Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Pirates of the Caribbean
You, Me & Dupree
The Shaggy Dog
Snakes on a Plane
Along Came Polly
50 First Dates
Tears of the Sun
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
The Big Bounce
Tears of the Sun
Die Another Day
The Day After Tomorrow
Lilo and Stitch
The Time Machine
Planet of the Apes
Punch Drunk Love
The Night Marchers
The Testaments Waikiki: In the Wake of Dreams
Jurassic Park III
To End All Wars
The Big Show
Off the Lip
Molokai: The True Story of Father Damien
Monday, December 29, 2008
2. Waikiki Beach
3. Duke's Waikiki
5. Hawaii Warriors
6. Dog The Bounty Hunter
7. Barefoot Bar
8. Magic Island (where I got married)
9. Alan Wong's
10. The Aloha Spirit
Happy holidays to everyone and be sure to keep reading Natalani in 2009!
John & I at Duke's Waikiki, where we first met!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
I have a few more days of vacation and then its back to the grind. I am looking forward to 2009 as I have set a lot of blog related goals, so be sure to check back often about all things Hawaii!
Monday, December 22, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Target was able to process over 1,000 applicants who turned up for interviews yesterday, and the good news is that there are still positions available. The job market in Hawaii now is more competitive than ever before, and people with good skills and experience alone will need to show that they have that extra something if they want to be considered for a position. My suggestion: if you are unemployed and have some spare time, start learning a new skill, or undertake some training so you will be ready when the right role presents itself. You can never learn too much!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
John was able to get tickets for the 2009 Pro Bowl this week. He is taking his good friend Jimmy to the game instead of having a bachelor party before the wedding. I was just reading in the news today that Peyton Manning, Eli Manning and Brett Favre will be there, among others. Although the game will be much more laid back than the regular season, it should be great for celebrity spotting! The sad news is that Tony Romo won't be going, but 5 Cowboys will be in attendance.I am thinking that I will be sure to see a few of these guys walking the streets in Waikiki - time for a photo and autograph!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
1. Swim at Waikiki Beach
2. Watch the sunset
3. Get a bus pass and travel around Oahu for 4 days for $20
4. Go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay (only $5 entry fee)
5. Climb the Koko Head Crater
6. Walk to the top of Diamond Head
7. Head to Chinatown for great food that is inexpensive
8. Rent a kayak and head out in the surf
9. Visit the Dole Plantation
10. Visit Pearl Harbor
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
The good news for the Warriors is that they get to go the Hawaii Bowl at Aloha Stadium on December 24! Bad news – they are playing Notre Dame, who have had a less than impressive season this year, finishing at 6-6. The Irish have played in Hawaii three times before. The Irish played in the 1984 Aloha Bowl, losing 27-20 to SMU. The Irish also traveled to Hawaii to play the Warriors twice, beating them 48-42 in 1991 and 23-22 in 1997.
If you are going to be in Hawaii over the holiday season, why don’t you head out to Aloha Stadium and support the Warriors? You can purchase tickets at Aloha Stadium website. For those who will not be in Hawaii, the game will be broadcast on ESPN. Enjoy the game and GO WARRIORS!
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
One of the best parts about living in Hawaii is the consistently gorgeous weather. It is so nice to wake up, open the blinds and look out to the sunshine, almost every day of the year. There are really only two seasons in Hawaii: summer and winter. The average daytime summer temperature 85º F. (29.4 C) while the average daytime winter temperature is 78º (25.6º C). Temperatures at night are approximately 10º F. lower. If you are a fan of the heat, it doesn't get much better than this. The picture above is a typical 5 day forecast report.
The wettest months in Hawaii are from November to March, but all this means is that it helps to cool down the temperature - by no means should you worry about the rain disrupting your vacation plans. Because of Hawaii’s trade winds, there is almost always a cooling breeze. Several times during the year the trade winds will stop completely and the wind will switch around to come out of the south or west, bringing stormy or hot sticky weather. Islanders sometimes call this Kona weather, because kona means leeward or South, and this points to the direction from which these weather systems arrive. But most of the time, the weather is so pleasant that you might forget to go indoors. I used to spend as much time as possible outdoors, as there is nothing quite like fresh air and the smell of the ocean in your backyard!
