Thirty years ago, in the middle of sleepy Haleiwa Town, a surfer diner was opened by Duncan Campbell, a board shaper, and his wife Jacqueline, a good cook. The Campbells liked this excellent location for their lifestyle.

Aunty Mai’s CUISINE Open Sun-Wed 11am–2am, Thurs-Sat, 11am–3am 730 Kapahulu Ave., 737-8887 BYOB, credit cards except Amex One evening last December, while I waited outside Ono Hawaiian Foods for dinner, a small family came bustling out of the empty store next door. An older little lady was obviously running the show, waving her arms energetically as she envisioned a sign at the storefront.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, Opal Thai was a food truck on the edge of Haleiwa. The food, like the winter waves, was epic, with a perfect blend of colorful and fresh flavors.

While many of us have already jumped on the “Go Local” bandwagon, shopping at farmers’ markets or being gobsmacked by fresh kale from our CSA, Outstanding in the Field (OitF) takes it just a little bit, well, dirtier. Dedicated to serving meals at their source, connecting diners to the land and farmers, the table-to-farm dinner series holds its first Hawaii events this month.

Up here in pre-planned, suburban Central Oahu, where the sky seems closer to the ground and the weather is a few degrees cooler, we do our fine dining at strip malls and chain restaurants. I should explain that it’s tough out here for foodies, so I was disbelieving when my father claimed he’d found an authentic Mexican restaurant in Waipio Shopping Center, home of the likes of Outback Steakhouse and Big City Diner.

New year, new pounds. They go together like fat-, salt- and carb-heavy rice and gravy, saimin and char siu–a problem for lovers of Hawaii local food.

While Champagne may be the go-to for ringing in the new year at home, prices have some reaching for that 12-pack of Heineken. When I first started working in the beverage industry, I noticed all my co-workers’ drink of choice was Champagne.

Alas, hurray, ‘tis the season once again! The planning and execution of holiday feasts can be overwhelming (even if it may have seemed like a good idea two weeks ago).

Food & Drink

Food & Drink

Food & Drink / The dim little foyer is silent and unpopulated, but the sign says “Open.” Following the arrow, we slide open a wooden door and here are the people, in a room splashed with sun through the big front window. Walls encrusted with tchotchkes, from red devil masks to a big black fish to jolly tip-jar Buddhas, lend a flea market, Mad Hatter air, but the dining space, though not large, feels spacious, airy and uncluttered.

This is a story about five Irish bars, and it begins at the end, with a man named Mitch sleeping on Lewers street. That’s because “all endings are beginnings,” as Mitch says to me.

I could set up tent on Monsarrat Avenue for a solid month and still wouldn’t be tired of its neighborhood dishes. There’s the Pioneer Saloon that sells Japanese bentos with wakame and shiso rice, Diamond Head Cove right across the street (serving the locally famous açai bowl) and don’t get me started on the DH market torte from Diamond Head Market.

“So,” I said to a friend, a local girl–German, Irish, Hawaiian, Chinese, Portuguese– “doesn’t Hawaii celebrate Thanksgiving in its own, particular way?” “Doesn’t everyone?” she asked. Don’t Southerners serve cornbread stuffing?

Next time you’re waiting for a cappuccino, consider where you really are. Right, the lengthy line of your local coffee shop, but where else?

When Grandma wanted a plump bird for the holiday table–a local, natural, no-hormone, free-range turkey–she stepped into the yard with an axe. Or maybe she even sent Grandpa out with a shotgun (there are wild turkeys on Big Island).

There’s a lot to love about Kiss My Grits, a cozy little restaurant located behind Varsity Grill &Bar in Puck’s Alley. It’s as cute as a blue and white apron, it’s as American as a red and white tablecloth, but bless their little ‘ole hearts, they need a lesson in frying chicken from Paula Dean or Sean Priester of Soul Café in Kaimuki.

Food & Drink

Food & Drink

Food & Drink / I have a daily morning ritual. The location will vary, but the motions are the same: basking in the angelic glow of my MacBook while zoning out on my RSS Feed, catching up with inside jokes on Facebook and adding people I’ve never met before to my “People I’ve Never Met Before” circle on Google+, Twitter, rinse, repeat.

I walk past a familiar storefront in Kailua and imagine what the walls would say if they could talk: I seem to hear, “Free…We are free at last” in an elated, tear-laden whisper. I peek inside the window–situated between Foodland and Baskin-Robbins–now home to the brand-new Italian restaurant Prima and see sleek décor with a modern, minimalist appeal.

Most people don’t consider P.F. Chang’s high-pedigree.

Food & Drink

Food & Drink

Food & Drink / The term “Happy Hour” dates back to the 1920’s. Folks gathered nightly at their local speakeasy (illegal drinking establishments during Prohibition) to revel in a stiff cocktail or two before dining out where spirits were sure to be missing from the menu.

P opular deals on Groupon Honolulu: $25 worth of food for $12 from Le Cacao Bistro, $20 of pizza and drinks for $10 from Round Table Pizza, and $65 worth for $30 from Gyu-Kaku. If enough people jump on the bandwagon (and they do, in the thousands), you’ll have a set amount of time (24–48 hours) to take advantage of your score.

Aside from Sushi ii (pronounced “ee-ee,” Japanese for good), there’s probably no other restaurant in the world that has both sushi and pai‘ai on the menu. Not only that, but it’s impeccably fresh sushi–buttery uni, rich hamachi, even aku, the flavor cut with grated ginger and garlic and a touch of green onions.

Food & Drink

Food & Drink

Food & Drink / More on the Eat Local Challenge Wanna try 100 percent strictly local and reconnect with food traditions and culture in an affordable way? Town, Downtown and Heeia Pier Deli offer at least one 100 percent locally grown entrée.

To be honest, when I first took on the Eat Local Challenge, it wasn’t so much the green/sustainability/food security issues that drew me in. It was the adventure and challenge of it all that appealed to me, and through the experience, I’ve come up with my own personal motivations for eating local.

Pledged to take the Eat Local Challenge? This is the first in the Weekly’s series of guides to get you through the challenge: where to get groceries, eat out and drink.

Courtney Love just served me a Bellini. Okay, she just looked like C-Love, but her attitude was more Cobain–salty, sexy and full of don’t-piss-me-off.

This week