Cat Chat: Dessert art

By August 10, 2011 Food, Videos

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

By August 9, 2011 Musings, The Daily Dish

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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Baby, what’s your name?

By August 8, 2011 Musings, The Daily Dish

My pregnant girlfriend is having her first child, a boy, and she’s already got his name picked out.

But she’s not telling anyone yet.

I thought that was strange since she’s not the superstitious type. But she decided to keep the name a secret for a very different reason: she didn’t want people to criticize it.

“I didn’t want to see people’s reactions when I told them his name,” she explained to me. “I’d just rather not say anything.”

Naming your baby — and this applies to dogs, too — can be one of the most difficult decisions you make prior to arrival.

Another girlfriend had picked out a name for a future daughter years before getting pregnant — only to have her sister-in-law use that same name, foiling her plans. (She wished she had never said anything.)

And another couple I know had to make a list of all the names they didn’t want — bad bosses, exes, weird classmates — before deciding on the ones they did.

Still another wrote a list — then came up with all the nicknames, insults and bad jokes that could be associated with each one. (Names like Beta and Magnum wouldn’t have made their final cut.)

It’s interesting the process soon-to-be parents go through when naming their child. I believe, like many of my friends, that names matter. They mean something. And you want a name your child can grow into. Try living up to a name like Adonis or Princess.

The Social Security Administration publishes the Top 10 list of popular names for boys and girls, and last year’s top names — Jacob, Isabella, Sophia, Emma, Alexander, Abigail — were throwbacks to common names generations ago.

Back when I was born — 1975 — the most popular names were Michael, Jennifer, Jason, Amy, Christopher and Heather.

I was named Catherine because my parents wanted a strong name. I got my middle name — Elizabeth — from a family friend who died of lupus. Put the two together and I sound like English royalty — or a very devout Catholic.

So what’s your process in naming your children — or pets? And how did you get your name?

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Today’s happy shot

By August 6, 2011 Food, Happy Shots

Adult shave ice, this one from the Four Seasons Hualalai

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FUUD: SALT Kitchen & Tasting Bar in Kaimuki

By August 5, 2011 Food

Back in June a new restaurant opened in my working ‘hood of Kaimuki — to much anticipation and hype.

SALT Kitchen & Tasting Bar was going to be the Next Big Thing, the new In Spot, the Scene to be Seen.

So I skipped it.

I’m not one for crowds, and I had heard SALT has become a hot spot for foodies and curious eaters. The downstairs bar would be packed on a weeknight!

So I waited until a couple of weeks ago — hey, that’s about a month after opening! — to see what the hype was all about.

And to figure out what the heck a charcuterie is.

(Turns out, a charcuterie — pronounced shahr-KOO-tuhr-ee — is a French culinary art of salting, smoking and curing pork. It’s also the name of the delicatessen-style shop where these specialties are sold.)

So we went to the unassuming two-story restaurant on Waialae Avenue to see what the fuss was about.

Here’s what we ate:

Inside SALT

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SALT created a buzz before it even opened, as it was the creation of 12th Avenue Grill's Kevin Hanney, who partnered with Robert McGee, who came to Honolulu from Portland’s Slow Bar and opened the kitchen at apartm3nt. It's located around the corner from Hanney's flagship restaurant and in the space vacated by the short-lived Belladonna.

Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar, 3605 Waialae Ave. Hours: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. (food until midnight) daily. Phone: (808) 744-7567

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