Eating among the warehouses of Kalihi Kai

You know those neighborhoods where you can grab a bite and window shop while strolling and people watching—of the sort you’d find in New York, San Francisco, Portland, and maybe even Waikiki? Well, that’s not Kalihi Kai. This is a neighborhood of warehouses, factories and car repair shops rather than cute boutiques and swanky cafes. The triangle makai of Nimitz Highway, bounded by Waiakamilo and Sand Island Access Road, doesn’t look much like a neighborhood of good eats, which in Honolulu means it’s exactly the kind of neighborhood where you’ll find them. Though there is a McDonald’s bordering each side of the area, you’re more likely to see people driving down Kalihi Street with a maunapua in one hand than a Big Mac. So while there are few people on foot in Kalihi Kai, it’s worth it to find a parking space (good luck) and walk among the
warehouses to explore the eating options: smooth, silky tofu pudding; a sweet and sour spare rib saimin in a bowl as big as the kitchen sink; wasabi masago poke, each piece of fish coated with the delicate crunch of fish eggs; lilikoi sorbet to cool off.
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Green Travel

In today’s world of carbon footprint consciousness, maybe traveling isn’t the most eco-friendly thing to do. Nor is it always budget-friendly, for that matter. But for many, it’s worth it. Sometimes, it’s travel that makes us realize this is a world worth preserving; in a sense, we travel the world to save it. We don’t have to go far, though: As we’re acutely aware, with millions of annual visitors, our own Islands are some of the best eco-destinations around. Here’s our green vacation guide to the Neighbor Islands, with earth-friendly lodging and activities for when you’re ready to hit the road (via bike or hybrid vehicle, naturally).

Soup’s On!

Of course, as I sit down to write this ode to a comfort food for cold, blustery days, the sun is shining and it appears the weather may be warming up. No matter. In the café where I’m sitting, people are still spooning soup, proving there’s more to a bowl than just warmth. At its best, soup is so much more than the sum of its parts. Whether composed of merely a few ingredients or a pantry-ful, it’s a distillation and harmonizing of flavors. Stocks and soups are some of the first things a cook learns in culinary school and one of the first tests in a professional kitchen; they’re building blocks for mastering technique as well as flavor and balance. Auguste Escoffier, whose ideas have been the foundation for the past century of restaurant cooking, said, “Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite.” Sounds like soups should be integrated into day spas. Until then, here are a few places to seek solace.

Small plates, big dreams

Honolulu is ready to get small. While izakayas, which pair Japanese small plates with beer and sake, remain popular, Honolulu diners have largely resisted the tapas-fication of menus popular in mainland dining cities. Even Alan Wong couldn’t make a go of small plates when he first opened Pineapple Room.

Are we ready to commit? Enter Sapori, a beer and wine bar whose menu consists solely of small plates–the Italian version of an izakaya.

Taiwanese Shave Ice at City Cafe

After trekking to Ice Garden in Aiea for Taiwanese-style shave ice, I’ve found a new love closer to home: City Cafe. Call me fickle, but I’m helpless to my new lover’s charms: soft, fine ice that melts in the mouth, leaving a whisper of brown sugar on the tongue; luscious, creamy pudding; and glistening black cubes of grass jelly.

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