An architecture blog by an Architect (Jonathan Lee)

Your Dapper has always been fascinated by architecture.  It’s a development of space, a modern-day monument to human achievement (if done correctly) and a practical and participatory art form (because people live in it).  We thought about posting what we like, but realized that nobody would care as our only criteria would be: “oooh pretty”.  We also realized that we don't do amateur hour.

Since we couldn’t get Ted Mosby, Architect we enlisted our friend, Honolulu based architect Jonathan Lee, AIA, LEED AP BD+C.  A Punahou and University of Pennsylvania alumni (that’s how we know him). Post graduation he moved to New York City to pursue his career.  After four years working in the big apple for Wendy Evans Joseph Architecture and a couple years traveling abroad, he returned home to Honolulu.  Currently he is a Project Architect for WCIT and working on Waiea,  a new uber-luxury ocean front property which is part of the Ward Village Master Planned project by the Howard Hughes Corporation.  

Check out his instagram :@jleehi and his featured segment #dadailydetail


So without further ado,. Jonathan Lee, Architect:  

You know that feeling when someone walks into a room and all the dynamics of the room change. Suddenly all the energy in the room seems to be magnetically pulled in the direction of that person. Conversation becomes fragmented as people stutter and stare. The air seems still all around, but for a single breeze that, if it was a lady that walked into the room, lifts the bottom hem of her dress or if it was a man catches the wisps of hair across his forehead. Our response is emotional. It is not strictly cognitive, it is out of our control. We say, this person has charisma.

What is it that causes us to respond this way? Is charisma created? Can it be designed? How can we explain it if we cannot really identify all of the unique and special characteristics? I guess for myself, as an architect, the critical question is, does architecture have charisma? Does architecture have this power to capture our attention and shift the dynamics of its surroundings? Can design move us, draw us in, and change us in a way that we cannot control.

By definition, charisma is a personal quality, a compelling attractiveness that inspires devotion or reverence. But I believe architecture can have charisma. Sometimes design just works. It can be beautiful without explanation, it can be perfect in your eyes and at the same time understood and admired by large audiences. There is no formula or magic potion, no equation or mix of ingredients that when combined will produce a design that is pleasurable, beautiful, functional – encompassing all the traits of a successful design. There are unknown elements and forces that affect the design outcome. Architecture can be alive and respond to human interaction, the needs of its occupants, the changing environment, climate and the effects of physics and time. Maybe what I am talking about is a sense of place. A sense of place is a combination of characteristics that makes a place special and unique. It involves the human experience with the environment and the designed world. It incorporates local knowledge, history and culture. A sense of place can exhibit a compulsion on people, a pull that embodies aesthetics, pleasure and attraction, function and engagement, and history, culture and context. But I think charisma is more than a sense of place. It also contains an element of mystery, discovery and wonder.  Sometimes despite the unexplainable allure, a fascination exists that influences our emotions and captivates our intuitions.

When I think about my home city, Honolulu I wonder where are the charismatic places and landscapes?  What are the charismatic buildings and designed spaces? What are the charismatic objects of design that define our city and culture? What are the sounds, the smells, the fashions, the flavors? For me this is the best lens through which I learn about a new city or culture. This is what I yearn to create, to discover and to share.

The following photos I took capture these elements of design and sense of place.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, Jonathan Lee and DO NOT necessarily reflect the official policy or position of his employer WCIT Architecture.


New Project: Citizen Irish Publik House in Kona, (Big Island) Hawaii

75-5805 Ali'i Drive Kailua Kona, Hawaii 96740

Photos from

at your dapper we like to see what can be slapped together.  one part off the cuff and one part organized and strategic.  par example.  i recently helped alchemy group open citizen irish publik house (citizen for short) in the city of kona on the big island of hawaii.  the project, from conception, to renovation, to opening the doors to the public, was slated to take an ambitious six to eight weeks.  that didn't happen. it took twelve, give or take.  but no matter -- the fact is a small group of people came together to open a restaurant in an amount of time that is really not so long, considering.  and it opened relatively within budget to boot.

the concept

the concept for citizen is: irish bar meets cocktail lounge. random, i know. more so because none of us are irish, although we sorta have our own Patrick. however the opening was part of an organized and strategic, albeit risk taking, expansion plan of a growing restaurant group.

citizen's  fashion sensibilities have been overseen by our resident coveted artist, erin miller (instagram:
the_artery).  The inspired space includes: whiskey barrel signage and table design, copper-like and wooden lodge ceilings meeting brick, and european streetlamp inspired lighting.  This contrasts a place that stands in all of its whiskeyed glory over looking a kona coastline.

