Kiwanis’ French toast hits the spot

Marsha Almarza stopped by on her way to work Sunday morning.

“This is the first time I’ve come to this event,” said Almarza, a branch official with American Savings Bank. “No one wanted to sell me a ticket in the past. This is the first year someone actually asked me to buy a ticket. But, this is good!”

Almarza was one of a steady stream of breakfast diners who took advantage of the hospitality of the Kiwanis Club and Key Club members from Kaua‘i and Kapa‘a high schools at the Kiwanis Club of Kaua‘i’s Annual French Toast breakfast.

“When we first started, we did pancakes,” said Kiwanis Club member Steven Nishimura who was working in the hectic kitchen atmosphere at the Wilcox School cafeteria.

“We cooked pancakes on a huge griddle located in the cafeteria. But one year, Steven Kyono came up with a home-made recipe for French toast, and now, it’s a French toast breakfast,” Nishimura said.

“The (East Kaua‘i) Lions do a good job with pancakes, and French toast is a different product. The only thing missing today is Steven Kyono and his home-made recipe.”

Nishimura said a great portion of the breakfast is still prepared by hand. The only thing ready-to-go is the French toast.

To help prepare, members of the Kaua‘i High School Key Club turn out as early as 5 a.m., Nishimura said.

“They help prep, cut fruits, and get things going,” he said. “Then, when things start rolling, the Kapa‘a High School Key Club comes in and takes over.”

As breakfast diners finished their meals, members of the Kapa‘a High School Key Club descended on the empty containers and made short work of clearing the empties and wiping down the table in preparation for more diners.

By 8:30, more than 560 meals had been processed, with Kiwanis’ greeters expecting a surge of about 200 more meals in a half hour. However, that was not a problem as the Kiwanis planned to serve about a thousand meals, the greeters said.

Among those orders were 40 that were packed to go for the Lihu‘e Big Save store. Alii Kaneholani and Miko, from the Big Save store waited patiently for their order to be processed.

“We’ve been waiting for about 20 minutes, but Miko has her car right outside so once it’s ready, we can have breakfast at the store,” Kaneholani said, joking that on Saturday they hosted the shopping spree for the Contractors Association of Kaua‘i home show winner and on Sunday they were picking up breakfast as part of their jobs.

Miko added that Charles Kawakami had dropped off the tickets just that morning and told her to get the meals for the employees.

Diners had a choice of enjoying the meal in the cafeteria, or taking it to enjoy elsewhere. Many, like Bernie Sakoda, Myles and Wanda Shibata, and Sharon Sahara opted to enjoy some while taking more to go. The group was visited by Wesley Sahara who was in charge of making the coffee for the event.

In the meantime, it was off to enjoy the rest of the day, Kaua‘i High School Key Club adviser Charlene Navarro heading to the airport to pick up one of her sons who was returning from a robotics competition on O‘ahu.

For Casey Arashiro and Kawai Calderon, the breakfast served as fuel for their post-breakfast stop at the Lihu‘e Hongwanji Preschool’s children’s day festivities. Arashiro and Calderon are both alumni of the Kapaia preschool.

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