Saturday, June 26, 2010

Local Hawaiian Rums and Tropical Cocktails

A recent Beach Villa Resort guest, asked us about the local Hawaiian Rum scene. I never really thought about locally produced rums before. Mai Tai's are kind of ubiquitous around here, being the local drink and all, so you never stop to think where the rum comes from.

So after researching the local rum scene for our guest, I thought I would share my discoveries. So enjoy a Mai Tai, Lava Flow, Tropical Itch, Rum Runner, Zombie or other Hawaiian Tropical Cocktail created with a locally produced Hawaiian rum while on vacation at the Beach Villa Resort in Ko Olina, Hawaii.

As always, please drink responsibly!

If you would like to make your own cocktails while watching a sunset or ten, we provide the glasses, blenders and cocktail recipes in the kitchen of your villa. Costco sells various rums and Target and Safeway also sell the needed ingredients to make your own Mai Tai's or other tropical libations.

Koloa, a dark rum from Kaua'i, Hawaii was the first rum brand that sounded promising.

Their product is produced in Kaua'i, Hawaii using sugar supplied by Gay & Robinson Sugar Plantation. Gay & Robinson has subsequently shut down so before Koloa runs out of sugar, they will be looking to work with small local growers. Sugar production has all but stopped in Hawaii so hopefully Koloa's business will continue to grow and support local farmers.

According to the write up:
This rum has a bold, rich flavor with tropical undertones and a deep mahogany color.

A nose of Vanilla, crème brûlée, cola and spice.
The initial taste is rich caramel, warm molasses
and honey leading to bright vanilla and toffee flavors. The finish is warm and smooth for a rum
of this young age.


The Koloa dark rum won a Gold Award at the RumXP International Competition at the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival. However, there were only two entrants in the dark rum category so this may not mean anything.

Well, I stand corrected as Koloa just won a Bronze in the White Rum category, a Gold in the Gold Rum category and a Silver in the Dark rum category at the March 2010 Rum festival. They competed against 42 other producers from around the world.

If you give the Koloa or any of the other rums a try, feel free to leave a comment at the end of this blog as to how you liked it.

Koloa purchased their production facility from the Tateishi family which has produced hand made jams, jellies and syrups since 1931 using hand picked local fruits. The company continues to produce the Kukui brand, honoring the Tateishi family.

The Koloa company produces a white, gold, dark and spiced rums, as well as a Mai Tai mix.

Maui Dark Rum from Maui, Hawaii was another rum brand that I came across.

It is an inexpensive rum that makes a fine base for bold tropical drinks such as Mai Tai's and Zombies.



Maui Dark Rum is produced on Haleakala Ranch using Maui sugarcane molasses and purified Maui water. Haleakala Ranch is a 30,000 acre ranch that borders the Haleakala National Park.

The bottle comes with a miniature lei around the neck as shown in the photo.

Tasting notes suggest that it is a really smooth rum with a nice finish. Much smoother than expected considering that the rum is not aged. It doesn't have a lot of depth for sipping however, but it makes a great tropical drink.





Old Lahaina rum from Maui, Hawaii is a rum brand that I came across at the Island Country Markets in Ko Olina. See the Island Country Markets blog entry for directions.

Old Lahaina rum is produced in Maui's historic plantation town of Paia, Hawaii using sugar supplied by HC&S. HC&S produces some of the finest raw sugar in the world.

Old Lahaina rum is located in the old HC&S sugar mill where the father and son team spent three years constructing the distillery. They have two steam-fired 500 gallon Badger "pot stills" that were originally built for the New England Rum Company in 1946. This is really cool.

You may have seen HC&S "Sugar in the raw" products in the brown box at stores on the mainland. However, I have noticed that the latest "Sugar in the Raw" boxes have changed their wording from 100% Hawaiian Cane sugar to just 100% Cane Sugar so I hope that doesn't mean HC&S has stopped growing sugar cane.

I have a call into the folks on Maui to verify if HC&S is still in production. In the mean time, If you know, please leave a comment at the bottom of the blog.

