Today’s happy shot

Watching Sunny and Indy have fun at the Hawaii Kai dog park makes even the worst day at work tolerable.


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FUUD: Industry wine-tasting at Roy’s

FUUD: Industry wine-tasting at Roy’s

It’s not often you get to attend the kind of wine-tastings held for only industry insiders.

But for the third year in a row, Roy’s Hawaii Kai, along with JMD Beverages, the only locally owned fine wine distributor, opened up this special brand of wine-tasting to the public last night.

About 250 people attended the sold-out event, which boasted more than 100 wines from 21 wineries, including Amuse Bouche Wine, Handley Cellars, Au Sommet, Rombauer and Duckhorn Vineyards. Wines with a Hawaii connection — Lanai Tabura’s Look Me in the Eye label and Kaena Wine — were also pouring.

The coolest part about last night’s event was the opportunity to meet the various winemakers and experts. We chatted with Milla Handley of Handley Cellars, who told how to pair her 2009 Gewurtztraminer “Anderson Valley.” And we also met the uber-cool Heidi Peterson Barrett, who has been responsible for some of California’s most notable cult wines and runs her own winery, La Sirena Winery. (She’s a member of the Barrett family who owns Chateau Montelena, famous for winning the white wine section of the historic Judgement of Paris wine competition and fodder for the 2008 film “Bottle Shock.”)

But wait — there was food, too.

And Roy’s was smart: not only was there a food counter — featuring nosh such as ahi tartare, Szechuan baby back ribs, sous vide lamb leg parmigiano, Thai pesto shrimp — but there were food stations in every nook and corner at the event. It wasn’t one of those wine-tastings where people go hungry. There was a lot of food — and a lot of opportunity to eat it.

Here’s what last night’s event looked like:

Let the tasting begin

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Your picks for iconic Hawaii foods

Your picks for iconic Hawaii foods

When I was living in Chicago, I got asked once, “So what do you folks eat in Hawaii?”

I paused — not because I didn’t know the answer, but because there seemed to be so many answers.

I could start with the traditional foods of Native Hawaiians — kalua pig, lau lau, pipikaula, haupia.

Then there are those ethnic dishes we can’t seem to live without — saimin, pork adobo, manapua, ahi poke, malassadas, meat juhn, katsu curry, Portuguese bean soup, andagi.

And how can I forget the iconic plate lunch, with two scoops of white rice, some kind of meat-based entree — barbecue pork, chicken katsu, teriyaki beef — and a nice dollop of macaronic salad — heavy on the mayo — and gravy all over? I mean, isn’t that as local as you get?

Then there are the category-less foods: shave ice, guri guri, garlic chicken, dry min, crack seed and, of course, the Spam musubi.

The list goes on.

I was thinking about this recently when a reader from the Midwest e-mailed me, saying she was coming to town — and wanted to know what and where to eat.

Where do I begin?

I would tell folks to hit Rainbow Drive-In in Kapahulu for a plate lunch, Agnes’ Portuguese Bake Shop in Kailua for deep-fried malassadas and either Ailana Shave Ice near Ala Moana or Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha in Aina Haina for some innovative shave ice.

And if they’ve never been to Hawaii before, I’d highly recommend a Spam musubi. My picks are from Tanioka’s Seafood in Waipahu or any 7-Eleven.

For poke, try Alicia’s Market in Kalihi. For Hawaiian food, visit Helena’s Hawaiian Food in Kalihi. For local-style saimin, go to Shige’s Saimin Stand in Wahiawa.

These must be my picks for iconic Hawaii foods.

So I’m throwing it out there: where do you tell out-of-towners to eat and what do you consider iconic Hawaii foods?

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Cat Chat: Dessert art

Cat Chat: Dessert art

You don’t have to give me a reason to visit the luxurious Halekulani in Waikiki.

But it’s added incentive when the hotel is featuring a special dessert menu prepared by the acclaimed pastry chef from the iconic Imperial Hotel Tokyo.

Called “The Art of the Dessert,” the hotel will offer special one-of-a-kind creations by executive pastry chef Kanjiro Mochizuki, in conjunction with hotel’s own Mark Freischmidt. These treats will be served during daily afternoon tea service at the Halekulani’s Veranda Tea Room.

We’re talking decadent desserts like these charming cream-filled cake rolls (shown) or small chocolate bites that look like Japanese school bags, a familiar sight in Japan in April, when students head back to school.

There are only two places you can sample these desserts: Tokyo and Waikiki. It’s probably cheaper to go the second route.

We stopped by the hotel’s bake shop yesterday to meet the award-winning pastry chefs — yes, both of them! — and sample some of the menu’s offerings.

I love my job.

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Get used to those rude coworkers

Get used to those rude coworkers

There’s one — or more — in every office.

That coworker who’s rude, makes snide remarks, just hateful to be around.

Well, get used to it. Apparently, workplace incivility is on the rise.

Researchers at American Psychological Association annual meeting over the weekend said between 75 and 80 percent of people have experienced workplace incivility, defined as “a form of organizational deviance… characterized by low-intensity behaviors that violate respectful workplace norms, appearing vague as to intent to harm.”

And I’m sure you have, too.

Here are some examples:

• Taking someone else’s food (or Diet Coke) from the shared refrigerator without permission
• Blatantly ignored a coworker
• Taken credit for work you didn’t do
• Taken the last cup of coffee without making more
• Not putting money into the coffee collection jar — and grabbing coffee every morning
• Leaving a paper jam in the office copier
• Not contributing to the office party fund — but eating the cake

Oh, you know who these people are.

The sad thing is this is becoming more and more commonplace in offices around the country. People are overworked and underpaid. People are stressed. People are unhappy. No wonder folks are taking out their frustrations on coworkers.

According to the Civility in America 2011 poll, 43 percent of Americans say they’ve experienced incivility at work, and 38 percent believe the workplace is increasingly disrespectful.

Blame the economy? Blame the younger generation? What’s your take on this?

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