Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Meeting @peterliu47 and @AMauiBlog in real life

March 24, 2011

Had to fly over to Kahului today to train our Maui installers on Mobile. Following the training, I had a little time before lunch so I was fortunate enough to be able to squeeze in a quick coffee sesh at Maui Coffee Roasters (@CoffeeOnMaui) with two of Maui’s biggest social media influencers: Peter Liu (@peterliu47) and Liza Pierce (@AMauiBlog). Here are a couple of the shots they took:

With Peter Liu (@peterliu47)
With Peter Liu (@peterliu47) [Photo courtesy: @AMauiBlog’s Twitpic]

With Liza Pierce (@AMauiBlog)
With Liza Pierce (@AMauiBlog) [Photo courtesy: peterliu47.com]

Mahalo for taking the time out of your busy schedules to meet up. Hope to see you guys again soon!

Fun Day Monday: Memorization Tactics

July 26, 2010

Gooooooood morning yo! Yep, it’s Fun Day Monday and your boy is here to post once again. Two Mondays in a row now? Miracle ain’t it?

Well, there’s actually a good reason…

Aside from missing y’all very dearly this weekend (as, I’m sure you did me πŸ˜› ), my ugly mug is supposed to be donning the cover of today’s print edition of our wonderful Star Advertiser, bringing a whole new set of readers (well, hopefully) to WWE.

AURIIITE!

So here we be, with an oldie but goodie, Fun Day Monday blog. Dust off your keyboards and comment awayyyy kay!?

A while ago, our friend Rox shared her method of how she remembers her friends’ license plates… She takes the first three letters of the plate and makes a catchy phrase out of it. For example: RBP would be Ronie Brings Peanuts, GVT would be Good Virgin Teacher, and PJN would be PaJama Nighty. Ahahaha! Eh, no ack! I know you do the same! LOL!

And speaking of license plates, let’s not forget about kuya.d‘s now legendary suggestion of VH07V on a previous “Custom Plates” blog (see comment #12)! Huuuu, dat be some history right dea!

VH07V Vanity License Plate
VH07V Vanity License Plate

Anywho, let’s hear some of your memorization tactics. Can be with license plates or anything else. Maybe you can use Michael Scott’s tactics?

http://widget.nbc.com/videos/nbcshort_at.swf?CXNID=1000004.10045NXC&widID=4727a250e66f9723&clipID=994221&showID=22&configXML=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nbc.com%2Fservice%2Fvideowidget%2Fparams%2FdmlkZW9faWQ9OTk0MjIx%2F&initXML=http://www.nbc.com%2FThe_Office%2Fvideo%2Fepisodes%2Finit.xml?videoId=994221

On a side note, here’s a feel good mini-story: This past weekend, I flew over to Maui to help out at our Road Runner Mobile booth at the Maui Spam Jam. Amongst other things, we were giving away one brand new SpongeBob SquarePants skateboard every hour. There was a cute kid named Jarrett there who signed up early on to try and win one of the skateboards. Hour after hour, he would come back to our booth to see if we had drawn names yet and if the name we had drawn was his. He just would not give up.

As the show started to come to a close, we had one more name left to draw. Jarrett was nowhere to be found. We figured he had either given up or left. Either way, the show had to continue. Bruddah Joel (da man from the Maui’s division) was about to pull the last name, but instead of pulling it himself, he decided to let one of two young girls pull the name. They too had been hanging around the booth for most of the day hoping to win the skateboard.

In an unbelievable twist of fate, the girl pulled Jarrett’s entry!!! Joel and I were floored! Something was in the air… It had to be divine intervention!

Making things more fairytale-like, we found out from Jarrett’s mom that little Jarrett was actually recently hit by a car and has been going through months and months of rehab to get his walking back to form. On top of that he is also an avid collector of skateboards.

WOAH! Talk about chicken skin!

Here’s a shot of Jarrett with his new skateboard (along with Joel).

Jarrett and Joel
Jarrett and Joel

Congrats Jarrett! All the best to you!

K, so once you clear the tears from your eyes 8) , here’s the stuffs you can choose to comment about below if you like:

* What kind of memory tactics do you use?
* Creative words for the 3 letters in your license plate.
* Comments about the clip (above) from The Office.
* Comments about Jarrett or his story.
* Favorite things to do, places to eat, etc., in Maui.
* Comments about fate, and/or how things work out.
* How your weekend was.
* Randomness.
* How you, as a new reader, love me. πŸ˜›
* How you, as an old reader, missed me. πŸ˜‰
* Hijacking topics.
* Anyt’ing and erry-thing.

A-ight peeps. Have a great last week of July!

P.S. Was good to see bB (again) and meet his wife, and also meet NeedaHobby for the first time IRL! Thanks for coming out to the show! πŸ™‚

=================================================

– Ed
1st Annual Hawaii Rice Fest
1st Annual Hawaii Rice Fest

Waterfront at Aloha Tower Marketplace
September 11, 2010 @ 12pm-8pm
For more Info: RiceFest.com / Twitter / Facebook
To RSVP: Twtvite / Facebook Event

=================================================

Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – May 5, 2010

May 5, 2010

First off…

* To all the children of the world: Happy Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day)!
* To my Nihonjin bruthas: Happy Tango no Sekku (Boys’ Day)! Yep, still keepin’ it alive. πŸ˜›
* To my Mexican peeps: Happy Cinco de Mayo!
* To the rest of y’all who have something significant today: Happy 5th of May! πŸ™‚

This week, we got one of dem photos that may look impossible (to the untrained eye πŸ˜› ), but I betchu anyt’ing, somebody will guess um, just like that! If not, I will henceforth, take more skyward facing photos, and will continue to do so until y’all start observing your solar surroundings. 8) Can you picture us walking all ova the creation, looking up and taking mental notes? Ahahaha!

Points for…
* Name of this “establishment”?: 1 point
* Area within “establishment”? 1 point
* Why was I dea (specifically)? 2 points

Big ups to last week‘s winnahz Paco and Takeshi! Pacs jumped several positions to 7th place and Bruddah kesh took a razor thin 0.5 point lead over Coconut Willy to slide into first place.

Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - May 5, 2010
Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – May 5, 2010

Hint: No mercy already. Haha! OK, at least for now.


Da “Where In Hawaii” Winnahz Circle!

Da Leadahboard!

  • 24.5 – Takeshi
  • 24.0 – Coconut Willy
  • 21.0 – rayboyjr
  • 11.0 – kuya.d
  • 09.0 – snow
  • 08.0 – tita leerz
  • 07.0 – Paco
  • 04.5 – NaPueo
  • 04.0 – HNL2LAS
  • 03.0 – BananaFysh, M
  • 02.5 – Rosette
  • 02.0 – Scott, NeedaHobby, MakiSushi, hemajang, Syxx, jr.
  • 01.5 – pink lady, skycastles
  • 01.0 – S-Ticket, Dave, David In Oregon, carokun, mcat, YN, Marvo, k15, getITon, Kage, miLL-viLLe, jack, frankie, Ynaku, Rodney, teej, BarbieQ!, kako mochi, ijiwarui, GumbysHorse
  • 00.5 – onecupcoffee, J.P., t-roy, bB, Coconut Willy’s wifey, MoOgooGuypAN

Β Great Eights!
* rayboyjr

Heavenly Sevens!
* rayboyjr

Sexy Sixes!
* rayboyjr

Five Alive!
* Takeshi, kuya.d, rayboyjr

Quad Playaz!
* Takeshi, kuya.d, rayboyjr, Takeshi

Turkey Turkeys!
* Takeshi, kuya.d, rayboyjr, Coconut Willy

Back to Back Winnahz!
* Coconut Willy, Takeshi, rayboyjr, snow, Paco, Syxx, NaPueo, MakiSushi, pink lady, kuya.d, BananaFysh, tita leerz

Have a Happy Hump and Where In Hawaii Day y’all! πŸ™‚

Poke Paradise – Experiencing the Best Poke Around Hawaii – Part IV

April 1, 2010
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V

Last month’s visit to Brooks Takenaka at the United Fishing Agency Honolulu Fish Auction brought about the name “Rachel Haili”. As part of this ultimate poke quest we’re currently on, Brooks suggested I talk to Rachel to get her perspective on the history of poke in Hawaii. When the boss of the Honolulu Fish Auction speaks, I listen.

Rachel Haili – Haili’s Hawaiian Foods

I visited Haili’s back when they were at the old Farmer’s market, but had not yet made my way out to either of their new locations. Twitterville has been active talking about them too. Ah, better late than never right? Here are some photos of my visit to their Kapahulu location and my interview with Rachel Haili to follow.

Haili's Hawaiian Foods sign
Haili’s Hawaiian Foods sign

Conveniently located on Palani Ave, right off of Kapahulu, the interior at Haili’s is very clean and welcoming.

Interior of Haili's Hawaiian Foods [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Interior of Haili’s Hawaiian Foods [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

Though they have a nice selection of poke…

Limu Ahi Poke [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Limu Ahi Poke [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

Ahi Shoyu Poke [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Ahi Shoyu Poke [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

… their bread and butter is still their traditional Hawaiian fare.

My "custom" plate with Lau Lau and Chicken Long Rice, which included Limu Poke, Haupia and two scoops rice!
My “custom” plate with Lau Lau and Chicken Long Rice, which included Limu Poke, Haupia and two scoops rice!


Rachel Haili of Haili’s Hawaiian Foods

[Edward Sugimoto] Your mom “Rachel Sr.”, if you will, started Haili’s back in 1950. What made her want to do a restaurant?

[Rachel Haili] Well actually we started out in the bar business after the war. They had like a cafe where they served food and liquor, and then, as our family grew, my mother decided that she didn’t want her family to be in the liquor business, so she branched out on her own and started her own Hawaiian food store and fish market. And my parents worked by themselves to build up that business. And it was more of a market type thing, not so much a cafe or restaurant, and that’s where she learned (cause my mother was pure Chinese) she learned to do more of the Hawaiian foods.

[Edward Sugimoto] You began at the old Farmer’s Market. What were those days like?

[Rachel Haili] Yeah, originally, that’s where my parents started, so they were like one of the oldest tenants there. And back then, it was all little stalls of fish markets, meat markets, vegetable skins… and then now it’s more modern of course.

[Edward Sugimoto] And poke, was that pretty big back then?

[Rachel Haili] Back then, I remember when we were kids, there wasn’t poke per se, like how we’re selling it by the pound, pre-made. What you did was you bought the whole fish, and then you asked them to prepare like how you wanted. Back then you bought an aku for like 50 cents, then you tell them, “OK, I want half of it, steak it for me to fry, and then the other half, cut it for me to poke.” So when you sold the fish, you actually had to prepare it for them then. It wasn’t pre-made. And then, it started developing like into a bigger demand for poke, and people were more in a hurry, so, then my parents started pre-cutting the poke. I remember because back then, I had to learn how to clean fish because you know we were so busy. Soon, we had to learn how to cut poke and make the different types of poke. Although when the people bought the fish, you know, then they’d say, “I want to buy a cup of limu and add that into my poke, and put chili pepper (water) for me.” You know, so they kind of dictated what they wanted in their poke. Then, as the demand for poke got bigger, and you pre-made the poke, you had to like make maybe a batch of plain poke, aku or limu aku, and then, at that time, shoyu aku evolved. It wasn’t something like automatic. I remember shoyu aku became popular when I was like in my teens. It wasn’t like, now you go to the supermarket and you see a whole array of pre-made poke. You had to buy the whole fish and then they made it for you. Just like the different types of poke, although we do more traditional poke, where we do awa, and we do like palu, you know, lomi oio, that kind of thing, nowadays it’s evolved into more a modern kind of thing. Where fish now has become similar to chicken or pork, so you do different varieties of it.

Display case at  Haili's Hawaiian Foods [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Display case at Haili’s Hawaiian Foods [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

And then, I think a lot of the sushi bars, because raw fish is so popular, they’ve come up with all kinds of new creations that are pretty to the eye. You know you have fruit in it or masago, all different kind of things. It’s just like how if you order pasta, you have all different things that you put in it. So now, what’s popular is the poke bowls, where you get the poke and you get any kind of topping that you want, sorta like the frozen yogurt. Start out with the basic and then you put whatever, you concoct whatever you want onto it. So you know, that’s what it’s become. But, originally, you bought the whole fish and then they prepared it for you, or you took it home and prepared it yourself.

[Edward Sugimoto] Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, your lease expired and you decided to open up a lunch wagon called Haili’s Backyard Luau. What was the story behind that?

[Rachel Haili] Um, let’s see. Well, you know we’ve been there (at the Farmer’s Market) for 60 years, in fact, this is our 60th year that we’ve been in business. Marukai wanted to expand and they wanted the whole building, so Ward Center decided to convert that whole area into Marukai’s market so we had to move out. One of the options that we came up with in order to keep in contact with our customer base who was primarily in that area, was a lunch wagon. Although we can’t offer everything that we had there, it was a way that we could still keep in contact with them until we found something that was more suitable for us, you know in food offerings that we had. Then we finally came across this area in Kapahulu, and so far, it’s turning into something nice. It’s a little different, in terms of, we shifted from a market to a more deli and restaurant atmosphere. We actually didn’t intend to be a restaurant. You know, it was more of a counter service and you come and sit down, so that’s what we’re hoping to create over here. But you can buy either lunches, and you can take it out or eat it here, or you still can buy our Hawaiian foods by the pint, or the pound as we sold it in the market before.

