Category Archives: Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.)

Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker

I LOVED meeting Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker! What a force...Last September, when I was on assignment in Australia, I didn’t get the chance to eat at Alla Wolf-Tasker’s revered Lake House Restaurant in Victoria.

To be perfectly honest, until my eye-opening visit, I didn’t know much about the culinary scene Down Under.

Lake House (celebrating 30 years!) is about a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, situated on the shores of Lake Daylesford in Victoria’s spa country. From what I’ve seen in these photos, the property (which covers 6 acres) looks spectacular, and it’s now on my travel “bucket list”.

From the restaurant website:

Alla Wolf-Tasker is credited with the establishment and growth of Daylesford and surrounds as a premier food and wine destination. Over three decades of honing Lake House into the mecca for foodie travellers that it is, she has fostered a network of excellent local suppliers and in the process succeeded in putting Daylesford on the culinary map.

Lake House boasts one of Australia’s most highly awarded restaurants and a New York Wine Spectator award winning wine list and cellar of some 10,000 bottles. The menu offers modern Australian cuisine paying homage to the region’s excellent seasonal produce. Local and seasonal may be a marketing mantra nowadays, but the ‘sense of place’ philosophy that imbues all of Lake House has operated here from day one.

In November I was invited by Tourism Australia to attend a dinner at the prestigious James Beard House in New York. The theme was “Evenings Afar: Australia” and Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker was center stage. This was my first visit to Beard House, and I was thrilled to be included on the guest list.

My first bite of Chef Alla’s food? Kangaroo tartare of course! The entire meal was stunning and included an exceptional pork dish I still think about today.

Meeting the chef was a thrill as well and we often engage via social media. If you love food AND travel, do follow her at @WolfInKitchen.

Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker at Beard House 11/22/13


Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker's dinner at Beard House, NYC
A few drinks in the back garden before dinner…

Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker's dinner at Beard House, NYC
I almost tripped over this life-size sculpture in the back garden… This must be HIS head, right?

Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker's dinner at Beard House, NYC
Kangaroo Tartar with Pepper Berries and Bush Tomatoes, Beet Crostini before heading upstairs to dinner (the only decent food photo I captured).

Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker's dinner at Beard House, NYC
We drank heaps of gorgeous wine (listed below), provided by Wine Australia.

At this point, the lights were dimmed for dinner service and there was no way I could adequately capture Chef Alla’s beautiful food with my iPhone camera. To be blunt, my photos were crap. Thankfully the chef’s team sent me some lovely images taken in the bright Beard House kitchen. See complete menu below.

Smoked Eel with Pancetta, Beet Rémoulade and Horseradish
Smoked Eel with Pancetta, Beet Rémoulade and Horseradish (Photo provided by James Beard House and Tourism Australia)

Butter-Poached Pheasant with Foraged Mushrooms and Black Truffles
Butter-Poached Pheasant with Foraged Mushrooms and Black Truffles (Photo provided by James Beard House and Tourism Australia)

Pork Croustillant with Choucroute Garnie
Pork Croustillant with Choucroute Garnie (Photo provided by James Beard House and Tourism Australia)

Brioche French Toast with Goat Cheese and Local Pears
Brioche French Toast with Goat Cheese and Local Pears (Photo provided by James Beard House and Tourism Australia)

Late Harvest Apples with Caramel, Buttermilk, Honey and Oatmeal
Late Harvest Apples with Caramel, Buttermilk, Honey and Oatmeal (Photo provided by James Beard House and Tourism Australia)

Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker's dinner at Beard House, NYC
I snapped this Beard portrait quickly on my way to the loo… James Beard’s LOO.
The table I dined at can be seen in this Beard House library virtual tour (near left bookcase).

Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker's dinner at Beard House, NYC
A quick peek in the Beard House kitchen. Tight quarters… check out the floor plan here.

Australian Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker and her crew
Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker (center) with her hard-working crew in the Beard House kitchen  (Photo provided by James Beard House and Tourism Australia)

Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker's dinner at Beard House, NYC
Beard House kitchen equipment… touched by so many world-class chefs, past and present.

Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker’s Beard House Menu

Chestnut–Armagnac Velouté
Kangaroo Tartare with Pepper Berries and Bush Tomatoes
Endive with Fresh Curds and Grain–Seed Praline
Wine: NV Plunkett Fowles Stone Dwellers Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir

Freshwater Trout with Buckwheat Vinaigrette and Fennel
Wine: Plunkett Fowles, Ladies Who Shoot their Lunch, Riesling 2012

Smoked Eel with Pancetta, Beet Rémoulade, and Horseradish
Wine: Heggies Chardonnay Eden Valley 2011

Pork Croustillant with Choucroute Garnie
Wine: Giant Steps Pinot Noir 2012

Butter-Poached Pheasant with Foraged Mushrooms and Black Truffles
Wine: D’Arenberg Derelict Vineyard Grenache 2009

Brioche French Toast with Goat Cheese and Local Pears
Late Harvest Apples with Caramel, Buttermilk, Honey, and Oatmeal
Wine: Yalumba Museum Reserve Tawny Barossa Dessert Wine

Learn more about Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker:
“How Alla Wolf-Tasker’s Lake House has lasted 30 years in the tough restaurant game” by Michael Bailey

James Beard Foundation
167 W 12th St.
New York, NY 10011
(212) 675-4984
website   twitter

Lake House
King Street Daylesford 3460 Victoria, Australia
+61 (03) 5348 3329
website   twitter

The Lake House Cooking School

Follow Chef Alla Wolf-Tasker on twitter

How Chefs are invited to cook at Beard House

Meal and Travel generously paid for by Tourism Australia. 

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All-Star Chef Classic 2014

AllStarChefClassicGrillChillSavor Last weekend Peter and I attended the first-ever All-Star Chef Classic in downtown Los Angeles. It was such a spectacular event for chef fans like us, and even though we only made it to two out of four events (having just returned from Scotland), we both had a super, delicious weekend.

Highlights included meeting out-of-town chefs Paul Qui, Wylie Dufresne and Graham Elliot, and watching L.A. legend Josiah Citrin cooking in the enormous restaurant stadium. Tuna with Sesame Tofu

There were (obviously) so many delicious bites, including Jennifer Jasinski’Cardamom Brined Pork BellyLudo Lefebvre’s Beef and Charred Broccoli, Paul Qui’s Cabbage with Crispy Chicken Skin, and Kuniko Yagi’Tuna with Sesame TofuMany more tasty photos here.

Huge CONGRATULATIONS to the event co-founders, Krissy Lefebvre and Lucy Lean!

We are SO looking forward to making it to ALL the events next year!

All-Star Chef Classic website

All my photos from “Grill and Chill” and “Savor The Season”  

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Photos from L.A. Bites Hunger

Thank you ALL for volunteering with us on August 10th!
Photos here and here!


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L.A. Chefs Volunteering at L.A. Food Bank!

Read all about it over at L.A. Bites Hunger!

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Hawaii Food & Food Festival!

The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival is by far one of the best food events I’ve ever attended. Not only did I get to enjoy Hawaii’s best cuisine (prepared by world-renowened chefs), but I also got to soak up some major island culture (surfing, art, local joints!) as well.

If you’re a food lover planning a trip to Hawaii in September (2013), check out all the festival has to offer here. And do NOT miss the Saturday morning farmer’s market at Kapiolani Community College! (Links & Details Below)

Photos below from the 2012 Hawaii Food & Wine Festival:

Enter the MODERN Dragon: Morimoto & Friends (9/6/12):
In Chinese Astrology, 2012 is the year of the Dragon – the most powerful and auspicious of the 12 animal signs, bringing high energy and prosperity.  Led by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, “Enter the MODERN Dragon” showcased foods prepared by twelve of the most esteemed international chefs from Asia and the Pacific.

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Walking into the event at the Modern.

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Chef Roy Choi.

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Roy Choi’s Chubby Pork Belly Squares.

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Looking down from upper level.

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Butterfish with Spicy Radish by Sang Yoon.

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Ginza Sour Cocktail

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Upper level

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Chef Ming Tsai

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With the one and only Iron Chef Morimoto!!!

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Chef Morimoto’s Shrimp Taco.

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Dragon pool at night. Note: I was born in 1964, Year of the Dragon. Fit right in!

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Ming and Morimoto at the “Mix with the Masters” event. Food demos, talks and lunch! (9/7/12)

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Morimoto’s beautiful sashimi display.

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Chef Charles Phan (Slanted Door, San Francisco) brought a pho noodle bar.

