Tag Archives: advice

ASK DR. DISH is back!

When I first launched my blog, oh, about eight years ago, I included a weekly post titled, “Ask Dr. Dish.” I would get questions about everything, from which restaurant has the best steak to how much should someone spend on a wedding gift.

Since I’ve been still getting questions every now and then, I decided to resurrect Dr. Dish — not weekly but occasionally — just to give these curious readers some answers.

And, to be honest, it’s not my response that matters. It’s yours. Most times I have NO IDEA what the right answer is — but you do. So that’s why I’m bringing it back. It’s time to help each other out!

So here’s one of my latest questions, one that I addressed back in 2009. But it’s time to revisit this topic.

QUESTION: My boyfriend is a bad tipper. It is so embarrassing! He does not think it is necessary to “reward” good service. I used to wait tables, so I am always tipping people AT LEAST 20%. Who’s right on this one?

ANSWER: I’m like you — I always leave the standard 20 percent. And I tip everyone — valet, maids, hair stylists, massage therapists. I even leave my spare change in those tip jars at Subway and Starbucks. But our tipping culture can be very confusing — and stressful.

It was SO liberating, while I was vacationing in Japan, to not feel pressured to leave tips. You paid what it said on the bill and that’s it. There was something so relieving in that.

That said, we’re in the United States, where tipping is part of our culture. So back to your dilemma.

I’ve gone to dinner with people who didn’t tip well — or sometimes at all — and yes, it was embarrassing to say the least. I feel like, in some ways, it’s a reflection of their character.

So what do you do? If you don’t want to discuss it with him — I would just tell him straight-up — then I’d offer to leave the tip and save yourself — and him — the embarrassment.

What do the rest of you think?

If you have a question for Dr. Dish, e-mail askdrdish@gmail.com.

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Advice for surviving a long-distance relationship

Advice for surviving a long-distance relationship

I had been dreading this decision since April.

And I wasn’t even the one making it!

My boyfriend, Derek, got accepted into the Ph.D. program in history at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. (He’s working on his Ph.D. here, but this program has a stronger focus on U.S. history, which is his concentration.) But for the past few months, he’s been trying to figure out what he’s going to do. Stay and finish his degree here — or go to Madison and get a better education and perhaps increase his chances of getting a job later.

One option has better prospects. The other, well, has better surf.

So last week he officially announced — at least to me and the dogs — that he’s going to Wisconsin.

This leaves me in a weird situation: being 36, engaged and suddenly living alone with two dogs and rent I can barely afford.

I’ve done long-distance relationships before, but those were years ago and, I’ll be honest, those relationships weren’t that serious. But this is different. Now I’m older, serious about this guy and very comfortable living with him. We carpool to work and school, cook dinner together, walk the dogs every morning and evening, surf together, shop together, travel together. Suddenly, he’s going to be gone and I’m not sure what I’m going to do.

I know I’ll revert back to my single ways, where I holed up on Friday nights with Netflix and my dogs. But that was by choice; this time around, it isn’t.

We figure we’ll Skype daily and text even more frequently. I’ll fly up to visit him sometime this semester — imagine the food photos! — and he’ll be back in Hawaii during the winter break.

I’m sure the next two or three years will fly by. Still, any advice for me on surviving the 4,700-mile distance?

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ASK DR. DISH: Royal advice

ASK DR. DISH: Royal advice

Question: I am totally obsessed with the Royal Wedding!!! I am so glad you asked yesterday (in Monday’s blog)!!! I have a question for everyone else who is just as obsessed as me — or not: What is your marriage advice for Prince William and Kate Middleton? I say sign don’t sign the prenup!!!

Answer: Thanks for the question! I love your enthusiasm!

I don’t think Kate will have much of a choice about signing the prenup before the April 29 nuptials. Britain’s royal family doesn’t have the best marriage record; three of Queen Elizabeth II’s four children have been divorced.

But that’s not really the point of today’s blog!

It’s hard for me to dispense marriage advice since I’ve never been married. And I hate to sound cliche — communicate, be honest and open, schedule date nights — but I don’t know anything else.

For me, being in a relationship takes work. I mean, a lot of it should come easily. You should want to spend time together, you should truly enjoy the other person’s company, and it shouldn’t be a burden to help each other. But everything else — carving out quality time, being patient, learning that what’s important to him is important even if it’s not important to you — takes effort. But if you love each other, you’ll want to do it — it’s not a problem.

Anyone got some advice for the royal couple? Hey, they might be Dr. Dish fans! You never know!


Here’s more advice: “The Best Marriage Advice I Ever Got” in Redbook.


Got a question? Email me at cat@nonstophonolulu.com.

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Advice for Eat The Street Japan

Advice for Eat The Street Japan

I know, I know.

It’s crowded, the lines are long, there’s not enough parking, trunks ran out of food.

I got it.

But there are ways to avoid these potential potholes if you heed some of my advice:

Go early. That’s the easiest way to avoid most of your problems. Trucks will have enough food, lines won’t be as long, and you’ll find parking. That said, if all 5,000 people show up at 5 p.m., well, that would be an issue.

Know what you want. Our Nonstop team, with the help of organizer Poni Askew (@streetgrindz), put together a list of vendors to help. Map out the places you’d like to try and hit only those spots. If you’ve got extra time — or the lines aren’t that long — then eat at the others.

Bring your own beverage. While most trucks will be serving drinks, bringing your own beverage will keep you hydrated — and less irritable.

Tag team. You can always guarantee trucks like Melt and Eat Gogi will have long lines. So disperse. Have one friend stand in one line while you stand in another. That will help speed up the process.

Eat a little before. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but trust me. If you have to wait for an hour to eat a grilled cheese sandwich — and believe me, it’ll be worth it — and you’re starving, you won’t be a happy camper. But if you’ve got some food in your tummy — or if you brought your own snacks to nosh on — you won’t have that I’m-starving-and-I’m-hating-life feeling.

Bring cash — and small bills. This will really speed up the process, trust me!

Just have fun. Accept the fact that there will be thousands of people at tonight’s event. Accept that there will be long lines at some trucks. There’s no point in getting upset. Set small goals — eat a chimney cake or the soup of the day at Melt — and be happy with that. You can always patronize these wagons on Friday!

Happy eating!

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ASK DR. DISH: Drinking etiquette

ASK DR. DISH: Drinking etiquette

Question: Dr. Dish, my company has a policy that we cannot drink while at work events. But what about at networking mixers at bars and nightclubs? Technically it is not a work event.

Answer: Thanks for the question! It’s a good one, too, so this recently happened to me.

I was at “An Evening of Sustainable Cuisine” at the Halekulani to support the efforts to raise money for the Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Kapiolani Community College, where I work as a journalism instructor. My chancellor and dean were in attendance, noshing on the “green” cuisine from Roy’s, town and the hotel.

But master mixologist Julie Reiner was there, too, serving up specialty cocktails that were hard to resist.

So what did I do?

Nothing. Until my dean walked over with a ginger beer drink and told me to try it. How could I not?

The rule of thumb is this: don’t get drunk. Don’t even get close.

Here’s the deal: even though it’s not technically a work event, you’re still representing your company (and your industry) at these mixers. You’re handing out your business card, right? Then people know who you are and where you work. And you don’t want to embarrass yourself or your company by downing six shots and licking the dance floor.

Be smart. Have a beer or nurse a cocktail. But don’t go overboard.

Anyone else got advice to dish? Or better yet — got a story to share?

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