[Edward Sugimoto] And business is booming. We’re here today and it’s pretty packed.

[Rachel Haili] *modest smile* Well, we always can use more business. We’ve only been open for about 90 days now and, it’s evolving. Customers are learning about us. The location is nice because it’s close to Waikiki. We get more tourists coming in too. Before we used to service primarily local people so now we’re getting a different mixture of people.

[Edward Sugimoto] You folks are big on using social media to market and stay in touch with the community. How did that come about and how are you enjoying it so far?

[Rachel Haili] That was something new for us too. When we did the lunch wagon, our friend suggested that we start using that more. So we’re still learning to use the social media but it’s amazing how fast you can spread the word, or you get more information out by using that. It’s fun, but you gotta keep up with it because once you put information out, you get a lot of feedback right away, so you gotta be on top of it all the time. I hope we’re doing good. *laughs*

[Edward Sugimoto] Yeah, you are! You have two poke items on your menu: Shoyu Ahi and Limu Ahi, and you mentioned that you had more in your display case…

Haili's Menu
Haili’s Menu

[Rachel Haili] Yeah, unfortunately our menu board could only hold like primary items, but our showcase over here also carries our larger selection of poke, which is you know like the poke awa, the aku palu, lomi oio. We specialize more in traditional poke so that’s why we have like the raw crabs and the aku palu.

Aku Palu [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Aku Palu [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

Later we’ll be doing our poke bowls also. But it’s just that because we’re busy getting adjusted in here, we’re like slowly introducing or building up items. Poke bowls seem to be popular because it’s fast and people can pick it up and go right away. And then they get to personalize it too.

[Edward Sugimoto] What are some of your personal favorites types of poke?

[Rachel Haili] My personal favorite type of poke is, well, we’re gonna be creating this, um, sorta like a poke mountain. You know, where it’s like with rice on the bottom, some sliced ahi with avocado, tomato and masago. It’s really nice looking. When we were in Waikiki for a while, we sold those. However, we can’t do everything all at once, so, but we’re going to expand our poke bar and also our food menus. You know, we do catering too, so hopefully we’ll be expanding our catering service.

[Edward Sugimoto] Do you have anything else to add to your current or future customers?

[Rachel Haili] Well I hope all of you have a chance to come in and visit us because we really try to create a spirit of Aloha here, where you’re welcome to come in. We can mix and match whatever you want here and even if you don’t see what you want, you can either pre-order or ask us if we’re able to make it for you because that’s how we started so that’s how we still want to be. Also we make a really good dried aku, and that’s hard to find in town, so come down and check our aku out.

[Edward Sugimoto] OK, thank you very much!

Rachel (right) with her sister Lorraine [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Rachel (right) with her sister Lorraine [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

For more information on the Haili’s Hawaiian Foods, visit their web site at www.hailis.net or follow them on Twitter at @Hailis808.

Haili’s Hawaiian Foods
760 Palani Ave
Honolulu, HI 96816
(808) 735-8019
Mon-Thu: 9am-7pm
Fri-Sat: 9am-8pm
Sun: 8am-3pm

Guy Tamashiro – Tamashiro Market

Also at the Honolulu Fish Auction, I made contact with Guy Tamashiro of Tamashiro Market. Spontaneously, we did an impromptu interview in preparation for my visit to his shop.


Guy Tamashiro of Tamashiro Market

[Edward Sugimoto] Describe your history with fish.

[Guy Tamashiro] OK, well, I think we first started with fish, actually my dad had a feed store and all that, the first Tamashiro Market, but then he started selling a little bit of fish. I think the story was that he bartered it at that time for some opelu. Then it sold, so he said “ok, that was fun.” So he started going down to the auction across from Aala Park, then he started selling a little bit more, and it started selling well, so he just started expanding it from there. And then, in 1962, he constructed the building that it’s in now, and then from there, it just started seafood as the emphasis.

Seafood selection at Tamashiro Market
Seafood selection at Tamashiro Market

[Edward Sugimoto] And you guys started doing poke after a while?

[Guy Tamashiro] Yeah, yeah, actually, poke was just one/two pans. When I first started working it was only 1 or two pans, and then from there, we, I don’t know, maybe 30 something?

Partial selection of poke at Tamashiro Market
Partial selection of poke at Tamashiro Market

[Edward Sugimoto] Out of that, which one is the most popular one?

[Guy Tamashiro] Ahi is, by far, the MOST popular. And if aku is available, that’s pretty popular too.

[Edward Sugimoto] Ahi limu or any kind of ahi?

[Guy Tamashiro] Ahi limu, ahi shoyu, ahi onion. We’re getting new flavors in too now. As we go on, we want to add to the different tastes that you can get from it, not just the plain type, but also other tastes we want to try out too.

Ahi poke, all wiped out at the end of the day!
Ahi poke, all wiped out at the end of the day!

[Edward Sugimoto] What is your personal favorite?

[Guy Tamashiro] Oh, that’s a hard one. Well, I love aku. Large aku. But for ahi, because they’re coming out with different flavors now, I don’t know. I have a poke lunch maybe 3/4 times a week, and it’s not always the same lunch. Hard to have one favorite, it’s just different flavors.

[Edward Sugimoto] What’s in store for Tamashiro Market?

[Guy Tamashiro] Well, we just hope we do a lot more sales. *laughs*

[Edward Sugimoto] Do you have any words for your customers out there?

[Guy Tamashiro] Sure. You know where to shop. You know where we are. Come down, see us. *smiles*

Located on North King Street in the heart of Kalihi, Tamashiro Market boasts the largest selection of seafood (over 75 varieties) in the state. With their unmistakable pink building and trademark crab statue hanging above, Tamashiro’s was definitely a can’t-miss stop on this Poke in Paradise tour.

Outside Tamashiro Market
Outside Tamashiro Market

Showing their love of the sea (and perhaps an ode to the Japanese boat in the war bearing the same name), a good-sized fishing boat sits atop the center island, overlooking the store.

The Tama Maru boat in Tamashiro Market
The Tama Maru boat in Tamashiro Market

It’s always busy whenever I go, but on this occasion, I just so happen to be there right before closing, so the “getting-stuffs-for-dinner” rush was in full effect.

The evening rush at Tamashiro Market
The evening rush at Tamashiro Market

As Guy suggested, I picked up some Ahi poke. Ahi Onion and Ahi Shoyu to be exact.

Ahi Onion poke
Ahi Onion poke

Ahi Shoyu poke
Ahi Shoyu poke

Sometimes, if I’m in the area for lunch, I’ll pick up some poke from Tamashiro’s and drive over to nearby Boulevard Saimin. The cold poke and hot saimin make for a good marriage (as mentioned before). Here’s a photo at Boulevard Saimin, after I bought some Furikake poke from Tamashiro’s and took it over.

Furikake Poke
Furikake Poke

Tamashiro Market
802 N King St
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 841-8047
Mon-Fri: 9am-6pm
Sat 8am-6pm
Sun 8am-4pm

Poke to Your Taste – Hilo, HI

And finally, here’s an interesting find while visiting the east side of the Big Island.

Poke to Your Taste building
Poke to Your Taste building

Hidden in an inconspicuous building (with no visible signage to speak of) on Leilani Street near the airport, Poke to Your Taste caters to those who prefer to concoct their own batches of poke. “Mix ’em how you like ’em!” is their motto, which I, along with their logo/signage, was finally able to find under an awning on one of their smaller side windows.

Poke to Your Taste sign
Poke to Your Taste sign

The inside of Poke to Your Taste is just as curious as the outside. Most of the usable space is empty or scattered with random items, while a small display case with just 4 items (Hawaiian Poke, Shoyu Poke, Kim Chee Tako Poke, and Imitation Crab Poke) sits to one side.

Display case at Poke to Your Taste
Display case at Poke to Your Taste

Solomon, or Uncle Sol as many call him, stands behind the counter and scoops out your preferred order. On this occasion my choices were to only be one of their two fish options: “Hawaiian Poke” or “Shoyu Poke”.

Starting with your basic poke (Hawaiian or Shoyu style) as your base
Starting with your basic poke (Hawaiian or Shoyu style) as your base

I went Haaaaawaiian because I wanted there to be as little flavor on there as possible to start. From there, Uncle Sol scooped it into my container…

Uncle Sol serving up my poke
Uncle Sol serving up my poke

… and it was just my creativity between me and poke bliss.

You can add a variety of “spices” like Hawaiian salt, furikake, sesame seeds and chili pepper flakes…

Hawaiian salt, furikake, sesame seeds and chili pepper flakes
Hawaiian salt, furikake, sesame seeds and chili pepper flakes

… and, for lack of a better word, “toppings” like ginger, garlic, inamona, green onions, onions, and hot sauce.

Ginger, garlic, inamona, green onions, onions, and hot sauce
Ginger, garlic, inamona, green onions, onions, and hot sauce

No fo-get da sesame seed oil, shoyu and chili peppah watah! πŸ˜‰

Sesame seed oil, shoyu and chili pepper water
Sesame seed oil, shoyu and chili pepper water

I went with the super combo of furikake, sesame seeds, chili peppers, garlic, inamona, green onions, sesame seed oil and chili pepper water. She go!

My batch of poke had furikake, sesame seeds, chili peppers, garlic, inamona, green onions, sesame seed oil and chili pepper water - $6
My batch of poke had furikake, sesame seeds, chili peppers, garlic, inamona, green onions, sesame seed oil and chili pepper water – $6

Definitely poke to MY taste.

Poke to Your Taste
790 Leilani St.
Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 989-9962
Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm

So there it is. Part IV is in the books. Honestly speaking though, this Poke Paradise is not even close to being complete. I’m seriously considering making this a 12 part series and carrying it through the entire year. Wanna help? Email me or comment below where you’d like to see me hit up next. I’ve still got many on my hit list (Ruger Market, Fresh Catch, Tamura’s, Masa & Joyce, Da Pokeman, Young’s Fish Market, Alicia’s, etc.), but send me your tips k?

A special mahalo this month to Rachel Haili and the Haili’s Hawaiian Foods `ohana, Guy Tamashiro and the Tamashiro Market `ohana, Uncle Sol at Poke to Your Taste, and Dave Oi for actually finding the hard to find Poke to Your Taste! LOL! See y’all next month gang!

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V

Where In Oregon is kako mochi? – March 17, 2010 [Guest Blog by kako mochi]

March 17, 2010

by kako mochi

Thanks for including me in the guest blog spot, even though I haven’t had time to check it out lately – I’m at a new job that’s slower now, so maybe I can get back on soon πŸ™‚

I went here this past December for the first time & fell in love with the city (especially the tax-free shopping!!)…in fact, I’m going back this year in May & for Christmas! LOL

(Ed’s Note: Big ups to last week’s winnahz Takeshi (again!), t-roy, and Coconut Willy! Also, to my Irish bruthas and sistahs (and errrbody else in between)… Happy St. Patrick’s Day! πŸ™‚ )

Points for…
* Name of City: 1 point
* Name of nearby river: 1 point
* Type of animal on sign: 1/2 point

Where In Oregon is kako mochi? - March 17, 2010
Where In Oregon is kako mochi? – March 17, 2010

Hint: Ask the moch! 8)


Da “Where In Hawaii” Winnahz Circle!

Da Leadahboard!

  • 18.5 – Takeshi
  • 16.5 – rayboyjr
  • 16.0 – Coconut Willy
  • 10.5 – kuya.d
  • 09.0 – snow
  • 05.0 – tita leerz
  • 03.5 – NaPueo
  • 03.0 – BananaFysh, M, Paco, HNL2LAS
  • 02.5 – Rosette
  • 02.0 – Scott, NeedaHobby, MakiSushi, hemajang, Syxx, jr.
  • 01.5 – pink lady, skycastles
  • 01.0 – Dave, David In Oregon, carokun, mcat, YN, Marvo, k15, getITon, Kage, miLL-viLLe, jack, frankie, Ynaku, Rodney, teej, BarbieQ!, kako mochi, ijiwarui, GumbysHorse
  • 00.5 – t-roy, bB, Coconut Willy’s wifey, MoOgooGuypAN

Β Great Eights!
* rayboyjr

Β Heavenly Sevens!
* rayboyjr

Β Sexy Sixes!
* rayboyjr

Β Five Alive!
* kuya.d, rayboyjr

Quad Playaz!
* kuya.d, rayboyjr, Takeshi

Turkey Turkeys!
* kuya.d, Takeshi, rayboyjr

Back to Back Winnahz!
* snow, Paco, Syxx, NaPueo, MakiSushi, pink lady, kuya.d, Takeshi, BananaFysh, Coconut Willy, tita leerz

The Guest Blog Schedule:

  • THU 03/11 – Chicken Grease – “TheGrease and TheBus”
  • FRI 03/12 – kuya.d – “I’m So Over It”
  • MON 03/15 – JMAW – “Something like a Phenomenon”
  • TUE 03/16 – frankie – “The Curse of the Murse”
  • WED 03/17 – kako mochi – “Where in Oregon is kako mochi?”
  • THU 03/18 – tweetpeep22 – “Online Dating Follies – Female Perspective”
  • FRI 03/19 – S-Ticket – “Online Dating Follies – Male Perspective”
  • MON 03/22 – tita leerz – “The Hawaii Visitor’s Survival Guide”
  • TUE 03/23 – skycastles – “Otanjoubi Omedetou Gozaimasu Kurosawa-sama!”
  • WED 03/24 – hemajang – “Where in Hawaii is hemajang?”
  • THU 03/25 – uncle jimmy – “Grab One, Leave One, and Get Reel…”

Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – March 10, 2010

March 10, 2010

We had a clean sweep last week when Bruddah Takeshi guessed the name, location and map, all based on a photo of a little shrubbery. Crazy! With that, kesh has put a stop to rayboyjr‘s insane streak of 8 straight, and has, as a result, taken sole possession atop the leaderboard. Congrats kesh!

