Archive for November, 2014

Cocktails shaken and stirred

By
November 24th, 2014



Jennifer Fiedler shakes a French 75. See recipe at the bottom of this post.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Jennifer Fiedler shakes a French 75. See recipe below.

CookSpace Hawaii put students in a holiday frame of mind during a class Friday presented by Jennifer Fiedler, author of "The Essential Bar Book: An A-to-Z Guide to Spirits, Cocktails, and Wine, with 115 Recipes for the World’s Great Drinks" (Ten Speed Press, $19.99).

 PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comBitters and absinthe that went into sazeracs on the menu during Jennifer Fiedler's demo at CookSpace Hawaii.

Bitters and absinthe that went into sazeracs on the menu during Jennifer Fiedler's demo at CookSpace Hawaii.

Yup, that's the full title, and the book lives up to its promise as a valuable compendium that will help anyone shake or stir up cocktails like a pro.

My late husband loved a great bar. Me, not so much, but I'd humor him and go along. So it was that we once headed to New Orleans to sample Sazerac cocktails in the place of their origin. He was an avid reader and romanticized the louche lives of some of his favorite authors and poets, always seeking out the same experiences, the sum of which I credit for his early demise.

He would have loved to know that thanks to Fiedler, I now know how to make a Sazerac, one of the recipes on the menu during the session entitled Shaken, Stirred and Something Different. With a lighthearted approach to the bar, Fiedler, a former editor at Wine Spectator magazine, made it all accessible and fun, throwing in some history for good measure, so that I now see the beauty of this creative alchemy.

As we sipped gimlets, she launched into her French 75 that she described as "basically a Tom Collins with the soda water swapped out for champagne," giving it a festive touch perfect for holidays.

And she pointed out the misguided logic of James Bond's "shaken, not stirred" martini, which she said defeats the beauty of the drink, for which she said the aim is "to keep clarity and viscosity."

Shaken cockails would include such cloud-causing ingredients as juice, cream or egg whites that when shaken, change the drink's texture, adding froth and air bubbles.

The class had the opportunity to shake and stir their own cocktails after the demos, and let's just say as the evening wore on there were a lot of happy, giggly campers.

What, me measure? After measuring in the proper amount of gin, some students skipped the jigger and poured a little extra to make their own version of the French 75, named after a World War I gun as a reference to the drink's metaphoric lethalness.

What, me measure? After measuring in the proper amount of gin, some students skipped the jigger and poured a little extra to make their own version of the French 75, named after a World War I gun as a reference to the drink's metaphoric lethalness.

Fiedler lights a lemon peel to add drama to garnishing a sazerac.

Fiedler lights a lemon peel to add drama to garnishing a Sazerac.

Presentation of crudite and antipasti platters offered a few ideas for dressing a holiday table.

Presentation of crudite and antipasti platters offered a few ideas for dressing a holiday table.

bar

Here are the recipes so you can make the cocktails yourself:

FRENCH 75

Ingredients:

» 2 ounces cognac or gin

» 1/2 ounce lemon juice

» 1/4 ounce simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water)

» 3 ounces sparkling wine, preferably dry champagne

Instructions: Add first 3 ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a coupe or flute and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a long curling peel of lemon.

Note: Most of us students thought it was too much sparkling wine. A thinner layer would give the drink the festive, bubbly effect without losing the rest of the cocktail.

SAZERAC

Ingredients:

» 1 splash absinthe

» 1 sugar cube

» 1 splash soda water

» 2 ounces rye whiskey

» 2 dashes Peychaud's bitters

Instructions: In a rocks glass, add a dash of absinthe and swirl to coat. Discard. In another rocks or mixing glass, muddle sugar cube (or teaspoon of sugar or 1/4 ounce of simple syrup) with soda water.

Once dissolved, add whiskey, bitters and ice, and stir well. Strain whiskey and bitters mixture into absinthe-coated rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Also, a taste of the holidays:

HOT BUTTERED RUM

Ingredients:

» 2 sticks butter

» 1 cup brown sugar

» 1/4 cup honey

» 1/4 cup vanilla ice cream

» 1-1/2 tablespoons EACH ground cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and allspice

» 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

» 1 teaspoon salt

» Dark rum

» Black tea (hot)

Instructions: Add first 10 ingredients to a mixing bowl and blend with an electric mixer. Refrigerate until ready to use. When ready to use, warm mugs by filling with hot water. Let stand a minute or two then discard water.

