Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Pokémon trainers play and eat

August 31st, 2016

Lickitung, the Pokémon that got away.

Like everyone else addicted to the game Pokémon GO, I said it would never happen to me.

I started playing the game because my friends started playing it. They got on "just to see" because it had real world repercussions for their businesses as the augmented reality game flowed from mobile screen to the streets and business could potentially flow into whatever business was near a PokéStop.

It was all too easy to get addicted because I have a naturally competitive streak and everyone's goal is to capture all of the 149 Pokémon currently available. Some are harder to get than others and rarely show up.

I knew I was in trouble when I was at Mediterrano restaurant with friends and through the magic of the Go Radar app spotted Lickitung three blocks away. A friend and I leaped out of our seats and made a run for it, crossing King Street and Young streets in a mad dash to Beretania, trying not to become two more Pokémon fatalities.

The good thing is people can get a lot of exercise playing the game because Pokémon "trainers" need to walk to hatch eggs that may contain creatures otherwise hard to get. I've hatched a rare Lickitung and Chansey.

The game tells you to always be aware of your surroundings, but that night we didn't know we had a tail, a person who was following us and after we had caught our Pokémon in a parking lot, asked, "What did you get?"

My friend had captured Lickitung. Mine disappeared in a puff of smoke. I asked this man, "How did you know we were playing Pokémon?"

"Because you were moving with intent, with purpuse," he said, as he, too, added Lickitung to his Pokédex.

While playing the game, I've come across restaurants surrounded by four PokéStops, none accessible from the dining room. It's frustrating to be so close, yet so far. It made me wonder which restaurants had PokéStops for people like me, Poké opportunists who don't have time to chase after them, but will multitask where we are.

So, here's a list compiled with the help of Toby Tamaye and my newsroom colleague Jason Yadao, who's part of the effort to transfer points from the game developer Niantic's Ingress database to a statewide map of PokeThings. He says there are 1,500-plus PokéStops/Gyms on Oahu so far, with more being added daily.

Some people maybe burning out on the game after capturing all the characters but five more characters will be let loose soon, and more will be added next spring. It will pay to keep catching creatures available now that can be evolved further down the line.

Restaurateurs and players who want to share more places, can email me at and I’ll be able to add to this list.

Multiple PokéStops

Big Kahuna’s Pizza: Loaded pizzas at 550 Paiea St.

Blue Tree Cafe: Juice bar and small selection of light, health-oriented salads and sandwiches, at 1009 Kapiolani Boulevard.

Buca di Beppo: Bountiful family-style Italian at Ward Village Shops.

Chart House: Seafood restaurant and bar at 1765 Ala Moana Boulevard.

Dave and Busters: Restaurant and bar at Ward Village Shops.

Doraku Sushi: Contemporary Japanese at 1009 Kapiolani Boulevard.

Eating House 1849: Roy Yamaguchi’s modern spin on plantation heritage food at International Market Place.

Genki Sushi: Fast sushi at Ward Village Shops and Waikele Premium Outlets.

Giovanni Pastrami: at Waikiki Beach Walk.

Highway Inn: Hawaiian fare at 680 Ala Moana Boulevard.

Hank’s Haute Dogs: Gourmet hot dogs at 324 Coral St.

Hokkaido Ramen: Ramen and Japanese curry at 1108 12th Ave.

il Lupino: Italian fare at Royal Hawaiian Center.

JJ Dolan’s: Pizza and pub at 1147 Bethel St.

Kaiwa: Upscale Japanese fare at Waikiki Beach Walk.

Mai Tai Bar: Bar at Ho’okipa Terrace, Ala Moana Center

Morimoto: Contemporary Japenese fare and sushi at The Modern Honolulu, 1775 Ala Moana Boulevard.

Real a Gastropub: Fusion bar fare at 1020 Auahi St.

Ruby Tuesday: Family restaurant at 4470 Kapolei Parkway.

Shokudo: Contemporary Japanese fare and bar at 1585 Kapiolani Boulevard.

Stripsteak: Modern steak house and raw bar at International Market Place.

More PokéStops

The Alley at Aiea Bowl
Bangkok Chef (Iwilei)
Bob’s Bar-B-Que
BLT Steak
Blaisdell Farmers Market
Dave’s Ice Cream/Grace’s Inn (Waimalu)
Fatboy’s/Ninja Sushi/Panda Express (Waipio Gentry)
Forty Niner Restaurant (Aiea)
Kapiolani Community College Farmers Market
Liliha Bakery (original)
Maui Mike’s Fire-Roasted Chicken (Wahiawa)
McDonald’s (west Kapolei, across from Costco)
Palace Saimin
Rice Place (site of former Ah-lang, or Angry Korean Lady restaurant
Richie’s Drive Inn
Shiro’s (Waimalu)
Soon’s Kalbi
Sorabol (Keeaumoku)
Taco Bell (Waipio Gentry, Stadium Mall)
Tanaka Saimin
Zippy’s (Waipio Gentry)

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Shorten your wait: App speeds food order at lantern ceremony

May 27th, 2016

L & L Hawaiian Barbecue, the official concessionaire of Ala Moana Beach Park, will be offering a special pre-ordering opportunity for those expected to attend the Lantern Festival Hawaii on Memorial Day, May 30. Pre-orders will be accepted via the Dodecki mobile app.

