Page 3 - Dining Out - May 21, 2023
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      Dining with the Stars with Anne Lee
      set. We ordered some of his favorite items from chef Erik Leong’s kitch- en and some libations from bar czar Christian Taibi, as we talked about his journey, career and why Thurs- days are just right for him.
AL: You have been playing mu- sic for 35 years. Did you grow up playing music?
KD: I worked as a Waikiki beach boy, teaching surf lessons and help- ing with the canoes. I would give my ukulele to a lot of the beach boys, and they would play all these songs. I would say that was my training grounds. I really learned music from the beach and in the back roads with my friends here in Waikiki.
When I got to Kaimuki High School, I met Mr. Kaneda, he was our mele ohana teacher. There was a talent show called Brown Bags to Stardom, which was the biggest high school music event, kind of like an American Idol for Hawaii. I entered and represented Kaimuki
High School and we won! We then competed at the Waikiki Shell and never looked back.
Although we didn’t win at the Waikiki Shell, it really catapulted our career. We’re the longest going group and are still going.
I think now is the pinnacle of my life. I have three generations that perform in Kapena — me, my chil- dren and now my grandson plays with us. So, I think when you talk
about different times in life, I got to say that now has to be some of the best times.
AL: You’re very well known and loved by many, and Thursdays are your jam. Why is Mahina & Sun’s important to you?
KD: I really love Lady Lynn (Lynette Eastman), the general manager, and the staff here. When all the ho- tels were closed and the pandemic was in full effect, this was the only hotel that hired entertainers, so my loyalty is here.
For me, this place is like a throw- back to old school Waikiki. Its vin- tage. People come in here and they flip out at this place; it’s just really cool.
AL: What are your favorite dish- es here?
KD: Chef Erik makes a mean Pork Chop ($36) that comes with luau leaves on the bottom with coconut milk and lomi tomato vinaigrette.
Its ono.
I also love the Chicken Wings
($12 happy hour, $14 regular).You can order it spicy and it’s served with ranch. They are nice and crunchy.
The pizzas are very good and easy to snack on when your shop- ping and listening to music. The Margherita Pizza ($19) has a thin crust with red sauce, mozzarella and basil.
Bar czar Christian made us the Santa Poco ($16) with a plethora of flavors. It’s a pre-Prohibition clas- sic cocktail made with Casamigos tequila. And, the Green Raja ($16), which is an elevated gimlet en- hanced with spices, is really good.
AL: Iam Tongi has a chance to be the next American Idol, the Brown Bag to Stardom of today. Anything you want to share with him?
KD: He is doing fabulous and sings from his heart, which is why
Mahina & Sun’s
The Surfjack Hotel
& Swim Club
412 Lewers St., Honolulu 808-923-8882
1. Fish and Chips ($14 happy hour; $18 regular)
2. Chicken Wings ($12 happy hour; $14 regular)
3. Pork Chop ($36)
4. Margherita Pizza ($19)
5. Green Raja ($16) and Santa Poco ($16)
America and all the judges love him.
I haven’t watched American Idol for several years. I used to be really into it. But, man, he’s revitalizing it again.
His story has so much heart. That’s what local people are — what you see is what you get, we’re not putting on an act or anything.
OpenTable 808.739.8760
All You Can Slurp Noodle Buffet
Noon-2 pm $49* Adult, $29* Child (6-12)
5:30-8:30 pm $64* Adult, $35* Child (6-12)
All You Can Enjoy Curries from Around the World *Does not include tax or gratuity.
5:30-8:30 pm $64* Adult, $35* Child (6-12)
  Dining Out / May 21-27, 2023 / 3

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