Well today didn’t go as planned, which worked out fine with us. The plan was to catch the Royal Hawaiian Band performance at Iolani Palace where they perform regularly at noon on Fridays. Today the concert was canceled because of rain. It wasn’t raining hard—really just a mist—but even a mist can mess up sensitive instruments. We’ll catch them another time.
Since we were downtown at noon, we decided on lunch at a little place we discovered last year on Fort Street Mall. Fort Street Mall runs through the middle of the financial district of Honolulu. This place is called The Fort Street Cafe. It’s located at the cathedral end of the mall, directly across from Hawaii Pacific University. It is a Vietnamese cafe with a variety of local and Asian dishes. It looks like a hole-in-the-wall. They have four tables inside and three outside. You can get the usual Vietnamese—ban mi, pho, spring rolls—but also many more. I’m always surprised that a small place, with what must be a tiny kitchen, can have so many offerings. We split a combo plate of Thai penang curry and garlic fried chicken. It was served on a plate of rice. I cannot imagine an individual consuming all that food. We were full on half of it. I use penang curry as a standard for judging Thai food. This was great. The chicken, also, was good. It was very crispy and flavorful. Don’t be put off by the appearance of the place. This is, in my opinion, the best lunch spot in downtown Honolulu.
After lunch we caught the bus back to Waikiki and stopped at the Royal Room at Waikiki Beach Walk. The Royal Room is actually the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame. It has displays of influential Hawaiian musicians and composers. We learned that they also have free performances once a month. The next one will be May 21. In addition to music, they have a person who gives free instruction in feather lei making.
Two doors down from the Royal Room is the Ukulele Store. We spent some time talking to the owner, who, it turns out, is friends with Jake Shimabukuro and Jody Kamisato, from whom I have some lessons scheduled. The owner let me noodle around on a new Koaloha mango concert uke. It’s a beautiful instrument with a great sound. Only $1550. It’s on my wish list. I doubt I’ll ever get it.
We seared an ahi steak and a salad for dinner. We hoped to get to the Hilton Hawaiian Village to hear Jerry Santos, but, after dinner and wine, that won’t happen tonight. Probably tomorrow.
As far as the Mai Tai and music tour goes, today was all music, even though it was not the music that we planned. No mai tais today.
I have not done a lot of writing, but I did polish a story and submit it to Shotgun Honey.