Complete Streets and Cyclovia at Hele On Kaka’ako!


Here are two new terms to add to your vocabulary:  1) Cyclovia 2) Complete Streets.  These two buzz words have become common household words here in the UMU office as we have just wrapped up the Hele On Kaka’ako event that took place place on Mother’s Day, May 12, 2013, which featured both, complete streets and cyclovia.   Collaborating with Cyclovia Hawaii for the first time, the event featured  family-friendly activities, a 5K run at the Waterfront Park, a Complete Streets Demonstration Project on Cooke Street, skateboard ramps,  aerobics classes, dance classes, bike education, live music and food trucks – just to name  a few!

So what is a Cyclovia?

Cyclovia, or Ciclovias, originated in Bogotá, Columbia, in 1974 and have been successfully implemented worldwide. Cyclovias are sometimes referred to as “open streets,” “car-free days” or “Sunday Streets” and usually involve temporarily closing one or more roadways to motorized traffic so that people of all ages and abilities may enjoy them for recreational activities such as walking, bicycling, jogging, skateboarding and rollerblading.  

What about Complete Streets?

A Complete Street is a project that is designed by a volunteer group of people that might include professional traffic engineers, landscape architects, planners, architects, sustainable gardeners and businesses and community members. It is one example of how a street can become enjoyable for all users and create a more sustainable community.   Complete Streets reduce vehicle crashes and improve the flow of all users. During Hele On Kaka’ako, Cooke street was transformed with dedicated bike lanes, beautiful parklets and families were free and safe to bike, walk and stroll.  

Our sister company TASTE  also hosted a Mother’s Day Brunch put on by celebrity Chef Lee Anne Wong and her mother. The menu featured cheddar pineapple and banana bread, an appetizer plate with Hawaiian fruit medley on macadamia yogurt topped on Japanese rusk, crispy pa’i’ai with wildflower honey and Fresh Farms goat cheese,  haupia cream with house-made granola and smoked monchong, black pepper cream cheese with quail egg on a bagel.  The main dish featured crispy pork belly or roasted monchong with sweet corn hollandaise, creamy polenta, 63 degree egg, fresh vegetable medley and garlic crostini. And to finish it off, crispy coconut french toast with vanilla anglaise, bananas and Koloa rim sauce.

UMU was thrilled to take part in this new movement towards Complete Streets, Cyclovia and self transportation in safe, sustainable environments.  It was a pleasure to work with Cyclovia Hawaii and we were happy to collaborate with a new client who shares in our value of  a more sustainable way of life!






UMU, Pili & TASTE Are On Holiday

Under My Umbrella, Pili and TASTE would like to wish everyone Happy Holidays!  Although you will usually find our staff working endlessly,  you will not find us in office December 24 to January 1st. We feel that taking a break and spending much deserved time away from the office (and the computer) is just as important as our high level of productivity.   So, if you are reading this from your office computer, GO HOME! Take a break. Go for a hike or a swim, read a book, maybe even do some baking and share it with your neighbors.

We will re-open our office next year on January 2nd, 2013–ready to hit the ground running.  We are so thankful for the wonderful community we have and we’re honored to be a part of the great work that is happening here in Hawaii.

Cheers to a prosperous 2013!


The UMU/Pili/TASTE Family

P.S. In case you are hours out for a holiday party searching your closet, wondering what “festive attire” means exactly, enjoy this article in the New York Times. We did.

Times They Are A Changing…

With the new year comes a time for reflection, a look at what we have accomplished, and where we hope to go. One of the biggest changes for  Under My Umbrella is the relocation of our headquarters from Manoa Marketplace to Kaka`ako. With many of our clients and our new sister business TASTE in Kaka`ako, we decided it was time to spread our wings and join them in this  new, hip, rapidly evolving urban hub.

Located at 675 Auahi Street (the old Chai’s) we share our space with Paiko (our favorite florist who shares our passion for  local sustainable practices). With a little help from our friends, we were able to give the space a facelift and build a wall to split the unit in two areas. One side for UMU headquarters and Paiko’s workshop and retail floral shop on the other.

Manoa is where we grew up, and we will miss the serenity and calmness the valley offered, but Kaka`ako has already proven to be where we need to be.  So next time you are out and about, grab a bite at  TASTE, check out the latest art at Two Eyes Gallery and stop by the new office to say hello. In the evening,  Night Market or Eat the Street are also a great way to get a taste of the emerging urban pulse of Kaka`ako.

As the year comes to an end, we are proud to reflect on our continued growth and thankful for all who have helped us to get here. We can’t wait to see what the future holds and we look forward to sharing it with you.

Mahalo Nui Loa Manoa. Aloha Kaka`ako.

“Sharing” Pure Aloha

On November 17 at the second Night Market, Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha took part in a shave ice experiment our UMU crew and HOPA dreamed up. During the summer we ran a campaign where people of Hawaii donated over 700 shave ice to be shared with others.

On Saturday, HOPA gave away over 115 gifted shave ice for their first Sharing Day. The news of “gifted shave ice” traveled fast through the crowds of the Night Market and before long there was a line half way across the street.

When the patrons were told that their shave ice would be gifted from a donor, they were blown away. They loved the idea and the concept of what HOPA was doing, sharing it forward and spreading the pure aloha of The House!

The mission of HOPA is to inspire a worldwide movement of Pure Aloha – one shave ice at a time, which is exactly what took place at the Night Market. HOPA brought the spirit of aloha and ‘ohana to the attendees and showed them something most had never seen before.

In the spirit of sharing it forward, many of the recipients donated into the shave ice fund, with a total of $220.06 being given.

