Hawaii Today edited by Derek Paiva Page: 1 2 3 ... 6 Next>>

Visiting Lanai's Polihua Beach

I’ve never experienced a Hawaii beach quite like Polihua, on the island of Lanai.

One-and-a-half miles of white sand. Completely devoid of people.

The latter has a lot to do with the 11 miles of unpaved road—half of it accessible only to four-wheel-drive vehicles—one must negotiate down Lanai’s dry, rocky, steep and scrub-brush filled north shore to get to Polihua.

Once we guided our Jeep through a final canopy of kiawe trees hugging Polihua, skittered across the warm sand and dipped our feet in the cool Pacific waters, though? Check out the video below for a 360 degree view of what we experienced.

I’ll be writing about my tour of Lanai’s beaches in a future issue of HAWAII Magazine.


Sending Mochi Ice Cream to Hawaii

Sending_Mochi_Ice_Cream_to_HawaiiA mysterious package arrived for me at front desk. I felt like a mad scientist when I opened it and a fog rose from the Styrofoam box packed with dry ice. When the fog cleared, I saw five whole boxes of Mikawaya’s Mochi Ice Cream.

Mikawaya is based in Los Angeles, but mochi ice cream is a Hawaii favorite. It’s a perfect combination of textures: ice cream, still hard despite its journey across the Pacific, wrapped in soft mochi (Japanese sweet rice cake).
Sending_Mochi_Ice_Cream_to_HawaiiThe frozen treat, available online and at many stores, comes in seven flavors: Mango, Strawberry, Vanilla, Kona Coffee, Chocolate, Red Bean and Green Tea (there's also a Taro Mochi, but it's seasonal and currently not available). Our favorites were strawberry and mango, a perfect afternoon treat.

If you want to be more adventurous with your dessert, you can also try this recipe.

Mango Mochi Ice Cream with Raspberry Sauce

1 box Mikawaya Mango Mochi Ice Cream

Raspberry Sauce:

1 (10 ounce) package frozen raspberries (thawed)

1/4 cup white sugar

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

2 Tablespoons water

Sending_Mochi_Ice_Cream_to_HawaiiIn small saucepan, combine raspberries and sugar over medium heat. Cook until raspberries are broken down (about 10 minutes). In a separate bowl, mix cornstarch and water until combined.  When raspberries are broken down, slowly whisk in cornstarch mixture. Bring to boil and cook 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Chill well.

Serve individual Mango Mochi Ice Cream on plate. Drizzle with Raspberry Sauce.

Photos by Sherie Char/Photo of Mango Mochi Ice Cream
with Raspberry Sauce courtesy of Mikawaya


Whole lotta Spam love in Waikiki

Waikiki_Spam_JamYou may have heard that many of us here in Hawaii eat Spam.

Fried Spam, eggs and rice for breakfast. A Spam musubi before lunch. A spam musubi FOR lunch.

Guilty as charged.

In a state where every McDonald’s restaurant has a Spam breakfast platter on the menu, is it any wonder we put aside a day each year to celebrate our obsession with the canned pink luncheon meat from Austin, Minnesota?

Hawaii’s largest Spam festival, the Waikiki Spam Jam, makes its sixth-annual appearance Saturday, from 4 to 10 p.m. A good-sized portion of Waikiki’s main drag, Kalakaua Avenue, will shut down for the street festival. There’ll be a couple of entertainment stages. Merchandise booths will sell Spam T-shirts, sunglasses, dolls, straw hats and other paraphernalia. The winner of a Mr.-or-Ms. Spam beauty contest will get a year's supply of salty pork goodness.

And yes, Virginia, a dozen or so Honolulu restaurants are setting up food booths to sell Spam-enhanced culinary creations to the famished multitudes bound to show up.

You might ask, “Derek, I'm staying in Waikiki this weekend, should I go?” To that, I might answer, “If you’re not a vegan or on a low-cholesterol diet … why not?”

Waikiki_Spam_JamSpam folklore has it that Hawaii residents were introduced to the stuff during World War II when fresh meat was hard to come by in our isolated archipelago. Apparently, it was love at first bite. These days, it’s said we consume 7 percent of all Spam sold in the United States annually, and 16 times more Spam per capita than any other state. Pretty scary for a state with just a half-percent of the U.S. population.

