Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Good Eats: The Pig and the Lady

This isn't something I normally do.  I wouldn't post a Good Eats about a place I never ate, but The Pig and the Lady has 3 things going for it: a good chef, a good restaurateur, and a good review.  The chef is Andrew Le, who was a sous chef at Chef Mavro.  Chef Mavro is one of the best, if not the best, 5-star restaurant in Hawaii.  Working at Chef Mavro's for 5 years speaks volumes to Andrew's talent and ability.  The restaurateur is Hank Adaniya, creator of the cutting-edge Trio restaurant in Chicago.  Hank is famous for grooming new chefs and concepts and is now focusing his energies in Hank's Haute Dogs.  The reviewer is John Heckathorn, a long time food critic in Hawaii that covers everything from 5-star restaurants to mom-and-pop stands.  

The concept for The Pig and the Lady is simple, it's a Vietnamese-fusion "pop-up" restaurant.  A pop-up restaurant is a restaurant that pops-up anywhere, even in another restaurant.  The pop-up usually stays in one place for a short time, disappearing then popping up somewhere else.  The cuisine is Vietnamese fusion.  Chef Andrew Le is Vietnamese and his training at Chef Mavro's was in fusion cuisine, so it's natural he's starting a Vietnamese fusion restaurant. This week, The Pig and the Lady is popping up in Hank's Haute Dogs at night.  

This works because Hank's isn't normally open for dinner.  Their clientele is the lunch and early dinner crowd.  Hank's Haute Dogs is located at 324 Coral Street and is open from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday and 11:00 to 5:00 pm Saturday and Sunday.  The Pig and the Lady will open for dinner this week from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm and do a late night service of appetizers until midnight.  Dinner is by reservations only.

What's more interesting is that Hank is known for grooming great chefs, so is it coincidence that Andrew Le has the opportunity to use Hank's kitchen and restaurant?  Maybe, but maybe not.  Also, Chef Le's business partner is Martha Cheng, who is the co-owner of Melt, a gourmet food truck that serves grilled cheese sandwiches.  This sounds like an All-Star Team in the making.  But the proof is in the pudding, so check out John Heckathorn's review at Biting Commentary (click on link in name).

Also catch a You-Tube Video review from Mari Taketa from Nonstop Honolulu.

Interested?  Want to know more?  Stop by their website The Pig and the Lady or email them at

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Things to Do: Joy of Sake Update

It's not the same as the Joy of Sake, but the Genius Lounge sake sampler is the next best thing.
It's with great sadness that I have to announce the Joy of Sake will not be in held in the month of August in Honolulu Academy of Arts.  Instead, it's with great joy that I can say it will be held on Friday September 9, 2011 in the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel at 2255 Kalakaua Ave from 7:00 to 9:30 pm.  

This event comes highly recommended from people who went last year.  So if you are in town during the week of September 9th, this event is well worth your time.  

The entire Joy of Sake website isn't updated yet, so if you click on the website there are still some references to the 2010 events.  The events for San Francisco and New York are still To Be Announced.  However, they did announce Tokyo event will be held on November 8, 2011 in the TOC Building from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Things to Do: Kapiolani Park

In Oahu you don't have to spend all your time at the beach.  If you want to lay out on lush grass beneath a palm tree you just have to stop by Kapiolani Park.  This is the oldest and largest public park on the island, with 300 acres there is enough space for barbeques, futbol (soccer), rugby, cricket, softball, archery fields, tennis courts, a bandstand, the Waikiki Shell, the Honolulu Zoo, and parking.  Just depends on what you want to do.

It's conveniently located the east end of Waikiki.  Depending on where you stay, it's within walking distance or a short trip by bus or Waikiki Trolley.  It's about 2 miles (3 km) around, so it also makes a good jogging route in the morning or evening.
The park is named after Queen Kapiolani.  Queen Kapiolani was the wife of King David Kalakaua and he dedicated the land to her after she died.  The park was created in 1877 when the Kapiolani Park Association leased the land from King David for $1.  That is not a typo, 130 acres of land was leased for $1 a year.  After the kingdom of Hawaii fell, the stewardship of the park passed to the Honolulu Park Commission.  Some of the stipulations for the park was that it will never be sold or leased, prohibited the charging of entrance fees, and that it will remain a free public recreational area.   

