Archive for January, 2014

Explore Hyatt Regency Waikiki Farmer's Market

By
January 29th, 2014



hyattcaneOne of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Farmers Market vendors is Lincoln Vo, “the sugar cane guy,” who runs stalks of cane through a specialized cold-press juicer for a full cup ($4.50) of pure sugar cane juice, with a touch of calamansi. We've been taught to fear products associated with sugar, but according to the Livestrong organization, sugar cane juice keeps glucose levels constant. It’s also an alkalizing drink that decreases acid and is full of essential minerals.Nadine Kam photos

As soon as Sven Ullrich took on executive chef duties at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki in fall 2011, he embraced all things local, and then some. He scoured markets for all Hawaii had to offer, from fresh seafood to artisan cheeses to tropical fruit including cheesy mabolos, puddinglike sapotes, mangosteens, jackfruit and dragonfruit, items not common on local tables.

A native of Hamburg, Germany, he sampled everything in order to fairly represent Hawaii on his menus. “It was very interesting for me. I had to try everything, Rainbow Drive-In, all the L&Ls. It’s been very fun and very educational.”


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That early experience has led to a new farmers market, introduced last fall, that takes place 4 to 8 p.m. Thursdays at the Hyatt. The chef selects purveyors whose locally made products he loves and who aren’t widely known, understanding that these artisan food companies could use a boost to make their efforts sustainable. One of the newest products is a delicious Kona coffee butter spread made in Waimanalo by Eric “Fats” Gaspar and his wife, Kahea, infused with Kona coffee from Kuni Goto. It’s delicious spread on toast, bagels, pancakes, waffles or steak, at $10 a jar.

What's more, the Hyatt is also starting a boutique project of its own, introducing an apiary housing 20,000 honeybees, which by summer may result in enough honey to serve in its restaurants and to make available at the farmers market.

“We’re working on the bottles and labeling now,” Ullrich said. “It’ll be 100 percent sustainable for the hotel.”

A whirl around the market:

hyattplateKalihi Corner's Tiffany Bracero, left, offers her local specialties ($8 per plate), including hamburger steak, beef stew, stuffed pork chops, and shoyu pork with turnips and black mushroom, ewith a touch of star anise.

hyattmoreWhat's a farmer's market without plenty of beautiful fruit and veggies?

hyattfruitLilikoi from Frankie's Nursery.

hyattmalaThere's fruit cream-, chocolate- and custard-filled malasadas for about $1.75 apiece.

hyattccSpun Paradise's yummy cotton candy is made from 100 percent organic cane sugar and contains no additives or dyes. Among flavors are lychee, pineapple, mango, coconut, sea salt caramel, macadamia nut and lili­koi. A 2-ounce container goes for $4. Don’t feel bad about eating it all — it has only 75 calories per container.

hyattmacawOne of the market's fans, a hyacinth macaw. When I last saw him, he was eating a Thai summer roll.

(more…)

Honolulu in running for FOOD & WINE Favorite Food City

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January 23rd, 2014



For the first time, FOOD & WINE magazine is inviting the public to vote in the America’s Favorite Food Cities Survey, and Honolulu was chosen by its editors as one of 40 contenders.

Now through April 30, you can vote on which city has the best-looking chefs (Lahaina could be a contender!) the most adventurous eaters, and more.

Results will appear in the September 2014 print issue of FOOD & WINE.

For more information on the survey, follow FOOD & WINE on Twitter and Instagram, and join the conversation with #FWHonolulu.

Vote for Honolulu at http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/americas-favorite-food-cities

Here are the cities vying for the honors:
1.  Atlanta
2.  Austin
3.  Birmingham
4.  Boston
5.  Charleston
6.  Chicago
7.  Cincinnati
8.  Cleveland
9.  Dallas
10.  Denver
11.  Houston
12.  Honolulu
13.  Indianapolis
14.  Kansas City
15.  Las Vegas
16.  Los Angeles
17.  Louisville
18.  Madison
19.  Memphis
20.  Miami
21.  Milwaukee
22.  Minneapolis
23.  Nashville
24.  New Orleans
25.  New York City
26.  Philadelphia
27.  Phoenix
28.  Pittsburgh
29.  Portland, Maine
30.  Portland, Ore.
31.  Providence
32.  St. Louis
33.  Salt Lake City
34.  San Antonio
35.  San Diego
36.  San Francisco
37.  Santa Fe
38.  Savannah
39.  Seattle
40.  Washington, D.C.

First course: 2 new tenants at Shirokiya Yataimura

By
January 21st, 2014



sukiyaki
All sukiyaki bowls—regular, large and extra large—will be one price, $4.90, on Jan. 22, to celebrate Matsuzaka-Tei's grand opening at Shirokiya's Yataimura.
Nadine Kam photos

Shirokiya's  Yataimura  welcomed two new tenants this morning, Kitanoya, specializing in Hakkaido king and snow crab, and Matsuzaka-Tei, offering inexpensive comfort meals of sukiyaki.

Both will celebrate their shared grand opening on Jan. 22, with an all-day special.

At Matsuzaka-Tei, all sizes of sukiyaki bowls—regular, large and extra large—will be $4.90. The regular prices are $4.90, $5.90 and $6.90. There probably won't be many orders for the small size tomorrow!

In Japan, sukiyaki is available as an inexpensive comfort food, and it comes as a complete meal here with miso soup (the soup is not available for take-out). The tender slices of beef and onions, also called gyu-don, is marinated in a mildly sweet sauce and served over rice.  It's juicy and satisfying.

