Thursday, January 21, 2016

Hungry for great tasting Okinawan food?

A nearly hidden gem of a restaurant offering traditional Okinawan (and Japanese) fare that is sure to satisfy anyone’s craving is Utage Restaurant + Lounge.  Open for lunch and dinner, Monday – Saturday, the restaurant is tucked away at City on Square on Kalani Street (off Dillingham Blvd),
As usual, Utage did not disappoint. 

Give it a try and you’ll soon become a fan of this great restaurant.

For more information, menu and great photos of many of the dishes, visit

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Converting videos to DVD

While I know there are probably lots of companies around that do this, I recently found one in my neighborhood that offers the mini DV to DVD conversion at a reasonable price. So, earlier this week I took my tape to the shop and luckily, the owner said he would work on it right away. I left for a quick lunch and when I returned, it was done.

Now that I’ve finally taken the step to convert one of my tapes to DVD for easy viewing, I plan to take more, including the old video cassette of home movies that a cousin previously converted from 8 or 16mm film, so I can easily watch it too.

The shop I went to is called 808Burners. It’s a small family-owned business in the Aiea / Pearl City area which got its start in late 2002 as an internet café. Today, they still have computers for internet use but have added many additional services including tape to DVD transfer, slide show development and computer repair. 

To check out the prices for various services and for more information, visit,

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sharing heartwarmng aloha - Diamond Bakery style

Diamond Bakery (, locally-owned cracker and cookie company with a mission of Sharing Heartwarming Aloha, recently announced a company-wide project to help Hawaii’s less fortunate. 

“We are 100% committed in our support of IHS, The Institute for Human Services, and its dedication to provide respite for those who are unsheltered to help transform their lives,” said Brent Kunimoto, president of Diamond Bakery.  “Giving back to those less fortunate in our community is always a top priority for us so we’re mobilizing our employees to do what we can to help IHS continue to make a difference in this escalating situation.”

According to June Namba, Diamond Bakery customer coordinator, “I love to help those who are less fortunate because it makes me appreciate more of what I have. We’re always complaining about not having this or that in life but, when you’re looking at people in real need, it makes you feel like you already have a lot!”

IHS is currently the only 24-hour walk-in, emergency shelter on Oahu, providing a full range of services to anyone who may be homeless or are in danger of becoming homeless. Of their eight major service areas, Diamond Bakery is focusing on their Community Food Programs – specifically the IHS Meal Program which serves three hot meals a day, seven days a week.  For more information on The Institute for Human Services, visit

During the weekday work hours when IHS can use the most help, Diamond Bakery employees are providing hands-on assistance preparing meals.  Luckily, IHS’s close proximity to Diamond Bakery’s location makes it convenient for employee participation. 

“As a company doing business in Hawaii for more than 90 years, Diamond Bakery truly cares about people. The efforts of our employee volunteers giving of their time, energy and aloha to share Heartwarming Aloha that our founders valued so much is priceless,” added Kunimoto.  “Our goal is to have 100%­­ employee participation so the Institute of Human Services is the first partner to benefit from our new policy to pay employees two days a year to perform charity work.
“I was thrilled and proud to learn about the work volunteer opportunity the company is giving us,” said Bryan Sabado, Diamond Bakery production worker.  “I’m excited and looking forward to being part of the giving back process!”

For more information on Diamond Bakery and their full line of products, visit the website at or call (808) 847-3551.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Aqua Oasis - photo gallery

Here's a look at the newly refreshed Aqua Oasis (former Waikiki Joy hotel)

All photos were provided by Aqua Hospitality except for the one above and below which I took when I did a quick tour of the hotel recently.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

News and food by Starwood Hotels & Resorts

While PR is my bread and butter job, I also have a couple of blogs (like this one) and am the editor of a Waikiki newsletter that is published 2x per month.  As editor, I sometimes receive invitations to media events and recently attended a luncheon hosted by Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

The luncheon / press briefing took on the 30th floor Leahi Club Lounge (formerly Hanohano Room) of the Sheraton Waikiki (Sheraton Waikiki photo). This room has always been a favorite of mine with their glass elevator and killer views of Waikīkī Beach and Diamond Head to the left and Ala Moana and Pearl Harbor to the right.  With lots happening this was a time for us to hear updates on what’s new at Starwood’s 11 properties (4 brands:  1 – St. Regis, 1 – The Luxury Collection, 3 – Sheraton and 4 – Westin) on the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii, the Big Island.  

A few highlights included:

  • 50th Anniversary of the Sheraton Maui Hotel (photo from  The Sheraton Maui Hotel, the first official hotel at Kaanapali Beach Resort, opened its doors in January 1963 with a special introductory rate of $15 per night.

  • Starwood’s multi-million-dollar renovations and revitalization plans ranging from redesigned rooms and the debut of new food and beverage establishments to amenity upgrades and more to better serve the growing needs of its guests.

  • New guest amenity concept at Sheraton Waikiki.  Rather that send friends or clients a fruit basket they can’t possibly finish, you can now choose to send an amenity bag that lets them pick their own goodies and logo items. 

  • A group of new, returning and experienced chefs are creatively using locally grown produce and the finest seafood and steaks to plan exciting and diverse dining experiences at their respective restaurants.

We had the opportunity to sample items prepared by five of the Starwood Waikiki culinary team:

1st Course – Pass Hor D’ Oevures by Executive Chef Danny Chew of Rumfire

Pickled Onaga with Ginger Lime Marinade Puffed Skin Cilantro Espuma and Onsen Quail Egg Caviar, Truffle Caramelized Onion Jam.  (I wasn’t too keen about trying the Quail Egg but it turned out to be quite nice --- no photo here as I was juggling the pupus, my purse and the refreshing lychee drink)

2nd Course – Executive Chef Brett Villarmia of Sheraton Waikiki Banquets

Chilled Lemon Verbena Tomato “BLT” Soup.  Braised Bacon Gratin Charred Brussels Sprouts, Compressed Ho Farms Tomatoes.  (Creamy and delicious)

3rd Course – Chef de Cuisine Shaymus Alwin of Azure Restaurant

Kona Lobster Tail. Truffle Aioli, Meyer Lemon Preserve, Toasted Brioche, Baby Rocket, Tobiko Butter. (This was so good, I nearly asked for another serving)


4th Course – Executive Chef Darren Demaya of Kai Market:  Potato Gaufrette Crusted Sea Bass.  Braised Waianae Valley Napa Head Cabbage, Mac Nut Brown Butter.  (Excellent presentation and preparation)

5th Course – Chef de Cuisine William Chen of Beachhouse at the Moana: Hawaiian Ranchers New York Strip.  Spiced Heirloom Carrot, Big Island Hearts of Palm.  (No red meat for me but it was a great looking cut of steak)


The finale was a beautiful dessert buffet (so many choices --- I settled on the Red Velvet Cup Cake --- no photo / no calories)

For more information on Starwood Hotels and Resorts, visit their website at