Monday, November 14, 2011

Wailuku's best kept secret ... Old Wailuku Inn

Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono is a 10-room bed and breakfast that is one of Maui's best kept secrets ... but it deserves to be in the limelight.

I spent a night (not nearly long enough) at the historic home recently.  The inn has been beautifully restored, but with amenities and modern conveniences that many of today's travelers expect.  

According to the website ... ... the home was built by a wealthy island banker as a wedding gift for his daughter-in-law.  The overall theme of the inn and its impeccably landscaped grounds pay tribute to Hawai'i's poet laureate of the 1920's and '30s, Don Blanding. Each of te ten distinctive guest rooms is dedicated to one of the flowers in his "Old Hawaiian Garden". Hawaiian quilts, in the design of each room's flower, set each room apart.

I got the nicely appointed Puakenikeni room, a ground-level unit that is handicap accessible - which meant that my shower was huge!  All photos were taken by me except for the room shot below - which is from the website - since my photos don't do it justice.

Staying at Old Wailuku Inn is great.  It's near the airport and in close proximity to the towns of Wailuku and Kahului.  The Inn offers free Wi-Fi, free on-site parking and no resort fees. It comes with daily breakfast and, they serve a different  hearty gourmet breakfast each day.  The morning that I was there, we had the Frittata of Garden Vegetables with five cheeses, served with polenta and marinara sauce (see below) ... after the selection of island fruits), juice, coffee and tea. 

Innkeepers Janice and Tom Fairbanks were born and raised in the Islands and their understanding of old Hawai‘i’s charm is second nature. 

Here are a few more photos that I took.

The Breakfast Room

 Exterior of the main building

Living Room in the main building

One of the outdoor sitting areas

The parking area

Above is the only signage you will find of Old Wailuku Inn.

Rates are under $200 per night, plus taxes.  Check the website for specials.
Phone: 808-244-5897 Toll Free: 800-305-4899
Fax: 808-242-9600

Address: 2199 Kaho'okele Street Wailuku, Maui, Hawai'i 96793

Friday, September 30, 2011

Streets of Asia event at The Modern Honolulu

Just a few photos of the kickoff event for the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival at The Modern Honolulu.

Above - The food booths, 'living' statue, people grazing ... before nightfall

 Taiko performance
Chef Morimoto

For more photos - including great food shots, checkout the following post by Ed Morita ...

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Exhibit Showcases Alfred Shaheen’s Fusion Fashion Legacy (Sept 7 - Oct 29)

Hawaii's Alfred Shaheen: Fabric to Fashion, a new exhibition opening at Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Schaefer International Gallery on Wednesday, September 7, 2011, is a celebration of the legacy of textile designer and master fabric printer Alfred Shaheen, the origins of the Hawaiian aloha print and the fusion fashion aesthetic it spawned. This is the first major retrospective exhibition of Hawaiian textiles and aloha wear manufactured by Alfred Shaheen on the island of O‘ahu over four decades. It will run through October 29.

Alfred Shaheen wed technological innovation to socially responsible business practices in the service of revitalizing Pacific Island and Asian textile traditions to forge a fusion fashion design aesthetic now recognized worldwide. The designs are a visual marker-- not only of Hawai‘i's multi-ethnic culture but of a West Coast American lifestyle that is informal, environmentally aware and multi-cultural. A Lebanese immigrant/engineer, Shaheen pioneered a silk-screening method and professionally trained his employees, who were Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese and other ethnicities, as his City of Craftsmen, to create a new design aesthetic.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a comprehensive collection of vintage Shaheen apparel and fabric. The exhibit will certainly have a seductive appeal for islanders who remember wearing Shaheen and spark a new interest and appreciation for others. His apparel designs brought an authenticity to the influence of the ethnic design and put Hawai‘i on the international fashion map," said Neida Bangerter, Schaefer International Gallery Director at Maui Arts & Cultural Center.

Hawai‘i's Alfred Shaheen: Fabric to Fashion is co-curated by San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles Curator Deborah Corsini and Hawaiian textile scholar, Linda Arthur Bradley, PhD with exhibit design by Gallery Director Neida Bangerter, and will feature over 100 objects drawn from the collection of Camille Shaheen Tunberg, Alfred Shaheen's daughter. Stunning yardage representing the textile designs Shaheen produced and key examples of the men's, women's and children's garments that visually conjure Hawai‘i's complex cultural history will be on display. In addition to textiles, the exhibit will showcase archival photos and ads that illuminate how the textiles and garments were designed, manufactured and marketed.

