Our Picks


POSTED: Friday, February 20, 2009


Jimmy Buffet's at the Beachcomber
2300 Kalakaua Ave. / 791-1200

You can count on Jimmy Buffett, the grand pooh-bah of Margaritaville, to bring the party anywhere he touches down. For a long time he's been content to bring his shiny, happy music to the islands, and he recently introduced grinds integral to the party: spicy, colorful, casual, fun. Parrotheads will feel right at home here. Foodies, not so much.

I'm not a Parrothead, but even non-tribe members will have to agree this place is impressive. No expense was spared in creating an oasis on the second floor of the Beachcomber. It's like an elaborate stage set full of colored lights and palm trees with 21,000 square feet of cavernous grotto; a hand-painted ocean-theme floor; monitors presenting concert footage by Buffett and other simpatico musicians; and a large screens bearing videos of waterfalls and beaches.

Tables flow into a poolside patio, where musicians perform from 6:30 to 9:30 nightly before moving indoors and playing through 1:30 a.m. Pick up souvenir T-shirts, CDs and more at the affiliated retail store downstairs.

Food bears the flavors of sunny isles and states, from Honolulu to Key West, Fla., to the Caribbean. Ahi poke ($11.95) is creatively served satay style on skewers in a credible marinade and sprinkled with goma.

Of course they want to move cocktails, so many dishes are supremely salty. That didn't stop me from enjoying peel-and-eat shrimp simmered in beer with lemon and sprinkled with Old Bay seasoning with celery salt. The best dish I tried was the fire-grilled jerk chicken ($15.95) served atop spicy, delicious “;Island”; rice studded with black-eyed peas and accompanied by a healthy portion of steamed summer squash, zucchini and broccoli.

Other dishes were disappointments, such as BBQ ribs that had a dry twice-cooked and oversauced presence. Jerk salmon was also overdone, with heavy BBQ sauce slathered over jerk spices.

Open 7 to 10:30 a.m. for breakfast, then 11 a.m. to midnight daily. Costs about $25 to $30 for lunch, and $40 to $50 for two for dinner without drinks.



Acclaimed auteur Mehta will introduce 'Amal'

Celebrated Indian-Canadian filmmaker Richie Mehta will attend this week's Friends of Film Friday at the Honolulu Academy of Arts' Doris Duke Theatre. “;Amal,”; which he wrote and directed, began as a low-budget short, shot on the streets of New Delhi in 2003.

After a successful festival run, Mehta adapted the story into a feature-length screenplay that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2007 and has since won more than 25 international awards.

“;Amal”; tells the tale of a poor but content rickshaw driver in New Delhi whose life could change forever after he escorts a wealthy man disguised as a beggar.

Mehta will attend the 6:30 p.m. reception for his film at the academy and will introduce “;Amal”; at 7:30 in the theater.

The cost for the reception and film is $12 for members, $15, and $8 for students with ID (price includes a glass of wine). Call 532-8768.



Sufi singer-songwriter presents mystical evening

Latif Bolat, Turkish mystic Sufi singer-songwriter, will present music, poetry, Sufi stories and images from the ancient land of Turkey on Saturday evening.

Bolat performs the ritualistic music and poetry of the Anatolian mystics dating back to the 12th century. The devotional poetry will come from such 13th-century poets as Rumi and Yunus Emre, and Bolat will show images of Turkish people and sacred places from the land of Anatolia.

The singer-songwriter, who will play the saz (long-necked lute), will be accompanied by Larry Ward on the oud and Kip McAtee on guitar.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. concert at Unity Church of Hawaii (3608 Diamond Head Circle) are priced at $12 and $15. Call 732-7717.



Composers' new work include poetry, a capella

Members of the Pacific Composers Project return to Hawaii Public Radio's Atherton Performing Arts Studio Saturday night with a new repertoire of diverse work.

Danny McIntyre, Doug McCulloch, Wesley John, John Chow Seymour, Caitlin Daly, Justin Lukefahr, Kenneth Fong and Colleen Schmuckal will present compositions that use haiku poetry, the shinobue (Japanese bamboo flute), and the distinct timbres of the saxophone, string quartet, piano, percussion and an a capella choir of eight.

Tickets are $25, $20 for HPR members and $15 for students with ID. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Call 955-8821.



Pescatelli primes pistol for Pipeline performance

Tammy Pescatelli, a finalist on NBC's “;Last Comic Standing 2,”; makes her debut next week at Pipeline Cafe.

Having grown up in a small Italian suburb outside of Cleveland, the only girl in a family numbered by boys, the 13-year comedy veteran has spent her entire life defending herself with barbed quips.

Pescatelli has also had her own “;Comedy Central Presents”; half-hour special—where she placed fifth as the top female comic in the cable channel's recent Standup Showdown—and has appeared a couple of times on “;The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”; She's also part of the “;Fashion Police”; panel for US Weekly.

Pescatelli will take the stage at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets—$20, $40 for the upstairs VIP lounge—are available at Ticketmaster outlets at all Macy's and Times Supermarkets, via charge-by-phone at (877) 750-4400, or online at www.ticketmaster.com.