Archive for July, 2014

Desserts debut at Top of Waikiki

By
July 31st, 2014



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comThe Top of Waikiki hosted a media event to introduce new desserts by Heather Bryan. She is showing her pineapple rum cake embellished with fresh fruit.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

The Top of Waikiki hosted a media event to introduce new desserts by Heather Bryan. She is showing her pineapple rum cake embellished with fresh fruit.

Top of Waikiki has unveiled five irresistible new additions to a dessert menu redesigned by pastry sous chef Heather Bryan, who recently joined executive chef Lance Kosaka’s culinary team.

After a stint at the progressive Vintage Cave, the new menu has marked a return to basics for Bryan, who nevertheless puts her own creative spin on desserts that include such new best sellers as:

» Apple Pie, a deconstructed original take on the American classic, with fresh Granny Smith and Fuji apples baked in an apple spice reduction, served warm, topped with brown butter crumble and vanilla gelato.

» Toasted Hazelnut Gelato Pie, starring hazelnut gelato layered atop chocolate mousse on a chocolate chip cookie crust, crowned with Frangelico whipped cream, bacon brittle and toasted hazelnuts.

» Chocolate Cremeux Semifreddo, a rich, silky smooth cocoa semifreddo layered with milk chocolate cremeux and solid dark chocolate, and finished with Hawaiian sea salt caramel.

This toasted hazelnut gelato pie was my favorite. It starts with Il Gelato's ice cream, layered with chocolate mousse and Frangelico whipped cream, on a chocolate chip cookie crust. Finishing touches are bacon brittle and toasted hazelnuts.

This toasted hazelnut gelato pie was my favorite. It starts with Il Gelato's ice cream, layered with chocolate mousse and Frangelico whipped cream, on a chocolate chip cookie crust. Finishing touches are bacon brittle and toasted hazelnuts.

“I wanted to take a creative approach to these classic desserts,” Bryan said. “For example, in the Apple Pie, fresh Fuji apples—which are my favorite—add a second dimension of soft texture to firm Granny Smiths.

“Also, crust can diminish in most traditionally baked pies; baking the crust separately lets the flavors and textures stand out.”

Heather Bryan's take on apple pie.

Heather Bryan's take on apple pie.

The change of pace has also been an adjustment for Bryan, who, in the exclusive and intimate Vintage Cave was preparing desserts for 30 people, instead of 300, which has meant picking her battles and areas of focus.

Although she says she misses making her own ice cream, during a tasting Wednesday we were just as happy with Il Gelato's hazelnut and vanilla bean ice creams that go into her confections.

Other new treats include a rich but refreshing citrus-flavored Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake, in which mascarpone lifts the rich cream cheese texture to new heights, and a reimagined Hawaiian classic, Pineapple Rum Cake.

Chocolate lovers may side with the chocolate cremeux semifreddo, finished with Hawaiian sea salt caramel.

Chocolate lovers may side with the chocolate cremeux semifreddo, finished with Hawaiian sea salt caramel.

Rounding out the dessert lineup are three continuing favorites from Kosaka’s original menu: Mango Crème Brulee, Hawaiian Macadamia Nut & Chocolate Tart and Chocolate Brownie. All desserts are priced at $9.

For more information and to view the full dessert, dinner and happy hour menus, visit topofwaikiki.com or call (808) 923-3877 to make reservations. Free validated parking is available at the Waikiki Business Plaza.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage appears in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

On the table at Dîner en Blanc

By
July 23rd, 2014



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comCorina Hill, with husband Eric, created a lighted floral arch for her Diner en Blanc table, with three-tiered plates full of canapes for her mini wine party.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Corina Hill, with husband Eric, created a lighted floral arch for her Dîner en Blanc table, with three-tiered plates full of canapes for her mini wine party.

Diners paid $35 plus a $5 membership fee for the privilege of attending Honolulu's inaugural Dîner en Blanc on Saturday at a secret location that turned out to be 'Iolani Palace, keeping with the global event's tactic of staging the dinners at iconic venues.

It seemed like a daunting task to ask participants to bring their own tables, chairs, linens, dishes, beverages and food. I know many who initially bought tickets, then returned them when they learned all the rules. For that amount of effort, they figured they could just as easily host their own garage or backyard party.

But generally not for 750 people — with 1,400 more on a wait list to attend — and the opportunity to make history, as Jan Kuivenhoven, who flew in from Kailua-Kona to enjoy the evening with her friend Elaine Endo, said.

