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Treehouse show is built on homeowners’ dreams

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    Treehouse Masters' Pete Nelson and son Charlie hang as they work on a treehouse at Treehouse Point.
    The Honolulu French Connection’s lilikoi meringue
    La Tortilla Factory’s Hand Made Style Corn Tortillas
    Kinder Happy Hippo biscuits ($1.99/each) from World of Aahs in Pearlridge Shopping Center. Milk and hazelnut flavor, left, and milk and cocoa are imported from Europe. candy sweets sugar wafer cookies
    Diamond Bakery's Fancy Creems in guava and lilikoi flavor

A shortlist of newly discovered stuff you have got to see, hear, wear, use or eat. Please keep in mind that featured products may be in short supply and may not be available at all store locations; prices may vary. Tell us what you are loving this week by emailing

Treehouse show is built on homeowners’ dreams

While channel surfing I came across the show "Treehouse Masters." I was enthralled by the houses Pete Nelson and his team could build off the ground. Nelson is a lovable, tree-hugging (literally) character with so much passion for his work. He tries to accommodate his clients’ ever-changing requests; his team just sees them as challenges. Interesting tidbits are shared through pop-up bubbles that appear on the bottom of the TV screen. The houses don’t come cheap — averaging around $90,000 — but the price tags have included bathrooms, steam showers, kitchens, master suites, heated floors, swinging bridges and more. And while the houses are amazing to see, I enjoy watching the teamwork and the pleasure Nelson gets when he reveals the completed treehouse to its owners. The joy Nelson expresses is infectious. New episodes of "Treehouse Masters" air at 7 p.m. Fridays on Animal Planet. — Michelle Ramos

Tortillas deliver on taste, texture

La Tortilla Factory’s Hand Made Style Corn Tortillas are the closest thing I’ve found to the "titiyas" I enjoyed so much during my time on Guam early in my newspaper career. They’re made from a blend of corn and wheat flour, each one with 14 grams of whole grains and no trans fats. When heated on the skillet or grill, they’re great for soft tacos, fajitas and my Chamorro husband’s ono chicken kelaguen. And unlike corn tortillas that have the taste and texture of a paper plate, you can eat these right out of the bag.

The family-owned La Tortilla Factory, started in Santa Rosa, Calif., as a taqueria in 1977, also pioneered low-carb and fat-free versions, and offers gluten-free and 100-calorie tortillas and wraps as well. Find their products at most supermarkets and Costco, where a pack of 32 corn tortillas was $7.39. — Christie Wilson

Sweet hippo biscuits keep tummies happy

Kinder Happy Hippo biscuits by Ferrero are thumb-size sugar wafers disguised as hippopotamuses filled with milk and cocoa, or milk and hazelnut cream. Their undersides are encrusted with crunchy meringue nibs, analogous to river plants.

Happy Hippos are a bit pricey at $1.99 each, or $9.99 for a box of five at World of Aahs in Windward Mall. I find a single hippo is quite satisfying since it can turn into three distinct mouthfuls: tail, skull and snout. — Christina Chun

Nostalgic Royal Creems undergo fancy makeover

When I was a kid, Grandma always had a stash of Diamond Bakery’s Royal Creem crackers. Recently I was delighted to see the slightly sweet crackers had gotten a decadent update and are now made into sandwich cookies in three flavors: guava, coconut and lilikoi. The Fancy Creems come in fancier packaging as well, perfect for taking as omiyage to friends on the mainland. A box of 24 cookies, wrapped in packs of two, sells for $5.99 at Longs. — Donica Kaneshiro

Fresh-baked pies offer local flavor with a French touch

There’s nothing quite like a fresh pie baked from scratch. The Honolulu French Connection’s lilikoi meringue has just the right sweetness and tang on a crisp, flaky crust. Not a fan of lilikoi? Try the apple almandine or peach pies. Owners Fanny Esparza-Queloz and Mathieu Grandemenge (she’s Swiss, he’s French) use all natural ingredients, including lilikoi from local farmers, to bake their pies, which are locally inspired with a French touch. Find Honolulu French Connection’s pies at Kakaako Farmer’s Market (Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon) at Ward Warehouse and Kailua Farmer’s Market (Sundays, 8:30 a.m. to noon) at Kailua Elementary School. The selection varies. You may also order and pick up pies from Le Petit Cafe at Ward Warehouse. Prices range from $10 to $12 per pie. Call 931-9680 to order. — Nina Wu


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