Editor's Page: Quest for the Best

The March Best of Honolulu issue is a reader favorite, and a pleasure to research.

Photo: Linny Morris

You’re reading this issue in March, but, for us, the Best of Honolulu feature is something we begin working on during the holidays and continue on through January. It’s a great way to start the year, hitting the streets to find the most unique, superlative shops, products, services and more.

It’s one of those times when I’m a little envious of our writing staff. Consider senior editor David Thompson’s quest for the perfect Bloody Mary. What an assignment! But for all the fun, it really is work. Subjective as a such a quest may be—Thompson tasted Bloody Marys from more than seven bars, while doing his homework into the origins of the drink, to make his own determination—thoughts of our readers are never far from our minds. A “Best of” nod is a serious thing, because we never forget that unknown numbers of you will try out the things we recommend, and you’re a pretty savvy bunch. The outcome we most dread: Someone tries a “Best of” pick and exclaims, “What was the magazine thinking?”

The results of Thompson’s quest are shared in just one of 89 Best of Honolulu items; you can find his winner in the gallery. We thought this particular quest was worth detailing. You can find Thompson’s field notes in "A Mary Quest."

Our thanks to the readers who voted in our Best of Honolulu poll. Of the 89 items, 44 came from you, in categories in which we thought putting hundreds of you to work would yield some solid recommendations.

It’s been a fun start to the year, but also a melancholy one, with the loss, in late December, of longtime dining writer and former editor John Heckathorn. Last month, Michael Keany and I had just enough time to rewrite our monthly columns for the February issue to talk about his many contributions to the magazine. I promised readers then that, in March, we’d offer a retrospective of Heckathorn’s writing over the years.

While he had a well-earned reputation as a dining writer, Heckathorn wrote on a vast range of subjects for the magazine over the years, so roughly half the retrospective covers his thoughts on everything from Valentine’s Day to the meaning
of life.

I pulled this collection together myself, originally with some trepidation. I wanted the piece to be a fun read, even for readers who maybe never pay much attention to bylines. I wanted to honor an old friend appropriately. Selfishly, I worried that the project would be painful, difficult to get through.

To my surprise, it wasn’t. In fact, it was a joy to hear his voice again through his writing. I especially enjoyed reading his articles from the decade before I joined the staff in 1994, as they were new to me.  He was a terrific writer from his first article to his last, over 27 years.  There is nothing in that to be sad about, except for the thought of the articles we now won’t get to see. I hope you enjoy reading this collection, too.