The new Laulani Village Shopping Center in Ewa Beach


The brand new, big and beautiful Laulani Village Shopping Center opened fairly recently this past holiday season in Ewa Beach when Safeway held their grand opening on Thursday, November 16th, followed by fellow anchor tenants Petco and City Mill, who held their grand opening the next day on Friday, November 17, 2012.

Laulani Village Shopping Center in Ewa Beach master plan. Image courtesy of Property Development Centers (a Safeway company)

So far as of this writing, Safeway, Petco and City Mill are currently the only anchor tenants open there. However anchor tenant Ross Dress for Less will open soon, on March 8, 2013. While also slated to open later this year will be Walgreens, who will be located in a separate building next to the parking lot entrance (see Anchor ‘K’ in master plan above).

Also currently open within Safeway are Starbucks Coffee and Bank of Hawaii.

This is now Safeway’s 14th store on Oahu out of 20 total in Hawaii. This is also City Mill’s 8th store on Oahu, replacing their Waipahu location, which has since closed.

There are signs posted in smaller spaces of the main building for Central Pacific Bank, GNC and Teddy’s Bigger Burgers, however with no information about when their doors will open.

There’s also another large front corner wing along Fort Weaver Road and Keaunui Drive, where so far Panda Express and Tasty Korean BBQ are said to open in the future…

Laulani Village’s front corner wing, decorated in holiday cheer the night before their grand opening, November 2012

As indicated on the site master plan, this corner wing is also designated as office space, so anticipate financial, insurance and/or medical offices to open here in the future.

From what I understand, thanks to the “coconut wireless”, the monthly lease rent, based on a $2.50/square foot rate for the major anchor tenants large spaces, runs up in the $6-figures. Ouch. That’s some serious overhead, especially for “way out” in Ewa!

Good grief, Safeway better sell lots of bread ‘n butter, Ross better sell lots of shoes ‘n purses, Petco better sell lots of dog ‘n cat food, City Mill better sell lots of paint ‘n lumber, and Walgreens better sell lots of drugs. LOL!

Now let’s go on a pictorial walk around Laulani Village, starting with the front corner wing…

Now let’s make our way across the entire span of Laulani Village’s main building run, starting from the far left end (Fort Weaver Road side)…

Note, Starbucks is interconnected with Safeway’s Signature Cafe within the store, adjacent to the left entrance. In fact, looking around inside the new Ewa beach Safeway, it’s almost an exact duplicate of the Kapahulu store both in layout, look and feel, which they call their “lifestyle” format. I’d say more like the Whole Foods format.

Safeway’s left entrance and exit…

Safeway’s right entrance and exit…

Bank of Hawaii is open, located inside Safeway…

Future home of Central Pacific Bank…

Future home of GNC…

Please rent me!…

Between here and the next photo of Teddy’s, there’s a rear parking lot entrance & exit.

Future home of Teddy’s Bigger Burgers…

Petco…

Future home of Ross Dress for Less (coming soon)…

Note, Ross’ lighbox sign was up, then taken down due to electrical problems the contractor had to make repairs on. As of this writing it’s back up.

City Mill…

Across the parking lot on this side of the center is a building still under construction that will be the future home of Walgreens.

If you look back at the master plan, you’ll see there’s additional smaller stand-alone buildings not built yet called ‘Pads’, that will line the opposite end of the parking lot along Keaunui Drive. Which is exactly how it is at the Kapahulu location, with both retailers and restaurants occupying them (AT&T and Ninja Sushi). One of the ‘Pads’ in Laulani Village is said to become a McDonald’s, which is no surprise, and certainly fitting for the center. Imagine if the first In-N-Out Burger in Hawaii opened here? Ooooooh!!!!! I’d move to Ewa Beach just for that! Nah, not quite.

So I was there the night of Ewa’s new Safeway “soft” opening (the day before the G.O.). Following are photos around the store that night, where as you’ll see, the house was jam PACKED…

The perfect symmetry of their stacked produce is seriously “OCD” crazy…

It’s like, when you pick through and grab some of these organic apples, you have to look over your shoulder at the produce clerk, whether he or she might be sneering at you all fuming in anger over messing up their beautiful display. “Hey, you, buddy! Na-ah-ah-ah! Don’t you dare even THINK about touching that.” LOL!

See. Look at the expression on that lady’s face pushing the cart to the left in the photo above. She’s thinking to herself “Oh my, those oranges are stacked so neatly, I’ll just admire them from a distance.” lol

OCD to the max’…

I have an idea for Bula’ia’s new OC-16 comedy show. Looking at this grid-like OCD arrangement of the fruits in the photo above, what he should do is act like he’s turning it into some board game, and mix the fruit around from each bin. I dunno, play Checkers, Chess, Tic-Tac-Toe, Connect 4, or Battleship. Something like that. Or perhaps simply spell something out, treating the different colored fruit as pixels. Then have the produce clerk and manager come in and act like they’re scolding him and kicking him out, to which he refuses, then gets arrested. All with management pre-approval of course, so he doesn’t really get arrested, as has happened in the original Bula’ia shows. lol

Or how’s about this one: have Bulai’a act like it was his first day on the job as a Safeway produce clerk, where they show him meticulously stacking the potatoes, onions and yams as shown below. Then a customer walks up and attempts to start sorting for “good” potatoes to choose, messing up the immaculately stacked potatoes in the process. To which Bulai’a gets into this whole “moke style” rant with the customer, starting a food fight, taking it out in the parking lot (so they can really make a mess), eventually ending up getting fired. lol

 

While you might think it’s only like this for the Ewa Beach grand opening, incredibly, Safeway actually maintains their immaculately stacked, perfectly culled produce every day. At least, it’s like that at the Kapahulu location I frequent.

Ever since Whole Foods came to town, it seems they raised the bar on grocery retail merchandising standards, and now you’re noticing our other major supermarkets are following suit, including Safeway, Foodland and Times. Don Quijote is starting to do this, but not nearly as immaculate as here. Then again, DQ’s prices on produce for the most part are much cheaper for essentially the same thing, just not as pretty (culled).