This Sharing Day was the first of many and the Night Market was a perfect location for the launch of the campaign. With the mix of food, fun, and fashion, it brought with it a large variety of individuals. All who seem to love gifted shave ice!


A TASTEful Grand Opening!


Last Saturday we presented to the world (or at least Hawaii)  the official grand opening of TASTE in Kaka’kao.  This “food venue” is a collaboration between our Under My Umbrella crew, Chef Mark Noguchi of Pili Hawaii and Poni and Brandon Askew of  Street Grindz. With all of our closes friends and family  in attendance, it was a full house of good energy and good food.

For this special celebration a few of our favorite chefs and bartenders came out  to help us celebrate. Chef JJ Leng with Sweetbreads featured a kulolo inspired dessert, Chef Sean Priester with Soul Patrol offered mini versions of his famous waffle and fried chicken,  Alex Le and his family from Pig and The  Lady, served up a beef pho and our own Chef Mark “Gooch” Noguchi with Pil Hawaiii did a soft egg with MAO greens and a gravy slider.  The talented Dave Newman from Pint + Jigger played bartender for the evening and as usual his signature drinks were the hot talk of the evening.

So what is TASTE you might be asking.  A food venue?  What is that?  It’s not a restaurant, it’s not quite a pop-up, it’s more of a venue for everything food.  TASTE’s daily breakfast and lunch menu will feature many of the familiar faces eaters are used to seeing from a lunch truck window or at Eat the Street.  During the day expect to find a delicious mix of popular food truck owners, street food vendors and pop up restaurants serving up their own twist on fast, affordable, fresh food.

TASTE will feature a combination of in-house special series meals created by resident Chef Gooch intermixed with pop-up meals created by guest Chefs. For dinner, think a restaurant turned dinner party.  Dinner will be served five days a week (Monday- Sat.) with a fixed menu that will change each day. The space is not operating at 100% this week, but our plan is to have our regular schedule up and running by November 15th.

For now, we are working out the last kinks of the schedule and continuing to be inspired by the  future possibilities  and opportunities TASTE has to offer. On this week’s books we are excited to host  visiting celebrity Chef Lee Anne Wong who with be partnering with resident Chef “Gooch” on Tuesday. Oct. 30th for our first official pop-up dinner.  The pair will be serving up 4 pork dishes (a la carte) as part of their “Drunch Series”.  Doors open at 6pm and no reservations are required. For more information and menu updates visit


A “TASTE” at Kaka’ako Night Market

A special guest dropped in to serve our first plate to our first customer

On September 29th, TASTE was pleased to present its soft opening sneak peek to the public at the Night Market in Kaka’ako. The old Akane Cafe, is set to open in late October under the direct supervision of Chef Mark “Gooch” Noguchi. Chef “Gooch” served up Braised Belly, Red Curry,  and Wong Farms Lu’au Stew to nearly 200 lucky foodies who heard through the grapevine that we were doing a sneak peek.

The new space, Taste Table, is a collaboration between Street Grindz, run by Poni and Brandon Askew, Under My Umbrella owned and operated by Amanda Corby and Pili Hawaii, a food group recently co-founded by Chef “Gooch” and Corby.

Mr. & Mrs. Le of Pig & The Lady will be one of the regular pop-up vendors.

For breakfast and lunch TASTE will feature an “A La Carte” menu created by familiar faces you may be used to seeing from a truck window.  During the day, TASTE will feature a revolving door of lunch truck owners taking a turn at brick and mortar–serving up fast, affordable, fresh and always changing food.
For dinner, think a restaurant turned dinner party.  Most always, there will be a set menu, pre-purchased reservations and an intimate group of diners sampling the featured chef’s latest experiment.
TASTE hopes to serve as a culinary experiment hub for the back-of-the-house and a unique dining experience for eaters.  On the surface, TASTE is a permanent pop-up space featuring many chefs in one location, but in addition to rotating Chefs, TASTE will also offer cooking classes, Chef demos, tastings and culinary and business skills training.  For more information and updates on the grand opening of TASTE visit them at

2012 Agriculture Conference


UMU Crew providing service with a smile at the conference registration table.

On September 20-21 the Agriculture Leadership Foundation of Hawaii held their biannual Agriculture Conference at the Hawaii Convention Center.

With more than 300 people in attendance it allowed for a great collaboration of ideas.

A trade show kicked off the conference with a variety of vendors, some of which included Farm Credit Services of Hawaii, The Hawaii Department of Agriculture, and Hawaiian Earth Products.

The innovative sessions of this two day conference complimented some of the core ideas held by the Agriculture Foundation. Continuing to be sustainable as our own state will allow both the agriculture side and the community side of Hawaii to thrive.

A key note presentation “Collaborative Consumption and the Changing Face of Industry” by Lauren Anderson gave the idea that in order to continue to be a successful state there needs to be a sense of collaboration among the different sides of agriculture.

One of the sponsors, Kamehameha Schools, held an All Hawaii Products Awards Luncheon featuring Dr. Donna Ching and her 25 years within the Agricultural Leadership Program.

The conference closed out with the Pau Hana Reception where everyone had a chance to mingle and talk through the ideas that had been presented to them.

The highlight of the conference for many was the Pau Hana Reception that included Chef demos by some of Hawai`i's favorite Chefs.

The Foundation started in 1982 and since then has supported the leaders in agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. This conference serves as an opportunity for these leaders to network with each other and gain new ideas.

From the conference the Agriculture Leadership Foundation wants that the attendees to take what they learned from the speakers and trade show vendors and help their companies to become even more sustainable, in hopes of creating an even better agriculture state.