Great Debate: Kikkoman vs. Aloha shoyu

By October 19, 2011 Food

We all have a preference when it comes to brands.

Some of us prefer Coke over Pepsi, Macs over PCs, Hondas over Toyotas.

But the debate has never been more heated — at least in some circles — as the one between two brands of shoyu: Kikkoman and Aloha.

People have really taken sides. Some prefer the Japan-based Kikkoman, which is salty and tangy. Others are committed to the local Aloha shoyu, which is sweet and mild.

And it makes a difference on how the shoyu is most often used. For example, some pick Kikkoman to cook with because they want a stronger flavor. Others use Aloha only when pouring onto something to eat immediately.

And then there are those who choose their brands based on principle. Aloha is a locally owned and operated company. Kikkoman is from Japan.

So I thought it would be interesting to see your picks.

So which is it: Kikkoman or Aloha?

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WTF: No one helps injured Chinese toddler

By October 18, 2011 Musings, The Daily Dish

I was literally brought to tears at my desk at work.

A 2-year-old girl in China gets hit twice by two trucks. She’s laying in the street in a pool of blood. And at least 18 people walk or bike past her and do nothing.

This poor child.

Never mind the bastards who hit her and ran off. How can that many people literally walk right past her bleeding body — and not even stop to help?

It’s shocking, it’s disturbing, and it makes me wonder WTF is wrong with us.

WARNING: This surveillance video contains graphic images

The toddler, named Yueyue or Wang Yue, had wandered outsider her family’s shop in the Chinese city of Foshan. People walk, bike and drive by. Finally, a 58-year-old female trash collect stops, lifts up the girl and asks people if anyone knew who she is.

She’s in critical condition with massive head injuries. She may die.

I was literally weeping at my desk this morning, completely disgusted by the lack of empathy and compassion shown by these neglectful passers-by.

Who does that? Who walks past a dying child?

It’s stories like these that make me wonder what our world has become.

I know these things happen all the time — and they’ve been happening long before we could blame technology or social media or the Millennial Generation.

But technology and social media have made the public display of these horrific, inhumane acts visible to the world. And the world is responding.

We’re disgusted, we’re pissed off, we’re sounding off in blogs and around water coolers.

We can’t stand for this.

So what do we do?

We do better.

We vow never to walk past someone in need. We promise to help our neighbors. We live by the philosophy that a simple gesture of help is a gift of hope.

And we never condone this kind of behavior. Ever.

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Cat Chat: Nonstop Kakaako

By October 18, 2011 Musings, The Daily Dish

There aren’t many events in Honolulu that I actually mark in my calendar.

Nonstop Kakaako on Saturday is one of them.

And it’s not just because, as part of the Nonstop Honolulu team, I have to be there.

This is one of those uber-cool pop-up events in Kakaako that blends food, retail and entertainment in a block party that will have social media swarming.

Here’s the deal: Starting at 4 p.m. Saturday, Auahi Street — between Coral and Keawe streets — will be closed for this special block party/pop-up experience. There will be about 40 food booths, two stages with live entertainment, a tent with chic boutique vendors, a cigar bar, a beer garden, basketball hoops, a rock-climbing wall, virtual stand-up paddling, even the University of Hawaii football game will be broadcast live.

Seriously, what more could you want?

So we had Erin Kinney, integrated strategies manager from Kamehameha Schools, a partner in this event, to talk about what you can look forward to on Saturday — and how this will be a peek into the plans for a new Kakaako neighborhood in the near future.

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Damn that Steve Jobs

By October 17, 2011 Musings, The Daily Dish

I blame Steve Jobs.

The late Apple CEO and creative genius, who passed away on Oct. 5, left us with more than just a few gadgets we can’t seem to live without. He left us with his lasting advice, published and repeated and blogged about since his passing.

The most frequently cited quotes come from his commencement address at Stanford University in 2005, where he urged the graduates to “trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future,” that “your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life,” to not “let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

Then he added, “And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

I’ve talked to so many people — teachers, techies, at-home moms, even retirees — who say these words really affected them. They’re rethinking their careers, quitting their jobs (or thinking about it), deciding to follow their passions.