thankfully in my experience, I have thrived as a multi-ethnic intermediary in communities largely identified as true melting pots.


the “modern ethnic” approach to irish food


over the years i've found a nitch in bar kitchens.  i serve real food, not heat and serve “bar food”, out of bar focused establishments.  with 3 recent openings under my belt and the observation and minor involvement of about 4 others -- iv'e taken the approach of a modern ethnic cuisine,  that is: justice done to an eclectic variety of regional flavor profiles. in the case of citizen, regional profiles consisted of flavors from the british isles.  though the stated project identity is irish bar, the concept includes a cocktail bar component.  to me, this was similar to the gastropub concept which originated in the UK. ultimately, this flexibility within the stated project identity allowed for the menu to better appeal to the target demographic.  

A recent Washington Post article, Why everyone should stop calling immigrant food ‘ethnic' by Lavanya Rmanathan urges us to question our perception of ethnic food and challenges us to instead use the term immigrant food it explains the bias belief that ethnic is brown, ie. indian, jamaican, and ethiopian.  while shedding light on the fact french, italian, and german are also immigrant foods. however these foods are commonly seen as more assimilated into our long complicated american landscape thereby losing the “ethnic” monicker.  i think this is a good lens to see irish food through. common perceptions of irish food range from boring or bland to craveable.  some even find it comforting in its unwavering consistency to remain exactly the same after multiple generations of neighborhood operations and cornerstones of the communities that they rest in.

i, unbound by tradition, am not irish.  citizen pub was a perfect candidate to be touched by the sensibilities of modern ethnic cuisine.  not only is it associated under the broader umbrella of uk culinary offerings of which we've seen public perception change from viewing british food as revolting to accepting it as a bearer of good quality.  gastropubs particularly represent the change in notion that simple places like pubs can boast extremely satisfying kitchens.  so, i accepted the challenge of developing an irish menu and the approach was second nature to me.  first i researched the classics in order to digest the ones i believed in to represent what citizens menu might feel like.  then, much like a tasting menu might be conceived i moved from light to heavy while covering the bases with a balance of vegetable, cheese, fish, bird, meat, and sweet items.  while taking into account staple ingredients like leeks, ale, loin bacon, and the ubiquitous potato - all that was left to do was cook food that was undeniably tasty.  our brother isaiah calls this provision the experience of deep impactful flavors.  

although not a moroccan kitchen, citizen has no less spices on its rack.  we pump flavor into our banger sausage mix to make scotch eggs served with house pickled parsnips.  the flavors and garnishes of chowder finds its way into a broiled oyster appetizer, curry flavor beloved to the uk perfumes a ketchup for our fried potatoes, the method of brining corned beef is borrowed to lend interest to a salmon dish whose champ mashed potatoes are tinted green by scallion-tarragon oil, and rack of lamb is decadently used as our protein of choice inside of an irish cheddar broiled shepherd's pie.

call it the german in me but i prefer fish n chips to be called fish fry, because goodness forbid your expectations be tainted by an experience of years of underwhelming fish n chips.  although getting the latke like boxty potato pancakes right was not an easy matter.

cheers and slainte.

Bow ties and Bites: Juke

For Your Dapper's recent launch party, several of Hawaii's best chefs and mixologist were gracious enough to create appetizers and drinks inspired by our new line of bow ties: Medium Frequency Electron Transmission.  Here's what Jeremy Shigekane put together, inspired by our our bow tie Juke:

Photo by Tracy Chan of Nightfox Photography

Photo by Tracy Chan of Nightfox Photography

What Jeremy has to say:

This bow tie is more my personality: Simple and sophisticated but without excessive flair. This is the kind of food I do was well. For this we will be doing nachos, but instead of using wonton chips or tortilla chips, we use nori chips that are fried until crispy. Then we use marinated tomatoes which is a little bit more of a French style and the raw fish which is Hawaii.

Ingredients for fish

1/8 Cup Basil 

1/8 Cup Cilantro

1/8 Cup Scallion

1/8 Cup Mint

1/8 Cup Olive Oil

1 lbs Opah Fresh (never frozen)

.5 lbs Tomatoes

.25 lbs Red Radish

1/8 Cup White Soy

1/4 Cup Sherry Vinegar


Dice fish into 1” x 1” cubes. Salt opah. Combine Opah, Tomatoes, radish, White Soy, Sherry Vinegar and let marinate for one to two hours. While waiting, Add Basil, Cilantro and Scallions into a food processor with oil (similar to pesto). Mix all ingredients together.

