Lawmakers set out agendas as session opens
Partisan rivals come out swinging
By Bob Krauss
Advertiser Staff Writer
It is now safe to announce that the ban on hospitality at the annual opening of the Legislature isnt working. The chow line outside Rep. Bertha Kawakamis office extended halfway down the hall yesterday.
Carrot sticks are once again getting buried under Filipino lumpia and Chinese egg rolls.
Teriyaki chicken has given way to flavors from Mongolia and Vietnam.
Sophistication and ethnicity are the new buzzwords for legislative hospitality.
All this points to a slow return, at Legislature openings, to Hawaiis lavish tradition of edible bounty. It had ended a decade ago after getting out of hand. Lawmakers decided enough was enough when tour buses dropped off visitors to freeload on opening day.
Danny Ramos, office manager for Rep. Benjamin Cabreros (D-Kalihi Kai, Mapunapuna) is a shining example of our new version of taste-bud aloha at the Legislature.
"Honolulu has redefined its culinary tastes," he said firmly. "Newly arrived immigrants have adapted their own ethnic foods to Hawaii. We try to represent all of the 14 ethnic cultures in Kalihi."
He named the ethnic categories hed assembled on the groaning board:
Filipino Pork gisantes, chicken adobo, fried squid, miki (noodles from Narvacan province, where Cabreros hails from), Mrs. Anchetas famous cascaron, sweet rice in banana leaf.
Vietnamese Seafood noodles, imperial roll.
Chinese Roast pork.
Caucasian Potato salad.
Asked why Mrs. Anchetas cascaron is famous, Ramos said: "Because theres never any left over."
Rep. Mindy Jaffe, R-19th (Waikiki, Kaimuki, Diamond Head), and Rep. Emily Auwae, R-44th (Waianae-Makaha), introduced a new hospitality wrinkle. Office neighbors, they teamed up to hire the Ladies K Trio to perform outside in the hallway, thereby combining entertainment with economy.
Auwae capitalized on a new rage in Honolulu by serving garlic chicken, a specialty of Mitsu-Ken, a hole-in-the-wall in Kalihi run by a twenty-something destined to be a female Sam Choy.
Jaffe went with Mongolian barbecue, from Mongolian Bar-B-Que, and barbecued guava chicken wings by the Big City Diner.
Kawakami, D-14th (K¯loa, Waimea, Niihau), served one of the most elaborate spreads, reminiscent of legislative openings before austerity set in. She even had fresh opihi from Kauai and namako, sea cucumber that looks terrible but tastes delicious.
I found another taste sensation on the lanai of Rep. Ezra Kanoho, D-13th (Waipouli, Lihue), where veteran committee clerk Ray Adams presided over a wok from which emerged tender, succulent Kauai shrimp seasoned with Hawaiian salt and black pepper.
Freshman Rep. Joe Gomes, R-51st (Lanikai, Waimanalo), gets the prize for the most original gift for constituents: shower slippers with an attached note saying "Joe Gomes wont flip-flop on issues important to you."
Two florists in Honolulu reported a noticeable increase this year over last in the number of bouquets sent to legislators.
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