Add 1 tablespoon batter to each mug. Top with 2 ounces hot tea and stir to mix. Add 1 ounce of rum to each mug, then top with 2 more ounces of tea. Rum will form a 1/4-inch cream over top of drink. Garnish with whole star anise if desired.

Note: The pumpkin pie spice flavors and the heat of the cayenne are strong and not for anyone with a milquetoast palate.

———

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.

Always something new at MW

By
November 20th, 2014



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Washugyu ribeye with potato beignets, balsamic foie gras balsamic sauce and truffle grated at the table. I die. Served with a 2009 Kenzo Estate "Ai (Indigo)" cabernet sauvignon, which was my favorite of the evening.

As if restaurant week is not busy enough at MW restaurant, Michelle Karr-Ueoka and Wade Ueoka — one of the hardest-working, over-achieving couples in the business — also hosted Kenzo Estate wine dinners on Tuesday and Wednesday, which meant coming up with a completely different menu for the wine pairings.

Okay, so they didn't exactly plan on serving three — if you count regular meal service — completely different menus over the two nights. Wade said the Kenzo Estate collaborative dinner had been planned long before they learned Restaurant Week would take place at the same time.

From left, Kenzo Estate's Ai, Murasaki and Rindo.

From left, Kenzo Estate's Ai, Murasaki and Rindo.

On top of that, there was the stress of making sure their special events dining room was completed for the occasion. I peeked in over the weekend and it still looked like a shell. But hey, I've seen many a miracle happen overnight in the retail world, and this was no different.

When this space was explained to me months ago, it sounded like it would be Wade's own man cave, allowing male patrons to enjoy ball games on big screens with manly food on the side. As a versatile special events room, it is perfect for intimate wine dinners and private parties, and no doubt its uses will continue to evolve as the couple sees fit. Watch this space!

Back to the wine dinner. The menu was fabulous, showing another dimension to Wade's talent in the kitchen. Where MW's main menu tends to aim for a crowd-pleasing reinterpretation of tried and true local flavors, the dishes he came up with to pair with Kenzo Estate's Asatsuyu, Rindo, Murasaki, Ai ("Indigo") and Yui "Unity of all things") wines were far more refined, with influences from Japan and beyond. A truly world-class meal.

Kenzo Estate was started by Kenzo Tsujimoto, whose claim to fame before becoming a vintner was founding Capcom, which developed such video games as "Mega Man," "Street Fighter" and other hit game series.

Canapes of ahi tartare and truffle-capped risotto beignets.

Canapes of ahi tartare and truffle-capped risotto beignets.

A starter of silky, seasonal matsutake chawanmushi.

A starter of silky, seasonal matsutake chawanmushi.

Seafood salad of one piece each of Kona lobster, Kauai shrimp and Dungeness crab with vegetables, served with 2013 Kenzo Estate "Asatsuyu (Morning Dew)" sauvignon blanc.

Seafood salad of one piece each of Kona lobster, Kauai shrimp and Dungeness crab with vegetables, served with 2013 Kenzo Estate "Asatsuyu (Morning Dew)" sauvignon blanc.

Seared peppered ahi over mushroom tsukudani, served with 2009 Kenzo Estate "Rindo" red blend.

Seared peppered ahi over mushroom tsukudani, served with 2009 Kenzo Estate "Rindo" red blend.

Grilled quail with balsamic foie gras sauce and baby green salad with mini brioche croutons. Paired with 2009 Kenzo Estate "Murasaki (Purple)" red blend.

Intermezzo of lemon sorbet.

Intermezzo of lemon sorbet.

Michelle's dessert of "Strawberry 5-ways," which she said was really nine ways. But I couldn't keep up beyond her compressed, frozen, aerated, shaved and pearl treatments. This was paired with 2013 Kenzo Estate "Yui (Unity in all Things)" rosé.

Of course the couple could not let people leave without a sweet finale of mignardises and take-home chocolate chip cookies.

Of course the couple could not let people leave without a sweet finale of mignardises and take-home chocolate chip cookies.

Chef Wade Ueoka thanked his staff and diners after the meal, but we were probably the more grateful.

Chef Wade Ueoka thanked his staff and diners after the meal, but we were probably the more grateful.

