Archive for July, 2013

REAL to host inaugural beer fest

July 25th, 2013


REAL a gastropub is hosting its first REAL Beer Festival at Ward Centers from 2- to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, including a mix of tapas-style food, entertainment, and nearly 70 local, domestic and imported craft beers.

The event will take place in the parking lot fronting Consolidated Theaters Ward Stadium 16.

Troy Terorotua, REAL a gastropub's chef and owner, said in a press release statement: "We believe this will help the craft beer movement on Oahu grow and look forward to making this an annual event."

Proceeds will benefit the Blue Planet Foundation, which is committed to ending the use of fossil fuel on earth, starting with Hawai'i.

Tickets are $60, plus a processing fee, and can be purchased online at For the price, you'll also receive a commemorative event beer mug, eight 4-ounce brew tasting coupons, and unlimited samplings of beer-centric food dishes from 15 restaurants: Auntie Pasto's, d.k Steak House, Firehouse/Aloha Brewing Co., JJ Dolan's, Kaka'ako Kitchen, Maui Island Sausage, Monkeypod  Kitchen, Murphy's Bar & Grill, Pint + Jigger, Poke Stop, Roy's, Side Street Inn, Tiki's Grill & Bar, TOWN, and Tropic's Tap House.

There will be no refunds given for tickets and guests must provide a valid I.D. and be 21 years of age or older to enter.

'Passport' to culinary adventures await at Pacific Beach Hotel

July 11th, 2013


Nadine Kam photos
Sashimi at Pacific Beach Hotel. Just kidding! A mermaid greeted diners at the launch of Pacific Beach Hotel's new Passport to Wine & Dine Summer Series.

The Pacific Beach Hotel launched its Passport to Wine & Dine Summer Series on  June 27 in the second-floor Neptune Room. Part 1 of the series was themed “Taste of the Mediterranean,” with a selection of marinated olives and red bell peppers, risotto with seared scallop, braised shortribs over mashed potatoes, oysters and wines to match various courses.

There were stations set up for food, and servers moved through the crowd with trays of pizza and bruschetta.

Also among the highlights were an array of fabulous desserts by Fenton Lee, former executive pastry chef for such luxury resorts as the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Waikaloa Hilton Resort, Hyatt Regency Kauai, and Grand Wailea. While the desserts, including fresh fruit in champagne gelée, were elegant, befitting a fine resort, guests were able to leave with one of his more earthy confections, the croissada, which I wrote about in the paper, causing a rush on the Aloha Center Cafe.

The pastry is described by Lee as a “delicate blend of a croissant and malasada” filled with a Polynesian vanilla Bavarian cream.


Pacific Beach Hotel photo

From the outside it definitely looks like a malasada, with its crisp golden brown exterior, rolled in granulated sugar. Inside it’s flaky like a croissant, and the cream filling reminded me of a long john pastry, which actually seems to make this three pastries rolled into one.

The next Passport to Wine & Dine event is coming up 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 25. "Taste of Australia will feature the cuisine and wines of Australia. Tickets are $55.

The menu will include lemon pepper-dusted Australian baramundi, guava-glazed "shrimp on the barbie" on ciabatta, sweet basil gnocchi, roasted Australian lamb rack, Tasmanian salmon brulée, shiraz-braised ostrich ragout, gooseberry trifle with Anzac biscuits, Outback s'mores, and more.

Wines to be featured are Greg Norman pinot noir, Alice White Lexia moscato, Penfolds Thomas Hyland shiraz and Nobilo sauvignon blanc from New Zealand.

For tickets, visit or call the Catering Party Hotline at 921-6137. Pacific Beach Hotel is at 2490 Kalakaua Ave.


Braised shortribs were on the menu at "Taste of the Mediterranean."


A selection of marinated olives, bell peppers, asparagus and roasted beets.


Roasted fingerling and red potatoes on the rocks.


Pear tartlets by executive chef Fenton Lee were ah-mazing, as were all the other dessert selections.


Servers had their hands full bearing bruschetta, pictured, and pizzas to complement food available at various stations. (more…)

First Course: Plates at The Signature

July 10th, 2013


Nadine Kam photos
Twenty-eight day wet-aged steaks are the star at the new Signature Steak & Seafood restaurant at the top of the Ala Moana Hotel. This is the 22-ounce prime bone-in ribeye.

Here are a few images to go along with my review in the paper today, about restaurateur Peter Kim's latest venture, The Signature Steak & Seafood restaurant.

Signature Steak & Seafood is open from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, and 4:30 to 10 p.m. Sundays. Call 808.949.3636.


The view from the 36th floor of the restaurant, at the top of the Ala Moana Hotel, is also a major attraction. This was the true color of the sunset on July 6.


More steak: The 24-ounce porterhouse, with a few slices missing due to an overly anxious diner.


For balance, a spinach salad with tomatoes, bacon bits and walnuts.


Ahi tartare is one of the dishes on The Signature's Happy Hour bar menu, available 4 to 6:30 p.m. daily, when dishes off the bar menu are offered at 50 percent off.


View from one of the private rooms.

The Signature Seafood Tower features a Maine lobster tail and two claws, jumbo shrimp, sliced New England sea Scallop and oysters on the half shell, at $49.95 as of today.


Thai-inspired crispy fried calamari drizzled with sweet chili sauce.

