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Safehouse indeed. This new lounge, in the concert venue Republik, is like an oasis in the decidedly sketchy outskirts of Ala Moana mall. The stench of urine, the empty warehouse-like buildings: all that falls away once you step inside Republik, a project between BAMP (a concert production company) and Chip Jewett, who was a partner in Apartment3 and Pipeline, both now shuttered. Safehouse feels like the swanky love child of the two: an LA-chic place to grab a drink and snack. The drink menu is impressive: A Scotch drink combines Talisker, Campari and vermouth with expresso beans resulting in unexpected harmony. The classic cocktail the Last Word mixes gin, maraschino liqueur, chartreuse and lime juice for sweet and sour balance.
Not everything works, though: the Jack fizz falls flat—the whiskey somehow completely obliterated underneath seltzer and lemon.
Honolulu’s first Dishcrawl happened last night, a high-buzz progressive dinner that was so secret, nobody knew which restaurants were involved until we ended up inside the doors. And until last night, nobody really knew what a Dishcrawl was, either, but the idea of a secret progressive dinner through downtown Honolulu was so hot, the 45 spots sold out within days of a social media blitz.
Dishcrawl is a movement that’s sprung up in mainland cities. It’s exactly like a pub crawl, except at each of the four stops, you eat. You sign up blind: Beyond the neighborhood, the $39 cost and the fact it’s at dinner time, it’s all a mystery until two days prior, when you get an email telling you where to meet up and what time.
This book accompanies a traveling exhibition, “Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art,” which opened in New York on September 7, 2012, at the Museum of Arts and Design. Both book and exhibition tell many stories of Shangri La, as the Black Point estate came to be known. The exhibition is also the first to share the estate and collection of Doris Duke beyond our island; it will travel to 5 other mainland museums before returning to our own Honolulu Museum of Art in March of 2015.
The large-format book contains cherished archival photos of Doris Duke’s honeymoon journey of 1935, photos of Doris exploring what would become her lifelong passion: Islamic, especially Mughal, architecture and art. The simple photo of Duke and her husband upon their arrival in Hawaii gives no hint of a life-changing choice she soon would make. The unexpected culmination of that journey was Duke’s personal discovery of Hawaii, a refuge from celebrity life, an opportunity to enjoy privacy and lifetime friendships. She soon purchased 5 acres on Black Point where she and her husband decided to build a home. Here she would create her home and garden, and she spent her lifetime doing so. Duke called it “a Spanish-Moorish-Persian-Indian complex.”
It’s time to make reservations for Restaurant Week, with new restaurants joining the fray this year, such as Prima, The Whole Ox, Yuzu, and the new Eggs ‘n’ Things at Ala Moana (hello, waffle bacon benedict and banana split pancakes!).
Menus that caught my eye…
Showcasing some of the Big Island’s culinary talents, the second annual Puna Culinary Festival is under way this week. Situated on the easternmost portion of the island, the Puna District, south of Hilo, includes the eastern flank of Kilauea volcano and, thanks to a variety of growing conditions, diversified agriculture.
Among the fest’s highlights: various Puna area chefs will be featured in dinners demonstrating their culinary creativity and use of local products. For example, Puna resident Mark Ceranski, who once served was an executive chef for a Saudi prince and various British dignitaries, will be serving up a special fest dinner tomorrow evening. Ceranski’s menu features grass-fed Big Island beef pot roast in a local fig and red wine sauce, and Hawaiian beet and Makuu Market green bean salad with local goat chevre. For more information about the fest’s special dinners, click here.
Many Japanese people visit the spa town of Noboribetsu, Hokkaido’s most famous hot spring resort, so we thought we should do the same. Noboribetsu is a haven for onsen fanatics, since the hot springs in this town produce 11 types of thermal waters, each having its own set of healing properties.
Each of the hotels in this area have their public baths set up differently, as well, so you will often see people “onsen hopping,” as we did, to see what the baths are like. Most times if you’re a guest at a hotel, you can go to the bath for free; visiting another hotel incurs an admission fee. Oh, um, by the way: we’re all buck naked in these public baths. (Sorry, no cameras allowed in these places, so I can’t show you everything.)
All of November: National Peanut Butter Lovers Month
I don’t know what to do with this except to tell you, because I find it strangely exciting. Slather, people!
Nov. 1: Shochu Day
Distilled from barley, sweet potatoes or rice, 25 percent alcohol by volume and rising fast in the popularity polls. The day has passed, but for all who love the strong stuff, Happy (belated) Shochu Day!
The seventh annual Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival is set to get under way at Waikoloa Beach Resort on the Big Island’s Kohala Coast beginning today (Thurs., Nov. 1).
Considered one of Hawaii’s top hula events, the three-day fest spotlights hula halau(dancing groups) from Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, Mexico, and Japan in hula kahiko (ancient hula) and hula auana (modern hula) competitions. Also, the fest includes a night of showcasing performances given by kupuna (elders).
• Wahine Kahiko (ancient hula, women) — morning workshops, from 9 a.m. until noon, followed by afternoon workshops from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The main event, the Wahine Kahiko competition and awards, starts at 5 p.m. today (Thurs., Nov. 1).
The end of the year is quickly filling up with food events. A few that caught my eye:
- This year, Haleiwa Farmers Market’s Taro Festival moves to Ala Moana. Celebrate taro from root to pa‘i ‘ai with tours to the lo‘i at UH Kanewai and stone and board making demos.
Saturday, November 3, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Ala Moana Center, 2nd level near Sears