Christopher Paolini takes the 2006 award with "Eragon"
"Eragon," Christopher Paolini's tale of an teenager who discovers his destiny as a Dragon Rider, has been chosen by the children of Hawaii as the winner of the 2006 Nene Award.
Kate DiCamillo, author of last year's Nene winner, "Because of Winn-Dixie," announced the award last week at a ceremony at the Kaimuki High School Performing Arts Center.
"Eragon" (Knoff, 2003), a New York Times best-seller, tells of Eragon, a young farm boy, and his adventures with the dragon Saphira. Together they must find their place amid the magic and mystery of a dark empire ruled by an evil king. It is a story populated with dwarves, elves and mystical creatures such as the neanderthal Urgalls -- and has been compared to J.R.R. Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings."
Author Paolini, who lives in Paradise Valley, Mont., wrote "Eragon" as the first book in his "Inheritance" triology. The second part, "The Eldest," was released last year. A movie version of "Eragon," starring Jeremy Irons and John Malkovich, is due in December.
Children in grades 4 to 6 vote on the Nene Award; this year more than 8,000 children voted statewide.
"The Ghost Sitter," by Peni R. Griffin, was the runner-up and will receive the 2006 Nene Honor Book Award.
The award's corporate sponsor, Perma-bound Books, presented copies "Eragon" to all participating schools and public libraries.
Hamura's Saimin on Kauai earned a James Beard Foundation Award last week, named one of America's Classics.
The family-owned Hamura's, which opened in 1951, was among eight eateries recognized for "preserving America's culinary heritage and diversity."
The Beard awards, voted by industry professionals, are considered the most prestigious awards for chefs and restaurants nationwide.
Alfred Portale of Gotham Bar & Grill in New York was named chef of the year, and the French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., was named outstanding restaurant.
No Hawaii chefs were nominated this year.
Beers of summer
Summer comes early to the Willows, as the restaurant hosts "Summertime Brews," 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday.
Beer expert Andy Baker will offer a sampling of craft beers that pair well with barbecue -- from Boston Beer Co., Carlsberg, Coors Brewing Co., Deschutes Brewery, Mactarnahan's, Rogue, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Tetley's.
Chef Jay Matsukawa's accompanying pupu buffet will include ribs, barbecued beef brisket, baked beans and corn on the cob.
The event is the May installment of "Hops & Grinds," a monthly Willows affair for beer lovers.
Cost is $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Tickets are available at the restaurant, Liquor Collection, Wine Stop and Tamura's Kaimuki, or call 952-9200. For information about "Hops & Grinds," call 271-9701.
Mix it up
The Hawaii Restaurant Association will hold an industry mixer, 6 to 8 p.m. May 24 at Mariposa, Neiman Marcus.
Chef Doug Lum will offer a menu of artisan cheeses and savory items, paired with wines. Also included: a martini bar and beer station.
Cost is $40. Call 944-9105.
Master sommelier Roberto Viernes hosts a "WinED" event, 5 to 6:30 p.m. May 24 at Formaggio, "Rare Gems of Burgundy."
The tasting will feature six wines from 2003 vintage: meursault from Coche Dury, Arnaud Ente and Guy Roulot; grand cru from Meo-Camuzet; premier crus from Robert Chevillon and Lucien Boillot. Cost is $89.