Spam cookbooks abound, giving credence to fans who wax lyrical about the canned meat product’s limitless culinary applications. But most local folks—present company included—dig it most in a Spam musubi: a tasty, extremely portable snack consisting of a marinated slice of fried Spam snuggled in a block of sticky rice wrapped with dried seaweed.

(That’s a Spam musubi I enjoyed this morning, in the top photo.)

We’ve got more information on this weekend’s Waikiki Spam Jam here. But if you need a good laugh or proof that Spam-maker Hormel Food Corporation has a sense of humor about its much-maligned “mystery meat,” click here, and toss a query at the all-knowing “Book of Spam.”

And click here for a "How to Make a Spam Musubi" video we found on YouTube.


Beer. It's what's for dinner at Koele

beer_dinner_KoeleMany of you asked. Some of you guessed after my weekend post. Now, I can finally answer.

Yes, after some none-too-subtle campaigning on my part, I attended the Four Seasons Lodge at Koele Kona beer dinner on Saturday.

It was departing executive sous chef Thomas Bellec’s grand finale at the Lodge—a five-course dinner menu, paired with craft beers from Kona Brewing Co. He’d done a couple of wine dinners, and even a scotch dinner in the past—all in the Lodge’s country manor-reminiscent interiors.

But the beer dinner seemed apt for a more casual setting. So taking advantage of good upcountry weather, dinner was served under the stars on the Lodge’s croquet court.

beer_dinner_KoeleThe Four Seasons pulled out all stops. Guests were seated at elegantly-appointed picnic tables equipped with padded seats. Tiki torches lit the area. Heat lamps offset the chilly evening tradewinds. Pashminas were handed out to whoever wanted one. A guitarist strummed gentle Hawaiian tunes.

How to break the ice? How about a trio of cocktails, all beer-infused—a mai tai with a float of Amstel Light (so-so), a bloody mary with a kicky bite of Corona and lime (good), and a fresh-squeezed lemonade mixed with Hangar 1 vodka, kafir lime and a float of Corona (best).

After a couple of each over a half-hour, conversation flowed.

I sat across from Mark and Barbara Zigmond, owners of Lanai City’s Pele’s Other Garden restaurant—and right next to Tom Roelens and his wife Sara. Roelens was ending his third week as general manager of both Four Seasons resorts on the island—the Lodge at Koele and the Manele Bay Resort

beer_dinner_KoeleHe was still giddy about getting the job, regaling us with tales of his Belgian childhood, where quaffing beer as a minor was legal, and his father occasionally brewed up a batch of the stuff in the family living room.

“We kids looked forward to days we could come home from school for lunch,” said Roelens, after one story.

Responded Zigmond, to much laughter, “Yes, but did you learn anything after lunch?”

Chef Bellec's aim was to match each course with the right beer. Kona Brewing’s light, citrusy Wailua Wheat beer, for instance, complemented  the dressing on the green salad with Lanai venison pastrami.

Roelens enjoyed the subtle spice, fruit and smooth finish of Kona Brewing’s wonderful 3K Belgian Triple ale so much, that he ordered a second round for our table before we could finish our beer-glazed brie and roasted pear on egg brioche.

beer_dinner_KoeleAnother high point? The brewer’s Pipeline Porter—rich with roasted coffee aroma and a smoky dark chocolate finish—paired with one of the richest entrĂ©es I’ve ever encountered.  It was, first, an applewood-smoked bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin on, second, a bed of kalua pulled pork, plus parsnip puree and Brussels sprouts fricassee, all in beer infused demi glace. I'm still surprised I survived it.

Four Seasons Resort Lanai public relations director Brad Packer said it was his dream to host a similar dinner at the Lodge … with tequila.

I’ll bring the limes and salt, dude.

And HawaiiMagazine.com readers will, again, know about it before it happens. Cheers!

Aloha Airlines shuts down cargo operations

Aloha_Airlines_shuts_cargo_operationsAnother unit of Aloha Airlines lost its fight to stay alive this afternoon as the company announced it was shutting down cargo operations immediately.

