Olena Heu joins Frolic Hawaii
To catch my latest My Point of Heu blog visit:
Life has been a whirlwind lately, and it seemed only natural to keep my feet grounded in the journalism, special event, culinary and features world… I am happy to announce my latest venture joining the Frolic Hawaii team. As many of you might already know the Frolic Hawaii peeps are amongst my closest friends and now we can continue to work together, participate in exciting events together and of course eat together. Follow me as My Point of Heu makes a new path over to Frolic Hawaii — stay tuned for more adventures, my Food RevHeu and more.
Since a lot of you have jumped on the “20 facts about me” social media craze I have compiled my list of 20 facts, so you can get to know me a little better.
1. I was born at Wilcox Memorial Hospital on Kauai which is close to 30 miles from my hometown of Kilauea, Kauai.
2. I am the only child born to a single parent mom, which is why I competed in pageants to raise enough scholarship money to pay for my education and graduate with my BA with no students loans.
3. I’ve never had the chicken pox, I know, I know I need to get vaccinated. I plan to get the vaccine this year.
4. Despite my crazy antics and stunts (i.e. rappelling from buildings, jumping from bridges, zip lining) I have never broken a bone.
5. I have a gold tooth, you just can’t see it unless I smile really, really big.
6. I love gummy candies – gummy bears, sour patch kids, etc.
7. My favorite food is pizza, thin crust, pan, New York style, deep dish, French bread, naan bread, I like it all and I have tried to eat pizza every day and never got sick of it.
8. I hate onions, I will literally pick them out or eat around them…unless they are caramelized, even so I still dislike them very much.
9. I don’t cook, I grew up using the microwave to make my meals, but I do know how to boil water. I spent most of my life working in restaurants so I never needed to cook and that’s probably why I eat out all the time.
10. I started driving when I was in elementary school…and I still love to drive, yes I can drive standard – can you?
11. The first instrument I learned to play was the piano, but I haven’t played it since. Following piano I was really into dancing (jazz/ballet) and then I found my passion for singing and acting.
12. I won the “Sight Is Beautiful” Lion’s Club annual art contest as a child two years in a row.
13. I was never May Day Princess or Prom Queen or anything like that, instead I was active in student government and extra curricular activities, but I was voted “Most Talented” by my senior class and “Most Likely to Succeed” in Intermediate.
14. My first major in college was Political Science, I wanted to become an environmental attorney. I realized being a lawyer probably wasn’t going to be a lot of fun and didn’t highlight what I was good at so I majored in Speech Communication instead.
15. I am a water baby who loves everything in the ocean, however I get sea and motion sickness even while surfing or swimming in rough water.
16. Olena is actually my middle name, I was named after the song Pua Olena.
17. As a teenager, I won several national awards for my film photography…taking pictures (scenic and food) is my hobby.
18. I used to spend my summers hanging out with Bette Midler’s daughter at Kalihiwai Beach on Kauai’s north shore.
19. The first time I flew to another country was to go to New Zealand for a ski trip, since then I have been to Japan, China, Canada and Mexico.
20. If I could I would *not* wear any make up and would *not* brush my hair every day.
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Olena is an outgoing and adventurous Kauai native who loves food, traveling, the arts and furry creatures. With 15 years experience in the communication and media industry this award-winning journalist has a passion for sharing her joys and experiences with others.
The age old question is always posed at the end of a meal...15, 18, 20%?? How much do you appreciate the service you got and how much do you tip? As someone who started working in the food industry form the age of 14, service plays a huge part in the dining experience and an even bigger part on the impression you have when you eat out. Its been said time and time again that a place with great service will often entice a patron to come back, but a place with bad service often means you will likely never go back again and will probably tell 10 of your friends about how horrible it was, or post it on Yelp.