Dr. Linda Arthur Bradley explained, "Hawaiian textile art, especially designs from the 1940s and 50s, have a quality unsurpassed in other decades. Shaheen championed the idea of using Hawaiian textile art as a means of expressing ethnicity and, as an innovative businessman, employed artists as salaried employees and was the first to use modern fashion promotion and marketing on the islands."

Co-curator Deborah Corsini added, "Shaheen's designs are an exuberant profusion of color, pattern and sophisticated compositions which capture the lushness of a tropical climate and the spirit of exotic cultures of the Pacific islands."

On Sunday, September 4, informative lectures on the exhibit will be presented by co-curators, Dr. Linda Bradley and Deborah Corsini, from 2 to 4 pm in the Alexa Higashi Meeting Room followed by an opening reception in the gallery.

Dr. Bradley, who is Professor of Apparel Merchandising, Design and Textiles at Washington State University, will discuss "The East Met the West in Hawai‘i: Cultural Influence in Alfred Shaheen’s Ethnic Textile Designs." Ms. Corsini, Museum Curator, will present "Exhibition Highlights: The San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles" which features different exhibitions drawn from the museum's permanent collection as well as some of its curated exhibitions.

Schaefer International Gallery is open Wednesday – Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm, before Castle Theater shows and during intermission; admission is always free. For more information on the Shaheen exhibit, contact Gallery Director Neida Bangerter at 808-243-4288 or

As a special event to commemorate the exhibition, Maui Arts & Cultural Center will host Couture Hawai‘i Fashion Show on Saturday, September 3, beginning at 6 pm in the Yokouchi Pavilion Courtyard. This runway event will showcase the latest collections of aloha wear and couture apparel from well-known Hawai‘i designers, including Maggie Coulombe from Maui, Bernard Foong of Wailea and Anne Namba from O‘ahu. The show will begin with vintage Shaheen dresses and aloha shirts, and a small student collection from the University of Hawai‘i – Maui College's Couture Club will also be shown. Host for the evening will be Andy South, contemporary fashion designer and Season 8 Finalist on TV’s "Project Runway."

Couture Hawai‘i Fashion Show represents a new facet in the global mix of art offerings at Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Patrons can browse and shop for fashion and accessories made in Hawai‘i, purchase catered appetizers and beverages, then dance to music by DJ CIA during the after-party. Tickets are available at the MACC Box Office for $35 general admission and $100 VIP package. Call 808-242-SHOW (7469) or go online to

HAWAII'S ALFRED SHAHEEN: FABRIC TO FASHION is organized by San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles, San Jose, California and presented by Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Hawai‘i. The exhibit is made possible through the support of the Alexander & Baldwin Foundation, Matson Navigation Company, WESTAF, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Arts Council Silicon Valley in partnership with the County of Santa Clara and National Endowment for the Arts, The City of San Jose, the Santa Clara Valley Quilt Association, and private contributions.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

“Clip for Classroom” 2011 kick off

Diamond Bakery’s unique fundraiser earns school supplies for Oahu classrooms and a donation for Aloha United Way

Diamond Bakery ( recently unveiled their 2011 “Clip for Classroom” program to Leeward District school representatives during a presentation at Kapolei Middle School.

“We’ve partnered with Education Works and Aloha United Way on this great program,” said Brent Kunimoto, Diamond Bakery’s President.  “It’s a simple project that encourages students and teachers to clip Diamond Bakery UPC barcodes to redeem for classroom supplies and make a donation to Aloha United Way.”

Who is eligible? 
Any accredited public or private school or officially sanctioned school group is eligible to participate.  Elementary, middle and high schools in the State of Hawaii all qualify.

How does it work?
From August 1, 2011 to February 28, 2012 (7 months), students and teachers clip UPC barcodes from 6 oz. or larger packages of Diamond Bakery cookies and crackers. 

Each UPC barcode collected earns 15 cents for classroom supplies and 10 cents in charitable giving to Aloha United Way.  UPC barcodes are redeemed at the Education Works store located at Dole Cannery Shops, 735 Iwilei Road.  Once the program period ends and the total number of redeemed UPC barcodes is determined, Diamond Bakery will make a donation to Aloha United Way.

The redemption form is available online at

Who benefits?
Students and teachers benefit by becoming involved in a fun project that enables them to purchase supplies for their classrooms and make donations to Aloha United Way.  Also, classrooms participating in the Bonus Incentive can also receive gift cards and class prizes when they collect and redeem 90 UPC barcodes by October 31. 