“This is a piece of history in Hono­lulu. To be a part of this world event and to be dining with all these folks, how do you get this experience? You don’t. This is so fabulous,” Kuivenhoven said while helping Endo arrange a vase full of her favorite lavender roses.

Malie Moran, better known in fashion than foodie circles, hosted the party with Maleko McDonnell and Aubrey Akana. She wanted to bring the dinner party here after learning about the 25-year-old global event last spring when she was invited to the Los Angeles edition.

“I couldn’t make it, but I loved the idea of bringing it to Hawaii,” she said.

It was a thrill to see 750 people dressed in white filling the parking lot at 'Iolani Palace.

It was a thrill to see 750 people dressed in white filling the parking lot at 'Iolani Palace.

These fruit and cheese platters were part of the meal created by chef Shoji Namatame for our ALOHA table led by Jason Kim. elow, a closeup of the cheeses, berries and fruit.

These fruit and cheese platters were part of the meal created by chef Shoji Namatame for our Aloha table led by Jason Kim. Below, a closeup of the cheeses, berries and fruit.

DEB cheese

The original Dîner en Blanc was launched in Paris by Francois Pasquier in 1988 as a gathering of friends. They decided to wear white so that they could easily spot one another at the Pont des Arts. Today there are 40 events that take place around the world, and the original Paris event brings together more than 10,000 people annually.

“When you look at pictures of the events, you see the Eiffel Tower and iconic places from cities all over the world. We were so lucky to have Iolani Palace as our venue, the only royal palace in the United States,” Moran said.

In the friends and word-of-mouth only spirit of the original event, promotion of the Hono­lulu event spread among friends, family and foodies through social media, and the venue was a closely held secret. Bus drivers hired to whisk people from four rendezvous points in Hono­lulu only learned of the site when they received a text photo at 5:40 p.m. that day.

Elaine Endo, left, arranges her favorite lavender roses from Watanabe Florist with the help of her friend Jan Kuivenhoven, who flew in from Kailua-Kona for the event.

Elaine Endo, left, arranges her favorite lavender roses from Watanabe Florist with the help of her friend Jan Kuivenhoven, who flew in from Kailua-Kona for the event.

Charlene Lo Chan and Melanie Kosaka with the cold cut and grilled vegetable platter also enjoyed at our ALOHA table.

Charlene Lo Chan and Melanie Kosaka with the cold cut and grilled vegetable platter also enjoyed at our Aloha table.

I couldn't imagine so many people would be willing to lug in all their gear while dressed in white. The worst was having to also bag and cart the trash after the event. Food waste is so gross.

I was lucky to have it easy, with friends who don't like heavy lifting. Curate Decor + Design was enlisted to create our table decor and favors, and our food was catered by chef Shoji Namatane of the Trump International Hotel Waikiki. At $155 per person, we paid more, but it was well worth it to be part of the spectacle without breaking a sweat (save for the day's humidity).

Two-thirds of attendees also paid extra to have their meals created by Hale 'Aina Caterers chef Kanani Lincoln, who made three meal plans available, giving diners such options as Chinese lemon-roasted chicken or pulled five-spice duck confit on ’Nalo baby greens, with a starter charcuterie arrangement.

As for the instigator in all this, Malie never had a chance to sit down to dinner herself.

“I saw old friends, met new friends. I was too excited to eat.”

As for next year, participants are already planning bigger and better centerpieces and meals, Moran said.

“The pressure is on. I would love to do this again next year because the experience has been so amazing. I’m so happy it was so well received and that we could put Hawaii on the map in the Dîner en Blanc family.”

Vichyssoise made portable in sippable mason jars at the ALOHA table.

Vichyssoise made portable in sippable mason jars at the Aloha table.

The main course at the ALOHA table: Turkish kebabs of beef and chicken, with red onion, bell pepper and cherry tomato, and curried vegetable pilaf.

The main course at the Aloha table: Turkish kebabs of beef and chicken, with red onion, bell pepper and cherry tomato, and curried vegetable pilaf.

We finished with macarons, and below, went home with Brooke's Toffee Russian tea cakes.

We finished with macarons, and below, went home with Brooke's Toffee Russian tea cakes.

Chef Kanani Lincoln of Hale 'Aina Caterers prepped food for nearly 500 of the participants who preferred ease and an element of surprise rather than carting in their own food.

Chef Kanani Lincoln of Hale 'Aina Caterers prepped food for nearly 500 of the participants who preferred ease and an element of surprise rather than carting in their own food.