ONE MORE piece of news: They're bringing back Baker Faire from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at Kakaako Agora, 441 Cooke St.

Joining Michelle this month for the all-star bake sale are Jennifer Hee, Jackie Lau and Chris Sablayn (Roy's Restaurant), Chani Maunakea-Forth (Town), Alison Yokouchi (The Pig and the Lady), Kimberly Oi (Pili Group) and Lee Anne Wong (Koko Head Cafe), plus coffee by The Curb.

They'll also be introducing Collab Pie! One pie. Eight slices. One from each of the Baker Faire participants. Flavors are subject to change, but as of today the plan is: Canistel cheesecake pie, lilikoi chiffon, pumpkin, mac nut Koloa Rum, chocolate cream pie, ulu sweet potato and starfruit.

These are in limited supply, so be sure to reserve your $45 pie via email.

———

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.

Restaurant Week's new cocktails

By
November 19th, 2014



Like Sunday Morning is one of the Restaurant Week cocktail offerings at The Pig and the Lady. It's pictured with the phó French dip.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Like Sunday Morning is one of the Restaurant Week cocktail offerings at The Pig and the Lady. It's pictured with the phó French dip.

Restaurant Week isn't just about food. In addition to the wine and sake pairings around town, restaurants such as the Pig and the Lady and MW have introduced special cocktails comprising the hot new shochu mixers in town, Iichiko BLU and Iichiko Bar FRUITS YUZU. Out of these same ingredients come two very different inspirations and outcomes. Both offerings will be available through Nov. 30.

MW's Restaurant Week lunch menu ($24 per person) starts with a choice of Portuguese bean soup or Caesar salad with pipikaula poke; main course choice of twice-cooked tonkatsu sandwich, mochi-crusted monchong or roast beef sandwich; plus coffee and cream dessert.

>A strawberry yuzu martini made with Iichiko BLU and Iichiko Bar FRUITS YUZU is on the Restaurant Week menu at MW restaurant.

A strawberry yuzu martini made with Iichiko BLU and Iichiko Bar FRUITS YUZU is on the Restaurant Week menu at MW restaurant.

The dinner menu ($45) opens with the same choice of appetizers; followed by entrée choices of mochi-crusted opakapaka, braised shortrib and foie gras, seafood gumbo, grilled kale or lobster shepherds pie (add $10); and dessert choices of mud pie or strawberry Napoleon.

To quench your thirst, the bar is presenting a strawberry yuzu martini, $12, made with Iichiko BLU and Iichiko Bar FRUITS YUZU, plus yuzu juice and simple syrup. Sip alone or pair with the evening's strawberry Napoleon.

Over at The Pig and The Lady in Chinatown, a $20 Restaurant Week lunch includes a local citrus soda, salad of sprouting seeds, and main course choice of phó French dip banh mi and P&L phó combo of 12-hour brisket, Thai basil chimmichurri, bean sprouts and pho au jus; or bo kho French dip banh mi and bo kho combo of 12-hour roast brisket, roasted carrots, smashed tomato, sautéed herbs and spiced lemongrass beef au jus; or lemongrass-tofu banh mi and farmer's phó combo; followed by dessert of calamansi sorbet with chocolate cream.

The restaurant week dinner menu is $49, and includes calamansi and pandan iced tea, with a starter choice of P&L phó, coffee can bread or slow-roasted heirloom tomatoes.

Primal porchetta is the main course, with Shigoku oysters, fried shallots, peanuts, nuoc mam, Gooch’s Assmaster 2000 sauce, turmeric rice, fresh tortillas, local lettuces and an assortment of banchan.

Vegetarian choices are also available.

Dessert time comes with more decisions: Choose from a caramelized avocado cake, calamansi sorbet or kaya panna cotta.

In the evening, the restaurant will introduce a Restaurant Week cocktail, Like Sunday Morning, made with Iichiko BLU, Iichiko Bar FRUITS YUZU and lime, with a finish of egg white and bitters. It's $10.

Visit the Restaurant Week Hawaii website to see what your favorite bars and restaurants are up to through Sunday.

———

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.

