There's a new ramen shop in town! Located in City Square at 1286 Kalani Street, this place serves local comfort foods at affordable prices and in large portions.
The Kapalama/Kalihi eatery is located near HCC and Iwilei, off of Waiakamilo and nestled in the City Square Hawaii Shopping Center, which for you nostalgic folks may remember was the site of the old GEM location long ago. For the younger peeps they may associate this spot with Chuck E Cheeses, Young's Fish Market and the new location of the famed Kamehameha Bakery (which relocated from School St in 2014).
Here's some basic information:
Chef's Ramen is not a franchise or chain restaurant, it's locally owned and operated.
They specialize in tonkotsu ramen and simmer the rich tasty broth for 12-14 hours.
This is a casual restaurant with super affordable prices $9.50-$12.95.
They also serve other items like poke bowls, fresh salads, yakisoba, fried rice, croquette, katsu and curry.
As you probably know there are some super elaborate and delectable ramen shops on the island that charge $20+ for a bowl. This place is not as refined as those finer ramen shops, but it's definitely solid, tasty, great value and fast, friendly service. Compared to your other affordable ramen and curry shops this one exceeds expectations.
1286 Kalani Street (in between Sugoi and Thang's French Coffee & Bubble Tea)
Dine-in or takeout available - open daily 10am-9pm.
It's been 2 1/2 years since I left the broadcast/television news business. And I've noticed a question frequently asked of me and my friends -- "What does Olena do?" It may appear on social media that I am often traveling the globe, hiking mountain tops or floating in tide pools, but I do work every day with no days off. I thought I would shed some insight into what it is that I do for work and what my business is all about.
In a nutshell, my business is a full-service marketing agency: I do social media management, digital marketing, freelance writing, consulting, emceeing and photography -- each are my passion and what I love to do, every single day.
Here's an in-depth look:
First, I started my own communications/marketing company in 2014. One of my roles is administration of social media marketing and management for other businesses, organizations and non-profits. Companies hire me to manage their social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc). Why hire me? Well often times these business owners and managers don't have time to do it themselves. I also take care of everything for them: set-up, admin, content, photography, captions, spam filtration, engagements and when needed I am the person who handles online complaints. I often like to point out that it makes more sense to hire me to manage your social media because I cost less than if you were to hire someone in-house, you don't have to provide me with benefits, usually the person tasked with these duties in-house is also juggling other obligations and responsibilities. My job is to focus solely on you, your company and your fans -- you have my full attention and I am available to you 7 days a week.
In early 2014 I started writing this blog. I found it to be a great resource for me to express myself and to share my experiences, adventures and more. As my writing became sought after I started freelance writing for other publications, websites, blogs and magazines. As a freelance writer I share unique stories, travels, tips, guides and etc. I am very grateful as some of my freelance writing and blogging has also brought me to some amazing places. As an individual who is considered valuable and influential on social media I have been invited to travel the globe and write about my experiences too. Some of my freelance writing pieces have appeared in: Oahu Publications - Hawaii.com, Hawaii Bride & Groom Magazine, Pro Service Hawaii, Maui Watch, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Frolic Hawaii and many others.
My degrees are in Speech Communication (BA) and Communication (MA) and with my experience working in media, formerly with Clear Channel Communications and KHON2, I am often approached to assist with public relations. Every now and then I will provide PR assistance for special events, businesses and non-profits. The media community is a small and tight knit one, in order to gain exposure and interest it's a good idea to have someone who is well connected assist you. Some of my PR clients include(ed): Red Bull, Top Model Hawaii, Honolulu AIDS Walk, Kualoa Ranch, District Nightclub, Kalakaua Gardens and the Moana Surfrider.
After I spent 7 years in broadcast journalism and 2 years writing my master's thesis on social media I have been invited to return to my alma mater, Hawaii Pacific University, as an adjunct professor. My experience and expertise also position me as an expert on social/new media, media training and consulting. For businesses/organizations that are hoping to enhance their presence online and in the community they hire me for my consulting skills. I offer guidance for others to improve their reach, image, engagement and assets utilizing my in-depth consulting/training/coaching services.
May Day in Hawaii is very significant for me especially back in the 6th grade; I auditioned to emcee our Kilauea Elementary May Day program and scored the coveted job. Since this memorable moment I have had a knack for public speaking. I am often hired as mistress of ceremony for special events including parades, galas, fundraisers, weddings, holiday parties, celebrations, conferences, luncheons, award ceremonies and more. In addition, to the live emcee duties I am also busy as a sought after voice over actor. That means that I record my voice work, voice overs, radio spots, and other video and broadcast projects that utilize my voice. Some of my clients for voice work include: Pro Service Hawaii, Pacific Telecommunications Council, Hawaiian Humane Society, Frolic Hawaii, University of Hawaii and Localicious Maui. I am very busy with emcee gigs and there are too many events to mention, but some of the notable ones include the annual Aloha Festivals parade, Honolulu City Lights, Mango Jam and the USTA Annual Awards banquet.