Old Lahaina crafts three different rums, a Silver, Gold and a Dark. The Silver according to their website is good for drinks like Mai Tai's as the Silver does not have a strong rum flavor which allows the fruit notes of the tropical drinks to come through. The Gold has a superb mouth feel and is good straight up. The Dark is the perfect topper for your very own Mai Tai with great floating properties. It has a deep molasses and vanilla flavor.

Old Lahaina just won it's first award, at the March 2010 Rum festival. A Bronze Award for both their Gold and Dark rums. They just started distribution in February of 2010 so their first award came pretty quickly. They competed against 42 other producers from around the world.

"So great job to both Koloa and Old Lahaina for competing against some really tough famous and not so famous rum producers and coming out on top. This bodes well for our new cottage industry of local rum distillers."

Mai Tai

Here's a popular version of the traditional Mai Tai from the "Mai Tai" Bar located on the beach at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki. The Royal Hawaiian just completed an $85 million dollar renovation and the "Pink Palace" probably looks the same now as when Victor Bergeron created the original Mai Tai recipe and brought it to the Royal Hawaiian and Moana Hotels in Hawaii in the early 1950's. If you can believe it, back then those hotels along with the Surfrider made up all of Waikiki!

Ingredients:
1 oz. Dark Rum (Koloa, Old Lahaina or Maui Dark)
1 oz. Light rum (Koloa or Old Lahaina Silver)
1 oz. Orange Curacao
3 oz. Orange Juice and/or Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz. Lime Juice
1 oz. Orgeat (*Use something good like Monin Almond Syrup.)
Dash Grenadine or **POG

*Second choice, Finest Call. A distant third choice, Fee Brother’s. The quality of the Orgeat is important.

**POG is Pineapple, Orange and Guava Juice mixed together. You can buy it pre-made at any grocery store in Hawaii including Safeway, Target & Costco, all located one exit away in Kapolei.

Preparation:
Pour all of the ingredients into a glass in the order listed above. Stir and garnish with a slice of pineapple and a cherry. As an extra special treat, put the Mai Tai in a hollowed out pineapple like they do at the Royal Hawaiian hotel.

So come enjoy a drink with us and create your next cocktail in your fully equipped luxurious vacation villa at the Beach Villa Resort in Ko Olina, Oahu, Hawaii. Take a sip as you watch the sun set into the blue green waters off of your sandy beach, another perfect day in paradise. It would be our pleasure.

The Hardings--
Homeowners & Proprietors, the Beach Villa Resort

The Beach Villa Resort is located in West Oahu within the beautiful Ko Olina Resort. We offer luxurious vacation rentals with two and three bedroom villas right on the beach. Luxury hotel accommodations and amenities at condo prices.

The Ko Olina Resort is located 17 miles from Honolulu International Airport and just over a half-hour’s drive from downtown. If you've been to the Paradise Cove Luau or have been shuttled from Waikiki to golf, you've already been to our beautiful resort. Click HERE for reservations

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Matsumoto's Shave Ice in Haleiwa is the best in Hawaii

Photo of the famous bridge in Haleiwa, taken by my Dad in the 1960's
Photo of Haleiwa taken by my father, Peter in the 1960's

I grew up in Haleiwa and I remember my mom taking me to Matsumoto's for a cold Shave Ice on a typically warm day as a reward for sitting still while getting my haircut. Great memories. The barbershop is now a dress shop but Matsumoto's remains as it was when I was a child, some 40 years ago. I'm glad some things never change. Matsumoto's has been around for 60+ years and this review will be just as appropriate 10 years from now as it is now.

Matsumoto's is by far the most-famous Shave Ice place in Hawaii,
maybe anywhere.

So what is Shave Ice? If you've every had a snow cone on the mainland your headed in the right direction with "Shave Ice" having a finer texture. It starts off as a block of ice that is shaved with a machine into a fine powdery "snow" and then scooped up and put on top of a paper cone in a ball. It resembles an Ice Cream Cone in shape when it's all done.

Poured over this powdery snowball is any number of syrups that range in flavors from tropical such as Pineapple, Mango, Lychee or Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) to traditional flavors such as Cherry, Apple or Bubblegum. You can ask for more than one flavor to be poured onto your "Shave Ice" including Rainbow which is three pre-selected flavors.