Attorneys for the company informed a bankruptcy court judge that two companies interested in buying the cargo operation had pulled their offers today, leaving Aloha’s primary lender GMAC unwilling to continue financing the company. The decision to shut down was announced at a bankruptcy court hearing determining whether Aloha cargo pilots could strike over a continuing contract dispute.

The impact of the company’s demise is expected to be as severe on Hawaii interisland cargo service as the shutdown of Aloha’s passenger service in March was on interisland travel. Aloha’s cargo service accounted for more than 85 percent of Hawaii’s interisland cargo business. Its customers included the United States Postal Service and major food and product suppliers on all islands.

The sole unit of Aloha Airlines still operating is its contract services division, which was recently sold to Pacific Air Cargo for $2.2 million.

Aloha Airlines shut down its interisland and transpacific passenger service on March 31 after more than 61 years of service. The airline had filed for bankruptcy earlier that month, citing the inter-island airfare war set off by Go! Airlines and the soaring cost of jet fuel for losses of $81 million in 2007 as reason. 
Photo: Aloha Airlines

World record flower lei to be strung on May Day

world_record_flower_lei_strung_May_DayPerhaps you’ve heard the old hapa haole hula anthem, “May Day is ‘Lei Day’ in Hawaii.”

The song is still largely true. Each year on May 1, many residents statewide celebrate Hawaiian culture and island culture by attending music and hula shows, sporting their best aloha wear and wearing colorful floral lei.

But Honolulu politicos—Mayor Mufi Hannemann, most prominently—are hoping to prove May Day is indeed Lei Day this year with the construction of Guinness world-record-breaking floral lei in Waikiki’s Kapiolani Park. Minimum length? One mile when the string of flowers is finally tied together. 

Thousands of fresh flowers, hundreds of volunteers and two full days will be necessary to accomplish the task. And if you’re in town on May 1, you could participate in the world-record attempt as one of many residents and visitors holding the lei when the mayor connects the ends.

We’re thinking seriously cool photo op for the mayor (and you) here.

The city’s 81st annual Lei Day celebration in Kapiolani Park will also feature live music and hula, demonstrations and exhibits of Hawaiian craftmaking, and lots of colorful and fragrant lei for sale.

You’ll find a complete schedule of Lei Day celebration events here. More information about the city’s Lei Day celebration and Guinness world-record attempt is here.

A day in the life on Lanai

One of the cooler things about my job is escaping the office on Oahu every couple of months, flying to one of the neighbor islands and getting to call what I do there work.

I’m on the island of Lanai this weekend, taking in some scenery, activities and food. You’ll see everything I collect while I'm here in future HawaiiMagazine.com Web posts and HAWAII Magazine articles.

For now, though, some photographic evidence of what I was up to on Friday.

Vog from Kilauea enveloped most of Hawaii on Friday, obscuring views of Oahu and Molokai on the morning flight to Lanai. The effect it had on the view of the manicured gardens at the Four Seasons Lodge at Koele when I checked in, however, was wonderfully dramatic.
A view of the island's only town, Lanai City, from a bluff above the Lodge at Koele. With just over 3,000 residents, a handful of businesses and comprised mainly of homes, it's not your classic definition of a "city." But you'll meet some of the friendliest people in Hawaii here.
I rented a Jeep 4x4  to explore the island's beaches for a future HAWAII Magazine feature. With only 30 miles of paved road on the island, Jeeps are pretty much the only rental available. Fortunately, they're the best way to see Lanai (other than on horseback, which I'm also doing a bit of this weekend for a HAWAII feature). This is a beach road on the island's north shore.
Polihua Beach, on Lanai's north side, is your reward after a lengthy and extremely bumpy drive down a single-lane Jeep trail. Stretching more than two miles, it's Lanai's longest white sand beach. It's also one of the island's most remote. On a typical late afternoon visit, you'll find about as many people exploring its breathtaking grandeur as you do in this photo.
My dinner after a long day of "work"—a meat lover's pizza at Pele's Other Garden in Lanai City. It's always a joy visiting owners Mark and Barbara Zigmond, and sampling their terrific homemade Italian entrees, pizzas, deli sandwiches and desserts. Great people. Must-have-food on Lanai. Check out Mark's must-read "My Corner of Paradise" feature in our Jan./Feb. 2008 issue.

