Wednesday
Aug122009

How to Act "Local"

For the tourists who like to come to Hawaii..and wanna blend in, three things you can instantly do to be more "local"

1) Aknowledge people around you with a smile and say HI AUNTIE or HI UNCLE....to older people..they will instantly think you are realated or know them somehow.

2) Order a Strawberry Slushie from Byron's Drive Inn or any food place where there are slushies and ALWAYS have them put vanilla ice cream in it.

3) NEVER EVER call Slippers FLIP FLOPS that is an INSTANT give away..that SCREAMS TOURIST or MILITARY ALWAYS ALWAYS call them SLIPPERS...in fact drop the "ER" sound and just say Slippah ( SLIHPAH) 

 

there you are instantly kamaaina...

 

 

Monday
Aug102009

Simple Acts of Aloha

Living here in Los Angeles, I begin to see how the Aloha Spirit would REALLY help some of the road rage and other ailments that prey upon the psyche of Hollywood..so here is a little peek inside the anatomy of Aloha. Wether you were married on Kaua'i or just LOVE anything Hawaii..here is how to keep it close to you when you aren't sitting on the beach eating some pickled mango, and drinking some POG ( passion orange, guava juice).

1. When in traffic let someone in from the merge lane, it isn't going to kill you.

2. When being let into traffic or allowed to exit an alley or anywhere where someone is showing you some kindness WAVE and aknowledge..don't act like you EXPECT the world to give you everything.

3. Smile at someone, an old lady, a car passing by, a little kid in a stroller- open up your microcosm a bit and let the world around you in.

4. Be patient..Rome wasn't built in a day, you aren't always gonna get what you want when you want..get over it.

5.Think of someone else BEFORE yourself..don't block a walkway and talk on your phone..be aware there are others around you..if you have a million things in your cart and someone behind you has one let them go in front, the karma will do you good.

 

6. Leave a place BETTER then you found it...even if YOU didn't make the mess...imgaine how much better this planet would be? Pick up one peice of trash around you...you're gonna throw yours away anyway.

 

After awhile..you will feel the tradewinds even if you live in Arizona..you will smell the pikake leis even if you are on the east coast..try living aloha today, I promise you won't regret it.

Sunday
Aug092009

OH THE FOOD

Growing up on an island you learn to eat just about anything...and in a place like Hawaii it can run the gamut from down home plate lunches to fancy shmancy pacific rim fusion food so pretty you are afraid to eat it. For me the foods of Hawaii are like music..encapsulating a feeling, a season, even an age in my life.. I went through many a food phase..but I can guarantee all of those phases included SPAM..even when for a year a briefly became a vegetarian..I still ate spam because no one could REALLY agree it was a meat haha.. so I have complied a list of my favorite foods big and small from Hawaii, and some of the places they can be found....

 in no particular order of favoritism...

KULOLO- this is a "desert" of sorts..a luau food of traditional hawaiian decent..it look like a solid square of well poi actually but tastes nothing like poi..so all you people with an aversion to poi do not I repeat DO NOT panic.  Thy best kulolo in my humble opinion is made on Kauai and luckily they ship it to all the islands so you can get it at most hawaiian food restaurants or my fave place to pick it up...a local FOODLAND grocery store...I buy one brick for me and one for everyone else..

 

KIM CHEE 2-Now this is my go to Korean Food joint..there are a couple different Kim chee restaurants and I like them ALL but I LOVE Kim Chee 2. It is located in the outskirts of Kapahulu and Kaimuki..the address is 3569 Waialae Ave Honolulu, Hawaii 96815 and EVERYTHING on the menu is good but I go for the Meat Juhn plate. If you stop in tell Jimmy I said hello you can't miss him he's the tall good looking Korean guy takin your order his family owns the place...

Spam Musubi's- this one is easy to find- look for your nearest 7-11 when you get off the plane and grab a few it'll tide you over till you get to Kim Chee 2,  try the chicken musubi's too if your feeling fancy.

Saved Ice- now I know there is a LOT of opinions on Shaved ice in Hawaii and it is kind of like the Jets and the Sharks you either belong to one camp or the other. But I am a purest..and I stick by MATSUMOTO's partially because I have been going there since Jesus was a baby..but also because simply put I love all the flavors..and the service can't be beat..the other places are good too BUT hey- all those hollywood movies can't be wrong...if it's good eough for Adam Sandler in 50 first dates...it's good enough for me..Matsumoto's is located in picturesque Haleiwa Town..66-087 Kamehameha Hwy..just drive through haleiwa town you can't miss it...try the li hing mui flavor if you DARE...I usually get a combo coconut, pineapple, and li hing dont ask me why.

