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

Alaska_Airlines_expanding_Hawaii_routes_Kauai_Oakland_San_JoseAlaska Airlines will add 14 weekly direct flights between the San Francisco Bay Area and Kauai to its schedule, beginning in March 2011. The bonus for you if you’re ready to make reservations now? Introductory fares starting at low as $179 one way.

Three-times-weekly San Jose-Lihue, Kauai service will begin on March 27, 2011. Four-times weekly service between Oakland-Lihue, Kauai will begin the next day on March 28, 2011.

The carrier’s introductory $179 one-way fare is being offered on both routes, but tickets must be purchased by July 9. Tickets must also be for travel within each route’s inaugural date and May 17, 2011.

Flight days and times for the new routes are:

• San Jose, Calif.-Lihue, Kauai

Departure: 7:20 p.m. (West coast time)
Arrival: 9:59 p.m. (Hawaii time)
Flight days: Tues., Thurs., Sun.

• Lihue, Kauai-San Jose, Calif.

Departure: 9:20 a.m. (Hawaii time)
Arrival: 5:40 p.m. (West coast time)
Flight days: Tues., Thurs., Sun.

• Oakland, Calif.-Lihue, Kauai

Departure: 7:20 p.m. (West coast time)
Arrival: 9:59 p.m. (Hawaii time)
Flight days: Mon., Wed., Fri., Sat.

• Lihue, Kauai-Oakland, Calif.

Departure: 9:20 a.m. (Hawaii time)
Arrival: 5:40 p.m. (West coast time)
Flight days: Mon., Wed., Fri., Sat.

Tickets may be purchased at alaskaair.com, or by calling (800) 252-7522.

The new routes between the Bay Area and Kauai are the latest additions to Alaska Airlines’ expanding flight schedule between the U.S. West Coast and Hawaii. In April, the Seattle-based carrier announced it would begin daily nonstop flights between Portland, Ore. and Oahu in September, and San Diego, Calif., and Maui in October.

Thrice-weekly San Jose-Maui routes, four-times-weekly San Jose-Kailua Kona, Big Island routes and daily Sacramento, Calif.-Maui routes began flying in March.

With the addition of the new Bay Area-Kauai flights, Alaska Airlines says it will have more than 100 flights per week between the U.S. West Coast and Oahu, Kauai, Lanai and the Big Island.

Photo: David Croxford/HAWAII Magazine


After 33 days of reader voting and the elimination of 30 other coast-to-coast cities and national parks, the final two vacation spots in USA Today’s Best American Destinations contest are finally face-to-face:

Honolulu, Hawaii
vs. Yellowstone National Park

There’s just two more days to vote for the ultimate winner. You could win a $2,000 airfare credit prize from Orbitz.com just for voting.

But if you'd kindly allow us one final pitch before you vote ...

The staff of HAWAII Magazine has always believed that our Islands are the best destination in America, if not the world. We’d like to think our readers feel the same way, too. So it should come as no surprise that your vote for our hometown of Honolulu, Hawaii, as "Best American Destination" would make us very happy indeed.

Honolulu_Hawaii_Best_American_Destinations_contestHonolulu has come a long way in the USA Today-sponsored contest. The competition launched on May 28 with 32 destinations from all over the country in the running—from Honolulu to New York City; from Denali National Park, Alaska, to Everglades National Park, Florida. Over five weeks of bracket voting (Chicago vs. San Francisco, Grand Canyon National Park vs. Yellowstone, etc.), readers were allowed only one vote per week for their favorites. Each week’s bracket-winning destination advanced to next-round voting.

The competition was impressive and tough for both finalists, to say the least. Honolulu took out some of the country’s finest cities on its journey to the final round: Miami, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Washington D.C.  Yellowstone National Park beat Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Acadia National Park, Grand Canyon and Charleston, S.C. on its way to the finals.

You can cast your vote (for Honolulu) at USA Today’s Best American Destinations website. Voting will be open until 11:59 p.m. (EDT), July 1, so vote now.

Don’t worry. We won’t be mad at you forever if you vote for Yellowstone instead of Honolulu. Just don’t tell us you did, OK?