Speaking of free, the Royal Hawaiian Band plays at the bandstand for free every Sunday afternoon at 4:00 pm.  The bandstand is by Queen Kapiolani's statue.

The bandstand pond has ducks, so kids have something to look at when they walk by.  

Next to the bandstand are a row of ironwood trees.  Some of the ironwood trees are over 100 years old.  Ironwood trees line what use to be trails for horse carriages.  King Kalakaua was an avid fan of horses and horse racing.  The trail leads to the tennis courts along Kalakaua Ave.

Or you can walk over Monsarrat Ave and stop by the Honolulu Zoo.

Off in the distance you can see the Waikiki Shell Ampitheater.  This is the site of outdoor concerts, graduations, and the Kodak Hula Show.

The tennis courts are further down Kalakaua Ave near the Waikiki Aquarium.  The rules of the tennis courts are posted on the gates and ask that you limit court time to 45 minutes if people are waiting.  You can also reserve court time through the Parks and Recreation Department.  Scroll to the bottom of the page for instructions on how to apply for a permit.

Speaking of the Waikiki Aquarium, it's just across the street.  If you have little kids, and many people do, the Aquarium will keep them occupied for a couple hours.

There are shady areas with benches if you want to have a picnic or just sit and relax. 

Or you could just lay out on the grass.

Dillingham Fountain at the end of Kapiolani Park near Kaimana Beach and Diamond Head on Poni Moi Street.  The fountain was dedicated to the wife of Honolulu businessman Walter Dillingham, Louise Dillingham.  Walter Dillingham has been called the "Baron of Hawaii Industry" owning the Hawaiian Dredging Company and the Oahu Railway and Land Company developing Honolulu when Hawaii was a Territory.  Special thanks to Kim, full time Tweeter and part time photographer, for contributing her pictures.

If you want to get a park permit to reserve areas for BBQ's or parties call the regional park office at 808-971-2510 or the main office at 808-973-7250 between 7:45 am to 4:00 pm Hawaii time Monday through Friday.  Leave your name, number, the date, and picnic area.  Depending on the number of people and if you have tents, fees might apply.  Note: they cannot return long distance phone calls, so you might want to email or fax at 808-596-7046.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Beaches: Kailua Beach Park and Lanikai Beach

Kailua Beach has been rated as one of the top beaches in the US due to it's soft sand, gentle waves, and clear waters but Kailua Beach is actually two beaches: Kailua Beach Park and Lanikai Beach.  The beach is divided by this ridge (from where the above pictured was taken) and splits Kailua Beach Park to the west and Lanikai to the east.  With a rental shop nearby you can fish, swim, kayak, sail, windsurf, kite boarding, snorkel, and if the conditions are right, surf.  While most people know about Kailua Beach Park, not many people know about Lanikai Beach making this a "hidden gem" in Hawaii.     

Kailua Beach is located on the northeast shore of Oahu and, depending on traffic, is about a 30-45 minute drive over the Pali Highway.  The Pali Highway (Highway 61) goes through a tunnel, briefly becomes the Kalanianaole Highway and turns into Kailua Road past Castle Hospital.  Basically, you just follow Kailua Road to Kailua Beach, just be aware at the triangle intersection of Kailua Road and Kuulei Road take a right and at the second traffic light take a left.  Or you could take the long way around the eastern part of the island.  It's a scenic drive that takes you past the Halona Blowhole, Sandy Beach, Makapuu Lighthouse, and Waimanalo Beach but that will take hour to an hour and a half.

This is the intersection of Kalaheo Avenue and Kailua Road.  Stay on Kailua Road and you are almost there.  

And finally Kailua Beach Park.  The park has restrooms, showers, free parking, picnic tables, lifeguards, phones, and a concession stand.

There's also a rental store across the road where you can get windsurfing gear, paddle-boards, snorkels, or kayaks.  

Just a word of warning, the north-east shores of the island will occasionally get jellyfish in the water and wash up on shore.  That jellyfish is a Portuguese Man o' War and someone graciously lent their hand to add perspective (that's not my hand in the picture). The Portuguese Man o' War floats on the surface with it's air bladder and is pushed along by wind and ocean currents.  The beaches will usually post warning signs if there's schools of jellyfish in the water, but that usually happens at Waimanalo and Bellows Beach.  Here, you might get an occasional Man o' War in the water or on the beach.  Just check with the lifeguards if you have any questions.  

