Aloha! My name is Seth; I am an attorney, photojournalist and food/wine blogger in Honolulu, Hawaii.
As a Photojournalist, I humbly attempt to capture candid moments of life and human nature, truthfully and honestly. Looking through the lens should always result in seeing life with greater clarity, and helping others to do the same.
As a blogger, my occasional Musings explore the interplay between food, wine and culture in the Pacific Rim, through storytelling, pairings, [occasionally wonkish] scientific musings, and more.
The world is a fascinating place, full of wonderful people, extraordinary wine, and delightfully diverse cuisines. Great stories surround us. My blogging journey is an attempt to capture just a few. Find out more about me.
Thanks for stopping by and spending a part of your day with me. Feel free to contact me with any comments or inquiries, and be sure to join my free eMusings mail list to receive updates whenever a new post is live. Cheers!
Bonne fête nationale! We have come upon the one day in my annual calendar on which I painstakingly pretend to possess a modicum of French zealotry. And whether it’s commemorating the storming of the Bastille (vive la révolution!) or gleeful anticipation for tomorrow’s World Cup Final (I salute anyone who had France vs. Croatia in their finals bracket), there is much to celebrate. Frenzied Francophiles unite!
In true French fashion, celebrations are only complete with a perpetual pour of high quality vin (admittedly, this is one thing the French get right), and I never miss an opportunity to join my besotted brethren for a tasty beverage. Thus, a metaphorical meandering through the vineyards of France is an appropriate endeavor for a dollop of frivolity on France's famed holiday.
French wine labels and foreign terminology, however, can leave a typical Yank harboring occasional French fanaticism somewhat befuddled in the grocery aisle. Whereas most wine labels in the United States are varietal specific (e.g., Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, etc.), France designations are primarily regional.
Fear not! French bottles are packed with useful information that allows you to procure a great bottle with ease. Admittedly, this requires some regional knowledge and exploration of the many designated appellation d'origine contrôlées (or AOCs) of France. Every AOC is an indicator of the wine’s quality, style, varietals used, and more. Armed with a smattering of regional knowledge and only a few label-navigation tips, you can be drinking with confidence.
One of the most exciting aspects of the wine world is its tremendous breadth and diversity. With more than 5,000 identified vitis vinifera varietals, there is no scarcity of exploratory adventures. Of course, only a small fraction of these varietals can be found at your local wine shop, but nonetheless, if you exclusively procure Merlot and Cabernet, your vino consumption is tragically incomplete. Fear not; embrace the vinous underdogs! To commence the wine fridge expansion endeavor, I'll volunteer one example just in time for the summer barbie ...
I am, as the title foretells, talking about the wonderful yet largely forgotten varietal, Carménère (pronounced "car-men-nair"). It carries less notoriety than its distant cousins, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, yet it shares a similarly delightful profile and is extraordinarily food friendly. As a bonus, Carménère boasts a fascinating journey from the Old World to the New, from extinction to rebirth, from unwanted to celebrated. Everyone loves an intriguing narrative, and Carménère has a story to tell.
So toss a few charcoal briquettes in the grill, break out the red wine glasses, and let us toast to Carménère as we grill a fine summer smorgasbord. A story to whet the appetite, and a tasty pairing to quell it.
It may be shocking, but life isn't only about wine.
Photography can often convey emotion and invite reflection in ways that words cannot. Looking through the lens should always result in seeing life with greater clarity, and helping others to do the same. For these reasons, I offer the first in a series entitled Visual Musings that offers themed photo essays of place, purpose or narrative.
For me, no trip greater encompasses all of these components than my Cambodian sojourn in the summer of 2016. Emotion and thoughtful reflection were working overtime. Tremendous poverty and long-endured persecution were interspersed with joy and generosity that exemplified the incredible character and resilience of the Cambodian people. Engineering feats nearly a thousand years old demonstrated the limitless capacity of human innovation. And, of course, the stunning natural beauty of Southeast Asia. It is truly one of my favorite places on earth.
On the two-year anniversary of that trip, it is a fitting commencement to my Visual Musings.
A pineapple-kiwi convergence may sound like the commencement of a smoothie expedition. In this post, however, it is a far more delightful (and a touch inebriating) sojourn to the shores of Maui with one of New Zealand’s great wineries. A tropical vinous adventure packed with sunshine, wine and, most assuredly, a modicum of frivolity.
Okay, I admit, this post isn’t entirely new. I would characterize it more as an amended and restated post -- new and improved! -- from an earlier bargain Pinot Noir featuring Mt. Beautiful Winery. That post is no longer active so I was patiently perusing other opportunities to revisit this tremendous winery and recommend a few tasty food pairings for its wines that are available locally in Honolulu. I discovered the perfect occasion in the Winery’s event travel itinerary...