Schools collecting the most UPC codes will be recognized by Aloha United Way for their community support.

Aloha United Way receives 10 cents for each qualifying Diamond Bakery UPC barcode redeemed by classrooms during the promotion period.

“Clip for Classroom” kick off presentations are also scheduled for the Honolulu and Windward Oahu school districts.  Qualifying neighbor island schools can receive all of the program information online at

October 2011 marks Diamond Bakery’s 90th anniversary of making and baking cookies and crackers in Hawaii.   “Clip for Classroom” is one example of how the company fulfills their mission of sharing heartwarming aloha.

For more information, visit or call 847-3551.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Aqua Lotus Honolulu - photo tour

Took a site tour of the Aqua Lotus Honolulu and the hotel looks great!  Here are some of the photos that I took.

Entry to the hotel ...

A couple of lobby views ...

Views of a Diamond Head guest room ...

And a few of the huge penthouse ...

The quality of my photos do not do the rooms justice ... they looked great and, once the renovation that Aqua plans are completed, they will look fabulous. BTW - the restaurant space still looks good too ... cannot wait for it to re-open.

Aqua Lotus Honolulu is a 51-room boutique hotel located on Waikiki's "Gold Coast".  It is in easy walking distance to Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki Aquarium, Waikiki Shell, Tennis Courts and more

Monday, July 25, 2011

Biggest Loser (2010 favorite) coming to Maui Marathon

Fan favorite Ada Wong, from “The Biggest Loser” (2010 television series), is coming to Maui to participate in the September marathon.

“We’re excited to have Ada join us for a great weekend of events,” said Rudy Huber, Maui Marathon Executive Director.  “She’s become an inspiration for millions of people and her desire to run the Maui Marathon is perfect for her new outlook.” 

When asked in an interview last December, Ada said, “I lost 99 pounds. I want to lose another five or so pounds. More importantly I want to focus on toning up my body a little more and becoming a better athlete. I made the shift from being the overweight girl trying to lose weight to being the girl who wants to be more physically fit.”

A native of California, Ada’s dramatic weight loss was unveiled to TV viewing audiences over the course of many weeks and her transformation was fantastic.  She keeps the weight off by working out daily and keeping to 1800 calories a day.

“In The Biggest Loser Marathon, Ada posted the fastest female time of 4:38:48 (a record),” added Huber.  Our fastest time for ladies 2:39 but Ada’s got experience under her belt now and she’s a competitor so we’re expecting her to do very well.”

During her visit to Maui for the Maui Marathon, Ada will be speaking at the Expo on Friday from 1:30 – 2:30 pm and she’ll do a brief presentation at 5 pm at the Carbo Lū‘au – both events take place at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa.  Ada will also be at a booth on Friday at the Expo and Saturday to chat with runners, fans.  Booth times will vary.

41st Annual Maui Marathon & Half-Marathon
·         September 17:  Maui Tacos 5K Run and Bubba Gumps Front Street Mile
·         September 18:  Maui Marathon, Half-Marathon and Warrior Challenge

Registration for the 2011 events is available on line now at  The fee also includes a t-shirt for all race finishers.

Maui Marathon is recognized as one of the most scenic courses in USA and the oldest consecutive running marathon in Hawaii. The course is a point-to-point route starting in Kahului and passes sugarcane fields and along the Pacific coastline for over 17 miles. The popular Maui Half-Marathon features a flat, out-and-back course that traces the final 6.55 miles of the marathon course.

For more information about the Maui Marathon, visit, email or call 808-280-5801.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Factory tour of Diamond Bakery

Had an opportunity to accompany media on a factory tour of Diamond Bakery in Honolulu.  Here are some of the photos I took of the facility.

 The flour silo

 Hair nets are required of everyone ... workers and visitors

 Mixing the cracker dough

Sheets of graham crackers

Crackers moving up the conveyor belt

 Cracking the crackerss

The human touch is required to make sure only the best crackers are selected

Stacks of graham crackers

Plastic wrapper for sealing the crackers

Here, individually wrapped soda crackers are checked

A batch of sea animal crackers caught my eye

Here, the sea animal crackers sorted by type

Looking back at the line of ovens baking the crackers and cookies to the exact crispness

 Selection of some of the cookies and crackers that are produced at the Diamond Bakery factory

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

NOTE:  The factory is not open to public tours

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tohoku Hospital in Sendai Beneficiary for Japan Relief Fundraiser aio Announces “With Aloha” Saturday, April 9 Event

Tohoku University Hospital in Sendai, Japan is the beneficiary of a fundraiser titled “With Aloha” on April 9 (Saturday evening from 5-9 p.m.) at the Pagoda Hotel in Honolulu   Pagoda Restaurant and aio are collaborating with local businesses and community groups to raise money for the “Tohoku University Hospital - Japan Relief Fund.”