Chinatown Honolulu, forget it. Them Pake’s just throw ‘em in the unfinished plywood bin. “You buy. Get plenty. You buy cheap. Won Bok 2 foh wun dollah’.”  lol

Back in the meat and seafood department, they were handing out some onolicious samples on soft opening night, including grilled steak, salmon and other hors d’oeuvres and desserts, while there was also this fancy fresh ahi and marlin ice display…

What’s funny is, some people (mostly the keiki) were asking if the fish were real, poking at it, realizing they were in fact the real fresh-caught deal.

Speaking with folks from Ewa Beach I work with, they say this new Safeway is certainly a welcome option to what was formerly really the only game in town right up the street over at Foodland, where, until now with Safeway in town, had a grocery supermarket monopoly on the Ewa Beach community. The next closest place to go grocery shopping was either Don Quijote in Waipahu, or out in Kapolei, both of which are obviously the next town over.

Also getting ready to open the next day was City Mill over on the far right end of Laulani Village…

City Mill has since closed their Waipahu location and moved operations here in Ewa. Note, City Mill OWNS the Waipahu store property, which is HUGE, and from what I understand, there’s been plenty of interest for leasing, however nothing secured yet.

Also note, Property Development Centers — the developer of Laulani Village Shopping Center, the location on Beretania, as well as Kapahulu — is part of the Safeway company. So really Safeway is paying mortgage, not rent.

With my “VIP” status (he he), I was able to get a few shots around the store the evening before their grand opening…

As it is a tradition in Hawaii for a person to get “lei’d” upon arrival to the islands or in celebration of a birthday or other special occasion, it’s also tradition for a new business to receive tropical arrangements from business clients and vendors as a token of good luck and prosperity…

One person I work with has lived in Ewa Beach his entire life, where he said, aside of the older homes that were built a long time ago — before all this new Gentrified developments — almost the entire Ewa plain was nothing but sugarcane fields, along with a large water reservoir nearby where Laulani Village Shopping Center now stands. Here in this new development map, you can see Ewa Beach, along with nearby Kapolei is quickly becoming Oahu’s “second city”…


Image courtesy of Property Development Centers

Zoom in…


Image courtesy of Property Development Centers

From what I understand, with just Safeway, Petco and City Mill currently open, the Laulani Village parking lot already fills up to capacity on weekends. Imagine when Ross, Walgreens, and then all the other smaller tenants open? They’re gonna’ NEED to add another tier or two to the parking lot to accommodate everyone, as there’s no where around the adjoining suburban area for overflow customers to legally park on the street.

While always controversial for a family oriented community, I really think a bar would BANK here, especially with so much military in the area.

EWA BREWING COMPANY

Just throwin’ the idea out in case anyone’s interested in investing, I’d open the Ewa Brewing Company, a new and innovative Hawaii micro brewery sports bar, occupying either an entire ‘Pad’, or perhaps one whole side of the Laulani Village front wing. Which I think would ROCK $$$.

Ewa Brewing Company’s decor would be super retro in the Irish Pub sensibility, complete  with an elegant carved Irish pub look, along with low-lit mood lighting, while also having a little tropical tiki bar theme going on as well. Totally kitsch pacific rim.

There would be a full bar of course (good luck on getting the permit!), along with dining areas to make way for the ever-expanding menu. While for fun, 2 competition billiards tables, dart boards and a small dance floor with DJ’s spinning every night after 10pm. Yeah, I know, totally creative and unique, right? OK then, we’ll throw Twister in there for the late night party crowd. That’d be entertaining! lol

The Ewa Brewing Company’s bar menu would look like this…

Ewa Brewing Company pupu menu

• For Ewa Fish ‘n Chips
4 fillets of the fish of the day (typically Mahimahi or Monchong), dipped in our house beer-based Tempura batter seasoned with our secret blend, deep-fried to “GBD” perfection. Served over a bed of Moloka’i Sweet Potato “Chips” (or you can opt for Idaho Potatoes), along with our house-made Cocktail Sauce, Wasabi Sauce and Tartar Sauce trio, plus lemon and lime wedges. Aloha Apple Cider Vinegar also available upon request.
$14.99 party size (serves 2-4), 11.99 regular (serves 1-2)

• Keaunui Bacon-wrapped Pepper Poppers
House-smoked teriyaki bacon, wrapped around Jalapenos that are stuffed with a 4-cheese blend of American, Cheddar, Mozzarella and Phili’, baked to sizzlin’ hot ‘n goey perfection!
$10.99′

• Mozza’ West-side Mussels
8 Mussles on the half shell that are topped with our house-made marinara, then smothered (and we mean SMOTHERED!) with lotza’ ooey-gooey Mozzarella Cheese and baked to perfection. Pop one, and you’ll soon pop the rest!
$11.99.

• Renton Rolls
4 generously portioned temaki sushi hand rolls, that are filled with premium-grade Tamaki Gold sushi rice, furikake, cucumber, avocado, topped with a baked Crab & Shiitake Mushroom aioli infusion. Trust us, you’ll order this again and again!
$10.99

• For Ewa Plantation Platter
A supah’ generous helping of all of the above! No scade! Go for ‘em all!
$27.99

Ewa Brewing Company Beer menu

• Geiger IPA
• Laulani Lager
• Papipi Porter
• Kolowaka Stout

Speaking of alcohol, being a class act and leader in the industry, Ewa Brewing Company would offer a shuttle van service (2 vans), servicing the Ewa Beach, Kapolei and Waipahu area, so patrons who’ve had too much to drink can get home safely. It won’t be cheap, but way WAY cheaper than a DUI or worse.

I’m tellin’ ya’, Ewa Brewing Company? Cha-ching!

Ewa Beach, you are growing!

P.S. I’m growing in reverse, pretty much maintaining my upper 160’s weight, not going back over 170, where here I am about 3 weeks ago weighing in at 167 lbs….


Pomai @ 167 lbs. on 1.18.13 (currently 168 lbs.)

Not so much in person, however in some photos (like this one), my face still looks a little bloated. More so when I smile than straight-faced, but still. I guess I’m gonna’ have to get down to 160 for my face to look slimmer, which I’m already overdue. I should try doing them weird jaw exercises, or maybe chew on a whole pack of bubble gum all day to workout my (above the shoulder) cheek muscles. lol!