With all this said...I have to give props to a restaurant that I had never been to before until earlier this week. I will likely never forget this meal, not necessarily because of the food (there were some hits and some misses) but because of the impeccable service. Arancino at The Kahala is celebrating it's one year anniversary since opening its doors, not to be confused with its more casual sister restaurants located on Beachwalk and at the Waikiki Marriot. They serve classic modern Italian cuisine in a fine dining setting and the moment you walk into the room you feel like you have been whisked away to Italy. The general manager puts the cherry on top because he is literally from Italy and speaks with a charming and comforting Italian accent.
The local staff are well trained, attentive to detail and proceed to perform a lyrical dance of service throughout the night, clearing and presenting plates of food and pouring water and replacing silverware with a special white glove. You even get to chose your own knife and pick your water..flat, sparkling or tap.
I have dined at many restaurants across the world and if you haven't heard already, I worked for one of the best chefs in the world for ten years, so I think I know a thing or two about service. And this experience nestled in the heart of Kahala is one for the books. Always eager to answer questions or offer explanations of items our server that night, Kaulana, was charming and relatable. You would think an experience like this would be stuffy and awkward, but the floor staff make the evening fun, fine and pampering.
Executive Chef Daisuke Hamamoto creates dishes that are called an "epicurean experience" -- using his travels and training to bring a bit of Italy to the door step of travelers from across the globe here to Hawaii. Some new items include Tagliatelle ai Frutti di Mare- a mix of fresh seafood (tiger shrimp & scallop), on house made pasta with lemon, garlic, white wine and truffle oil. Spaghetti alls Carbonara - pasta with a poached egg, crisp pancetta and truffle butter - this has become one of the best pastas I have ever eaten. The crunch from the pancetta and the creamy cheese and sauce with the delicate yolk of the egg make it a divine interpretation of a traditional dish, oh and anything with truffle butter is a standout to me.
In celebration of the one-year anniversary, Arancino at The Kahalo is offering a decadent opportunity A5 Miyazaki Wagyu Beef. If you are not aware of what this beef is all about, try and do some research. The beef is unlike any other you will ever eat. It is flavorful, tender and features very unique marbling of meat that comes from cows who live better lives than some humans out there. Its definitely not your typical night out on the town, but more of a special occasion restaurant. I really enjoyed the atmosphere with live harpist and vines growing on the walls in the open air.
I am told the pizzas are to die for so I will definitely make a point to head over for lunch or a pizza dinner very soon. And of course to enjoy the fantastic service!
Arancino at The Kahala
Dinner 5pm - 9:30pm
Reservations recommended 380-4400
Summer is here and as the days are longer...the heat and summer sun also feel stronger. When planning a dinner I find that I usually like to eat something fresh, crunchy, tasty and on the lighter side. Bernini Honolulu is a hidden gem in the Ala Moana area when seeking out delicious, authentic, contemporary Italian cuisine with a bit of Japanese flare. If you didn't already know some of the finest Japanese chefs in the world have studied in Italy and brought the cuisine home. This is certainly the case when it comes to Bernini.
In honor of the season, Bernini has created some unique "summer only" menu items through August that utilize farm fresh produce and proteins at their peak now. I was invited to taste the 10 specialty seasonal dishes they are now featuring, items include fresh beef, tako, pasta, risotto, seafood, and of course my fave...pizza. They focus on locally farmed products and offer a great combination of meats and cheeses with something fresh and crunchy to accompany the dish like tomato, arugula and fennel.
Familiar items like Shinsato Pork and Kahuku Corn can be found on the menu, which is focused on keeping the palate happy and not overwhelmed with heavy creams, or other overwhelming seasonings. After each item came out it was apparent the dishes were not only created using summer ingredients but the dishes also left your tongue dancing and not bogged down with heavy butter or rich oily entrees. I honestly ate a bite, or two, of every dish and felt comfortable at the end of the meal, I didn't feel the urge to solicit a chair with wheels to roll me out of there. It was nice to embrace the summer flavors which are meant to cool you down and leave your tummy full.
