Favorite Holiday Happenings

Jo McGarry
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Wednesday - November 29, 2006
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Don Murphy throws a Ronald McDonald House fundraiser at Murphy’s Bar and Grill Dec. 13
Don Murphy throws a Ronald McDonald
House fundraiser at Murphy’s Bar and Grill
Dec. 13

As usual, I tried to cram all the good things happening this week into one column, without success. Here’s a quick look at some of my favorite holiday events.

It’s true that giving makes you feel good about yourself, and there’s no better example of that than the annual Ronald McDonald House fundraiser at Murphy’s Bar and Grill. This festive gathering has grown over the years from a few dozen customers and friends to hundreds of people wishing to get into the Christmas spirit.

In our family, just as Don Murphy’s Pigskin Pigout signals the beginning of football season, the Ronald McDonald House fundraiser makes us feel that Christmas is truly here. Take a new, unwrapped toy to Murphy’s on Dec. 13 and then enjoy a complimentary buffet dinner and a trolley ride to see Honolulu’s Christmas lights. Bring your best carol-singing voices - caroling on the trolley is mandatory - (and heart-warming) and dress in your favorite Christmas clothes. This is one of those special nights where you walk away feeling good about the world. Murphy’s Christmas decorations are always stunning, and presents are wrapped throughout the evening by an army of cheerful volunteers; Santa usually makes an appearance, too. As usual, Don Murphy and his wife, Marion, find ways of raising money that engage the public imagination as well as their pocketbooks. For more information, call 531-0422.

And speaking of feeling good about the holidays, don’t forget to check out one of those little green coupons at Safeway, Times, Tamura’s and Kokua Market this month. Kraft and the Hawaii Foodbank urge you to help fight hunger and share your holiday food shopping with a homeless family. Donations at the checkout begin at just $2.19.

Helemano Plantation holds its annual fundraiser Dec. 15 at The Hilton Hawaiian Village, and in trademark style, sites are set high.

“We need to raise $5 million,” says ORI (Opportunities for the Retarded) founder, Susanna Cheung, who has already begun to build a day care center for the elderly on the grounds of the Wahiawa property. If you can’t make it to the fundraiser, then order one of Helemano’s incredibly good, fresh pineapple pies. “We don’t make them every day,” says Helemano’s Yvonne De Luna, “but we will make them to order.” The pies, filled with homegrown pineapples and topped with a flaky pastry crust, are wonderful. Call 622-3929 to order for Christmas ...

Roy Yamaguchi is beginning a series of dinners that are sure to be a sell-out. He’s inviting owners of popular “hole in the wall” restaurants to guest at his Hawaii Kai location and work with his own staff. First dinner kicks off this week with Chef Betty Pang of The Green Door in Chinatown - look for more of the same in coming months. I expect these dinners to be so good that my advice to foodies is just call now and make a reservation for the next one without even waiting to hear who the chef will be. The Green Door dinner is just $45 per person, hopefully setting the tone - and the price - for future guest chefs. For reservations at Roy’s Hawaii Kai, call 396-7697.

And it seems just about the right time to remind everyone to call to cancel restaurant reservations - even if you do so right at the last minute. During the holidays, restaurants lose out when diners make multiple bookings and then decide at the last minute where to go. If you’re making Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve reservations, remember that any empty table costs restaurant staff money. Restaurants often have waiting lists, and you’ll find most are grateful to know they can free up a table or two. One famous chef used to deal with thoughtless customers by calling them at 4 a.m. to see why they hadn’t turned up for dinner ...

Happy eating!

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