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Lennie V. Omalza

Writer. Editor. Content Creator. Project Manager.

Location icon United States

Freelance professional with more than a decade of experience. Clients include Blackletter Group, The Courier-Journal, Granted Fundraising, Hawaii Home + Remodeling Magazine, HONOLULU Magazine, LEAD Marketing Agency, Roberts Hawaii, StyleBlueprint and The Voice-Tribune.

Portfolio

Recently Published

The Courier-Journal
New boutique bakery serves up artisan breads, European-style pastries

The beginning of the pandemic was a prime time for starting hobbies. I know a few people who discovered a new- found love of gardening, and even more who hopped on the sourdough craze. James Bridges, who co-owns The Grainwright with his wife Claire, also began churning out bread loaves after COVID led to his layoff.

StyleBlueprint
Do You Need a 'Complaint Cleanse'?

Venting ... we all do it. Maybe you've griped to coworkers about how your boss never listens, or grumbled to friends when your significant other forgets to take the trash out, again. These days, fast-paced schedules, a climate of constant change, and relentless negativity in the headlines seem to provide plenty of fodder for expressing discontent.

StyleBlueprint
Keep Your Eye on This Atlanta Jewelry Designer

Texas native Billie Hilliard has always been creative. In fact, one might say talent runs in her genes. "I love working with my hands," she says, "so I got my first sewing machine when I was seven." The gift was passed down from her great-grandmother, Roxie, who was the first African American milliner in Houston, who also designed clothes.

Home Stories

The Courier-Journal
This Jeffersontown home is full of Kentucky Derby love and memories

Marita and Bob Willis are both born-and-bred Kentuckians. "Bob and I grew up on the same porch in Park Hill," Marita explained. "We were friends (ever) since our mothers were friends." The two women - both single moms - became quick chums, and their children followed suit.

Restaurant Reviews

Lifestyle Articles

The Voice-Tribune
Lady-led, but catering to all

Most people wouldn't consider owning a catering business akin to leading a circus, but Deborah Lowery does.

The Voice-Tribune
Little Voices, Big Impacts

Growing up in the United States comes with privileges most American children take for granted.

Hiking Guides

Honolulu Magazine
Oʻahu Hike of the Month: Makiki Valley Loop Trail

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life without leaving Honolulu. Photos: Courtesy of Lennie Omalza TRAIL NAME: Makiki Valley Loop Trail DIFFICULTY: Moderate LENGTH: 2.5 miles roundtrip FEE: None WHERE: Hawaiʻi Nature Center, 2131 Maikiki Heights Drive Hiking can be dangerous, and not every trail is a good idea for every person.

Honolulu Magazine
Oʻahu Hike of the Month: Lanikai Pillbox Trail

A quick trek with a breathtaking view in Kailua. Photos: Lennie Omalza TRAIL NAME: Lanikai Pillbox Trail DIFFICULTY: Moderate LENGTH: 1 mile roundtrip FEE: None WHERE: Kaelepulu Drive, Kailua Hiking can be dangerous, and not every trail is a good idea for every person.

Honolulu Magazine
Oʻahu Hike of the Month: Moanalua Valley Trail

Also known as Kamananui Valley Road, this relaxing trail is great for the whole family. Editor's Note: We love hiking! Fortunately, O'ahu is full of great hikes. In this web series, we bring you our favorite O'ahu trails once a month.

Fashion & Beauty Stories

Lei Chic
Picture Perfect

Get ready for your next close-up with Cherbu's new spring line.

StyleBlueprint
Your New Summer Beauty Routine

A great beauty routine will keep you looking fabulous during all seasons, but everyone knows a bit of a transition is needed once summer rays start shining. Keep scrolling for the latest tips and tricks from industry experts, as well as new products that will ensure your summer beauty strategy has you looking your best while you soak up the sun.

Lei Chic
New Moon

A mystical clothing line inspired by folklore of the planets.

Advertorial Projects

HONOLULU Magazine
Women's Health

Since its opening in 2001, the Queen's Women's Health Center has offered a variety of services, including physical therapy geared specifically to women's health-related diagnoses.