Seriously though, I’m thinking of trying out that Shaun T “Insanity” fitness program they keep showing on late night infomercials. Man, the before and after results are impressive! I especially like its high intensity approach for maximum results in a short period of time. We’ll see.


Comments

The new Laulani Village Shopping Center in Ewa Beach — 51 Comments

    • Pat,

      Ironic that you mention Burgers on the Edge, who used to occupy one of the ‘Pads’ at the Kapahulu Safeway location. They’ve since closed, however not due to lack of business, but because the same owners also operate Good to Grill, which is ALSO in the same Kapahulu Safeway “plaza” location. According to the news, the owners wanted to consolidate operations, as Good to Grill is very successful. So you can still get great burgers at Good to Grill. They said they plan to open another Burgers on the Edge, however I didn’t hear about them opening in Ewa Beach?

      If they did in Laulani, that would be WAY too many burger joints in one spot. McDonald’s, Teddy’s AND Burgers on the Edge? Good grief. Might as well open a 24 Hour Fitness next door while they’re at it.

      • Kua Aina Burgers just opened at Kapolei Knolls, Teddys is way better! Also rumored that 24hr Fitness to open in Ewa/Kapolei across from the nearly completed kapolei fire station, in/or adjacent to the new Ka Makana Ali’i shopping center
        http://www.kamakanaalii.com

        • Rob,

          Thanks for the update. That shopping center sure is gonna’ be awesome when it’s completed.

          I’m in contact with the PR executive for Laulani Village Shopping Center, who will keep me in the loop on the latest news there, which I’ll pass on to you folks here as it breaks.

  1. It’s funny, Safeway looks the same everywhere! Well, the new ones. The old ones in this area are creepy looking. The only difference between the ones here and yours is the wine/beer section. We don’t have one. Stupid state laws.

    This past summer, I was SO CLOSE to ordering the Insanity workout. I watched the infomercial (and, unfortunately, I’m a sucker for infomercial products, I have more than I care to admit) and it seemed like a great workout, mine was getting boring. I was a little hesitant, because I’m the worst of both worlds: a cynical sucker. So I decided I’d order it the next day after reading reviews. I read the reviews, decided I’d order it. Got distracted, went out to get the mail, and on my way down my front path, I broke my ankle. Not sure if the universe was telling me not to order the Insanity workout, or just that I am clumsy.

    • h,

      I can’t imagine a “creepy” Safeway. Old maybe, like the one in Waimalu Plaza in Pearl City/Aiea, which is still clean and decent looking. It just doesn’t have that new “Lifestyle” format Safeway is copying from Whole Foods.

      You have to admire neighboring City Mill, though, as they’re not trying to copy the big box Home Depot and Lowe’s, but doing the complete opposite, going into “niche marketing”. So far it’s working out GREAT for them! FYI, City Mill remains Hawaii’s oldest and largest locally owned and operated company in Hawaii, being in business by the same family since 1899. Previously that title was held by Schuman Carriage, who has since closed, and ironically enough, is now a Safeway! Also ironic, the same Safeway in Waimalu Plaza in Aiea/Pearl City that I mentioned to Pat? That plaza (as in the whole shopping center) is part-owned by the owners of City Mill. Cha-CHING $$$!!!

      As for your experience in breaking your foot getting the mail, sorry to hear that. That had to suck. So, being that you got it, after you healed (or are you still healing?) did you try out the Insanity program? If not, I’ll buy it from you. Make an offer.

      Right now I’m “dancersing” (heavy liSp on the C and S there) to my Richard Simmons ‘Sweatin’ to the Oldies’ DVD set. G-string spandex, “Fro” wig and all, baby! I should YouTube it. LOL!!!!

      • City Mill looks awesome! As for the creepy Safeway, it’s like a dingy, 1970’s style store with brown and white speckled linoleum flooring and stained ceiling block tiles. Rickety shopping carts, tiny selection, etc. There are only a few of those (that I know of) in this area. I avoid them.

        My ankle is still healing, seems like it’s taking forever. I feel like Cinderella’s stepsisters when I try to get my swollen frankenfoot into nice shoes. Can’t do too much for aerobic exercise, lots of swimming though. I got the bright idea to try to jump rope with by bad foot up, so like hop rope I guess. My friends advised against this, considering I injured myself just walking down my front path. The injury occurred literally right before I was going to order Insanity, so I didn’t get it. I will though, as soon as I’m able.

        As for your Richard Simmons workout, sounds hot. I’d watch. Upload that to Youtube and become the next youtubillionaire!

        • h,

          Ah, I see. I thought you already ordered it, felt you got “jinxed”, and put the ‘Insanity’ workout DVD set aside.

          I still can’t fathom a “creepy” Safeway. You must live in or near a REALLY seedy area. Nah, just kidding!!! LOL!!! :p

          Seriously, that said, Oahu is becoming like the “boutique” island of business (as controversial as that may sound). We have the best of the best, whether it be financial, military (F-22 & Sub central), airlines, retail, medical, entertainment, or what have you. It’s a great time to live here. Like San Fran’ in the middle of the Pacific. Hawaii is THE “cool” place to be.

          • I live in the DC Metro area. It’s a mixed bag here. Maybe the creepy was more about the area than the old, outdated store. I don’t go to those areas very often these days anyway. My ex used to have an OCD thing about shopping at the creepy Safeway. He felt comfortable there. Fitting, actually.

            I will be ordering the Insanity workout as soon as I am better (or sooner, I’m getting stir crazy, there’s only so much swimming and core one can do). I’ll let you know how it goes.

          • You make Hawaii sound crazy tempting. I’ve been planning to get out of this area and move to Austin or Portland, OR. Maybe I’ll add Hawaii to the short list. It’s just winter… I’ll miss winter.

        • h,

          Before and after pics of your ‘Insanity’ progress and results, onegai shimasu (I ask a favor of you)!

          I have an aunt who lives in Maryland. She really likes it there.

