When Gidget, the teen film and TV heroine, went to Hawaii in a 1961 film, she went Hawaiian, so the accompanying song said, "all the way." Now, it seems, everyone else is, too.
From hipsters in Astoria, Queens (where the gastropub Katch recently hosted a pig roast party featuring smoked swine, mai tais and Kona Brewing suds) to TV chef Rachael Ray (whose website offers pointers on how to throw your own luau), mainland North Americans are channelling their inner kahunas in a big way, drawing on the food and culture of the Aloha State to add colour to their gatherings and some shaka (cool vibes) to their summer.
Why now? Native son Barack Obama, for one, has thrown Hawaii into the spotlight in recent years, vacationing there frequently (see what he likes to nosh on in our Q&A with Oahu dining icon Alan Wong here). Honolulu has also become a major foodie destination, boasting everything from Nobu to world-class local fare.
Most of all, the hearty cuisine of the islands meshes with the still-strong nose-to-tail movement, while their sensual, laid-back philosophy holds great appeal in these frenetic times of ours. Who, after all, can resist a hula show?