This week, we’ll be going Triple F on y’all: Food, Fun and FBI! How’s your Big Isle recogmatizing skillz? We shall see! (No get too hungry k?)

Points L’dat!:
* Name of Location: 1 point
* General Location: 1/2 point
* Price of dish (at the time this photo was taken): 1 point

Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - March 10, 2010
Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – March 10, 2010

Hint: FBI yo! 8)


Da “Where In Hawaii” Winnahz Circle!

Da Leadahboard!

  • 17.5 – Takeshi
  • 16.5 – rayboyjr
  • 15.0 – Coconut Willy
  • 10.5 – kuya.d
  • 09.0 – snow
  • 05.0 – tita leerz
  • 03.5 – NaPueo
  • 03.0 – BananaFysh, M, Paco, HNL2LAS
  • 02.5 – Rosette
  • 02.0 – Scott, NeedaHobby, MakiSushi, hemajang, Syxx, jr.
  • 01.5 – pink lady, skycastles
  • 01.0 – Dave, David In Oregon, carokun, mcat, YN, Marvo, k15, getITon, Kage, miLL-viLLe, jack, frankie, Ynaku, Rodney, teej, BarbieQ!, kako mochi, ijiwarui, GumbysHorse
  • 00.5 – bB, Coconut Willy’s wifey, MoOgooGuypAN

Β Great Eights!
* rayboyjr

Β Heavenly Sevens!
* rayboyjr

Β Sexy Sixes!
* rayboyjr

Β Five Alive!
* kuya.d, rayboyjr

Quad Playaz!
* kuya.d, rayboyjr

Turkey Turkeys!
* kuya.d, Takeshi, rayboyjr

Back to Back Winnahz!
* snow, Paco, Syxx, NaPueo, MakiSushi, pink lady, kuya.d, Takeshi, BananaFysh, Coconut Willy, tita leerz

P.S. Adding this footnote to all future WIH posts… If any of y’all have pics you’d like to contribute to the “Where In Hawaii” game, feel free to email them to me and I’ll post um up in future blogs! And yes, you aren’t allowed to guess on those days! LOL! πŸ˜›

———-

Guest Blogs in Full Effect!
No fo-get, starting tomorrow, your WWE `Ohana members will be taking over this spot for the next couple weeks. Please check in and support them and their fun kine blogs k?

  • THU 03/11 – Chicken Grease – “TheGrease and TheBus”
  • FRI 03/12 – kuya.d – “I’m So Over It”
  • MON 03/15 – JMAW – “Something like a Phenomenon”
  • TUE 03/16 – frankie – “The Curse of the Murse”
  • WED 03/17 – kako mochi – “Where in Oregon is kako mochi?”
  • THU 03/18 – tweetpeep22 – “Online Dating Follies – Female Perspective”
  • FRI 03/19 – S-Ticket – “Online Dating Follies – Male Perspective”
  • MON 03/22 – tita leerz – “The Hawaii Visitor’s Survival Guide”
  • TUE 03/23 – skycastles
  • WED 03/24 – hemajang – “Where in Hawaii is hemajang?”
  • THU 03/25 – uncle jimmy

———-

Happy Hump Day Where In Hawaii Wednesday y’all. Shooooots!

Poke Paradise – Experiencing the Best Poke Around Hawaii – Part III

March 1, 2010
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V

Following Part I of this Poke Paradise series, I received an invitation from a Mr. Jed Inouye to come and spend the day with him. In my article, I had mentioned that I was planning on covering the poke from Sam’s Club in a future article and Jed wanted to make sure that I got the inside scoops. You see, Jed is the president of Seafood Hawaii, Inc., a 100% local company who, for all intents and purposes, supplies and runs the seafood departments at both Sam’s Club locations in Hawaii.

The problem with Jed is that he is painfully humble. Shy even. He refused to be filmed at all during the day and wanted the focus to instead be on the process and educating me on the ins and outs of it. He constantly wanted to divert the attention away from himself and towards his partner and employees, repeating his mantra for the day, “It’s not a me thing, but a we thing.”

This is normally where I’d embed my Youtube interview, but this was an unconventional interview with an unconventional guy. So instead, here’s a pictorial glimpse of our “day in the life” activities, starting from the shores of the United Fishing Agency fish auction at Pier 38, to the display case at Sam’s Club.

As described by Jed, the action all starts at the boat.

Boat unloading their catch [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Boat unloading their catch [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

“This fish hole [image above] is well insulated yeah, so it’s all packed in ice. Time and temperature is really important. The fishermen come in and unload their catch into carts.”

Loading their fish into the cart [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Loading their fish into the cart [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

“Nobody’s throwing anything around. Everything is handled with care. Taking care of the fish is real important. Not to bounce it around… It all starts from the fishing. If it starts right on boat, it ends right on plate.”

Every day is different. You have your slow days and you have days like this day when the bounty was quite plentiful. 85,000 pounds from 6 boats to be exact.

Ahi loaded up in cart [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Ahi loaded up in cart [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

Once the cart is loaded up, the fish is taken to the receiving area where they are scaled, weighed and tagged, before hitting the auction floor.

Auction floor at the United Fishing Agency fish auction [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Auction floor at the United Fishing Agency fish auction [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

“The facility is HACCP managed by the federal government,” says Inouye. “Food safety is of the upmost importance. Core temperature must be below 40 degrees. The longer the fish is out of ice, you get temperature fluctuations, especially when it’s over 40 degrees, it’s no good. You don’t want that to happen. You want to be below 40 degrees all the time. If you noticed, it’s all ice. Ice is 32 degrees.”

Fish is kept under ice to ensure that its core temperature is always below 40 degrees
Fish is kept under ice to ensure that its core temperature is always below 40 degrees

“That’s what’s good about buying the fish here in Hawaii vs. other places. You know, you don’t know where the fish has been, if it’s been out of temp. We try to simulate the bin of the boat because that’s how the fish is best kept: in the hole of the boat. In here, we put it in bins and we ice it again.”

We were then allowed to go into a room at the far end of the auction where boatloads (literally) of swordfish were being stored until they were ready to be shipped away.

Lineup of swordfish, ready to be shipped away [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Lineup of swordfish, ready to be shipped away [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

“I used to send a lot of fish away, but I decided I just wanna take care of the local people. The difference is that there’s no middle man for us. We go right from boat to the troat (throat). Taking care of the customer is essential. By doing this, there’s a lot of value, so we can offer it at a cheaper price so everyone can afford it.”

After the fish is auctioned off…

In the middle of an auction
In the middle of an auction

… it heads straight outside to be loaded into the various refrigerated delivery trucks.

Refrigerated delivery trucks receive the fish that was just purchased [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Refrigerated delivery trucks receive the fish that was just purchased [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

“This is a really good way of taking care of the fish,” says Inouye. “Again, they go ahead and, after they buy it, they put it in bins, and re-ice it. Because it simulates the hole again, because you have ice right around the fish. The temperatures don’t change. You’re keeping the temperature constant.”

Fish kept under ice in delivery bins [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Fish kept under ice in delivery bins [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

Like a scene out of “A Night at the Roxbury”, Jed then said it was time to head to “the club.” So we loaded up Jed’s truck with the fish he just purchased from the auction and headed to the Honolulu Sam’s Club location. On the ride down, he opened up.

“You gotta be real passionate about this job or you’re not gonna be able to last. Over the years, 7 days a week. So every day I pretty much do the same thing. My routine yeah. Nothing fancy. I like driving the truck [even though he’s the president of the company] because I’ve always been with the fish so I know it’s fresh. I enjoy this. I really enjoy this. The fish part, the work part, I really enjoy this.”

Then I asked him about his thoughts on poke.

“Poke is something for the imagination. People in Hawaii, they do a good job with poke. It’s just your preference. For us, we have to make sure that the product you start off with is a good product. Once you start off with that… and if you buy the fish in Hawaii, ahhh, can’t get bettah than that. Look, we going to the market now already. I mean fish came off the boat, 5:30 they selling um, it’s 8:30… three hours! How you goin’ beat that?”

“From here, we go to the club. When you hit the club, I mean there’s not much time change. So quality wise, you know. You saw the fish from the boat, it was purchased, went into the bin, all ice, BANG, right to the club. From there, we cut it.”

Preparing the fish for display
Preparing the fish for display

“When you take a look at the way we do things, you’re gonna understand where the ‘we’ comes from. Our people do a lot of work. They do a good job. They spend a lot of time, they wake up early in the morning. It’s a whole team. A lot of our workers make it what it is. I got my brother (Gerald aka ‘Lucky’), my partner (Arick Yanagihara), my employees. That’s why, keep the video off of me because we get plenny good, really good people. It’s a ‘we’ thing, not a ‘me’ thing. Everybody works hard, so they’re the stars, not me.”

Mike is a professional sashimi cutter with 20+ years of experience [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Mike is a professional sashimi cutter with 20+ years of experience [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

Theresa, an employee of 14 years [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Theresa, an employee of 14 years [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

Julie, an employee of 20 combined years [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Julie, an employee of 20 combined years [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

“The product that you put out should represent the people behind it. If you put out a good product the sales should be reflective. But again, food safety and value. Those two things are KEY.”

Imitation Crab Meat Masago ($4.37/lb), White Crab previously frozen ($6.87/lb), and 50/60 shrimp [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Imitation Crab Meat Masago ($4.37/lb), White Crab previously frozen ($6.87/lb), and 50/60 shrimp [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

“The main message is the fish. If the fish is of good quality, that’s what makes everything. It’s the fish.”

Fresh ahi poke - all under $9/lb [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Fresh ahi poke – all under $9/lb [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

“The customer is your boss. No matter what, the customer is your boss. What they say goes. That’s the one that you have to take care of all the time. You have to please your customer, no matter what. As long as they keep coming back, you know you’re doing something right.”

I asked him how he keeps his prices so low.

“For the average person, when the price of the fish gets too high, they cannot afford it. There are times when we do lose money. The main thing is that we want to make sure that the consumer knows that we’re consistent and that we’ll take care of them. I guess that’s the message that really we try to push: We wanna take care of the local people. For our company anyway, we wanna take care of the local people.”

Jed Inouye, employees Julie and Theresa, and general partner Arick Yanagihara [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Jed Inouye, employees Julie and Theresa, and general partner Arick Yanagihara [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

Wow. If that didn’t make you shed a tear, I don’t know what will. πŸ˜‰ At the very least, it should make you want to join Sam’s Club and visit/support them. Jed Inouye and his Seafood Hawaii, Inc. family exemplifies the true meaning of what a giving, local company should be. And although he will humbly deny it to no end, this truck driving President truly is the star.

Sam’s Club – Honolulu
750 Keeaumoku St,
Honolulu, HI 96814 (map)
(808) 945-9841
Mon-Fri: 10am-8:30pm, Sat: 9am-8:30pm, Sun: 10am-6pm

Sam’s Club – Pearl Highlands
1000 Kamehameha Hwy 100,
Pearl City, HI 96782 (map)
(808) 456-7788
Mon-Fri: 10am-8:30pm, Sat: 9am-8:30pm, Sun: 10am-6pm

During my tour of the fish auction with Jed, I was introduced to Brooks Takenaka, the manager of the United Fishing Agency, the company behind the auction. I sat down with Brooks to get more info on his company and the history behind the fish auction.

Brooks Takenaka – United Fishing Agency

An Interview with Brooks Takenaka – Part I

[Edward Sugimoto] Describe a little bit about your history with fish in the islands. You know, hana battah kid time?

[Brooks Takenaka] Well basically I was born and raised in a fisherman’s family. So my grandfather was a longline fisherman. My father and my uncles were fishermen as well. And until we were born, my father basically stayed on the boat, they stayed fishing. So I come from a fishing family, commercial longline fishing family, and, as a kid, I was always interested in fish, and I could tell you the scientific names of fish, the common names and all that. I used to raise some fish. They didn’t want me to go into fishing. So I had done all the trolling and diving, all kinds of different forms of fishing and all of that, and they didn’t want me to go into fishing, so I pursued a career in Marine Biology. I studied Marine Biology at the University of Hawaii. Then I did some research with the Oceanic Institute. Well, Coconut Island, worked out of Coconut Island, in the university system. And then I worked out at Oceanic Institute, and then I worked for the Sea Grant Program for a bout 3 and a half years and that’s when I came to appreciate education and outreach. So I was working for those guys and then the industry was going through some changes and they made me an offer and so I came back into the industry and have been here ever since. I’ve been here for about 30 years now with the United Fishing Agency.

[Edward Sugimoto] To those who don’t know, explain who exactly the United Fishing Agency is and its role is in the fish auction?

