Archive for August, 2014

New flavors at the Honolulu Club

By
August 30th, 2014



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comGrilled New York strip steak with red wine jus and harissa spiced fries are a highlight of the new menu at The Bar Honolulu.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Grilled New York strip steak with red wine jus and harissa spiced fries are a highlight of the new menu at The Bar Honolulu.

If you considered yourself a foodie back in the early 1990s through 2001, chances are you were a fan of Moumen El Hajji and wife Holly Hadsell's Hajji Baba, and later Beausoleil restaurants in Kahala and Manoa, respectively.

Moumen El Hajji and Holly Hadsell are back in the public eye.

Moumen El Hajji and Holly Hadsell are back in the public eye.

Sadly, after 9/11, business dropped for many, and the couple closed Beausoleil in favor of riding the film and television production boom, providing on-set catering services. Well, that was good for many a TV and film star on productions ranging from "Planet of the Apes" to "Godzilla" and "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire."

Well, lucky for us, they've emerged from the artificiality of film sets back into the real world, where we can once again enjoy their cuisine, this time at The Bar Honolulu inside the Honolulu Club.

It's a little-known secret that you don't have to be a member of the upscale fitness facility to enjoy the cafe and bar to the left of the reception desk. Just saunter in and act like you belong. The great thing about the bar menu is the cost is quite reasonable for the quality of the food offered because the cafe operation is partially subsidized by dues-paying members. Prices range from $4 for Moroccan-style marinated olives, to $18 for New York strip steak and harissa-spiced fries.

This is the one to order first: crisp chicharrone accompanied by salsa verde and street corn pico.

This is the one to order first: crisp chicharrone accompanied by salsa verde and street corn pico. Currently priced at $10.

Thai-spiced chicken lollipops with spicy peanut sauce.

Thai-spiced chicken lollipops with spicy peanut sauce.

Steamed clams with chorizo.

Steamed clams with chorizo.

Ahi tartare with coconut basil crema.

Ahi tartare with coconut basil crema.

Considering the high cost of membership, food here has never been worth writing about, so new owners have taken that into account, and for his part, El Hajji said he's still experimenting and putting dishes out there, allowing diners to vote with their orders, requests and repeat visits. But it's hard to subtract when he's a master at blending spices from his native Morocco with favored local ingredients ranging from patis to coconut and lemongrass.

And, the bar is also giving a shout-out to mixologists around town with a menu of drink specialties from the likes of Pint + Jigger's Dave Newman, Nobu's JJ Anchetta, The Pig and the Lady's Kyle Reutner, Chandra Lucariello of Southern Wine and Spirits, and Alicia Yamachika of the soon to open Livestock Tavern.

Feta drizzled with lehua blossom honey and spices.

Feta drizzled with lehua blossom honey and spices.

Marinated olives.

Marinated olives.

Braised shortrib atop horseradish mashed potatoes.

Braised shortrib atop horseradish mashed potatoes.

Grilled fish served atop fire-roasted apple slaw.

Grilled fish served atop fire-roasted apple slaw.

El Hajji and Hadsell have been operating under the radar for a while, but are prepared to go public with their first big event, the Honolulu Club Brunch Labor Day Edition, taking place Aug. 31, with two seatings, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., at a cost of $35 for members, and $40 for non-members.

There will be mimosa and eggs Benedict bars, lots of fresh fruit and pastry, and a passed menu of gazpacho, frittata bites, crab and lemon bread pudding, shrimp and edamame pot stickers, pork belly buns, and more.

The dress code is casual chic. Call (808) 585-9626 for more information.

The Bar Honolulu is inside Honolulu Club, 932 Ward Ave., 7th floor.

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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.

Mughlai specialties coming to KCC

By
August 21st, 2014



In anticipation of the opening of the newly renovated Mughal Suite at Shangri La, the estate of tobacco heiress Doris Duke, University of Hawaii’s Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Kapiolani Community College and Shangri La will present a series of fall public programs highlighting Mughlai cuisine.

Courtesy University of Hawaii PressChef Kusuma Cooray will be cooking up Mughlai cuisine next month at Kapiolani Community College.

COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII PRESS

Chef Kusuma Cooray will be cooking up Mughlai cuisine next month at Kapiolani Community College.

Ka 'Ikena Laua'e, the fine dining restaurant on the KCC campus, will present a special lunch menu featuring Mughlai cuisine created and prepared by KCC Professor of Culinary Studies and former Doris Duke corporate chef Kusuma Cooray and KCC culinary students.

Mughlai cuisine is a style of cooking developed by the imperial kitchens of the Muslim Mughal Empire. It represents the cooking styles of North India, Pakistan and Hyderabad.