House Of Dragon Chinese Food-Now there are MANY MANY great chinese restaurants in Hawaii, this place in the Pearl City Shopping Center is just sentimental to me cause it is in the neighborhood I grew up in and I still eat there whenever I get a chance..it is a little hole in the wall place but everything is SO GOOD...we order everything from Beef Brocoli to Pork Hash, Kau Yuk...Shrimp Canton...Cold Ginger Chicken  all of it is amazing..but the DUCK EGG...which is a hard boiled super salty duck egg split down the middle...and eaten as a side condiment with rice... is divine.

Crack Seed..you will find some places that still have big glass jars of preserved plums, a tradition brought to Hawaii by the in flux of Chinese Immigrants...it morphed into it's own unique Hawaii tradition and is so nostalgic to many of us born and raised in Hawaii...Crack Seed Center in Ala Moana shopping center is the easiest Crack Seed store to find as unfortunately a lot of the mom and pop shops have closed down...try the rock salt plum which is a fave from my child hood...or the seedless li hing cherry if you dont like to eat around a pit...it is all SO ONO or delicious as we say in Hawaii.

 Hope you take a chance on some of these "Hanabata days" food as we call it in Hawaii meaning my childhood faves.... ENJOY!

Wednesday
Aug052009

Hawaii: Kid friendly destination

Now that I am a new mommy, I am always on the hunt for places to do things with my two year old..and the LAST place HE wants to be is in his car seat to get there...which is why when people ask me about where to stay in hawaii..my question is YOU GOT YOUNG KIDS? STAY IN WAIKIKI...and here's why...everything is pretty much in walking distance from one of the many hotels to fit all price ranges.

The zoo and aquarium as well as diamond head and kapiolani park are all within walking distances of each other...and that beautiful calm beach stretches the entire stretch of waikiki so pick one spot for the whole vacay or move around from one patch of sand to another...it is all there for the walking.

 

here are some of my favorite FAVORITE off the beaten places in Waikiki..

MAI TAI at the ROYAL HAWAIIAN HOTEL: First of all the hotel is PINK what child doeasn't want to look at an entire building that is the color of contton candy? And it is one of the oldest hotel's still standing in waikiki so it gives you this bygone feel for another place in time. The Mai Tai isn't a raucous bar to meet singles..it has a laid back family affair feel just steps from the water...the virgin chi chi's are my fave..and if you go in the evening you get to see some great hula up close ( I used to gig here pre-miss universe days).

88Tees on KALAKAUA BLVD: Now this place is a little GEM...forget all those t-shirts you see on every corner these t-shirts are cool hip and  unique...AND if a Japanese tourist see's you wearing one..they will instantly think you are a rock star..these shirts are status symbols in Japan because you have to be able to AFFORD to come to hawaii and buy them, they don't sell them online..the shirts all have some kind of hip hawaii saying on them and are so CUTE...ask for Loukie she owns the joint..and try to find my picture somewhere on the "wall of fame" . 88 tees is upstairs of Aloe Hawaii on Kalakaua next to The Coldstone Creamery...blink and you'll miss it!

The KAPI'OLANI BANDSTAND: Think of Kapi'olani Park at the base of Diamond Head as the Central Park of O'ahu..there are archery courses, bike paths, rugby and soccer fields...just acres and acres of grass to run willy nilly..but near the Honolulu Zoo side is the Kapi'olani Bandstand..where many outdoor free concerts are held..it has a great little pond surrounding it with wonderful statues for kids of all ages to frolick around..

The best thing about it all...NOT hearing kids SCREAMING in a car seat...just pop them in a stroller or on your shoulders and amble along..think of it as cardio so you can EAT that extra large plate lunch!

Monday
Aug032009

I get asked this A LOT..

I know it has been 12 years since I gave up the title of Miss Universe..but I still get asked what it was like during my year, where did I travel to during my year..what was it like to give up my title in my home state of Hawaii..and then every once and awhile I will get that REALLY curious pageant afficiando who asks WHAT DO YOU DO RIGHT AFTER YOU GIVE UP THE CROWN? Well this is what I did...I went to Lanai. No Joke. After being in Hawaii under intensive media scrutiny for a whirlwind two weeks leading up to relenquishing the title..I had hit the wall. But where was I supposed to go to get away when I was literally EVERYWHERE, on posters, in store windows on highlight reels on the evening news..where oh where could I go to get away from ALL OF IT?

Koele Lodge. It was that simple..I made a reservation, and the staff there was so considerate, and just instinctively knew I had smiled one too many smile and shook one too many hands..they met me at the hotel lobby and practically carried me to my room...I had such a fantastic time, just relaxing, walking the grounds, sitting by the large comfy fireplace in the lobby for hours just emptying my head. It was the recharge I needed. I loved it so much, I stayed an extra day...the food was superb, the staff so caring and professional, and the rooms..THE ROOMS were like heaven on earth a virtual cocoon of happiness.

Koele Lodge gives you a different feeling of the islands, an up country feel of scented trees, luscious golf courses, sprawling pastures with friendly horses nuzzling your hand for one more carrot...it is one of the best kept sanctuary secrets of Hawaii nei.