United Fishing Agency sign
United Fishing Agency sign

[Brooks Takenaka] Well, the United Fishing Agency is the fish auction, and basically, it’s a company that was put together many many many years ago, decades ago actually [incorporated in 1952]. And the whole idea, which is really a beautiful one, was put together by the senior Otani [Matsujiro Otani], and then basically it was a matter of bringing together wholesalers and fishermen to form an organization that basically put together a program that brought together the daily fish demand with the fish supply. And so back then, it was a far more expansive reality in terms of the type of species because you had reef fish, deep sea bottom fish, as well as open ocean pelagic fish. Maybe not in these kinds of numbers that you have today, but back then, when I was a kid, I remember going to the auction and there was a lot of reef fish. Trapping, netting, diving… all kinds of reef fish, and then there was a few bottom fish, and longline. Certainly the situation now is different in that the reef fish is pretty much sold as a different entity. They have their own market, and we don’t get involved with the reef fish anymore. But we do sell the deep sea bottom fish and the longline stuff, the um, pelagic stuff. So how the auction works basically is that when these fishermen provision up to go out fishing, the purveyors they buy their products from – the food, the fuel, the water… those purveyors would send their billing here to United Fishing Agency. These fishermen go out fishing, they come back, first up on the dock, first up on the floor. And every day, six days a week, the list of boats is listed on the board there. There is a phone service that people can call in to find out you know what we’ve got, how much they’ve got. So then we basically put up their fish, we unload their fish and put up their fish. All of every boat’s fish is color coded, and we sell one boat’s fish at a time. So we start off with the bigeye tuna, which is the target species of this fleet, and then with the yellowfin, and then the different tuna species, like your albacore or tombo, and then your skipjack or aku, and sometimes some kawa kawa. But longline not so much kawa kawa. Then um, your marlins, then your mahimahi, ono, other species like that: monchong, walu, opah. One of the good things about the Hawaii fleet is that historically, they’ve always brought back all the species they catch, with the exception of the blue fish, the blue shark, they bring back everything. And the nice thing about the Hawaii situation is that there’s a fond appreciation for all the species, so we don’t waste any of these species at all. And with the cultural diversity that we have, there’s so many different ways of preparing these fish, that you know people have a good appreciation for all these species. So that’s basically how it works. In terms of how we get paid, we take 10% off the gross sales for our payment. Basically that’s how it works.

[Edward Sugimoto] I read somewhere that this market is based off of the Tsukiji market (in Japan) in a little sense. Is that the true?

[Brooks Takenaka] Not in a little sense. Very very much so. We’re actually a very junior version of Tsukiji. It’s based after the traditional Japanese method of auction selling fish.

[Edward Sugimoto] You were kinda briefly walking us through the process. Can you in a little more detail (explain the process), how it comes off the boat, you do the scaling, you do the weighing and all of that?

[Brooks Takenaka] Yeah. How it all works is basically, when they come home, we unload the boats. If you go outside and take a look at some of the carts, the carts were built… Actually, prior to coming, moving to this facility, we were over in Kewalo, and what we used to do is we used to send trucks out to go pick up the fish at the various piers. Since moving here, the accommodations are great because we unload the boats right here. So it’s much more timely and the freshness and quality are significantly better. So it’s a far better facility. And basically how it works is these boats come home and we have an answering service, so first in, first up, and the answering service lets us know who’s first, second, third and all this. So, in order for us to start the auction at 5:30 (AM), my guys come in at 1 o’clock. They call the answering service, they figure out who’s first, then they just start unloading the boats. Those carts that we have now to unload the boats basically represent the same size of the truck bed that we used to go pick up fish with. And one of the reasons why we did that was because we have a good idea of about how many pounds are in each truckload. So that way, it’s another form of checks and balance(s). So that, we built the carts to be the same size, and about the same amount of fish, so we know there’s about 3,000 pounds of fish in that cart. Around there, yeah, depending on the species and sizes. So then, the boat unloads the fish into the carts. Those carts then are moved over to the facility, and then you see the weighing area where we stage it all out, and then the fish gets weighed and then tagged. And then you have a weight tag as well as a bar code and on the bar code, you have the information of the boat, the date, all this kind, what kind of species, how many pieces, that sort of thing. Then those fish are lined up, like I said, bigeye, big to small, yellowfins big to small, and then the others by catch species. And, that’s basically how we started. At 5:30, the bell rings, and off they go. What we do with the tunas however, is that you’ll notice that we do a tail cut, wedge cut, and then we’ll do an anterior coring. So basically, that’s all on each fish, each tuna in particular. And so the buyer has a good profile of what that fish is in terms of quality. And that facilitates and expedites their bidding on the fish. So that’s how it works.

The tail cut, wedge cut, and anterior coring shows buyer the quality of the fish [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
The tail cut, wedge cut, and anterior coring shows buyer the quality of the fish [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

[Edward Sugimoto] What do they kind of look for: bloodline?

[Brooks Takenaka] Well, what they’re looking for is freshness and quality, also relative to their client base. OK, so in other words, they have a good feel for their client base and then they’re bidding on fish that basically services their clientele. And so you have companies in there that play the whole gamut in terms of quality and range and prices, and you have those that are more of a niche market type of situation. And so, what’s interesting is that you have a whole different approach by different people in terms of how they’re buying, what they’re buying, how much they’re willing to spend, depending on what kind of client base they have. So some of these companies do send fish to the mainland. They work with people on the mainland, they’ll send fish to the mainland. Others will send… they’re even marketing in Vancouver. On occasion, you’ll hear comments about some of these fish maybe going to Japan. Not as much as before because what’s happened is that the world has come to appreciate sashimi and sushi and raw fish a bit more than it has in the past, and so what’s happening is there… and people are beginning to appreciate the value, and so, there are more people that are buying tuna today as compared to before. So not as much ends up in the Japanese market. A lot of it does go to the mainland United States. Canada. Vancouver’s a very strong market. So the rest of the world has figured out what’s happening with fish and that’s part of the reason why we’re talking this sustainability today. So that’s why we talk about those kind of issues today.

An Interview with Brooks Takenaka – Part II

[Edward Sugimoto] What kind of famous chefs/people come through here that you rub elbows with?

[Brooks Takenaka] Oh jeez. You name um, we’ve had um. Aw cheez, we’ve had Nobu (Matsuhisa), we’ve had Iron Chef (Masaharu Morimoto), we’ve had Paul Prudhomme, Ming Tsai, Chan Can (Martin Yan?). We’ve had a number. Of course and then there’s people like Chef Mavro (George Mavrothalassitis) and Alan Wong and Roy (Yamaguchi) and D.K.’s (David “D.K.” Kodama), you know, those people. And we also have a fair amount of visiting chefs from around the world and the country. So, far more than I can name. In fact we’ve also done tours for a lot of associations like nutritionists and people like that. I teach the coast guard… actually I also teach culinary classes, marine biology, oceanography classes, and I teach the coast guard.

[Edward Sugimoto] So your (Marine Biology) education comes in handy then?

[Brooks Takenaka] Yes, very much so. That was the purpose of it all. We have an incredible industry, but I think the industry was remiss for a long time because they pretty much did their own thing and kept to themselves. And then, in the meantime, what’s happened is that of course there’s interest that has just generated with respect to issues like sustainability and all this. And so we felt that it was important for us as an industry to get this message out, get some information out. And that’s the reason why we started the program that we have. So the program that we have now is called the Hawaii Seafood Council. It’s a non-profit organization, and we’ve set that up to develop the educational programs and materials to assist the industry.

[Edward Sugimoto] In terms of poke, what’s your favorite type?

[Brooks Takenaka] It all depends on what kind of fish there is and what kind of ingredients there are and what I’m jonesin’ for. I love aku poke and I happen to also love a lot of limus like waiwaihole and limu kohu, and lipoa, as well as the ogo. Actually the ogo to me doesn’t have that much taste. Lipoa, which is a really stinky one, is to me a real good limu to use for poke, but most people cannot eat that because of the strength. It’s kinda strong. So in terms of poke again, there’s so many different ways of preparing it, and in reality you can use all kinds of fish to do this. So it really becomes a matter of how you want to prepare it, what you want to prepare. But for me, I like aku poke. I like ahi poke, marlin poke (either nairagi, kajiki), and then, there’s also, you know again, like I said, poke is really a matter of imagination. You can do all kinds of things with that. Lobster poke is ono, you know, opihi poke is ono, so it depends. Crab, you can make crab poke, you know raw crab, stuff like that.

[Edward Sugimoto] It must be pretty hard to please you though since you’re so used to the freshness here?

[Brooks Takenaka] Well yeah, I’m a stickler for quality. And so, if you know of like say Take’s Fish Market in Moiliili, that’s the kind of place my wife will buy sashimi. I mean you know it could cost us $60-$80 for a pound and a half or two pounds you know, but it’s worth it. So here, again, it depends on what you’re used to. And since I was born and raised with fish, I’ve eaten parts of fish that most people don’t even consider. So again, my appreciation with fish is far greater or different than most. Like I said today, when I was a kid, I remember eating parts of fish that nobody else would eat. That was poor man’s food. Today, because of health, people are looking into other parts of the fish too, so we’re finally getting to… it’s gone 180. I mean now people are beginning to appreciate some of the other parts of the fish too. So I would venture to guess that anybody learning how to eat fish from people in Hawaii, they really learn how to eat fish. Hawaii people know how to eat fish.

[Edward Sugimoto] Speaking of kinda “stranger” pieces of the fish, the abura mi, the fatty parts, that’s of more value as opposed to the (aka mi)…

[Brooks Takenaka] Yeah well, you know, as the chefs say, the fat is where the flavor is. And so, in this case, one of the things that we teach the culinary kids of course is that the difference between the aka mi, or red meat, and the abura, or fatty fish vs. non-fatty fish, that doesn’t mean that the non-fatty fish is no good. In fact, some of these non-fatty fish can be nice enough that it can go 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 dollars a pound. But, if that same fish had some fat in it, it can probably go dollar, two dollars more a pound. And there is a significant difference even from species to species, there’s difference in terms of. So recently, I shared some fatty yellowfin and some fatty bigeye with Chef Mavro and Alan Wong, and they noticed the difference, the significant difference between the two species. Different kind of flavor, different kind of intensity in terms of the fat. So there’s a lot of things we can do, to share with the public in terms of understanding about quality and appreciation for quality.

Ahi, freshly cut on the auction floor [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]
Ahi, freshly cut on the auction floor [Photo Credit: Arthur Betts]

[Edward Sugimoto] What’s in store for the United Fishing Agency?

[Brooks Takenaka] Well, I hope that we can work our way through some of the issues that we have to deal with in terms of the sustainability issues, and protecting species like turtles and birds and things like that. We certainly, you know the United Fishing Agency has been around since 1952, and I certainly hope that in history, we continue to succeed and can move forward you know, for the next generation. And I hope that we can continue to be innovative and stay ahead of the curve in terms of doing things the right way for the right reasons, and being able to continue to supply fish for our people because I think it’s a very significant part of our culture as well as lifestyle. And seafood of course, fresh seafood is, I think very very healthful. And so from that perspective alone, I certainly would like to continue to be able to provide good, healthy fish for the public. And, if you think about it, like I ask people think about this: what is the only form of food today that has no chemical additives in it? Wild fish, right? And you have concerns like bird flu, swine flu, all this other kind of stuff, but, you ever heard of fish flu? No. So the demand for fish, the concern for protecting the resource is important and we need to continue to do things to protect that resource. But, the thing is, I think people can also realize… learn and realize that some efforts are in fact being done the right way for the right reasons and I think the Hawaii effort is indeed one of those exemplary efforts. So I think if the rest of the world were to in fact conduct their fishing like we do here, then we may not have the kind of concerns that we have for the resources and stuff, so it would be better for the resources.

[Edward Sugimoto] And your auction is open to the public. Is there anything else you want to mention?

[Brooks Takenaka] Yeah, it’s open to the public, but we gotta be careful about how many people we get over here. That’s one of the things that again, we do these kinds of interviews, and I’ve got a few others to do within the next couple of weeks, but again, I do this with a grain of salt because the thing is, on one hand, we want people to know about our industry, but I also have a business to run and I gotta be careful about my time. But I mean people are welcome to come. It is open to the public.

[Edward Sugimoto] OK, thank you very much!

[Brooks Takenaka] You’re very welcome.

For more information on the Hawaii Seafood Council and what Brooks folks are doing for the seafood community, please visit: http://www.hawaii-seafood.org.

Since we’ve already covered Sam’s Club, let’s turn this one into a “supermarket kine poke” piece and take a virtual stroll through some of the others doing poke here in the islands shall we?

Costco Poke

One of my favorites from Costco is their Japan Clam Poke, which, according to the label, contains: Japan clam meat, alae salt, chili pepper flakes, green onions, sliced sweet onion, and sesame seed oil.

Japan Clam Poke - Japan clam meat, alae salt, chili pepper flakes, green onions, sliced sweet onion, and sesame seed oil ($11.99/lb)
Japan Clam Poke – Japan clam meat, alae salt, chili pepper flakes, green onions, sliced sweet onion, and sesame seed oil ($11.99/lb)

I haven’t seen it in some time though, but I’m hoping and praying that it’s a “seasonal” thing as opposed to a “discontinued” thing. :

Other good ones include their Fresh Ahi Limu Poke,

Fresh Ahi Limu Poke - ($12.99/lb)
Fresh Ahi Limu Poke – ($12.99/lb)

their Fresh Ahi Shoyu Poke,

Fresh Ahi Shoyu Poke - ($11.99/lb)
Fresh Ahi Shoyu Poke – ($11.99/lb)

and their Garlic Shrimp Poke.

Garlic Shrimp Poke - ($9.99/lb)
Garlic Shrimp Poke – ($9.99/lb)

Costco
(Many locations)

Safeway Poke

I have a soft spot in my heart for Safeway ’cause they be my peeps. They were the ones to give me my first part-time gig during high school daze, where I eventually moved up to the “Fish Cutter” position in the seafood department. This is where I experienced my first taste (literally) of the art of poke making.

