Dim Sum Sundays

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This year, I’ve made it a point to reserve Sundays for mass and a little downtime with Kev. We’ve become that subtly annoying couple that snicker when the choir hits an off note, or when the priest dozes off during the first reading. It has become some sort of entertainment for us, yet we enjoy taking an hour of our day to thank God for what we have and ask him to inspire the other to treat the next meal. Thankfully my requests to be treated to brunch or lunch at a restaurant of my choice are always answered…which is why I choose dim sum most Sundays. I suppose it’s the variety of dumplings, char siu bao, puffs, and dipping sauces that convince me it’s the more exciting, yet affordable type of meal we can get on a lazy Sunday. Plus, the wait is never out the door at Chinese restaurants.

We usually hit up the dim sum at Happy Days along Waialae Avenue because it’s consistent and affordable. We don’t feel guilty ordering more than our fair share of shrimp dumplings or taro puffs. This is our go-to in town because it’s close to the gelato shoppe, you know, just in case we’re craving a sweet treat after our crispy, hot jin dui.

When we feel like splurging, we head towards the dim sum restaurant near my house, Harbor Village Cuisine. The dim sum is nicely presented on a menu. No loud, sizzling or steamy carts around here. I fancy the spinach and shrimp dumplings and the mochi rice here because it feels like they put a little more love into making it.

It’s rare that we wake up early enough to hit up the early mass. But when we do, we end early and crave some of the “local” dim sum at Char Hung Sut in Downtown Honolulu. My extended family owns the take-out dim sum shop. They learned the recipes from my great grandmother and are best known for their manapua, mai tai tsu, and half moon. I can’t stress how tasty they make these dishes. If I had to choose a meal that described my childhood, it’d be this type of dim sum because it was like a treat to have each summer. It’s a comforting type of meal that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yes, in my family, dim sum can be eaten around the clock.

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Australia, here I come!

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This is what freedom feels like.

Well, this was unexpected. My brother qualified for the Srixon International Junior Classic in Sydney and when we found out all expenses were paid for, I was the only one in my family that could take him up on the offer! Brentt is definitely my little reason to travel the world. He is so ambitious and committed to his practice that he’s constantly offered to compete in international tournaments. Recently, the Guam Pacific Daily News published an article on his golf journey. I’m pretty proud of my baby bro.

This trip will be just as long as the last one. Honestly, I’m stoked to put two new countries on my list for the year. I’ve never had the freedom to travel so much. Now that I do, I have to enjoy it. After Australia, we’re heading to Saipan for our cousin’s ordination as a priest. We’re so Catholic it’s not even funny.

Anyway, I believe we have two days to explore Sydney in addition to the time we have after the tournament days. If you have any suggestions about what to try or see (on a low budget), please leave them in the comment box! Thank you. – Di

The last photos from our trip to Liverpool

LP2 copyMy mom (right) scans Bold Street for some Asian products and restaurants.

On the last few days of our trip in Liverpool, my dad and brother went to the British Open while my mom and I explored the city. We grew tired of English food, the meat, potatoes, fish and chips were not satisfying our cravings for bold flavors, so my mom spent half the day looking for an Asian grocery store that she heard of from a friend.

LP1 copy“Look,” said my mom, “they have noodles! We can eat here when they’re done with the tournament.”

We ate at Seoul Love the next day with another family that attended the British Junior Open. Korean and Chinese dishes in Liverpool are very different from Asian food in Hawaii, Guam and Saipan. Stan, the owner of our cottage, explained that when the Chinese immigrants arrived in Liverpool, they were so skilled in establishing and maintaining businesses, they heavily contributed to the development of the city. They’ve changed the way they cooked to cater to the British, so their kim chee jigae isn’t as salty (which is good!) and the Chinese fried rice isn’t sticky at all (not good!). Overall, we enjoyed our experience there, it was great to eat something with gochujang and chili garlic sauce after all that fish and chips.

LP5 copyOur mom & daughter exploration day included the famous Walker Gallery.

We then visited the Walker Gallery and viewed many original paintings from local artists, an art contest by children and teens from China and sculptures. The café inside the Walker Gallery is exquisite. You’ll see people from all walks of life walking in there just to grab a latte and a slice of carrot cake. My mother was lucky enough to grab the last slice and I grabbed a fresh, warm oatmeal cookie. It was one of the best grab and go breakfasts we’ve had in Liverpool.

LP6 copyIt was pretty awesome walking into the sculpture room at Walker. I’ve never seen sculptures so detailed up close.

After Walker Gallery, we walked to the Liverpool Central Library, where they had a café and three stories of books. My favorite part was the Picton Reading Room. It’s a circular dome reading room with three stories of shelves. Think Beauty and the Beast type of shelves. I went crazy walking around the room. I found Spanish literature books that I’ve read in graduate school (in ENGLISH!) and the staircases were so beautiful. I loved it so much, I think I could live there.

LP7 copyThe Picton Reading Room was my favorite thing about Liverpool.

LP3 copyAfter the Walker Gallery and the Liverpool Central Library, we headed back down to Bold Street. Each unit had a beautiful storefront.