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Take a Bite: Restaurant Week is here

Restaurant Week is here

By
November 18th, 2014



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comTo start the Restaurant Week menu at Arancino at the Kahala, there is amuse bouche, followed by picture perfect caprese, with Ho Farms cherry tomatoes and petite basil encircling an orb of pillowy burrata.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

To start the Restaurant Week menu at Arancino at the Kahala, there is amuse bouche, followed by picture perfect caprese, with Ho Farms cherry tomatoes and petite basil encircling an orb of pillowy burrata.

Restaurant Week is here through Sunday, providing an opportunity to revisit old favorites to see what special they've cooked up for the occasion, or try that new hot spot you've always intended to visit.

It's all for a good cause, created to support culinary education in Hawaii with the eventual completion of the Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Diamond Head.

To entice diners, restaurateurs are putting their best face forward with menus that often read like a best hits list.

There are 78 restaurants participating in this year’s event; here’s a sampling of what's on the menus. Bon appetit!

Arancino at the Kahala

For the upscale Arancino at the Kahala, Restaurant Week marks the opportunity to showcase its Spaghetti ai Ricci di Mare, arguably the best uni pasta in town since South King Lounge shut its doors. The restaurant’s four-course dinner is priced at $62 plus tax, with wine pairings for $24, or wine pairings a la carte, at $5 to $9 per glass.

Amuse bouche of Kahuku sweet corn foam with proscuitto di Parma at Arancino at the Kahala.

Amuse bouche of Kahuku sweet corn foam with proscuitto di Parma at Arancino at the Kahala.

Next up is arancini, a seafood risotto ball, and two pieces of grilled calamari, served over squid ink sauce.

Next up is arancini, a seafood risotto ball, and two pieces of grilled calamari, served over squid ink sauce.

The main course is the uni pasta, with the thin spaghetti enveloped in a sauce of white wine-garlic-tomato cream, plus sweet Santa Barabara urchin roe. Swoon! It looks like a small portion but is so rich I was sorry I could not finish it all.

The main course is the uni pasta, with the thin spaghetti enveloped in a sauce of white wine-garlic-tomato cream, plus sweet Santa Barabara urchin roe. Swoon! It looks like a small portion but is so rich I was sorry I could not finish it all.

The meal finishes with deconstructed tiramisu.

The meal finishes with deconstructed tiramisu.

For those who prefer dining midday, the Spaghetti ai Ricci di Mare will be offered at a 25 percent discount off its regular $32 price for lunch during Restaurant Week. At Kahala Hotel, 5000 Kahala Ave. Call (808) 380-4400.

Also: Arancino’s original 255 Beachwalk Ave., and Waikiki Beach Marriott locations will be offering the same discount for lunch, and a three-course dinner menu of caprese salad, uni spaghetti and tiramisu.

Búho Cocina y Cantina by night.

Búho Cocina y Cantina by night.

Búho Cocina y Cantina

The rooftop restaurant and bar in the Waikiki Shopping Plaza is offering a four-course, $35 per person tasting menu with room for personal choices.

The menu starts simply, with a salad of mixed greens tossed with roasted pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, Big Island goat cheese and tamarind vinaigrette, then layered with thin slices of apples and jicama and drizzled with honey.

Next comes an appetizer duo of pork belly flautas, with your choice of either a pork belly taco or fish taco. This would be a tossup for me. I enjoyed both tacos, but might go with the deep-fried fish because of the pork belly duplication with the flautas.

Next comes an appetizer duo of pork belly flautas, with your choice of either a pork belly taco or fish taco. This would be a toss-up for me. I enjoyed both tacos, but might go with the deep-fried fish because of the pork belly duplication with the flautas. This is the pork taco.

This is the fish taco version.

This is the fish taco version.

 Course three asks you to choose between a pan-seared duck breast, pictured, the only time you’ll find this on the menu here, or Mexican adobo Jidori chicken breast.

Course three asks you to choose between a pan-seared duck breast, pictured, the only time you’ll find this on the menu here, or Mexican adobo Jidori chicken breast.

I liked the spicy adobo sauce over the Jidori chicken, as well as the jalapeño-bacon potato gratin sitting underneath the chicken. The chicken was dry when I tried it, but they may have corrected this by now.

I liked the spicy adobo sauce over the Jidori chicken, as well as the jalapeño-bacon potato gratin sitting underneath the chicken. The chicken was dry when I tried it, but they may have corrected this by now.

