Wednesday, January 25, 2012

One Strong Ohana tweetup at P.F. Chang

Nadine Kam photos
Nate J. Richards, Vice President, Marketing & Communications for the Joyful Heart Foundation, and Joanna Colangelo, Manager of Foundation & Corporate Relations, stand behind One Strong Ohana.

The Hawai‘i Children’s Trust Fund has partnered with the Joyful Heart Foundation to launch a statewide public awareness campaign called “One Strong ‘Ohana,” to promote the idea that the prevention of child abuse and neglect is a community responsibility.

A tweetup launch that took place Jan. 19 at P.F. Chang's Hokua restaurant proved timely, two days after a Kamuela man was charged with manslaughter in the death of 3-year-old Marley Makanani.

Speaking to Joyful Heart CEO Maile Zambuto before the event began, she noted a "blame the family" stream of public response to the killing, but she said there needs to be more community responsibility because every time a child is killed or abused, she said, some of the warning signs are evident to all who see the child. A study commissioned by the foundation found, among other things, that in Hawaii, the perpetrators are more likely than those on the mainland to be related to the victims, and that there are cultural barriers to reporting such abuse, that must be overcome.

“The campaign theme of ‘One Strong ‘Ohana’ was born out of the deep-rooted belief we all share here in Hawai‘i—that we are all part of one ‘ohana,” said Aileen Deese, Chairperson of the Hawai‘i Children’s Trust Fund Advisory Committee and Program Director of Prevent Child Abuse Hawaii, in a press release. “Through this campaign, we hope to increase awareness that there are simple ways to reach out and be there for a family, such as bringing a meal or offering child care.”

The weighty tone of the informative event was tempered by selections from P.F. Chang's well-rounded pupu menu, including seared ahi sashimi with spicy mustard sauce.

"The results of this research clearly demonstrated a critical need for increased public education about the prevalence and signs of child abuse and neglect as well as how bystanders can intervene to help keep children safe,” Zambuto said.

Among the study's findings, released last summer:
* Nearly 40 percent of residents know a victim of child abuse.
*64 percent of residents say it is difficult to identify the signs of abuse.
*27 percent of residents said they were reluctant to report suspected abuse or neglect
because it was “none of their business.” And the majority of residents would rather talk to a colleague, friend or family member about suspected abuse than appropriate authorities.

In addition to physical and mental abuse, The Federal Child Abuse Preveention and Treatment Act defines child abuse as "an act or failure to act that presents an imminent risk of serious harm," which means all those who fail to report are participating in abuse.

Among the One Strong 'Ohana business partners are Whole Foods Market, Fun Factory and Jamba Juice Hawaii. From now until March 12, 2012, Jamba Juice Hawaii will donate 25 cents, up to $10,000, from the purchase of each Fit ‘n Fruitful smoothie to the Hawai‘i Children’s Trust Fund’s One Strong ‘Ohana campaign.

Spring rolls. They are $2 each on the pau hana menu, offered from 3 to 6 p.m. daily and during new late-night pau hana hours from 9:30 p.m. to closing Fridays and Saturdays.

In an emotional moment WFM's Natalie Aczon, in speaking about Whole Foods willingness to get involved, volunteered the information that she was a victim of domestic violence that began shortly after her seven-year marriage. It took her that long to extricate herself from the situation, and I see her as a very strong woman.

Until that moment, she told me later, she had never spoken about it, and had never intended to say anything out of shame that all victims of abuse feel. But she said she believes the time is right, and that more people speaking up will diminish the power of would-be abusers.

She made it a point to speak to her sons about what they had seen while they were growing up so that they would not grow up to be abusers, but she said, "They didn't remember it, they had blocked it from their minds."

I believe that they willed themselves to forget, because children's memories can be uncanny. I can still remember my infancy and what the plastic liner of my crib felt like, as well as the feeling of being behind bars and seeing the three big heads of my teen cousins peering at me. I had no vocabulary then, but my thought was, "Why are they looking at me?" with a conflicted mixture of happiness and annoyance.