But that’s a dangerous thing.

Jobs was lucky. And he had a lot of capital, let’s be honest. He found what he wanted early in life — and he was smart and savvy enough to grasp it.

And his timing was impeccable.

But what he said really hit home to me. I know exactly what I love to do — write, eat, travel — and I seem to fill my days doing everything but. (Trust me, I know you may think I eat a lot. But I could certainly eat — and that means cooking and baking, too — more.)

And I definitely don’t write as much as I’d like to.

As I was pondering my life, I came across this very cool blog called CakeSpy, written by baker/illustrator/write Jessie Oleson (@cakespy).

The Seattle native graduated from college and started working as a designer at stationery companies. Then, in 2007, she wanted to do something different. “I sat down and I came up with this: ‘What I really love is writing, illustration, and cake. So, how can I put those together?'” she said in an interview with CHOW. “I started, based on requests, selling prints and postcards from artwork featured on the site, and that has become my bread and butter. After six months, I was able cut down to part time at my job, and after about nine months, I was able to quit entirely. Then a year ago, I took over a retail space. It’s a gift shop, focused on food-based art.”

Doesn’t that sound so appealing?

All she did was make a list of the things she likes to do — and she’s doing it.

I want her life.

So what’s stopping us? Why are we so gripped with fear of following our passions that we stay stuck in dead-end jobs, hating our lives and counting the days until retirement? I mean, if Jessie can do it, why can’t we?

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Weekend Dish: Cake pops

By October 16, 2011 Food, Weekend Dish

It seems like everyone’s making cake pops, those decadent balls of moist cake conveniently propped on a stick.

They’re everywhere — baby showers, weddings, birthday luaus. Even Starbucks is selling them.

So I figured, “How hard could it be?”

Uh, hard.

The thing is, everywhere you look online, cake pops seem like the easiest thing to make. It’s simple! You can use a box cake mix! My kids are making them!

But these sites don’t tell you how tedious the process is — and how much can go wrong along the way.

So here’s my real take on making cake pops. You may want to spring the $2 to buy one already made.

Here's what you need

Picture 1 of 22

Seems like a simple list, but when you throw in lollipop sticks, plastic bags and candy melts, which are about $3 to $4 a bag, it can add up.

Great video by Angie Dudley of Bakerella that shows you step-by-step how to make basic cake pops

Basic cake balls
Used to make cake pops


1 18 1/4-ounce box cake mix
1 16-ounce container prepared frosting
2 12-ounce bags of candy melts (I used Guittard’s Melt ‘N Mold)
Lollipop sticks
Candy sprinkles or edible glitter


Bake cake as directed on the box, using a 13x9x2-inch cake pan. Let cool completely.

Once cake is cooled, cut it into four large pieces. Rub two pieces together so it crumbles into a bowl. Make sure there are no large pieces; the entire cake should be crumbled into a fine texture. You can use a fork to break apart any larger pieces. (If large pieces are mixed in, the cake balls make turn out lumpy and bumpy.)

Add 3/4 of the container of frosting into cake crumbles, using the back of a metal spoon. DO NOT USE THE ENTIRE CONTAINER; your cake balls will be too moist.

Roll 1 1/2-inch balls and place onto a baking sheet lined with waxed or parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap (optional) and chill for several hours in the refrigerator. You can also place them in the freezer for no longer than 15 minutes. You want the balls to be firm but not frozen.

Melt your chocolate melt, as directed.

Dip the tip of the lollipop stick into the melted chocolate and insert into cake ball not more than halfway in; this will serve as the “glue.” Then dip the cake ball into melted chocolate. DO NOT TWIRL as the cake ball may fall apart.

Once fully coated, remove the cake ball and allow for excess chocolate to drip off. Decorate with candy sprinkles or edible glitter. Place into Styrofoam and chill in refrigerator.

Makes 48

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