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Features | Things We Love

5 Things We Love

    Gold-wrapped goodies are perfect for omiyage or snacking for yourself.
    Chef Erwin Manzano works the grill at the Aloha Center Cafe in the Pacific Beach Hotel. At top are guava-li hing mui babyback ribs.

    Nick Gervais and Kawehi Haug of Let Them Eat Cupcakes.

Gabbard has choco streak

If you have a craving for something sweet, chocolatey and more special than the regular stuff you buy at the checkout aisle, you’ve got to try Hawaiian Toffee Treasures. It’s locally made by state Sen. Mike Gabbard and his wife, Carol. It’s like Almond Roca but softer and it doesn’t stick to your teeth. These gold-wrapped goodies topped with mac nuts make a perfect gift. Find them online at or order by phone at 682-0676. Prices start at $2.50 for an 1.5-ounce bag and run up to $12 for 11 ounces; cute gift boxes cost $11 to $30.

— Christine Stevens, Kailua

Words With Friends is winner

I’m a latecomer to the Scrabble-like Words With Friends smartphone app that can pair me up against acquaintances or random rivals, but count me hooked. It’s a great way to exercise your brain while killing time at the airport or the bus stop, waiting for your kids, or hanging at the beach. There’s a chat function if you want to taunt your opponents or just say “hi.” The app is free with annoying pop-up ads between turns, or you can buy the ad-free version for $2.99.

— Christie Wilson

Cupcakes are hot seller

We do love our cupcakes.

It’s the mission of Kawehi Haug and Nick Gervais to make “killer cupcakes,” and to that end they opened Let Them Eat Cupcakes at 35 S. Beretania St. Besides the regularly available double chocolate and red velvet varieties, there are daily specials, such as those seen here — vanilla, chocolate mint, peanut butter and jelly, and lilikoi — offered on Tuesdays for $2.50 and $3 each. The shop is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and Saturdays until 2 p.m. but often sells out before closing time, so it’s best to get there a couple hours before. Call 531-2253, visit or follow them at and on Twitter @LTEatCupcakes.

— Gary Chun

Lanikai Home+Style is a fit

It’s difficult to find one pair of sandals that can be worn whenever and wherever, feels and looks good, and is still affordable. After searching for months, from Kakaako to Tahoe and Tampa, I finally found some with style and substance — and multiple options — at Lanikai Home+Style. Lindsay Phillips’ interchangeable shoes come in several styles, including Jordi Flops (slippers), ballet flats, cork platforms and kitten heels. But what caught my imagination is that every shoe can be transformed into something entirely new simply by switching the straps using hook-and-loop fasteners. Prices run from $24 to $64, with extra straps at $12 to $15. Check it out online at or drop by Lanikai Home+Style, 171D Hamakua Drive in Kailua, or Silvery Moon, 1125 S. King St.

— Ann Miller

Aloha Center Cafe gets grillin’

Who doesn’t love a barbecue? But sometimes it’s a hassle. To get the ono food without fussing with charcoal, head over to the Pacific Beach Hotel’s Aloha Center Cafe. The hotel’s nightly barbecue features ono guava-li hing mui baby back ribs ($14.95), kiawe-grilled Asian lemongrass chicken ($12.95), New York steak ($19.95), seafood kabobs ($22.50) and more. Each plate comes with corn on the cob, cole slaw and roasted garlic rosemary potatoes or rice. Buy your plate and head across the street to the beach in time for sunset and picnic in style. The grill is hot daily from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

— Donica Kaneshiro

5 Things We Love is a shortlist of newly discovered stuff you have got to see, hear, wear, use or eat. What are you loving this week? Send a brief description of your latest favorite thing, where to find it and how much it costs, along with your name and contact info to


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