Content Creation & Project Management

Blackletter Group
Luau & Learn

Blackletter Group created Luau and Learn, a fun and engaging family home activity. Luau and Learn launched online and included a downloadable activity book that taught kids about Hawaii’s diverse food and rich culture all the while reinforcing the authentic L&L Hawaiian Barbecue brand.

Blackletter Group
NEi

NEi Established in 1985, NEi is an employment and vocational rehabilitation non-profit that counsels, trains and matches clients with employers in Hawaii. The Challenge As a non-profit organization dependent on private and public funding, NEi struggled for years to remain relevant in the eyes of its stakeholders.

Dining Column Archive

The Courier-Journal
Barbecue, all-you-can-eat-wings & more

Chris Williams, the owner of Four Pegs in Germantown, purchased the pub in March 2019 and recalls exactly how long he was able to run the business before COVID changed everything.

The Courier-Journal
St. Matthews bakery is serving cookies made-from-scratch

Anyone who truly knows me under- stands that cookies are my weakness. I have a wicked sweet tooth and love sweets in general, but there’s something about cookies that have a Lay’s potato chip effect – I can’t eat just one. That’s why I was thrilled to learn about Penny & Pearl’s Bakeshop, a locally owned bak- ery in St. Matthews that whips up made-from-scratch cookies in all forms.

The Courier-Journal
East Louisville restaurant serves top-notch steak, more

I’m no wine connoisseur, which is why I appreciate places like Brix Wine Bar & Bistro in east Louisville. The staff is always ready with a recommendation; and if wine isn’t your thing, there are other options.

The Courier-Journal
This East Louisville restaurant is serving up authentic Lebanese food

Mediterranean cuisine is interesting in that it includes food from so many countries – Turkey, Morocco, Lebanon, and Egypt, to name a few. Though the dishes of these places tend to be lumped into one category, I recently learned of a differentiator that sets one type of food apart from the others.

The Courier-Journal
The Kitchen Table nods to BBQ and special yeast strain

recently had the opportunity to do that at The Kitchen Table, a new restau- rant on the campus of the James B. Beam Distilling Co. in Clermont. Over a three-course lunch – plus drinks and desserts – I had the pleasure of chatting with Freddie Noe, distiller and great- great-grandson of Jim Beam; beverage director John Douglass; and chef Brian Landry.

The Courier-Journal
Vegan restaurant is focused on flavorful breakfast food

Thanks to the Daniel Fast – which is basically a 21-day vegan diet with additional restrictions – I’ve had a couple of stints with veganism. I’ll admit that af- ter those three-week periods, I felt great and maintained much healthier eating habits for quite a while afterward.

The Courier-Journal
NuLu restaurant serves unique farm-to-table dishes with a twist

The best thing about new restaurants is discovering unique and interesting dishes to try. On my first visit to Everyday Kitchen — located in a spot dubbed "The Gateway to NuLu" — I realized that every menu item fell into this category.

The Courier-Journal
Is this southern-fusion restaurant the next ‘it’ place in Louisville?

A small blue and white building in Clifton – formerly occupied by Boujie Biscuit – has been in the hands of St. Louis native Nick Bean since March 2021. The Frankfort Avenue space is now known as Phantom Café Modern Eatery & Catering Co., a modern southern-fusion restaurant run solely by Bean.

The Courier-Journal
Tasty and fresh: Why it's all about made-to-order dishes at this popular Indian restaurant

If you asked me a week ago to explain the difference between northern and southern Indian cuisine, I wouldn't have been able to tell you. But after sitting down with Taj Palace Indian Restaurant owner Balwinder Singh over a cup of masala chai tea - a drink made by boiling black tea in milk and water, and adding a mix of herbs and spices - I have a basic understanding of the distinction.

The Courier-Journal
The best Detroit-style pizza in Louisville?

