Hawaii Mom Blog






June 2, 2020

Teach to Love

Last summer, we were in the MidWest. While at the playground, my kids were taunted and teased because they looked different (other kids made “slant” eyes and demanded they pay $ to go on certain equipment).  

It was upsetting to think these KIDS learned to hate.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” -Nelson Mandela
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Tanaka Ramen & Izakaya Preview - Grand Opening on June 5

Yesterday I had a chance to preview Tanaka Ramen & Izakaya for a virtual tasting.  This new chain has locations in Texas, Chicago, and Atlanta, and on Friday, June 5, the first of three Hawaii locations will open up in Kapolei Marketplace!  

I ordered the Karaage Chicken + Curry and Pork Gyoza.

The chicken itself was so yummy!  It was seasoned well and just so flavorful.  With the addition of the curry, the bowl was just perfect.  It was a hearty dish - I could only eat half!

And that's probably because I ate three pieces of delicious Pork Gyoza.  The Gyoza was very tasty as well.

I look forward to returning to try the ramen, and the Hawaii-exclusive Soft Shell Crab Bun!  

More about Tanaka Ramen & Izakaya from a press release:
“After graduating from the University of Hawaii it has long been my dream to return to Hawaii and bring – what I consider – some of the best ramen to the islands,” says Jue Tina Wang, owner of Tanaka Ramen & Izakaya. “Hawaii has always felt like home to me and I am excited to be able to return and to give back to this community, which has given me so much.”

Tanaka Ramen & Izakaya had initially planned to open in March, right before the state’s stay-at-home order was instituted, which put the business’ plans on hold. Wang added “Now that the restrictions are slowly lifting, we want to provide residents with their favorite comfort foods – like a hot bowl of ramen.”

Follow Tanaka Ramen & Izakaya on social media – on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TanakaRamenHawaii/ and on Instagram at @tanakaramenhawaii – to learn more about special giveaways the restaurant will hold during its grand opening week.

Additionally, proceeds from the grand opening will go towards a scholarship fund set up by Wang for the math department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa for the fall 2020 semester.  

In these challenging times, Tanaka Ramen & Izakaya is giving back to the community by donating approximately 75 meals to The Salvation Army Kroc Center Hawaii volunteers at their June 3 food distribution event to thank them for the amazing and important work they are doing for those in need during this time.

Tanaka Ramen & Izakaya’s menu features a wide selection of fresh and gourmet dishes, and includes the option to build your own ramen or pick from their authentic Japanese creations which include the Wonton Chicken ($13.80) – a chicken broth, wonton, spinach, green onion, fried onion, and half egg served with thin noodle – or their vegetarian options which include the Vegetarian Dan Dan Man ($12.50) – a vegetarian mixed sauce, green onion spicy bean sprouts, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, kikurage, cabbage and black pepper served with thick noodle. A gluten-free kale noodle is also available for $1 more.

If noodles aren’t your thing Tanaka Ramen & Izakaya also offers a variety of Rice Bowls like their Beef Sukiyaki Don ($13.80) or Karaage Don ($12.80) as well as Tokyo curry bowls including a Pork Katsu w/ Curry ($14.80) and Pork Gyoza w/ Curry ($14.80). And to start off any meal, you’ll want to check out their selection of izakaya options which range from Tempura Brussel Sprouts ($7.80) and Fried Oyster ($6.80) to Seaweed Salad ($4.80).

Tanaka Ramen & Izakaya will be offering its full menu of lunch and dinner items for take out. To place an order, call (808) 744-1231. Delivery is also be available through Uber Eats and Bite Squad.

All University of Hawaii system faculty and students and military will receive 10 percent off with proof of ID. The business is also planning to open two additional locations at Ala Moana Center and Pearlridge Center later this year.

Tanaka Ramen is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information on Tanaka Ramen, visit www.tanakaramen.comAlso, follow Tanaka Ramen on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TanakaRamenHawaii/ and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/tanakaramenhawaii.
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Agnes' Portuguese Bake Shop Is Back!

In 2017, Agnes' Bake Shop, a bakery in Kailua town known for made-to-order malasadas, closed after 48 years of business. Three years later, the new owner has re-opened the business as a food truck, selling fresh, traditional Portuguese malasadas, and I swear they are better than the original!

Look for the truck in the parking lot of Manuhealii in Kailua Town. 

Malasadas are currently $1 each, or $11 for a dozen. 