Good luck to all of our readers! Go Honolulu!

UPDATE, 7/6/2010:
Honolulu wins with 77% of the vote to Yellowstone's 23%.

Photos: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Ron Garnett (top), HTA/Tor Johnson (bottom)

Why are the Waikiki Beach torches not lit anymore?

Waikiki_Beach_evening_torchesHAWAII Magazine reader Bonnie Burchett e-mailed us with a question about the disappearance of a Waikiki evening tradition she enjoyed:

Why don’t they light the torches in the evening on Waikiki Beach anymore?

You ask, we answer.

There’s good news for Bonnie and everyone else that enjoyed this Waikiki sunset ritual: The torches will be lit once again!

First some background. Each night on Waikiki’s Kuhio Beach, the city sponsors a sunset hula show. Free, open to the public and a terrific showcase for hula’s many styles, it always draws a large crowd. Until recently, the program had also included the dramatic lighting of a series of gas torches lining Waikiki’s main drag, Kalakaua Avenue.

Clutching a hand-held torch, a pareau-clad male would run from the hula mound on one end of Kuhio Beach to the Kapalua Pier on the beach’s other end, lighting all of the gas torches along the way.

Bonnie’s question in hand, we called the Waikiki Improvement Association who informed us that the torches have indeed been snuffed for more than a year, due to problems with the gas lines.

Now, here comes the good news. The association also told us that the city and The Gas Company finished repairing the lines this month.

Honolulu Parks & Recreations Dept. director Lester Chang said that torch lightings should hopefully resume within the next couple of weeks. Visitors can expect the torches to be ablaze from about 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly, tying in, once again, with the Kuhio Beach hula show.

Hint, if you’ve never been to Waikiki: Your visit won’t truly be complete without a torch-lit evening stroll along Kalakaua Avenue all the way to Kapahulu Pier and then back up Kuhio Beach—this time with your toes in the sand and surf, and the lights of Waikiki in view.

Trust us.

Photo: Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau

kapalua_wine_and_food_festival_2010There's a slight morning mist drifting off the West Maui Mountains this morning, as we sit on the lanai of the new Ritz-Carlton Club & Residences, Kapalua Bay, perched above sheltered Kapalua Beach. Blue Hawaii skies are following, promising a pleasant final day for the Kapalua Wine and Food Festival.

It's been a pleasure so far. Early on, we chatted with award-winning Master Sommelier, Fred Dame, who has been to virtually every wine event across the globe, and is emceeing this annual festival for the seventh time. "I love Kapalua," said Dame. "It's the only wine festival left that's fun."

kapalua_wine_and_food_festival_2010How much fun? Take for instance the "Heal the World with Pinot Noir" seminar yesterday morning.  Not only was there a chance to taste some of the best and rarest West Coast Pinots—Patz & Hall, Hanzell, Scherrer, Sapphire HIll, Brooks.  But also Fred Scherrer of Sherrer Vineyards and restaurateur/wine writer Michael Jordan whipped out their guitars and jammed on the Hapa song, "Haleakala," while wild man Gary Pisoni of Santa Lucia's Pisoni Vineyards did what might be charitably described as an interpretative hula.

Pisoni had introduced his own pinot by saying, with some enthusiasm, "My wine is good with meat or fish or just sitting in the bathtub."

All in all, definitely not your typical wine panel discussion. But a day or two in the Kapalua sunshine tends tends to bring out some level of relaxed playfulness in everyone.

kapalua_wine_and_food_festival_2010The Pinot Noir seminar was just one instance of some exceptional eating and drinking at the fest. The fest's first night on Friday brought the Grand Tasting, featuring 400 wines around the world and cuisine from Ritz-Carlton Kapalua Executive Chef John Zaner and his kitchen team, matching the fest's "Summer Soiree" theme. Don't ask us what the wines were all like. We could hardly get past the champagne table, while munching on Maui Cattle Company teriyaki steak salad with Maui spinach and onions, and smoked BBQ brisket with truffle polenta.