Reservations are being taken for the lunch being offered Sept. 16 through 19, with seatings at 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and noon each day. At $22.95 per person, the lunch will feature:

» Appetizer: Mughlai Murgh (braised chicken with raisins and almonds), curried dal, pineapple chutney, raita and pratha

» Entrée: Shahjahani Biriyani (rice and lamb with saffron, aromatic spices and yogurt), Rogan Josh (curried lamb), vegetables, tomato chutney and pappadams

» Dessert: A Mughlai fantasy and choice of coffee or tea

» Drink: Assorted fruit juices and lassi

Ka 'Ikena Laua'e is in the Ohelo Building, 2nd floor, at KCC. Call 734-9499 for reservations.

Other upcoming events at KCC include:

» Aug. 25 to Dec. 19: South Asian Cuisine exhibition, display featuring South Asian recipes prepared for Doris Duke by chef Kusuma Cooray will be on view at the Kapiolani Community College Library, along with materials from the Shangri La Historical Archives; admission is free

» Oct. 6: Mughal cuisine lecture and Taj chefs demonstration, co-sponsored by Shangri La, Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and featuring executive chef Hemant Oberoi and two master chefs from Mumbai’s Taj Hotel; includes a Mughal cuisine cooking demonstration and tasting in the Culinary Institute of the Pacific auditorium, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Ohia Building 118; seating is limited and admission is free

THE LATE Doris Duke collected Islamic art over 60 years, forming a collection of about 2,500 objects, many of which are embedded into the structure of Shangri La, including Iranian ceramic tile panels, carved and painted ceilings from Morocco, jalis (perforated screen) doors and windows, and textiles and carpets.

It was her wish that Shangri La be maintained as a center for Islamic arts and culture, kept open for public visits and educational programs.

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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.

Show Lucy's some love

By
August 20th, 2014



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comLucy's Lab Creamery is in its soft opening phase. The ice cream shop currently has limited hours Thursdays through Sundays.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Lucy's Lab Creamery is in its soft opening phase with limited hours Thursdays through Sundays.

After nearly a month of social media "teasing," Lucy's Lab Creamery finally opened its doors for a soft opening over the weekend.

There was a lot of buzz and anticipation beforehand, such that I had to question the wisdom of toying with potential customers' desires. After all, what if — after all the buildup — it opens and the ice cream is junk?

Well, it was worth the wait for flavors like Nutella and Sea Salt Caramel. To date, there are only seven flavors available, and although parents might think of ice cream as a keiki-friendly treat, some flavors are definitely for the 21-and-older crowd, such as Bacon Whiskey. And Fruit Loop Vodka has kid appeal with its candy-colored cereal topping, but make no mistake, it delivers a potent kick that has thrown adults for a loop.

The ice cream is sold by weight, at $1 per ounce for a keiki scoop, and $2 per ounce for a regular scoop. Most people have no conception of what an ounce of food entails, but a cup each of keiki and regular size scoops added up to $6.

There are only seven flavors available, including Fruit Loop Vodka, and Bacon Whiskey, below.

There are only seven flavors available, including Fruit Loop Vodka, and Bacon Whiskey, below.

Lucy bacon

They were out of ice cream sandwiches when I arrived, so pan de creme—ice cream and jam in a pandesal bun—was another option. I didn't care for the stiff Filipino bread roll, which theoretically should make a nice warm and toasty home for the ice cream. But when heated, the ice cream melts down to nothing and the bread itself was not enjoyable.

They were out of ice cream sandwiches when I arrived, so pan de creme, ice cream and jam in a pandesal bun was another option. I didn't care for the stiff Filipino bread roll, which theoretically should make a nice warm and toasty home for the ice cream. But when heated, the ice cream melts down to nothing and the bread itself was not enjoyable.

Lucy sign

The shop was opened by Prudential Locations real estate agent Lee Wang in memory of his late mother Lucy, and a portion of sales will go toward breast cancer charities. An official opening is yet to come, so hours are limited. For now, keep up to date with hours by following Lucy's on Twitter or Facebook.

A recent tweet mentioned the ice cream shop will be open from 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday and noon to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Lucy's Lab Creamery is at 435 Kamakee St.

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

MW reimagines afternoon tea

By
August 20th, 2014



The tea selection.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

The selection at MW Restaurant's new Afternoon Tea.

The news is all about fairness, so I really don't like going to the same place or writing about the same business back to back.

But news is about the new after all, and MW Restaurant's Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka have consistently shown their ability to innovate.

To be a restaurateur today is not only about serving good food and hoping people will follow, but about being top-of-mind, and Michelle and Wade are proving to be Oahu's culinary power couple, with no shortage of ideas and complimentary skill sets to back them up.

Last Saturday I was there for Michelle's inaugural Baker Faire. On Sunday morning I was back for the restaurant's inaugural Afternoon Tea. And what a tea it was! With Wade's five delectable, dim sum-size savory bites and Michelle's nine sweet flourishes, everyone else serving tea in this town may need to up their game.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comA Chinese roast duck sandwich was among the petite morsels served at MW restaurant's inaugural afternoon tea. In the background is a roast pork sandwich.