The Kiwis are coming, the Kiwis are coming! The Island of Maui plays host to Mt. Beautiful Winery, among other notable vineyards, at the Kapalua Food and Wine Festival on June 7-10. A chance to highlight one of my favorite New Zealand wineries and a Maui food and wine festival all in one post? I will cheerfully take that deal.
Our Italian tropological trudging in the Great Pizza and Wine Pairing Expedition has come upon its final chapter. Brick Fire Tavern and its regional menu has faithfully led us from the slopes of the Italian Alps in northern Italy and its creamy rustic flavors of the forest (in Part I) down to the ancient city of Rome (in Part II), tasting a few of the most iconic combinations in Italy's illustrious culinary history. In this final installment, our expedition reaches the southern shores and azure blue waters of the Mediterranean. A utopia that begs for fellowship, relaxation and perhaps a modicum of frivolity. Sounds as though things might get a little spicy...
Ciao a tutti! This week we are traveling south in the Great Pizza and Wine Pairing Expedition, in diligent pursuit of Italy’s best regional food and wine pairings. Our traveling compass is the esteemed Brick Fire Tavern and its regional menu that is optimized for a regional pairing paradigm. In Part I, we explored northern Italy and the tremendous cuisine inspired by the mountains and forests of the Italian Alps. As our journey heads south, we stop over in central Italy and Rome, its illustrious capital. Here history, culture and cuisine collide in a wonderful accord of fresh flavors and bustling excitement.
Wine and food pairings in the region date back over two thousand years, and some of the most acclaimed cuisine of Italy finds its rudimentary beginnings in the Eternal City. With so much culinary and vinous history, we are certain to discover some incredible pairings.
Excitement untamed; commence unbridled exploration!
EAT-aly! It is one of the most prodigious food destinations in the world. And, you may have noticed, its wines are pretty good, too. Viticulture has thrived in the region for thousands of years, and the culinary heritage of Italy is the spellbinding synthesis of food and wine. At the table, wine is not an option, it is a presumption. I like this country already.
While Italy is not a geographical behemoth (its length is comparable to that of California), the culinary traditions from north to south vary tremendously. In every corner of Italy, enthusiasts can experience flavors, aromas and techniques that make each region unique, vibrant and special.
With an expansive Italian diaspora, today we are extraordinarily spoiled with the opportunity to experience and taste a more complete portfolio of Italy’s marvelous regional culinary mosaic. I would humbly suggest that we do so, immediately. In a three-part series, I embark on a culinary expedition through the mountains, valleys and shores of this food haven, showcasing the flavors and wines that make each region uniquely delicious.
Sure, Thomas Jefferson's foremost imprint on history will be as the author of the Declaration of Independence and as the third President of the United States. More interesting, I am sure you would agree, is Jefferson's oenological obsessions. Indeed, he was unequivocally America’s first (and best) Sommelier-in-Chief. Although this passion was primarily found in the vineyards of France, Jefferson was noted amongst the early admirers of Nebbiolo da Barolo during his vinous sojourn through northern Italy in 1785 (although the wine at this time was much different and notably sweeter). Throughout his years as Secretary of State and as President, Jefferson served up hundreds of bottles of Nebbiolo for his esteemed guests at Monticello.
Thomas Jefferson is in good company. I, too, am a huge fan of Nebbiolo.
Unfortunately, I lack access to a cellar that rivals Monticello. Fortunately, I have a few wine enthusiast friends with which to share a bottle and some vinous musings. As to the latter, I found opportunity to sit down with my good friends at Flavors of Italy (Honolulu's preeminent wine merchants) to discuss all things Nebbiolo. Discussion promptly proceeded to uncorking a few specimens (for the purpose of extensive research, of course), and pairing them with delicious local cuisine. Life doesn't get much better than this ...
As you may know, my moonlighting adventure as a food and wine blogger is only half the narrative. By day, I am an attorney in Honolulu, Hawaii with Chang Iwamasa LLP, specializing in corporate formation and governance, real estate transactional matters and non-profit organizations.
Today (March 19) I had the privilege to discuss the integration of my law practice with Musings by the Glass on ThinkTech Hawaii's Law Across the Sea Program with host (and fellow attorney) Mark Shklov. Buckle up; one should never casually commence my modicum of [live] musings. At least, for your sake, there were rigorous time limitations.
The interview can be found here.
This might not shock you, but I decided to bring a few vinous friends to partake in the occasion. Every good conversation can benefit from a bottle … or two.
One of the best holidays of the year is upon us! Every Seventeenth of March my residence is painstakingly converted into Ó Buachalla's Drunken Moose Pub in celebration of everyone's favorite patron saint of Ireland. [Sincerest apologies to those loyal patrons whose favorite patron saint of Ireland is Brigit of Kildare or Saint Columba]. Saint Patrick is honored in style with food, fellowship, Irish drinking songs, and a modicum of frivolity. Party on...