Kirby’s Pineapple Martini

3 Days of Aloha Festival and a Pineapple Martini

By the Culinary Traveler( July 2010 Gazette Newspaper)

Michelle Moranha Winner

Author Kirby Wright’s Martini sparkles with island flavor.

My article today reminds us that one can never really get too far from home, especially the Hawaii born and raised. Wherever I go, I bring Hawaii with me. Ditto all keiki o ka ‘aina. Here are two stories that relate to this theme of Hawaiians travel and sharing. One about a Hawaiian Festival for you to attend at the end of July and one about a book and special martini for you to enjoy as soon as you can.

I was “home” in Hawaii recently and went for a morning of exploration at the fascinating Bishop Museum. The museum is a must see to understand the Hawaiian culture when you begin your next Hawaii trip I stopped to visit a craft fair on the museum’s Great Lawn. Not your mother’s crochet leis, dashboard hula gals and tropical print Kleenex cozies; no this was the Native Hawaiian Arts Market, a gathering of Hawaii artisans.

Traditional Hawaiian arts were demonstrated and offered for sale; kapa ( tapa) making, printmaking, feather lei construction, miniature feather kahilis, octopus lures, weapons, Hawaiian games, wood and stone carving, drum making and lauhala weaving. And there were also those who work with adaptations of ancient symbols, places and texts whom offered books, silk printing, landscape paintings and photography all enhanced by live Hawaiian music. This fair is part of Hawaii ‘s Maoli Arts Month or MAM‘o that includes gallery showings, festivals on other islands and installations, highlighting talented artists and honoring the way art is conceived, evolved and in the case of the pure ancient Hawaiian arts taught and handed down.

Paulette and her beautiful feather work.

I was able to “talk story” with Paulette Kahalepuna an artisan whom mentioned to me that they were going to be in Vancouver in July for the festival. Paulette carries on her own mother’s exquisite feather work with daughter Mele and teaches classes in Kapahulu near Waikiki creating masterful feather leis, hatbands and kahilis. She pointed out several other artisans that are coming to Vancouver, Washington to participate in the Ke Kui Foundation’s “3 Days of Aloha” beginning July 29th, 2010.

I wandered over to Allen Punawai Rice from Hilo, Hawaii who is a fabric designer and printer. He creates elegant Hawaiian motifs on silk as scarves. They are elegant and will complement Pacific Northwest wardrobes too. He invites everyone to visit and “talk story” with him and his family at the Punawai Design Resource booth ( ) at Esther Short Park in Vancouver Friday July 30th from 5-9pm and Saturday July 31st from 11Am -7Pm.

The Ke Kukui Foundation’s mission is to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture for all of us and the future generations. Their three day event, beginning with a big party or Pa‘ina, continues with hula and craft workshops taught by masters from Hawaii, a hapa haole hula dance contest and culminates in the free Ho’ike and Hawaiian Festival on Saturday July 31.. “ 3 Days of Aloha“: for classes, events and to sign up for their newsletter too.

Daughter Mele sews feathers to an Uli uli topper ( hula instrument).

So here is part two of the story. Still in Hawaii, I was finishing lunch with my mom at my oceanfront club when two ladies approached our table. They asked if my mom was Mrs. Moranha, a long time Catholic elementary school teacher. We spent the next 10 minutes catching up with Mrs. Wright and her daughter. I mentioned that I had picked up a copy of her son Kirby Wright’s book “Punahou Blues” his life and times growing up in Kahala and attending Punahou school ( Obama’s high school).

Once Kirby won a statewide poetry contest in third grade which required him to go to island schools even to high schools to read his little poem- they thought this facetious little kid with the perfect diction, a twit. However his poems and writings have now won prestigious awards and he has a MFA in Creative Writing. His Punahou book is hilarious. Through his adventures you can see that not all of those kids are rich nor smart, and exactly as I remembered. I handed my card to his mom and a few weeks later Kirby called me at my office in Oregon.

Seems that he has written a few more books since “Blues”. He continues his childhood saga and coming of age in Hawaii narratives, with stand alone vingettes of time centered on his grandparent’s ranch on Molokai, known as the friendly isle. “Moloka’i Nui A Hina- the lonely isle” is my next read in this collection.

Kirby was hosting a book signing in San Diego when I talked with him. True to his island- style largesse and aloha, he was serving his famous Pineapple Martini at the signing! I have included that for you as our July recipe.

Grab his Moloka’i book at Amazon and pour yourself one of these for a funny read. See you all at the “3 Days of Aloha” in Vancouver.

Kirby’s Pineapple Martini Recipe

1 part pineapple rum

1 part vodka

2 parts pineapple juice

Pour into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake vigorously for a few seconds; strain into a martini cocktail glass, and serve. I also buy pineapple bits frozen and put them in the bottom of the glass before pouring from the shaker( KW).

By | 2017-07-11T21:39:15+00:00 August 10th, 2010|Categories: Cocktails, Recipes, Sip|Tags: , , , , |5 Comments

About the Author:

Michelle is a freelance journalist specializing in luxury and experiential travel. Her readers number in the millions through her various online outlets and print magazines. She loves to explore a culture through their culture and food. "Sometimes, " she says , "luxury can be a shack on the beach with a sand floor and a ceiling of stars."


  1. Kristof Thibaud August 10, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    Very nice article, Michelle, thanks.

    I think Kirby mentioned he had a crush on you @ Star of the Sea School.

    All best,


  2. Steve August 31, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    This is a perfect drink to commemorate our wedding and honeymoon we experienced on a beach near Honolulu some 8 years ago coming this October!

  3. win September 6, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    I just happen to land on this blog and it is a properly written read, a little bit on the long end, but a fairly satisfactory one.
    I really adore the layout too, it is altogether very easy to navigate.

  4. college scholarship September 9, 2010 at 3:04 am

    well written blog. Im glad that I could find more info on this. thanks

  5. Kristof Thibaud March 21, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Believe it or not, Kirby is writing a futuristic novel. The first 3 episodes are available on kindle:

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