Yesterday brought an artisinal cheese and Zinfandel seminar as well. The cheese master was Kent Torrey of the Carmel Cheese Shop. Torrey's actually a Hawaii boy, having gone to Punahou, and scooped ice cream at Baskin-Robbins, with "Barry" Obama, of whom you may have heard.

kapalua_wine_and_food_festival_2010We took in two events in the evening. First, an elegant poolside cocktail party thrown by Waiwera, the official water of the festival, and Bombay Sapphire Gin, with libations created by Hawaii's best bartender, "Dr. Joey" Gottesmann.

Then a sunset "Locavore BBQ" at Peter Merriman's stunning restaurant out on the lava point of Kapalua Bay.  Merriman himself was at the grill, wok-searing fresh ahi, steaming Keahole clams with Maui basil and grilled lobster sauce, serving up house-cured macadamia nut-smoked boar bacon on poached Kapalua Farm eggs.  Not to mention pepper-crusted grass-fed Maui ribeye steaks. We were afraid we'd burst, by the time the Kapalua Farm apple-banana Foster arrived. We had some anyway.

Today brings Hawaii master chef D.K. Kodama demonstrating the secrets of his Sansei restaurants in a three-course lunch including Kona Cold lobster salad, Asian spiced beef and warm Waialua chocolate grenache with Kula strawberry lavender coulees  Accompanied, of course, by not three, but five wines.

And all that's just a warm up for the culminating event tonight, the Kapalua Seafood Festival, with a baker's dozen of Maui restaurants cooking their best seafood recipes, a world of wine, all beachside during sunset. 

Wish you were here.

Photos: The Grand Tasting, Kapalua Wine & Food Festival (top); View of Molokai from our Ritz-Carlton Club & Residences, Kapalua Bay, lanai (second from top), Working at "Zins & Cheese" seminar (third from top), "Dr. Joey" Gottesman in action (bottom), Derek Paiva

how_to_mail_order_Hawaii_grown_plumeria_mainlandHAWAII magazine reader Anthony Maggiore e-mailed us in pursuit of his favorite Hawaiian flower:

It seems that lei-supplying companies in Hawai'i will not ship plumeria lei to the east coast for fear of the fragile blossoms being damaged before delivery. What that means is that many people are missing out on these lovely flowers that evoke the Hawaiian essence so iconically. Is there any way whereby these wonderful blossoms can reach someone on the U.S. east coast?

You ask, we answer.

Blossoms from the plumeria tree are among the most commonly used flowers for lei in Hawaii.

how_to_mail_order_Hawaii_grown_plumeria_mainlandWhile much associated with Hawaii, where it is grown ornamentally in many backyards or specifically for lei production, the plumeria tree is not native to the Islands. Also known as the frangipani—or melia, in the Hawaiian language—the tree and its flowers thrive in tropical and subtropical climates worldwide.

Still, for many arriving visitors, an airport or dockside lei greeting of fragrant plumeria—with its hints of citrus, jasmine and gardenia—remains the most popular, and expected, signifier of the start of a Hawaii vacation.

After searching statewide for a grower who would deliver Hawaii-grown plumeria straight to Anthony’s and all of our mainland U.S. HAWAII Magazine readers’ doorsteps, we finally found one on the island of Molokai. Just west of the island’s main town of Kaunakakai is the orchard of Molokai Plumerias—a family-owned farm, in business since 1982, whose trees thrive in dry, perennially sunny conditions idyllic for their growth.

how_to_mail_order_Hawaii_grown_plumeria_mainlandMolokai Plumerias ships finished lei, individual blossoms for crafting your own lei, and even tree cuttings so you can start your own plumeria garden—given the right growing conditions, of course. The farm (pictured, below) also ships its orders throughout the U.S.

When in season—typically March through October—blossoms are picked early in the morning and shipped from Molokai same day. Cost varies depending on the size of the order and where it is being shipped.

If you’re planning a trip to Molokai, the farm is open for afternoon tours, too.

To learn more about Molokai Plumerias, or to place an order, click here. Or reach the orchard by phone at (808) 553-3391.

If you know of any more Hawaii farms shipping fresh cut, locally-grown plumeria to the mainland, please drop us an e-mail and let us know.