Pizza is one of those dishes that are very personal; there’s no one-size-fits- all recipe for what makes a great pizza. While some prefer a Chicago deep dish, others love a crunchy, thin crust. Top- pings are another controversial topic — is it OK to put anchovies on a pizza? What about olives? I believe in variety and choice; all pizza is good pizza, in my opinion — just do me a favor and don’t call it “Hawaiian” because you’ve thrown some pineapple on it.

The Courier-Journal
CC’s Low Carb Kitchen serves up ‘jovial ambiance’

Brightly colored walls, hot pink uni- corn busts, and a big, bold painting by Louisville artist David Green are just a few parts of the playful setting Corey Milliman has created in his downtown restaurant, CC’s Low Carb Kitchen.

The Courier-Journal
Trendy Vietnamese restaurant is serving up the best pho in town

I remember when the Vietnamese restaurant Pho Ba Luu opened in Sep- tember 2016. I’d been living in Louisville for three months, and it was exciting to discover a new eatery that served some of the same dishes I used to enjoy back home in Hawaii. Five years later, I caught up with owner Jessica Mach, who is cur- rently working 60-plus hour weeks to keep her business going.

The Courier-Journal
From knots to skølebröd, Smør Nordic Bakeri is serving treats like no other in Louisville

As someone with an affinity for both bakeries and unique eateries, Smør Nordic Bakeri on Poplar Level Road is right up my alley. It’s the first and only place I’ve found that offers Scandinavian desserts in Louisville; this is unsurprising since owner Liz Huot — who owns Grind Burger Kitchen, Oskar’s Slider Bar and Smør Nordic Bakeri with her husband, Jesse Huot — says Smør is probably the only place in the Bluegrass with similar menu offerings

The Courier-Journal
The hottest wings in Louisville? Take this hot wing challenge

Over the past year, I’ve touched base with restaurant owners, operators, and managers throughout the Louisville area. Aside from a select few, most of their stories have been similar: last year was exceptionally rough, they’re experiencing product shortages, and they can’t seem to hire enough staff. The team at Rootie’s Sports Bar & Grille tells a slightly different story. Though they have their own struggles, 2020 was good for business.

The Courier-Journal
Homestyle cafe is staying afloat amid product, labor issues

I pull up to the more than 100-year-old brick house on Main Street in Middletown. Its pale-yellow roof is offset by bright cyan doors and windows; matching picnic tables with umbrellas are set outside. A pink wooden flamingo stands to the left of the front door, greeting visitors. The little house, however, is not a home — it has been the site of Susan Stivers’ restaurant, Cottage Café, for nearly 30 years.

The Courier-Journal
Unique restaurant is changing the local food scene

There’s a wide variety of cuisine in Louisville, but Lou Lou Food + Drink in St. Matthews is the only restaurant I know of that blends three specific types of fare: “It’s Cajun/Italian with a Mediterranean twist,” explained owner Jared Matthews, who also owns Equus & Jack’s Lounge/Black Rabbit as well as Diamond Street Grub & Hops. He is also a partner at Diamond Pub & Billiards.

The Courier-Journal
Italian restaurant says local food scene is struggling

Caity DiFabio and her husband, Jon Riley, have been the restaurant’s owners and operators since 2012. “My parents actually opened our original location in Madisonville in 1995,” DiFabio told The Courier Journal. “I think it was 2018 when they closed that location. But in the interim, we opened this location in 2010."

The Courier-Journal
New bakery offers made-from-scratch breads and pastries

When I took over the Courier Jour- nal’s weekly restaurant column last year, my focus was on how restaura- teurs were managing to keep their busi- nesses afloat amid the coronavirus pan- demic. This week, I connected with Kimberly and Zechariah Maxey – the owners of Leaven Bakery, who opened up shop as a result of the pandemic.

The Courier-Journal
This Filipino food truck is exploding on Louisville's food scene

Most of my friends and family back home in Hawaii don’t understand Louisville’s appeal — and the questions about what the city does or doesn’t offer are endless. A recent text message from a friend read: “Can you even get Filipino food over there?” I did a quick Google search and came up with enough information for a response: “There’s a Filipino food market that opened, and supposedly there’s a food truck that sells lumpia.”

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