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Chef Josiah Citrin’s Kona Abalone, Grilled Cucumber and Sweet Onion & Squid Ink Puree ~ Sea Asparagus, Thai Basil and Chilled Cucumber Broth. From Farm to Table: A Makahiki Festival  (9/8/12)

Ono Kine Malama Farm Berkshire Pork by Chef Ed Kenney
Ono Kine Malama Farm Berkshire Pork by Chef Ed Kenney

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Beautiful evening for the Makahiki Festival!

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Dinner at Miso and Ale was a terrific finale to my Honolulu visit! My favorite bite was the braised short rib w Okinawa purple potato!

A few places NOT to miss on your visit to Honolulu:
Rainbow Drive-in for a classic “Plate Lunch”. And yes, it comes with BOTH white rice AND macaroni salad!

Feel like experiencing local culture? Have dinner at Side Street Inn, and definitely order the Pan-Fried Island Pork Chops!

KCC Farmer’s Market. Eat lunch and buy treats to bring back home.

Surfing lessons… by Honolulu Firefighters!

Need a quick bite before surfing? Spam Musubi! Fort Ruger Market, Oahu

Photos from the opening night Rum Fire party here

Honolulu’s Art Scene 2012

All photos from Hawaii Food and Wine Festival 2012

2013 Hawaii Food and Wine Festival is September 1-8!

Oahu 2012

Many thanks to the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, Oahu Visitors Bureau, and Hawaii Food & Wine Festival for inviting and hosting me on this trip.

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Adam Perry Lang’s Serious Barbecue

Love barbecue? Live in Los Angeles? Mark your calendars for Adam Perry Lang‘s Serious Barbecue, a one-of-a-kind outdoor dining experience on the Jimmy Kimmel Live back lot!


WHAT: Barbecue and grilling expert Adam Perry Lang introduces the Los Angeles community to his signature style of outdoor cooking, as well as the re-issue of his first best-selling cookbook, Serious Barbecue, through a two month-long, pop-up series taking place on the back lot of Jimmy Kimmel Live! Adam is a rarity – a classically –trained chef who applies techniques learned while cooking at some of the finest restaurants in the world to good old American barbecue. He won Grand Champion honors at the World Pork Expo and first place for his pork shoulder at the Kansas City American Royal, a.k.a. “The World Series of BBQ.” Adam is a consulting partner in Chef Mario Batali’s Carnevino in Las Vegas, partnered with Chef Jamie Oliver to open the wildly-successful Barbecoa in London, and is well-known for founding Daisy May’s BBQ in New York.

Starting July 9th and July 10th, and every following Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from July 16th until September 5th, the public is invited to discover a new meat miracle for lunch, with a pre-order only takeout service in the late afternoon. At night, look for special events and intimate VIP dinners for press, tastemakers and promotional partners, which will include cooking demos, bladesmithing and whiskey and bourbon tastings. Guests will get to try Adam’s signature sliced beef short rib with pickles and sweet onion, pork butt with green apple, crushed hot red pepper and avocado, “Get a Book” beef brisket, the ultimate stacked-high French dip, BBQ double-smoked bacon with waffles, and more. Menu items will range from $15 to $35. The Serious Barbecue Pop-Up series is a community event that will also benefit the L.A.C.E.R. Afterschool Program and P.A.T.H. L.A.C.E.R. provides underserved middle and high school youth with an arts and literacy based after-school program, and P.A.T.H. provides the support that homeless individuals and families need in order to successfully transition from living on the street to thriving in homes of their own.

Adam will be creating a unique, outdoor dining experience in an urban setting that celebrates both great food and American craftsmanship. The Jimmy Kimmel Live! back lot will be transformed into a barbecue and grilling paradise, with a 2-ton, custom-built Texas burn pit, comfortable lawn seating with a beautiful rustic table constructed by Adam, and his new line of personally handcrafted knives on display. Adam will also be living out of an Airstream trailer each night, as making one’s own charcoal takes true dedication. And since everyone knows whiskey and barbecue go hand-in-hand, the winning master craftsman from the new Hulu Raising the Bar original, reality series will construct a custom bar in the VIP lounge, showcasing George Dickel Tennessee Whisky.