Lastly, from grade school I have always been interested in photography. In high school I even won a couple of national awards for my photos and for a few years thereafter my hobby was put to bed while I focused on other things. Recently, I have reignited my passion of photography and videography. My talent capturing images has evolved and I continue to shoot events, portraits, landscapes, and other types of images for myself and for my clients.
And there you have it, I am a full fledged marketing and communications agency in one! If you don't see the behind the scenes images of me writing articles, crafting marketing strategy, recording voice overs and posting for others on social media it's because those images aren't really pretty or visual to look at. So I rather share visual hiking, swimming or eating delicious food photos and videos == because it's what I do. Here's a slide show of some of the work-related events and highlights for my marketing business (below).
It's a new day and a new beginning for Island Air as the first of its new fleet of aircraft now call Hawaii home. The Q400 Bombardier turboprop named "Ola Kupono" - meaning safety in everything we do - is just part of the airline carrier's "revitilization" currently underway.
A blessing event and namimg ceremony held off of Lagoon Drive gave honored guests, media, lawmakers and others a chance to get up-close and personal with the new aircraft. The turboprop plane has many advantages when compared to the previous fleet: maximum cruise speed 414 mph, maximum operating altitude 27,000 feet, seating capacity 78 people, it also uses 30% less fuel, travels 30% faster than conventional turboprops and features a specialty Active Noise Vibration Suppression system, meaning it's not as loud than other prop planes.
In the coming months, you will see at least three additional new planes set into motion here in the state. Island Air currently has approval to bring a maximum of 10 new planes to Hawaii. While increasing frequency, expanding their current routes and sights set on continuing to grow in the islands remains a top priority.
The new state-of-the-art planes are more comfortable, less noisy, brand new and have that new car/plane smell. Flight attendants, ground crew and pilots all appeared very excited by the new addition. It's hoped the brand new Q400 Bombardiers (leased by Elix Aviation Capital Limited) will eventually replace all of the fleet eventually. Starting today (Jan12) this new plane will transport families, visitors and friends from Honolulu to Kahului seven roundtrips daily. As the routes continue to increase flights from Honolulu to Kona will also bump up from five to six roundtrips and expansion sights are set on Hilo in the not-too-distant future as well.
Cocktails are delightful here. Some martinis also come with a side car on ice for you to add more to your drink. Pictured here are the Cucumber Cooler: rain cucumber vodka, lemon, limoncello, rosemary syrup (this was wonderful nice and light and refreshing). The other drink appropriately named the Lady Olena is made with Stoli, Barrow's intense ginger liqueur, limoncello and lemon (a bit stronger and more of an intense flavor).
It's a little known fact that I attended Hawaii Pacific University for both my Bachelor's and Master's Degrees. While attending classes at Fort Street Mall in downtown Honolulu there was never any shortage of places to eat. I can't recall how many times the take out place on the corner changed names but it's last name, from what I can remember, was Dreamers Cafe. It was old, kinda dirty and somewhat scary to think that people would order food from in there. Well I am happy to report that that is NOT THE CASE anymore as the restaurant has been completely reconstructed, to say it's a renovation, isn't enough as the decor, interior and design are completely unrecognizable compared to what it once was.
The newly opened Rain Restaurant is a posh oasis from the bustle and grime of downtown and Fort Street. The vibe is contemporary, dimly/candle lit, somewhat romantic with a cool mellow feel. It's reminds me of Seattle or Chicago and a place that would be so welcoming and inviting after a long day's work, before a night of theatre or a fun gathering with friends. Similar to what Indigo was to Chinatown in the early 2000's Rain is another delicious option when it comes to craft cocktails and full-flavored bites. The cuisine is dubbed "New American" but I would say it's really a menagerie of comfort foods from around the globe that are influenced by local/Hawaii flavors.
Here's a look at what we tasted:
Asparagus Hummus $12 Chick peas, olive oil and asparagus pistou. This was incredible, the hummus is perfectly seasoned, the textures and flavors are spot on and the crunch from the asparagus spears give this dish added complexity to the flavor profile. It's also a huge portion, one that 3 of us shared and still had leftovers.
