07/30/19 - Hawaiian Luau

We missed our luau last year. This year we made up for it by holding a science luau with electric spheres, the Keck telescope and a host of other scientific tiki artifacts.

The pineapple upside down cupcake heiau

The chocolate cupcake heiau

Quasi-sushi objects

Danger, tiki cocktails

Godzilla is amused.

Keywords: hawaii, science

09/04/13 - Luau 2013

This year we waited until Labor Day weekend to hold our Hawaiian Luau. Once again, the trade winds blew, and the lau lau steamed. Our cupcake heiau dominated the dining room table hard by a big bowl of boiled icing and smaller bowls of coconut chips and roasted chocolate nibs. Our tiki idol took on a new look with its glowing red eyes, controlled by an Arduino. We even tried out a new drink, a slushy called "water off a duck's back".

An ominous tiki idol with glowing red eyes

Hells in the Pacific, mai tais and waters off a duck's back

Sushi and our infamous cupcake heiau

Keywords: hawaii, food

08/22/12 - Luau 2012

Yes, we held our luau this year. Yes, we had lau lau. Yes we had Polynesian chicken cooked in a banana leaf, even though bananas don't grow in Hawaii. Yes, we had Mai Tais, but the real winners were the Test Pilots and Hells in the Pacific, the latter made with seriously powerful rum.

Ahi tuna sushi and the cupcake heiau

Edamame, bar food and bar drinks

Our frosty sink of doom, chock full of cocktails

Keywords: hawaii, luau

11/08/10 - Honolulu - Sushi Izakaya Gaku

Some years back we had a wonderful time dining at Izakaya Nonbei, but we had gathered that this restaurant was under new management and not quite as good as it used to be, so we decided to try a new place. We were well rewarded by Sushi Izakaya Gaku, a wonderful little restaurant. As so often happens when we find a new restaurant, we made a point of dining there twice, just in case we can't get back there for a while.

To start with, the sushi was wonderful, but our favorite dish was the house made tofu with sea urchin roe, a meat gelee and a bit of wasabi. Our waiter told us to mix up it. We did, and all the flavors blended beautifully. We mentioned that we liked sea urchin roe, so one of our dishes was sea urchin roe wrapped in thin slices of flounder, another great combination.

What more can we say? The broiled sardines with sesame seeds were wonderful. The horse mackerel salad with ginger, shiso and scallions was a great use of shiso which can overwhelm a dish if one is not careful. The thin slices of seared fatty beef were exquisite, well marbled and perfectly prepared. All told, this is a Kaleberg rave.

If you plan to go, get reservations. It's a little place.

1329 S King St
Honolulu, HI
(808) 589-1329

It doesn't look like much from the outside.

Uni wrapped in flounder

That's a quail egg

It's a jewel box inside.

Our sushi plate

Keywords: hawaii, restaurants, kale

11/06/10 - Lanai - Shipwreck Beach

This was the first tropical storm of the season. There was even a bit of rain, but the winds were moderate, or we wouldn't have driven down to Shipwreck Beach. It's always wetter and grayer up around Lanai City, but it was sunny on the coast.

Our wild ride

Shipwreck Beach

The view inland

The view north

Choppy water

Keywords: hawaii

11/05/10 - Lanai - The Garden of the Gods

We passed through the Garden of the Gods with its wild rocks and red stone. This part of Lanai has always been kind of wild, and parts of it look an awful lot like Mars.

Wild rocks

The view north to Molokai

Earth or Mars?

More wild rock country

Even more rocks

The road is lumpier than it looks.

The stela marking the Garden.

One of the few trees of any size

A wetter, more forested part of the island

Heading back to civilization

The wild road through former pineapple country

Keywords: hawaii

11/04/10 - Lanai - Dawn and Polihua Beach

On our last trip to Lanai, we didn't get all the way down to Polihua Beach. This time we did.

Dawn - brought to you by Jet Lag

A view from our hotel hallway

Another hotel view

Road conditions

Our trusty steed

Polihua Beach

A peep of some sort

This isn't a swimming beach.

A view from the rocks

A view inland from the beach

Another rocky view

Keywords: hawaii

11/03/10 - Lanai - Some History

Our first visit to Lanai started the same day Castle & Cooke, the island's owners, announced that they were getting out of the pineapple business. The island had been a big pineapple plantation since the 1920s, but in the early 1990s they decided it was cheaper to grow pineapples in the Phillippines. The new plan for the island was as a resort with two hotels, one in the highlands and one by the sea.

All this land used to be pineapple fields. No irrigation means no pineapples.

That's Halelanai on a clear day.

That row of trees along the road is irrigated.

A modern view of the Manele Bay hotel, from the keiki (children's) pool

A view out to sea

A view of the hotel from our first trip

Some of the pineapple fields just before the last harvest

Pineapple fields from the November 1930 issue of Fortune

Fortune's view of Lanai City - It hasn't changed all that much.

