January 28, 2007

Aloha! Sign A Petition for Quality Hawaiian Kona Coffee

Kona Tree, originally uploaded by MonkeyBites.

Hawaii has a coffee industry that is larger than people think. The best coffee comes from the Kona area of the big island of Hawaii.

Kona produces a very high quality product, but it's expensive compared to coffee from Latin America or other places. The workers in Hawaii don't get paid a lot, but even the minimum wage there is a lot more than a Latin American farmworker gets.

Most of Kona's coffee is produced by small farmers. Many of them produce a fabulous product by controlling the entire process-- taking care of the trees year after year, picking the beans, roasting the beans, and in many cases, mailing an astonishing fragrant and delicious product direct to customers in the US and beyond

There are some in the industry who sell coffee with as little as 10% Kona coffee and sell it as "Kona Blend". I've tried it--Kona Blend is 90% garbage, and it brings down the reputation of an excellent, quality industry in Hawaii.

I buy coffee from Kona's Smith Farms who has advised me that two Hawaii State Legislators have introduced bills requiring any blend to be at least 75% Kona coffee in order to use the Kona name. The farmers have sought such a rule for 14 years. An
online petition has been set up to show support for this bill.

The bill may be voted on as early as this week. Show your support for the this quality American industry by signing the petition.

And if you want to order the best coffee you've ever tasted,
order a pound from Smith Farms right now. Its not the cheapest coffee, its just the best.

January 23, 2007

Bay Ridge to Commerce Bank: Drop Dead

Word has it that New Jersey based Commerce Bank, currently under investigation
>by the Feds, wants to barge into the neighborhood demolish the Tiffany Diner and build one of their banks on the ruins.

Listen, "Jersey Boys"--Bay Ridge loves the Tiffany Diner, and will not tolerate a bunch of Swamp Rats coming in here to steal it away from us. So get your ass back across the Verrazano Bridge, and keep driving west until you you reach Cherry Hill.

We have enough banks. We do NOT have enough good diners. Get lost!


January 21, 2007

Bay Ridge Internet Pharmacy

So I was shopping around the internet the other day. I was looking to buy a certain brand of shampoo (really!) and the cheapest quote came from a place called Alleon Pharmacy. Imagine my surprise when I found it was only about four blocks away--at 6823 Fort Hamilton Parkway.

Once you order over the internet, you can then choose to have the product shipped anywhere--or just stop in the store the next day and pick it up. Which is what I will do tomorrow, after work.

Their website is here.

They can also be accessed thruogh yahoo shopping, where their customer reviews are mostly very good.

Glad to see a Bay Ridge business selling nationally, using the internet!


The wood barriers are down over the old Lento's at Third and Ovington. The exterior of the store looks good. The sign says that the name of the new restaurant is Yellow Hook Lounge. Yellow Hook is the old name for Bay Ridge.


It is sad to see that two young women died recently on Kauai, Hawaii.

Cousins Elizabeth Ann Brem, a 35-year-old lawyer and mother from Encinitas, Calif., and Paula Gonzalez Ramirez, 29, a businesswoman from Bogota, Colombia, fell to their deaths Dec. 19 after apparently taken a wrong turn on a trail. This was an unauthorized trail, not the somewhat marked Kalalau Trail that I went on two and a half weeks ago.

There were a couple of points on the Kalalau Trail where, if someone were to stumble the wrong way, a deadly fall could follow.

January 14, 2007

Kauai: Kalalau Trail at Na Pali Cliffs

Kalalau Lookout, originally uploaded by natecannon.

A view from above the trail. Hopefully, I hope to return some day in better shape for hiking and wearing better shoes.

I went on a small group tour run by geologist Chuck Blay of Kauai Nature Tours. Chuck is great to talk with. He knows every inch of the island. He and Kauai Nature Tours are highly recommended.

Kauai: Kalalau Trail at Na Pali Cliffs

This is the beach at Hanakapi'ai, one of the more beautiful I've seen. But noone was in the water, not even to wade. Why? The water is very dangerous. People have died when turning their back to the ocean for a photo. I was advised to stay out, and I stayed out.

Kauai: Kalalau Trail at Na Pali Cliffs

Kalalau 045, originally uploaded by cameronandjenny.

We crossed a couple of rivers like this, which meant stepping carefully one rock to the next.

I wore Mephisto shoes that I thought would have been good for the hike, but they had terrible grip. When it came to crossing a river at
Hanakapi'ai, near the beach , I thought I would slip if I tried to cross on the rocks, so I went to plan B-- I stepped right into the foot deep water and waded right across.

Kauai: Kalalau Trail at Na Pali Cliffs

On Wednesday, January 3, I went on a hike on the Kalalau Trail, on the north shore of Kauai, by the Na Pali Cliffs.

This is an a beautiful, undeveloped part of the island. This hike was more difficult than I expected. At various points, the trail consisted of mud, or rocks covered with mud, or steep hills with protruding tree roots nicely placed, all the better to trip you with. I fell several several times, once right into the mud. I made quite a sight re-entering the Hilton Hotel at Lihue.

Above, one of the less rugged portions of the trail. ( Photo borrowed from flickr. Once this walk got going, I was too sweaty and tired to want to take out my camera. )

Famous Fat Dave's Five Borough Eating Tour

Starts in Manhattan's Goss Pickles, then goes to Dumpling House at or near Chinatown, then into Brooklyn- Steve's Key Lime, Latino Food Fair and then two of my favorites--Roll n Roaster, followed by L&M Spumoni Gardens.

Bon appetit.

January 06, 2007

Kauai-Bus Ride to Waimea Canyon

I took a bus trip to Waimea Canyon. On the way, we stopped at the south shore to see the "blowhole". There is a hole in the (lava-formed) rock here. When the tide comes in, the water comes out like water from a whale's spout.

In July 1992, Hurricane Iniki hit Hawaii. It was the worst hurricane to hit the islands. It caused immense damage in Kauai. It also blew many chicken coops apart, liberating the chickens. Many chickens survived in the wild. They've multiplied like mad. This is the only place in the world where I've seen wild chickens. They're everywhere, even in the towns.

Hawaii has unique problems. It's a high-cost, low-wage state, even more than Florida. Housing is very expensive. Much of the new housing being built is "McMansions", such as those that will be constructed behind this ugly fence near Poipo. These houses will be for rich Californians, not Hawaiians.

Mark Twain called Waimea Canyon "the Grand Canyon of the Pacific". As with most things, he was right. It's gorgeous. This picture does not do it justice. No photo could do it justice. I'm glad that I saw it.