If you are one of the 40,000 people expected to attend the festival, reserve your meal and avoid long lines by ordering ahead of time. All who pre-order will receive a free gift and be entered to win prizes from L&L and Dodecki. Pre-orders will be accepted until 3 p.m. on May 29 for the following items:

Mini bento: Includes shrimp, teri beef, teri chicken and rice, for $6.99.
Deluxe bento: Includes fish, chicken katsu, teri chicken, Spam and rice, for $8.99.
Drinks: Bottled water, Coke-brand bottled drinks, at $1.99 each.

All pre-orders must be picked-up within a two-hour window of time (determined by customer at the time of ordering). The designated pick-up area for pre-orders will be at the Ala Moana Beach Park Concession nearest the Diamond Head end close to Magic Island.

To pre-order, install and open the Dodecki mobile app on your smartphone and find the special L&L menu under the "Deals+Rewards" section in the navigation bar on the left. You’ll be able to build your order and pay in advance to avoid Monday's lines.

Dodecki is a Hawaii-based smartphone ordering app that gives people options for ordering food from a variety of restaurants via their mobile phones. Learn more at
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Sushi on rails at Genki Sushi

July 9th, 2013

Nadine Kam photos

Sushi arrives via Space Shuttles on Bullet Trains on a magnetic track at the newly renovated Genki Sushi at Ala Moana Center, which opens to the public July 10. If it all runs well at Ala Moana, the next stop for the Genki rail will be Waikele.

Rail may be a long way off for the city of Honolulu, but it’s up and running at the newly renovated Genki Sushi, on the mall level, mauka side of Ala Moana Center.

Leave it to the Japanese to bring the latest magnetic technology to sushi delivery. (Why are we even talking old steel-on-steel rail in Honolulu when the rest of the world has gone magnetic?)

The restaurant revealed America’s first double-rail sushi delivery system to the press this morning, and will open to the public tomorrow, allowing diners to place their orders at a touch-screen panel, then have their meal arrive by Bullet Train, F-1 Race Cars, Surf Board, Space Shuttle, and more.


Gary Hofheimer photo

The system cost more than $1 million to install and it's both novel and fun. No more waiting and watching the old conveyor belts make their slow loop, and seeing someone else pick up the one dish you were ogling. I never realized how much we needed this. If you thought lines to get in here were long before, I imagine they'll be even longer as people rush in to try the new system.

If you can use an iPad and navigate your phone, you'll find the system easy to use. The pictorial screen is easy to read and use. You can opt for nigiri, sushi rolls, other items (i.e. deep-fried and cooked items) and desserts. Different pages show individual items, and you press a yellow tab to order. Plus signs add another of the same dish, and if you hit it by accident, just hit the minus button.

If you're too short to reach the touch screen, it can be detached and passed around so everyone can examine the menu and place their own orders.

Luddites, don't worry. There is still an old-fashioned conveyor line in place, so you can still grab what you want as the plates pass by.

This kind of system has been in use in Japan for three years. I think we should put a few of Japan’s engineers and restaurateurs in charge of Honolulu's rail project, and blast a few dozen our bureaucrats off via Space Shuttle where they can do no more harm.

Genki Sushi is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call 942-9102.


The touch screen shows your customer or table number on the top right. You can choose your items and hit the yellow button on the screen to order. The plus and minus signs are to adjust the quantity of plates. Your order is rushed to you and once you remove your plates, hit a yellow button on the rail to send your train or car back to the kitchen.


Robyn Gee places an order.


These guests debate the many options.


An order arrives via Space Shuttle. Each order is limited to four plates.


Seared salmon we ordered through the touchscreen arrived on a surfboard.

On hand for the renovated restaurant's blessing were, at left, Yasumasa Sudo, president of Genki Sushi USA, Inc. and senior managing director of Japan-based Genki Sushi Co., Ltd., and Yoko Kato, director and managing director of Genki Sushi Co., Ltd.


Staffers surround the restaurant's entrance for the blessing.


Dessert showed "sold out" on the touch screens, and were delivered the old-fashioned way, via waiter.

Open Table to acquire Foodspotting

January 29th, 2013

Due to some interest on Twitter, I'm posting the entire release about Open Table's pending acquisition of one of my favorite food social media sites, Foodspotting.