          Fitting that your ex was creepy, eh? I wonder what he says about you? Just kidding! LOL!!!!

          I’m kind of a cross between OCD and ADD, which I suppose makes me “creative”. Ha!

          h, you sound like a totally fun person to hang out with!

          • Before/during/after Insanity pics? Not a big favor, it’s a deal.

            I also live in Maryland, maybe 15 miles from DC. It has its pluses and minuses (for instance, my extended family lives here. I’ll leave you to imagine whether that’s a plus or minus :-D), like all areas. Haven’t been here terribly long, I spent most of my life in Miami.

            Fitting that the creepy ex liked the creepy store, lol. What he says about me? Obviously that I’m perfect and wonderful, duh! Nah, kidding. We’re still friends. I freely tell him that he’s creepy and should probably see someone about the OCD (not of the creative type, more like the mad scientist type. Somewhere between Sheldon Cooper and… I don’t know, James Holmes. Kidding about the latter. Sort of).

            Why thank you, and I AM a totally fun person to hang out with, if I do say so myself. :-D :-D You do, as well.

          • Oh, I meant to say, the before/after Insanity pics are contingent on you sharing your sweating to the oldies (in full costume) vid. Get working on that ;)

      • h,

        OK, deal!

        Speaking of foot injury, I twisted my ankle by accident last night walking home from the store right down the street, of all places. Right now it’s hurting like a SOB. I previously sprang my ankle a long time ago running on the beach, and now that foot (ankle area) is more vulnerable to injury. I really need to be careful on the angle of my step on that foot now. My go-to fix is a hot water soak with Epsom Salt, and of course not to use that foot until it “heals”.

        “Perfect and wonderful”, ay? That’s the delusion I’ve led myself to believe of mine (nothing personal on your account, h). At least you’re still friends with your ex. Consider yourselves fortunate.

        As for that “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” Richard Simmons dancercise YouTube gig, I am SO GAME on doing that! That’d be worth Pay-per-view, for sure! I’d do a medley of Richard Simmons and Shaun T, complete with that heavy liSp in full effect. …

        “Hi ladieSs! Are you ready to sSweat? Well then, common’ ya’ all, let’s get inSnane! Let’Ss do thisS!”

        Miami girl, ey? There’s just one Cuban restaurant I’m aware of here in Honolulu, located in the downtown area, however, I have yet to try it. We do have a number of places that sell Puerto Rican Pasteles and Gandules rice, which is quite popular here.

        • Oh no! Maybe my comment somehow cursed you :p I never thought of an epsom salt soak for that. Aren’t you supposed to use cold therapy? My go-to is a bag of frozen peas. Not elegant, but effective. Hope you feel better soon.

          I’m friends with almost all of my exes (because I’m perfect and wonderful, of course, haha). Nah, I haven’t really bought into that delusion. Everyone has faults. It just happens that mine aren’t the same as the creepy OCD ex. Honestly, if I told you some of the creepy OCDs, you’d understand!!

          I’m looking forward to that video; I’m holding you to it!!!!!!!

          Yep, a Miami girl. I make awesome Cuban food. I can give you some recipes. I’m not sure I’d trust a Cuban restaurant in an area without a Cuban population though. I’ve tried some up here and they were terrible. While Miami has lots of Puerto Rican places, I’ve never tried Pasteles.

          • h,

            I don’t like cold (ice) therapy, much preferring hot water soaks to loosen the tension. I tend to feel more sore after ice therapy.

            I KNOW you’re holding me to that Richard Simmons “Sweatin’ the Oldies” / Shaun T’s “Insanity” parody YouTube video. No worries, it WILL happen! In the mean time, check out our parody of AC/DC’s “Who Made Who” rock song…

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyDfKNtpiAQ&list=UUwVVkW295C3OTnn5i088w2Q&index=25

            I’m the “Red Head Rocker” on drums, Diner A on Guitar and Diner E on vocals.

          • h,

            Hawaii has the same stigma about Mexican restaurants.

            If you don’t mind sharing on the web, what is your ethnic heritage? I’m 1/2 Portuguese, 1/8 German, 1/8 English & 1/4 Hawaiian (as stated on this blog’s ‘About’ page). Typical mix here in Hawaii from the sugarcane and pineapple plantation era, however none of my ancestors worked the plantation, but had other trades. That said, ethnic blends are changing a lot in modern times as demographics evolve here (and everywhere else), naturally.

          • I’m 1/4 German, 1/4 Lithuanian, 1/4 Russian and 1/4 either Tunisian, Egyptian or Italian (it’s kind of an odd, long story, I’m not sure all your readers need to read it, but if you’re curious I’ll tell you via email – I think you have my email from the required field). I guess a better ethnic picture would be painted just by saying I’m an ethnic Jew (practicing Jew, not so much).

            I think, demographically speaking, Hawaii is much more interesting than the mainland. The melting pot seems to breed a much richer culture than here. But that’s just my impression.

        • h,

          Wow, that’s quite an exotic mix! I’m assuming you’re pretty smokin’ hot looking! Russian/Egyptian/Italian? That alone says it all! Mahalo for sharing. Too bad the exes don’t have you anymore, you “perfect and wonderful” thing, you. Ha-ha!

          As for Jewish cuisine, that’s also very limited in Hawaii, however I LOVE that stuff! Motza Ball Soup. Falafel. Latkas. You name it. Bring it!

          There’s one place worth checking out here in Honolulu over at Da’ Falafel King, who used to have a Kiosk in Waikiki. However, has since moved to a hole-in-the-wall location in Mo’ili’ili (pronounced “Moe’ eel-ee, eel-ee). Check out the former here…

          http://tastyislandhawaii.com/2011/04/09/waikiki-eats-da-falafel-king/

          Apparently there’s some debate about them being “Kosher”, however that’s beyond my scope.

          • Aww, you are sweet. When it comes to mixed heritage genes, I’m pretty happy with the ones I’ve got. As for the exes, yep, they missed out on this perfect and wonderful, and I missed out on the continuation of relationships that were less than perfect and wonderful, seems fair :).