Fried shishito peppers $7 anchovy crumb and lemon. So they say one out of 10 peppers is actually really really hot/spicy, well lucky me I got that one pepper and literally burned my tastebuds. I am not a huge fan of uncomfortably spicy food so I had to remove it from my mouth. I tried another which wasn't spicy at all and it was ok, if you LOVE spicy and love peppers this is the perfect dish for you.
Duck fat tots $8, this may look like a stack of ribs but it's actually potato. Served with tomato gastrique, thyme and horseradish aioli the potatoes are good in flavor but lacking in crispness. This is aimed at being a signature dish of the restaurant but they need to work on getting the kinks out of it first. It has a lot of potential, if they are able to get the tots nice and crisp yet light they will knock it out of the park with this one.
Griddled Gem Wedge Salad $11 served with roasted squash, brown butter croutons, fennel confit and buttermilk dressing. This hearty salad is also a very generous portion. The wedge is softly grilled, the croutons are huge and crunchy and the roast squash adds a nice sweetness to the dish. A good combination of crunch, delicious and fresh vegetables.
Brick Chicken $23 the best selling entree is the most popular for a reason, this reimagined take on chicken and dumplings is phenomenal. The chicken is brined and notably moist. Served with homemade dumplings in a smokey pimento veloute all of the notes in this dish are full of savory goodness. I really enjoyed the chicken with the dumplings and the sauce all over. Well done, super comforting!
Bacon fried orzo pasta $16 served with a fennel kim chee and poached egg this is a wonderful combination of what seems like pasta and kim chee fried rice in one. The texture of the pasta is gummy yet firm and the flavors with the kim chee and the bacon are wonderful and danced on my tongue. Another hit! This was tasty and delicious the next day for lunch too!
With a menu highlighting items including hummus, tater tots, chicken and dumplings, ceviche and beignets you'll observe the inspiration comes from everywhere. Meant to be shared and full of flavor, I can see the chef's inpiration comes from his southern influences and is also enhanced with local ingredients.
Speaking of the chef, Chef Brooks Hart you might recognize from the Food Network show Cooks Vs. Cons. Also, the mixologist, Joey Luna, crafts each cocktail with care and pride, sometimes making his own Cellos -- inspired by macadamia nuts, lemongrass and more. The restaurant is in it's soft opening right now and they are preparing for their official Grand Opening on January 19th. Stop by, check it out and enjoy this cool new resto in the heart of downtown which is already vibrant with energy whimsy and innovation.
Stop by for a cocktail, bite to eat and enjoy this mellow vibe.
1138 Fort Street Mall (corner of 80 S. Pauahi Street)
Honolulu, HI 96813
I love a good sandwich. Back in my modeling/pageantry days I couldn't resist carbs, in fact I think I tried to go one day without eating any carbs and I completely failed at it. Over the years I have noticed you can't really get a good sandwich anywhere really. In places like NYC, Sydney and San Fran you see these amazing sandwiches stuffed full of goodies and one fresh, flaky bread. I drool at the site of them.
I am glad to report that lately there's been a resurgence of artizen sandwich shops that have recenly opened their doors. I haven't tried them all but I am excited that there are more options to choose from:
Sammie's on S. King Street
Hi Sub on Dillingham Boulevard
Raintree on Pensacola
Prime Sandwiches on Maunakea
Timmy's Grinders in Kailua
Passport Sandwiches at Fort Street Mall.
Passport, is inspired by worldly travels and made with local ingredients. One of my close friends who is also one of the co-owners, Lanai Tabura, invited me to a sneak peek at the newly renovated location, blessing and to sample the goods. The French bread is baked fresh early every morning. It is light, mildly chewy, soft and has a nice flaky crust. The protein is your choice of fresh roasted chicken, fall off the bone kine, almost like kalua pig or tofu. Then you pick your inspiration Chinese, German, Korean, Hungarian, Texas BBQ, Mexican, Greek or French. They also offer a special of the month. I believe last month was Phillipines inspired.
I found the sandwich to be very tasty, a great combination of flavors and textures. It wasn't messy to eat and the bread was super fresh. The cost is $8.50, add $1 if you choose to eat tofu instead of chicken and add $1.50 for a meal (chips and drink). The BBQ was seasoned well and had a comforting BBQ flavor that paired well with the chicken. This particular sandwich comes with caramelized red onions, shredded cabbage, julienned carrots,parsley and topped with a chipotle walnut pesto sauce.
I look forward to stamping my passport and trying some of the other flavors like the Korean and Greek Lemon sandwiches.
1111 A Fort Street (Mall)
Honolulu, HI 808-547-2725