Archive for October, 2006

6th Annual Flavors of Technology Awards Banquet

October 22, 2006

So tonight I was named one of Hawaii’s Top 50 High Tech Leaders by the Pacific Technology Foundation and Technology News Network, receiving both a Commendation from Governor Linda Lingle and James “Duke” Aiona as well as a Mayor’s Award of Recognition from Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

The event was a blast with delicious food, great entertainment from Traci Toguchi, Kristian Lei and Camile Velasco, and fun times with family and friends. Mahalo to those of you who came out and helped me celebrate this great honor. Click on the photo below to check out the scenes from that night:

Flavors of Technology 2006

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October 15, 2006: Earthquake in Hawaii!

October 15, 2006

At 7:07AM this morning, I was rudely awakened by what was later announced as a 6.6-magnitude earthquake that centered on the Kona side of the Big Island. I ‘m housesitting this beautiful mansion high atop the hills of Tantalus on Oahu, but am far from safe from the rumblings of one of the largest earthquakes to hit the islands in 23 years. Since it was so early, I was startled out of the errupting bed and braced myself in the doorway of the bathroom. When things settled down, I checked around the house to see the damage.

Not bad.

Just a few fallen picture frames and miscellaneous items on the ground. I spent the next 10-15 minutes straightening things out, until the next friggen quake (aftershock of 5.8) hit just 7 minutes later. With all the power out, I decided to just leave the again fallen items alone and go back to bed. To my dismay, I was rudely awaken again and again by aftershock after aftershock until like 10:30am, cursing at each one before falling back asleep.

Since my car was stuck in the garage, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I sunbathed a bit on the porch and then read the Sunday paper, cover-to-cover. As it got dark, I was hungry (couldn’t open the fridge) and started to run through possibilities. Finally, I said screw it and left the house to go for a walk before I went crazy with cabin fever. Here’s a photo I took of the view at one lookout point. Strage to see Diamond Head and the surrounding buildings without any lights eh?

October 15, 2006: Earthquake in Hawaii!

Since I was electricity-less for hours on end, I had to idea what was going on in the world. I was able to read news and check football scores on my phone during my walk, and before long, made it all the way to Wal-Mart on Keeaumoku. Dave called and thankfully picked me up to go grab a bite at Genki Sushi in Pearl City. Not the brightest thing in the world to eat raw fish after a long power outage, but we were friggen starving! 🙂

At about 10:30, the power in the Tantalus area finally came back up after being out since 7 in the morning. I was able to see the damage that was done to the home.

October 15, 2006: Earthquake in Hawaii!

Below are some hints for you future earthquake victims from your friends at the Oahu Civil Defense:

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WHAT TO EXPECT IN AN EARTHQUAKE

During an earthquake, the “solid” earth moves like the deck of a ship. The actual movement of the ground, however, is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most casualties result from partial or total building collapse, falling objects, debris and shattering glass. Earthquakes may also trigger landslides, cause fires, and generate tsunamis (seismic sea waves).

If you feel a strong earthquake that makes you grab on to something to keep upright, and you are located in a tsunami inundation area, head for high ground. Don’t wait for an announcement from Civil Defense. A locally generated tsunami leaves little time for warning. Act immediately!

The unique nature of the earthquake threat and potential disruption of life in Hawaii calls for pre- paredness actions at all levels…government, volunteer and private sector.

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BEFORE AN EARTHQUAKE

Check your home for potential hazards at least annually.

  • Defective electrical wiring and leaky gas or in flexible connections are very dangerous in the event of an earthquake. Bolt down water heaters and gas appliances. Know where and how to shut off utilities at main switches. Contact your local utility company for instructions. Place large and heavy objects on lower shelves. Securely fasten shelves to walls. Brace or anchor high or top-heavy objects. Store breakables in low or closed cabinets. Anchor overhead lighting fixtures such as chandeliers.
  • Check for ceiling and foundation cracks and repair if needed.

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HAVE ON HAND…

  • A flashlight and battery operated radio in case power is cut off. A supply of drinking water and nonperishable foods which can be prepared without cooking.
  • A fire extinguisher and first aid kit.