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June 1, 2020


Hawai‘i Agricultural Foundation (HAF) announced that it will list restaurants reopening for dine-in service with a new “We’re Open” designation on its FoodAGoGo.org website, starting with the counties of Hawaiʻi, Kauaʻi and Maui, which are allowing restaurants to open today. Food-A-Go-Go is a community initiative by HAF, providing the general public with the latest up-to-date information on restaurants amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since launching on March 23, 2020, the campaign has had more than 137K users and 257K visits to its site with each session lasting about four minutes. The Food-A-Go-Go service is available to all Hawai‘i restaurants, from mom-and-pop to fine dining, free of charge.

For many restaurants, Food-A-Go-Go has been the only means of marketing to let the public know that they are open for business. When dine-in services were ordered to close in mid-March some restaurants pivoted to takeout while others temporarily closed, which made it difficult for consumers to know who remained open. With dine-in now reopening, the HAF’s Food-A-Go-Go Restaurant Rescue team has been calling restaurants to make sure its site has accurate information on restaurant services — takeout, dine-in, and/or a combination of both.

“The Hawaii Agricultural Foundation and Food-A-Go-Go has provided us in the smaller communities with an invaluable service,” said Chad Yang, General Manager of Hula Hulas Restaurant and Bar in Hilo. “Not only did they help us market during our darkest days when we all had to close, but also they sent us weekly information on grants and loans, state and county guidance, and even got masks donated for us ... I am so grateful.”

Restaurants wanting to participate in the free service are asked to submit information via an online form. Customers can go FoodAGoGo.org to find the latest up-to-date information on all restaurants that are open with delivery, takeout and or curbside pickup options — and now open dine-in service.

Food-A-Go-Go is a community service by Hawai‘i Agricultural Foundation and Hawai‘i Food and Wine Festival supported by a network of partners who have come together save our local restaurant industry in Hawai‘i: Sysco Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Gas, Mahi Pono, Hawaiian Airlines® Bank of Hawaii World Elite Mastercard®, Elite Delivery, Hawai‘i Tourism Association, Hawaiian Airlines, Kamehameha Schools, Hawaii News Now, iHeartMedia, KHON2, KITV, K5 Ninth Island Connection, Summit Media, KONG Radio, 94.7KUMU, KWXX, KNWB, B97 Hilo, B93 Kona, KPOA 93.5, KJKS KISS 99.9, Hawaiʻi Restaurant Association, Digital Illustrations, First Daughter Media, Library Creative, Mākaha Studios, Pernod Ricard USA, Settle Meyer Law. Data provided in part by “Hawaii Grinds @ Home” by Melanie Kosaka and Ryan Ozawa (http://HawaiiTech.com). Visit FoodAGoGo.org for more information.
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Na`au Hilo Turns One!

A year ago today, Na`au Hilo was officially launched.  It is a passion project that I've been helping Chef Brian Hirata with for years, and I couldn't have been more proud of all that we've accomplished.

Although the pandemic has required us to hit "pause" on our pop-ups, I can't wait until we start up again.

I have learned so much during this journey so far.

I've tasted ingredients I've never tried before, visited producers and farmers, foraged, and met some amazing people in the process.

We can't wait to resume our pop-ups and show you what Chef Brian and I have been working on!

Thank you to all of our supporters, and to Chef Brian for the opportunity!

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The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

A couple years ago I read The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida, who has autism and was 13 years old when he wrote it.

Naoki explains his perspectives on life so people can try and understand why people with autism think and act the way they do.

This is a fantastic book for anyone who knows someone with autism, and really helped me look at my son and some of his behavior's in a different light.

There has been a lot in the news lately about an influencer who adopted a boy with special needs, only to "rehome" him 3 years later.

My heart breaks for the boy, but I can only hope that he is now with his "forever family."

This quote from the book resonated with me upon hearing the story of this little boy.

"The hardest ordeal for us is the idea that we are causing grief for other people. We can put up with our own hardships okay, but the thought that our lives are the source of other people's unhappiness, that's plain unbearable.”

I hope all the parties involved can now find true happiness within their hearts.
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Peanut Butter Blueberry Bars

While browsing through the StarAdvertiser online, I came across this recipe that looked delicious (peanut butter is my weakness!) and easy to make. Since I had all of the ingredients on-hand, I decided to make it on the spur of the moment. The recipe was originally published by the New York Times (click here for the original recipe post).

In a large bowl, mix together one stick of unsalted butter, one cup of peanut butter, 1/2 cup of brown sugar (packed), 1/2 cup granulated sugar.

Add to the mixture one large egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Press 2/3 of the dough into a 8 x 8 baking pan lined with parchment paper.

Mix together 10 ounces of frozen fruit (I used frozen blueberries) with 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Spread evenly on the dough.

Crumble the remaining dough into large chunks and spread evenly over the blueberries.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Let cool before slicing. 

Try it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream!

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