Editor's Page: Family Letter

New faces, new pages.

Photo: Linny Morris

This month’s Editor’s Page feels like one of those family Christmas letters, updating friends and relatives on all the news. The family has gotten bigger lately, and you will get to enjoy the expanded coverage of the city that these talented folks are bringing, both here and at honolulumagazine.com.

Calabash, our “front-of-book” collection of short articles on all things Honolulu, will now be followed by a second section, HONOLULU Shops, which pays special attention to things we think would add some pleasure to your life if you knew about them—especially local, one-of-kind boutiques and fashion designers, plus things for the home. It’s written by contributing fashion editors Brie Thalmann and Stacey Makiya, with design help from contributing art director Tiffany Below.

These three are going to be especially busy. They are all alumni of our custom publishing division who, in addition to our new shopping section in HONOLULU, are launching a new publication, also called HONOLULU Shops Waikiki. This quarterly magazine is meant more for visitors, but do pick it up when you see its first issue in Waikiki in February. This crew has a knack for picking out trendy finds and enduring classics.

Fashionistas around town probably know our online sister publication, Lei Chic, a daily e-newsletter and online magazine devoted to the world of local fashion. That, too, is folding into the HONOLULU Magazine family, and fresh, sassy items written by Lei Chic senior editor Christi Young can be found on honolulumagazine.com. You can subscribe to it from our website and have a daily dose of fashion savvy delivered to your email everyday.

I’d also like to introduce our new food and culture editor, Martha Cheng. She has been freelancing for us for a couple of years and we’re thrilled to have her in the office now as part of the HONOLULU editorial team. Her love of food and restaurants has taken different forms—she was a line cook for Alan Wong’s Pineapple Room, for example, and was one of the partners who launched a lunch truck in the recent craze for such things. Working in the industry led to an interest in writing about it all, the wealth of food choices we enjoy in Honolulu and the people who make it happen. While John Heckathorn continues to write his monthly dining column, Martha now writes our daily food blog, “Biting Commentary,” which you can subscribe to as a newsletter and read at honolulumagazine.com.

We handed this month’s cover story, “Sweet Treats,” to her on her first day, with about a week to pull it together. The result was delicious; check it out.
One thing Martha noticed in her research: “People see sweets and desserts as comfort food, so they don’t like it when people tamper too much with them,” she says. “That’s why our roundup generally leans on the old favorites.”

I can testify to that. There’s one dessert that’s all the rage now, and it amuses me to see this because I had never seen this cake anywhere but in my home, growing up—red velvet cake. When I was young and told people about my mom’s red velvet cake, people had no idea what I was describing, so I assumed my mom had picked up the recipe from a Mainland newspaper, but it turns out there’s a local angle. “The first time I had it was when we moved here in 1966, when my sister visited and we went to dinner at the Top of Waikiki,” my mom told me recently. The recipe she makes? “I found it in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin not long after that.”

With all the changes going on around here, I’m looking forward to a familiar, comforting slice of red velvet cake this Christmas at what is probably everyone’s truly favorite bakery: their mom’s house.