Archive for November, 2013

Haiyan relief dinners slated

November 22nd, 2013


More than 20 of Hawaii's top chefs are coming together to present an evening of food, drink and entertainment Nov. 25 at the Blaisdell Center, during the "Chefs for Hope" fundraiser for the Haiyan typhoon relief effort in the Philippines.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for VIP tables with table service, at $5,000 for 10 people, as well as reserved seating of $1,500 for 10 people.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for those purchasing $100 grazing tickets.

All funds raised will be donated to the Salvation Army. See the image above for participating restaurants, entertainers and drink purveyors.

Tickets are available at the Blaisdell box office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 22, 23 and 25. Tickets are also available at Chef Chai at Pacifica. Call 585-0011.



Adobo bone-in shortrib at Hy's.Photos courtesy Hy's

Hy's also hosts relief dinner

Hy’s Steak House will also be hosting a Typhoon Haiyan Relief Dinner on Nov. 26.

Executive chef Erwin Manzano, who was born was born in the Philippines at Cagayan Valley, Naguilian Isabela, will create a Filipino-inspired three-course dinner with proceeds supporting the fundraising efforts.

Seating is limited. First seating will be at 5:30 p.m. Call 922-5555 for reservations. Options are:

First course (choose one): Beef vegetable lumpia, pako (warabi, pohole) fern salad, or scallop egg drop soup

Second course (choose one): Adobo bone-in shortrib (osso bucco style), pan-seared monchong, or
Surf 'n' Turf  of prime tenderloin and sauteed shrimp with coconut milk sauce (ginataang hipon).

Third course (choose one): Leche flan, halo-halo, or vanilla ice cream or sorbet.

springrollSpringrolls created for Hy's Haiyan relief dinner.


Panda collecting donations

Panda Restaurant Group Inc., parent company of Panda Express, is will collecting donations in each of its 1,650 Panda Express, Panda Inn and Hibachi-San locations to assist victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which recently devastated the Philippines.

Panda also will match 100 percent of in-store and corporate donations collected through Dec. 4. The funds will be distributed to the American Red Cross and the Tzu Chi Foundation, an international non-profit humanitarian organization, to support their direct efforts to help victims of the typhoon.

Giving is one of Panda's core values. Since 2011, Panda has raised $1.6 million in collected and matching donations to aid victims of natural disasters including the tornado that hit Moore, Okla., in May, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Donations will assist the American Red Cross' efforts. Donations sent by Panda to Tzu Chi will support its disaster response center in the Philippines, which is delivering supplies and providing relief to devastated regions that now lack access to basic necessities and clothing.

Restaurant Week Hawai'i underway

November 21st, 2013


Cream puffs and fruit tarts in the Kapiolani Community College Ka 'Ikena Laua'e fine dining restaurant, among the restaurants participating in the 6th annual Restaurant Week Hawai'i.Nadine Kam photos

During Restaurant Week Hawai'i, why not start at the source, Kapiolani Community College, which turns out many of the individuals who make our local culinary scene run?

The goal of Restaurant Week is to realize a vision of an advanced culinary campus—the KCC Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Diamond Head. Graduates of Hawaii's first four-year culinary program will go on to serve Hawaii's restaurant and hospitality industry and, ultimately, the greater community.

A portion of the proceeds from Restaurant Week Hawaii will support the KCC Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Diamond Head, so there was no doubt that Ka 'Ikena Laua'e would be among the 97 restaurants on four islands participating in the event that encourages diners to get out and patronize restaurants. In return, the restaurants offer discounts and specials to help defray the usual cost of dining out.

At Ka 'Ikena Laua'e, patrons who mention "Hawai'i Restaurant Week" before placing their order receive a 10 percent discount off lunch.

Alas, while the week ends Sunday, the school's dining room is only open through Fridays, so tomorrow is the last day to get this particular deal on a three-course meal (about $25 per person) that starts with a choice of vichyssoise or goat cheese tart, choice of five entrees, choice of dessert and beverages.

The students are doing a terrific job what is essentially a working laboratory that makes you feel as if you are in a commercial restaurant.

Here's the full list of Restaurant Week participants:

Ka 'Ikena Laua'e is in the 'Ohelo Building, 2nd floor, 4303 Diamond Head Road, open from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays during the school session, through Dec. 4. The reservation line 734-9499 is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Here are a few of the dishes:


The vichyssoise.

kccgoatGoat cheese tart with salad of lettuce and tomatoes.


Fisherman’s Stew of fish, shrimp, lobster and clams stewed in a light saffron broth with leeks
potatoes and tomatoes, served with spicy rouille and garlic crostini.

Mariposa reopens in time for the holidays

November 20th, 2013


Mariposa at Neiman Marcus has a new look, but some things haven't changed, like informal lunch time fashion shows.Nadine Kam photos

Mariposa restaurant was temporarily closed beginning early October to refresh its look, and reopened on Nov. 11, just in time for holiday shoppers who need midday or evening respite from the laborious task.

