The one that got away

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Really, Mrs. P? I mean, I appreciate that you called and told me how you felt. But at 1:00 in the morning?

I wish you’d called earlier, like maybe after the first or second time I stopped in hoping to meet you, unsuccessfully, and left my card. I understand it’s hard, the hours you work, so I tried calling three other times when I was told you’d be in, only you weren’t.

So I stopped by a third time, at 9:30 one night, to tell you what I’d told two very sweet and helpful employees: That I’m doing a series on old-time Kalihi eateries, and knowing that you’ve been there for decades and your stuff is so good, I was hoping to feature your story. Only I missed you again.

That’s when you called me at 1 in the morning. I apologize for my voice being raspy. I was actually asleep. But I got your point: You’re a small business. You’re running at capacity in a tiny space and your workers are working as hard as they can. You’re not interested in being featured.

I totally respect that. And I can get past the 1 a.m. thing, which really drove home your point and was a first in my 15 years of journalism.

What’s making this so hard for me is the value-to-buzz ratio. Yours is off the charts. Most people have never heard of you, and yet your cookies are light and impossibly tall — a good three-quarters of an inch — and lovingly rolled in crunchy pecans when pecans aren’t even the star. Your fruity bread loaves are topped with the thinnest layer of icing, a finishing detail that holds in moisture and flavor. And I haven’t even mentioned your signature items.

You care. It shows. You put more famous competitors to shame. And I can’t tell anyone.

It goes against so much of what I am. When I come across a worthy find I want to spread the word: that for those who don’t yet know, there’s a happy corner of the universe where thanks to skilled and loving hands, taste buds will be rewarded.

It goes against nothing in my grain to quash a story that’s not worth telling. I’ve done it many times. I’m not out to hurt any small business, including yours, even if that means not trumpeting your praises, even if that goes against my grain.

I wanted to tell you all this, Mrs. P, because I didn’t get a chance during our short conversation. My thoughts at that hour were running around trying to collect themselves, and you didn’t seem in a talkative mood anyway.

That’s all I wanted to say.

P.S. I’m coming back for those cookies.

15 comments
EurekaGal
EurekaGal

Oooohhh. So TANTALIZING. And on SO MANY levels. The mystery. The quality. The fact that it's all-so-glutenous and I couldn't have it even if I knew where it was and happened to be in Honolulu. This sucks.

808guy
808guy

P is for Paez? I enjoy the hole in the wall aspect but it is boggling why someone wouldn't want to share something so good.

Annoddah_Dave
Annoddah_Dave

EO:  there is only one other bakery that I know in Kalihi and that is Jesse's.  But fzuckit hit it with Kam cause that is the only one where people have to line up.

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

 @Annoddah_Dave i'll tell anybody who asks me in person. but i promised i wdn't put the story on the internet.

turkfontaine
turkfontaine

sometimes you catch more flies with honey, sometimes with vinegar. sometimes you gotta mix them together. remember Spartacus? "in one hand the whip. in the other the cup" 

 

macnut
macnut

What an odd reaction from a business owner. If you don't want to sell more product, why are you in business? for fun? It may be a matter of not being able to handle more business, which would make sense, but that is an incredible problem to have. *shrug*

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

 @macnut i know. i've been over this in my head many times. maybe a generational thing?

Surfingat50
Surfingat50

Is this guess the bakery?

nonstopmari
nonstopmari moderator

 @Surfingat50 nope, just an open letter. and if anybody guesses right, i still have to keep my promise :)