Dim Sum Sundays


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.

Charles Nii Nursery

photo(73)Succulents are all the rage in Honolulu. Out of all the odd island hipster fascinations, I’d say succulents deserve to go mainstream.

I have lived in Hawaii Kai for more than 14 years. I’ve explored almost everything in the town, except the Charles Nii Nursery. I had no idea this nursery existed until a few weeks ago. They have orchids, succulents and even achote (or achiote). I’ve been eating dishes made with achote seeds and I had no idea where they came from. It was just one of those things you never think about. An achote tree sprouts these red, hairy (or maybe more like spiny) and soft pods that hold these tasty, vibrant and skin-staining seeds.

photo(72)Chamorros use achote seeds to give their rice flavor and an orange-red color. The influence comes from the Spanish that settled and colonized the Chamorro people for more than 400 years.

The Charles Nii Nursery isn’t big at all, but it is a little local secret on the mauka side of Hawaii Kai. The nursery specializes in trees, shrubs and landscaping plants but may have some sweet smelling puakenikeni plants on hand. You can tell the owners love what they do and are willing to help you find the perfect shrub or plant.

From where I stand…

I’d say, “wouldn’t you like to take a dip?” But the water isn’t the cleanest thing here in Hawaii Kai. Once in a while, you’d see some stand-up paddlers roaming the marina…and tourists of course. I took this a few days ago with my iPhone and used an HDR filter to give it some pop. I’ve been spending my work days in Hawaii Kai lately and I’ve fallen in love with my neighborhood all over again. I’m finally seeing HK developing its own culture. For example, we have live music on Fridays at Island Brew Coffeehouse, on the weekends at Cha Cha Cha Salsaria and Roy’s. A weekly farmer’s market at Kaiser High School on Saturdays and an upcoming Christmas boat parade on Dec. 15th. Ahhh community building at its best. Now all we need is a bar/lounge that is cheaper than Roy’s but a teensy bit more upscale than The Shack.

As always, here are some random moments from this week >>>

I’d say I’m a quirky kinda girl, black and white looks good with anything, right? It’s actually chilly out so leggings + a cardigan are required this weekend. I never wear these green leggings. But they’ll do for work today.

My brother upped the ante on the green today. He’s just returned back to Guam from his golf tournament in Thailand. My mother emailed me a photo of what he wore today. He’s got balls to rock hot pink with lime green! You won’t miss this fearless, neon chamaole on the golf course.

Lastly, I scoured Barnes & Noble for the latest issue of Hi-Fructose. One of my fave artists Audrey Kawasaki is featured and her latest artwork filled a five-page spread. Follow her on Instagram for more of her seductively striking work.




#INSTALIFE My saturday morning grind

Island Brew Coffeehouse has the best lattes in Hawaii Kai. I usually get the malabar latte with almond milk and this yummy everything bagel with cream cheese. Also, here are the latest cheap finds I’ve found in town this week >>> a Steve Madden cross-body bag ($20) from TJ Maxx and this Buddha necklace ($6) from Macys. I’ve seen the Buddha necklaces around the Downtown boutiques and in the yoga shops but they all cost over $50. This $6 necklace will do just fine. I really like the purple tassle at the end too.