June 16, 2016 Senator Laura Thielen targeted by Hawaii GOP for alleged registration irregularities. GOP wants her name removed from upcoming ballot. [Civil Beat]
June 16, 2016 Monk seal born on Ka Iwi Coast [Hawaii News Now]
June 14, 2016 Two firefighters injured off Diamond Head during training exercise [Star-Advertiser]
June 10, 2016 Brazen thieves hit Hawaii Kai parking lots, shattering car glass and stealing credit cards [Hawaii News Now]
NOTE: THE TINMAN TRIATHLON HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED TO JULY 31, 2016 DUE TO TROPICAL STORM DARBY. DETAILS ON THE RACE ROUTE BELOW OTHERWISE REMAIN THE SAME
Traffic Alert for East Oahu and Hawaii Kai, July 24, 2016
Race begins at 5:45 am in Waikiki.
OCEAN SWIM – 750 Meters Start at Queen’s Beach pier, swim east around the large buoy and head west to a buoy in the front of the swim finish transition area.
BIKE COURSE – 40 Kilometers Bike course will start from the transition area in Kapiolani Park. Cyclist will head out onto Kalakaua Ave. and ride up Diamond Head Rd. and Kahala Ave. Turn left on Kealaolu St., go right and merge onto Kalanianaole Hwy. eastbound till Lunalilo Home Rd. Make left turn, stay on Lunalilo Home Rd till cyclist makes a right turn onto Hawaii Kai Dr. At the corner of Hawaii Kai Dr. and Kealahou St, cyclist will make a u-turn and head back. Turn left at corner of Hawaii Kai Dr and Lunalilo Home Rd., turn right on Wailua, turn left onto Keahole St, then turn right to merge onto Kalanianaole Hwy west bound. Take right exit at Kilauea Ave. exit ramp, turn left onto Kilauea Ave.. Turn left on Elepaio, turn right on Kahala Ave., ride up Diamond Head Rd., and turn left on Kalakaua Ave. back to the transition area at Kapiolani Park.
RUN COURSE – 10 Kilometers Start at Run Exit west/ocean end of transition area. Head toward Kapahulu Ave. (Honolulu Zoo), turn right on Paki. Cross street at corner of Paki and Monsarrat Ave. and run up Monsarrat Ave and turn left on 18th Ave. Turn right on Kilauea Ave., turn right on Elepaio St., turn right on Kahala Ave., head up Diamond Head Rd., turn left onto Kalakaua Ave. toward the transition area and Finish Line.
Friends of Kaiser High School PTSA runs a farmer's market every Tuesday from 4-7pm in the school parking lot. It has piping hot food from Olay's Thai food and true farmer's stand run by Kay and filled with in-season fruits and vegetables. Recently, the market added a local rice producer who imports high-quality grain from Hokkaido and processes it here on Oahu less than 24 hours before sale.
In addition to the market's regular customers, I'd like to see more of you so we can get the momentum this market truly deserves. On July 5, I'm bringing my plants to exchange them with you. You bring yours, take one of mine or someone else's. Don't have any plants to give? Bring empty pots so they can be refilled for the next event. Don't have those either? Just take a plant and leave a voluntary donation to Kaiser's PTSA. It's that easy.
To start with, I know I can provide:
I don't really have a green thumb, but I know these grow in Hawaii, and I know they grow well in my Hawaii Kai backyard. In order, they are: Cholesterol spinach (edible), Creeping thyme (edible), Kupukupu fern (decorative), Mint (edible), Watermelon radish [seeds only] (edible) and Yomogi, aka mugwort (edible).
June 13, 2016
On June 9, 2016, the Honolulu Charter Commission voted to defer their Permitted Interaction Group's recommendation that the elimination of the neighborhood boards be placed on the general election ballot.
I just finished shopping at Costco and was pleased to see this display:
On the mainland, it was common practice to order food from the food court while checking out at the register. Looks like the practice -- at least for whole pizza -- has finally reached Hawaii Kai. Notably, because there is a side window for pizza pickup, it means you won't have to wait in line outside again just to place the order.
A couple of other tidbits I learned by eavesdropping these past few days:
- Costco offers rainchecks on regularly stocked items that have run out. This can be useful if you're using the coupon book and stock is out.
- You can still get sauerkraut for your hot dog at the counter. Just ask. (The guy in front of me asked for the "white stuff in the container" and looked a bit baffled when the cashier asked if it was sauerkraut. It was.)
We were at Koko Marina next to Zippys just peering in at around 10 am when an employee poked her head through the door and offered us a menu. For that alone, Sophie's Gourmet Hawaiian Pizzeria can give itself a plus one.
We came back later that day, around 11:30 am and found the restaurant surprisingly empty. We had expected a large crowd of the curious, you know -- those kama'aina that give the new restaurant on the block a try early on. It was a good thing we got there early because the wide variety of unique ingredients had us slowly mulling our many choices. Unlike your usual pizza restaurants, Sophie's has much more than pepperoni and olives. While you can still get those mainstays, Sophie's also offers Bulgogi, Char Siu, Thai Curry Chicken and much more. Like cilantro? Sophie's has it. Don't like it? Well, the good news is that it's your pizza. Each selection is a 12" pizza meant for one to two people, and so priced. A three topping pizza is $10.95 and a five topping pizza is $12.95. The chef selections with a wide variety of complementary garnishes are also $12,95.
After ordering, we waited around five minutes as our pizzas cooked. Just about the same time, the restaurant started filling up.
A word of warning, we have picky pizza eaters in our household. A word of relief, everyone in our lunch party loved their choice. The traditional pizza eaters liked their pepperoni and sausage combos. The gourmet eaters loved their picks, replete with char siu, curry chicken, jalapeno, macadamia cream sauce, just to name a few.
When we were partway through our meal, one of the owners, John, stopped by to ask how we liked our meal. He seemed delighted to be the new entrepreneur on the block and also seemed delighted that he -- a Hawaii Kai resident -- had nearly no commute to his new venture. He also asked how we liked our curry chicken. The two of us who had chosen it as a topping agreed that it was very tasty. John then proceeded to proudly tell us how he prepares it a day in advance to allow the marinade to soak through. Admittedly, the curry chicken was very good -- it probably could have been a gourmet dish by itself.
I would unreservedly recommend this new restaurant to anyone. I have only two constructive suggestions to make -- all in the name of selfishness, as I would be thrilled to see this locally owned venture thrive and continue to expand.
1. Continue to be generous with with your portions and toppings. Sophie's main competitor is Pieology, a mainland chain-restaurant with an Aina Haina location. While it bears mentioning that Pieology's pizzas are quite a bit smaller than Sophie's (10.5 inches versus 12 inches) and rather ordinary, Pieology advertises it's all the toppings you choose. Sophie's, on the other hand, has topping limits but in our visit was generous with portions. I hope Sophie's recognizes the value in continuing the practice.
2. Sophie's really needs to change their drink policy to include refills. Koko Marina has a mixed customer base, including mainland visitors. It is common practice to provide refills for soda machine purchases. The cost of limiting refills over what is probably just a couple dimes of soda isn't worth losing a customer or getting a poor review from one. If you need to charge a bit more for soda so that you can include refills, do that instead.
Finally, my plea to neighbors: With a location just a few doors from the already successful Moena Cafe, I predict that Sophie's will also succeed. However, just to be sure, I'm asking all Hawaii Kai residents to give it a try at least once It's a high quality meal at a price reasonable enough to have a few times each month. Seating is available, either indoors in air conditioning, or outside overlooking the marina and boats. It's not your ordinary pizza; it's more of a gourmet dining experience at a pizza price.