What is funny though is how your body becomes adjusted to the weather, no matter where you live. During one winter in Hawaii, I remember the temperature got down to 65 degrees, and I headed to work with a scarf, gloves and jacket on - for Hawaii that was cold! Now in Seattle, its starting to get down into the 30s at night, and I am still going outside without a jacket - crazy!
If you are planning a vacation and are wondering when the best time is to travel to Hawaii, I would give the following suggestion:
- If you like it REALLY hot - Late August/September
- Pleasant - November
- Mild - February
No matter when you go - you can be guaranteed to come home with a killer tan!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Have you thought about buying Hawaiian gifts for your friends and family this Christmas? If you read this blog, its probably because you like Hawaii, so why not share the Hawaii with those you love? My good friend Catherine was kind enough to send me this blog post from Two Japanese Bruddahs , which is a great compilation of Hawaiian gifts that you can buy during the holiday season - thanks Catherine! My picks on this list: SPAM Cookbook and Royal Kona Coffee. Thanks to the Bruddahs for this great story.
Two Japanese Bruddahs’ Holiday Shopping Guide
Monday, December 1, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Every Hawaiian menu will consist of a variety of pūpūs, and many will advertise 'heavy pūpūs', which often means buffet style, so you can have a much as you want of the dish. Typically, pūpūs are made from recipes including chicken, shrimp, pork and vegetables. One of my favorite pūpū dishes is Poke, which is cubed and seasoned raw fish, usually tuna. You could also use shellfish or mussels, but fish is the most common way to make this dish. Poke is a Hawaiian word meaning "section" or "to slice or cut". Because a fish poke recipe calls for the fish to be served raw, I would always use sashimi -grade fish for freshness and quality, however be warned that some restaurants may not always serve sashimi-grade fish, which increases your risk of food poisoning if the fish is not extremely fresh. If making Poke at home, be sure to purchase your fish from a fishmonger who has a good reputation for quality.
Here is a great Poke recipe from famous Hawaiian chef, Sam Choy. Please try this recipe out, but I want you to know that Sam Choy has produced a Poke cookbook (yep he really loves Poke), which you can purchase at Amazon.com. So if you and your guests aren't big fans of raw fish, this book has more poke recipes that might please the palate. Yum!
Sam Choy's Award Winning Poke
2 lb Ahi tuna, cubed into 1/2 to 3/4 inch squares
3 oz chopped green onion
3 oz diced onion
2 oz chopped ogo (fresh seaweed)
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
Hawaiian salt to taste
Secret Ingredient: Kukui nut
Combine in mixing bowl; add dry ingredients and chill.
Serve and enjoy.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
- New airline service for Inter-Island Market (Mokulele Airlines)
- Hawaii's Nets-to-Energy Program
- 2nd Annual UKEtoberFest in Eugene, OR
- Hawaiian Music - New Releases
- Recipes using Papayas
Those of you who live in Seattle and the surrounding suburbs - I hope you like reading this paper - it's not the Seattle Times, but it sure has lots of aloha!
Must sign off now - the Cowboys will be on in 45 minutes!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Usually for Thanksgiving, I would cook something for lunch or dinner - but this year, we are doing it right. So tonight, off to Ray's Boathouse for dinner, and Friday night, off to SeaStar with our favorite friends Debbie and Brian - looking forward to a catch-up!
