Saturday, July 30, 2011

Big Island Candies: Cookies & Chocolate in Hilo, Hawaii

(photos credit: TheHopefulTraveler)
A familiar sight on flights departing our of Hilo, Hawaii is passengers carrying packages of treats from Big Island Candies. Since 1977, the company has become known for meeting and maintaing their sole purpose of creating the finest hand-dipped chocolate covered macadamia nut cookies in the world. I was in Hilo again this past week for business and I was among those travelers carrying delicious goodies from Big Island Candies.

Their popular shortbreads are made with locally farmed eggs, Hawaiian cane sugar, no preservatives, high-grade chocolate, locally-grown macadamia nuts and real butter. Their other premium confections are made with equal quality. Visitors to their shop and factory in Hilo, Hawaii can watch through large picture windows the hand-dipping of cookies and macadamia nuts. It's probably not by accident the sweet aroma of baked goods fill the air. Samples are offered to guests as soon as they enter and other samples await among the shelves in the beautifully decorated store.

To prove that chocolate can go with almost anything, their line of Hawaiian Da Kines treats are local favories dipped in chocolate: ika (dried squid), li hing mui (dried sweet-salty plum seeds), mochi balls (ball-shaped Japanese rice crackers), sakura arare (rice crackers in the shape of cherry blossoms) and puffed rice.

But its their shortbread cookies famously diagnolly hand-dipped or plain that are the best. Shortbread cookies come in original, chocolate, chocolate chip, lemon, kona mocha and even sugar-free flavors. Newer versions include coconut, green tea and sesame. Extra indulgence awaits in the caramel and chocolate dipped shortbreads.

Besides the cookies their delicate brownies are becoming favorites. Among their other fine products are macadamia nut biscotti (drizzed in white or chocolate waves) and Kona coffee. Adding to the irresistibility are the exquisite and refined packaging complete with luxurious ribbons are their every changing line of gift boxes filled with various selections of their cookies and candies beautifully displayed in the store and photographed in their catalog.

The company has resisted to expand their retail presence or wholesaling beyond their one shop on the Big Island of Hawaii. However their product are shipped in huge volumes via their mail order and online presence. Even locals find that unless they know someone is returning from Hilo or are willing to pay the express mail shipping charges, enjoying anything from Big Island Candies is a rare treat.

Visit for more information. The gift shop at their factory located at 585 Hinano Street in Hilo, Hawaii (conveniently near Hilo International Airport) is open daily 8:30am-5:30pm.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Goodbye Northwest Airlines Logo

Though Northwest Airlines is no more having been merged into Delta Airlines, the logo should be remembered for its deceptive simplicity. The logo is meant to represent a compass with the little triangle pointing Northwest within the cirlce. Of course the "N" and "W" of "North" "West" is also pictured in the logo graphic. Above were the two incarnations of the logo using the compass design. The logo at top was used from 1989. The "N" in some branding including the entire word "Northwest". The compass was retained but the rest of the logo was replaced in 2003 with the intials of the airline.

Many of us can remember the airlines when it was called Northwest Orient when it sported the logo below.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Broadway Discount Tickets:, Offers and Codes

(photo credit: TheHopefulTraveler)
Many visitors to New York are still unaware of discounted tickets to Broadway and Off-Broadway productions outside of the TKTS discount booths. One resource for reduced-priced tickets is which has become a valuable central resource in finding discounts up to 50% well before the day of performance.

Behind These Discount Offers
Most of these discounts are offered in association with marketing campaigns for each production. Some offers present efforts by producers to secure an advance box office. But most are to to fill those unsold seat for show times in the next few weeks. Where the TKTS discount booth is known for its last-minute half-price tickets, the discounts on help producers fill unsold seats with audiences willing to purchase tickets in advance. The ticket buyer receives discounted tickets up to 50% without having to stand in line for an unknown commodity of seats at each show.

For newer shows, the discounts are offered to bring audiences in to build word of mouth.,,, and the website for each Broadway production allows visitors to sign-up to be on electronic mailing lists. By doing so, ticket buyers are notified when discounts are offered. The discounts on are the similar to these discounts.

These various advance discount offers are for upcoming performance in the next month though some shows will have discounts that extend over a longer period. But don't bother looking for a discounted ticket for a performance six months from today.