            I’m not so big on “Jewish” cuisine (Matzoh balls… ick, who wants a dense, porous breadball in their soup. ick! Latkes, on the other hand… my late grandmother made the world’s best latkes. Nobody else can compare. Every few years I give it a try, but it’s so much work), but I LOVE Mid-Eastern food (meatless stuffed grape leaves, a side of fatoosh salad and fresh pita = most perfect meal ever), especially Lebanese/Syrian. Greek food is good too. I think Mid-eastern food is probably my favorite, with Japanese and Mexican being close second and third.

            I remember your post on Da’ Falafel King way back, It probably prompted me to make some mid-eastern food. Thanks for the pronunciation guide. In my head, I was pronouncing it like Mo ill-e ill-e. I probably mispronounce half the things you post.

            As for Kosher, that’s probably a little beyond my scope, too. My father’s family was Orthodox and kosher, but I wasn’t raised kosher and my mom’s side of the family are slightly kosher on holidays, but other than that, it’s back to cheeseburgers, bacon and shellfish. I don’t pay much attention to it in general (other than the holiday-only irony), mainly because, well, I have some pretty un-PC thoughts on the concept.

            I did hear a funny segment on NPR many years back about Kosher certification for products imported from China. Apparently there aren’t enough kosher-certifying Rabbis in China, and since many food products are made there for export, they are anxious to get certification to compete with most products on US shelves, even if they’re not sure what Kosher certification is. So this one manufacturer was desperate to get the Rabbi there to certify his products. When the rabbi got there, he realized the manufacturer produced wooden furniture. He told the guy “Jewish people eat some strange things, wooden furniture is not one of them”
            Hmm… maybe the story was funnier as told on NPR…

          • h,

            Oh yeah, any type of Middle Eastern cuisine is right up my alley. Especially the healthier meatless dishes that are prepared with exotic spices and built with multiple texture profiles. Love stuffed grape leaves, which as you know in Greek cuisine is called Dolmathes. I can put Tzatziki on a shoe and eat it. We have a number of highly acclaimed Greek/Mediterranean and Indian restaurants here. Believe it or not, we also have an annual Greek festival that sells all the favorites.

            For Hawaiian word pronunciation, here’s a good guideline:

            Vowel Pronunciation:
            a “ah”
            e “eh”
            i “ee”
            o “oh”
            u “oo”

            Stressed vowels:
            a – ah, as in father: aloha
            e – a, as in may: nene
            i – ee, as in bee: honi
            o – oh, as in so: mahalo
            u – oo, as in spoon: kapu

            When you mentioned the NPR segment about China trying to compete and enter our market for Kosher foods, and the whole bit about that same company also making furniture, I couldn’t help but also think about that line in Top Gun. The one where Maverick and Goose are reprimanded by the ship commander for “dangerous flying”. Where the commander threatened them that if they keep it up, they’d be “flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog s#it out of Hong Kong”. Imagine if that Rabbi went to the factory, and learned that’s what else they manufactured. The Rabbi says to the interpreter, “Kosher furniture is one thing. But THIS? Now they’re pushing it WAY too far.” LOL!!!

          • ROFL that’s a funny image to go along with the “kosher furniture” story!

            I did know about the Greek festival there, I must have read about it on your blog, or maybe another one. I do love dolmathes, but I prefer the Lebanese/Arabic style, called Warak Enab (though usually just stuffed grape/vine leaves if you’re in a mid-eastern restaurant). Here is my favorite recipe, I usually add pine nuts and sumac (mmm sumac, such a fantastic spice) when I make it (it’s especially good made in a pressure cooker, so there’s another use for yours): http://www.mamaslebanesekitchen.com/vegetarian/grape-leaves-recipe/

            Thank you for the pronunciation guide. Now I can read your writing without the feeling that I am slaughtering the pronunciation in my mind!!

  2. Yep, Safeway looks the same here too (pacific northwest), maybe not as fancy outside…and there’s a small-ish Starshmuck’s coffee booth inside. I love the Safeway deli though, always getting stuff there. It’s nice to see City Mill expanding like that. I remember the one in Kaneohe (is it still there?) where I used to always go with my dad.

    You’re definitely looking great Pomai! Congrats on the major weight loss! I hope you took a before photo at the start, and show us the before & after shots, just like those ads. haha! Oh, and of course gotta put on the big pants from before and hold the waist band out like the ads! :D

    • Ann,

      As mentioned in the post, Safeway’s new look is tagged corporately as their “Lifestyle” format. However, walk into your neighborhood Whole Foods, and you’ll see where they got the concept from. Thank God without the prices. Well, unless you buy organic.

      The Kaneohe City Mill on Kahuhipa Street is still there! That property is owned by Bishop Estate. If you remember that, you might also remember Nanko’s Fishing Supply right down the road at the corner, Makai-bound. They’re still there too! So is Domenic’s Cycle, Chong’s Korean Barbecue and Kikuya restaurant. Barr’s Muffler shop is gone, which is a long story I’d rather not get in to.

      Koa Pancake House is still there. Hmmm, what else? Kaneohe is still there, getting old as ever, yet near and dear to my heart.

      Thanks about the weight loss. I do have several “before” shots when I weighed 207 lbs, and believe me, compared to now? So NOT pretty. But hey, that’s what makes before and after photos that much more dramatic and impressive! I’m not going to post my before and after photos until I reach 160 lbs, which I WILL. I’m at a plateau right now, however, not far away from mission accomplished!

      As for pants sizes, I went from 36, down to 34, still needing a belt to bring it down to 32. Shooting for 30 (high school size).

      Off to heat up a big ‘ole cup o’ Green Tea. Have a great Monday. Toodles! ;-)

      • Oh, I forgot about City Mill on Kahuhipa St, along with the other businesses! I had to check Google Maps, and realized I meant Yamashiro Bldg Supply, down the road from WWC Shopping Center! :D I think my dad shared his business between the two. Lots of my high school friends still live in Kaneohe, so I make sure to go there whenever I visit the islands. I have a list (thanks to your blog) of “gotta try” eating establishments, both windward and leeward locations!

        You don’t have much more to go until your goal…best of luck, even though you don’t really need it! Have a great week!