Photos: Wikipedia Commons (top), Molokai Plumerias (middle, bottom)

Hawaii_Farmers_Market_Cookbook_recipesWhen gathering the best ingredients for making a meal you can’t beat buying local. And no matter where you are in the world, farmers markets are a great place to start looking.

In Hawaii, dozens of weekly farmers markets have sprung up in communities statewide in recent years making it convenient to skip a trip to the supermarket and opt for fresh-off-the-farm Island-grown vegetables, herbs and fruits. The growing popularity of farmers markets here is really just the home menu extension of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement, whose chefs successfully convinced residents and visitors to expect Island-grown ingredients on restaurant menus.

The Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement was founded on the common practice of Island chefs going straight to the farmers for the best and freshest ingredients for their restaurants. Hawaii farmers, in turn, got into the habit of seeking out chefs’ opinions on the kinds of produce they should grow to sustain the movement’s success as well as their own.

Some of the best Hawaii farmers markets are sponsored by the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation, which requires that vendors only sell locally-grown or produced products. Literally thousands of residents and visitors wake up early each Saturday morning to attend the Farm Bureau’s largest farmers market at Oahu’s Kapiolani Community College. But you can also find satellite Farm Bureau markets throughout the week on Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island—from urban Honolulu to smaller communities such as Kailua, Keauhou-Kona and Mililani.

Hawaii_Farmers_Market_Cookbook_recipesWhat to do with these ingredients one you get them to your home or Hawaii vacation rental?

The new Hawaii Farmers Market Cookbook Volume 2—The Chefs’ Guide to Fresh Island Foods gathers more than 75 recipes emphasizing use of locally-grown ingredients, submitted by 18 of Hawaii Regional Cuisine’s top chefs. The chefs were given a couple of key rules for their recipes: Make them home cook-friendly, with ingredients that could be found at most Hawaii farmers markets (and, by extension, most farmers markets or specialty food stores, period).

The chefs, in turn, crafted some lively recipes for the cookbook, compiled by the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation and published by HAWAII Magazine sister company Watermark Publishing. Among these:

• Ahi Ceviche with Purple Sweet Potato Chips, by Haliimaile General Store owner/executive chef Beverly Gannon

• Lilikoi Bars, by Sam Choy’s Breakfast, Lunch and Crab owner/executive chef Sam Choy

• Mom Kodama’s Portuguese Sausage Patties, by Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar owner/executive chef D.K. Kodama

• Asian Braised Short Ribs, by Pavilion CafĂ© at the Honolulu Academy of Arts executive chef Mike Nevin

• Sauteed Bean Sprouts and Smoked Meat, by Alan Wong’s Restaurant owner/executive chef Alan Wong

Hawaii_Farmers_Market_Cookbook_recipesYou can purchase a copy of The Hawaii Farmers Market Cookbook—Volume 2 direct from Watermark Publishing, at $15.95 per copy, here. If you plan to be on Oahu over the next two weeks, click here for a schedule of book signings with chefs featured in the cookbook.

Better yet, start cooking now!

On the pages ahead, HAWAII Magazine shares two recipes from the new Hawaii Farmers Market Cookbook: Hamakua Mushroom Stew from Chef Mavro Restaurant chef de cuisine Kevin Chong, and Choy Sum and Sausage Stir-Fry from Le Bistro owner/executive chef Alan Takasaki.

Try them out! Bon appetit!


Kilauea's famed Volcano House hotel to remain closed until at least 2012

Volano_House_Hawaii_Volcanoes_National_Park_closedThe Volcano House hotel has been been open, in one form or another, since 1846, when the first grass house was built on the rim of Kilauea Crater. The first wooden structure went up in 1877—long before Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was even established on the Big Island in 1916—with a stone hearth dedicated to Pele that burned continuously for next 133 years.

The fire, which some believe was originally lit by King David Kalakaua, has gone out. Volcano House is closed, and is not expected to reopen until 2012, at the earliest. Up until its closure, it was the oldest continuously operated hotel in Hawaii, host to Mark Twain and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Volano_House_Hawaii_Volcanoes_National_Park_closedThe current 42-room hotel dates from 1941, rebuilt after a kitchen fire destroyed the 1877 structure. During that period, the fire in the stone hearth was maintained in an interim fireplace to keep the flame alive.