These discounts are usually for only select seats in the auditorium. The prime seats are either sold-out or being held for those who may be still willing to pay full-price (or premium prices) closer to the actual performance date. This can mean the seats offered at a discount are only for less popular performance times such as Tuesday or Wednesday night or the last few rows of seats or for seats along the sides. Any seat unsold by these pre-sale marketing efforts will likely be up for grabs at the TKTS booth on the day of performance.

Screen shot of the website home page.
Find on the left the list of Broadway and off-Broadway plays and musicals on the home page. Though often used for New York shows, tabs at the top indicate the website has offers available for productions in London, Las Vegas and Orlando. Two other tabs list offers for concerts and sports. also lists the "High-Demand Shows" that are unlikely to offer any discounts.

Click on the chosen production and you may find multiple offers available. Some discounts are only available to the end of the month while others expires in three months. Some discounts are better than others but each are only offered for limited performances. Two of them may save 35% on regularly-priced seats while the other is 40%. Click "View Discount" or scroll down. Read carefully when the discount expires and for which of the weekly performances and seats in the auditorium it is applicable. Most shows will only have one or two offers available at any one time.

Screen shot of iPhone app
There will be instructions on how to redeem each offer. The key is using the given code which can be used online at each show's authorized ticketing outlet, at the box office or by phone.

Broadway shows that use as the authorized ticket outlet will use for purchase of discounted tickets. The home page will have a box to enter the promotional code. Once entered and accepted a window will open that will show the details of the offer. After that the check-out process is the same as if purchasing full-price tickets online.

For discounts for use on, ticket buyers find the performance date first and then apply the code under "Enter offer code/password". Once the code is accepted, will indicate which seats are available for the offer.

Ultimately these discounts can mean huge savings for families on vacation and for those seeing as many plays and musicals as possible. A app is available for the iPhone and iPad.

(photo credit:
My Recent Experience Using Discounts & The 'Catch Me If You Can' Discount
I normally visit New York city for a week where I could see up to ten shows. These discounts have allowed me to save at least two-hundred dollars or more in total on some of these production each year. My visit to New York this year provided savings at 'Catch Me If You Can', 'Sister Act', 'Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert' and 'Death Takes a Holiday'. The ticket I purchased for 'Catch Me If You Can' is normally priced $137. But a discount offer provided a savings of $62 dropping the price to $75 for a front row center orchestra aisle seat for a Friday night. A discount as good as this one for such a great seat on a prime night is rare and speaks more of the show's struggle at the box office rather than the quality of the production.

As for the other shows I saw, 'The Book of Mormon' had no offers available while discounts  for other musicals such as 'How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying' and 'War Horse' were for very bad seat locations that I opted to pay full price for these shows.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

How Much Does A Broadway Show Cost To Produce?

'Shrek the Musical' cost $25 million 
The New York Times published an article this week by Patrick Healy called "The Staggering Cost of Broadway" with comments by producer Maria Friedman ('Boeing-Boeing', 'The Norman Conquests' and 'La Cage Aux Folles' revivals). It's an enlightening article that goes into some detail about explaining the economics of producing a musical or play on Broadway. It also gives insight on why ticket prices are so high in New York.

The article reveals some interesting facts and figures:
  • The 2011 London revival of Harold Pinter's play 'Betrayal' cost £350,000 (about $565,000) on the West End and an additional £65,000 ($105,000) to pay weekly operating costs. The same production would cost $2.8 million on Broadway.
  • Only about 20 percent to 30 percent of new shows each year turn a profit on Broadway.
  • Union-negotiated contracts also stipulate the number and wages of crew members, musicians and others who are expected to work on a Broadway show; there is far greater flexibility in London.
  • Broadway plays cost at least $2.5 million to mount.
  • Intimate Broadway musicals that hold down expenses (such as 'Next to Normal') can cost $4 million.
  • Bigger-scale Broadway musicals can cost $10 million to $15 million. 
  • 'The Book of Mormon' cost $9 million.
  • 'Shrek the Musical' cost $25 million 
  • 'Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark' cost $75 million
Click HERE for the full article on

'Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark' cost $75 million
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