        • Ah, yes, Yamashiro is still there, now under the Ace Hardware badge (yet still family owned by Ed Yamashiro). Kaneohe Bay Shopping Center, near where I grew up in that part of town, has really changed. Star Market is now Walgreens, along with Petco next to it. Speaking of which, only recently I learned Petco is owned by Walgreens, which is no wonder they’re typically located adjacent to each other in shopping centers. The KBSC Safeway has also recently received the new “lifesyle” format renovation.

          Shoots, anyone can simply use Google Earth nowadays to visit their old home town and see what’s there, and what has replaced it.

          As for Kaneohe grindz, you definitely gotta’ hit Masa & Joyce Okazuya and Kin Wah Chinese Restaurant next door. Dean’s Drive Inn is also awesome. Haleiwa Joe’s (formerly Haiku Gardens Restaurant) is a nice venue for entertaining. As beautiful in appearance now as ever (like my ex).

          Kaneohe Bakery and Deluxe Pastry Shop are also must-do’s. Especially the coconut turnovers at Deluxe!

          As for my weight, body-wise, I’m happy where I’m at, not shy at all anymore about going shirtless at the beach, and feel GREAT (except for now with my injured ankle). It’s my face and jaw line that I’m trying to slim down more, and the only way, is that 10 extra pounds.

  3. h said, “I do love dolmathes, but I prefer the Lebanese/Arabic style, called Warak Enab (though usually just stuffed grape/vine leaves if you’re in a mid-eastern restaurant). Here is my favorite recipe, I usually add pine nuts and sumac (mmm sumac, such a fantastic spice) when I make it (it’s especially good made in a pressure cooker, so there’s another use for yours): http://www.mamaslebanesekitchen.com/vegetarian/grape-leaves-recipe/

    h,

    I just checked out that Warak Enab recipe you linked to. Sounds scrumptioulicious!

    For serving tip, they say to reverse-plate it and serve as is in one fell swoop, along with a “sauce”, which I assume Tzatziki would be the best bet. I’d also think warm pita and/or Naan bread would go great to serve with that, similar to how Dolmathes is served.

    I’m not familiar with that Sumac spice you mention. I do know and love the Peruvian singer, Yma Sumac. Look up her music on YouTube. Incredible octave range and voice. One of my mom’s favorites. :music:

    Anyhow, I’ll certainly put Warak Enab on my pressure cooker must-do list. Thanks for the healthy eating recipe tip! :doctor:

  4. I don’t put any sauce on it, except maybe lemon juice. Sumac is a big spice in mid-eastern cooking, and good on anything. Roasted pumpkin seeds, popcorn, salad, veggies, licked off a finger, etc. It’s red and tangy, sort of lemony with a mid-eastern feed. You can find it at a spice store, a mid-eastern store or order on amazon.

    I will check out the singer now :)

    • h,

      There’s a company here called Ono Pops, who make all kinds of exotic flavored Popsicles based off the Mexican Paletas, including ones that use these types of spices. If they’re at the next KCC Farmers Market, I’ll ask the owners if they ever tried experimenting with Sumac in one their flavors. Being lemony, sounds totally applicable for such use.

      If not the regular grocery stores, I’m sure either Whole Foods or Down to Earth carries Sumac. I’ll check and compare their prices with Amazon’s partners.

      • Those popsicles look delicious, and a sumac-based one would be delicious. Like sumac, yogurt and mint, or even sumac, lemon, parsley would be amazing on a hot day (then again, aren’t all your days hot there?).

        I think you’ll really like sumac if you can get your hands on it. It’s great on so much. Whenever I have hummus, I add choke sumac (did I get the phrasing right??). I don’t think you’ll find it at Whole Paycheck, and I’ve never heard of Down to Earth. Do you have any mid-eastern stores there? Amazon does have many vendors selling it. The first one I ordered wasn’t so good, too dried out, no taste at all. The second time I found a great one. If you end up going the Amazon route, I’ll let you know which brand is good.

        • h,

          Probably the first thing I’ll do just to get my first taste of Sumac is dust some on some plain microwave popcorn, and perhaps on some almonds, as you suggested.

          Down to Earth is a locally-owned health food store, modeled like Whole Foods, including an EXCELLENT fresh deli. It’s great to see them surviving alongside Whole Paycheck, along with Umeke Market, who’s since moved to downtown Honolulu, from their previous Kahala location. Not sure if that was because Whole Paycheck was taking all their business away in that spot.

          You certainly pay for what you get with spices, especially with the more delicate ones like saffron. The cheap stuff doesn’t have as much flavor and “essence” as the more expensive quality/specialty brands. Or it can sometimes taste off/bitter or stale. I found that especially with Paprika, which I use often.

  5. Both of those stores look fantastic. I bookmarked Down to Earth for their recipes. We mainly have Whole Foods, Trader Joes and then more Asian (all types, including the popular Korean H-Mart, Indian, Mid-Eastern, British, Russian and other ethnic/foreign groceries than you can shake a stick at. There’s an African market near my closest Safeway and, oddly, one of the things they’re stocked up on in Sunkist orange soda in glass bottles. I’m curious about how African Sunkist is different than American Sunkist.

    I always buy the cheap or regular, grocery store variety Paprika. Now I’m wondering if I even know what real Paprika tastes like. We have Penzeys Spice stores (penzeys.com) all over the place, maybe I’ll pick up some Paprika there.

    • Wow, a Russian and a British grocery store, eh? That sounds really interesting! I’m not aware of any of that here. Brits are known to have some crazy names for their foods, like “Bangers and Mash”. Telling tale of where we Americans get some of our slangs. Surely the Russian store must have a “Caviar Vault”, where they lock up the most expensive Russian Beluga Caviar in a safe more secure than Fort Knox. What is that stuff, like $1000/oz? Something like that.

      Once I spotted these exotic Japanese Mushrooms in Marukai, a Japanese grocery store here in Honolulu, that were selling for like $100/oz. Interestingly, they didn’t even have these mushrooms secured or specially segregated, except for being on display in a nice basket. It just sat right in the produce department amongst all the other “peasants” mushrooms. It wasn’t until I glanced at the price of those mushrooms, I was like “What the hell?!!!” The net price for each small handful of a bundle was something crazy like $130 each. Whoah! That’s be one fancy Swiss ‘n Shroom Burger!