My favorite item of the night was the homemade pasta made with fresh, delicate fettuccine and pork ragout, which was like a light brown gravy... and if I had to pick another it would be the risotto with summer truffles. Both sound really decadent and rich but the flavors were so uniquely fragrant and intense, yet light, such a treat. I loved how fresh the pasta was and how moist and delicious the pork ragout was! A must try if you love pasta.
Here's my Food RevHeu for Bernini Honolulu's summer menu (stay tuned for their fall specials later this year):
The Venetian-style beef carpaccio with arugula and aioli sauce - is a staple dish for Italian cuisine. The beef is finely sliced and served on a bed of spicy arugula which adds a nice texture to the meat. I loved that the carpaccio was still tender and not rubbery or chewy. The flavors were vibrant and a great starter. Heads up if you don't like rare or raw meat you may not like this dish, but you should try it to be adventurous and try everything once. Its not as bad as it seems.
Marinated octopus (Madako) with tomato, orange and fennel salad was delightful and tender. I usually don't eat octopus, but I gave this one a try (see above for reminder). The fennel salad added a really pleasant celery-like texture and the tomato a sweet citrus, perfect dish for someone who is looking for a light refreshing salad.
Caviar on capellini noodles was reminiscent of eating a somen salad to me. The honest truth is this dish is a bit on the pricey side because of the caviar and it is hands down the most photogenic item on the menu, but it wasn't that interesting. The caviar adds texture and savory hints but the pasta is plain and the tomatoes add color, but thats about it. Beautiful plate tho...It got 200 likes on my Instagram page.
Homemade fettuccine with pork ragout was hands down the best thing I ate that day. The pasta was so fresh it would practically break a part on my tongue. The pork ragout tasted like my aunt would make in the old country with only the freshest and finest ingredients -- oh and lots of love. This dish kept us wanting more!
Risotto parmigiano with Kahuku corn and truffles was another smash hit. Risotto is a type of rice so it has that comfort food feel to it. Topped with the sweetness and crunchy texture from the corn and the salt from the house made pancetta the flavor profile is already superb, but add to the the decadent summer truffle and this dish is a home run. Everyone wanted a second or third serving, if you don't like mushrooms then you don't know what you are missing. Truffles offer an aromatic voyage unlike any other and the memory will last a lifetime. This dish is a little on the pricey side because of the truffle, but it could serve 2-4 people easy, if you share, some might want the entire dish for themselves.
The "Norma" pizza - was wonderful. Bernini does a really delicious thin crust, homemade, oven cooked pizza that is very authentic. The toppings are a great combination of sweet and savory with wonderful texture.
Veal cutlet was a beautiful dish. The veal was cooked perfectly and the addition of the tomato and baby kale salad really complemented the dish. I am not a huge veal fan, but this was a nice, simple yet elegant entree.
The swordfish stuffed with scallop is obviously a great combo for someone who loves seafood. The broth was also excellent for dipping the homemade bread. The clams, prawns and stuffed fish are all cooked to perfection and very moist. Love the combination of stuffing the scallop mousse in the fresh fish.
Lastly, dessert left everyone a happy camper -- the coffee gelee was light and had a great flavor combination and the pineapple tart was my favorite. It looked like a pineapple upside-down cake, but was a bit more upscale and had the nice crunchy tart crust with a delightful pineapple chip on top. The yogurt cream served with the pineapple was a perfect combination of tart, sweet and creamy.
Here's a look at Bernini Honolulu's tasty summer dishes - prices range from $8-45.
1218 Waimanu Street 591-8400 www.berninihonolulu.com
As many of you may already know...every seven years the body undergoes a complete metamorphosis, or change. Humans experience an emotional, mental and physical transformation when compared to seven years prior. Cells in the body renew and after seven years you are a new person, a whole new person. Some call it the seven year itch others may not know exactly what is happening in their lives, but a change is a coming or has taken effect already...whether you like it or not.