Nori Chip Ingredients

1/8 Cup Rice Flour


Oil for Frying

20 Sheets of Nori

1/2 Cup Water


Nori Chip Preparation

Make a paste using the water and rice flour.  Season the paste with salt. Quickly dip the nori from one side to the other, let excess drip for a second. Fry at 350 degrees til crisp or it stops bubbling.  Put on a bow tie or tuck it into your breast pocket instead of a pocket square.  Serve.

Bow ties and Bites: Bluff

For Your Dapper's recent launch party, several of Hawaii's best chefs and mixologist were gracious enough to create appetizers and drinks inspired by our new line of bow ties: Medium Frequency Electron Transmission.  Here's the bluffest bluff of a bite from Robert McGee of Link Handcrafted Meats.

Photo by Tracy Chan of Nightfox Photography

hef Bob's commets:

We are going to do the ultimate cocktail weenie. The only difference is that it’s a bluff. We’re making a wonderful hot dog that I make at Link already, but we’re make it look like it was from here in Hawaii when it is really something from the Ozarks!
So it’s gonna be done in a steamed bow bun with my mom’s old cocktail sauce, which is a fantastic, awesome, ghetto sauce with ketchup and mustard. It’s really funny because it’s more ghetto but looks classy.


Grass fed, all beef cocktail weeny from LINK Honolulu

Bau Bun

Mysterious ghetto red sauce (Ketchup and mustard in equal parts)


Put beef cocktail weeny in bay bun.  Garnish with: Scallion,  sesame seed, and the bluff bow tie

Find the full sized hot dog version of the cocktail weeny and other artisan sausages from Link Honolulu:

Sunday at Kailua Farmers Market 

Thursday at Waimea Farmers Market

Saturday at the Kaka‘ako Farmers Market at Ward Village

on Facebook as LinkHonolulu and on Instagram as @linkhnl

Bow ties and Booze: Chekhov's Gun

For Your Dapper's recent launch party, several of Hawaii's best chefs and mixologist were gracious enough to create appetizers and drinks inspired by our new line of bow ties: The Rosseland Collection.  Here's what Christian Self of Bevy put together for us.

Photo by Tracy Chan of Nightfox Photography

Words from Christian's mouth:

I wanted to do something similar to the concept of Chekhov’s Gun where a seemingly ordinary item turns out to be particularly important.

Tasting Notes:
This punch recipe is name appropriate given the proofage on this bad boy. The Batavia Arrack* sits firmly in the middle of the cocktail providing a sweet, smoky, spicey flavor. Green Chartreuse’s herbal sweetness provides the main accenting the flavor. Absinthe then provides a tennor note green anise note. In harmony the trio provide an intricate base. Lime, basil, and lemongrass are then woven in-between the flavors to add a high acid note and a sweet aromatic flavor. In all this provided for a great spring or summer sipper.

* Batavia Arrack, from the island of Java, is distilled from sugarcane and red rice using chinese pot stills and aged in teak vats. (


1.5 oz Batavia Arrack van Oosten

.5 oz Green Chartruse.5 oz Lemongrass Syrup

.5 oz Lime

.5 oz Egg White

bar spoon Absinthe

Lemon Grass Syrup

Boil 1/4 Cup Lemon grass cut into 1” pieces, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water for 7 minutes

Garnish: Basil and a bow tie

Photo by Eric Baranda

Follow Bevy on FB and Instagram @BevyBar .

Bow ties and Bites: Wet Tee Shirt

For Your Dapper's recent launch party, several of Hawaii's best chefs and mixologist were gracious enough to create appetizers and drinks inspired by our new line of bow ties: Medium Frequency Electron Transmission.  Here's the perfect pair to our new bow tie, Wet Tee Shirt, from Jamal Lahiani: a bow tie pasta salad.

Photo by Tracy Chan of Nightfox Photography

Jamal dishing about the creation of this dish:

Let’s be honest, the wet t shirt bow tie concept came before the food dish that was meant to represent it. Woo hoo! Wet t shirt! I’m all in.

Translucent, opaque, sheer, quivering, creamy, spicy - all these words come to mind when considering wet t shirts.

I’ve never been granted a more appropriate occasion to make bow tie pasta. And as it turns out, poached opah represents those qualities. So does marinated bow tie pasta. The vegetable represent the splashes of color and texture to accessorize a succulent, satiating, and provocative ensemble.