      It’s like that in Japan though, because the crime rate is so low. Electronics stores in Tokyo will have expensive electronics on display right out on the sidewalk, Including pocketable gadgets. no problem. People just browse and go about their business. Japan is so awesome.

      Leave it Yelp to find all the ethnic grocery stores around Oahu…

      http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=ethnic%2C+grocery&find_loc=Honolulu%2C+HI&ns=1

      India Market in Mo’ili’ili should have Sumac, plus best of all, the Yelpers say they’re reasonably priced. I’ve never been there before. Gotta’ check them out. There’s a Mexican grocery store not far from there on the same street. Been in that store. Quite interesting. Of course they carry fresh lard… a must for authentic Mexican cooking! Whoo!

      The ultimate southeast asian market on this island has gotta’ be Pacific Market in Waipahu. They’ve got like a gazillion different types of Filipino, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese and Korean (plus other regional) sauces, rices, noodles, canned goods, frozen and refrigerated meats, seafood and whatnot, all under one roof. The place is HUGE. You can seriously spend an entire day in there just reading labels of all the interesting imported asian grocery products they sell. My only problem with that store, is the fish and meat department WREAKS. They gotta’ seriously POWER WASH that entire department down with Clorox. :pain:

      • Brits do have some crazy names for food, but they also have awesome food, snacks and especially condiments. But I’m biased. I lived in London for a while, and then worked for their government’s overseas mission at a consulate for years. As for the Russian stores, they carry a surprising amount of toiletries. It’s kind of odd. I didn’t see a caviar vault, but they did have an aisle of reasonably priced-to-expensive caviar (the Beluga was probably in said, unseen, vault). Caviar is not my thing. I grew up eating it, but now I can’t stand it. I’ll stick to caviar limes, my recent addiction.

        H-Mart has the same odor problem. You sort of have to brace yourself as you walk in the door. The place is HUGE and has everything you could possibly want. While H-mart is a national (actually, I’m pretty sure it’s international) chain, we also have local chains, Grand International Mart and J-Mart, and they are basically the same as H-mart (aroma and all). The stores are amazing for produce (and mushrooms, I stock up on those king oyster/eryngi mushrooms. They are delicious roasted). I love the stores because they carry exotic produce and I love exotic produce. When it’s Lychee season, I’m there every few days, I live on lychees while they are around (I grew up with a tree in my backyard, boy do I miss that).

        I can’t imagine $100 mushrooms. Were they truffles or something?

        • They looked like some hybrid of Shimeji and Oyster, with a very wild growth appearance, where possibly yes, they had to go hunting for it in the wild like they do for Truffles. Perhaps they grow in very dense forestation that’s difficult to access.

          If you can’t imagine $100 mushrooms, how’s about a $25,000 cup of frozen hot chocolate?…

          http://theweek.com/article/index/240542/5-ridiculously-expensive-restaurant-menu-items

          Crazy. Travel Channel did a show on the world’s most expensive dishes once. Most of these items were featured on that show.

          I have a special blog project coming up soon on that subject . Stay tuned! :-/

          I see you’re a ‘shroom fan. Me too. Love the stuff. For anyone trying to become a vegetarian that’s previously really liked their meats, I really can’t think of a better substitute for it than mushrooms. Truly nature’s “meat”. Sometimes I’ll buy a big tub of white or porcini mushrooms when they’re on sale, and simply saute them whole or halved in garlic butter, parsley and wine, and whack the whole thing for a light dinner or snack, along with toast on the side, and that’s it. Done deal. Oh yeah!

          The Japanese and Korean stores here also carry lots of toiletries, including over the counter medicines and herbal treatments. Stuff I wouldn’t have the slightest CLUE what to do with it.

          Just wanted to add, while h and I are going off on a tangent (please join the conversation if you like!), it’s safe to say we’re still on topic (Laulani Village), since we’re talking about grocery stores. ;)

          • $25k frozen hot chocolate? That sounds reasonable. I go by Serendipity 3 all the time. I’ll pop in tomorrow for a treat. Haha, yeah right!!! :-$

            Yep, I’m a ‘shroom fan! They make up a HUGE portion of my diet since I’m a vegetarian (and occasional pescetarian).

  6. h,

    A gal I know drinks nothing but “smoothies” as her meal. Essentially, everything “veggie” you can think of in that regard, thrown in the blender.

    However, I think there should be a limit to that. Blended Mushrooms? NO way in heck!

  7. Pomai,
    I’m really loving the idea of you opening up your own restaurant in Ewa Beach. I especially like your idea of serving fish and chips. I miss eating the fish and chips at the Elephant & Castle in Pearl City and haven’t found a good place that’s nearby. Please don’t suggest Nico’s, Gordon Biersch etc etc. And no to Uncle’s because my friend had a bad experience there.

    • L,

      I’m actually more interested in starting a motorcycle manufacturing business, building exclusive, custom-made high tech app-centric sport bikes, featuring alternative energy, high performance power plants, advanced traction control, safety and communication/connectivity. Less you ride the bike. More YOU ARE the BIKE.

      Think Honda VFR 750R RC30 2020.

      Regarding Fish & Chips suggestions, I had the one at Nico’s and wasn’t impressed. I heard less than stellar reviews of the one at Uncle’s as well. I’m really fond of the Fish & Chips at Alexander’s Fish ‘n Chips in Kihei, Maui. What’s great there is that you can choose either fresh-caught Mahimahi, Ahi or Ono as your fish, dipped in their most excellent house tempura-based herb-seasoned batter. They house-made cocktail sauce is the best as well, with lots of horseradish in it. So ono! Only thing, their fries went downhill. Was too greasy last time I was there. I hate that with fish ‘n chips. Often places will drop the ball with one or the other, having excellent fish, crappy chips, or vice versa.

