Field Guide: Samsung Plaza
Keeaumoku Street may be known for its Korean hostess bars, but tucked in Samsung Plaza are hidden gems offering tasty sushi, cocktail dresses and pineapple cakes.
Crooks and Castles
This urban Hollywood store is new to Hawaii, opening this past September. Specializing in men’s T-shirts, collared shirts, jackets and shoes, it has “everything a guy could need, from going out to casual,” says manager Alex Wong. The boutique carries women’s clothing, too, but the focus is on men’s wear, including limited, Hawaii-only T-shirts such as a Coors Light Pro Bowl print that sold out in January. Shirts range in price from $36 to $90, jackets start at $130 and shoes are $100. Wong says it’s best to check the store’s Twitter feed (twitter.com/crookshi) and Facebook page (facebook.com/crookshi) for new product releases. 641 Keeaumoku St., Suite 1, 955-7007, Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., crooksncastles.com.
Happy Cake Café
After more than 40 years baking specialty cakes made with pineapple, macadamia nuts and coconut, Happy Cake founder Dick Rodby sold the company to Owen O’Callaghan, who decided to open up a café near the Like Like Drive Inn Restaurant this past August. “We serve Happy Cake slices and 100-percent Kona coffee,” he says. The café has regulars who stop by in the morning for their cups of joe and grab cakes for their co-workers on the way out. “Japanese tourists love buying the cake too.” These aren’t your everyday birthday-style cakes; O’Callaghan recommends toasting them and eating them à la mode. Better yet, Happy Cakes are entirely local, from the cake ingredients and baking to the packaging and graphic design. 745 Keeaumoku St., 922-1957, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., happycake.com.
Did You Know?
Dick Rodby founded Happy Cakes in 1967. He served the first pineapple cake to Kemoo Farms Bar & Grill patrons and it soon became a staple of the pub, as well as of the former Liberty Houses. President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan had Happy Cakes shipped to the White House; Lana Turner, Ava Gardner, Jack Lord and Frank Sinatra also enjoyed the sweet treat.
Peaches ’n’ Cream
If you’re planning a night out, stop by this bite-size boutique first. For four years, owner Danny Cho has helped women dress up for a first date, a night out with the girls, even the office. “Girls ages 16 to 40 shop here,” he says. Everything in the boutique is affordable, from $10 to $55. Peaches ’n’ Cream carries dresses and blouses from New York and Los Angeles designers, as well as purses and jewelry. Be sure to grab a frequent-buyer’s card at the register; spend $200 and receive a 15-percent discount. 655 Keeaumoku St., Suite 103, 951-6633, Daily 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
At first, we thought this restaurant’s name read “Sushi II.” It turns out the i’s aren’t Roman numerals, but a Japanese word meaning “good.” And good it is. Sushi ii is both a sushi bar and a full kitchen serving hot, made-to-order dishes, such as Australian lamb lollipops with garlic, rosemary and olive oil, and shrimp minoage, battered tempura-style with thin potato strips. “Our menu has Japanese and local influences, but I don’t like to identify myself with cuisine genres,” says chef and co-owner Sabrina Saiki-Mita. Saiki-Mita handles the kitchen, including its tasty desserts, while co-owner Garrett Wong whips up sushi rolls out front, chatting with customers all the while. “We’re always fresh, local and organic whenever possible,” Saiki-Mita says. An added bonus: Sushi ii is BYOB and, as of press time, is slated to open for lunch, too. Don’t forget the banana dream pie for dessert. 655 Keeaumoku St., Suite 109, Wednesday through Sunday, 5 to 10:30 p.m.