Ingredients for 50 appetizer size portions


"Pasta Salad" ingredients


20 ribs or 40 oz celery, trimmed and divided

3-5 yellow onions about 30 oz peeled and cut in half through core

1 1/2 cup kosher salt

2••• teaspoon cayenne pepper

40 ounces fresh market string beans cleaned with ends trimmed (or comparable market vegetable) 

5 to 6 pounds market fish or opah (cut into 1” x 1” cubes)

40 oz/ 2.5 lbs farfalle (bowtie) pasta

5 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Cooking water ingredients

7 gallons water (for pasta)

5 cloves garlic, peeled

5 Tbs fennel seeds

5 TBS black peppercorns

15 sprigs thyme

15 bay leaves

5 TBS dried tarragon



Lemon spice mayonnaise Ingredients:

2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

2••• teaspoon kosher salt

3 to 5 small red onion (15 ounces), peeled, cored, cut into thin slices, rinsed under hot water — then cold — and drained

Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste

11/2 cup chopped green onions

5 teaspoon ground fennel

5 teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika, or Spanish Paprika (Never plain paprika)

10 teaspoons of reserved cooking water (from above)

Zest of 5 lemon

5 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

10 cloves garlic (2••• ounce), peeled, thinly sliced, rinsed in hot water then cold water, drained, and finely chopped

2••• cup prepared mayonnaise



Prepare cooking water by wrapping the garlic, fennel seeds, peppercorns, thyme, bay leaves and tarragon in a piece of cheesecloth. Tie together with butcher string and place in a large pot with 7 gallons water. 

Add the 10 halved ribs of celery, the yellow onion, salt and cayenne pepper. Bring to a full simmer and cook, covered, half an hour. Remove onion and celery from water and discard.

To finish: Bring cooking water to a full boil. Add beans and boil 3 minutes or until tender. Remove beans with a skimmer and shock in ice water to stop cooking. Drain and cut into •••-inch pieces on the bias.

Return water to a boil. Add fish and cook 1 to 6 minutes, covered, depending on if cut into cubes or whole (block). Remove fish to a baking dish to cool. Place any accumulated juices back in the water. Let simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Strain water through a fine-mesh strainer and dispose of solids. Return water to pot.

Meanwhile, cut fish into 1-inch pieces if you cooked it whole. Reserve in a bowl, but leave any juice that is remaining in the baking dish as you will be putting the cooked farfalle in the dish to cool with the juices.

Bring the water to a boil once again, add farfalle and cook according to package directions. When fully cooked, remove a few tablespoons of the cooking water and reserve to use when making lemon paprika mayonnaise.

Drain the farfalle, but do not rinse, and place in the baking dish.

Add oil and toss together with the fish juices. Let cool to room temperature.

Lemon spice mayonnaise: Whisk together the fennel, paprika and reserved cooking water in a bowl until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and whisk together. Reserve cold.

When cool, combine in a large bowl the beans, reserved diced celery, onion, and the fish with 1/2 of the total lemon spiced mayonnaise. Then combine lemon spiced mayonnaise with [FIX ME GOD DAMMIT] Fold together gently and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped green onion.

Put on bow tie and serve.

Photo by Eric Baranda.  

See more of Jamal's work on his Instagram @cooktales.


Bow tie and Booze: Cheesy Pick Up Line

For Your Dapper's recent launch party, several of Hawaii's best chefs and mixologist were gracious enough to create appetizers and drinks inspired by our new line of bow ties: Medium Frequency Electron Transmission.  Here's the first from Dave Newman of Pint and Jigger and Randy Wong of Waitiki 7.

Photo by Tracy Chan of Nightfox Photography

About the drink from Dave:

This fun drink combines some of the things Randy loves and some of my favorites. Flavors are rich and deep and Randy’s Orgeat with Rhum Agricole is always a good match. The Amaro shines in this one, while still packing a punch from the rye.


1/2 oz Dolin Dry

1/2 oz Punt e Mes

1/2 oz Randy’s Orgeat 

1 1/2 oz Rye Whiskey

1/2 oz Rhum Agricole

3/4 oz Ramazzotti Amaro


Stir and strain over large cube. Luxardo cherry garnish.  Pair with bow tie.  

Photo by Eric Baranda

Find Dave and Pint and Jigger on FB and Instagram as PintAndJigger .

Check out Randy Wong, aka The Professah, at his blog: cocktail

Iron Fist Brewing Co. Hawaii Launch

Iron Fist Brewing Co.

made its Hawaii debut made it's Hawaii debut at Bevy.  The event, hosted by by Youngs Market Company of Hawaii, showcased six beers at the tasting.  However, instead of being a tease, we only included the tasting notes on the beer available on tap at Bevy.