The demand amongst barbecue enthusiasts for copies of Serious Barbecue is unprecedented, and now the re-issue is scheduled to hit shelves on July 20th. In his book, Adam teaches his readers all they need to know to achieve the holy grail of barbecuing from meat selection to building flavors through seasoning, glazing and basting to adding sauces strategically throughout the cooking process. With this pop-up series, Los Angeles will be re-introduced to all of Adam’s amazing recipes and barbecue tips, highlighted in Serious Barbecue, which will be available for purchase via

WHEN: Starting July 9th and July 10th, and every following Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from July 16th until September 5th

-Lunch open to the public from 11:00 am-2pm
-Take-away barbecue service from 4:00pm-5:00pm
-VIP Dinners and Special Events in the evening to be announced

WHERE: Jimmy Kimmel Live! – Back Lot
6834 Hollywood Blvd., enter from the alley
Hollywood, CA 90028

Adam’s Website

Follow Adam on Twitter

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Hawaii: Waikiki, Rum Fire & Art

In early September I was invited to the “Hot & Hip Honolulu” press trip on Oahu, which included tickets to the 2nd Annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. It wasn’t my first visit to the islands, but it was definitely the most interesting by far.

In the past, my Hawaii visits consisted mostly of lazy beach-time with my nephews, or Mai Tai sunsets with Peter. This time around I got to spend five days not only tasting the best of Oahu’s cuisine, but also experiencing the beautiful art and culture of the island. I didn’t even KNOW Honolulu had an art museum!

Since I have so many photos to share, I’ve decided to write several blog posts about the tour. This first post includes photos of my island arrival, food porn from the welcome party, and a day exploring Honolulu’s lively art scene. Please check back soon for much more!

Oahu 2012
Checking into the Waikiki Parc Hotel. PARADISE. I didn’t want to leave the room!

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Room 1503, Waikiki Parc Hotel.

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I didn’t eat on the plane, so was thrilled to see a plate of fruit & cheese in my hotel room. Thanks again Rebecca, Darlene, Nathan and Kelley!

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Waikiki Park’s poolside gym. NEEDED it!

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Of course I brought “Travel Maxie”. He makes me miss Maxie just a little bit less when I’m away from home.

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View of Diamond Head from Rum Fire, Sheraton Waikiki. A beautiful first evening meeting event hosts and fellow writer/photographers.

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At Rum Fire, Grilled Kona Lobster w Anchovy & Marrow Butter from Azure Chef de Cuisine Jon Matsubara.

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At Rum Fire, Twice Cooked Australian Wagyu, Mung Bean Puree, Hamakua Tomato, Waipoli Fern Shoot Salad by Kai Market’s Chef Darren Demaya.

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At Rum Fire, Hamakua Vine Ripened Tomatoes, Roast Baby Beets by Sheraton Waikiki’s Executive Chef Daniel Delbrel.

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At Rum Fire, Hawaii Food & Wine Festival co-founder Chef Roy Yamaguchi greets the crowd.

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Spicy Rim Cocktail!

Oahu 2012 (with Lee Anne Wong)
Party time! With the fabulous Lee Anne Wong at Rum Fire.

Spam Fried Rice for breakfast!
Day two began with Spam Fried Rice at Waikiki Parc’s Breakfast Buffet (made me so happy!)

Oahu 2012
We started the morning with a private tour of philanthropist and heiress Doris Duke’s beachfront home. The 14,000 square foot estate was built in 1937 and is officially called “Shangri La, the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts”. For nearly 60 years, Duke collected artifacts for Shangri La, ultimately forming a collection of about 2,500 objects, the majority of which were made in the Islamic world. Read Doris Duke’s biography here. (Above, our guide Carol Khewhok standing in the entry courtyard).

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Shangri La has a remarkable collection of Islamic art and is considered one of Hawaii’s most architecturally significant homes. I loved this tile entry into the garden. We weren’t allowed to photograph the interior so I’ve added links below.

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Looking into the living room through the spectacular, glass WALL elevator which was installed in 1938. Yes, it still works!

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Ocean-front garden seating. I stood there fantasizing about throwing the perfect cocktail party! The living room is behind the tree at right.

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View of the ocean and Diamond Head from living room.

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Pool  (with view of Diamond Head) and Playhouse, which served as Doris Duke’s guesthouse. The Playhouse was modeled on the Chihil Sutun, a royal pavilion built in 1647 in Isfahan, Iran. It consists of three rooms: two guest bedrooms and a large living room with a small kitchenette.

Photos of the interior are available on the official website. You can tour the entire property here.

Some of my favorite rooms:
The Syrian Room is Doris Duke’s interpretation of the qa’a (Arabic: hall), a reception room found in Syrian homes of the late Ottoman period (in Syria: 1516-1918).

