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Photo: Gina Finkelstein

Best Canine Indulgence

If your dog is the most spoiled member of your family—and why shouldn’t he be?—then you’re probably a regular at the Hawaii Dog Bakery & Gift Shop. For the past three years, this store has produced gourmet goodies such as Fish-n-Poi Pup Treats, Tail Waggin’ Wontons, Mini Manapua and more. Owner-sisters Jen Kunishima and Trudi Mahelona base their recipes on the Hawaiian diet—taro, poi, fish, chicken and sweet potato. All items are vet-approved and preservative-free. “Customers who constantly buy our products tell me that they notice how their dog is getting stronger, that their coats become so shiny and healthy,” Kunishima says. The bakery doesn’t offer just munchies for your pet. You’ll also find stylish doggie aloha shirts, bandannas, beds, collars—all items are manufactured in Hawaii. Ward Warehouse, 521-PAWS. 2038 S. King St., 949-DOGS, www.hawaiidoggiebakery.com.

 

Best Personal Trainer

If you need someone to whip your abs into shape, Mike Sapp is the man to do it. A 30-year veteran of the gym scene, who trained with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the ’70s, Sapp is now the scourge and salvation of high-powered professionals around Honolulu. Sapp, currently based at Gold’s Gym, sees himself not only as a personal trainer, but as a lifestyle coach. “I look for the things that have caused setbacks in the past, the speed bumps like stress levels and diet,” he says. “There is no greater joy than changing someone who has been totally deconditioned. I take that as a challenge.” Gold’s Gym, 768 South St., 545-5700.

Best Auto Detailer

Someone who spends $200,000 on a luxury car expects his purchase to arrive in immaculate condition. With such exacting clients, who does Ferrari of Honolulu turn to for its auto detailing needs? The Auto Detail Shop in Kalihi. Owner Rui Bastiao is a pro—he even waxes with his own special concoction of “everything your cars needs for protection in Hawaii’s climate.” “A lot of people think a detail shop is just a detail shop, and it’s hard for us to explain that we’re not all the same," he tells us. “But if people really want it done right, they’ll come to us. We guarantee our work.” Packages range from $15 for a deluxe wash to $200 for a full detail. If you opt for the latter, which requires a full day of work, the Auto Detail Shop will provide free pick-up and drop-off services from the downtown area. 580 Dillingham Blvd., 847-5545, www.theautodetailshop.com.

Best Landscaper

Start thinking of your backyard as a blank canvas. Greg and Terri Lee have bigger plans for it. Their company Landscapes by Tropical Images has won the landscape division grand prize at the Building Industry Association Renaissance Awards for the past three years running. They can, of course, do run-of-the-mill yard maintenance, but their forte is creating brag-worthy landscape architecture, incorporating water features, custom outdoor lighting and lush native plants. Tropical Images is equipped for just about any project, with its own nursery, and earth-moving equipment on tap should your domestic vision require it. One thing you won’t need is blind faith. The Lees provide clients with a computer rendered image of the proposed project, so you’ll be able to see in full-color 3D what to expect before your existing crabgrass gets ripped up. 2164 Auhuhu St., 454-0426.


Photo: Jimmy Forrest

Best Surfboard Shaper

Eric Arakawa isn’t just the best surfboard shaper in Hawaii. He’s one of the finest in the world. Over the past 30 years, he’s outfitted such surf legends such as Derek Ho, Shane Beschen and current world champ Andy Irons with his sleek, streamlined guns. As one of the first shapers to incorporate computer-assisted design into his craft, Arakawa has worked with Salomon S-Core, a division of Adidas, to develop technology for faster, smarter boards. You can find his off-the-rack boards at any Hawaiian Island Creations store, but if, like some of the world’s best surfers, you prefer a custom creation, you’ll need to meet the master himself at his Waialua workshop. “The relationship between a rider and a shaper is like a doctor and patient,” says Arakawa, who was named 2003 Shaper of the Year by Surfing Magazine. “Your doctor knows your history, your health, how you move. You can tell him what you need, and he’ll listen.” Eric Arakawa Designs: 637-0068. Hawaiian Island Creations, various locations.

Best Kitchen and Bath Remodeler

If you’re looking into remodeling a kitchen or bath, look into Roxanne Okazaki’s Lifestyle Kitchens. Okazaki, who co-owns the remodeling firm with her husband David, has won more Building Industry Association Renaissance Awards in the Kitchen and Bath category in the past 10 years than anyone in Hawaii. Okazaki excels at creating personalized, eminently functional spaces that integrate into the surrounding house. Her design philosophy? “I listen. I find out what the needs of the owners are, and make sure that my design meets those needs. Most people want a beautiful kitchen, but they also need to be able to use it on a daily basis.” Nimitz Center, 1130 N. Nimitz Hwy., Suite A-151, 523-9688.

Best Dog Kennel

Dog owners can be picky about who they leave their pets with. Show-dog owners are even pickier. So that’s who we asked for recommendations on Oahu’s top dog kennel. Most of them insisted on nominating two: Koolau Bed & Biscuit and Nalowinds Kennels. “They’re both outstanding,” says Margie Rodrigues, secretary for the Windward Hawaiian Dog Fanciers Association. “The care is there, the concern is there. Both kennels provide homey environments, closely monitor their guests’ health and behavior and offer reasonable rates (Koolau starts at $21.50, Nalowinds at $16).”

