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By Allison Schaefers The Hawaii Tourism Authority has hired its first Native Hawaiian president and CEO. Tourism industry veteran John De Fries is slated to start Wednesday. According to the terms of his contract, he’ll be compensated at almost the same rate as his predecessor, Chris Tatum, who left the agency Aug. 31 to “spend more time with family.” De Fries’ three-year contract, which ends Sept. 15, 2023, matches Tatum’s base annual salary of $270,000 in the first year, with an automatic 5% increase for each succeeding year of the contract. Like Tatum, De Fries won’t be entitled to join the state’s pension and retirement systems. However, he’ll get the same vacation, holiday and leave benefits as other state employees who are classified...

JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM It’s easy to serve gourmet food when you add expensive ingredients to a dish, such as black truffles or caviar. The real challenge is to serve great food that people can afford to eat every day. Chef Martin Wyss, who owned the legendary Swiss Inn in Niu Valley, was known for cooking elegant comfort foods that were affordable. From 1982 to 2000, he and his wife, Jeanie, served basically the same menu from the day they opened. It included European specialties such as Trout Caprice, Croute Emmental, wiener schnitzel and cheese fondue — not usual Hawaii fare. One of the most popular dishes at the Inn was Emince de Veau, Zurich-style strips of tender veal with mushrooms in a...

By Allison Schaefers There are just 18 days to go before the Oct. 15 start of the state’s pre-arrival testing program. Yet officials are still working out the kinks of Safe Travels, travel.hawaii.gov, the online application that collects traveler information needed to enforce public safety measures related to the coronavirus. Travelers are supposed to complete an online application and receive a QR code, which resembles a square bar code. The screener at the airport uses an iPad to read the QR code and is able to quickly review passenger information for clearance or secondary screening. Read the rest of this story on the Star-Advertiser...

By Allison Schaefers Springboard Hospitality, a locally owned hotel management company, is growing its portfolio, rebranding, and investing in new technology even in the midst of the global pandemic. Over the past six months, Springboard has added three new hotel properties,including Ohia Studio Suites in Waikiki, with several more additions underway. Other recent additions have been in Anchorage, Alaska; Los Angeles and Portland, Ore., and leisure destinations like Sedona, Ariz.; Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif.; and Jackson, Wyo. The company is now operating in 10 states and has 35 properties, seven of them in Hawaii. Read the rest of this story on the Star-Advertiser...

By CHELSEA JENSEN West Hawaii Today   Craft Brew Alliance has agreed to sell Kona Brewing Co.’s Hawaii operations in order to pave the way for the purchase of the alliance by beer giant Anheuser-Busch. The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division approved on Friday the acquisition of Kona Brewing Co. operations in the Aloha State by PV Brewing Partners, a Delaware limited liability company with headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas.   For more information check out West Hawaii Today...

STORY BY: GINGER KELLER Duke Kahanamoku is well-known and loved across the islands. Whether you know him as the person who reinvented surfing, an Olympic gold medalist, Hollywood actor or have simply stopped to admire his larger-than-life statue at Kuhio Beach, there’s no arguing that the Waikiki native left monumental footprints upon Hawaii’s shores. Found in the midst of Kahanamoku’s childhood playground is a restaurant that strives to emulate his legacy. “We try to be like how he was and how he did it back in the day,” says Keli‘i Gouveia, general manager of Duke’s Waikiki. “For example, our service, we try to be as good as we possibly can and engaging as we can. We try to match his aloha spirit...

STORY BY: ANNE LEE It’s been about a year since Island Popper opened a brick-and-mortar location on Colburn Street, but the iconic snack brand has been cooking up plenty of popcorn since 2012. With tons of flavors and specials, Island Popper has quickly become the go-to place — whether picking up in store or ordering online — for the best gourmet popcorn. This week, I sit down with Island Popper owner Andrea Tournis-Vagenas, who fills Dining Out readers in on what’s new with the shop and some special holiday treats that are in the works. For more information check out our  Dining In feature in the Star-Advertiser...

By Star-Advertiser Staff If you thought you missed your chance to get a taste of chef Colin Hazama’s cooking when the Kaiser High School farmers market shut down last month, no worries. C4 Table is still whipping up gourmet grab-and-go, available for drive-thru pickup Tuesdays at M By Chef Mavro restaurant (formerly Chef Mavro). Hazama’s menu for next week includes short rib poi stew with ulu (at right); lavender-herb smoked roasted chicken; kaffir lime-scented beer-battered fish with coconut Thai curry; a spicy ahi poke bowl; and mapo tofu with Pono Provisions pork, shrimp hash, Ho Farms eggplant and long beans. Each meal comes with a flavored rice, the mapo tofu with yakisoba. Meals are usually $15 to $18. Order by 6 p.m. Mondays;...

By Betty Shimabukuro Adam Gilbert closed a restaurant and started a book. Plantation Tavern, the restaurant the chef and his wife, Sunny, opened in 2014, was a victim of the first coronavirus shutdown, serving its final takeout meal in April. The next month, Gilbert dove into a book idea that his wife had suggested two years before: a cookbook for the community-supported agriculture universe. CSA subscribers typically receive a box or bag every week or two, each filled with farm-fresh produce. There’s no picking and choosing; you get what’s in good supply. Maybe it’ll be lettuce and tomatoes, but also perhaps something less familiar, like carrot tops. Plantation Tavern was a pickup site for CSA bags from Kahumana Organic Farms, and Gilbert had met his...

By Joleen Oshiro For some, coffee is a means to start up the brain each day; for others, it’s an indulgence to enjoy. No matter which camp we’re in, local coffee expert Shawn Steiman has figured out how to make high-quality coffees accessible, in a way that supports the local coffee community, offers customers some customization and education, and is nearly zero waste. Steiman, author of “The Hawai‘i Coffee Book” and “The Little Coffee Know-It-All,” launched a coffee order and delivery service in August, the latest facet of his Grok Coffee business. Folks seeking a perfectly prepared cup have long turned to Steiman at his Grok Coffee tent Saturdays at the FarmLovers Kaka‘ako Farmers Market. His brews — always locally roasted — add...