Archive for November, 2013

Big Island Candies celebrates new Ala Moana store

November 19th, 2013


A limited-edition, chocolate-dipped Hello Kitty design graces T-shirts at the newly open Big Island Candies store in the new Ala Moana Centercourt.Nadine Kam photos

Big Island Candies hosted a couple of events to celebrate the opening of its new Ala Moana Center store, in the renovated street level Center Court, that has welcomed other retailers such as Swatch, Minamoto Kitchen, Papyrus, Island Sole and Freaky Tiki Tropical Optical.

Events started with a store blessing and official opening the morning of Nov. 15, followed by a cocktail reception Nov. 17, with chocolate dipping on site.

The new 1,800 square foot store is packed wall-to-wall with the company's signature chocolate-dipped shortbread cookies, plus a range of chocolate-covered to red velvet brownies, and other chocolate-dipped versions of island treats such as dried ika, arare, li hing mui and iso peanuts.

New products include Mika ume shiso-filled milk chocolates, toffee-coated chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, pineapple shortbread, and chocolate-filled shortbread "Manju."

Many of the goodies are packaged in gift boxes for easy holiday shopping, including a design by Sig Zane.

Prices start at a reasonable $6.50 for a package of chocolate-covered animal crackers, or $12.50 for a box of Mika chocolates.


The gleaming new store is dressed for the holidays, with plenty of edible gift items packaged and ready to deliver to friends and family.


Sharita Solmerin was dipping Big Island Candies signature shortbread cookies in milk chocolate during a cocktail reception that took place Nov. 17.



A little bit of chocolate with ika might turn non-seafood lovers into believers.


Macadamia nut shortbread dipped in a creamy blend of white chocolate and matcha green tea. (more…)

First Course: The Pig & the Lady at home in Chinatown

November 14th, 2013


The pho tsukemen served at the grand opening of The Pig & the Lady was terrific. Loved the texture of the silky noodles with the crunch and burst of salt from the fried shallots and garlic, and fantastic slow-roasted brisket.Nadine Kam photos

After two years of pop-ups, The Pig & The Lady, or, The Pig & the Le Family, has a true brick-and-mortar home at Lemongrass Cafe at 83 N. King St., partnering with The Pacific Gateway Center in developing programs to promote its mission of supporting and assisting immigrants, refugees and low-income residents.

As part of their partnership, TP&TL will be employing participants in the PGC's work training program and using produce they are planning to grow on their farms.

The dining area was built with community effort as well. Le took time to thank Daniel Anthony of Mana Ai for donating five beautiful, communal handcrafted mango wood tables. Someone I was talking to suggested the tables would be great for an Oktoberfest party. Other decor was the work of Fishcake.

The new restaurant will continue serving Vietnamese street food-style lunches and tasting dinners—based on Le's food memories—that have been hits with its pop-up and farmer's market clientele ever since TP&TL first popped up at Hank's Haute Dogs.

The restaurant hosted a private grand opening party Nov. 12, before opening to the public on the 13th.

For now, the restaurant is only open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., offering popular dishes from the farmer's markets and expanding its selection of banh mis (Vietnamese sandwiches), and noodle and rice dishes.

A few new additions featured at the grand opening party were:
>> P.L.T. melt banh mi: Fried portobello mushroom filled with cheddar, sprouts, local tomato and "Srirancha" sauce (Sriracha and ranch dressing).
>> New noodle soups: Including Vietnamese posole and pho tsukemen.
>> Doughnut- and Specaloos-flavored soft serve ice cream.

Dinner service will start on Dec. 12, when the restaurant will be serving Southeast Asian-inspired food.

Future events include the ever-popular “Dinner and a Movie” and “Trough Dinners,” and an oyster bar is in the works.


At the bar.


Chef Andrew Le and the lion.


Chef Andrew with his sister Allison and mom.


The ingredients for Vietnamese posole soup with chickpeas, pig head, shishito pepper paste, lemongrass and radish, before the broth went in.


The P.L.T. (Pig & the Lady, tomato) Melt with a center of portobello mushroom, topped with spicy Sriracha sauce.


Dessert of Speculoos ice cream sandwiches.


The red brick walls and high ceilings gave the feeling of being inside a New York City or Boston restaurant.


A tribute to the family.


A friend of the family also dropped off a pink cake in the shape of a pig, with a dragonfruit in its mouth.

Liliha Bakery No. 15 of 'America's 50 Best Bakeries'

November 14th, 2013


Liliha Bakery has made The Daily Meal's list of "America’s 50 Best Bakeries."The Daily Meal photo

Liliha Bakery is No. 15 on The Daily Meal's list of "America’s 50 Best Bakeries," based on consultations with bake experts , and an analysis of the more than 6,000 retail bakeries nationwide.

