakaako district available to the community during an open house on Thu., May 23. HCDA Executive Director Tony Ching began with a presentation of the new Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) plan before letting residents ask questions.
In 2011 the city Department of Transportation Services (DTS) was tasked by then-Mayor Peter Carlisle’s administration to shave $10 million from its budget. Over the course of a year, several bus routes were cut and many more were shortened or reconfigured and the frequency of service decreased.
You mentioned in your May 29 GMO article (“Big Pharm Fallout”) that GMO bans were placed on taro and coffee in 2008 in Kohala County. However it was an islandwide ban in Hawaii County.
What a great quote: “I understand that it’s frustrating that we can’t get past the issue of homelessness . .
I know space is limited and you couldn’t put everything in one small article (“Art with HART,” May 29). Here is the rest of what I wanted to have said.
Have five or more contractors “compete” by tackling sections of roadway (“Road Repaving,” May 29). Criteria for competing are expenses, timeliness and a level of quality assurance standards.
Thanks for this article (“The Naked Truth,” May 22), I’m Mykel Hicks, grandson of Sharon Hicks, and I am so proud of my grandma for all she has done for herself, this family and specifically me. She is an amazing grandma who comes with a moving story I hope can help people around the world.
Please remind readers that the HCDA is not interested in providing housing for minimum wage individuals or families, but in providing property developers with profitable opportunities; that our ancient water and sewage lines were not designed to support the needs of thousands of condo and apartment dwellers, but no one is interested in replacing them because no one wants to pay the price (“Civix,” May 22). As a result, Kakaako’s streets are regularly flooded with no sidewalk retreat for pedestrians, wheelchairs, bicyclists, skateboarders, etc., and constantly excavated/repaired to accommodate one project after the other.