Total Pageviews

Sunday, December 31, 2017


By the time you read this, more than half the world will already have welcomed 2018:

As this will be my final New Year for this blog site, I will instead of my usual pontifications and predictions focus only on moveable feasts and general nourishment for the next two days.  I begin with my venture back to the best restaurant in Hawaii, Vintage Cave.

I found out that members could now bring their own wines to store in your VC wine locker, and not face a $50 corkage charge.  I loaded a few of my prized Stanford wines into a roller and caught The Bus to the Ala Moana Shopping Center, where the entrance to this first-class restaurant is the pits, for  you need to walk to the basement parking level, and hopping around water puddles, try to find the front door.  However, they were waiting for me:

I had them open a 2013 Haywood Cabernet Sauvignon, asking them to keep leave the cork on the table, for there was no way I could finish the whole bottle:

Incidentally, on the wall in the background are 18 Picassos:

Close by is a large painting of the atomic bomb falling on Hiroshima:

The eleven course meal began with a clear tomato caprese:

Nothing special.  The smokey seared scallop, with the theatrics, was good:

Next, Ossetra Caviar on tofu:

A bit disappointing, but this was a substitution for the ama shrimp, as I'm allergic to crustaceans.  The caramelized Foie Gras Terrine topped with Black Truffles was terrific:

Came the toro, hirame and assorted veggies:

These are tiny pieces of sashimi, and the artistic nature of this effort can be recognized.  So far, every dish has been cold.

The creamed cauliflower soup, which was hot, had bits of sea urchin, kombu dashi foam and karasumi powder:

This soup had character and body, something many of the offerings did not.  The Chilean Sea Bass and tempura with green asparagus were excellent:

The intermezzo was lime mint granite (and maybe they meant to say granita):

The duck confit was fine:

The best dish tonight were two types of Japanese wagyu beef, ribeye and filet, from Sendai, on a scorching hot piece of brick, on which you fried the meat:

That's a stalk of popped rice in the middle.  You could eat the rice, which I did.  

You would think for a $300 kaiseki the coffee would be free, but, what you see here was $15:

The dessert was pear caramel mousse flambe:

They kept pouring wine into my glass, and I ended up finishing the whole bottle.  I don't remember the last time this happened.  Incredibly enough, when I woke up this morning, I felt fine.

The Bus was free, the wine was mine, Vintage Cave charged me around $30 for the coffee and taxes, for my membership meant the meal was free, and the taxi home cost $20.  Still $50, but a pleasant and worthwhile experience, and the free was not really.

Tomorrow, I will report on the 15 Craigside New Year's Eve party, the special dinner tonight, the Poker Club's 9PM to Midnight play with incredible pu-pus, then on New Year's Day, my ozoni, ending with a summary of the best I ate the past week or so.  When you combine them, they will far exceed what Vintage Cave offered.


Saturday, December 30, 2017


From MedicalNewsToday:

Researchers at 'Action on Smoking and Health' have reported that a 30-year-old smoker can expect to live about 35 more years, whereas a 30-year-old non-smoker can expect to live 53 more years. In addition, the children of a parent or parents who smoke may be at risk from the genetic damage done to the parent before conception (because of their previous smoking), the direct effects to them in the womb, and the passive smoke they are exposed to after they are born.

That is a difference 18 years.  However, this is not the reason for my posting today.  

I was lying in bed watching the local TV news yesterday morning and the announcers were all excited, no, something closer to ecstatic, about some concert on December 30 by The Chainsmokers being moved from the Kakaako Waterfront Park to Aloha Stadium.

General admission only for $79, with premium field tickets at $110 and VIP guests for $200.  They said this would be the biggest concert of the year in Hawaii.

Wait a minute, now, if the Rolling Stones, sure, or Michael Jackson.  Especially since he passed away more than seven years ago.  But the Chainsmokers?

Honest, I never heard of them.  So I went to Wikipedia:
  • American DJ/production EDM-pop duo of Alex Pall and Andrew Taggart
  • for those oh so ignorant, DJ stands for disc jockey and EDM for electric dance music

Saw their photo above in Wikipedia, and got it. They don't do much, except for taking hits and efforts of others and converting them to dance music.  Have no idea why she is to the left, except that might be Demi Lovato, who collaborated with them on Sorry Not Sorry.

In the Star Advertiser was more info:
  • minimum price of $ the price must have gone up ($15 to park your car)
  • concert from 5-10PM
  • to quote:
Their electro-pop sound contains the core elements of EDM’s vast sonic spectrum (harmonic, synthesized grooves, quick tempos, well-timed breakdowns and deep bass drops) and draws in listeners with the use of a dynamic female vocalist (and more recently the gruff-toned vocals of Taggert himself) and serenades of vulnerability and triumph.

I've now been watching the Dance/EDM channel of Music Choice for nearly two hours.  Every photo I've seen has been of a white male in his twenties or thirties.  There are obviously female names mentioned, but they are almost always of the artist rendered or re-mixed.  The original version is adjusted to meet dancing and atmospheric requirements.  There is that percussive beat.  If you have a headache, don't attempt to listen, for the sound jiggles the brain.