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DURING AN EARTHQUAKE

First of all, stay calm. If you are inside, stay inside. If outdoors. stay there. In earthquakes, most injuries occur as people are entering or leaving buildings.If indoors, take cover under a heavy desk, table, bench, in a supported doorway or along an inside wall. Stay away from glass. Don’t use candles, matches or other open flame during or after the tremor because of possible gas leaks.

If in a moving car, pull over and stop as quickly as safety permits, but stay in the vehicle. Do not stop or park under or on an overpass or bridge. A car may sway violently on its springs, but it is a good place to stay until the shaking stops. When you drive on, watch for hazards created by the earthquake like fallen objects, downed electric wires or blocked roadways.

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AFTER AN EARTHQUAKE

  • Be prepared for aftershocks. They can cause more damage or topple weakened structures. Check for injuries. Turn on your radio or TV for emergency information from local authorities.
  • Check utilities. If leaks are detected, leave the building and don’t reenter until an official says it’s safe.

USE THE TELEPHONE ONLY IN CASE OF EMERGENCY. Listen to your radio for information.

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– Original info here: http://www.honolulu.gov/ocda/earth.htm.
– Contact the Oahu Civil Defense Agency at 523-4121 for more information.

Osake to Me! Honolulu’s Newest Hotspot for Meets and Eats: Osake Sushi Bar and Lounge

October 1, 2006

[Editor’s Note: Osake Sushi Bar and Lounge closed its doors in April, 2007]

OK, so I lied.

We were supposed to still be in Kauai right about now, eating more of the mouth-watering treats that the Garden Isle had to offer. Instead, here we are, back on Oahu, consuming treats of a different kind: Sake and Sushi. But trust… whether you’re a Japanese fusion food fan or a nightlife neophyte, this’ll definitely be worth your while.

Osake Sushi Bar and Lounge sign outside
Osake Sushi Bar and Lounge sign outside

My initial exposure to Osake Sushi Bar and Lounge was actually at a work function. I got invited to the Oxygen Network’s VIP Launch Party, which was hosted here at one of today’s swankiest hotspots. I couldn’t stay long that night, but during that time, I quickly sensed a sexy, ultra cool, loungy vibe goin’ on that I just had to get more of.

Living room style lounge areas with pool tables in the background
Living room style lounge areas with pool tables in the background

Osake Sushi Bar and Lounge (formerly known as KOI) opened their doors in January of 2006, taking the place and space of the old Blue Tropix Nightclub (remember ‘dem wild monkeys in the news?). Recollecting what this once desolate space on Kapiolani Boulevard used to look like and seeing what they’ve done to it today, one would never think that it was the same place. It was almost as if Ty and his jolly gang came to town to work their magic for an episode of Extreme Home Makeover. And in speaking with Osake’s General Manager Grant Yonehiro, this was done intentionally.

“We wanted to enlighten the atmosphere and create a sort of Japanese elegance,” said Yonehiro.

An elegance that led all the way down to the details of the Koi filter system, which was intentionally made audible to create a soothing ambience while enjoying your meal.

Osake’s is the brainchild of a group of young and ambitious 20-30-somethings: Justin Henson, Keoni Chan, Shane Tsubaki and Brian Hasegawa, who “oh-by-the-way” already own and operate the hip and successful sports bar above called Skybox Sports Lounge. No matter how old you are or where you are in your professional life, you gotta admire and respect these young entrepreneurs for having the vision and seeing it through. Mad props guys… Mad props!

But um, back to lecture at hand…

So why this, why now? What can one expect to find when coming down for dining pleasures? Grant is glad you asked.

“We offer something different. A gourmet sushi experience in a lively, lounge atmosphere. Why sit in traffic?”

(! – Osake offers a unique, happy hour on handrolls from 5-8PM every night, except Tuesdays when they are closed. You can order these select sushi handrolls during this time: spicy tuna, California roll, tuna salad, shrimp, and veggie for just a buck. Hmm… Yummy $1 handrolls or battling through stressful rush hour traffic? What do you think?)

17 handrolls for two people? Don't hate!
17 handrolls for two people? Don’t hate! 🙂

During this interview session, I was also fortunate enough to chat with Osake’s Master Sushi Chef Norlan Horita (of Sushi Supreme fame), who proceeded to present dish after delectable dish.