Hale 'Aina's charcuterie platter of meats, cheese, herb crostini and tomato-bacon jam.

Hale 'Aina's charcuterie platter of meats, cheese, herb crostini and tomato-bacon jam.

You can see more of the fashion at Dîner en Blanc in my latest Fashion Tribe blog.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage appears in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

RELATED VIDEO:

Islands to the Bay at CookSpace

By
July 19th, 2014



PHOTO BY JASON KIM / Courtesy CookSpace HawaiiChefs Louis Maldonado, left, and Colin Hazama win applause following their cooking demonstration and six-course degustation at CookSpace Hawaii.

COURTESY JASON KIM / COOKSPACE HAWAII

Chefs Louis Maldonado, left, and Colin Hazama win applause following their cooking demonstration and six-course degustation at CookSpace Hawaii.

Colin Hazama and Louis Maldonado met when they were culinary students at the California Culinary Academy.

Today Hazama is the executive sous chef at the Sheraton Waikiki and Maldonado is part owner and executive chef of Spoonbar in Healdsburg, Calif. The two friends were reunited during a special collaboration dinner Thursday at CookSpace Hawaii.

The dinner took place just a few hours after Louis' flight arrived. Just like other recent trips, he'll be in and out of Honolulu in 48 hours because of his demanding schedule, but he'll be here just long enough to judge a cooking contest.

The sixth annual Mangoes at the Moana runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, with a mango recipe contest taking place from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Hazama will participate in a Mango Throw Down featuring local celebrity chefs in a friendly cooking competition using mango as the main ingredient from noon to 4 p.m.

During the CookSpace demo/dinner/talk story event, the two said they bonded over their love of food and their mixed ethnic heritage. Hazama is Chinese-Japanese and Maldonado is Sicilian-Mexican, so they instantly understood the concept of fusion cuisine before even setting foot in a classroom.

Their collaboration, From the Islands to the Bay, offered both the opportunity to share products they love from Hawaii and the Bay Area.

Here's a look at what was served:

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comThe meal started with two pupu, local sourdough toast topped with avocado, radish and kampachi sashimi, and below, chicharonnes with malt vinegar and a dusting of shichimi, served with yogurt poppyseed foam.

NADINE KAM / NKAM@STARADVERTISER.COM

The meal started with two pupu, local sourdough toast topped with avocado, radish and kampachi sashimi, and below, chicharonnes with malt vinegar and a dusting of shichimi, served with yogurt poppyseed foam.

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Shaved geoduck clam, chutoro ahi and ikura with pickled herbs and fermented chili.

NADINE KAM / NKAM@STARADVERTISER.COM

Shaved geoduck clam, chutoro ahi and ikura with pickled herbs and fermented chili.

Kona abalone roasted in Sonoma Coast seaweed with Naked Cow Dairy butter and porcini bouillon, topped with Kahuku sea asparagus and dainty beech mushrooms.

NADINE KAM / NKAM@STARADVERTISER.COM

Kona abalone roasted in Sonoma Coast seaweed with Naked Cow Dairy butter and porcini bouillon, topped with Kahuku sea asparagus and dainty beech mushrooms.

PHOTO BY JASON KIM / Courtesy CookSpace HawaiiI sort of overbooked myself so this was actually my third food stop of the evening, so I missed this Ho Farms salad, which is too bad. It looks delicious with its combination of butternut squash, gerkin cucumber pickles, purple long beans and pearl onions surrounding  a gelée of golden Kahuku and mini currant tomatoes.

COURTESY JASON KIM / COOKSPACE HAWAII

I sort of overbooked myself so this was actually my third food stop of the evening, so I missed this Ho Farms salad, which was too bad. It looks delicious with a combination of butternut squash, gerkin cucumber pickles, purple long beans and pearl onions surrounding a gelée of golden Kahuku and mini currant tomatoes.

Once upon a time we could joke about the way chefs from Japan incorporated corn into every conceivable dish. Looks like we've joined in. On the heels of the recent Ante Meridian popup breakfast that included brioche with corn sauce, here, a Guinea hen roulade was coated in sweet corn sauce and accompanied by Kauai shrimp in shellfish emulsion.

NADINE KAM / NKAM@STARADVERTISER.COM

Once upon a time we could joke about the way chefs from Japan incorporated corn into every conceivable dish. Looks like we've joined in. On the heels of a recent Ante Meridian popup breakfast that included brioche with corn sauce, here, a Guinea hen roulade was coated in sweet corn sauce and accompanied by Kauai shrimp in shellfish emulsion.

