I’ve been experimenting with sacrilege lately and cooking pasta directly in the sauce as I’m making it. I learned (from the Italian side of my family) that you are supposed to bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add salt, then the noodles and wait until it turns al dente.

One night, I decided I would “go green” and not waste the water. The noodles absorbed the flavor directly and became caramelized with the sauce. The sauce itself took on an interesting new consistency, as the starch from the noodles acted as a thickening agent. It required frequent thinning with water, but so long as I didn’t overcook the noodles, they could still be served al dente. Rather than the sauce merely dressing the exterior, the noodles and the sauce formed a unified front to present my palate with pleasure.

While this isn’t the kind of revolution that will change the world in any way, or probably ever leave my kitchen, it was kind of cool to experience a revelation in my own apartment sans consulting Google. It was a simple experiment to see if my established way of doing things was the way it needed to be, or if an alternate solution to a problem, like cooking, could produce unexpected and desirable results.


It seems that there’s been a lot of experimentation as of late, and First Friday was smack dab in the center of it. Headwear line Aaron Kai x Official and In4mation had its release party, bringing the return of the sun visor, an almost-forgotten head ornament that adorns the exterior contours of a skull while leaving the top open to show off a frock of locks. A barrage of bucket hats allowed for more conservative coastal fishing aficionados to save a little something for the imagination in a full head covering. And, for the baller in the outfield, strapping snap backs give the illusion that a sports game could spontaneously erupt like a musical number in Grease at any moment.

The collection featured Kai’s signature strokes (as seen in the windows and walls of Fresh Cafe) that have been keeping this noted artist in demand at all corners of the world. His work often pays homage to the surf that rips through the waters’ edges around our islands. The opening was a triumphant return to his home state for Kai, though his stay will be brief and his tour will be long.

While hats are nothing new, Kai’s fresh and colorful contributions to the cachet of his collaborators culminated in a collection of cabeza couture that cuts counter-current against conformity. It was something novel for your noggin.

If you swoop by Chinatown to scoop one up, pop your hatted head into Marks Garage for a peek at Carl F.K. Pao and Charlton Kupaa Hee’s showing, thematically centered around Maka or Maka Lua. Carl’s traditional carving-inspired paintings pop with the bold lines and colors of street art, mixed with avant-garde lines and surreal textures. Hee’s sculptures bring these images out of the paintings into the 3D world, like after Sadako climbed out of TV in The Ring, except that the experience is a whole lot more colorful, not scary and not a movie.