Back then, there was no such thing as “spicy tuna” (as it’s known today), and some of the other “fancy” kine styles like wasabi, furikake, avocado, etc. My bread and butter was the ahi limu poke. A batch I recently picked up, though previously frozen, tasted eerily similar to the one I used to make.

(Previously Frozen) Ahi Limu Poke ($7.99/lb)
(Previously Frozen) Ahi Limu Poke ($7.99/lb)

If it’s available, and you can at all help it (and can afford it), my recommendation is to always go for the “fresh” version. There’s a HUGE difference in taste, texture and quality. Not to mention that a lot of times, places will treat/preserve their fish with carbon monoxide in order to “promote color retention” (keeps their fish looking red or from turning brown). Any time you can eat poke naturally (or any food for that matter) and avoid the chemicals, I advise it. Unfortunately, on this occasion, Safeway (and some of those below) didn’t have many fresh options.

Next to the Ahi Limu Poke, wifey particularly enjoyed the Ahi Poke Furikake from Safeway.

(Previously Frozen) Ahi Poke Furikake ($7.99/lb)
(Previously Frozen) Ahi Poke Furikake ($7.99/lb)

The current Fish Cutter toldΒ us that these next two batches were new, so we gave them a whirl. The Hot Ahi Poke (made with Sriracha sauce)…

(Previously Frozen) Hot Ahi Poke ($7.99/lb)
(Previously Frozen) Hot Ahi Poke ($7.99/lb)

… and the Ahi Wasabi Poke.

(Previously Frozen) Ahi Wasabi Poke ($7.99/lb)
(Previously Frozen) Ahi Wasabi Poke ($7.99/lb)

In the mood for some octopus, we rounded out our visit to Safeway with their popular Kim Chee Tako Poke.

Kim Chee Tako Poke
Kim Chee Tako Poke

Safeway
(Many locations)

Foodland Poke

I have to be perfectly honest. I’ve never been a fan of Foodland’s poke, though I do strangely enjoy some of Sack N Save’s versions on the neighbor islands. It could’ve been the taste/flavoring, the fish itself, the fact that I worked at Safeway (Ha!), or perhaps that I’ve just been unlucky whenever I ordered from there. To be fair, I picked up 4 types of their previously frozen styles: their Spicy Ahi…

(Previously Frozen) Spicy Ahi Poke ($7.99/lb)
(Previously Frozen) Spicy Ahi Poke ($7.99/lb)

… their Ahi Limu…

(Previously Frozen) Ahi Limu Poke ($7.99/lb)
(Previously Frozen) Ahi Limu Poke ($7.99/lb)

… their Ahi Shoyu…

(Previously Frozen) Ahi Shoyu Poke ($7.99/lb)
(Previously Frozen) Ahi Shoyu Poke ($7.99/lb)

… and their new Ahi & Avocado Poke.

(Previously Frozen) Ahi & Avocado Poke ($7.99/lb)
(Previously Frozen) Ahi & Avocado Poke ($7.99/lb)

They also had signage speaking of the carbon monoxide preservation methods, but interestingly enough, they also mentioned this: “From Philippines.” Not quite sure why, but perhaps because it is not local to Hawaii?

If anyone from Foodland wants to fill us in, complete the feedback form on the right and I’ll put your statement in here for ya.

Foodland
(Many locations)

Poke from TKS in Honokaa, Hawaii

To make sure I cover those doing poke well on the neighbor islands, I flew over to Hilo to visit my friend Dave. We found time to hit up KTA and Sack N Save, as well as the T Kaneshiro Store or TKS in “nearby” Honokaa.

T Kaneshiro Store (TKS) in Honokaa, Hawaii
T Kaneshiro Store (TKS) in Honokaa, Hawaii

As with many mom and pop type groceries like this, they didn’t have a dedicated seafood department, but they did provide a handful of poke options in their refrigerated section, including Ahi Poke – Korean Style, Ahi Poke with Sesame Oil, and Ahi Shoyu Poke.

Ahi Shoyu Poke
Ahi Shoyu Poke

T Kaneshiro Store
45-5002 Lehua Street
Honokaa, HI 96727
(808) 775-0631

Poke from KTA Super Stores – Hilo

There are two KTA locations in Hilo: on Keawe street and Puainako Stree, but we made sure to hit up the significantly larger Puainako locale.

KTA Punainako
KTA Punainako

Woah. In order to match the sheer size of their store (I’m guessing), the size of their seafood department is equally enormous!

Bruddah Dave checking out the wide range of goodies
Bruddah Dave checking out the wide range of goodies

Their selection included such items as Tako Miso, Tako Hawaiian, Tako Kim Chee with Cucumber, Tako Shoyu, Tako Sesame, Spicy Tako, Marlin (Au) Korean, Marlin Nori, Marlin Low Salt Shoyu, Marlin Shoyu, Ahi Korean, Ahi Nori, Spicy Ahi, Ahi Hawaiian, Ahi Shoyu, Kim Chee Soybeans, Crab Poke, Shoyu Clams, Nori Tofu, Mussel Poke, Shoyu Hokkigai (Surf Clam), Pipi Kaula, Kim Chee Shrimp, etc.

Numerous poke choices at KTA
Numerous poke choices at KTA

I know it’s hard to tell (based on the amateur panoramic photo attempt above), but take my word for it, they had CHOKE options. πŸ™‚

We sampled the Ahi Shoyu and Ahi Korean options (BTW, they weren’t labeled, but they tasted of the pre-frozen variety).

Ahi Korean Poke (left/top) and Ahi Shoyu Poke (right/bottom) and from KTA ($7.99/lb each)
Ahi Korean Poke (left/top) and Ahi Shoyu Poke (right/bottom) and from KTA ($7.99/lb each)

KTA Super Stores
(Many locations)

Sack N Save Poke

And finally, we hit up the Kinoole Street Sack N Save location in Hilo.

Kinoole Street Sack N Save in Hilo
Kinoole Street Sack N Save in Hilo

They had a pretty reasonably sized selection that included Ahi Hawaiian Style, Ahi Shoyu, Ahi Sesame, Ahi Furikake, Spicy Ahi, Ahi Oyster Sauce, Ahi Limu, Ahi Garlic, Avocado Ahi, Korean Ahi, Ahi Wasabi and Fresh Ahi Poke, as well as Soybeans, Tako Kim Chee Poke, Tako Furikake Poke, Cooked Madako Tako Poke, and Smoked Tako Poke.

Sack N Save's Poke Selection
Sack N Save’s Poke Selection

The Avocado Ahi was a big seller, so we picked up the rest of that tray along with some Spicy Ahi.

(Previously Frozen) Spicy Ahi Poke ($7.99/lb)
(Previously Frozen) Spicy Ahi Poke ($7.99/lb)

(Previously Frozen) Avocado Ahi Poke ($8.99/lb)
(Previously Frozen) Avocado Ahi Poke ($8.99/lb)

As with their sister/mothership Foodland, they had their previously frozen trays clearly marked with the “carbon monoxide” and “from Philippines” warning labels.

Comparing the poke from Hilo’s Sack N Save to the Oahu equivalents from Foodland, I really enjoyed the Hilo versions more, especially the Avocado Ahi one FBI (From Big Island)! Good job B.I.!

Sack N Save
(Many locations)

Home Made Poke

And finally, as if I didn’t bombard you enough with photos already πŸ˜› , here’s a step-by-step look at a home made batch I recently put together for a family gathering. Enjoy!

Cubed up Aku
Cubed up Aku

I started by cubing up some aku that my mom had purchased from downtown. Aku has a stronger/fishier taste than Ahi, but to me, is a LOT better for making poke.

Below are some of the “ingrediments”Β I used including shoyu, chili pepper flakes, chili pepper watah (water), green onions, tobiko, and a generous serving of sesame seed oil (I have a preference for Kadoya brand sesame seed oil).

Ingredients for my poke - Shoyu, chili pepper flakes, chili pepper water, green onions, tobiko, and Kadoya sesame seed oil
Ingredients for my poke – Shoyu, chili pepper flakes, chili pepper water, green onions, tobiko, and Kadoya sesame seed oil

Don’t forget the limu/ogo!

Mixing the ingredients together as the limu/ogo awaits
Mixing the ingredients together as the limu/ogo awaits

We add all the ingredients to the bowl (I like to save the sesame seed oil for last) and it looks a little sumthin’ like this…

Poke mixture before mixing
Poke mixture before mixing

Here it is up close.

Poke mixture up close
Poke mixture up close

I then added some furikake and the sesame seed oil and we got something that looked like this.

Ed's Aku Poke
Ed’s Aku Poke

Yeah, the color turned a little dark because of the shoyu, but it was yummy nonetheless… If I do say so myself. πŸ˜›

Ed’s Fish Hut
1 Ono Way
Honolulu, HI.
(808) 999-NEVAH-MINE!

A-ight, that’s it for Part III of this Poke Paradise series. Stay tuned for next month, when I interview Rachel Haili of Haili’s Hawaiian Foods, Guy Tamashiro of Tamashiro’s Fish Market, and visit a few other island favorite poke spots.

A big mahalo to Jed Inouye, Arick Yanagihara, Steve Rudolph,Β and the entire Seafood Hawaii, Inc. team, Brooks Takenaka and everyone at the United Fishing Agency fish auction at Pier 38, Dave Oi for the FBI Hilo hospitality and Grant Lau for assistance with the air accommodations. See y’all next month!

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V

Ship’s Ahoy! – Experiencing an Alaskan Cruise for the Very First Time – Part IV

January 1, 2010
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV

We’re down to our final three days on this whirlwind vacay. One in Ketchikan, one in Victoria, and the final in downtown Seattle after de-boarding. Three left of our seven days on sea. Guess we should hurr’up and make the most of what’s left to see!

According to our daily program, “the city of Ketchikan stretches along the southwestern shore of Revillagigedo Island for several miles, facing Tongass Narrows. With 14,000 inhabitants, this fourth largest community in the 49th state is known as ‘Alaska’s First City,’ because it is the first town that travelers reach when ferrying north.”

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to experience anything other than the welcome sign…

Ketchikan Welcome Sign
Ketchikan Welcome Sign

’cause at 9AM sharp, we had to go a ziplinin’!

The land tour is via Bear Creek Zipline Adventures, lasts approximately 3 and a half hours, and was $176 per person ($125 for children).

Rather than listening to me babble on, let’s let my photos and the description in the Shore Excursions pamphlet narrate thangs for us:

Enter the fly zone! An eco-rainforest adventure for those seeking excitement and exhilaration! Featuring 7 zip lines, 10 lofty tree platforms, Alaska’s longest skybridge, 250 foot long mountain slide, and rappelling. The ultimate Alaska action experience.

Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary
Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary

Your adventure begins with a ride up the steep hillside in a custom all-terrain 4×4 Mercedes Unimog, to the outfitting chalet.

Custom all-terrain 4x4 Mercedes Unimog [Photo credit: Lee Kojima]
Custom all-terrain 4×4 Mercedes Unimog [Photo credit: Lee Kojima]

Steep hillside ride in our custom all-terrain 4×4 Mercedes Unimog.

After outfitting and orientation…

Chris, Kerri-Ann, Aunty Amy and Uncle Mike strappin' up!
Chris, Kerri-Ann, Aunty Amy and Uncle Mike strappin’ up!

Ed’s Tip: If you’re a germaphobe like us, I would recommend bringing along a bandana so you have something you can put between your head and that sweaty, stinky helmet. πŸ˜‰

Leanne saying her prayers before flying through the air. [Photo credit: Lee Kojima]
Leanne saying her prayers before flying through the air. [Photo credit: Lee Kojima]

… it’s an uphill hike via an improved rainforest trail to a ground-based practice zip line, where your guides introduce you to zipping.

Aunty Amy, Kerri-Ann, Lee, Leanne and wifey waiting their turn for the practice zip line
Aunty Amy, Kerri-Ann, Lee, Leanne and wifey waiting their turn for the practice zip line

Our guide briefing us
Our guide briefing us

The group listens intently
The group listens intently

Chris getting ready for his practice run, while Uncle Mike looks on
Chris getting ready for his practice run, while Uncle Mike looks on


Dad doing his practice run ground-based zipline.

This is your introduction to 5,200 feet of dual cable ziplines…

Uncle Mike going through his first zip
Uncle Mike going through his first zip

Leanne, who is deathly afraid of heights, holds back the tears after her first zip, while Chris smiles on
Leanne, who is deathly afraid of heights, holds back the tears after her first zip, while Chris smiles on

… intersected with a 250 foot long suspension bridge…

The suspension bridge ahead
The suspension bridge ahead

Aunty Amy and Uncle Mike take on the suspension bridge [Photo credit: Lee Kojima]
Aunty Amy and Uncle Mike take on the suspension bridge [Photo credit: Lee Kojima]

Kerri-Ann looks over the edge [Photo credit: Lee Kojima]
Kerri-Ann looks over the edge [Photo credit: Lee Kojima]

… providing an aerial view of Bear Creek and a forest waterfall.

Looking down into the river from the suspension bridge above
Looking down into the river from the suspension bridge above

Wifey makes it across as Uncle Mike and Aunty Amy look on
Wifey makes it across as Uncle Mike and Aunty Amy look on

Experience panoramic ocean, forest and mountain views from the tree platforms on this exciting and safe adventure at the lush Herring Cove rainforest reserve, an 8 mile coastal drive from Ketchikan.