"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" actress Mariska Hargitay founded Joyful Heart Foundation on the Big Island in 2004 with the intention of helping survivors heal and reclaim their lives. Today, the organization's mission is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. For more information, visit

My interview with Hargitay from 2010:

Hargitay may be in town later this year for a benefit event like this one from 2010:

More from P.F. Chang's pupu menu:

Chang's ahi poke.

Dynamite shrimp with spicy sauce.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sony Open, mmm-mmm good!

Nadine Kam photos
Ahi poke with taro chips and Maui potato chips served in the Halekulani/Waikiki Parc skybox at the Sony Open.

I'm not a golfer, I don't like the sun, so I could never fathom why people kept trying to get me to stop by the Sony Open.

It took a while for them to convince me that for some, it's as much about the food and drink as the links. It's golf's version of football's tailgate parties, except at the Sony Open, vendors do all the cooking.

If you're lucky enough to be invited into one of the skyboxes, you can nosh the afternoon the way, and at the Kahala Hotel & Resort's skybox, one guest kept his wife plied with full plates of nigiri sushi and handrolls courtesy Superb Sushi.

"I know what you're trying to do," she scolded. "You're trying not to buy me dinner."

It was about 2:30 p.m.

Over at the Halekulani/Waikiki Parc skybox, there was a full menu ranging from Caesar salad and kung pao chicken lettuce cups, to kalua pork and carved huli chicken sandwiches, plus assorted desserts. Along with the food, there was sake from Nobu, Halekulani designer wines, Parc Chic zinfandel and viognier, and specialty teas.

Outside the skyboxes, there was plenty more to keep spectators happy, with stations manned by Blue Water Shrimp, Korean Fresh Grill, Hula Shrimp, Hawaiian Roasted Corn, SOUL Patrol, Cooking Fresh for You and Shiga'licious for those who needed to cool off with shave ice.

The Sony Open is one of the few occasions where I can be content to sit in the sun all afternoon!

Huli chicken that went into the carved huli chicken sandwich in the Halekulani/Waikiki Parc skybox.

Teriyaki beef sticks were a popular offering.

Shrimp served with cocktail sauce below.

Instead of serving ourselves, we were handed the day's menu at the Halekulani/Waikiki Parc skybox to check off the morsels we wanted, here, the carved huli sandwich, kalua pork sandwich with hoisin sauce, beef sticks and shrimp cocktail. It resulted in more attractive plating than if guests were left to their own devices

At the Kahala Hotel & Resort skybox, Cindi Rosete of Makena Resort and the Hotels & Resorts of Halekulani collects a handroll from Manny Nakasenh of Superb Sushi.

In the Kahala Hotel & Resort's skybox, these were the markers for disappeared tea sanwiches. I got to try the chicken salad with tarragon on endive.

Fried chicken in the Kahala Hotel skybox.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

First meals

Nadine Kam photos
First meal of the New Year, Navitas Naturals chewy raw cashews.

When making up lists of symbolic meals, I've often seen people struggle to come up with the perfect last meal.

Not much is made of the first meals of the new year because they are typically preordained by tradition, whether one's culture calls for ozoni, mochi, ahi, jai or candied fruit, whether to bind families together or bring sweetness, longevity and fortune into one's life.

New Year tradition in my family is tied to the Lunar New Year, which begins Jan. 23, so Jan. 1 tends to be more of a culinary free-for-all that's not weighted in any kind of tradition or superstition.

So, what was on the menu? After waking up too late to head to Mariposa as planned, my afternoon started with a fistful of Navitas Naturals raw, kosher, gluten-free, vegan and 100 percent organic cashews.

To balance the healthy goodness, lunch/dinner was a decadent one-third pound Kua 'Aina ortega burger with avocado.

It was totally random, and I'm not saying a colossal burger is a good thing, but I like the word "balance" for 2012 and hope to make more healthier choices in the new year. My personal choices are not something that's necessarily reflected in my restaurant columns, which, as a mirror of our times, relays what is happening in local dining rooms at this particular point. But wouldn't it be nice if more restaurateurs thought like personal trainers, creating meals to optimize the functions of the human body?

Second meal of 2012: Kua 'Aina ortega burger with avocado.