I didn't like the site's redesign, which complicated what started as streamlined and easy. Who knows what this new partnership will bring, but this is the company's rationale:

  1. "SAN FRANCISCO – January 29, 2013 – OpenTable, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPEN), a leading provider of free, real-time online restaurant reservations for diners and reservation and guest management solutions for restaurants, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Foodspotting, an app for finding and sharing great dishes at restaurants, for approximately $10 million in cash pursuant to a stock purchase agreement. The completion of the acquisition is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.“We’re proud to welcome the talented Foodspotting team to the OpenTable family,” said Matt Roberts, Chief Executive Officer of OpenTable.   “The Foodspotting team is as passionate about dining as we are, and we’re looking forward to leveraging their unique expertise in the areas of imagery and social sharing to enrich the OpenTable experience for diners and restaurants in new and exciting ways. By adding more visually compelling content to help people decide where to dine and discover dishes they’ll love, we hope to make it even easier to find the perfect table for any occasion.” (more…)

HFWF Day 2: Geek and foodie culture meet

September 12th, 2012

hfwf2kitchitNadine Kam photos
Brendan Marshall, founder of Kitchit, the home of bespoke dining, makes a bid for investor dollars during Sept. 7's "Afternoon with 500 Startups: Battle of the Food Geeks,"  for investor dollars.

A day session on Day 2 of the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival Sept. 7, aimed to show the connections between food, agriculture, community and technology.

I had an early lunch meeting that day, so couldn't make it to the first event,
Building a Sense of Plate and Place."  Ed Kenney was the moderator of a panel that included presenters Keone Kealoha of Malama Kauai, Michelle Galimba of Kuahiwi Ranch, Mark Noguchi and special guest Josh Feathers, who shared their stories on building food communities.

Afterward, there was a smackdown that pitted Masaharu Morimoto against Ming Tsai, as a prelude to "Hawaii in a Bowl: From Poi Bowl to Pho Chefs" lunch featuring pa'i'ai from Mana Ai, phó from Charles Phan of The Slanted Door, fish from Colin Hazama of The Sheraton Waikiki, abalone from "Iron Chef" Hiroyuki Sakai, and creations by Side Street Inn's Colin Nishida, and Foodland's Keoni Chang.

crabI had a lunch meeting at Mariposa before heading to The Modern for the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival's day event. I had the soft shell crab salad, so wasn't particularly hungry when I arrived.

hfwf2sakaiThen I heard Chef Sakai was serving abalone, and I couldn't resist trying it, having missed out on chef Chai Chaowasaree's abalone the night before.


Then, in the afternoon, the "Battle of the Food Geeks" pit a handful of food-oriented startups in a pitch war to gain favor with Dave McClure and his panel of chef judges: Sang Yoon of Lukshon and Father's Office; Susan Feniger of Border Grill and Street; Lee Anne Wong of Cooking Channel's "Unique Eats"; event co-founder Roy Yamaguchi of Roy's Restaurants; and Christina Grdovic, publisher of Food & Wine magazine.

McClure is a founding partner of 500 Startups, an Internet startup seed fund and accelerator program based in Mountain View, Calif. One tends to think of old-time geeks as building their Internet companies over pizzas and Chinese takeout, but as geeks have become successful, they've become eager students of  the better things in life, and McClure said, "We're not accustomed to working with food startups but ... All of a sudden, food has become a geeky pursuit."

Who knew, only five years ago, that so many would take so much pleasure in photographing their food and sharing those pictures on several social media sites? They want to take the next food startup to the next level.

hfwf2colinAlso couldn't pass up Colin Hazama's skewered fish.

First to present was Brendan Marshall, founder of Kitchit, the home of bespoke dining. The former investment banker is seeking to democratize private dining by giving restaurant chefs a way to connect with people who want to hire them for a dinner party. So chefs like Marcel Vigneron or Dan Kluger of ABC Kitchen could come to your house and cook for you. Of course, the most famous can also command appearance fees of $25,000 or more on top of the price of your meal. Of course the question raised by the panel was, what's to stop a client from just calling the chef? Which is, of course, how things are done in Hawaii.

Also presenting was Tealet's Elyse Peterson, whose site puts tea lovers in touch with premium tea growers, cutting out the middle man to offer the buyer a purer and less expensive product. Then came Abby Sturges of Culture Kitchen, which packages recipes and ingredients for authentic ethnic cuisines to destinations where such ingredients are hard to come by.

It was interesting to sit there and consider if you would back any of these businesses with your own dollars.

hfwf2tealetElyse Peterson talks up Tealet before the judges.

hfwf2phoIngredients for Charles Phan's phó. A dish was made for me, but I got up to take a photo, and when I returned, someone else was eating my phó.

hfwf2townRelaxing after the morning session were Town's David Caldiero, left, and Ed Kenney, with his mom Beverly Noa and wife Kristen.

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