My Nonstop favorites

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With 2011 arriving within days, it’s only fitting for me to close out 2010 by looking back at some of my favorite galleries and video that have run on the site.

It’s been four months we launched, although it feels far longer than that (in a good way, of course…). Every morning, my routine has been to wake up, fire up the iMac, load our content management system and see what content awaits. Even though our core team is small, there are always good choices to draw from, whether they’re blog posts, video or food galleries.

Everyone working on Nonstop has far exceeded my expectations, both in terms of the quantity of content being produced to the creativity being shown to vary the offerings and delve into new areas. I’ve liked far more content that I can include in this post, but here’s what, to me, stood out and why:

New eats: Gogi Korean Taco Truck by Mari Taketa

I chose this gallery because it represents the new Mari that has emerged via Nonstop Honolulu. I first started working with Mari back in early 2008, when she helped write venue listings for the not-yet-launched Metromix Honolulu. From that somewhat staid assignment, she moved on to write food reviews and galleries for both Metromix and the TGIF section of The Honolulu Advertiser. Although Mari’s personality and passion for food was evident in her earlier work, she’s become a much more outspoken, food-critiquing personality while working on Nonstop. Active on Twitter (a platform she previously shunned), she’s now organizing dining tweet-ups, interacting with readers and basically letting herself go as one of the island’s most fervent foodies. This gallery, which involved Mari hunting down this truck on opening day, showed me a new, bolder Mari had arrived.


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By Mari Taketa

6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8. Parking lot behind the haunted house on Ala Moana. One month after we first hear that an L.A.-style Korean taco truck is coming to town, here it is!

Gourmet Asian-Mexican fusion food with freshness, Gogi promises. Like what exactly? Spicy pork tacos. Kalbi sliders. And holy potato, creamy kimchee fries! Cheehoo!

Gogi Korean Taco Truck
805 Ala Moana Blvd.

Did this: Chopsticks & Wine by Melissa Chang

I’ve also been working with Melissa since those early Metromix days, and have also seen her evolve from being a relatively under-the-radar blogger to one of the most recognized writers/bloggers around town and a social networking powerhouse. I chose this gallery because not only does it show Melissa’s ability to write about and photograph food with authority, but it shows her skill at working a crowd. (You don’t get party pics like this, unless you’re comfortable with people.) As the editor of a food-oriented website, I can’t tell you how valuable it is to have someone like Melissa, who can go to a big dining event and bring back fun, entertaining shots and captions like this.

Did this: Chopsticks & Wine

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By Melissa Chang

Every October for nine years, the Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce has put on one of the biggest food and wine events in Honolulu. Chopsticks & Wine has grown to a mega-event of 1,300 people with 16 food stations and hundreds of wines, beer and sake. It was my first time, and from the moment I set foot in the ballroom, I could feel the incredible energy. It was overwhelming.

Tip for first-timers: If you can get out of work early, aim to get there as early as possible. I thought I was early — a half hour — but when I got there, the parking lot traffic was slow going. Once parked, the rest of the night is an amazing blur of people and food.

Cat Chat episode 3: Whine and wine

Cat Chat is the brainchild of its star host, Catherine Toth, who had worked in TV news before and was interested in starting a regular Internet talk show. It took about two seconds for me to agree that yes, Cat would be good at this, and that a regular talk show would be good for the site. Since the first Cat Chat launched in early November, we’ve had weekly shows, thanks to the shooting and editing efforts of Nonstop’s go-to-guy John Garcia. Cat is a natural on video. She’s fun, charismatic, funny, and perhaps most importantly, she knows how to bring out the personality of her guests. There’s definitely a future for her in this line of work should she chose this route.

The video below was my favorite Cat Chat to date because of the natural chemistry between Cat and regular guest Shannon Ball. They had fun shooting this, so naturally, people will have fun watching it.

Daughtry concert pics by Ed Morita

I was thrilled to see these two galleries shot by Ed Morita at the Daughtry concert because they showed that Ed is more than just a pastry chef-turned blogger and food writer. Because we’re a small team with big ambitions, I need everyone in the Nonstop crew to wear as many hats as possible. I wasn’t sure if Ed was up to be an event/party photographer until I saw his terrific Daughtry coverage.

Daughtry live in Honolulu

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Party pics

Daughtry party pics

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Black Friday madness by Nonstop team

The Nonstop crew had met earlier in the month and decided that as a team, we would cover Black Friday as a multimedia event. The only way to really capture the retail craziness happening around the island was to send people out to different Black Friday hotspots, so we had Melissa, Ed, Tracy Chan, John and Jermel Lynn-Quillopo out at the malls and stores.

Here’s the page with what we came up with. I feel we provided some of the best Black Friday media coverage here on the island because we were nimble, quick with our cameras and worked as a team.

“Hawaii Five-O” premiere at Sunset on the Beach

This was one of the first big events we covered as a team. John, Tracy and Ed divided up the responsibilities and brought back these photos and video. Again, we showed we can be scrappy and cover the heck out of a big event with some wherewithal.

Party pics: Hallowbaloo

Led by Tracy, Nonstop’s nightlife photographer/blogger/writer, we brought Hallowbaloo to life on our site with these pics.


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Choosing what to place in this blog must have been a hard choice Diane. With the multitude of blogs, pics, and comments your staff has submitted what do you choose. Great choices!

Looking forward to Non Stop Honolulu's further blogs in 2011. Happy New Year to the NSHNL gang

johngarcia moderator

Awesome memories with an awesome crew! Big things to come in 2011! Stay tuned. :)


Hey @korean taco truck made it in! Well I guess it was chosen more for the transformation of @nonstopmari into a social networking butterfly ;-) but still, I think this was a bit of a landmark post because it helped start the "Food Truck 2.0" craze that was to come in the next few months. Looking (and drooling) at the photos again I remember thinking whoa this is gonna be a hit right off the bat, I gotta try it. And so started my own journey of food truck chasing and tweeting, which has been a lot of fun.

Anyway this was a good summary of what Nonstop and its crew has to offer and I'm sure it will only get better and better. Happy New Year and best wishes for 2011!


Diane, I can only hope that you've enjoyed putting out this content, as much as I have enjoyed reading it. Thanks to nonstop, I've made friends, decided on trying new places, learned so much about wine (thank Cat for that) and just generally enjoyed reading every single column and blog that's been posted. All the best to your team in the future, and if you're looking for a Pearl Harbor blogger, I'm your guy! ;o)


Congrats Diane and Nonstop Honolulu team. Wishing you all a prosperous, productive, and phun New Year! ;-)


have a happy and prosperous new year. 2011 - the year of NSHNL.


I just realized Diane that you only had 4 months of choices to go thru, basically Sept thru Dec. This year, 2011, you're going to have a full year of choices for your top 10 which will make your decision even tougher. Best of luck in choosing your best in 2012.

IMHO, the Korea blogs by Mari gets top billing at present time and it's only the start of the 3rd full week of January 2011. Eleven and a half more months of blogs and pics yet to come.