Finding Waikiki On The Mainland
Wednesday - September 28, 2005
I travel a lot. So maybe it’s not unusual that while out of the state this whole month (and unable to answer your e-mails) I was finding a lot of Aloha, a Waikiki Beach, a way to drive to Samoa, a Hawaii Transport company in California, and a yak burger.
I found one Aloha just a skip away from Pacific Beach - which is a hop away from Moclips and a jump from Aberdeen - in Washington state on its southwest coast. Aloha, the town, was born 103 years ago when our Wilfred Dole was at Stanford University and made friends with Washington timber scion Ralph Emerson.
They started a lumber mill and the town of Aloha, and it grew to more than 50 houses and a busy motel. Dole got out in 1940 and sold the town and mill to the Shingle family.
But the timber business went downhill with over-cutting and competition from big companies like Weyerhaeuser and foreign milling. Aloha Timber Co. went belly-up a few years ago. Most of the townspeople moved out. Aloha is now just a dot on the state highway map, plus the surviving Aloha Tavern run by Lloyd Syverson, who told a beer salesman who tried to sell him some pumpkin beer for Halloween: “For my crowd? I don’t think so.”
Waikiki Beach is about 60 miles south of Aloha. It’s inside Washington’s Ft. Canby State Park, renamed Cape Disappointment. It’s a great disappointment. Dirty sand. Murky water. Huge timbers being tossed ashore. Mayor Mufi, you should consider a sharp letter suggesting slander.
The loudly painted horse trailers along Highway 1 at Bodega Bay, Calif., say Hawaii Transport. That seems to mean owner Sheila Head is in the horse-hauling as well as the horse-ranching business. I couldn’t reach her by phone. She had transported herself, on vacation I suppose, to the Outrigger Waikiki Hotel.
Samoa is an easy drive from Eureka, Ore. Two miles over a bridge from the mainland. In the 1880s a farmer found hot springs on his land and drew in tourists. A development company bought him out and planned a big resort. Samoa was in the news then as a new American territory, and the to-be-built-town-and-resort was named Samoa. It went bust.
All that remains is a pulp mill and the Samoa Cookhouse with some of the plainest food on the planet, but plenty of it. You can at least say you’ve been to Samoa.
Now, about the yak burgers. Kauai buffalo never seem to have made much of a splash in Hawaii cuisine. Maybe because anybody can get buffalo burgers
anywhere. But yak burgers? Perhaps some visionary Hawaii entrepreneur could give them a try. I found them at Billy’s Bar & Grill in Aberdeen, Wash. Yak Cheddar burger for $7.95. Yak bacon cheeseburger for $8.95, and yak steak with onions for $10.95.
Normally, you have to go to Tibet to get decent yak. Now they’re bred for eating at Bill and John Martin’s ranch in Elma, Wash. Yak meat has one-sixth the fat of beef. I can’t say much about the taste because my yak burger came with cheese, lettuce, tomato and pickle.
If you hanker to corner the yak burger market in Honolulu, I guess you can contact the Martins at 1290 Monta Elma Rd. Elma, Wash, 98541.
Incidentally, Billy’s Bar and Grill has a no-joke sign saying state law prohibits anyone but liquor inspectors from bringing firearms into the bar area. Do you suppose that’s where Wally Weatherwax got the idea of giving our liquor inspectors Wyatt Earp armament?
You never know when you might have to shoot it out with a varmint high on either yak or crack.
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