Sendai is in the Miyagi Prefecture of Japan, and is the largest city in the Tohoku Region. The coastal city has suffered catastrophic damage from the earthquake (9.0 magnitude) and resulting tsunami waves (up to 77 feet) on March 11. The epicenter of the quake was 45 miles east of the Oshika Peninsula of Tohoku. Since the disaster hit, Tohoku University Hospital has been providing food, medicine and comfort items to people in need from the surrounding areas.

“With Aloha” tickets are $50 ($60 at the door). Ticket information is available

Twenty-four (24) restaurants are participating, including Le Bistro, Pagoda, Hukilau Honolulu, Honolulu Burger Co., Ryan’s Grill, Kincaid’s, Hy’s Steakhouse, Nalo Farms and Murphy’s Bar and Grill. Anheuser-Busch, Hawaii Nui, Better Brands, Southern Wines, Paradise Beverages and Johnson Brothers are also participating.

Brother Noland, Juke Joint 5PM, Ka‘ala boys, Natural Vibes and others will be performing at the benefit. A crane-making booth, and silent auction are also planned. KCCN (Cox Radio) will broadcast the event live.

Free parking for “With Aloha” will be available at Pacific Guardian Center (corner of Kapi‘olani and Keeaumoku Streets) and HMSA (Keeaumoku Street).

Monetary donations to “Tohoku University Hospital-Japan Relief Fund” can be made online at, or can also be mailed to: 1000 Bishop Street, Ste. 610, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96813. Checks should be made payable to “Tohoku Hospital Japan Relief Fund.”

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Diamond Bakery launches line of Hawaiian “All Natural” Crackers

Diamond Bakery (, a Hawaii-based cookie and cracker company that has been in business for over 90 years, recently announced the launch of their newest product line of Hawaiian “All Natural” Crackers.  

“In a time when consumers are extremely conscious about eating healthier and smarter, we created products that meet their demands,” said Brent Kunimoto, President of Diamond Bakery.  “Our new Hawaiian All Natural Crackers have no artificial flavor and use the finest ingredients for an extra hearty crunch.”

Diamond Bakery’s Hawaiian All Natural Crackers are based on the company’s time-tested favorites – some of the recipes have been in used for more than 80 years!  The new line will soon be available in California, Colorado and part of the Southwest.  The Hawaiian All Natural Cracker line includes:

Hawaiian Sodas - Original

Providing comfort and nourishment to sea-going travelers for decades, Diamond Bakery’s Hawaiian Sodas are the islands’ favorite crackers.  Hawaiian sodas are made from the finest local ingredients including organic wheat flour.

Hula Creems - Original

Crunchy and creamy, these crackers are inspired by Hawaii’s famous dance and unique culture. They are made with enriched wheat flour for a natural, mildly sweetened cracker.

Hula Creems - Coconut

Like the Hula Creems, but with Hawaiian harvested coconut added for a tasty difference.

Waimea Wheats - Original

Motivated by the small village of Waimea on the island of Kauai, and its farming and plantation heritage, Waimea Wheats use enriched wheat flour and wheat brand for a thick and hearty cracker that’s good for the soul.

Maui Grahams – Maui Sugar

Like their name implies, Maui Grahams use enriched wheat flour and raw cane sugar that is grown and harvested on the beautiful Valley Island of Maui.

“The one, all important ingredient that never changes is the pure Hawaiian artesian water that we use,” added Kunimoto.  “That, coupled with our belief in the human process of hand selecting each cracker or cookie three times, makes Diamond Bakery brand products outstanding.”

Each box of Hawaiian All Natural Crackers includes nutrition facts.  For example, three Waimea Wheats have 70 calories (20 calories from fat), total fat 2g, (saturated fat 1g, transfat 0g), cholesterol 0mg, sodium 65mg, total carbohydrates 12g (dietary fiber 1g, sugars 0g) and protein 2g. 

Diamond Bakery products are manufactured out of a single facility in Honolulu, Hawaii.

For more information, visit or call 847-3551.