  8. Diner A was at the new Ewa Beach Ross the night after their grand opening (Saturday, March 9th), when he said it was “madness”, with lines in the store wrapping all the way around the aisles. Here’s the front, courtesy of his iPhone 4s…

    Ross Ewa Beach

  9. Pomai
    Great web site you have going and more informative then some of the other Laulani Village searches. Just wanted to inform you that we are in the process of finishing the lease in building M, directly across from the Safeway to open a new UPS Store. I have owned and operated UPS stores in Colorado for the last 8 years but we have decided to follow our hearts and sell the stores to move and open a new UPS store in Ewa. My entire family is making the move and we couldn’t be more excited. This will be a brand new store that will be owner operated by me. We will offer a full suite of United States Postal Products, UPS, full service printing and of course mailbox rentals that will provide the customer a real street address and safe/secure package receiving along with computer time rental. We don’t have an assigned store number from UPS as of yet but will get that and the web site up soon. In addition we are green lighted for shooting an episode of Hawaii Life for HGTV that we are filming the first week of July but not sure when it will air. P.S the best shape of my life was when I was doing Insanity I hate and love Shaun T all in the same week. :-D

    • Aloha David,

      What an irony. I have a friend who lived here in Honolulu since he was in his 20s, originally from Florida. Now in his early 40s, he and his wife decided they had “enough” of Hawaii, and decided just recently to pack everything up and move to, of all places, COLORADO! Durango, Colorado, to be exact, where he and his wife will be purchasing a home on over 40 acres (FORTY ACRES!) for just over $300,000. That’s RIDICULOUS! You can barely get a 700 square foot 1-bedroom apartment here in Honolulu (in a decent area) for that price!

      Anyhow, being that you’ll be opening your own business right there in Ewa Beach, and I assume buy a home there, you’ll be in good shape. The last thing you want to do is move to Ewa and work in town, where you’ll have to fight rush hour traffic on the H1 freeway daily. PASS! With so much military in the area, plus of course all the eCommerce business going on everywhere, a UPS store should do very well in Ewa Beach.

      Nearby Kapolei has a lot to offer, if what you’re looking for isn’t available in Ewa Beach, such as Costco and many other big box type businesses. There’s also a water park nearby, as well as, of course, a HAWAIIAN BEACH! Something DEFINITELY not available in Colorado!

      All the best on your family’s successful move to Ewa Beach!

      Pomai

      • Morning Pomai

        We just got up our coming soon banner for the UPS store Ewa at Laulani Village and I wanted to send you a picture. Can you send me an email so I can attach, maybe we can get it up on the Laulani site you have going? I saw a Shaun T boat in the Ko Olina marina maybe he is working on a beach insanity??? Hope all is well on your end as I am finally getting settled in to the island life.

        • Aloha David,

          Check your UPS eMail inbox. As noted in the eMail, I’m not the webmaster of the Laulani Village website, however I have contact with their marketing rep’, and forwarded that info’.

          As for shopping center updates (this article was the last one posted on their website back in March), Ross, GNC, Central Pacific Bank, and most recently Teddy’s Bigger Burgers have opened for business at Laulani Village.

          Finally another place to eat besides Safeway! Ha ha. Not that you’d wanna’ eat at a burger joint too often (Teddy’s is good though, gotta’ say!), but hey, at least there’s more options now. From what I understand, Panda Express, Tasty Korean BBQ and McDonald’s are slated to open there later. They really need a family diner there. An Eggs ‘n Things would probably do really well there. Subway too.

          Wow, Shaun T has his own boat, now in Hawaii? Lots of people must be going “Insane”! I’m doing well with my fitness regimen, staying HWP (height weight proportional).

          I’m curious how your sales performance numbers are going to compare in Ewa Beach with your UPS store(s) in Colorado. How many square feet will your Ewa Beach store have?

          Hope you and the ohana (family) are enjoying the island beach life. Night and day from Colorado, that’s for sure!

          • Aloha Pomai

            I got the email and again thanks for the correspondence it was very helpful. I sent you back a coming soon photo with my email that lists the stores physical address.

            We are hoping for the best with the Ewa store and Ill keep you posted on the growth. We will offer 400 full service mailboxes with a street address instead of a PO box number that you get from the post office. So in short customers can order and ship items directly to the store via any carrier using a physical street address, if they are a box holder (nobody ships to a PO box for security reasons). This is also a huge help if a signature is needed as we can sign as the agent on behalf of the customer. This way you don’t have to wait for the driver to sign and don’t have to have items left on your door step. This along with the usual packing, printing, notary, computer time rental and faxing services we offer to name a few.

            This store is about 1000 square feet, the same we had in CO. This will be nicer since its all brand new fixtures and equipment. I also had the benefit of laying out the store in the best fashion using my past UPS stores as a model. Basically I know what works and what does not with the layout of the store.

            Colorado is great the weather is beautiful. The winters are a tad cold and everything gets brown so it does get old. The mountains are great to ski in the winter and hike/bike in the summer. Lots of outdoor activities for sure- the only missing piece is the ocean. It eventual calls you back…The home prices are a whole other store you can get a big house for the same price as a little condo here. Trade offs I suppose.

            There are some other restaurant concepts opening in the mall that have yet to be announced so our side of the building will be busy for sure. Stay in touch and thanks again for the info and the blog—-now hit the floor as Shaun T says–I love and hate that guy all in the same breath. :laugh:

  10. Future home of The UPS Store at the Laulani Village Shopping Center in Ewa Beach

    UPS Store at Laulani Village

    The new UPS Store at Laulani Village will offer 400 full service mailboxes with a street address instead of a PO box number that you get from the post office. So in short customers can order and ship items directly to the store via any carrier using a physical street address, if they are a box holder (nobody ships to a PO box for security reasons). This is also a huge help if a signature is needed as they can sign as the agent on behalf of the customer. This way you don’t have to wait for the driver to sign and don’t have to have items left on your door step. This along with the usual packing, printing, notary, computer time rental and faxing services, to name a few.

    The new UPS Store is about 1000 square feet, to be located on the ground floor in the front corner wing of the shopping center, across Safeway.

    ~ Per David Lundstrom, owner & operator of The UPS Store at the Laulani Village Shopping Center in Ewa Beach

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