Prickly Ash Sonoma lamb saddle was served with Hawaiian vanilla fondue, a tea-smoked scallop, cilantro essence and peach.

NADINE KAM / NKAM@STARADVERTISER.COM

Prickly Ash Sonoma lamb saddle was served with Hawaiian vanilla fondue, a tea-smoked scallop, cilantro essence and peach.

Dessert was a "Pina Colada" of coconut truffle gelato made with a Pacojet device, toppings of compressed sugarloaf pineapple and ulu chips, with kaffir lime syrup. Below, chef Colin adds the finishing touch of mango ice.

NADINE KAM / NKAM@STARADVERTISER.COM

Dessert was a Pina Colada of coconut truffle gelato made with a Pacojet device, toppings of compressed sugarloaf pineapple and ulu chips, with kaffir lime syrup. Below, chef Colin adds the finishing touch of mango ice. My arm is there, snapping a photo of Mami Yoshimitsu, restaurant sales manager for the Sheraton Waikiki.

COURTESY JASON KIM / COOKSPACE HAWAII

COURTESY JASON KIM / COOKSPACE HAWAII

Cookspace Hawaii is located at Ward Warehouse, second floor suite 2360. Call (808) 695-2205 or visit cookspacehawaii.com for roster of classes.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage appears in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Ante Meridian brings brunch to Manoa

By
July 17th, 2014



JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COMChef Anthony Yang plates a course of naked cow yogurt, coffee granola, and lilikoi on Saturday in Manoa.

JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

Chef Anthony Yang plates a course of naked cow yogurt, coffee granola, and lilikoi on Saturday in Manoa.

Pili Group joined forces with Ante Meridian by San Francisco-based chef Anthony Yang to present a four-course, $45 prix fixe popup brunch in Manoa on Saturday and Sunday.

It was a great use of a vacant space on East Manoa Road that was home to Beau Soleil once upon a time. I actually wanted to buy that space about a decade ago, when it was selling for around $1 million.

The commercial space is part of a complex that includes a four-bedroom house in the back. My problem at the time was the lack of parking and potential liability of having a restaurant on property, but parking seemed to be no problem on Saturday morning when everyone who attended simply lined nearby Lowrey Avenue.

Yang said he began talking about coming to Hawaii with Pili Group's Mark “Gooch” Noguchi the last time Gooch was in San Francisco.

"We talked about it for three months and planned it in two weeks," Yang said.

The two have been friends since they were students at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Fellow alum Chris Kajioka was also at the event helping out in the kitchen, which Yang said is a luxury.

"In San Francisco, I'm a one-man show," said Yang, a veteran of New York's Per Se, who began hosting pop-up brunch events for his co-workers and friends a year ago, while working at Michael Mina restaurant in San Francisco.

JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM From left, chef Chris Kajioka, chef Anthony Yang, and chef Nick Erker plate a course of Naked Cow yogurt, coffee granola, and lilikoi during a brunch pop-up in Manoa last weekend.

JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

From left, chef Chris Kajioka, chef Anthony Yang, and chef Nick Erker plate a course of Naked Cow yogurt, coffee granola, and lilikoi during a brunch pop-up in Manoa last weekend.

"Ante Meridian (am)," is the Latin reference to things "relating to, or taking place in the morning.” The popularity of the events led him to expand his concept to offering a four-course menu in a Victorian house in the Mission District known as The Naked Kitchen.

His event now takes place twice a month and sells out within hours of releasing the menu. Yang most recently launched an evening event called Post Meridian.

"I don't think people with my training want to do breakfast," he said, but opted to do so for personal reasons.

"I proposed to girlfriend here (in Honolulu) a year ago, and, thinking of starting family, I knew I wanted to be home in the evening.

"I don't want to do the kind of breakfast place where everyone has pancakes and waffles, but I don't want to be too refined either. I want to keep it accessible."

His breakfast is part of a healthy trend of incorporating ingredients we don't typically see in the morning, such as corn, beets and savory truffles.

And, with the Pili Group to assist, Yang said all he had to do was pack his waffle makers.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comStarting the day with Chris Sy's brioche bread pudding cubes with pineapple and dots of corn and macadamia nut creams during Anthony Yang's Ante Meridian popup in Manoa.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Starting the day with Chris Sy's brioche bread pudding cubes with pineapple and dots of corn and macadamia nut creams during Anthony Yang's Ante Meridian popup in Manoa.