Tasting Notes for Beers on Draft at Bevy

Nelson the Impaler

Appearance: See pic

Nose:  Lilikoi and yeast with sweetness.  Note that it’s brighter and more aromatic from the

Taste/Mouthfeel:  King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread (Not toasted) with lilikoi jelly.  It’s not overly viscous, but that’s not a bad thing considering the feel of this beer.  

Other Notes: This would go perfectly with Chicken Katsu.  If you're state side, go to L&L Hawaiian BBQ.  If possible the one in El-Cajon because we know the owner.  #shamlessplug  


Velvet Glove Oatmeal Stout

Appearance:  Dark coffee

Nose:  Typical oatmeal stout.  That is espresso with light raisin overtones

Taste/Mouthfeel:  Nice viscosity.  Has the espresso inital flavor which then dissipates gradually.  As this happens you get a raisin notes wafting through your nasal cavity.  The beer then finished with a dark chocolate along with a tannic like quality on the mouth feel.

Other Notes: Like many other oatmeal Stouts, this would go really well with vanilla ice cream

Bombay Sapphire World Bazaar

Bombay Sapphire

hosted it's "World Bazaar"On January 28, 2014 at M Night Club in Honolulu,.  This event featured an "around the world" trip, which tasked bartenders with creating a drink featuring the place of origin for a Bombay Sapphire Botanical. 

Your Dapper Bartender/Mixologist/Brand Ambassador Tim Rita Jr. was tasked to create an Italian inspired cocktail that featured Bombay Sapphire East, the newest product from Bombay Gin. Tim's cocktail, the Shiso Italiano works off The Tuscan Juniper in Bombay Sapphire, and creates a long drink out of a combination between a Negroni and Negroni sbagliato variation.  To set off the citrus and prosecco, Tim used Shiso which has the combination of citrus and savory which do well with the Bittersweetness of Carpano Atica Formula Vermouth and Aperol.


Shiso Italiano

1 oz. Bombay Sapphire East
.75 oz. Carpano Antica Vermouth
.25 oz. Aperol
.5 oz. fresh lemon juice
2 shiso leaves
Top with prosecco

Build all ingredients in a mixing glass.
Then slap one shiso leave to release the oils. Shake and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with proseco.

With a lemon peel "crusta" and a shiso leaf.


Media and Photo Coverage

Honolulu Pulse
M Night Club Facebook

Dude Clothes

Where are the clothes for dudes?

There are two types of clothes for men.  There’s the upscale and expensive (Macklamore is right, $50 for a T-shirt is getting swindled and pimped by a business) and then there's cost efficient but boring.  Look at it this way, if the extent of a clothing brand's creativity is to make a shirt in a different color or do stripes in a different color, how creative can they really be?  Personally, looking at my closet, how many more striped button up shirt can even exist?  

With that said, what's up with all the startup clothing companies that began because someone was convinced that because friends tell them they dress well that they should start their own fashion line.  Then there are the fashion designers who start a line and are very artistic but aren't in touch with reality and the fact that maybe, possibly, people may wear these clothes out in public.  And no, not everyone is a rock star, no matter how many people on twitter or instagram tell them that they are.

Then, there's the screen printed T-shirt.  It's fun and all, but as a grown-ass man, as a person who is a "business professional" for a non-tech company, the opportunity to wear a screen printed t-shirt is few and far between.  It even becomes fewer and further in-between when you want to have a competitive career because meeting your potential future boss in a shirt that says: "If can, can, if no can, bottles" is possibly going to negate any chance you have at that accounting firm, no matter how witty that shirt is.  

Where is the in-between?  Where are the clothes that don't take themselves so seriously, yet inject subtle personality?  Heck, where's the brand that doesn't take itself so seriously?  It's clothes, not brain surgery.  It's great and all that there are clothes made in L.A.' garment district by non-sweat shop employees, but how about clothes made by radio-active mustache bearing elves?   I mean yes, a company can, and should tell you the real way their product is made, but wouldn't you also like to read the version where elves only work at night, after they drink Kopi Luwak aka coffee that comes from beans extracted from cat poop?  BTW, the cat poop coffee thing is real, sometimes in life, shit is too funny to make up.

In a world where dudes are wanting to interjecting personality into clothes, let's add some personality.  The key word is personality because salmon is a color and/or a fish, not a personality trait.  Let's also make those clothes work appropriate.  That is until that dude start "flying" around the conference room because his inner jacket lining is scarlet red, and he has Superman logo on his tie, but only visible when his suit is unbuttoned.  Flashing your inner jacket lining to your colleagues is also borderline inappropriate, even if it is game day and your jacket lining is a replica of your favorite players jersey.  Because no, you do not have to protect this house.