Keywords: fortune, hawaii

11/02/10 - Oahu - An Excursion

Oahu tends to be underrated, probably because it's the only Hawaiian Island, except for Molokai, with an economy based on something besides tourism. Honolulu is a real city, despite what the birthers say. Oahu is a real tropical island, and outside the city proper it gets pretty rural. We had planned to do the big loop around the island, but didn't get much past Chinaman's Hat. Maybe next time, we'll finish the loop.

The view from the Pali overlook

The misty mountains

A parking lot bird, not one of the flock of chickens there

A Buddhist Temple and quite fantastic

As rare as a black swan

A coastal park

Chinaman's Hat

Keywords: hawaii

11/01/10 - Honolulu - Diamond Head and The Hau Tree

We haven't been updating our website lately. Why? Because we were in Hawaii for a week. That's right. We went back, and this time we made it all the way up to Diamond Head. You can't miss Diamond Head. It's that big volcanic crater that dominates the coast past Waikiki. It's an old fort, and the only way into the crater is through the tunnel or a rugged climb over the crater's walls. We took the tunnel and climbed the staircase(s) to get some great views of Honolulu and the area.

The crater floor is covered with kiawe, a rugged tree, covered with spines and fond of dry volcanic soil. From the viewpoint, an old artillery emplacement about 700 feet above sea level, you can see Waikiki, the mountains inland and much of Honolulu. The city, like Los Angeles, tapers off into the canyons. It's dry in the flat lands, but the hills are green.

That evening, we had dinner at The Hau Tree and watched the sun set over the beach. Tropical sunsets are always amazing.

The tunnel into Diamond Head

The view east

The view inland

The view west to the hotel strip of Waikiki

Back then, forts relied on rock, not air cover

The Hau Tree

A sunset sail

Keywords: hawaii, los angeles

08/20/10 - Luau 2010

We held the annual Kaleberg Luau a while back, but we didn't post any pictures. We've been holding the luau since 2002, so it really has become a tradition.

That's the spread. It's not a luau without a pineapple.

Our motto: served in a skull. Those are South Sea Bubbles served in the champagne flutes. That's pineapple champagne, pineapple gum syrup and bits of pineapple.

Godzilla - in the spirit

Hawaiian spice chicken, made with Indonesian spices

Watermelon salad with tomato, coriander, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar and mozzarella, adapted from Spago Wailea

Lau lau - in action

Those are mai tais made with blue curacao - don't ask - in the punch bowl in front of this year's cupcake heiau.

Keywords: hawaii, food, luau, kale

08/08/10 - Hawaiian Salmon Wraps

We were browsing our new Hawaiian cookbook - thank you, Diane - and decided to try one of the recipes, a new way of cooking our local salmon. These Vietnamese tapioca wrappers are stuffed with salmon, macadamia nuts, coriander, and garlic. They taste even better than they look, and they look pretty good.


Keywords: hawaii, salmon

06/25/10 - Hawaii 2010

We just returned from Hawaii, and we've posted our report, complete with pictures.

A Maui sunset

Keywords: hawaii

11/19/08 - Little Hawaii

Now and then you see pockets of Hawaiian influence in Seattle. There's the Kauai Family Restaurant down in SoDo. There's also a bit of Hawaii in Queen Anne. They say "Hawaii no ka oi", there is no place like Hawaii, so we imagine that Hawaiians like to bring a bit of it with them.

Some Hawaiian imagery in an apartment lobby

The name says it all

Down on 1st Street

For an ex-pat, a home away from home

It may be institutional brick, but it is on Aloha Street, so it counts.

Keywords: hawaii, seattle

07/28/08 - Luau 2008

We should have posted sooner, but we were busy with our nearly annual Hawaiian luau. This year we built a cupcake heiau, incredibly loosely modeled after an old Hawaiian temple. As usual, we had lau lau, which is actually Hawaiian, and ahi tuna sushi, which is more Japanese. We also explored a new part of the Pacific Rim with a Balinese dish, chicken cooked in banana leaves. It was a surprise hit and a great way to use up all that turmeric root and galangal we had lying around.

You can find out more about the mechanics of the feast on our luau page.

The Cupcake Heiau with icings and toppings

Luau fixings: ahi tuna sushi, edamame, lau lau and Balinese chicken in banana leaves

Served in a skull

Keywords: hawaii, luau

07/31/07 - The Kaleberg Luau

We've been celebrating Hawaii with our own version of a luau. We've been cooking up lau lau, pipikailua beef, and chicken cafreal. Yeah, that last one isn't Hawaiian, but it is one of our Tabla favorites, and at least it is tropical. For more on our luau, check out the Kaleberg Luau page.

Our Shaman Transforming celebrates at our Hawaiian Luau

Keywords: food, hawaii, art, kale