Here’s the background on the Volcano House closing. The hotel belongs to the National Park Service, and by law, must go out for competitive bid for a new lease.

Since 1989, the hotel has been operated by Ken Fujiyama, who also operates Nani Mau Gardens and the Naniloa Hotel in Hilo. With the closing of Volcano House, Fujiyama has renamed his Hilo hotel the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort. Fujiyama has not indicated whether he will bid to continue operating the Volcano House.

The original bid on a new lease was due last March. It attracted no bidders. The National Park Service has extended the deadline for new bids until August 3rd of this year, reducing the share of gross receipts it was asking from the new proprietor.

Reopening, however, is not expected until at least June 2012. The reopened hotel would also have 10 less rooms, as its detached Ohia Wing will be converted into a museum of the park’s history.

Volano_House_Hawaii_Volcanoes_National_Park_closedThe fabled fireplace was allowed to go out New Year’s Day 2010. "It's sad the fireplace was left to burn out. There's the end of a tradition. Some people have no sentiment," said Fujiyama.

"While it's nice to have a focal point in the hotel, we want something that is green, and that's not a 24/7 fireplace,” said park spokesperson Ranger Mardie Lane, noting that the original fireplace burned native Hawaii ohia wood. That won’t be the fuel for any new heat source.

“We need to preserve our native forests in Hawaii,” adds Lane. "It's a wonderful opportunity to do the right thing."

Of course, the right thing is always open to debate.

Photos: Volcano House


After months of behind the scenes pre-production work, the fourth film in Disney's blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, On Stranger Tides, finally began filming last week in Hawaii.

But unlike most Hollywood productions, which keep plot details and photos from the set shrouded in secrecy until just before release, Walt Disney Pictures and producer Jerry Bruckheimer apparently couldn't wait to share—at least a little bit.

Bruckheimer launched the first salvo of Pirates 4 hype shortly after filming began last week on Kauai’s remote Napali Coast, posting these behind-the-scenes photos from the Kalalau Beach set on his Twitter account, and promising more.

“I always travel with a camera, rolling suitcase carry-on and my iPod,” wrote the mega-producer on his Twitter feed. “Going to try to share many behind-the-scenes photos from Hawaii.”


He’s not fibbing. Bruckheimer is a longtime photography buff, with a studied eye for shots. In addition to the hundreds of photos he is fond of taking on the sets of his film and television productions, he often totes his camera to films premieres and even interviews. He regularly squeezes a few photos of writers before being interviewed by them. (Bruckheimer shot a few photos of yours truly before we chatted at the media junket for the Hawaii-filmed Pearl Harbor in 2001. I’ve yet to see the shots, by the way.)

Thanks to Twitter, however, Bruckheimer seems to have finally found an ideal place to share some of his photographic aptitude with fans of his film and TV work. Seen here (and on the following page) are pics of director Rob Marshall (this page, above) and screenwriter Terry Rossio (next page) arriving on the production’s remote Kalalau Valley location by jet ski, set chairs for Bruckheimer and Pirates star Johnny Depp (this page, top), a Napali Coast rainbow (next page) and Bruckheimer chatting near the ocean on a satellite phone (this page, below).


“Due to no reception in many of the Hawaii shoot locations, I had to use a special satellite phone all week,” he writes in the Twitter caption accompanying his most recent photo, posted this morning.

We’ll keep following Bruckheimer’s Twitter account over Pirates 4’s summer filming schedule on Kauai and Oahu. Meanwhile, doing its part for the hype machine, Walt Disney Pictures, this week, sent out a media release announcing the start of Pirates 4's Hawaii production.



Hungry? Thirsty? On Maui this week?

The Kapalua Wine & Food Festival begins this Thursday, June 24, at west Maui’s luxe Ritz-Carlton Kapalua Resort.