I still have next to no voice thanks to the New Kids concert - but it was worth it. I do have a good appetite though and plan to indulge over the Thanksgiving holiday - I have been working so hard at the gym for the last few months, so its time for a treat. If I was in Hawaii, I think I would be heading to Alan Wong's for the degustation menu, or, for something more relaxed I would head to Duke's Waikiki for some live music and delicious calamari. Whatever you do this Thanksgiving, enjoy!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Did you that Hawaii will be celebrating its 50th anniversary of becoming the 50th state in August 2009? Nearly 9 percent of the population claim to have some degree of native Hawaiian ancestry. Recognized by Governor Lingle as an official part of the statehood celebration, groups and individuals from the mainland are invited to participate in arranged events, including American Musical Salute to Hawaii, "Aloha 50" birthday party for 50 year olds, and the Aloha Classic Music Festival. However, while some will be celebrating, many native Hawaiians believe that statehood was a theft of their nation and press for sovereignty. In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed a resolution apologizing for the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. One of the only places in the Islands that truly reflects traditional Hawaiian life and culture, is on the island of Ni'ihau, off the coast of Kauai, where 160 residents of native Hawaiian origin live and speak the native Hawaiian language. How awesome is that? I would love to take a trip to that island some day, although I don't think the residents would be too impressed if I asked to interview them for my blog - or if they would know that a blog is for that matter.....
Even if you can't make it to Hawaii in 2009, you should take the time to celebrate this momentous occasion. My suggestion - have a luau, or perhaps head out to a nice Hawaiian restaurant in your area (if any). But do celebrate; the Hawaiian Islands are a place of dreams and good times, not to be forgotten. John, Jimmy and I will be celebrating in February - can't wait!
Monday, November 24, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Chilled Tomato Soups with a Grilled Cheese and Kalua Pig Sandwich
2 ripe yellow tomatoes
2 ripe red tomatoes
2 teaspoons Chile Pepper Water (water, garlic, chili,vinegar, ginger - blended together)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
4 ounces foie gras
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
8 slices french baguette, about 1/2 inch thick
4 slices Fontina or mozzarella cheese, about 1/4 inch thick
4 tablespoons Kalua pig, or shredded smoked or roasted pork (optional)
4 triangular sections of lavosh, or poppadom, for garnish (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and coarsely chop the tomatoes, keeping the colors separate.
- To make the yellow soup, in a blender combine the yellow tomatoes and 1 teaspoon each of the Chile Pepper Water and garlic. Season with salt and puree until smooth. With the blender running, add half of the oil and blend until incorporated. Transfer into a small pitcher with a lip so it can be poured easily, and chill.
- To make the red soup, in a blender combine the red tomatoes and the remaining Chile Pepper Water and garlic. Season with salt and puree until smooth. With the blender running, add half of the oil and blend until incorporated. Transfer to a second small pitcher with a lip, and chill.
- To serve from opposites, simultaneously pour both soups into individual wine glasses to form a half-and-half or yin-and-yang pattern.
- To prepare the sandwiches, using a warm knife, cut the foie gras into 4 slices about 1/4 inch thick and season with salt and pepper. In a small saute pan over high heat, heat the vegetable oil. When the pan is very hot and the oil begins to smoke, sear the foie gras for about 10 seconds on each side, or until golden brown. Let cool slightly.
- Butter the bread slices on one side and place half the slices, buttered side down, on a work surface. Place a slice of cheese on the unbuttered side of each sandwich and top with the pork and a slice of foie gras. Close each sandwich with a bread slice, buttered side up.
- In a saute pan over medium-low heat, cook each sandwich for about 1 minute on each side, or until the cheese has melted and the bread has turned golden brown.
- To serve, slice each sandwich in half and serve on a small plate to the side of each soup glass. Alternatively, place the triangular piece of lavosh or poppadom on top of the soup glass and balance the sandwich on top.
The photo below is what the finished product should look like - it may take a couple of attempts to get it as perfect as Alan Wong!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Many people come to Hawaii expecting to see a traditional Hawaiian luau, and there are plenty of places that claim to offer this experience, such as Paradise Cove , and the Polynesian Cultural Center. I have not been to either, but I have heard from more than one person that these are both very expensive tourist traps, and really aren't very authentic (I just checked the price and they start at US$83 for tickets at the Polynesian Cultural Center. My suggestion: meet some local Hawaiians on your trip and head to their home for a true Hawaiian luau experience.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Catherine - Can't wait to see you in Seattle real soon. No beach here but plenty of shopping and cocktails!
