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Sunday, October 7, 2012

THE CUISINE OF WAIKIKI

My third and final fantasy weekend (#1 at the Moana and #2 Kahala) at the beach started yesterday when I golfed with Kenji Sumida, Left Yamamoto and Richard Tokairen at Mamala Bay, also known as the Hickam Golf Course:


While not exactly coral pink, the bouganvilleas are close enough to the color of Tripler Hospital perched above:


This color becomes important soon.

Then for dinner I hosted Connie and Harry Olson, former Spark Matsunaga Fellow in Geothermal Energy at the University of Hawaii, on my roof:


I had brunch this morning, with Bruce Liebert, Grand Poobah of Chaine des Rotisseurs in Hawaii  (former student of...), and ...Bob Huggins of Stanford University at Michel's, on the beach at Waikiki:


I've talked about Bruce before, but Bob Huggins was born on the Stanford Campus in 1929 (his father was a professor there), and eventually found his way back to campus.  I think he confirmed my previous statements that, all things being equal, a fuel cell car will take it five times further than one powered by a lithium batteries.  The problem, of course, is the high cost of the hydrogen and fuel cell system.  He is now working on a Prussian Blue battery (iron cyanide) for utility applications.  He is a decade older than me, but spends all day, every work day, on campus, and is also assisting one of his former students establish a company to develop and market this promising new battery.  He is giving two papers at the Electrochemical Society and Solid State Science gathering at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel.  

I checked into the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and this is my view:


Terrible, but too many coconut trees to see Diamond Head.  Thus, walking back from brunch, my view from the other side of Waikiki Beach towards the Royal Hawaiian:


You can only barely see it, but my room is in the Pink Palace just to the left of my shoulder (from my perspective).  Why is it pink?


The best story I can find is that this was the popular American architectural obsession of the 20's when this hotel was built.  Tripler Hospital came before the hotel, but during World War II the hospital took the present form, and the Military Governor of Hawaii, General Robert Richardson Jr., borrowed the coral pink color from the Royal Hawaiian because this hotel was the primary recreational site for U.S. military personnel during war.  An equally plausible story is that the area engineer, Colonel Robert Wood, advised the architect, Robert Thompson, that you might as well get as close as you can to the color of the red dirt dominating the undeveloped ridge because that is what will cover the walls in time.  This is Tripler Hospital today:


Well, back to food.  Dinner tonight was at La Mer with Tadashi Matsunaga, first International Professor for the Blue Revolution when he spent a sabbatical period at the University of Hawaii a long time ago.  He is now president of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology.  President Matsunaga is also here for the Electrochemical Society meeting.


I had an extraordinary scallops appetizer:


Followed by an equally extravagant steak and foie gras:


We then met Professor Tetsuya Osaka of Waseda University, who will be the next grand chairman of the Electrochemical Society, and he took us to his special bar, which was probably the highlight of the weekend.

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