Air clears, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park reopens

volcano_openOur man at Kilauea volcano, Bill Harby, just reported in.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, closed for two days, just reopened this afternoon at 1 p.m. 

Even though the tradewinds that usually clear the air have not returned, the sulfur dioxide fumes from Halemaumau and Pu'u O'o have diminished enough to make it safe for visitors. And the visitors were there.

When Harby went to the reopened park, he saw seven large tour buses parked at the Kilauea steam vents.

However, the prime viewing spot from the Thomas A. Jaggar Museum overlook remains closed.

Harby himself is breathing easier. "It's nice to look out my window just a few miles from the crater," he says, "and see the rain forest instead of the vog." As we talked on the phone, there was the boom of thunder in the distance. "I hope a good hard rain will wash more SO2 out of the air."

Evening shot of Jaggar Museum, photo courtesy of USGS

Char's Chopsticks: Little Village in Chinatown

My_Favorite_Places_Little_Village_in_ChinatownLittle Village Noodle House has been one of my favorite restaurants. This week, I’ve eaten lunch there twice.

It’s hard to resist this place because the food is excellent and the restaurant is within walking distance from our office.

The menu is divided into 12 sections: Appetizers, Soups, Salads, “Beef, Lamb & Pork,” Poultry, Seafood, Vegetarian, Rice, Noodles, Taste of Hong Kong, Desserts and Beverages. Everything is meant to be shared “family style.”

My list of must-haves includes the Honey Walnut Shrimp, Dried String Beans, Peking Duck, Pan Fried Beef, Eggplant with Garlic Sauce, Pecan Spinach Salad, Orange Chicken and Sweet and Sour Pork. I could go on and on, because everything I’ve eaten here has become one of my favorite dishes. 

My_Favorite_Places_Little_Village_in_ChinatownBut if I had to choose just one dish, it would have to be the jumbo-size Honey Walnut Shrimps (pictured left). According to their menu, the shrimps are tossed in a garlic-and-green-onion cream sauce and topped with honey walnuts. It’s almost like a seafood candy treat.

Little Village Noodle House is open for lunch and dinner. I strongly recommend making reservations before you go, because the popular restaurant has a tendency to get crowded. There’s even take out if you’re in a hurry.

Pictured above: Little Village Noodle House manager
Aimee Miyahira-Chan displays the Honey Walnut Shrimp,
Orange Chicken and Pecan Spinach Salad.
Photos by Sherie Char


Maui golf made easy

Maui_golf_made_easyYou ask. We answer.

Reader Joe McPherson is headed to Maui next week and had a question for us. What’s the best way to make arrangements in advance for golf tee times?

Simple. No matter which island is your destination, call the concierge of the hotel or resort you are staying at before you get there.

First, they’ll be happy to reserve tee times for you. More importantly, they’ll know the most convenient and best courses, costs and availability. They may even be able to find you special golf packages at the resort.

Also keep in mind that registered guests at nearby resorts almost always get the best rates. So if you're staying at, say, The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, your best bet is teeing off at Kapalua Resort.

Maui’s golf courses are among Hawaii’s best. Here are just a few recommendations:

Wailea Golf Club. Guests staying at resorts in south Maui's Wailea resort area get the best rates, but all three courses are open to the public. Book tee time here, or call (800) 888-6100, ext. 8. Click here for rates.

Kapalua Resort. Kapalua's two courses are world-renowned for hosting championship golf tournaments. The Plantation Course  hosts the PGA Tour season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship in January; the Bay Course the Kapalua LPGA Classic in October. The resort won Golf Magazine's 2008 Gold Award for best value. Book tee time here, or call (877) 527-2582. Click here for rates.

Kaanapali Golf Resort. There are two courses here—The Royal Kaanapali and the Kaanapali Kai.  The Royal Kaanapali is one of only two courses in Hawaii designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. It's also the main location for the current season of the Golf Channel's reality series Big Break. Book tee time here, or call (866) 454-4653. Click here for rates.

Makena Golf Courses. Two courses—a North and South course—designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. 808-891-4000. Book tee time here, or call (808) 891-4000. Click here for rates.

Kapalua Resort's Plantation course and view of Molokai beyond
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