A closer look at the pineapple brioche dish.

A closer look at the pineapple brioche dish.

Rice porridge topped with togarashi pork, homemade pickles and poached egg.

Rice porridge topped with togarashi pork, homemade pickles and poached egg.

Yang's signature black truffle waffles were the highlight of the event, so light, airy and crisp and studded with bits of the truffle.

Yang's signature black truffle waffles were the highlight of the event, so light, airy and crisp and studded with bits of the truffle.

In helping to bring Yang here, Noguchi said the Pili Group is about "keeping everyone connected, to have a network of people, have resources and location" in staging such events.

"Coz as Hawaii cooks we don't get to go out much, so to bring talent here, when these things happen, it allows cooks, especially younger cooks, to be inspired."

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage appears in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instragram and Rebel Mouse.

RELATED VIDEO:

Kajioka pops in at MW

By
July 15th, 2014



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comChris Kajioka, center left, joined Wade Ueoka, center right, and Michelle Karr-Ueoka, left, in their MW kitchen. The staff celebrates at the close of dinner service.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Chris Kajioka, center left, joined Wade Ueoka, center right, and Michelle Karr-Ueoka, left, in their MW kitchen. The staff celebrated at the close of dinner service.

Perhaps he's been in the cave too long, because Chris Kajioka's seems to be making the most the light these days, popping up in kitchens of friends.

In April, word came that the chef would be leaving Vintage Cave by summer's end. His last day there is July 31, and his next project involves working with Aziza's Mourad Lahlou in opening a restaurant here, and for now, he's easing out of tidy Vintage Cave style by helping other chefs, such as Anthony Yang during the weekend's Ante Meridian brunch in Manoa, and creating more earthy fare with a hint of Moroccan inspiration during a series of Tuesday collaboration dinners at Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka's MW restaurant.

Here's a look at what was on the menu at MW on July 8. It was very affordable, considering all you get, at $50 per person, with an additional $30 for wine pairings.

A rule of thumb for those of us who eat vast quantities of food is, don't eat the bread so we can enjoy more of the good stuff. But that's just a reference to average bread. Chris Sy's bread is irresistible and easily qualifies as "the good stuff," so we ended up with double orders of bread and left very full.

Starting bites are important in setting the tone for the evening and we were delighted  by these oysters and lavosh topped with smoked onion dip and the burst of salt from ikura.

Starting bites are important in setting the tone for the evening, and we were delighted by these oysters and lavosh topped with smoked onion dip and the burst of salt from ikura.

MW oysters

A medley of cooked and raw veggies including okra, tomatoes, avocado and sea beans.

A medley of cooked and raw veggies including okra, tomatoes, avocado and sea beans.

This duck pastrami was fantastic, served with Chris Sy bread.

This duck pastrami was fantastic, served with Chris Sy bread.

Roasted cabbage with anchovy, apple and Parmesan. Kajioka really knows how to elevate the humble cabbage. His cabbage dishes are always among my favorites at Vintage Cave, along with the caviar-topped brioche.

Roasted cabbage with anchovy, apple and Parmesan. Kajioka really knows how to elevate the humble cabbage. His cabbage dishes are always among my favorites at Vintage Cave, along with the caviar-topped brioche.

We could not get enough of this toasted ginger bread presented with foie gras, in the background.

We could not get enough of this toasted ginger brioche presented with foie gras and fig jam, in the background. This was a $20 add-on.

Then the meat arrived. In the foreground glazed pork belly with apple and verjus, and lamb shoulder with honey and shallot.

Then the meat arrived. In the foreground glazed pork belly with apple and verjus, and lamb shoulder with honey and shallot.

The meat was intended to be folded into flatbread and dressed with these condiments to our liking: clockwise from top left, picquillo almond spread, pickled onion, eggplant balsamic, cauliflower yogurt dill and marinated cucumbers, There was also Moroccan harissa sauce. I couldn't get enough of the picquillo and eggplant.

The meat was intended to be folded into flatbread and dressed with these condiments to our liking: clockwise from top left, picquillo almond spread, pickled onion, eggplant balsamic, cauliflower yogurt dill and marinated cucumbers, There was also Moroccan harissa sauce. I couldn't get enough of the picquillo and eggplant.

For the finale there were donuts with brown butter and medjool dates.

For the finale there were donuts with brown butter and medjool dates.

The next collaboration dinner will take place July 22, and is likely sold out to the very people who were there on the 8th. Yes, it was that good!

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage appears in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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