The team started with a list of 1,400 bakeries and whittled it down to America’s top 50 using the criteria of: menu of both breads and pastries, longevity, whether they employ notable and award-winning chefs, whether they make all their baked goods from scratch, and buzz factor.

The list was created with the notion that holiday shoppers would be on the lookout for sweet treats for their next parties. The panel of experts included Francois Payard, Dominique Ansel, Pichet Ong, and Eric Kayser.

Here are the top 10; the remainder can be viewed at
1. Tartine Bakery, San Francisco
2.Dominique Ansel, New York City
3. Flour Bakery + Café, Boston
4. The Standard Baking Company, Portland, Maine
5. Macrina Bakery, Seattle
6. Levain Bakery, New York City
7. Salty Tart, Minneapolis
8. Amy’s Bread, New York City
9. Porto’s Bakery, Los Angeles
10. Pearl Bakery, Portland, Ore.America's 50 Best Bakeries (Slideshow)

Of Liliha Bakery, the website says:

"Liliha Bakery opened in 1950, selling butter rolls, glazed donuts, dobash (chocolate) and haupia (coconut) cake, and more to Hawaii’s community. Liliha is known for its coco puff, which debuted in 1970 with not much success, but made a comeback in 1990 when now-retired baker Kame Ikemura tweaked the recipe. The coco puff, one of the bakery’s most popular items, is filled with chocolate pudding and topped with Hawaiian chantilly cream. The bakers crank up the oven and bake everything from scratch from 2 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, making Liliha not only a local favorite but also a must-visit destination when you’re in Hawaii."

What's interesting is the bakeries Liliha Bakery beat, including Payard's own NYC François Payard Bakery (No. 21), Momofuku Milk Bar (No. 24) and Bouchon Bakery (No. 25)!

Farrell's Hawaii to launch light menu

November 8th, 2013

Farrell’s Hawaii is launching a new menu of gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian dishes from 2 to 6 p.m. Nov. 10 at its Pearlridge Uptown location.

On the Farrell’s Light Menu will be such selections as avocado & black bean quesadilla, grilled farmer’s market sandwich, insalata pizza with soup, and a Thai chicken stir-fry, just to name a few additions. Some items are 400 calories or less.

After all, light is the way to go if you want to save room for dessert!

There will be a photo booth and a “Breakfast with Santa” ticket raffle.

For more information, visit or call 488-9339.

First course: Marukame Udon moves into Chinatown

November 7th, 2013


At the new Marukame Udon Downtown branch, one of the options is Spicy Udon. Sides are sold by the piece, and shown here are sweet potato, shrimp tempura underneath the potato, and signature Onion Bomb.Nadine Kam photos

For two years, Marukame Udon has been drawing visitors to its Kuhio location, and now, a second Downtown aims to lure in the office pool, for quick, cafeteria-style noodles.

A grand opening took place Nov. 4, with guests maneuvering through a short maze to get inside because the shop was still boarded up.

Inside, Teridoll USA Corp./Marukame Udon manager Aaron Yamamoto and President Ken'ya Shiimura welcomed guests with a traditional sake barrel breaking ceremony, and as the hammered wood came flying toward me, I was thinking I might be standing in the wrong spot. But, it turned out to be the right spot, the start of the line for bowls of udon and sides.

At the start of the line, the noodles are laid out in front of you. Pick your broth and toppings before moving on to tempura, musubi and salad selections. The line moves quickly as long as people can make up their minds before reaching the counter, and speed will be one of the key factors in the restaurant's success with the downtown lunch crowd.
The new Murakame Udon is at 1104 Fort Street Mall, open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, with a take-out window on Hotel Street open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays to  Saturdays. Marukame Udon is also at 2310 Kuhio Ave.


Teridoll USA Corp./Marukame Udon manager Aaron Yamamoto, left, and President Ken'ya Shiimura.


Cracking open the sake barrel in celebration of the opening.


Ordering is done in assembly line fashion. First, pick up your noodles, choose your broth and toppings of green onion and tempura crumbs. It's $2 extra for sweet beef, shabu pork or teri chicken.


Move on to the fried offerings. Here, asparagus, potato croquette and eggplant. The asparagus was woody at the stem end. Hope that gets fixed.


Onion ring lovers will love the Onion Bomb, and the price is right, at $1.50.


Can't have udon without shrimp tempura.


The line forms just beyond the door and moves quickly as long as customers are decisive. Don't be the slug that holds up the line during the Downtown lunch hour.


The menu board.

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