Happy Friday everyone!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
1. Happy Thanksgiving - Hau’oli La Ho’omakika’i
2. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year - Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau'oli Makahiki Hou
3. I Love You - Aloha Au Ia 'Oe
4. Thank you very much - Mahalo nui loa
5. Until we meet again - A hui hou kakou
6. Welcome - E komo mai
I'm sure you're thinking how on earth do I pronounce some of these words? Well, The 5 vowels a,e,i,o and u as well as the 7 consonants h,k,l,m,n,p, and w make up the entire Hawaiian alphabet. In the Hawaiian language a consonant is always followed by a vowel which also means all Hawaiian words end in a vowel. It is easier to pronounce words when you break them down into single syllable chunks. Sometimes the letter W is pronounced the same as V as in the traditional pronunciation of Hawai'i which is phonetically pronounced huh-vi-ee rather than huh-why-ee.
In the Hawaiian language a symbol directly over a vowel called a kahakô indicates that the vowel sound is to be elongated. A apostrophe like symbol called an `okina indicates a quick pause in the word, as in "ah-ah" for the word a`a.
True Hawaiian locals actually have another 'language' that they use, called Pidgin. True pidgin spoken in Hawaii is more like Hawaiian slang, not the pidgin language spoken in the South Pacific Islands. A rich local culture lies behind Hawaiian pidgin, and seems to rub off on those who stay for any length of time. Many people, especially in the country areas and outer islands, speak only da kine, true Hawaiian Pidgin. I have to say that when we lived there I found myself picking up some of these habits - like saying 'ya' at the end of every sentence! Some examples of pidgin words include:
1. Brah - All the bros in Hawaii are Brahs; brothers; pals (you hear Dog the Bounty Hunter use this a lot)
2. Haole - A word that used to mean foreigner, but now means a white person or Caucasian - my Hawaiian friends used to call me this a lot! I believe that this is often used in a rude manner - i.e. its not a compliment to be called a Haole - its almost used in a sarcastic manner
3. Kamaaina - A long time island resident or local
4. Malihini - A newcomer, tenderfoot or recent arrival
5. Wahine - A young woman or girl; female; wife. Written on a door it means "Ladies Room".
I strongly encourage you to try and incorporate some words or phrases into your trip to Hawaii to get a real Hawaiian experience. There are some great pocket-size word/phrasebooks out there that are inexpensive; pick one of those up so you can be ready for any conversation!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Chinatown is the epicenter of Asian culture in Hawaii, and boasts a wide variety of commendable, well priced eateries, including a number of Thai and Vietnamese restaurants. Also in Chinatown, you will also find a selection of Filipino, Korean, Japanese and Indian restaurants. Other things to check out include farmers’ markets, gift shops, lei stands and art galleries.
For more information about Chinatown you can visit the official website.
Monday, November 10, 2008
7. Mauna Kea
Streets in many Hawaiian communities have an identifiable theme. For example, in Hawai`i Kai, all streets have island place names. In Kahala, they are named after birds, and in Mililani they are named after stars, days and nights.
I picked my top 5 street names and wanted to share the meaning with you - hope you find it informative!
1. Lanipili Pl (Honolulu) - A heavy rain, lasting many days, or a cloud burst
2. Ala Wai Blvd (Honolulu) - Canal. Literally: water path
3. Kuhio Ave (Honolulu) - Standing diagonally
4. Hukilau Lp (Waialua) - Seine (a fish net with sinkers on bottom and floaters on top); to fish with a sciene
5. Kapo Way (Honolulu) - A sister of Pele. One of her adventures resulted in the formation of Pu`u Ma`i (known as Koko Crater)
Sunday, November 9, 2008
The game has been held at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu (home of the Hawaii Warriors) since 1980. The game caps off a week of festivities in Hawaii in late January/early February, and the next game is scheduled for February 8, 2009. Apparently, the NFL was exploring the possibility of moving the Pro Bowl to the host site of the Super Bowl, and holding it the weekend before the Super Bowl starting in 2009. However, the league decided to retain the 2009 game in Honolulu. It's unclear if they will be revisiting this issue for the 2010 Pro Bowl game.
