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Pho & Company
The first sign that this place would live up to the hype (several friends had recommended it) was the six-top of Honolulu Police Department’s finest, all gobbling up steaming bowls of pho. The second sign was the heavenly aroma that greeted us at the door. The third sign was the prompt service—we were seated and given menus in under a minute. Then there was the food: The round eye steak pho came with a generous portion of rice noodles and several cuts of tender steak, and the broth, which tasted divinely of beefy, spicy goodness, was quickly spooned up. 890 Kamokila Blvd., 692-9833.
Places: UH West Oahu
After more than 30 years in the making, the new UH West Oahu (UHWO) campus will finally be built in Kapolei beginning next month. Its first five buildings—all meeting LEED standards—include classrooms, a campus center, a library and an administrative building, to open in fall 2012. Developers also hope to start building a 250-room dormitory. “We want to fill a niche in [higher] education in Hawaii,” says Chancellor Gene Awakuni. “UHWO will be a regional leader.” The four-year-degree campus will offer majors that compliment those available at UH Mānoa, such as culinary management, healthcare and elementary education.
Located at the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa, Azul is a special-occasion heavy hitter. The interior smartly takes advantage of its resort surroundings, with dining spaces that open up to lagoons, tropical gardens and a cozy lānai brightened by tiki torches. The focus here is on using fresh, locally grown ingredients—the Hāmākua heirloom tomato stack with Nalo Farms’ fresh sweet basil is one example, as is a Hawaiian ahi tartare with black truffle and taro chips. The hits of the evening included a ridiculously tender eight-ounce cut of Wagyu beef, and the Taste of Azul menu—a choice of antipasti, an entrée and a dessert for $45. 92-1001 Olani St., 679-0079, ihilani.com.
When we walked into Momentum Tattoo, we had to make sure that it was, in fact, a place to get inked. The walls are white, the floor is wood and the place is spotless. Now that’s our kind of tattoo shop. Self-taught artist and owner James Hoffman has been tattooing for 13 years, and says most of his clients request local designs. “We do a lot of tribal tattoos and Polynesian sleeves,” he explains. The shop also offers piercings, if metal is more your thing. 590 Farrington Highway, Suite 511, 674-9851, momentumtattoohawaii.com.
Whether you’re a neat freak or Martha Stewart’s worst nightmare, Simply Organized is the place to go when clutter is your nemesis. Too many shoes? A floor-to-ceiling “shoe tree” holds 30 pairs in one foot of space. Can’t see all the food in your pantry? The store boasts an entire wall of see-through food containers, from fat to skinny, glass to plastic. “In Hawaii, our living spaces are so small,” says buyer Michelle Suzuki. “The owners saw a need for a store that offers solutions for our tight spaces.” (They also own City Mill; in-store déjà vu explained). 889 Kamokila Blvd., 693-8888, simplyorganized.net.
Places: Family Court Complex
This February, the state judicial system introduced its newest facility—the family court building in Kapolei. Judges heard the court’s first hearing in March. The $133-million building features art glass windows, stone sculptures and the latest technology, allowing for video teleconferencing. For more than 20 years, family court was located in the Circuit Court building in Honolulu.