In addition to the Syrup's you can also ask for Ice Cream or Azuki Beans which are red Japanese sweet beans that are placed into the bottom of the cone or the latest addition which is coconut cream which is poured on top of the "Shave Ice" if you need an additional dose of sugar to get you going!

In the end, you walk out of Matsumoto's with a rainbow of yummy sweet goodness. (If you don't like it too sweet, you can always tell them to use half the syrup.) If your afraid your concoction will drip all over your clothes, you can also purchase a plastic holder to contain all of the sweet goodness. However, die hard "Shave Ice" eaters will forgo the "touristy" touch since they will be in their bathing suits anyway and can just rinse off in the ocean. I'll have to say that I have purchased the holder from time to time when taking it with me in the car instead of eating it on the spot.

Matsumoto's has been open since 1951 and is a popular spot for both tourists and locals and they make 1,000+ servings a day. Don't be alarmed if the line is out the door, down the sidewalk and into the parking lot. This is normal and the ordering process moves the line pretty quickly. If it's a shorter line, count your blessings!

The Matsumoto's Ordering Dance

As the line approaches the front door, you will notice a menu board with all of your options. Here is how you choose.

I. A person will be standing half way down the line taking orders. You don't wait until you reach the cash register.
1 - Select a Large or Small Cone. I always order a large, the rest of the family typically a small.
2 - Decide if you would like Ice Cream, Azuki Beans on the bottom or the Coconut Cream topping. I get Ice Cream or Beans, the rest of the family doesn't want any extra fru fru touching their "Shave Ice".
3 - Decide on your flavors, my favorite (I get all three): Lilikoi, Li Hing Mui and Lychee. My daughter orders Cherry and my Son Pineapple, Mango and his flavor of that moment.
4 - Ask for the plastic holder as needed.

II. When you reach the cash register, pay for your order.

III. Wait over on the side until they call your name at which time you go back to claim your delicious prize. You can use the time to look around at the tee shirts. We buy them from time to time to remind us of home.

We usually visit Matsumoto's after we have had our Mahi Mahi fix at Kua Aina's. If we're headed to the beach, we just take our "Shave Ice" with us. We'll post some of our favorite beaches in a separate post.

Directions:
Head out of the Beach Villa's Resort on the H1 freeway heading East ("Mauka or towards the mountain"), next take the left exit on the H1 freeway onto the H2 freeway going North ("Makai, towards the Sea"). Continue Makai until the H2 ends. Continue to follow the signs to the North Shore and Haleiwa. There are multiple routes but as long as you continue Makai, your fine as eventually, you'll fall off into the Ocean! At the traffic circle, you'll follow the signs for Haleiwa which is towards the right heading North/East, Waialua and Mokuleia are the other way which we'll cover in a blog for another day. You'll pass Kua Aina on the right and a little past there you'll see a church on the right with Matsumoto's on the left. You may see another line on the left right before Matsumoto's, it's for Aoki's, another Shave Ice place in Haleiwa. It wasn't there when I was a child so being a die hard traditionalist, I have never been.


Come stay with us, it would be our pleasure and we'll see you in line at Matsumoto's!

The Hardings--
Homeowners & Proprietors, the Beach Villa Resort

The Beach Villa Resort is located in West Oahu within the beautiful Ko Olina Resort. We offer luxurious vacation rentals with two and three bedroom villas right on the beach. Luxury hotel accommodations and amenities at condo prices. If you've been to the Paradise Cove Luau or have been shuttled from Waikiki to golf, you've already been here. Click HERE for reservations

July 8th - July 25th, 2010 - Manoa Valley Theatre - Once Upon One Time

The Manoa Valley Theatre is such a great local theater company. I consider it one of the must do's if you enjoy live theater and won't be heading to New York City any time soon.

I know the pools and sauna, steam room, hot tubs, beach, golf course, marina and restaurants are hard to tear yourself away from when staying at the Beach Villa Resort in Ko Olina, but how about a little local culture to round out your vacation. This production is good for ages six and up so take the whole family.