First up was a special, not-yet-on-the-menu sushi sampler, which is to be consumed in a specific sequence. Since it is not yet on Osake’s menu, I’ll have bruddah Norlan explain the dish in his own words:

“From left to right we have a maguro nigiri, a traditional sushi item with a little twist. It features thinly sliced myoga and a drizzle of unagi glaze. Next we have another traditional menu item, salmon or ‘sake’ nigiri, that has been given even more of a twist. I have given the salmon nigiri a generous amount of O-sake’s (soon to be) world famous soy vinaigrette, and then piled on some katsuo bushi. Next is what I like to call my ‘sweet snapper surprise.’ I took a simple shiromi nigiri, gave it a squeeze of lime, a slice of jalapeno, piled high with chiffonade of fresh chiso, and finished off with a colorful topping of citrus tobiko. Last but not least, we have our ahi tataki nigiri with our world famous firecracker sauce. In this dish, the conversion from left to right is a transition from old to new, and also from mild to spicy. On the left we have a very traditional nigiri with traditional toppings and sauce. As the dish progresses to the right, it evolves with more new wave sauces and dressings and increases in spice.”

Left to right: Maguro Nigiri with a drizzle of unagi glaze; Sake (salmon) Nigiri with O-sake's soy vinaigrette, topped with katsuo bushi; Sweet Snapper Surprise with a squeeze of lime, a slice of jalapeno, piled high with chiffonade of fresh chiso, and finished off with a colorful topping of citrus tobiko; and Ahi Tataki Nigiri with firecracker sauce
Left to right: Maguro Nigiri with a drizzle of unagi glaze; “Sake” (salmon) Nigiri with O-sake’s soy vinaigrette, topped with katsuo bushi; “Sweet Snapper Surprise” with a squeeze of lime, a slice of jalapeno, piled high with chiffonade of fresh chiso, and finished off with a colorful topping of citrus tobiko; and Ahi Tataki Nigiri with firecracker sauce.

They were all lusciously lip-smacking, but if I had to pick my favorites, I’d go with the oshake (salmon) and ahi tataki nigiris.

One of their more popular items (and self-proclaimed prized dish) on the menu is the Filet Mignon Beef Sashimi with Soy Vinaigrette. It’s not actually raw, just cut sashimi style. This is one you gotta try!

Filet Mignon Beef Sashimi with Garlic & Soy Vinaigrette, $16 - This is the prized dish of Osake. Quickly seared with herbs and spices, then cut sashimi style. Drizzled with their famous soy vinaigrette and garlic. Served with organic greens
Filet Mignon Beef Sashimi with Garlic & Soy Vinaigrette, $16 – This is the prized dish of Osake. Quickly seared with herbs and spices, then cut sashimi style. Drizzled with their famous soy vinaigrette and garlic. Served with organic greens.

Another popular dish is their Portabella and Fire Roasted Red Bell Pepper Quesadilla with Feta and Mozzarella (and choice of meat). CPK ain’t got nothin’ on ’em!

Portabella and Fire Roasted Red Bell Pepper Quesadilla with Feta and Mozzarella - Served with their spicy hoisin vinaigrette and organic greens. This crowd pleaser is available with your choice of any one item: Original ($8), Chicken ($10), Pork ($10), Steak ($12), Shrimp ($12)
Portabella and Fire Roasted Red Bell Pepper Quesadilla with Feta and Mozzarella – Served with their spicy hoisin vinaigrette and organic greens. This crowd pleaser is available with your choice of any one item: Original ($8), Chicken ($10), Pork ($10), Steak ($12), Shrimp ($12).

Next we have the Sweet and Spicy Szechwan Chicken. If you’re worried about spiciness, no worries, I can’t handle spicy food for beans, but this one I could handle. Chance um!

And yes, that is an empty space in the bottom left corner. Chef Norlan couldn’t wait to dig in before I took the photo! That should tell you how good this dish is! *grin*

Sweet and Spicy Szechwan Chicken, $10 - An adaptation of a northern Chinese dish. In this recipe, they stir-fry bell peppers, carrots, and onions with their own Szechwan glaze
Sweet and Spicy Szechwan Chicken, $10 – An adaptation of a northern Chinese dish. In this recipe, they stir-fry bell peppers, carrots, and onions with their own Szechwan glaze.