Aunty Amy gets a zippin'
Aunty Amy gets a zippin’

Kerri-Ann gives it a go
Kerri-Ann gives it a go

Ed’s Tip: By now, it becomes pretty obvious that getting that perfect shot is a challenging task. You are latched in at all times and must go in sequential order so capturing a certain angle or person will really depend on where you are in line and how much slack your line has (usually not much). You might want to ask your guides to take photos and videos of you (if they are willing) as they will have the better angles and expertise.


First person perspective of Zip-Lining in Ketchikan Alaska

In addition to tall stands of spruce, hemlock and cedar, the ecosystem here supports an extensive wildlife population. Although sightings cannot be guaranteed, guests often see eagles and bears. You will then rappel to the ground from the last tree platform.

The view below
The view below

Leanne's rappelling gear. Notice her vise grip? 8)
Leanne’s rappelling gear. Notice her vise grip? 8)

Ain't no thang. :P
Ain’t no thang. πŸ˜›

Animation of the Brother In Law rappelling down
Animation of the Brother In Law rappelling down

And then you get to the grand finale: The mountain slide!

Speeding down the mountain slide will be one of the highlights of your zipline adventure.

(While we’re animating the BIL, let’s keep it going with one of him going down the mountain slide!)

Wheeeeeeeeee!
Wheeeeeeeeee!

Ed’s Tip: At the bottom, in order to slow you down, there is a carpet-like material on the ground. Don’t try to stop yourself with your feet, or let them get caught under you as you may do a forward flip. I won’t mention any names, but this may’ve happened to somebody in our group. 8)

Just let the ground stop you gradually
Just let the ground stop you gradually

And then, you reach the end. Time to celebrate!

Lee and I are stoked!
Lee and I are stoked!

What tears? I don't see any tears... :P [Photo credit: Lee Kojima]
What tears? I don’t see any tears… πŸ˜› [Photo credit: Lee Kojima]

Board the Unimog for a forest hillside descent and transportation to the base camp…

The Unimog awaits us
The Unimog awaits us

… where you will be presented with a special award in recognition of your achievement. View your action photograph and shop in the General Store before departure for the dock.

Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary General Store
Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary General Store

Ed’s Tip: If you can help it, try not to go too fast on the zips that have the cameras set up for them. The action photographs for some of us caught nothing but the air behind us. LOL! Perhaps they fined tuned their camera’s timing since then?

Before long, it was time to board our shuttle and head back to the boat where the mad rush and long lines awaited us.

Waiting in line to board our ship
Waiting in line to board our ship

Not too long after that, the gangway was raised and we were off to Victoria, British Columbia. Before we got there however, we had time to sit down at the 5:15pm early seating of what was called the Master Chef’s Dinner. Here’s a description:

Tonight, “dinner theater” takes on a while new meaning. Your dining room stewards sing, dance, and juggle tableside as they serve a very special meal created by Holland America Line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin. For this one night only, there are only two dinner sittings. The fun begins at 5:15pm for early seating and at 7:45pm for main seating. Bring your cameras. It’s all capped off by a big finish and a dessert you won’t want to miss!

Dinner Theater was right. Here’s a clip of the entertaining intro:


Intro for the Master Chef’s Dinner aboard the Holland America

Even grandma got into the act!

Grandma having fun at the Master Chef's Dinner [Photo credit: Norman Kubota]
Grandma having fun at the Master Chef’s Dinner [Photo credit: Norman Kubota]

As usual, the eats was supah onoz!

Act 1 started with “The Ballet Service”, a mushroom mousse.

Chef's Amuse Surprise - Mushroom mousse with asparagus in bouche
Chef’s Amuse Surprise – Mushroom mousse with asparagus in bouche

“The Swing Service” in Act 2 was referred to as the Show Salad Spectacular.

Show Salad Spectacular - Assorted baby greens, pepper rings, mushroom, scallions, and cherry tomatoes with a honey mustard dressing
Show Salad Spectacular – Assorted baby greens, pepper rings, mushroom, scallions, and cherry tomatoes with a honey mustard dressing

We then we moved on to the starters…

Dialogue of Alaskan Salmon Tartare with Avocado - Cold-smoked, pickled and chipotle-hot-smoked salmon with lime-avocado-tomato salsa
Dialogue of Alaskan Salmon Tartare with Avocado – Cold-smoked, pickled and chipotle-hot-smoked salmon with lime-avocado-tomato salsa

Golden Baked Brie in Phyllo Dough - Served with a cinnamon-spiced apple cranberry compote [Photo credit: Andi Kubota]
Golden Baked Brie in Phyllo Dough – Served with a cinnamon-spiced apple cranberry compote [Photo credit: Andi Kubota]

Lobster Bisque - Sensuously smooth classical shellfish soup enhanced with aged French cognac and whipped cream [Photo credit: Andi Kubota]
Lobster Bisque – Sensuously smooth classical shellfish soup enhanced with aged French cognac and whipped cream [Photo credit: Andi Kubota]

Oxtail En Croute - Flavorful classical soup slow-simmered and served in a crisp pastry crust
Oxtail En Croute – Flavorful classical soup slow-simmered and served in a crisp pastry crust

And then it was off to the entrees…

Sauteed Shrimps "Provencales" - Scented with Mediterranean herbs, tomato concassee, florets of crisp, tender broccoli and sticky rice [Photo credit: Andi Kubota]
Sauteed Shrimps “Provencales” – Scented with Mediterranean herbs, tomato concassee, florets of crisp, tender broccoli and sticky rice [Photo credit: Andi Kubota]

Duck Breast a l'Orange - The old-time favorite, oven roasted until crisp and served with a Grand Marriner sauce, braised red cabbage, pea pods, carrots julienne and William potato [Photo credit: Lee Kojima]
Duck Breast a l’Orange – The old-time favorite, oven roasted until crisp and served with a Grand Marriner sauce, braised red cabbage, pea pods, carrots julienne and William potato [Photo credit: Lee Kojima]

They closed the show for us with a Baked Alaska in Act 3, “The Final Service”

Baked Alaska - A not-so-traditional Baked Alaska with a warm brandy bing cherry sauce
Baked Alaska – A not-so-traditional Baked Alaska with a warm brandy bing cherry sauce

In my feeble attempt to train for the Tinman, I took a leisure jog around the ship’s Promenade following dinner. As the sun set, I felt like I had to run back up to the room to grab my camera to snap the beauty before me. Good thing I did!

Sunset views aboard the ms Westerdam
Sunset views aboard the ms Westerdam

What an awesome way to close out the night leading into the final full day aboard the ship.

The next morning, we celebrated the 4th of July with the “Happy Birthday America” BBQ. Before that though, we participated in the Basketball Free Throw contest on the 11th floor Sports Deck, hosted by DJ Jazzy.

DJ Jazzy briefing the contestants
DJ Jazzy briefing the contestants

Lee taking his shot [Photo credit: Leanne Nakamura]
Lee taking his shot [Photo credit: Leanne Nakamura]

Leanne getting pointers from DJ Jazzy
Leanne getting pointers from DJ Jazzy

Wifey smiling at her shot
Wifey smiling at her shot

Dad shoots [Photo credit: Mom Kojima]
Dad shoots [Photo credit: Mom Kojima]

Yours truly
Yours truly

Then it was off to the “Happy Birthday America” BBQ at midship on Lido Deck 9.

4th of July desserts and decorations [Photo credit: Lee Kojima]
4th of July desserts and decorations [Photo credit: Lee Kojima]

The chefs manning the BBQ
The chefs manning the BBQ

Games for the keiki
Games for the keiki

Celebrate America’s birthday with live music, pool games, kid’s carnival and a traditional American BBQ. The Beverage Staff has prepared unlimited Stars & Stripes Drink Specials for $14.95 and unlimited tap beer for only $20 – both served in a souvenir glass.

D’oh! Had I known about the unlimited tap beer, we would’ve stayed. 8) Instead, we headed to the Vista Dining Room for a light lunch. Sorry, I didn’t take a picture of the menu this time so I don’t quite know/remember what these dishes were called. :o)

Eggroll appetizer
Eggroll appetizer

Fruit medley appetizer
Fruit medley appetizer

Chicken pasta dish
Chicken pasta dish

Fish and shrimp dish
Fish and shrimp dish

After lunch, we took a break and just relaxed, until it was time to eat again for dinner. Where did we head? You got it: the Vista Dining Room. And look who we were randomly placed next to!

Dad and Mom
Dad and Mom

Here are more blah captioned food shots for your viewing pleasure. πŸ˜› Sorry!

Chicken Satay
Chicken Satay

French Onion Soup "Les Halles" - A Parisian classic of golden simmered onions topped with melted Gruyere cheese
French Onion Soup “Les Halles” – A Parisian classic of golden simmered onions topped with melted Gruyere cheese

Scallops and Rice
Scallops and Rice

Chocolate dessert
Chocolate dessert

As scheduled, we docked in Victoria, Canada shortly after at 6pm. Our scheduled land tour was “Enchanted Butchart Gardens (Evening Calls)” which was $69 for adults and $39 for children. Here’s a description:

As darkness falls, an extraordinary world comes to light at the Butchart Gardens near Victoria. Colored lights provide an interplay of light and shadow, transforming the famous Gardens into a fairyland scented with summer blooms. One of the largest underground wiring installations in North America helps this vibrant wonderland of flowers, rare trees and winding paths to take on an enchanted aspect. The magnificent Ross Fountain, the centerpiece of these lush gardens, dances with creative lighting effects. Enjoy the cascading fountains, footbridges, music and outdoor entertainment while you learn how a barren rock quarry metamorphosed into a world renowned horticulture attraction. On select dates in July and August on Saturday evenings you may be treated to the Butchart Gardens fireworks display, choreographed to music. During early May and September, daylight is limited and this tour is operated predominately in low light with subtlety illuminated gardens. Please note: This tour operates during evening calls in Victoria.

The Butchart Gardens sign
The Butchart Gardens sign

For those like me, with a short attention span when it comes to flowers, πŸ™‚ here are the highlights.

The Sunken Gardens
The Limestone deposit was exhausted in 1908 and the quarry abandoned. Mrs. Butchart conceived the idea of transforming the barren pit into a garden and thus the Sunken Garden came into being. In 1910 she planted Lombardy poplar trees in an attempt to block the view of the cement factory. By 1912 the development of the garden was underway and it was completed in 1921.

Overlooking the Sunken Garden at Butchart Gardens [Photo credit: Mom Kojima]
Overlooking the Sunken Garden at Butchart Gardens [Photo credit: Mom Kojima]

Ross Fountain Lookout
This smaller quarry was a source of limestone in the 1860s. It was here that Ian Ross, grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Butchart, devised his spectacular fountain with the assistance of his plumber, Adrian Butler and his electrician, Vic Dawson. The Ross Fountain commemorated the 60th Anniversary of the Butchart Gardens when it was installed in 1964.

Ross Fountain Lookout at Butchart Gardens
Ross Fountain Lookout at Butchart Gardens

The Rose Garden
The Rose Garden is home to 2500 roses in 250 varieties and is the only part of the garden in which the plants are labeled.

The Rose Garden at Butchart Gardens
The Rose Garden at Butchart Gardens

Wifey having fun at the Rose Garden
Wifey having fun at the Rose Garden

The Japanese Garden
Reflecting their world travels, the Butcharts created this Japanese Garden in 1908.

Japanese style arch/gate at the entrance of the Japanese Gardens
Japanese style arch/gate at the entrance of the Japanese Gardens

They also had a Japanese style bridge, rock steps, and much more!

And then it was off to the northwest portion of the gardens where the fireworks were ready to go off.

Fireworks at Butchart Gardens
Fireworks at Butchart Gardens

Fireworks at Butchart Gardens [Photo credit: Lee Kojima]
Fireworks at Butchart Gardens [Photo credit: Lee Kojima]

Fireworks at Butchart Gardens [Photo credit: Mom Kojima]
Fireworks at Butchart Gardens [Photo credit: Mom Kojima]

Immediately following the end of the fireworks show, we had to rush back to our bus to get back to our boat. There was major traffic pulling out of there, but we weren’t too concerned as we booked this tour through our ship (see below).

Ed’s Tips: If you are on the same schedule as us, there will be no time to stop anywhere else. Have your camera ready to capture the Victorian sights along the way from aboard your shuttle. Also, when you get to Butchart Gardens, sunlight will be minimal as daylight falls, so be prepared to set your camera settings to long exposures for the best shots. If you can help it, try to aim for one of the dates in July or August, as mentioned above, to catch the fireworks display. Let’s face it. As a guy, I’m not a huge fan of flowers and shrubbery, so the fireworks really made it worth my while. Also, book this, and probably all of your land tours through your cruise as opposed to direct. Reason being, sometimes, they will run the duration of your entire stay in that particular city. If it was booked through the cruise, then they are aware of your whereabouts and will not set sail without you. In the case that the ship must leave, they will arrange alternate transportation to the next stop for you on their dime, not yours.

At about midnight, we finally set sail for our final destination. One final night on the boat and we were to hit land – in the form of Seattle Washington.

At 7am, we arrived in Seattle and caught a shuttle to our hotel, the SpringHill Suites in Downtown Seattle. Unlike our stay at the Comfort Inn & Suites SeaTac on our first night, this hotel was a little more convenient as it was a brisk walk away from Pacific Place (aout 7 blocks), Westlake Center (about 8-9 blocks), and Pike Place Market (about 12 blocks).