We are thinking of going to the Pro Bowl next year - I think one of the things that makes me dislike football is sitting out in the freezing weather for 4 hours. However, there is no such thing as cold weather in Hawaii. So, with a few beers, sunshine, and some cute football players, I think I might actually enjoy myself! Let's hope my favorite player, Tony Romo from the Dallas Cowboys makes the cut!
Friday, November 7, 2008
1. Royal Hawaiian Hotel - This pink hotel located in the center of Waikiki is a must visit, even if you can't afford to stay there. The architecture is amazing, and the Mai Tai bar is legendary.
2. Sheraton Moana Surfrider Hotel - Affectionately called the first lady of Waikiki, this hotel was the first hotel in Waikiki and is over 100 years old. They have a great outdoor dining area right by the beach, perfect to watch the sunset or to sip some cocktails.
3. Waikiki Beach - You can't visit Hawaii without going to Waikiki Beach. It is rumoured that a lot of the sand on this beach has been imported due to erosion problems. But you get the real touristy beach experience here - surfing lessons, shave ice, outriggers and locals - what more could you want? Just be prepared to share the beach - there isn't a lot of room during the peak season and you may find yourself sitting on top of someone else's towel.....
4. Duke Kahanamoku - I have written a post on Duke before - a perfect place to leave your lei as a sign of respect for this "Ambassador of Aloha".
5. Kapia'olani Park - Spanning 170 acres, this park is now used by locals and tourists alike for family gatherings, music and festivals. I think I have seen farmers markets down there also.
6. Honolulu Zoo - Although this can't be compared to Taronga Zoo in Sydney, this compact Zoo has a few cute creatures to look at. Good for the kids - although it gets very hot walking around inside.
7. Waikiki Shell - This concert venue is extremely well-known and popular. They host a range of events including the Honolulu Symphony and other local Hawaiian acts.
8. Waikiki Aquarium - The aquarium is also popular with the kids, and is popular for sharks and Hawaiian Monk Seals.
9. War Memorial Natatorium - In 1927 a Natatorium was opened and dedicated to the honor of the 101 residents of the Hawaiian Territory who died during World War 1. It is currently in a state of disrepair, because of local disagreements over health and commercial matters related to the restoration project.
10. Diamond Head - Located at the end of Kalakaua Ave, this amazing crater is not to be missed. Be sure to get there and take the hike up the crater, to discover amazing views of Oahu and beyond. Try to go early in the day as it gets extremely warm as you make your way up the crater.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
We decided to get married spur of the moment - it's a long story, but we ran out of time to make a decision (I had to fly back to Sydney the next day so it literally was a time issue). So we decided yes, let's get married. Ok - so what do we do now? Hawaii is famous for weddings - so we did a google search and found a priest. It was a total business transaction:
1. Call the priest
2. Make an appointment - for 12 hours later - to get married
3. Pick a location to get married
4. Pay the fee
5. Turn up at Magic Island and get married!
That probably sounds so strange, but its literally how it happened. And despite of the strangeness of deciding and making a huge life decision in a 12 hour period - it was the best experience!
We decided to get married at Magic Island, which is right by Ala Moana Center. Great views of Waikiki and Diamond Head. We had one witness (John's best friend Jimmy) and the Reverend. We had the ceremony and then had photos taken on the beach. It was so personal and romantic. If you are planning a wedding and wish that you could elope - this is the way to do it. Apologies to my friends and family that were hurt by what we did, but this saved a lot of time, money and stress, and was what we wanted to do - and that's what is most important.
Every year when we go to back to Hawaii we get a photo at Magic Island - our upcoming vacation will be no exception.
