And it begins…

This will be my first crack at writing about one of my passions in life…yes, you guessed it…food.  Blame my family for bringing out this “monster” in me especially with all the “food porn” pics I inundate my Twitter stream with love to share online.

IMG_0305A little background story.  My family grew up in various parts of Asia and our home cooking included influences from China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.  All the great dishes from my family’s recipe book also gave way to a lot of unusual ingredients.  I owe it to my dad for building my courage to try bizarre eats like jellyfish (makes a delicious salad with julienne cucumbers and a savory peanut butter sauce), pig’s feet (delicious when braised),  and preserved eggs (also known as thousand-year-old eggs; goes great with pickled ginger).  I’ve learned never say “no” to new experiences – one trait that every foodie must have.

Tune in for more personal stories and adventures revolving around the theme: FOOD.  By the way, I’ll explain what this picture is all about in my next post…

Travel to Hawaii via Twitter

After seeing Nathan Kam’s recent post of Visitor Bureaus on Twitter, I thought I’d follow up with a listing of Hawaii’s travel-related Twitter accounts.  If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii or just want to be in the “know,” these folks can provide great links to deals for hotels, airfares, and restaurants as well as upcoming events and festivals to schedule in your list of things to do while in the islands.  It’ll be an ongoing list as we all know that more and more folks are joining Twitter each day.  Feel free to leave a comment with additional links that I should include.  Mahalo!

Updated April 9, 2009/4:20 p.m. HST (58 links to date)

Links for planning your Hawaii vacation (16 links)

  • All About Hawaii ~ Hawaii-focused travel agency based in Oregon
  • A Maui Blog ~ local blogger “talking story” about all things Maui
  • Apple Vacations ~ deals and offers for those looking for Hawaii travel packages
  • B on Hawaii ~ newsletter by Brian Berusch, one of the “go-to” guys for all things travel-trend related
  • Beat of Hawaii ~ travel blog with Hawaii deals, tips, events, and culture
  • Bruce and Yaling Fisher ~ owners of Hawaii Aloha Travel Agency
  • Erika Engle ~ The Buzz columnist for Honolulu Advertiser…always has juicy details to share
  • GoVisitHawaii ~ follow Sheila Beal’s blog for info and tips about visiting Hawaii
  • Hawaii Magazine ~ love Hawaii but don’t live here? here’s a magazine worth subscribing to
  • Honolulu Magazine ~ oldest magazine in the state…love their “Best of Honolulu” issue
  • Honolulu Weekly ~ Honolulu’s alternative newsweekly covering the local scene
  • Lahaina.com ~ one of many sites that offer travel information about Lahaina and the island of Maui
  • MetroMix 808 ~ a site dedicated to Hawaii’s nightlife and party scene
  • Pleasant Holidays ~ deals and offers for those looking for Hawaii travel packages
  • So Necessary ~ need advice for nightlife? follow this Star-Bulletin columnist for tips

Where to stay (9 links)

Where to go and what to see and do (13 links)

Where to eat and drink (13 links)

  • Big City Diner (Oahu) ~ five locations on Oahu with great selection for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner
  • Chef Mavro (Oahu) ~ James Beard award-winning chef George Mavrothalassitis; restaurant is rated AAA five diamond
  • J.J. Dolans (Downtown Honolulu, Oahu) ~ pau hana at this Irish pub that serves an interesting mix of pizzas
  • Kincaid’s (Ward Warehouse, Oahu) ~ reasonable place to bring the family for seafood and steaks
  • My Open Bar Honolulu (Oahu) ~ listing of places to go for free/cheap
  • Ola at Turtle Bay Resort (north Oahu) ~ home to chef Fred DeAngelo and my favorite risotto
  • Papa John’s Hawaii (Oahu) ~ need pizza delivery?
  • Pearl Ultralounge (Ala Moana Center, Oahu) ~ grab some drinks and dance the night away at this nightclub
  • Ryan’s Grill (Ward Center, Oahu) ~ local restaurant with great pau hana hour…li hing mui margarhitas
  • Thirtyninehotel (downtown Honolulu, Oahu) ~ serves double duty as a gallery and night spot for food and drinks
  • Tiki’s Grill & Bar (Waikiki, Oahu) ~ good food, great music, and nice place to catch the sunset in Waikiki
  • Top of Waikiki (Oahu) ~ Hawaii’s only revolving restaurant
  • Zippy’s Restaurants (Oahu and Maui) ~ great place for a plate lunch/local food; one of President Obama’s fave eateries

The folks working in Hawaii’s travel and tourism industry (8 links)

  • David Uchiyama ~ VP of Tourism Marketing, Hawaii Tourism Authority
  • Nathan Kam ~ VP, Travel & Tourism Division, McNeil Wilson Communications
  • Michael Ni ~ Account Executive, Travel & Tourism Division, McNeil Wilson Communications (**me**)
  • Nancy Daniels ~ Director of PR, Outrigger Enterprises Group
  • AT Marketing ~ Hawaii-based international marketing agency
  • Oahu Visitors Bureau
  • Rebecca Pang ~ Senior Account Executive, Travel Marketing and Promotions, Stryker Weiner & Yokota Public Relations, Inc.
  • Iron Dog PR ~ representing the Big Island Visitors Bureau

Other resources

mr. field coordinator himself

Look for my name in the credits when you tune into Travel Channel’s No Reservations tonight (8 p.m. for you Hawaii folks). I’m listed as a field coordinator. How cool is that? Do I know what a field coordinator means? Not really, but I’m happy to be one and it sounds special enough.