A Chinese roast duck sandwich was among the petite morsels served at MW restaurant's inaugural afternoon tea. In the background is a roast pork sandwich.

In the foreground, spicy ahi "BLT," and in the background, a seafood summer roll.

In the foreground, spicy ahi "BLT," and in the background, a seafood summer roll.

Crumpets were served with lilikoi curd and strawberry compote.

Crumpets were served with lilikoi curd and strawberry compote.

Refreshing Ho Farms cucumber sorbet.

Refreshing Ho Farms cucumber sorbet.

Those feeling extra hungry could add supplemental items at $5 each, such as a caviar-topped vichyssoise, lobster corn dumpling and foie gras-and-pork bao.

Tea selections ranged from jasmine pearl to lemon mamaki, lychee acai, fruity mango peach and a custom MW chai.

Sweet bites, from top, Meyer lemon meringue tarts, MW Candy Bar, Tokachi azuki matcha mousse cake, mango lime chiffon, and strawberry cheesecake.

Sweet bites, from top, Meyer lemon meringue tarts, MW Candy Bar, Tokachi azuki matcha mousse cake, mango lime chiffon, and strawberry cheesecake.

Mini baklava.

Mini baklava.

Macadamia nut praline bars in a bamboo basket, with the baklava beneath.

Macadamia nut praline bars in a bamboo basket, with the baklava beneath.

An add-on of foie gras and pork bao "bun" was not to be missed, topped with a Chinese-style ginger-green onion sauce.

An add-on of foie gras and pork bao "bun" was not to be missed, topped with a Chinese-style ginger-green onion sauce.

Considering the quality and quantity of the food offered, the $35 cost was very reasonable, though I imagine the price may fluctuate depending on offerings at future events. The afternoon tea is slated to take place every third Sunday of the month and it's best to call early for reservations as guests in swoon mode throughout this inaugural event vowed to return.

MW Restaurant is at 1538 Kapiolani Boulevard; entrance is on Makaloa Street. Call (808) 955-6505.

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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.

The bake sale, seriously upgraded

By
August 19th, 2014



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comMW co-owner and pastry chef Michelle Karr-Ueoka presented her creations during the inaugural Baker Faire at her restaurant.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

MW Restaurant co-owner and pastry chef Michelle Karr-Ueoka presented her creations during the inaugural Baker Faire at her restaurant.

We're all familiar with the homespun bake sale, but when MW Restaurant's award-winning pastry chef Michelle Karr-Ueoka gathers a few of her besties together, you just know it'll be a bake sale to remember.

The inaugural Baker Faire took place Saturday at MW, where Karr said she always wanted to do a bake sale.

"There are all kinds of food events around town, but none featuring just pastry chefs," she said, while presiding over a table filled with her baklava, pineapple crostata and truffles.

Pastries, croissants and bread by Halekulani's Mark Freischmidt, Kimberly Oi of Pili Group, Chris Sy of Breadshop, Lee Anne Wong of Koko Head Cafe, Alison Yokouchi of The Pig and The Lady, and Alejandro Briceno, formerly of Prima and V-Lounge, sold for about $3 to $5 per item, offered fair-style, with scrip purchased up front.

Halekulani's Mark Freischmidt offered blueberry calamansi marshmallows and carrot quinoa bread.

Halekulani's Mark Freischmidt offered blueberry calamansi marshmallows and carrot quinoa bread.

Jason Kim is just getting started on filling his box at the Halekulani table. Behind him, people lined up to get in, purchasing scrips for baked goods at the door.

Jason Kim is just getting started on filling his box at the Halekulani table. Behind him, people lined up to get in, purchasing scrips for baked goods at the door.

Celeb chef Lee Anne Wong offered her famous Koko Head Cafe kim chee scones.

Celeb chef Lee Anne Wong offered her famous Koko Head Cafe kim chee scones.

Fancy treats abounded, but sometimes you just want a simple, humble M&M cookie, offered by the Pili Group, along with another homespun treat, caramel popcorn.

Fancy treats abounded, but sometimes you just want a simple, humble M&M cookie, offered by the Pili Group, along with another homespun treat, caramel popcorn.

The event started at 10 a.m. and was scheduled to run until 1 p.m. or until items sold out — but if you thought you could leisurely stroll in at 11:30 a.m. you were out of luck. Most people opted for the $40 per box option, so pastries went quickly.

With the event's success, Karr-Ueoka said she's hoping to set up another event in October and one just in time for the holidays in December, aiming for a larger venue.

MW Restaurant is at 1538 Kapiolani Boulevard. Entrance on Makaloa Street. Call (808) 955-6505.

———

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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