The Damascus Room is a highlight of the Islamic art collection assembled by Doris Duke and one of two Syrian interiors preserved at Shangri La. Its acquisition dates to September 1953, when she placed an order for “1 Old Damascus Room made of old painted panels of wood” with Asfar & Sarkis, an antiquities firm based in both Damascus and Beirut.

The Dining Room/Lanai originally had a Hawaiian theme, but in 1960’s Doris Duke completely remodeled the room adding a large mosaic tile panel, Egyptian cloth panels and an Ottoman-style fireplace.

View of Shangri La from the ocean.

NOTE: If you’re planning to be in New York before mid-February, the Museum of Arts and Design is presenting “Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art” through February 17th, 2013.

I learned so much about Islamic art, tiles and textiles during just this one visit. If you love history, art or architecture, a visit to Shangri La is a MUST.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Exhibitions featuring Tattoos and Boardshorts? Only in Hawaii!

About “Tattoo Honolulu” (from the website)

Tattooing is art. After decades of being viewed as a mark of the marginal, tattoos have gone mainstream and are winning over the art establishment—including the Honolulu Museum of Art. The lines between ink on skin and paint on canvas or pencil on paper have been blurred with tattoo artists reaching the skill level of other artists. Now the Honolulu Museum of Art breaks new ground with an exhibition focusing on Hawai‘i’s high quality of tattoo art—and how it sprouted from the islands’ mix of cultures rich with tattoo traditions.

The museum is in the unique position to draw upon its world-class collection to place contemporary tattooing within an art historical context. By linking the past—through works such as 19th-century prints by Jacques Arago depicting tattooed Hawaiians—with the present, the museum hopes to expand cultural awareness not only about the art of the tattoo, but also the rich cultural traditions it is based on.

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“Chinese Dragon on Megan Wong” by Billy Whitney. Photographed by Shuzo Uemoto. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art. Did you spot Hello Kitty?

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“Full Back on Anthony Alameda” Tattoo by Lucky Olelo. Photographed by Shuzo Uemoto. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

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Tattoo designs by Joe Leiber. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

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Part of the Tattoo Gun collection. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

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Lucky Olelo, one of the talented tattoo artists joined us for lunch at the Museum of Art Cafe.

About “Boardshorts: A Perfect Fit” (from the website)

Hawai‘i’s unofficial uniform is the boardshort—a perfect fit for the birthplace of surfing. Boardshorts in Hawai‘i were initially created as custom-made surf trunks by tailors at popular venues such as the H. Miura Store in Hale‘iwa, Take’s in Waikīkī, or M. Nii’s in Mākaha during the 1950s. These early boardshorts were first designed for fit and comfort, maximized for the ultimate wave-riding experience. Boardshorts: A Perfect Fit, chronicles the fascinating evolution of a single, simple garment that today is a symbol of extreme sports and a counterculture lifestyle.

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Boardshorts: A Perfect Fit. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

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I would have bought ten pairs of these SPAM shorts! Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

Note: Both the Tattoo and Boardshorts exhibits run through January 13, 2013.

A few favorites from the 19th Century Collection.

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Kamehameha III (left) and Nahi’ena’ena (Sister of Kamehameha III). Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

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Whistler’s Arrangement in Black, No. 5 (Lady Meux). Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

Below from the Asian Art Collection:

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Seated Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (Guanyin). 11th century Chinese Northern Song dynasty (960–1127) Shanxi province.  Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

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For scale.  Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

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The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. I LOVE tiny bottles.
Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

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Snuff Bottles close-up. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

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Shibata Zeshin, traveler’s writing case with landscape and plovers. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.  Many thanks to Museum Director, Stephan F. Jost and Deputy Director, Allison Wong.Please visit the museum website for current and upcoming exhibitions.

More photos from Honolulu’s Art Scene

All photos from Oahu 2012

Waikiki Parc Hotel

Rum Fire

Roy Yamaguchi (follow him on twitter)

Shangri La / More about Carol Khewhok

Honolulu Museum of Art

This trip was generously provided by the Oahu Visitor’s Bureau  / Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau.  Many thanks to Rebecca Pang (Account Supervisor, Travel & Tourism, McNeil Wilson Communications), Nathan Kam, Stephanie Killion, Darlene Morikawa, Lindsay Chambers and their staff members!

Current and upcoming Hawaii events:
Kona Coffee Cultural Festival (Hawaii, the Big Island) – Nov. 3-11, 2012 –

Wailea Wine & Food Festival (Maui) – Dec. 6-9, 2012 –


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