I was reading Max Landes’ blog on Travel Channel’s website and made me reminisce about the short week I spent with the producers and cameramen. Producing a show can be hectic at times and I can truly attest to that with TOP CHEF 2’s season finale. It takes a lot of planning and organizing and changing things around at the last minute. You really need to have a cool head to really succeed. Max definitely was a cool guy.

Max getting Lomi lomiBourdain in KalihiBourdain in Kalihi

(Left to right: producer Max getting a massage during the shoot; Bourdain hanging out with Christian Yrizarry and Lanai; prepping for the shoot in Kalihi)

If you’re interested in reading more about some of the segments they shot in Hawaii, I’ll be posting my takes from a few segments. First off, the shoot in Kalihi for the backyard paina with local morning radio DJs Kaleo Pilanca from 102.7 Da Bomb and Lanai from Island 98.5.

When I first heard of Lanai and Kaleo being the “guides” for this segment, I was a bit hesitant. What are these comedians going to talk about? When we got there, I was at ease. Lanai and Kaleo really made Tony and the production team feel really welcomed. Listening in on what Lanai was talking to Tony about, it really felt like they were giving him a true slice of Hawaii…from Kalihi Valley (what a great view of the sunset too). For those of you who know Kalihi Valley, you won’t often find a 6 foot tall Caucasian guy walking around very often. In a way, it seemed like it was a concocted scene from a movie…in this case, a Travel Channel show.

They brought out the green bottles and served up some opihi, grilled SPAM, oyster sauce/mayonnaise basted red snapper, ahi poke, tako poke, beef luau, and palu sami (Samoan dish made with taro leaves, coconut milk, and corned beef) among other great local food items. One scene that they cut out was the kava scene that Uncle Derek made fresh for Bourdain. From the stories I heard, all the cameramen tried it and by the end of the night, they were feeling it.

Bourdain in KalihiBourdain in KalihiBourdain in Kalihi

(Left to right: Uncle Derek preparing a bowl of kava for Bourdain; Bourdain “talking story” with Lanai and Kaleo; prepping the red snapper for the grill)

doraku sushi

This will be the first of my many food blogs. I’m just a food fanatic and hopefully this will become my outlet to tell everyone where to go and what to eat. While I work in PR, I’m going to devote this blog to honesty and truth…basically I’ll tell it like it is without the “spin”. You may find a few mentions of places in Waikiki in these food blogs. This is mainly due to the fact that it seems like the new hangout spot for my friends and I. With all the new renovations, fresh entertainment, buzzing restaurants, etc. all popping up in the last year or so, it just seems like the place to see and been seen. Stay tuned for more food-ventures in and around Honolulu, Hawaii, and the world.

On Friday night, I ventured to Doraku Sushi at the Royal Hawaiian Center. Yes, it’s the Royal Hawaiian Center now…they took out the word “shopping” since the destination is more than just shopping after all their renovations. Now…back to the restaurant…some of my friends have been raving about about their doraku roll, cuban roll, and the signature fruit-infused sakes. Since it’s recently opened and still new without all the crowds, I decided to give it a go; however, I may have went with too much expectations.

Doraku Roll

The first thing I noticed when we stepped in was the decor and music. It was a posh place to be…I’m really into the Asian accents all over. Onto the menu…my friends had suggested that I’d get the doraku roll and the mango sake. I was hoping to try their conch ceviche…sounds good. When we ordered, we found out that they were out of the conch ceviche and all of their fruit-infused sakes. Bummer!

In any case, we ended up eating the doraku roll, waikiki roll, and rainbow roll, which were all pretty good (good enough to go back and try their other creations). Instead of the ceviche, we ordered the doraku seafood salad (one of their signature dishes), which ended up as our least favorite dish…talk about sour!!! I saw the sushi chef prep two salad at once and it looked as we got the bottom of the bowl with all the extra dressing.

Doraku Seafood Salad

If you go, skip the salads and go straight to the sushi rolls. Parking is validated for the patrons if you park in the Royal Hawaiian Center ($2 for first two hours; $4 for first four hours). FYI, Doraku Sushi usually turns into “Supper Club” on the second and fourth Friday of the month; however, I haven’t seen much mention from the promoters (Flash and Matty Boy). Keep on the lookout for more information about nightlife in Waikiki.