Looking west towards Kailua Beach Park from the rocky ridge that splits the beach.  Notice the low surf.  Occasionally in the winter Kailua Beach gets big waves, but for the most part this isn't a good surf spot.  Most of the time there's high winds, which make it a great place to wind surf.  

Offshore is Popoia Island, means "Flat Island" in Hawaiian.  For those adventurous kayakers that want to journey out there, Flat Island is a bird sanctuary.  Several seabirds make their home on the island.    

If you continue on Mokulua Drive past the boat ramp  you'll enter the town of Lanikai.  The road circles around back to Kailua Beach and along the way are several beach access points where you can walk to the ocean.  Just remember not to walk through someone's yard and to use the public beach access points. 

And here's what a vacation is all about.  Soft, white sands and warm sun without the crowds.  Because Lanikai Beach is secluded and only a mile long, it feels like a private beach.

Those canoes aren't for show, they belong to the Lanikai Canoe Club.  

Lanikai Beach looking southeast towards the Mokulua Twin Islands.  There's coral reefs below the surface, so this is a good spot to go snorkeling.

There's a small beach on the Twins that you can paddle to check out.  It is a little far, so just prepared to paddle for awhile.  

For the hiking enthusiasts check out Ka'iwa Ridge Trail, also known as Pillbox Hiking Trail.  It's a trail that runs along the hills in back of the beach.  There are a few World War II pillboxes that dot the ridge line.  

This entrance is about 100 meters past the Mid-Pacific Country Club on Kaelepulu Drive, but before the gated community of Bluestone.  Before the gates of Bluestone take the road leading to the left up the hill and you'll find this dirt trail leading up the hill.  

The trail runs for about a mile and goes up to about 600 feet in elevation.  The trail is underdeveloped, so the beginning is steep, slippery, and hard to navigate.    

Traversing the ridge, you come across a World War II bunker (not pictured) and a great view of Kailua Bay. 

Looking back towards the Mid-Pac Country Club and the Ko-olau Mountains.   On a clear day you might be able to see the Pali Lookout.  

Looking out towards the Mokulua Twin Islands.  You can see the coral reefs in the water from up here.  Whether you came out here for the sun, the surf, or the hiking Kailua Beach is definitely worth the trip.  

Special thanks to Eric, Cliff, and Wendi, part time photographer and avid beach goer, for contributing her pictures.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Things to Do: Pearl Harbor, Pacific Aviation Museum

The last stop on the tour of Pearl Harbor is the Pacific Aviation Museum.  The museum occupies two hangars on Ford Island: half of it is in the refurbished Hangar 37, the other half in Hangar 79.  Hangar 37 is a 42,000 square foot hangar used to house seaplanes and was one of the structures that survived the Pearl Harbor attack in 1942.  Hangar 79 was the maintenance and engine repair hangar in World War II.  Now it holds the LT Ted Shealy Restoration Shop, the MiG Alley Korean War Exhibit, and the latest additions to the museum.  

View Larger Map
The shuttle bus that takes you to the USS Missouri also stops by the Pacific Aviation Museum at 319 Lexington Blvd.  It's about a 5 minute ride from the Missouri to Hangar 37.  Museum hours are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm everyday.  Admission is $20 for adults, $10 for children, and $10 for the combat flight simulators (that includes the 30 minute briefing and flight).  

You can buy tickets either at the entrance to Hangar 37 or the main pavilion at the Arizona Memorial.  There is the Aviators' Tour (which costs extra) and is the guided tour through the museum and Hangar 79.  Plan on taking 2 hours to see both hangars.  Unfortunately, since we spent too much time at the Arizona Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine exhibit, and the USS Missouri we arrived too late for the guided tour.

It's seems like a cliche to say, but you're seen part of the museum in a movie.  Across from the museum is the old control tower that was filmed in the movie Pearl Harbor.  The tower is left in the same condition as it was after World War II.  Inactivity led to its deterioration over the years and there's a movement to refurbish the tower.  Any donations to the Pacific Air Museum are welcome.  I don't know who that guy is, he just walked into the picture.  Anyway, when enter the museum, you sit down in a theater and watch a film of what life was like back in 1941.  Since I didn't get here in time, I missed the film.

Walking past the theater is the first exhibit, a Japanese A6M Zero fighter on a mock deck of the carrier Hiryu.  The Zero's long range, ability to carry several bombs, and maneuverability made it the best carrier-based fighter in the beginning of the war. In Pearl Harbor, the Zero's were used to attack planes on the ground and in the air.