The Shake serves as drink or dessert, an adult update of the chocolate shake made with Absolute Vanilla, Kahlua, Godiva chocolate liqueur and vanilla ice cream, topped with chopped macadamia nuts and cinnamon.


Cajun shrimp is one of the dishes in development.

Name 'Foodie Faves' to win trip to New Orleans

July 10th, 2013


Some foodie faves already uploaded to Instagram and Ala Moana Center's Facebook page.

Are you addicted to kalua pork at Ala Moana Poi Bowl? Tea drinks at The Pacific Tea Garden? Popovers at Neiman Marcus? Or are you a snob for steaks at Morton's?

Your answer could win you a trip to New Orleans.

From now through July 21, Ala Moana Center is inviting foodies to visit its Facebook page to enter for to win a trip for two to New Orleans.

The grand prize includes:
>> Roundtrip airfare for two
>> 5 days / 4 nights at the Bourbon Orleans, part of the New Orleans Hotel Collection
>> Breakfast daily at Roux on Orleans
>> Welcome drinks at Bourbon O
>> Complimentary in-room massage for two
>> New Orleans-Creole meals
>> A $250 gift basket from Oakwood Center

Visit and click on the orange "Foodie Faves Sweepstakes" box.

Plus, Instagram a picture of your favorite meal from one its dozens of eateries, using the hashtag #FoodieFaves, for a chance to win a $100 Ala Moana Center gift card.

Get fresh with garmers and chefs at Cookspace Hawaii

July 9th, 2013


Nadine Kam photos
Sashimi covered with transparent petals of konbu and yuzu gelee, created by Vintage Cave Honolulu chef Chris Kajioka at Cookspace Hawaii on July 7.

Vintage Cave Honolulu chef Chris Kajioka and Big Island farmers Pam and Kurt Hirabara of Hirabara Farms were in the house at Cookspace Hawaii July 7, as part of the new demonstration space's summer cooking series "Get Fresh LIVE," demonstrating the alchemy that takes place when chefs and farmers get together to collaborate and inspire one another.

The exciting new space is the brainchild of longtime foodie and entrepreneur Melanie Kosaka, who's able to tap into a who's who of culinary expert who offer their time and talent to opening up meaningful discussions of food and food production, beyond the glut of superficial "look where I'm eating" social media postings.

The appetizer dish, as at top, plated for individual diners, with kanpachi sashimi.

During the event, mixing cooking demonstrations, talk, tasting and dining, Kurt related that his attitude toward farming changed when he heard chef Alain Ducasse's belief that, "The chef is not the star, the produce is."

From that moment, Hirabara said he realized he had to step up his game, while saying that as a chef, Kajioka feels it's his job not to screw it up.

Pam said they could have planted their fields with tomatoes, but in choosing to work with a select group of chefs, have been willing to accommodate their requests and experiment with different crops, that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't, whether due to climate, soil conditions or the kinds of pests that they attract or repel.

The farmers admit to being a little stumped when Chris requested a conehead cabbage. Kurt said his response was, "You gotta be kidding me. Why grow the lowliest of vegetables, that we toss with kalua pig" because it's so down to earth?

Chris's rationale: "If cabbage isn't good when it goes in the pan, I can't do anything about it."


Kurt Hirabara of Hirabara Farms plays around with the Caraflex, or "conehead" cabbage that was the produce star of the evening.


Chef Chris Kajioka demonstrates the simple task of charring the sweet, tender cabbage.

As for serving up the humble ingredient in his high-end restaurant, my view is that anyone can slap meat on a plate and make it savory, but it takes skill to make vegetables sublime. So few in Hawaii are able to do this. The handful of times I have been at Vintage Cave, the cabbage dish has been my favorite.

What Kurt found in growing the Caraflex cabbage Chris sought, is that it contains less sulfur than other cruciferous vegetables, and it's leaves are more tender and sweeter than other cabbages.

Now, he grows the cabbage exclusively for Chris, meaning you and I can't buy it at the market, and competing chefs can't get it either. That doesn't mean he's above withholding some for his own cooking experiments, and when Chris found out, Kurt said he exclaimed, "You mean you're using MY cabbage?"

Of course, true to Chris's description, the cabbage is pointy, and Pam said that when their workers first saw them, they were horrified. "They thought they had done something wrong."

As for growing great vegetables in your little patch of urban Honolulu, good luck. The farmers said they've found the same rule for growing great wine grapes applies. Greens I grow in sunny Liliha tend to be bitter, and they said the greater the differential between day and night temperatures, the sweeter greens turn out to be, also developing a beautiful glossy sheen.

"The sad thing is, a lot of greens grow anywhere so people are fooled into thinking if it's growing, it must be OK," Pam said.

The next "Get Fresh" event takes place 6 to 8 p.m. July 27, with chef Colin Hazama, senior executive sous chef of the Sheraton Waikiki, and Lesley Hill of Waialea Agricultural Group. They will be showcasing Big Island kampachi, hearts of palm and spices. Cost: $85.


From left, chef Chris Kajioka with Cookspace Hawaii's Melanie Kosaka, and Kurt and Pam Hirabara.


Charred Hirabara Farms Caraflex cabbage topped with dill with anchovy bouillon.


Beef cap with peppercorn, black garlic, spring onion and charred broccoli.

The beef cap plated for individual diners on ceramic ware created by local ceramist Daven Hee. Also on the plate are slices of Hirabara Farms potatoes.


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