On a previous trip to Osake’s, I ordered their famous Dynamite Chicken. Here’s a snap of the dish and associated caption/description. Yeah gang, it IS as good as it looks!

O-sake's Famous Dynamite Chicken, $10 - An ancient secret recipe passed down through many generations. Tastefully redesigned to appease the modern palette. Instantly addicting!
O-sake’s Famous Dynamite Chicken, $10 – An ancient secret recipe passed down through many generations. Tastefully redesigned to appease the modern palette. Instantly addicting!

I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but I didn’t even get a chance to try this next dish: the Ahi Tartare Martini. I was so intent on getting the interview and all the photos right, that it slipped my mind. According to the menu, it is Chef Norlan’s all star pick, so I guess we’re just going to have to make a return visit and give it a whirl!

Ahi Tartare Tataki Martini, $10 - Chef Norlan's all star pick, a must try! Ponzu lime ceviche jous, myogo, tobiko and chiso. Served in a martini glass
Ahi Tartare Tataki Martini, $10 – Chef Norlan’s all star pick, a must try! Ponzu lime ceviche jous, myogo, tobiko and chiso. Served in a martini glass.

Lastly, we had the “Bomb”-ucha Roll. You don’t really get a good appreciation of the engineering that goes into creating this bridge-like masterpiece at first glance, but when you realize what it is and what it contains, you’re floored. Mystified? OK, I’ll animate it for you to show you what lurks inside: crispy shrimp tempura, unagi, crab, kaiwara and cucumber!

The Bomb-ucha (Bumbucha) Roll, $16 - Crispy shrimp tempura, unagi, crab, kaiware, and cucumber with 3 special sauces
The “Bomb”-ucha (Bumbucha) Roll, $16 – Crispy shrimp tempura, unagi, crab, kaiware, and cucumber with 3 special sauces.

(! – They recently started offering teishoku, or set menu items, so if you’ve been here before and missed it, go on back.)

Convinced yet my pretties?

Well, if the food above isn’t enough to get your mouth watering, how about the prospect of tasting one of 34 different brands of sake (and counting) they carry. It’s their namesake after all.

“We have customers in the know who buy bottles and bottles at a time from us,” proclaims Yonehiro.

Even if you’re a sake beginner, you’ll find a warm home here, as well as in your tummy.

“We make it a point to train and educate our staff with all of our sake products, so if you have any questions or just want to try, come on down and see us,” says Yonehiro.

If you’re more of a beer fan, Osake carries all of the imports you expect to find, and even a rarely seen Japanese import beer called Echigo. Kanpai!

If you’re throwing a special get-together or just want to ack PIMP for one night, Osake’s even has a VIP room that is available for rent.

A bit of a night owl are we? Well, bring your dancing shoes to dinner because we haven’t even mentioned the “it” hotspot that this quaint restaurant metamorphosizes into when the clock strikes 10PM.

That’s right, every night from 10PM-2AM, Osake’s goes from chic eatery to bumpin’ hotspot in a flash. Friday nights – promoted by local radio station Hot 93.9 – is their busiest night, bringing in 1,000+ of Hawaii’s most modish peeps. Saturday nights are just as hot. Wednesday nights offer live music from 7-10PM and is also known as martini night.

No matter what craving it is you may have, Osake Sushi Bar & Lounge is sure to satisfy. Good eats, a wide assortment of refreshing beverages, live music, scratching your dancing itch, people watching, whatever. Osake is where you’ll find it. Support your local businesses and go check um out won’tcha?

Aren’t you glad we flew back from Kauai for this?

Master Sushi Chef Norlan Horita (left) and General Manager Grant Yonehiro welcome you to the sushi bar at Osake Sushi Bar and Lounge
Master Sushi Chef Norlan Horita (left) and General Manager Grant Yonehiro welcome you to the sushi bar at Osake Sushi Bar and Lounge

Osake Sushi Bar & Lounge
1700 Kapiolani Blvd.
Honolulu, HI 96814 (map)
(808) 956-1600
Wednesday through Monday from 5-10PM for dinner and 10PM-2AM for after hours. Closed on Tuesdays.