The attack on Pearl Harbor used three different types of aircraft: the "Zero" air-superiority fighters, the "Val" dive bombers, and the "Kate" bombers that carried either a torpedo or bombs.  

The weapons used in Pearl Harbor.  The Type 98 bomb on the left was used for precision dive bombing against surface targets.   Val dive bombers used Type 98 bombs to strike hangars, buildings, and aircraft on Ford Island.  The torpedo in the center was modified with wooden fins to keep from diving into the shallow mud of Pearl Harbor.  The bomb on the right was a modified 16-inch (406mm) naval artillery shell used to attack battleships from high altitude.  The "Kate" bombers dropped those modified Type 99 bombs that destroyed the USS Arizona.  

The attack on Pearl Harbor came in two waves launched from 6 aircraft carriers.  The first wave was the main effort and targeted the capital ships (battleships and, if present, aircraft carriers).  The second wave was to finish any objectives not hit by the first wave.

The first wave had the majority of the slower Kate bombers and focused on bombing or torpedoing moored ships in the harbor.  The Val dive bombers would hit ground targets, while the Zero would strafe parked aircraft on the ground and, if any become airborne, would attack them in the air.  The attack lasted 90 minutes and accomplished most of its objectives.  A third wave was planned, but was called off.  This was important, because fuel storage and the code-breaking building escaped damage.  Both were instrumental for the US later in the war.  

P-40 Warhawk fighter.  Because it lacked a two-staged supercharger, the P-40 wasn't effective at high-altitude and couldn't keep up with Germany fighters in Northwest Europe.  In the Pacific, where high-altitude wasn't a factor, it was effectively used as an air-superiority fighter, bomber escort, and fighter bomber.  A few pilots even managed to get their P-40s airborne to defend Pearl Harbor.  While the P-40s couldn't out maneuver Japanese fighters, it had a faster dive rate, great rate of roll, was better armed, and could take more punishment.  This lead to "boom and zoom" tactics where aviators dove down on enemy fighters and quickly climbed before they could be attacked.  The P-40 saw extensive action in the Southwest Pacific and was used by the "Flying Tigers", a volunteer squadron of American aviators, in China.    

B-25B Mitchell Medium bomber used in the Doolittle Raid.  The Doolittle Raid was the first US air strike against the Japanese Home Islands.  The bombers were stripped of some weapons and equipment to make them lighter for their long flight.  The raid was named after Lieutenant Colonel James "Jimmy" Doolittle who  planned and led the operation.  Because of the long distance to the Japan, the Army Air-Corps bombers had to launch from Navy carriers and land or ditch in China.  The plan was the aircrews would link up with the Chinese Army and make their way back to the States.   

Step inside the briefing room on the USS Hornet for a short video on the Doolittle Raid.  The Doolittle raid was a symbolic victory with no military significance and unintended strategic consequences.  Ironic, since Doolittle thought the raid was a complete failure and he would face court-martial on his return to the States.  The objective was to strike back at Japan after the Pearl Harbor attack.  It succeeded, though damage was minimal and all the bombers were lost.

However, it did cast doubt on the ability of the Japanese military to defend the island and resulted in two decisions that would effect the outcome of the war.  The first was to withdraw Admiral Chuichi Nagamo's carrier task force from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.  Admiral Nagamo's fleet devastated the Royal Navy in the Indian Ocean and by withdrawing allowed the British Navy to reassert control in the Indian Ocean.  The second was to force the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) into attacking the US Navy and prevent another raid.  

This resulted in the Battle of Midway.  This was a decisive point in the war and marked the beginning of the end for the IJN.  Admiral Yamamoto planned to lure the American aircraft carriers into a trap to destroy the fleet and establish Midway Atoll as the first line of defense against future attacks against the Japanese Islands. Unfortunately, the plan was based on incorrect assumptions of American intentions, the wide dispersion of the Japanese fleet, and American code-breakers deciphered Japanese communications.  

SBD-3 Dauntless Dive Bomber were critical in the Battle of Midway.  Dauntless pilots used dive bombing tactics to sink or cripple all four Japanese aircraft carriers.  While the loss of the aircraft carriers was devastating, the loss of experienced and trained pilots and carrier crews was catastrophic.  The Battle of Midway led the way for Guadalcanal, which was a prelude to end of the war.  

