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Return of the 76-cent plate lunch

L&L Drive-Inn brings back its 76-cent plate lunch event tomorrow from 10 a.m. to noon at its Keeaumoku Street location in Walmart.

Proceeds from sales will be donated to Goodwill Industries of Hawaii.

Fountain drinks will be offered for a dime.

The first 10 customers in line will receive a month’s supply of Pepsi drinks, and the first 100 will get a free L&L T-shirt.

The annual promotion commemorates the opening of the state’s first L&L Drive-Inn in 1976. According to the eatery, 3,000 people enjoyed last year’s event.


Obubu making gifts of prized tea

As part of its summer marketing campaign, the Kyoto Obubu Tea Plantations is sending directly from its Japanese farm 45 bags of its prized genmaicha (brown rice tea) to fans around the world.

From now through August, the free giveaway is being offered to 15 people per month randomly selected from Obubu’s Facebook page, Twitter account and’s e-newsletter database. Each 3.5 oz. bag holds about 20 tablespoons of genmaicha and produces up to 80 cups of tea (four steepings per tablespoon).

In addition, during the campaign period, a $10.99 bag of Obubu Gemaicha on will be on sale for $7.99.

The company’s brown rice is made by toasting sweet rice and mixing it with a sencha tea harvested in late September as Japan celebrates the season with moon-viewing parties.

Go to either, or to participate.


Sake sampler soiree set for Aug. 19

The 10th Annual Joy of Sake on Aug. 19 will once again offer patrons the chance to sample 250 of the world’s premium sakes, along with appetizers prepared by Honolulu’s top chefs.

From 6 to 8:30 p.m., sake-tasting tables will be set up along the Honolulu Academy of Arts’ corridors, with appetizer stations in the courtyards.

Cost is $80 per person, with only 900 tickets available, far fewer than in years past. VIP seating at the museum’s Pavilion Cafe is $150. For each ticket purchased from the museum, a tax-deductible $25 goes back to the academy; for VIP tickets, $100 is tax-deductible.

The Joy of Sake, since its origins here, now travels to San Francisco, New York City and, for the first time later this year, Tokyo. The event follows the U.S. National Sake Appraisal, with five judges from Japan and five from the U.S. participating in a two-day blind tasting at the Hawaii Convention Center.

Contact the museum at 532-8742 or, or 222-0195,



Haden and Pirie mangoes are the best but other varieties are worth trying

Hawaii’s short but prolific mango season is one to relish – there’s nothing like this king of fruit, perfectly ripe, dripping down your hands, arms and chin as you devour it over the kitchen sink.

Popular Hadens and Piries can’t be beat. But try other varieties like Sun Golds, Mapulehu, Manzanilla, Keitt; taste them and remember what you like and seek them out each year.

Buying and storing: Choose mangoes that are slightly soft to the touch to eat right away; firmer mangoes should be allowed to ripen on the kitchen counter before storing in the refrigerator. You can’t always tell a mango’s ripeness by its color; some mangoes remain green on the outside when they are ripe. Store ripe mangoes in the refrigerator but eat them within a couple of days. When some mangoes like Piries reach their ripeness, they should be eaten.

When you have a lot of mangoes, use them in bread, pies, jam and smoothies. Freezing sliced fruit is an option but when it is thawed, mango tends to become watery and mushy. A better option is to slice ripe mango and dehydrate it. Place 1/4-inch slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in a 250-degree oven for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, watching that it doesn’t brown. The mango should be leathery but not crisp. Remove from the oven, cool and store in the freezer in a plastic bag. It’s delicious as is – the flavor is more concentrated – or use it in baked goods.


Hawaii food writer Joan Namkoong offers a weekly tidbit on fresh seasonal products, many of them locally grown. Look for "Fresh Tips" every Wednesday in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
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