Cat Chat: Simply Ono redux

By July 28, 2011 Food, Videos

Last month the Nonstop Honolulu team — including me — had the difficult job of judging 22 pork dishes at Eat The Street.

Yes, 22. It was painful.

But with a plate of succulent Okinawan-style shoyu pork and crispy chocolate-dipped bacon, Simply Ono (@simplyonowagons) stood out from the rest — and was crowned the Pig Out champs.

The veteran lunch wagon — serving gourmet plate lunches for 16 years — proved it could compete with the newest and trendiest trucks.

How? By offering lunch-wagon staples like garlic chicken, kalua pig and shoyu pork with more gourmet fare like seared ahi, furikake tofu steaks, veal patties with gravy and onions, and Monte Cristo sandwiches. The wagon has even served rack of lamb and beef Wellington.

It’s always about being better than the next guy, Harris said.

So we stopped by one of its three lunch wagons — this one on the campus of the University of Hawaii at Manoa — to chat with co-owner Harris Sukita about how Hawaii’s food truck scene has changed, what he’ll be serving at tomorrow’s Eat The Street Garlic, and why harassing his customers has helped business.

Here’s what he had to say:

Simply Ono (food truck), Green lunchwagon, Krauss Hall at the University of Hawaii-Manoa; white lunchwagons, Punchbowl Street between the State Capitol and Hawaii State Library, and 2337 N. King St. Phone: (808) 728-0441, @simplyonowagons

You Might Also Like

Fired for Facebook?

By July 27, 2011 Musings, The Daily Dish

Back in 2009, a 16-year-old in England posted on her Facebook wall that her first day at work was “omg so dull.”

She continued to lambast her job until her boss called her into his office and put the teenager out of her misery.

He fired her. (Read the story here.)

That same year a 22-year-old from Berkeley, Calif. posted this on Twitter after getting a job offer with Cisco:

“Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

Another Cisco employee saw the post and responded with his own tweet: “Who is the hiring manager? I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the Web.”

The 22-year-old apparently never worked a day at Cisco. Wonder why.

Turns out using social media at work — and even venting about work — is commonplace in today’s office culture. Even my student employees are often browsing photos on Facebook or watching videos on YouTube without a second thought.

And with Google+, it’s even worse. We just can’t escape those red notifications while checking email!

I can’t say I don’t use social networking sites while at work, either. (And my friends online are all guilty of this, too.) But I don’t abuse the access I have.

But where do you draw the line?

You Might Also Like

Special desserts coming to Halekulani in August

By July 26, 2011 Food

It’s not everyday you can feast on the dessert creations of a master pastry chef from Japan.

But next month you can sample the sweet masterwork of Chef Kanjiro Mochizuki, the pastry master from the iconic and legendary Imperial Hotel Tokyo, at the the posh Halekulani in Waikiki.

Called “The Art of the Dessert,” the hotel will offer special desserts you won’t get anywhere else. We’re talking one-of-a-kind sweets like the delicate roll cakes, shown above, or the clever bamboo shoot cake, shown below.

The desserts — all created by the award-winning Mochizuki, in conjunction with Halekulani’s pastry chef Mark Freischmidt — will be served during daily afternoon tea service at the hotel’s Veranda Tea Room.

The special dessert menus — exclusive to the Halekulani — will run from Aug. 8 to 31.

But wait, there’s more.

The master pastry chef will host a pastry demonstration at 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 6, followed by an afternoon tea where you can sample his dessert creations with a flute of champagne. (This is part of Halekulani Living, the hotel’s luxury and lifestyle series.) Cost is $49 and reservations are required.

Or you can indulge in these sweet creations at the popular Sunday brunch on Aug. 7 at Orchids. Cost is $57 and reservations are required, too.

Sure, it’s pricey. But it’s certainly cheaper than a roundtrip ticket to Tokyo.

For more information about “The Art of the Dessert” or to make reservations, call (808) 923-2311 or visit its website.

You Might Also Like

‘Member eating that?

By July 26, 2011 Food

One of my favorite childhood memories is waking up on Sunday morning to the smell of freshly baked biscuits, cubed potatoes drenched in butter, and, my all-time favorite, vinha d’alhos.

It’s a Portuguese pickled pork dish that came to Hawaii via immigrants from the Azores and Medeira. My grandmother used to make it all the time — and, luckily, my mom learned how to prepare it, too. So it’s been in our family for generations.

It’s funny how certain smells can take you right back to that moment in your past, whether it’s a lunch from elementary school or that go-to late-night snack during finals week in college. (I’m permanently scarred from eating too many Pop Tarts.)

Every time I smell that vinegary vinha d’alhos — which isn’t often unless I’m at Agnes’ Portuguese Bake Shop in Kailua on certain days or making it at home myself — it reminds me of my childhood, those early Sunday mornings or family breakfasts after opening gifts on Christmas Day.

Is there a dish that brings you back?

For a recipe to make vinha d’alhos, click here.

You Might Also Like

Would you pay for news online?

By July 25, 2011 Musings, The Daily Dish

Back in March, the news juggernaut New York Times began charging the most frequent users of its website to access news they used to get for free. (Read its announcement back in January here.)

Others have tried. But no American news organization as large as The Times has put its content behind what’s called a pay wall.

While the response was mixed, the company remained steadfast — and readers, so far, have embraced the pay-for-access concept. According to the Times, it had 224,000 digital subscribers at the end of the second quarter, in addition to 57,000 who are accessing the paper on e-readers and “replica editions.” All told, the company has 281,000 paid digital subscribers.

“The positive consumer response to the digital subscription packages is a strong indication of the value that users place on our high-quality news, analysis, and commentary,” said Janet L. Robinson, president and chief executive officer of The New York Times Company, in a statement.”

But will this model work in, say, Hawaii?

We’re about to find out, as the Honolulu Star-Advertiser announced yesterday it was going to start charging for premium online content on Aug. 5.

(Subscribers to the print edition will receive all-access passes to premium content at no extra charge.)

For $19.95 a month, here’s what you get:

• The print edition
• Access to all website content
• Access to a new e-edition, a digital replica of the print edition
• Access via computer, iPad, iPhone or smartphone
• Ability to forward stories to their email or social media accounts
• Participate in online discussions
• Ability to open links to premium content

The thing is, I’m not sure what “premium content” is.

Because here’s the weird thing: According to the story, nonsubscribers will still have free digital access to breaking news, Associated Press stories, the website’s front page and section fronts, event calendars, Honolulu Pulse, TGIF, photo galleries, blogs, classifieds, travel, obituaries and traffic.

Isn’t that all you need…?

I could be wrong. I want to be wrong. I don’t want to see another newspaper — especially the one in my hometown — go the way of the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News.

But unless the Star-Advertiser starts pumping out high-quality, well-researched analysis packages with real privileges like Civil Beat, I don’t know why people would pay.

Would you?

You Might Also Like