I've been entertained by these folks since I was in my 20's which was many moons ago. It has never lost it's luster and keeps on getting better and better every year. The quality of the productions is first rate.

Another cherry is the up coming production, Once Upon One Time from July 8th - July 25, 2010 which mixes local Pidgin English with age old fairy tails to give it an Island twist. I predict that you will be rolling in the isles in stitches. If you are a repeat visitor to the Islands and understand some Pidgin, tears will be rolling down your face, you'll be laughing so much.

To brush up on your Pidgin, you could order Frank Delima's comedy CD, Hawaii I love it from hawaiianmusicstore.com or just listed to some tracks to see what Pidgen sounds like. You could also read the Pidgin to da Max book online from google.com books or you could order Pidgin to da Max online from amazon.

Directions:
To get to the Manoa Valley Theatre from the Beach Villa's Resort in Ko Olina, take the H1 freeway towards town. You can take the H1 all the way but it is faster to go H1 to 78 (exit 13a) to H1, (78 is more of a straight shot, H1 curves around), on H1 take exit 24B and merge onto University Ave and then a slight right at Oahu Avenue. Turn right at East Manoa Road, the Manoa Valley Theatre will be on your right. It's about 45 minutes into town and you will be going in the opposite direction of rush hour traffic. Manoa Valley is up on the mountain behind Waikiki.

Opening night is the 8th of July and we plan on attending so we'll be adding our review soon after that.

So if you're visiting us in Hawaii, come laugh until your sides hurt and then come stay at our place, the Beach Villa Resort in Ko Olina. Luxurious accommodations by the beach for your family, it would be our pleasure.

The Hardings--
Homeowners & Proprietors, the Beach Villa Resort

The Beach Villa Resort is located in West Oahu within the beautiful Ko Olina Resort. We offer luxurious vacation rentals with two and three bedroom villas right on the beach. Luxury hotel accommodations and amenities at condo prices. If you've been to the Paradise Cove Luau or have been shuttled from Waikiki to golf, you've already been here. Click HERE for reservations


Manoa Valley Theatre's Once Upon One Time (Manoa Valley Theatre (MVT))
Once Upon One Time
a musical fairytale

by Lisa Matsumoto, Paul Palmore
and Roslyn Catracchia

July 8 - 25, 2010

This award-winning pidgin musical comedy adapts and intertwines familiar fairy tales into a fun Hawaiian kine 'local-style' fantasy for the whole family. The action takes place in a mythical local kingdom where outrageous characters meet for one crazy, kapakahi (mixed up) adventure. Characters include Noelani an da Six Menehunes (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), Kekoa and Maile (Hansel and Gretel), Red Rose Haku (Little Red Riding Hood), Da Keed Who Wen Cry Mongoose (The Boy Who Cried Wolf), and many more.
Guest Director is Elitei Tatafu, Jr. , Guest Music Director is Roslyn Catraccia ; Guest Choreographer is Kat Jones .

The cast is: Michael Ng as Narrator 1; Jarod Bailon as Narrator 2; Pomai Lopez as Da Wicked Queen; Levi Oliveira as Da Prince; Lloyd Mundon as Da Oddah Prince; Kala‘au as Hunta; Tesia Worley as Noelani; Blaise Baldonado as Hauna; Chevy Martinez as Tantaran; Michael Pa‘ekukui as Step Mudder; Nicole Sandry as Lehua; Thomas Antonio Garcia as Juniah Boy; Jessica Kauhane as Red Rose Haku; Michelle Matias as Tutu/Fairy God Tutu; Daryl Bonilla as Da Mean Mongoose; Shawn Tomsen as Who; Chris Reil as Wat; Braddoc DeCaires as Wen; Allan J.N. Lau as Wea; Marvin Miyoshi as Why; Allan Okubo as How Come/Lolo; KoDee Martin as Kekoa; Leilyn Lui as Maile; and Ashley Weismantel as The Lost Princess .

Costumes are by Dusty Behner, set design is by MJ Matsushita, lighting design is by Janine Myers, sound design is by AJ Treigle, hair and makeup design is by Greg Howell, and props design is by Sara Ward.