The Battle for Guadalcanal, codenamed Operation Watchtower, was the first Allied strategic offensive in the Pacific.  The Allies captured a Japanese airfield on the island of Guadalcanal and renamed it Henderson Field in honor of marine aviator MAJ Lofton R. Henderson who died in the Battle of Midway.  Henderson Field was a difficult and tough airstrip due to poor conditions and lack of facilities early in the war.  It became home to the Cactus Air Force, named after the Allied codename for Guadalcanal, Cactus.  The squadrons of F4F Wildcat fighters and Dauntless fighter-bombers that made up the Cactus Air Force (CAF) became engaged in almost daily fights with Japanese fighters and bombers.  Through improved tactics and attrition, the CAF wore down the Japanese air force, sunk enemy transport ships and paved the way for the eventual defeat of the Japanese Navy.  Pictured is a F4F Wildcat fighter on Guadalcanal.

You too can find out what it was like as part of the Cactus Air Force in one of the combat flight simulators.  Each flight would cost $10, includes a 10 minute brief, and 30 minutes of flight time.  There's more to the museum, we just didn't have time.

This was a nice stop on the tour of Pearl Harbor.  It would be nicer if we'd arrived earlier, spent more time here, and seen Hangar 79.  Because we came late, we missed the MiG-15 and F-86 Sabres from the MiG Alley Korean War exhibit.  Not to mention the F-14 Tomcat, F-4 Phantom, F012 Delta Dagger, and more.  I would suggest coming on a separate day to just see the Pacific Aviation Museum since it's so easy to get caught up in the USS Missouri.

If you're thinking about booking the Pacific Aviation Museum for a special event, like a wedding, and want information email or call 808-441-1004.   

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Things to Do: Kawamoto Orchid Nursery

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against flowers but I'm not a horticulturist so this isn't my thing.  However, someone else really liked this place and thought it was a good idea to post it on the blog.  If you are visiting the islands and want a gift for friends or family (or for yourself), an orchid is a good idea.  Orchids are relatively hardy, easy to maintain, and bloom for months.  After searching for a good nursery that delivers overseas and to the States we finally found Kawamoto Orchids.  

Kawamoto Orchids is located at the very end of Palolo Valley, at 2630 Waiomao Road, and occupies 3.5 acres of lush real estate.  Please note that this place is all the way in the back of the valley.  The street narrows to a single-lane road that twists and turns around the side of a hill.  Using a GPS is highly recommended.  Nursery hours are 8:00 am to 3:30 pm Monday to Saturday and they are closed on Sundays.  You can contact them by phone at 808-732-5808, fax at 808-732-5572, or email them at  

When you first get here, it doesn't look like much. In fact, it looks like an ordinary house.  And that's because it is.  Their modest house in the front hides the multitude of orchids in the back.  It's been in the family for 3 generations.  Started in 1947 by Patrick Kawamoto, the son of an immigrant family, he turned his childhood interest into a business.  A welder by day, he tended and breed orchids in his spare time.   His collection and expertise grew from a hobby that occupied his spare time to becoming his full time job.    

Unlike other nurseries, Kawamoto Orchids is open to the public.  Someone else liked it because she could look around and see the different orchids in different stages of blooming.  Depending on what you want (shipping off the island or pot it for a local gift), they might recommend orchids with buds that are about to bloom.  However, they cannot guarantee the condition of the flower or bud after it leaves the nursery.  Just keep that in mind when you order orchids.  

Walking in the showroom you can see the awards they won for their prized orchids.  They frequently attend orchid shows throughout the nation.  Check their schedule to see if they're coming to a show near you.  

Look around in the showroom to see what earned them their awards.  The showroom is only a small part of the nursery.  Walking past the showroom, you can look out to row upon row of thousands of orchids in the other greenhouses.  There's even a section in back for E-Bay personnel only.  There's another section that has rows and rows of young orchid plants.  

They carry four basic types of orchids: cattleyas, cymbidiums, vandas, and oncidium intergenerics.  They can recommend which orchids are best for the conditions at your house.  Some orchids prefer lots of sun (vandas), while most orchids prefer indirect sunlight.  All orchids prefer humidity and they recommend misting with a spray bottle, humidity tray, or a gravel bed.  The key is humidity and temperature.  Whether you're an avid horticulturist, a part time botanist, or a reluctant bystander this place is worth a visit.