The finale is a dessert of Mexican habañero brownie topped with vanilla ice cream. At first, you’ll pick up the cinnamon notes that distinguish it from every other brownie, before the heat kicks in.

The finale is a dessert of Mexican habañero brownie topped with vanilla ice cream. At first, you’ll pick up the cinnamon notes that distinguish it from every other brownie, before the heat kicks in.

Some of the decor.

Some of the decor.

Buho decor

Mariposa

The restaurant at Neiman Marcus is offering separate Restaurant Week menus for day and night. The lunch menu, at $30 per person, starts with crab and cauliflower bisque, with entrée choices of shrimp tagliatelle or a roast turkey salad, followed by dessert of a chai-spiced panna cotta with winter fruit compote.

The evening menu runs $50 per person with a starter of barbecued tiger prawns, and entrée choice of duck breast saltimbocca or diver scallops with hearts of palm purée, beet greens, oyster mushrooms and seaweed butter. Dessert is the same as lunch. Call 951-3420 for reservations.

Go to RestaurantWeekHawaii.com to see what your favorite restaurants are offering this year.

———

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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Take a Bite: Restaurant Week's new cocktails

Dumplings all day 'Wong'

By
November 14th, 2014



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comAt Cookspace Hawaii in Ward Warehouse, chef Lee Anne Wong shows multiple ways to fold a dumpling.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

At Cookspace Hawaii in Ward Warehouse, chef Lee Anne Wong shows multiple ways to fold a dumpling.

Chef, restaurateur, TV producer and educator Lee Anne Wong now adds author to her list of accomplishments, with the publication of her new cookbook, "Dumplings All Day Wong" (Page Street Publishing, $22.99).

In addition to such classic recipes as mixed seafood dumplings and pork and chive dumplings, she put her creative skills to work devising such combinations as sweet corn tamale dumplings and lamb satay shumai. True to her belief that dumplings can be enjoyed not only "all day" but all year round, she also offers some seasonal entries such as seasoned potato and ground turkey dumplings with cranberry-soy dipping sauce.

Wong's book, one of the few to cover dumplings, will likely be a hit over the holidays, whether as a gift for the family cook, or as reference for holiday bites. The book includes classic to creative recipes.

Wong's book, one of the few to cover dumplings, will likely be a hit over the holidays, whether as a gift for the family cook, or as reference for holiday bites. The book includes classic to creative recipes.

There's even a section for xiao long bao, or soup dumplings, with options ranging from chicken truffle soup to tom yum soup-filled marvels.

The "Top Chef" and "Iron Chef" competitor, host of the Cooking Channel's "Food Crawl" and chef/partner of Koko Head Cafe, presented a cooking demonstration at Cookspace Hawaii on Thursday, Oct. 16, during which she shared two recipes from her book, for pork and edamame dumplings, including the gluten-free option of using wheat starch (the gluten proteins removed) in place of regular wheat flour. She also showed several methods of folding dumplings, offering the reassuring fact that no matter how they're folded, they'll still be delicious ... as long as they're sealed so juices don't escape.

She also showed how quickly home cooks can make their own dough, including adding spinach juice, beet juice and other vegetable juices to add color to the wheat starch dough, which ends up with a glassy, translucent sheen when cooked.

After her demonstration, guests who attended the workshop were able to get hands-on with homemade dough, commercial won ton pi and gyoza wrappers to mix and match with fillings and compare the texture and flavor of the finished dumplings.

Multiple hands at work meant there were many dumplings to be enjoyed before the session ended. The hot dumplings were perfect for a rainy weekend. We stayed warm and toasty indoors, while with Hurricane Ana dumped water outside.

In comparing the homemade vs. commercial dough, though, participants felt the commercial wrappers were easier to use, making the resulting dumplings much more attractive. We could not roll the handmade dough out thin enough, and it was difficult to get the perfect cookie-cutter shapes that made folding much easier and uniform with the commercial dough.

If trying the handmade dough at home, I would recommend rolling it all out like cookie or pie dough, then using a square or round cookie cutter to get even shapes.

Classic gau gee, pork hash and multi-pleat har gow folds.

Classic gau gee, pork hash and multi-pleat har gow folds.

After the demo, the students try their hand at folding. The results were varied in appearance, but all delicious.

After the demo, the students try their hand at folding. The results were varied in appearance, but all delicious.

———

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.

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