Our wonderful Reverend's name was Jerry Le Lesch and you can reach him through his website. Enjoy the wedding pics!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Did you know.......
- Hawaii is the most isolated population center on the face of the earth. Hawaii is 2,390 miles from California; 3,850 miles from Japan; 4,900 miles from China; and 5,280 miles from the Philippines
- Hawaii is the only state in the US that grows coffee
- The Hawaiian Islands are the projecting tops of the biggest mountain range in the world
- Hawaii has its own time zone (Hawaiian Standard Time). The time runs two hours behind Pacific Standard Time and five hours behind Eastern Standard Time
- Iolani Palace (Oahu) is the only royal palace in the United States
- Two of the tallest mountains in the Pacific - Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa - dominate the center of Hawaii (Big Island)
- Most of the world's macadamia nuts are grown on Hawaii (Big Island)
- Haleakala Crater (Maui), is the world's largest dormant volcano
- From east to west Hawaii is the widest state in the United States
Interesting huh? Hawaii has a lot to offer from a history perspective. I enjoy learning something new every day.
Monday, November 3, 2008
I am really into getting the stats about Hawaii. I enjoy learning more about the state's history - it helps you to better understand the culture. Today's history lesson is in State Symbols and such - I hope you learn something too!
Bird: Nene (also known as the Hawaiian goose). This bird is on the endangered species list.
Dance: Hula This dance was around before Nintendo introduced Wii Fit!
Fish : Humuhumunukunukuapua`a (also known as the rectangular trigger fish or Hawaiian trigger fish) - try saying that after a few beers. This fish is so beautiful that I am reluctant to eat it.
Flower: Pua Aloalo or Ma`o-hau-hele (Hibiscus brackenridgei)
Gem: Black Coral
Mammal: Hawaiian Monk Seal (very cute)
Marine Mammal: Humpback Whale
Popular Name: The Aloha State
Song: "Hawai`i Pono`i", written by King David Kalakaua
Team Sport: Outrigger Canoe Paddling
Individual Sport: Surfing
Tree: Kukui Tree (Aleurites Moluccana)
Motto: "Ua mau ke ea o ka aina I ka pono" (The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness)
Language: Hawaiian (although almost everyone there speaks English)
Hawai`i - Red
Maui - Pink
O`ahu - Golden Yellow
Kaua`i - Purple
Moloka`i - Green
Lana`i - Orange
Ni`ihau - White
I hope you enjoyed your Hawaiian history lesson today. Its great to learn new things about other cultures and regions and Hawaii is no exception.
Friday, October 31, 2008
I shared with my team mates at work this week that in Australia we don't celebrate Halloween the same way that Americans do - however, in an attempt to immerse myself in US culture we bought a pumpkin and a bunch of candy (although I probably won't share that with the kids that knock on our front door, that will be all for me). We are going out for dinner tonight instead of being festive (I am wondering how fun trick-or-treating in Seattle could possibly be when it's always raining). The cats did get into the spirit - Squid's favorite food is pumpkin and Batman is a very cute black cat. Happy Halloween everyone!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
The Ritz-Carlton is made up of a number of guest rooms and suites, at a price for everyone. Mind you, we ate at one of the restaurants for dinner, nothing fancy but the bill was nearly $US400 - so be prepared to bring a few extra $$ with you to fully enjoy the experience and what the hotel has to offer. The one thing I really liked about the hotel was that they used a lot of local ingredients. Hawaii produces a wide variety of food, from Maui onions to goats cheese from the Big Island. Of course, there is also the obvious - pineapple, coffee and sugar cane.
Enjoy some snaps from our vacation. If you have time to go to Maui for the weekend, I would definitely recommend staying at the Ritz-Carlton - I hope I will get the chance to go back one day soon!
One of the wings of the hotel - looking out to the pool
The private Ritz-Carlton Beach
Ahhhh the pool!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Thanks to Hawaiian airlines for the great service – you have a customer for life right here!