Naturally, our first stop was the touristy Pike’s.

Famous Pike Place Market sign
Famous Pike Place Market sign

I won’t get into too many scenic shots here as my photo count for this article is already at a whoppin’ 68 (good lord!), but here are some nice family shots from mama’s camera.

Dad and Grandma at Pike's [Photo credit: Mom Kojima]
Dad and Grandma at Pike’s [Photo credit: Mom Kojima]

Uncle Norman and Aunty Andi at Pike's [Photo credit: Mom Kojima]
Uncle Norman and Aunty Andi at Pike’s [Photo credit: Mom Kojima]

Kerri-Ann, Uncle Mike, Aunty Amy and Chris at Pike's [Photo credit: Mom Kojima]
Kerri-Ann, Uncle Mike, Aunty Amy and Chris at Pike’s [Photo credit: Mom Kojima]

Paparazzi shot of Uncle Norman, Evan, Aunty Andi and Travis [Photo credit: Mom Kojima]
Paparazzi shot of Uncle Norman, Evan, Aunty Andi and Travis [Photo credit: Mom Kojima]

We mostly went for our Pike’s favorites/usuals like Piroshky, Piroshky, Starbuck’s (the first location), Beecher’s, etc. For more Seattle info and photos, check out Part I and Part II of my “See and Eat Seattle” series from a couple years ago.

After playing tourist, we headed back to our hotel to rest and freshen up before dinner. I suggested one of my favorites in downtown Seattle: Umi Sake House. We went to town there, grinding such items as the Dynamite Bake, Mochi Sato Age, Seafood Gyoza, Yakisoba Seafood, First Ave Roll and Hottie Roll.

Dynamite Bake - assorted clams & shrimp baked in spicy crab mix - $10
Dynamite Bake – assorted clams & shrimp baked in spicy crab mix – $10

Mochi Sato Age - fried taro potato & mochi in tempura sauce - $7
Mochi Sato Age – fried taro potato & mochi in tempura sauce – $7

Seafood Gyoza - homemade shrimp & scallop dumplings served with chili soy - $9
Seafood Gyoza – homemade shrimp & scallop dumplings served with chili soy – $9

Seafood Yakisoba - seafood stir friend with egg noodles & vegetables - $15
Seafood Yakisoba – seafood stir friend with egg noodles & vegetables – $15

First Ave Roll - shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber, tobiko topped with spicy tuna & spicy mayonnaise - $12
First Ave Roll – shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber, tobiko topped with spicy tuna & spicy mayonnaise – $12

Hottie Roll - spicy scallops, tobiko, cucumber, weapped with salmon - $12
Hottie Roll – spicy scallops, tobiko, cucumber, weapped with salmon – $12

And let’s not forget to wash it all down with one of the best beers on earth. 8)

Umai!
Umai!

After posing for a photo opp outside of Umi’s…

Us outside of Umi's
Us outside of Umi’s

… it was off to Ohana’s across the street. That’s a given.

Inside Ohana's
Inside Ohana’s

One too many
One too many

After filling up with liquid courage, the BIL and I dragged the lady friends through a “scary” alley – just because – to see if anyone wanted to mess. Nobody did.

BIL's ready to throw down
BIL’s ready to throw down

Then it was off to meet some of Leanne’s friends at Belltown Billiards.

Shooting pool at Belltown Billiards
Shooting pool at Belltown Billiards

As we were walking out of Belltown Billiards, the doorman hooked us up with Voss bottled water. Either he liked us or knew that we needed it. πŸ˜› Whatever the case, much love BB door man guy! It hit the spot.

Voss Water
Voss Water

A wonderful close to our wonderful Alaskan vacay.

Mahaloz for sticking through it and reading all 4 parts. If you have any questions or comments about any part of the entire cruise experience, feel free to post them below. Shoots!

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV

A Weekend In Lana`i

December 1, 2009

Close your eyes with me for a second.

Now imagine a stunning paradise, filled with breathtaking magnificence and splendor. Can you see it? Can you feel it? It’s right there isn’t it?

Now open your eyes.

Chances are, the place you just dreamt about looked strikingly similar to the picturesque island we’re about to visit…

As the 1 year wedding anniversary for wifey and I approached, I thought it’d be a fun little surprise to whisk her away to somewhere unique and different for the weekend. A place that neither her or I have ever been before. After putting up with me for 365 days after all, she pretty much earned it right? πŸ˜›

So for a short weekend, we decided to close our eyes and get swept away to the island now known as the “Private Isle”, formerly the “Pineapple Isle” (“Pineapple Isle” because it used to be a place where a quarter of the world’s pineapples were produced and “Private Isle” because 98% of it is privately owned by David Murdock via Castle & Cooke). Here are some tips on how to best enjoy your “Lanaian” adventure. Hope it helps!

You’ve pretty much got two choices in terms of booking a flight to Lana`i: Island Air (who also provides flights to Hawaiian Air) and go! Airlines. Mokulele Airlines (who has recently partnered with go!) also has flights via their charter service, but booking a flight directly via their web site, at the time of this writing, was not working.

According to their route map, for flights to Lana`i, go! flies out of both Honolulu and Kahului via their go! Express service, while Island Air (and Hawaiian Air) only has flights out of Honolulu. On this occasion, booking through Island Air directly gave me the cheapest fares.

Boarding our Lana`i bound plane at sunset via Island Air
Boarding our Lana`i bound plane at sunset via Island Air

Ed’s Tip: If you’re weary of planes, it may be a rough take-off for you. Since it is a smaller, propeller powered flight, you will hear and feel everything during lift off. Once airborne though, everything is smoove.

Upon landing in Lana`i City, you will deplane, walk into the terminal and turn right towards the shuttle service check-in counter.

Shuttle service check-in counter
Shuttle service check-in counter

As long as you’ve made your reservation through one of the resorts (or Hotel Lana`i), the shuttles will be ready for your arrival. At about $20 per person for unlimited rides, it is totally worth the investment. Trust!

Ed’s Tip: Unless you are planning on going gallivanting around the entire island (which is mostly via off-road jeeping), there really is no need to rent a car. The shuttle stops at the three major destinations of the island: the Lodge at Koele at the top of every hour, in Lana`i City (Hotel Lana`i) at the :15 minute mark (Manele bound) and :45 minute mark (Koele bound) of every hour, and at Manele Bay at the :30 minute mark of every hour.

Lana`i shuttle arriving at the Lodge at Koele
Lana`i shuttle arriving at the Lodge at Koele

Arriving at the hotel, you are immediately pampered and made to feel like royalty. You are greeted with a kukui nut lei, and, instead of standing and waiting in a long line to check in, you are asked to take a seat, while offered a hot towel to freshen up. Did I mention that they bring you a sweet pineapple beverage to quench your thirst too? Geez, a fella can get used to this!

We chose to stay at the Four Seasons Resort, Lana`i, The Lodge at Koele, a great alternative to the other two Lana`i options: Four Seasons Resort Lana`i at Manele Bay, and Hotel Lana`i.

I can’t really speak on Hotel Lana`i because I’ve never stayed there, but I would highly recommend staying at the Lodge at Koele. And though absolutely beautiful, the Manele Bay resort is the most expensive of the three and is almost like any other beach resort you’ve been to, especially if you’re from Hawaii. Hotel Lana`i is the cheapest and most central (right in the heart of Lana`i City), but you will not get the luxury of the Four Seasons.

The Lodge at Koele was a dream. You are in Hawaii, but it is almost like you are not in Hawaii. Like you’ve been swept away to a high-class countryside villa in the middle of the forest, complete with tall pines, its own pond, and elegant art strewn all about. And because of all of the greenery (and because of the higher elevation), it is much cooler – cold even – than its Manele counterpart (which sits right on the ocean front).

Four Seasons Resort Lana`i, The Lodge At Koele
One Keomoku Hwy
Lana`i City, HI 96763 (map)
(808) 565-4000
Twitter: @FSLanai

Ed’s Tips: As expected at such a luxurious resort, rates are not cheap. Be sure to ask for the kama`aina rate (if you’re local) and/or special golf packages (if you’re a golfer). If you’re on Twitter, be sure to drop them a line. They are very active on there and seem to appreciate anything and everything Lana`i. Tell ’em @worldwideed sent ya and… ya never know! πŸ™‚ They’re doing Twitter right fo sho.

One of the recommendations given to us was to try the food at Lana`i City Grille at Hotel Lana`i, so shortly after checking in and freshening up, we caught the shuttle (at the top of the hour) over to Hotel Lana`i for dinner.

Lana`i City Grille sign at Hotel Lana`i
Lana`i City Grille sign at Hotel Lana`i

Wifey and I shared the Crab Cakes and Soup of the Day (a spicy lobster bisque) to start.

Crab Cakes - Tomato Corn Salsa and Tobiko Remoulade - $14
Crab Cakes – Tomato Corn Salsa and Tobiko Remoulade – $14

Soup of the Day - Spicy lobster bisque - $9
Soup of the Day – Spicy lobster bisque – $9

Then, she moved on to the Pecan Crusted Catch of the Day (Mahi) while I took on the Grilled Filet of Angus Beef.

Pecan Crusted Mahi - Chipotle Honey Butter, Chorizo Potato Puree and Seasonal Vegetables - $34
Pecan Crusted Mahi – Chipotle Honey Butter, Chorizo Potato Puree and Seasonal Vegetables – $34

Grilled Filet of Angus Beef - Aged Cheddar Potato Cake, Roasted Root Vegetables and a Classic Bearnaise - $39
Grilled Filet of Angus Beef – Aged Cheddar Potato Cake, Roasted Root Vegetables and a Classic Bearnaise – $39

Ed’s Tips: Make a reservation as it fills up fast here. Especially on Friday nights when local band Alapa Drive jams for the locals and tourists alike. Also, portions are pretty big here. Bring your appetite!

Lana`i City Grille
828 Lanai Avenue
Lana`i City, Lana`i, HI 96763 (map)
(808) 565-7211
Wed-Sun: 5pm-9pm

One thing we noticed early on about Lana`i is the people. They’re extremely friendly and filled with Aloha. And I’m not talking about those in the industry, catering to us tourists. They’re almost required to be nice to us. I’m talking about the local locals. Walking around, we were regularly greeted with smiles, several “Howzits!” and an occasional “Aloha!” I was really impressed and happy to see that the Aloha Spirit is alive and well here!

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of crime here either. Enjoying our meal, we missed the shuttle headed to Koele. No problem, we’ll just walk it back. Other than a crazy cat that leaped out of the woodworks, we felt completely safe in the darkness (street lights are few and far between). Safety? The result of a laid back lifestyle I guess.

Ed’s Tip: The walk between Lana`i City and the Lodge at Koele follows a single road (Lana`i Ave) for about a mile and takes approximately 20-25 minutes. Not too bad. If you don’t want to wait for the shuttle to come back around. It’s also a good way to walk off your meal if you find yourself overeating. 8)

The next morning, we hit up the town square that surrounds Dole Park, also referred to as “the city”. It’s a cute, quaint little town that is actually listed on the National Trust’s list of most “endangered historic places”.

One place that we were regularly told we HAD to check out was a place called Blue Ginger Cafe, right in the heart of Lana`i City.

Blue Ginger Cafe, Lana`i
Blue Ginger Cafe, Lana`i

Not only did they seem to have the longest hours of any merchant in the square (6AM-8PM on most days), they also had a full fledged bakery selection and a flat screen HDTV to boot. Let’s just hope that they have Oceanic Time Warner Cable service for this free plug. πŸ˜‰

Their menu ranged from breakfast items (including Omelettes, Pancakes, French Toast, etc.), plate lunch kine stuffs (Hamburger Steak, Loco Moco, Chicken Katsu, etc.), burgers, sandwiches, saimin, fried rice, “healthy choices”, their bakery options, and more!

Since it was breakfast time, I had to go with my all-time favorite breakfast meal: Corned Beef Hash and Eggs! Awwww yeaaaahhh!

Regular Breakfast - 2 Eggs, Choice of Meat (Portuguese Sausage, Patty Sausage, Corned Beef Hash, Spam, Bacon, Ham), served with Rice, Fried Rice, Hash Brown or Toast - $7.50
Regular Breakfast – 2 Eggs, Choice of Meat (Portuguese Sausage, Patty Sausage, Corned Beef Hash, Spam, Bacon, Ham), served with Rice, Fried Rice, Hash Brown or Toast – $7.50

Wifey enjoyed their blueberry turnover with a coffee. Perhaps she enjoyed it a little too much because she ordered 2 more to go! πŸ˜› Nah, they were actually super onos!

Blueberry Turnover - $2
Blueberry Turnover – $2

Blue Ginger Cafe provided a great escape from the touristy resort life, and brought us back to grass root, mom and pop-type living/eating. Highly recommended!

Blue Ginger Cafe
409 7th Street
Lana`i City, Lana`i, HI 96763 (map)
(808) 565-6363
Mon, Thu, Fri: 6am-8pm
Tue, Wed: 6am-2pm
Sat, Sun: 6:30am-8pm

Following breakfast, we made a quick stop back at our room to freshen up before heading to Lana`i’s other Four Seasons property: Lana`i at Manele Bay.