TICKETS:
Adults: $35
Senior Citizens/Military: $30
Under 26yo: $20

To purchase tickets, call (808) 988-6131.

Show times:
Thursdays 7:30pm
Fridays 8:00pm
Saturdays 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sundays 4:00pm

Please Note:
All seating is non-reserved. The theatre has been configured in proscenium (row) seating for this production. Doors open 30 minutes prior to show time.

Approx. running time of show: 2 hrs with one intermission.

Minimum age: 6 yrs old (all attendees must be ticketed and occupy a seat)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Wife's favorite North Shore lunch spot


I'm in big trouble (not really) if I don't take my wife to Kua Aina's for lunch at least once during our trip to Hawaii and the North Shore where I grew up.


The Kua Aina menu features hamburgers but in my opinion, the real draw here is the Mahi Mahi burger. I've had the hamburger, and well it's a hamburger. The Mahi burger on the other hand contains two tasty pieces of Mahi Mahi, lovingly placed on a Kaiser Roll, lathered in a home made sauce that is onolicious. Wish I could sneak out the recipe! Lettuce and Tomato accompany the burger. Add a large order of shoe string fries, the perfect companion to the Mahi Mahi. They have the perfect texture of soft and crunch. My mouth is watering!


I like to order mine with Ortega Green Chiles (my years in Santa Fe, New Mexico) or Pineapple. My wife likes to order it with Pepper Jack Cheese.


If your children don't appreciate the Mahi Mahi, here's my suggestion. On the days our children 12 & 14 don't feel like having Kua Aina's, they have us drive through the McDonalds in Haleiwa where my daughter likes to order Saimin (Ramen Noodles) and my son likes to order a double cheese burger with fries. Kua Aina is expensive and they only take cash, so if the kids in your family are not craving a Mahi Mahi burger, just order at McDonalds and bring their lunch to Kua Aina. The McDonalds is on the left side of the road in a plantation looking building when driving in from the Beach Villa Resort. Kua Aina also makes good grilled cheese sandwiches, according to my daughter.

Directions:
Head out of the Beach Villa's Resort on the H1 freeway heading East ("Mauka or towards the mountain"), next take the left exit on the H1 freeway onto the H2 freeway going North ("Makai, towards the Sea"). Continue Makai until the H2 ends. Continue to follow the signs to the North Shore and Haleiwa. There are multiple routes but as long as you continue Makai, your fine as eventually, you'll fall off into the Ocean! At the traffic circle, you'll follow the signs for Haleiwa which is towards the right heading North/East, Waialua and Mokuleia are the other way which we'll cover in a blog for another day.


Enjoy the Ono ("Delicious") Grinds ("Food in Pidgen English*") and we'll see you there!

*(Pidgin is not Hawaiian but a local dialect made up of words from many different languages by the people who settled here to work on the sugar and pineapple plantations. It's a mix of Hawaiian, English, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino and others. (Let me know if I missed some languages.)

The Hardings--
Homeowners & Proprietors, the Beach Villa Resort

The Beach Villa Resort is located in West Oahu within the beautiful Ko Olina Resort. We offer luxurious vacation rentals with two and three bedroom villas right on the beach. Luxury hotel accommodations and amenities at condo prices. If you've been to the Paradise Cove Luau or have been shuttled from Waikiki to golf, you've already been here. Click HERE for reservations

Friday, June 18, 2010

August 7th, 2010 - Moonlight Mele at the Bishop Museum



Our family enjoys live Hawaiian Music and one of the activities we enjoy and recommend to our guests is to go to Moonlight Mele at the Bishop Museum. If your traveling to Hawaii on vacation and are looking for something other than the standard tourist fair, this is the perfect activity for culture, music and food. Our family went on June 5th, 2010 and it was a blast!

video

During the summer, the Bishop Museum hosts live Hawaiian Music acts on the lawn of the museum. This month, June 2010, we saw Kaukahi one of my favorite artists along with John Cruz.


