Archives for posts with tag: Honolulu
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Waikiki beach from an ocean-front room at The Modern Honolulu

Back in San Diego from: Honolulu

I’m recently back from Honolulu where I did a lot of observing and listening to locals in preparation for an upcoming story. Growing up on Kaua’i, Honolulu meant the land of Ala Moana (shopping mecca), stopping in at Liliha Bakery for Coco Puffs or Bubbie’s for mochi ice cream and whirling through an array of high school gymnasiums and musical performance venues as part of my high school extracurriculars.

Now, viewing the city as an adult and through the lens of a visitor looking to participate in local culture beyond Waikiki, and thanks to this recent writing assignment, I have concluded that Honolulu is one of the most interesting, dynamic and multi-cultural American cities right now.

For example, the food–to locals, food has always been a central component of Hawaii’s social fabric, but these days it seems the shift to strengthen the farmer/chef relationship and a growing demand for local, organic produce is reviving and reshaping palates and providing economic opportunity.

I noticed this type of collaboration across industries, from the entertainment scene to the fashion world. I’m really excited for this piece to publish because I think many will come away from the article with a completely different notion of what Hawaii is about, and how cool Honolulu can really be, if you only took the time to do your research. In researching this article, I certainly did.

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Golden Hour in Waikiki from Azure restaurant at The Royal Hawaiian

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Kalua pork everything please, like these Spring Rolls at Hideout on Kuhio Ave.

REI photoshoot

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Typical breakfast back home; Portugese sausage, eggs and rice.

Typical breakfast back home; Portugese sausage, eggs and rice.

Whether I’m deplaning at Kauai’s airport or Honolulu International, where my sister now lives, homecoming always feels the same and I hope that will never change. It starts with the slow creep of damp air that seeps through my half-day-old travel wear as I wheel my carry-on toward curbside pick-up and ends with a bittersweet sense of appreciation and longing for the islands that raised me.

At Honolulu’s arrival terminal several weeks ago, I smile when I hear it: the familiar island twang of Hawaiian pidgin, which is today a product of the ethnic groups imported to till the sugar cane fields more than 150 years ago. The Filipinos, Chinese, Portuguese and Puerto Ricans did their best to find a cohesive way to communicate with one another and thus, the inverted grammar of the creole vernacular is one of the few remains after the industry collapsed in the ’90s.

The next morning I pop into Brue Bar off Bishop Street in Downtown Honolulu. I’m in a slight daze and need one more cup to activate the brewed drip my brother-in-law made for my sister and I before they both shoved off for work. Blank faced, I placed an order for a Chai latte.

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My introduction to Honolulu’s Kaka’ako neighborhood was hard and fast, and I liked it. Upon arriving in Honolulu last week, I was immediately ushered into beverage-centric and appropriately named Bevy to clink Lilikoi-whiskey cocktails and other fruity concoctions on the eve of my arrival – like, within a half hour of my landing. I smelled like airplane and my hair had already begun to frizz from the island humidity but I didn’t care. I was surrounded by family, new friends, good drinks and the island intonation I haven’t heard in nearly two years yet easily slipped back into during the seven days I was home.

Kaka’ako is trendy yet local; friendly, inviting and casual. It is the island lifestyle elevated, yet it seems the fun I had while visiting is just the beginning of a 15-20 year plan to revitalize the area, according to Our Kaka’ako. Backed by Kamehameha Schools, the intent for a walkable, live, work, play environment with ample green space is already evident in the handful of small eateries and watering holes that dot the cross streets of Ala Moana Boulevard.

A pint at Honolulu Beerworks.

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