Koolau Bed & Biscuit owner Cheryl Chang opened her kennel in 2000. “Our building is air-conditioned and has natural light, and that makes a big difference for dogs,” she says. “It’s very safe and secure, and cleanliness is very important to us. We also have a big yard where we play with all the dogs.” 47-785 Ahuimanu Road, 239-1214, www.koolaubedandbiscuit.com.

Wayne and Bonnie Duarte started Nalowinds Kennels at their Waima-nalo home in 1987. Their 1-acre property contains large exercise areas, yards and even a playground for pooches. One unusual perk: The Duartes offer boarding in their home for small dogs. 41-502 Flamingo St., 259-7349, www.nalowindskennels.com.

Best Cat Kennel

If you’re looking for a great kennel for your cat, “hands down, Cozy Cat Lodge is the best on Oahu,” says Jennifer Brundage, secretary of the Hawaii All Breed Cat Club. “It’s just a superior facility.” The Cozy Cat Lodge accepts up to 25 cats at a time, housing them on a 1,000-square-foot covered la-nai at the Kailua home of owners Jan and Bill Schmidt. The kennel lives up to its name, with its comfy environment and customer service—three large playrooms; 24-hour soft, environmental music; and regular e-mail or phone updates for owners. Plus, prices range from just $12 to $18 a day. If you prefer to leave your cat at home, contact your veterinarian for recommendations on local pet sitters. 1532 Ulupii St., Kailua, 261-1101, www.cozycatlodge.com.

Dog Parks

There are four off-leash dog parks on Oahu: McInerny Dog Park (Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., 946-2187), Bark Park (At Diamond Head Road and 18th Avenue. www.barkpark-honolulu.org), Moanalua Dog Park (Moanalua Park Road, www.moanaluadogpark.org) and Mililani Dog Park (Mililani Mauka District Park at Park & Ride, 95-1069 Ukuwai St.). Leashed dogs are allowed in dozens of Oahu parks and beaches. For a complete list, visit www.hawaiianhumane.org.


Photo: Guy A. Sibilla

Best Art Restoration

What do you do with an art piece that has deteriorated after years of neglect or suffered the unforgiving nature of gravity? Take it to Valerie Free, chair of the Bishop Museum’s Department of Conservation and art conservator extraordinaire. But don’t wait for disaster. Free would much rather see your art piece before it breaks—an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, she says. “Restoration is only part of the job, although it is the most well-known aspect of art conservation.” If you need a hand with preserving or repairing your artwork, start with Free. After that, it may cost you. Bishop Museum, Department of Art Conservation, 1525 Bernice St.


Photo: Guy A. Sibilla

Best Golf Pro

“Michelle Wie,” says Casey Nakama, “is a phenom.” He should know. He was Wie’s golf coach before she took the PGA circuit by storm. He runs the Olomana Golf Development Center at the Olomana Golf Course and says it’s the largest program of its kind in the country. “We get 180 to 200 kids through here every Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” he says. There may be a lot of opinions out there regarding who is the “Best Golf Pro” in the Islands, but if Wie is any example of his influence, then having him as your coach may be just the thing to help get your game on. 41-1801 Kalanianiole Highway, 259-7712, www.808golf.com/caseynakama.

Best Freebies

The only thing better than great entertainment is great entertainment for free. Oahu abounds with such opportunities, from concerts to movies to museums.

The Contemporary Museum, the only Hawaii museum devoted entirely to contemporary art, offers free admission every third Thursday of the month. 2411 Makiki Heights Drive, 526-1322, www.tcmhi.org.

The Hawaii State Art Museum is truly the “people’s museum,” filled with hundreds of works purchased by the state over the past few decades—always free to the public. No. 1 Capitol District Building, 250 S. Hotel St., second Floor. 586-0900, www.state.hi.us/sfca.

At least one Sunday each month, kamaaina can enjoy free admission and docent-guided tours of Iolani Palace. It’s usually the first Sunday of the month, but call 522-0822 or visit www.iolanipalace.org to confirm. 364 S. King St.

The Royal Hawaiian Band is the only full-time municipal band in the country. Lucky us, most of its concerts are free and open to the public, including their weekly performances at Iolani Palace—Friday, noon to 1 p.m. For the current schedule, visit www.royalhawaiianband.com or call 922-5331.

With Sunset on the Beach, weekends at Waikiki’s Queen’s Surf Beach often means food booths, free live music and a free movie projected onto a 30-foot screen, courtesy of the City and County of Honolulu (yes, that’s us). Visit www.co.honolulu.hi.us/menu/kamaaina/recreation/entertainment/index.htm for dates and movie showtimes.

Sponsored by Na Mea Hawaii, Na Mele Nei Concerts feature great local entertainment—recent acts have included Maunalua, Gregg Hammer and Herb Ohta Jr.—every Sunday, 1 p.m., at Ward Warehouse Amphitheater. This month’s lineup includes the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame Serenaders and Paul Martinez & Na- Hokupa. 596-8885, www.hawaiianharmony.com.

Sit in on a taping of local actors reading works by local authors for Hawaii Public Radio’s weekly show Aloha Shorts, hosted by Cedric Yamanaka. Call 955-8821 to reserve a space in the studio audience. Atherton Studio, KHPR, 88.1 FM. Every Monday, 5 p.m. www.hawaiipublicradio.org

Admission to the Honolulu Academy of Arts is free the first Wednesday of every month. 900 S. Beretania St., 532-8700, www.honoluluacademy.org.

 

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