Bold Street was our favorite street for food and shopping in Liverpool. It was a perfect blend of cultural diversity, good coffee, pastries and shopping. We spent two days in the city and always ended up spending most of our time on Bold Street. Just off of Bold, there is also what they call “Chinatown.” It really isn’t a town but a lineup of five Chinese businesses that sell moon cakes, rice cakes, custard and jin doi (excuse my spelling). I remember we also ate at a Lebanese restaurant for lunch, but we were too hungry to stop and take a photo. So here is the last stop we made that day…

LP4 copyAnd we ended the day with some cake! My mom loves cupcakes.

Can’t go wrong with a little cake. Hehe!

Brentt Makana Salas in Liverpool, England

BRENTT13 copyBrentt Makana Salas has a drive of 270 yards. Here he hits from the white tees on the back nine at the West Lancashire Golf Club.

Hard work never goes unnoticed, especially when it comes to the humbling game of golf. My 14-year-old brother, Brentt, has worked for years on his swing, technique and his mental game, but he still has a long way to go. This summer, he qualified for the British Junior Open in Liverpool, England. Naturally, my parents and I accompanied him on his journey (the farthest he’s ever been from home). The British Junior Open was a big tournament for this kid because he competed with some of the best junior golfers in the world.

BRENTT15 copyBrentt practices every day at Starts Guam Golf Resort after school and enters in multiple golf tournaments on the weekends.

The West Lancashire Golf Club was one of the most difficult courses Brentt has come across. The tall, thick grass could easily swallow your ball. Brentt joked that he’d rather play on a course with lots of trees, he’d lose less balls that way.

BRENTT7 copyBrentt liked the challenging elements at the West Lancashire Golf Course. It was unlike any course he’s ever played.

The junior golfers started the tournament with a practice round, Brentt was able to familiarize himself with the brutal elements of the course: the precarious terrain, unexpected changes in wind and the cold weather. This would test his patience and his confidence during the tournament.

BRENTT18 copyMy parents and I were not only Brentt’s only cheerleaders. He had his golf teammate Nalathai (also representing Guam in the girls’ category) and a new friend from Cyprus, Nicholas.

BRENTT16 copyThis photo was taken around 6 p.m. in Liverpool – the sun does not go down until 9:30 or 10 p.m. at night.

The first day of the tournament was Brentt’s best day. He was paired with two girls, one from Qatar and the other from Uruguay. He broke 80 and shot a 79. His confidence was soaring and he had that little smirk on his face after every putt. On the second day, the weather was extremely cold and Brentt’s tee time was around 3 p.m. Brentt ran into some very challenging situations with the tall grass and it may have broke his confidence. Although he tried his best, he shot an 82.

BRENTT12 copyThe course was so difficult that many golfers ahead of Brentt and his group were busy looking for their lost balls. There was a lot of waiting between holes.

The last day of the tournament was much better. Although he shot an 80, Brentt was happy with his performance. He considered the experience very valuable in a sense where he knows how to handle his mental game as well as the actual game of golf. There were no words to describe his experience at West Lancs. He saw, he came and…well…maybe he will conquer one day.

BRENTT9 copyThe golfers had the chance to take a photo with the coveted British Junior Open trophy.

Enjoy more photos in the gallery!

 

Reid and Kamakana Watanabe

3My colleague and very good friend Kamakana and her husband, Reid, were married a year ago. They asked me to take some photos for their anniversary. We went to a Diamond Head lookout, where there was a little, neatly landscaped garden nearby.

Here are some of their favorite shots:

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The sweetest part of this shoot was that Kama and Reid each wore something new and blue for their anniversary day. Kama is a maxi dress fanatic and she found this flattering print just days before the shoot. Reid was treated to some new Cole Haan shoes just a few hours before we all met up.

New and blue…perfect little details to commemorate their first year of marriage.

Happy Anniversary to you both! Now make me a neice or nephew.

Haani Raine

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Since Haani Raine and her mother moved back to Hawaii, I’ve been wanting to photograph her. She’s a tiny little girl from the mainland with strong island roots and a happy personality. Her mother, Rochelle, is one of the strongest, nurturing women I know. Yesterday was Rochelle’s birthday and as a small gift, I did a “Mommy+Me” shoot for her. Enjoy only a few of the best shots…

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This last shot is one my faves. It truly shows off Haani’s personality. I hope you enjoy these Rochelle, Happy Birthday!

Honolulu Night Market at Kaka’ako

HNLNIGHTMARKETFEB2013Yeah, I know. It’s a week late to be posting this but this week has been so hectic! Last weekend I went to the Honolulu Night Market at Kaka’ako con mis amigos LJ and Chris. It was unlike any other HNL Night Market they’ve held in the past! There were more food booths (more like an Eat the Street meets fashion meets the club), the usual pop-up shops, live art, a live band, a bar and a DJ booth with Harlem shakers. It was pretty awesome. I gather it coincided with the new happenings with Pow Wow Hawaii and the Kaka’ako businesses.

Just take a drive down Kaka’ako, you have everything from cafes to auto-tinting businesses covered in beautiful murals by artists all over the world. It’s raining paint, HONOLULU! I love it and can’t get enough of the ever-changing buildings. Hawaii is full of color and culture and this art movement represents all that is “Hawaii.”