Maui_Kapalua_Wine_Food_Festival_this_week_be_thereOne of Hawaii's most venerable food events, the fest is pretty much foodie nirvana—four days of grand dinners, wine and food tastings and pairings a wine tour, and culinary demonstrations hosted by renowned chefs and industry pros and master sommeliers. The theme of this year's 29th annual edition of the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival is "Summer Soiree"—with culinary events highlighting Hawaii Regional Cuisine and Hawaii fusion, food movements with deep roots in the Islands.

We wrote about a handful of the wine and dining events at this year's Kapalua Wine & Food Festival we were looking forward to most in a previous HawaiiMagazine.com article. (Click here to read it).

Tickets for individual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival events are still available, and run from $50 to $75 per person for wine tours and wine tastings to $135 per person for the fest’s signature dinners. A four-day pass, which includes entry to all fest events and dinners, is $699 per person.

Visit the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival website for more information, ticket prices and purchase, and for information on Ritz-Carlton Kapalua accommodation packages. A complete schedule of KW&FF events is here.

Maui_Kapalua_Wine_Food_Festival_this_week_be_thereHAWAII Magazine will be on Maui, from the fest's Grand Tasting dinner on Friday evening, Jan. 25, through its Seafood Festival on Sunday evening, Jan. 27. We're both excited … and already famished.

Can't be at the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival this weekend, but considering a trip to Maui for 2011's 30th annual edition? Follow our food and wine grazing adventures at this year's KW&FF weekend via my HAWAII Magazine Twitter travel account: @HAWAIIMagDerek.

Don't want to follow all of our gastronomic and oenophilist activities that closely? A select few of my @HAWAIIMagDerek tweets and photos should also find their way on to HAWAII Magazine's official Twitter feed: @HAWAIIMagazine, and our HAWAII Magazine Facebook site during the weekend, as well.

If you're attending this year's Kapalua Wine & Food Festival, tweet me and let me know. Hope to see you on Maui! 

Photos: Kapalua Wine & Food Festival

Zac Efron headlines this year's Maui Film Festival

maui_film_festival_2010_efronIt's been a beautiful couple of days on Maui, with the promise of a splendid evening under the stars to come. 

That's good because two of the Maui Film Festival's major events are outdoors this evening, both the Taste of Wailea (in which Maui restaurants show their stuff in a glittering gala) and Celestial Cinema, the film festival's premiere outdoor venue, with perfect screen and sound, all solar powered. 

Tonight's films include happythankyoumoreplease a sophisticated romantic comedy which won the Audience Award at Sundance this year.  Malin Akerman, who stars in the Josh Radnor film, looked radiant and Swedish at last night's party, with husband Italian drummer, Roberto Zincone, in tow.

That film is followed by Cherry, a serio-comic tale of sexual initiation.  Sounds like a wild night under the stars on the Wailea Golf Course.

There's not the profusion of Hollywood hanging around the pool as in previous years, something to do with the recession and the festival's lack this year of an airline sponsor.

The most excitement was generated by Grey's Anatomy star Justin Chambers, Cougar Town's Dan Byrd, and director Taylor Steele, whose exceptional surf film, Castles in the Sky, was screened Thursday night at the Celestial Cinema.

Of course, there are always surf films in the festival.  This is Maui, and the festival's biggest draw, High School Musical star Zac Efron was spending his free time taking surf lessons off Wailea.  He was in town to accept the festival's Shining Star Award, given to actors whose future looks bright.

If you don't know the 22-year-old hearthrob, let's just say that for many of the young women at the festival his presence was swoon-worthy.  "Oh my kids," said one mother.  "For them he's such a huge deal."

Efron hit a number of the parties, though often sequestered into a private room.  Parties there are, including a Opening Night Reception, a Starry Night Moondance at Tommy Bahamas, a VIP party at a restaurant called Mala, and, many people's favorite, the annual Taste of Chocolate at the Four Seasons Maui, where every possible chocolate dessert fills the tables across the resort's lawn.

"I love the Maui Film Festival," said one strikingly dressed young lady, dipping bite-sized cakes into the chocolate fountain.  "Here we're all stars."

Zac Efron accepting the Maui Film Festival Shining Star Award, courtesy Maui Film Festival
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