Looking out into Hulopo`e Bay from the Manele Bay resort lobby area
Looking out into Hulopo`e Bay from the Manele Bay resort lobby area

Looking into the Manele Bay resort lobby area
Looking into the Manele Bay resort lobby area

The pool area at the Manele Bay resort
The pool area at the Manele Bay resort

As you can see in the photos, The Lana`i at Manele Bay resort is a very ritzy, beach-type resort. The kind you see in magazines and those “Win a Trip to Hawaii” contest fliers. πŸ™‚ If this is more your style, then I would say go getum and book away!

Four Seasons Resort Lana`i at Manele Bay
One Manele Bay Road
Lana`i City, HI 96763 (map)
(808) 565-2000
Twitter: @FSLanai

As for us, we were just passing on through, on the way to the beach that sits behind the resort: Hulopo`e Bay.

Overlooking Hulopo`e Bay
Overlooking Hulopo`e Bay

At the bottom of the trail, you’ll meet up with one of the friendly employees who will hook you up with towels, an umbrella and beach chairs (and covers) to help you lounge and relax on the amazing oceanfront. And, oh yes, more refreshments!

The life
The life

Ed’s Tip: Both resorts’ systems are connected, so I am told that as long as you are staying at one, you can charge things at the other no problem. That means that you don’t have to worry about carrying around your wallet/money. Just charge um to the room!

The beach is absolutely gahgeous. Everything you’d wish for in a dream beach: white sand, clear, blue water, and barren! Aside from the dozen or so other beach-goers at the time, we pretty much had the whole beach to ourselves.

Hulopo`e Bay, Lana`i
Hulopo`e Bay, Lana`i

Ed’s Tips: Keep to the left side of the bay (if you’re facing the ocean), as there are rocks and reef on the right side. Pack your goggles. The water is so clear that you’ll be able to see all the way to the bottom of the ocean. You might even catch tiny fish swimming around your legs like us.

Once you’ve had your fill of Hulopo`e Bay Beach, head southeast along the beach (left if you’re facing the ocean) until you get to a little trail that leads to one of two of the trail’s highlights: The Hulopo`e Bay Tide Pools.

Hulopo`e Bay Tide Pools
Hulopo`e Bay Tide Pools

Hulopo`e Bay Tide Pools
Hulopo`e Bay Tide Pools

Hulopo`e Bay Tide Pools
Hulopo`e Bay Tide Pools

While on the beach, I shoved my T-shirt in wifey’s bag in a feeble attempt to get a tan. During the hike, I decided to put my shirt back on so I reached in wifey’s bag to pull it out. To our surprise, a friendly little scorpion decided that he wanted to come along on the hike with us. Yeah a scorpion! WTH!? OK, so it probably wasn’t very friendly, but it was little. In my haste, I shook off my shirt and sent the scorpion flying into one of the tide pools. Sorry little guy!

My buddy, the little scorpion, floating around in one of the Hulopo`e Bay's Tide Pools
My buddy, the little scorpion, floating around in one of the Hulopo`e Bay’s Tide Pools

Ed’s Tip: Not sure how common these are in the area, but beware of the possibility of mini scorpions. Shake off your bags and clothing just in case.

Continuing along the trail, we got to the other highlight. The crown jewel of the area. None other than Pu`u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock).

Pu`u Pehe Rock
Pu`u Pehe Rock

My first thought when experiencing this remarkable work of Mother Nature was “Wow!” with the first word seeping outta my mouth being “Ho!” And it’s even more amazing as you get closer.

Pu`u Pehe from the cliff's edge
Pu`u Pehe from the cliff’s edge

The rock even has an amazing story to go along with it: It is believed that Pu`u Pehe was named after a beautiful young princess from Maui by the same name. She moved to Lana`i after falling in love with a young warrior from the island. Afraid to let others see her beautiful princess, the warrior hid her in a sea cave near the rock. One day, while away gathering supplies, terrible weather hit the area. Before he could return in time, the strong, storm waves had already drowned his princess in the cave. Distraught, he asked for help from the gods, who helped him climb up to the top of the steep rock where he eventually buried his beloved princess before jumping to his death.

Talk about romantic yeah?

Either way, it’s truly a majestic sight and is a definite must-see while on Lana`i.

Pu`u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock)
Pu`u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock)

Pu`u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock)
Pu`u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock)

Pu`u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock)
Pu`u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock)

Oops, the bottom of the hour is coming up. We better hurry back to the shuttle stop before it takes off without us!

A quick shuttle ride back to our hotel and a power nap later, and *poof* it was time for din-din. We weren’t all that hungry so we opted to stay in and try the resort’s Terrace Restaurant on for size. Located right across the lobby, next to the Great Hall (that included live lounge music by a local pianist), it was a relaxing meal after a long day.

Wifey enjoyed the House Made Lobster Ravioli, while I opted for the “Design Your Entree” option with my Tiger Prawns and Hamakua Mushrooms combo.

House Made Lobster Ravioli - Cabernet Butter Sauce Over Wilted Swiss Chard - $30.
House Made Lobster Ravioli – Cabernet Butter Sauce Over Wilted Swiss Chard – $30.

"Design Your EntrΓ©e": Grilled Tiger Prawns with Mango Relish and Sauteed Hamakua Mushrooms (Garlic Butter) - $33
“Design Your EntrΓ©e”: Grilled Tiger Prawns with Mango Relish and Sauteed Hamakua Mushrooms (Garlic Butter) – $33

And then it was on to dessert with the waitress-recommended Baked Chocolate Tart.

Baked Chocolate Tart - Kona Coffee Ice Cream - $9
Baked Chocolate Tart – Kona Coffee Ice Cream – $9

Terrace Restaurant
Four Seasons Resort, Lanai, The Lodge at Koele
One Keomoku Hwy
Lana`i City, HI 96763 (map)
(808) 565-4000

With our bellies satisfied, it was time to head back to our room to hit the hay in preparation for our last full day on this beautiful island. Aww, too soon! 😦

Ed’s Tip: If you’re a movie buff, your room comes equipped with a DVD player. You can rent from a limited selection of DVDs from the front desk for free.

The next morning marked the actual anniversary date for wifey and I and was cause for celebration. We decided to step out onto our patio area with the blueberry turnovers from Blue Ginger Cafe, hot coffee and tea from downstairs, and a little bubbly in the form of a Piper-Hiedsieck bottle of Brut Champagne, compliments of the wonderful staff at the Four Seasons Resort’s Lodge at Koele. Much love guys!

Piper-Hiedsieck Brut Champagne, compliments of the Four Seasons Resort's Lodge at Koele.
Piper-Hiedsieck Brut Champagne, compliments of the Four Seasons Resort’s Lodge at Koele.

Ed’s Tip: Coffee and Tea are served in the lobby area from 5:30AM-8AM every morning. We were also told that pastries would be there too, but perhaps you need to go early for those?

After sharing our memories of the last year together, it was time to make the best of our last day on the island. We started by exploring the vast grounds of our own resort, the Lodge at Koele.

Sign for the Four Seasons Resort Lana`i, The Lodge at Koele
Sign for the Four Seasons Resort Lana`i, The Lodge at Koele

Looking out towards Keomoku Highway
Looking out towards Keomoku Highway

Looking towards the Lodge at Koele's main building
Looking towards the Lodge at Koele’s main building

Enter the main building and you’ll be amazed by the Great Hall. Here’s a panoramic view.

Panoramic of the Great Hall
Panoramic of the Great Hall

Exit through the back of the main building and you’ll run into a curious statue, one of the many art pieces around the property.

Statue at the Lodge at Koele
Statue at the Lodge at Koele

Walking forward for a bit, we hit the Pineapple Fountain, a popular spot for weddings.

Pineapple Fountain
Pineapple Fountain

To the left is the property’s pool and hot tub area and to the right is the Reflecting Pond. Filled with Koi, this is one of the property’s main focal points.

The Reflecting Pond
The Reflecting Pond

Probably a good a time as any to play tourist. We obliged.

Using the Reflecting Pond as our backdrop
Using the Reflecting Pond as our backdrop

Close by, there is a greenhouse called the Orchid House and Gardens. Here’s a description from the web: The greenhouse at Four Seasons Resort Lana’i, The Lodge at Koele is filled with the sweet scents and vibrant colours of orchids, hanging ferns, potted palms and tropical flowers. On the walk up to the greenhouse you will enjoy a breathtaking view of the mountains and the lake. Admission is free.

Orchid House and Gardens
Orchid House and Gardens

To the right, is a cool, temple-like structure with an Asian influence. Check it!

Asian influenced, temple-like structure
Asian influenced, temple-like structure

Depending on the season (I’m guessing), you may notice turkeys scurrying around the resort grounds. They’re not very friendly, but cute nonetheless. πŸ˜›

Turkeys on the Lodge at Koele grounds
Turkeys on the Lodge at Koele grounds

Continuing right, you’ll find one of the coolest, golf-related things I’ve ever seen: a full, 18-hole miniature golf putting course, complete with water hazards, sand traps and all! Just ask the front desk to rent a putter and ball. It’s free.

18 hole miniature golf putting course
18 hole miniature golf putting course

Ed’s Tip: Unless you’ve got mad, Tiger Woods type skillz like me πŸ˜› , you may want to either putt and run, or have your friend/mate/partner go up ahead and “protect” your ball. Some greens are really fast, with impossible turns, that your ball will inevitably be drawn to go for a swim in the shimmering water. πŸ˜‰

Our last day in Lanai was coming to a close, but we were starving. One last stop at Lanai City to grab lunch should do the trick. We hit up Blue Ginger Cafe’s neighbor Canoes Lana`i (formerly Tanigawa Restaurant, est. 1953).

Canoe's Lanai Restaurant
Canoe’s Lanai Restaurant

The sign out front said, “Home of the Famous Tanigawa Burger” so you betchyo bottom that’s what I hadta have. (And yes… for you eagle eyes out there who noticed the “Closed” sign above: this photo was taken the day before. Sheez, let a brutha slide once in a while won’tcha? πŸ˜› )

Tanigawa Burger - Mrs. Tanigawa's original recipe. A Lana`i tradition since 1953 - $2.30 each with an order of curly fries - $2.09
Tanigawa Burger – Mrs. Tanigawa’s original recipe. A Lana`i tradition since 1953 – $2.30 each with an order of curly fries – $2.09

Ed’s Tip: The Tanigawa Burger runs on the small side, so I would advise you to order two if you’re hungry. At least that’s what the waitress told me all the local boys do.

Wifey was craving fried rice at Blue Ginger the other morning, but they were all out. The urge must’ve still been ever-present cause she fried riced it up here for lunch.

Fried Rice and Egg - $5.69
Fried Rice and Egg – $5.69

Canoes Lana`i Restaurant
419 7th Street
Lanai City, Lanai, HI 96763 (map)
(808) 565-6537
Open daily: 6:30am-1PM

Before we knew it, it was time to wake up from this dream and head to the airport for our flight back home to reality.

View from Lana`i Airport at dusk
View from Lana`i Airport at dusk

But then again, our eyes were open the whole time…

Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – November 25, 2009

November 25, 2009

Congrats to M for capturing his 3rd WIH victory last week by correctly guessing Cafe Laufer. Please help me share tha love with bruddah emmz. πŸ™‚

This week, we’re gonna mix it up a bit to make things a lil’ more eeeenteresting. Since there are only a few known “hotspots” around the island of Lanai, I thought I’d make it a tad more challenging by offering up 4 cropped photos of the non-standard fare. Each photo will be worth 1 point, with the first guy or gal guessing all 4 correctly gettingΒ a whoppin’Β 4 points! More chances for all to score points and move up da rankings. Smaht chyea? Hehe!

A-ight, so hurr we go. Good luck y’all!

Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - November 25, 2009
Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – November 25, 2009

Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - November 25, 2009
Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – November 25, 2009

Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - November 25, 2009
Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – November 25, 2009

Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - November 25, 2009
Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – November 25, 2009

Special Kine Bonus!!!: Guess the name of the burger and the restaurant it’s from for 2 additional Bonus Ponts!

Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? - November 25, 2009
Where In Hawaii is Edward Sugimoto? – November 25, 2009

Hints: Places around da Private Isle. πŸ˜‰


Da “Where In Hawaii” Winnahz Circle!

Da Leaderboard!

  1. Coconut Willy – 7.5
  2. snow – 6
  3. Takeshi – 4.5
  4. HNL2LAS – 3
    Paco – 3
    M – 3
  5. jr. – 2
    Syxx – 2
    hemajang – 2
    NaPueo – 2
    MakiSushi – 2
    NeedaHobby – 2
  6. skycastles – 1.5
  7. GumbysHorse – 1
    ijiwarui – 1
    kako mochi – 1
    BarbieQ! – 1
    teej – 1
    Rodney – 1
    Ynaku – 1
    frankie – 1
    jack – 1
    miLL-viLLe – 1
    Kage – 1
    getITon – 1
    k15 – 1
    Marvo – 1
    kuya.d – 1
    Scott – 1
    YN – 1
    rayboyjr – 1
    mcat – 1
    carokun – 1
  8. MoOgooGuypAN – 0.5
    Coconut Willy’s wifey – 0.5

Back to Back Winnahz!
* Β snow, Paco, Syxx, NaPueo, MakiSushi

P.S. Adding this footnote to all future WIH posts… If any of y’all have pics you’d like to contribute to the “Where In Hawaii” game, feel free to email them to me and I’ll post um up in future blogs! And yes, you aren’t allowed to guess on those days! LOL! πŸ˜›

Happy Hump Day Where In Hawaii Wednesday y’all. Hope err-one has a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with friends and family tomorrow. πŸ™‚ Shooooots!