Our Picks for the Weekend
'Kyogen: On the Go!' plays Monday in Kaneohe
The University of Hawaii's "Kyogen" production was no doubt a cultural showcase full of the kind of stuff you'd like your kids to absorb, but perhaps you were worried whether they could sit through a full-length piece of traditional Japanese theater.
So, catch "Kyogen: On the Go!" -- a free mini-performance and workshop -- at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Kaneohe Public Library.
Kyogen -- meaning "mad words" or "wild speech" -- is a centuries-old form of Japanese theater comprising comedic plays.
The student actors, trained by masters from Japan, will lead a kyogen workshop after their performance.
The one-hour program is suitable for ages 10 and up. Call 233-5676.
Performances will follow on Maui, at Wailuku at 6:30 p.m. March 8 and Makawao at 10 a.m. March 10.
Hawaiian Backyard Jam at Kapiolani Bandstand
The Hawaiian Style Backyard Jam, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Kapiolani Park Bandstand, brings together a host of local bands for a free afternoon of music.
The Coalition for a Drug Free Hawaii is sponsoring the event for the seventh year to mark Drug-Free Hawaii Awareness Month.
Performing will be Keahiwai, Kawao, Opihi Pickers and Kaipo, Ewalani Hula Maids, Na Kane Hula and Friends of Adam. There will be games for kids, jumpers and food will be sold.
Shuttle service will be available from Ewa Beach, Waianae, the north shore, Kalihi Valley, Waipahu and Waimanalo. Call 545-3228.
New year celebrations continue
Ala Moana Center lion dancing:
If you missed all the Chinatown hoo-ha last weekend marking the Year of the Boar, you're not too late to claim some good luck by slipping a dollar into the dancing lion's mouth.
Ala Moana Center celebrates the Lunar New Year from noon to 2:45 p.m. Saturday with firecrackers, lion-dancing and an appearance by the Narcissus Queen and her court.
Six lion-dancing teams will put on martial arts displays at Centerstage, then 12 lions will begin their march through the center, visiting merchants and collecting red envelopes of lai see, meant to chase away the evil spirits and bring good luck for the new year. Call 955-9517.
Korean celebration on Kapiolani: You hear mostly about Chinese traditions at this time of year, but it's important to note that the Lunar New Year is celebrated throughout Asia. On Saturday, music, drumming and dance groups will come together for Honolulu's first Jishin Balpgi -- a Korean celebration of the new year, beginning at 10 a.m.
Jishin Balpgi, which means "Stepping on the Earth Spirit," is a traditional village folk festival also celebrated in many U.S. cities with large Korean communities. Drummers in colorful minbok visit homes and businesses, symbolizing a ritual cleansing and the chasing away of evil spirits.
The starting point for Saturday's event will be the United Korean Association of Hawaii on Kapiolani Boulevard, with the beat of the drum moving up Kapiolani to Mikawon Restaurant, then to Palama Market, returning to Keeamoku Street and ending near Sorabol Restaurant.
Flyers in Korean and English will be provided to passers-by.
Waikiki Beach Walk, 226 Lewers St. 923-YARD (9273)
Foodies and culinary Neanderthals may have to rethink their dining prejudices if the Yard House restaurant is an indicator of our future. The first group may never want to set foot in a chain restaurant, especially ones with TV screens all around, but if they did, they would see just how far the culinary revolution of the past two decades has taken us.
The latter -- a group averse to diversity beyond all-American burgers, mac 'n' cheese and pizza -- may be alarmed to find such new global additions to the menu as crimini mushrooms, truffle oil, jasmine rice and pasilla peppers.
The restaurant is ideal for large parties because it easily accommodates varying preferences and degrees of dining sophistication, while leaving patrons in good spirits. Yard House's chief claim to fame is its number of draft beer choices, from ales, stouts and lagers to the unusual sweet and fruity raspberry-flavored Lindeman's Framboise. The restaurant's centerpiece is a massive bar, needed to accommodate 130 taps, and the menu features such beer-friendly pupus as an onion ring tower ($8.50), chicken nachos ($9.45) and grilled Jamaican wings ($10.25) marinated in a jerk sauce with a hint of Cajun spices as well.
A casual dinner might involve a classic half-pound cheeseburger ($10.25) of Angus beef served on a potato bun. You can get that burger topped with pepper jack and roasted green chilies ($10.75); applewood-smoked bacon, cheddar and barbecue sauce ($11.35); or classic Bearnaise sauce ($11.50).
For haughtier fare, I was impressed by seafood offerings such as miso Chilean sea bass ($25.95) and porcini-crusted halibut ($23.95), the latter with a heavy porcini cream sauce most remarkable for its use of white truffle oil, a luxury. The timing wasn't the best, leaving the fish somewhat dry, but the fact that the restaurant is doing such a great job within days of opening speaks volumes about its eager, energetic staff.
To be clear, Alan Wong, Hiroshi Fukui and Chef Mavro have nothing to worry about. But for diners who have grown weary of food for the masses, Yard House brings fine-dining experience to a familiar arena.
Open 11 a.m. to midnight daily, at $22 to $28 for lunch and $25 to $45 for dinner for two without drinks.
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