Add-on toppings are also available for $1 each. They include ontama (half boiled egg), cheese, green onions, kim chee, natto, okra and tororo (Japanese yam).

Kitanoya will be offering a 10 percent discount off all its crab and rice bentos on Jan. 22. Regular prices range from $9.85 to $26 depending on the amount of crab offered. After opening day, only 50 $9.85 bentos will be offered daily.

Kitanoya specializes in crab imported directly from Hokkaido, renowned for its seafood, farm and dairy industries.

shcrab

You can't miss the sign indicating Kitanoya crab.

crabbasic
Only 50 of these $9.85 crab bentos will be available daily. Options are shredded crab with ikura, or shredded crab with a larger piece of crab leg.

crab2
Much more crab is offered in the $26 bento.

shsukiyaki
A steer marks the site of Matsuzaka-Tei on the mauka side of Shirokiya's second floor.

shyogurt

After the main course, cross the aisle to  5&2 Yogurt for dessert. Here, frozen yogurt is buried under fruit, nut and candy options. A smaller sampling of acai-flavored yogurt, below. One plain, one covered with chocolate yogurt, M&Ms and gummy candy.

dessert

 

First course: Cake Envy opens in downtown Honolulu

By
January 16th, 2014



cheesecakeA vast selection of cheesecakes awaits at Cake Envy, which opened this morning in downtown Honolulu, next door to the Fighting Eel boutique.Nadine Kam photos

Otto Cake's departure for Kaimuki left a cheesecake void in downtown Honolulu, which paved the way for the opening of Cake Envy, featuring fluffy confections baked up by chef/owner Amy Brookes, who's been baking for restaurants, events and TV productions since 2002.

This is her first storefront, at 1129 Bethel St., in a former floral shop next door to the Fighting Eel boutique.

Her refrigerator shelves are full of her 9-inch creations (enough for 12 to 16 people, according to her, though I'm sure some can eat more than their share), made with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, such as Kona coffee and mango. Then there are classics by category, such as "Lust for Chocolate," including mocha and "Death by Chocolate" cakes, "Sinful Fruits," "Imposters" inspired by other desserts, and "Indulgence" such as Baileys, mojito and maple bacon flavors. Call ahead to see what's available on a particular day.

The 924-square-foot space has 25 seats for those who want to sit and enjoy dessert, whether after lunch, dinner or as a pre- or post-Hawaii Theatre treat.

A "Slice of Heaven," in any flavor, is $6. A whole cheesecake is $50. A sampler of three or four flavors is $60.

For special orders, allow 48 hours notice.
—————
Cake Envy is at 1129 Bethel St., open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays. Call 599-8900, or visit www.cakeenvy.net

cakeenvy
Chef-owner Amy Brookes with her Strawberry Silk cheesecake.

cake delish
The interior was done by Cathy Lee, of Cathy Lee Style, who turned some negative feaatures into positives, incorporating pipes into quaint decor, or covering them, such as the pipe shown, with the "L" in "Delish," which beckons passersby to stop in.

cakedeath

cakecara
On opening night, Jan. 15, guests enjoyed small bites, including this Salted Caramel cheesecake. Truly delish, as the wall reads. (more…)

The earlybirds got the ramen burger

By
January 15th, 2014



keizoKeizo Shimamoto behind the grill at Taste Table, where he's cooking up his famous ramen burger.Nadine Kam photos

People started lining up at 8:30 a.m. this morning for a taste of Keizo Shimamoto's famous ramen burger, which caught national attention when it debuted at Brooklyn's Smorgasburg last fall.

All of a sudden, my New York friends were emailing me stories about this new food phenom created by Shimamoto, a ramen aficionado who started his Go Ramen blog to document his tasting and cooking adventures. In fact, one of these friends just found out about the Honolulu event and reports that the ramen burger still has the longest lines at Smorgasburg, which is why she hasn't been able to try it, even though she's in a condo that overlooks the event!


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raburg
Five months later, Keizo is here in Honolulu, where he has family, to cook up 700 burgers for those who might never be able to travel to NYC.

Of course, Hawaii diners (and shoppers) seem to have no problem with lines, and this one stretched around the corner from Taste Table, past Cocina, down to Ala Moana Boulevard.

Sadly, with about 400 people in line, and a three-burger per person limit, at $10 per burger—with many expressing the desire to pick up the maximum—not everyone will be able to get a bite, which is pretty much as you'd expect.

What's funny is that the first two women in line—Jean and Jane—both said they dreamed about the burger after learning about the special event, and when I asked Jane to describe her dream, she said she imagined soft cake noodles around a juicy burger, which is exactly what it is.

As an added treat, TT's Mark "Gooch" Noguchi added his own mashup of pork with gravy slaw on a ramen bun. Unfortunately, I didn't get to try this one. I was hoping to try it this morning, but after one look at the line, decided to go around the corner to Hank's Haute Dogs.

ralineThe line for the ramen burger stretches to Ala Moana Boulevard, about 400 people for 700 available burgers, and three burger limit per person. You do the math.

kraKeizo with his OG ramen burger, with noodle bun, grass-fed Kulana beef patty, shoyu glaze, green onions and arugula.

ra1Got a chance to try the burger last night, which tastes exactly what it sounds like, hamburger between soft, toothy cake noodles.

rabunsUnpacking the Sun Noodle ramen "buns."

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