Bring your beach mat, towels and/or folding chairs and holo holo "to go strolling or walk" over to claim your spot on the grass lawn outside of the museum. The stage is elevated and you have a good vantage point from pretty much anywhere. The lit palm trees that change colors are also cool. Our family, parents and kids, had a great time.


You may order picnic baskets in advance or purchase from food vendors selling Ono "great tasting" kau kau "to eat or food" such as Kalua Pig and Laulau. They also sell Poi which I happen to love but it is an acquired taste for some.

The picnic baskets contain fried chicken or sandwiches with salads. We ordered the picnic baskets and some extra Hawaiian food while we were there. You are able to order baskets with or without wine so we ordered one of each.

In August, it's Nā Palapalai, my favorite Hawaiian group. (Plan to arrive right before 5:00 pm or so, we arrived around 5:30 for the June concert and the parking lot was almost full.) Gates open at 5:00 pm, wander the museum before it closes and then enjoy your picnic on the lawn before the concert at 7:30 pm. The time fly's by fast.

The museum is great for both adults and children. In the Hawaiian Hall, they have one of the Tiki's "Ku" along with two other brought in special for this exhibit from two other museums around the world. The statues must be about 20' tall? Also great exhibits of various Hawaiiana and history. Feather capes, weapons, history and all that jazz. Bishop Museum Ku Exhibit

Link to Moonlight Mele


Directions:
To get to the museum from the Beach Villa's Resort in Ko Olina, take the H1 freeway towards town. You can take the H1 all the way but it is faster to go H1 to 78 (exit 13a) to H1, (78 is more of a straight shot, H1 curves around), you'll see signs for the Bishop Museum (exit 20A on the H1). You'll see a brown building above you along side the freeway on the left which is part of the museum. It's about 30 minutes into town and you will be going in the opposite direction of rush hour traffic.

Nā Palapalai and George Kahumoku - Saturday August 7, 2010

Nā Palapalai and George Kahumoku will double headline, supported by the Royal Hawaiian Band, ukulele whiz Taimane Gardner, Waipuna, the Galliard String Quartet, and Hālau Hula Ka No’eau, led by kumu hula Michael Pilipang. The realm of Wao Lani represents the gods, the ali‘i and key moments in Hawaiian history, so the subtitle of the evening will be “The Queen’s Songbook” as classic Hawaiian songs and monarchy music ring out from all three stages. Samadhi Hawaii will bring aerial dancing to accompany the headlining Nā Palapalai.

New this concert season, we are pleased to offer Gourmet Picnic Baskets for Two from the Museum's Café Pūlama. Baskets are available through pre-sale only.

Order a basket now for the August concert.

Picnic Basket - $27.50: a gourmet dinner for two. Your choice of one entrée: roast beef sandwiches on focaccia, southern fried chicken, or sundried tomato & spinach tortilla wrappers. Also includes fresh fruits & berries, vegetable crudite w/ spinach dip, pasta provencale, fresh baked cookies, and bottled water. NO SUBSTITUTIONS OR MIXING ENTREES. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Deluxe Picnic Basket - $37.50: a gourmet dinner for two and a full bottle of wine w/ two glasses. Your choice of entrée: roast beef sandwiches on focaccia (accompanied by red wine), southern fried chicken (accompanied by white wine), or sundried tomato & spinach tortilla wrappers (accompanied by white wine). Also includes fresh fruits & berries, vegetable crudite w/ spinach dip, pasta provencale, and fresh baked cookies. NO WINE SUBSTITUTIONS OR MIXING ENTREES. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Tickets are available from the Bishop Museum box office during business hours (Wednesday through Monday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or by phone at 808-847-3511. Advance tickets for each concert are $20 general admission and $15 for Bishop Museum Members and military with valid ID. General tickets purchased the day of the event will be $25.

Have a wonderful time and we'll see you there!

The Hardings--
Homeowners & Proprietors, the Beach Villa Resort

The Beach Villa Resort is located in West Oahu within the beautiful Ko Olina Resort. We offer luxurious vacation rentals with two and three bedroom villas right on the beach. Luxury hotel accommodations and amenities at condo prices. If you've been to the Paradise Cove Luau or have been shuttled from Waikiki to golf, you've already been here. Click HERE for reservations