Eight years ago there was one female (Lisa Lashes, #75) in a list of Top 100 DJs, dropping to zero into 2011.  One reason cited was that females are not that much into technology.  Another is that nerdism is dominated by males.

Sandra Collins was #16 in LA Weekly's list, the only female.  She has been around since the '90's.  Anyone heard of her?

The top ten EDM DJ's list The Chainsmokers as #9.  They don't remember why they are so called, although it had something to do with actor Hugh Grant.  #7 is 40 year old Steve Aoki, son of Rocky (Benihana), a Japanese-American.

Half are from Europe, and #1 is Martin Garrix from the Netherlands (three in the top ten are also Dutch).  All white, all male.  I should mention that Marshmello, an American, is #3, and he is anonymous, although he is 25 and named Chris Comstock:

EDM is like and unlike Rap/Hip-Hop, for the former is white and latter black, while both are agonizingly repetitive.  There is not much variation within each genre.  My experience with both is such that I swear the same song is being played again.  But I guess I'm more white than black, for I can tolerate EDM.

I actually place EDM up there with baroque and old-time rock and roll.  EDM is, to me, what became of disco music, another favorite of mine.  Through my decades of travel I now and then found my way into discotheques and night clubs, mostly to have a drink and sink into the throbbing music and beat of those times.

While discos died in the U.S. in the very early 80's, they maintained relevance throughout the Orient into the 1990's.  By 2000 advances in audio and light technology brought in a new era of electronically enhanced sounds, leading to EDM today.


Friday, December 29, 2017


1973 was a monumental year:
  • Elvis's Aloha concert from Hawaii was the first worldwide telecast for entertainment, and was watched by more people than the Apollo moon landing
  • UK joined the European Union...and BREXITed this year
  • Miami Dolphins completed a perfect season in the new NFL, the only one ever (2007 Patriots lost the Super Bowl)
  • President Nixon announces we quit in Vietnam
  • the first energy crisis, doubling the price of oil
  • Secretariat won the Triple Crown, first in a quarter century
  • Roe vs Wade was passed (abortion became a right)
  • the Sears Tower (now called Willis) at 1,729 feet became the tallest building, until the World Trade Center (now replaced by Freedom Tower at 1792 feet) topped it
  • Sydney Opera House opened
  • the IRA, not Muslim terrorists, bombed King's Cross Station in London
  • Watergate, leading to Nixon firing Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, resulting in the eventual resignation of his presidency after saying "I am not a crook"--upcoming soon, Trump vs Mueller???
  • Lite beer introduced by Miller
In 1973, J. Paul Getty was the richest man in the world, worth $1.2 billion (today the equivalent of $5 to $16 billion), when his namesake grandson, J. Paul Getty III, was kidnapped in Italy, where he lived.  The senior Getty made his fortune in Saudi oil, married five times and had five sons.  When he died at 83 he was living with five mistresses.   He left $500 to JPG II and none to III.  After JPG I died, his sensible sons sold the oil company to Texaco and applied most the remainder to the J. Paul Getty Museum, Foundation (for visual arts) and Research Institute (advances visual arts)

All the Money in the World was loosely tied to the reality.  The screenwriting was abominable, linking events for drama, a huge mistake.  As for example, the final chase was preposterous and a sense was given that JPG 1 died the night when JPG III escaped.  Nope, JPG1 passed away three years later.  Mark Wahlberg's character seemed like a real hero.  Records show he botched the rescue effort several times.  Yet, Rotten Tomatoes bestowed scores of 77 (reviewers) and 74 (audiences), not bad.

Famous for his Alien films, Ridley Scott directed and Michelle Williams (mother of JPG III), Mark Wahlberg (former CIA operative who worked for JPG I) and Christopher Plummer (JPG I) starred.  Interestingly enough Charlie Plummer played JPG III, although they are not related.  Christopher had to replace Kevin Spacey, who got caught up in his misconduct problems, and how the film had to be re-filmed in such a short space of time deserves a movie of its own.  Above, real photo of mother Gail and son JPG III.

At first, authorities and JPG I felt that the kidnapping was staged to extract money from him, for JPG II, a drug addict, and his entire family (right), were deleted from any support list.  JPG I was quoted to say:

I have 14 grandchildren, and if I pay a penny of ransom, I’ll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren.

After the kidnapping by the Mafia, JPG III's mother tried to embarrass JPG I using the media.  When the ear and hair locks arrived, only because her father, a judge, was able to talk to JPG I (this was not mentioned in the film), he agreed to a sum, but only an amount that met tax implications.  Whether it was $17 million (the initial demand) or $2.2 million (the total provided by JPG I), the money part was incidental to the principles involved.  No matter how you assess it, JPG I was frugal and, himself, hardly the model citizen.  

Coming next month you will be able to tune into FX for a 10-part TV series, Trust, directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) with Donald Sutherland as JPG I, Hilary Swank as Gail Getty, Harris Dickinson as JPG III and Brendan Fraser as James Flether Chace, the CIA guy.  My sense is, enough is enough.