My most recent decision to leave the television news industry comes exactly seven years after I started as an intern... and then was eventually hired as a general assignment reporter. My desire to find a new challenge and a new career path was inspired by a need to feel a better sense of positivity, a nurturing environment, support and an overall sense of consistent goodness and happiness in my life. As you may notice while watching the morning and nightly news, a lot of what is reported and investigated has to do with negative events. Many times people would ask me how I dealt with stabbings, rapes, murders, brutal car crashes, children struggling to fight cancer and other tragic events...I would make every effort to separate myself from the human aspect and the emotion of the event. I never brought my stresses and feelings home and I always tried to offer comprehensive, unbiased and thorough reporting.
After seven years on the job, I can honestly say I loved what I did, I felt I was in my element being on the morning news, which was lighter and provided more opportunities for optimism and happiness, at times. But, looking at my career I accomplished everything I set out to do there and was looking for another challenge. I feel that when something becomes monotonous and repetitive you never really have a chance to grow and change. I decided to force a new change and new beginning by changing things up.
I set out to find a new career path, something that I enjoyed and something that made me happy. Ultimately, I had already had this path cutout and needed to just direct my attention away from broadcast and toward working with people, businesses, non-profits and others. Since the age of 6 I have been selected to emcee events, I have always been the planner of the group when it came to my friends and family and for the past ten years I have been immersed in social media, back to the Friendster and Asian Avenue days.
For the past 15 years I have been preparing for this next step in my life -- and I felt it was only natural to close the door on television broadcast and begin a new chapter as a business woman, entrepreneur and to be my own boss. Nothing feels better than to wake up when you want to and make your own schedule, I have quickly learned. Yes, there are some stresses about making enough money to make ends meets and knowing how to file my taxes properly, but all of this can be taught and I am learning as I go.
When I first set foot into the newsroom, I didn't know what I wanted to be. I was unsure about the path my life would take, but now I know everything happens for a reason and my happiness is the best excuse to make career and life choices that will impact my daily activities and motivations. I don't regret anything...however I do appreciate the viewers and fans for bearing with me over the years as I learned and grew on the air with them. I do hope they can see that I made a decision that was aimed at perpetuating what I have been telling people for years in my motivational speaking and advocacy --- if you believe you can achieve, always set your sights and your goals high, don't ever limit yourself, if you don't try you will never know!
Goals in my life have led to me to where I am today: starting with graduating high school with honors, moving to Honolulu from Kauai, being one of the few in my family to graduate from a University, winning the title of Miss Hawaii 2004, writing a 157 page thesis, finishing Grad School and earning a Masters Degree, becoming an award-winning journalist, becoming a news anchor...and now a business owner. www.olenaheu.com for more info on Olena Heu Communications.
I wanted to end my last day/show on a high note, I wasn't sad and I didn't want anyone else to be sad either. So a bunch of friends, Wake Up 2day contributors and supporters joined me and the crew for a final song. I selected "Sweet Caroline" so we could end together with smiles on our faces and love in our hearts -- plus everyone knows the words to this song, the chorus anyway.
Here is a little clip my friend Jermel-Lynn shot with her phone, only 2 seconds or so aired that day 6/27, so this is what it looked like behind the scenes.
Mahalo to Jai and Ron for writing amazing farewell stories for me as I bid aloha and Bruce for editing them together so nicely. Also a big thank you to Chanel for coordinating such an amazing show that really made me feel special. And to everyone else -- Jenn, Emi, Lance, Moose, Carlson, Justin and Adam, it was a blast saying goodbye in style.
Ultimately, this is not me saying goodbye - this is me saying see you later. I will still be around, posting, commenting and sharing. I will still offer news alerts, insight and opinions and of course great pictures of food and sunsets. The only thing that has changed is my life path, but its headed into a direction that is focused on positivity, love and appreciation...and I thank all of you for your support!