I took a peek over lunch Nov. 16, to find new carpet in springtime green, and lighter chairs to match. Otherwise, artwork and ceiling fans are still in place to keep breezes flowing around the room.

I was reminded that the restaurant hasn't had a facelift since the store opened 15 years ago, in September 1998, so it was due. Time sure flies!

Here's a look at a few of the new lunch dishes. Otherwise, the menu hasn't changed much, so you'll still find all your old favorites, from the Mariposa corn chowder, to composed salad, and Laksa seafood curry.

mariposa shrimp

Grilled shrimp "cocktail" with avocado, fennel, orange slices and seaweed salad in Maui pineapple-golden tomato gazpacho is a tasty starter, and only 190 calories.


By popular request, Mariposa poke has been added to the menu, with hamachi, king salmon and ahi over brown rice. It's a starter that can also double as a meal for the fashionable who want to maintain their figures. It's 280 calories.

mariposa pork

Rosemary and garlic-roasted pork chop is also one of the new menu additions. It's topped with pistachio gremolata, and served over risotto Milanese, $20.

mariposa chick

Also new is the chicken breast stuffed with prosciutto and fontina cheese, served with roasted kabocha, potatoes and carrots, in kale-honey pesto.

mariposa ravioli

Kabocha ravioli and shrimp is a sweet treat, with a sauce of balsamic brown butter, sprikled with golden raisins and pine nuts.


Among new desserts is a taro cheesecake, but if you've eaten a lot, I'd suggest trying the apple galette below, with spiced pumpkin ice cream, perfect for the fall season. Also good news, the caramel pot de crème is still on the dessert menu!

mariposa apple

Food Network seeks Hawaii outsider

November 20th, 2013

food logoThe Food Network is casting for a show about new restaurant owners and is looking for people who are moving or have moved from the contiguous 48 states to Hawaii, and have recently purchased or leased a restaurant or a building that you are going to transform into a restaurant.

The episode will be part of a new tropical TV series.

If you feel you fit the criteria, plan to open a restaurant within the next six weeks or so, and want to participate, they are requesting that you send your information ASAP.

Filming begins in January 2014!

To apply: send your phone number, email, city of residence and location of restaurant, along with photos of the restaurant and you and your family, or you and your business partner to:

First Course: Dagon delivers taste of Burma

November 20th, 2013

dagon salad

The green tea salad is beautifully arranged, with a center of chopped lettuce surrounded by peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, green and yellow split peas, fried garlic, tomatoes and sunflower seeds, topped with a paste made of young green tea leaves. It's all mixed together at the table. To have it the Burmese way, they ask if you want chili pepper and fish sauce on it.Nadine Kam photos

Here are more photos of dishes served at Dagon Burmese restaurant to go along with my column in the paper today.

Among my favorite dishes was the green tea salad, which my guest Dr. Tin Myaing Thein, executive director of Pacific Gateway Center, who hails from Burma, colorfully described as the Red Bull of her university days. Due to the tea's caffeine content, she said, "This is what did it for us and kept us going for exams.”

The PGC's Lemongrass Cafe, an incubator for immigrant restaurauteurs, was a long-time home to a Burmese pop-up by Aye Aye Maw, where many a local foodie was introduced to the national dish moh hinga, a fish-noodle soup that is a another favorite of mine. The rice noodle soup is thickened with fried rice powder that gives it a lot of flavor and body, a comfort food along the lines of jook and ramen.

One other must have is the coconut chicken noodle soup, topped with crispy won ton strips. The Burmese complain that it isn't as sour and spicy as they prefer, and truthfully, owner Khun Sai said he studied American preferences before opening his first restaurant. We tend to like our dishes more savory, fatty and sweet. But, lemons and chili pepper flakes, chili sauce and a Burmese chili-sesame paste are available for those who need to make any adjustments.

If you want an idea of what Burmese cuisine is like before you go, start by pulling out a map. Burma is bordered by India, Laos, Thailand and China, and the influences are all on the menu, from coconut to masala curries and stir-fries. That's quite a broad spectrum, and the amalgamation makes Burmese cuisine quite unique.
Dagon is at 2671 S. King St. in Moiliili, near Spices, across from Sushi King. Call 947-0088
Hours: 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays to Mondays.

dagon chick noodle

Savory coconut milk-chicken noodle soup, finished with won ton crisps, cilantro and slices of hard-boiled egg. Love this. In Burma, this is a portion for one, like ramen, but the richness of the coconut milk makes it a share dish for most locals. Try it first. You may find you can eat the whole bowl.

dagon moh hinga

Moh hinga, a rice noodle soup with fish broth, is Burma's national dish. It's finished with crispy fried split peas that add texture when it's all stirred together.

dagon paste

A chili-sesame seed paste adds heat for those who want more spice in their dishes, the Burmese way. (more…)

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