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Big Change, Gooch’s New Project, and the Easiest Sauerkraut Recipe Ever!



I know, it has been a while, but the change was a big one. I also know I promised to keep you posted through the posts, but… It really was a big change and it happened fast. Let’s see, how to tell you without making it a long story….

I moved to San Francisco.

Actually, I am not exactly in the city,but in the area just north of the Golden Gate, the beautiful Marin County.

“Whaaaat? You lived in Hawai’i and you moved here?” That is the question that pops out of everyone’s mouth whenever I answer the previous question of “Where did you move here from?”

When I was in Hawai’i I was answering this question: “You are from Italy? And you moved to Hawai’i?” as if Hawai’i were the dumps! Pleeze, Italy is beautiful, but Hawai’i is glorious, and California is stunning. All in all, I’d say I am doing pretty well with my territories.


But fear not – not that you would – I will still be spending lots of time in Hawai’i. But after eleven years I was finally hit by Island Fever, and yearned for a larger territory to cover. I mean that literally, you know, as in jump in the car and drive all over without having to deal with airports. I don’t mind flying in planes, but airports are a nightmare worse than any of the worse I sometimes have at night.

Now California is my home base, and Hawai’i will be my satellite base, but it will remain the home of my heart. And who knows, maybe after a while I will swap again.


Ok, moving on. Pun very much intended.

Just a few days before my Hawaiian Airlines flight to SFO Int’l, I somehow managed to gather my overwhelmed wits long enough to do a couple of quick photo shoots for the new issue of Edible Hawaiian Islands magazine, getting more fun time with the awesome duo of Dania Katz (publisher) and Sara Smith (Managing Editor).




It was around 8:30 am on November 18th that the three of us met up at the Honolulu airport outside, can you guess, the new Hawaiian Airlines headquarter – which you can’t miss, btw.

You may have head of Chef Mark Noguchi, also known as Gooch (@musubman on Twitter), as he has quite a bit of experience under his belt, working at Town Restaurant and Chef Mavro’s in Honolulu, co-founder of He’eia Kea Pier General Store and Deli in Kaneohe, of the popular Taste in Honolulu’s Kaka’ako, and of The Pili Group. But more of you might know him as commentator for the Cooking Channel’s “Unique Eats”.




I agree, Gooch is always up to something yummy. Isn’t that fun?!

Now he has been asked by Hawaiian Airlines to set up and manage their brand new employee’s lunch room in their brand new (and very fancy) general headquarters. Their intent is to provide their employees with locally sourced, healthy meals, which, with Chef Noguchi at the helm, will also be very tasty. Kudos to Hawaiian Airlines!




The new space, aptly called Lunch Box, is right by the main office, on the top floor of the building, and is a spacious, well appointed room that is filled with natural light. All of that plus Gooch’s great food… hum, maybe I should become a pilot and get a jot at Hawaiian.

See the photo at the top of the post? That is what Gooch prepared for that day,and that is the first thing I photographed that Monday.


After a failed attempt at stopping for lunch at The Pig and The Lady in downtown Honolulu (Dania and I were utterly convinced it was Tuesday, when instead it was Monday, their closing day, aaargh!), we rerouted lunch to one of our favorite places: EAT Honolulu, and then headed for our next exploit at a test kitchen and event space called CookSpace Hawaii, located in the middle of the Ward Warehouse shopping center.




There, I had the pleasure of meeting Alyssa Moreau and photographing her while she prepared the simplest Sauerkraut ever, which, in my mind, I baptized Rainbow Sauerkraut because of all the lovely colors. You can see the fresh ingredients she used in the image above, and the finished Sauerkraut in the one below.


If you would like the recipe with the step by step process, you can find it in the fresh-off-the-press edition of Edible Hawaiian Islands. There you can read the whole Gooch story, too! You can get a preview of the digital edition on the website, and some copies are available at the advertisers’ around the islands, but those go fast. The best way to make sure you have a copy is to subscribe either to the print or digital edition.




Well, that is the latest, or almost. The last few weeks have been an incredible whirlwind, and over abundant in logistics. It must have been a good decision though, because everything fell into place beautifully and incredibly fast, as I pulled it all off in six weeks. You know how that is, when you make a choice that is good for you, all doors open up and you just go with the flow.


Pups and I arrived safely in California on the night of November 22nd, where we were kindly and generously hosted for a few weeks by my dear and long time friends Valerie and Jack. They are more my second family, actually, and they will be featured in my future posts because they both love to eat good food, and they volunteered to explore with me.

My two piglets (one of many nicknames I have for my pups) and I finally moved into a new apartment a few days before Christmas. This, of course, means that I am still surrounded by boxes: empty boxes, half empty boxes – and half empty in this case is a positive thing – full but open boxes, and full, sealed and still piled up because too heavy boxes. Yep, a whole load of boxes!

One day at a time.


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This article was originally published on January 30th, 2014 in my Food Journey blog, which is now integrated into this one.



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