Archive for November, 2014

Shokudo enters Restaurant Week fray

By
November 13th, 2014



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comShokudo's appetizer of big-eye tuna wrapped in avocado, tako in egg yolk vinaigrette, and housemade goma tofu is one the menu for Restaurant Week, Nov. 17 to 23.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Shokudo's appetizer of big-eye tuna wrapped in avocado, tako in egg yolk vinaigrette and housemade goma tofu is one the menu for Restaurant Week, Monday through Nov. 23.

BY NADINE KAM /nkam@staradvertiser.com

Shokudo Japanese Restaurant will be turning out a mix of traditional and new during Restaurant Week that runs Monday through Nov. 23.

A special six-course tasting menu available for the week — at a very reasonable $38 (add $20 for sake pairings) considering all that you get — will highlight the work of new sushi chef Satoru Matsumoto, who brings a taste of Japan to the restaurant better known since its inception as more of an American-style fusion restaurant.

The Restaurant Week menu offers an exciting preview as to what may come with subsequent menus. The menu was featured during a media preview event, and from what I tasted, it marks a promising new start. Any changes will be gradual though, so as not to alienate those whose tastes are more American than Japanese.

Reservations for Restaurant Week and beyond are available by calling (808) 941-3701. Shokudo Japanese is at 1585 Kapiolani Ave., at Kaheka, near the entrance to Nordstrom's garage.

Hirame, fresh from Tsukiji and thinly sliced so as to be transparent.

Hirame, fresh from Tsukiji and thinly sliced so as to be transparent.

Amazing Hokkaido scallop and masago tempura. The sweetness reminded me of lobster.

Amazing Hokkaido scallop and masago tempura. The sweetness reminded me of lobster.

Seared filet mignon stuffed with Santa Barbara uni.

Seared filet mignon stuffed with Santa Barbara uni.

The next course was a sushi trio featuring shimaaji, chu toro and Kona kampachi.

The next course was a sushi trio featuring shimaaji, chu toro and Kona kampachi.

Not pictured is dessert, a spin on the restaurant's renowned Honey Toast, which is the basis for Tempura Bread Pudding, dipped in batter, deep-fried and served with Roselani vanilla ice cream and a sake-caramel sauce. Many at the table asked for seconds, and I like it better than the original Honey Toast.

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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.

Hawaii Food & Wine Fest gives back

By
November 5th, 2014



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comDenise Yamaguchi, executive director of the Hawai'i Food & Wine Festival, presented checks to 14 culinary, agricultural and community organizations during the festival's mahalo reception Nov. 4, including representatives of Papahana Kuaola.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Denise Yamaguchi, executive director of the Hawai'i Food & Wine Festival, presented checks to 14 culinary, agricultural and community organizations during the festival's mahalo reception Nov. 4, including representatives of Papahana Kuaola.

Behind the celebrity chefs, culinary and cocktail surprises that fuel the Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival, there is the original purpose of giving back to the community by helping to grow Hawaii's agricultural and culinary community, and sponsors could see the results during a mahalo reception that took place Tuesday at Neiman Marcus' Mariposa restaurant.

During the event, HFWF executive director Denise Yamaguchi presented checks totaling $254,300 to 14 local charity beneficiaries and announced a multi-year partnership with First Hawaiian Bank and MasterCard to expand global reach and help promote Hawaii as a culinary travel destination. The First Hawaiian Bank Priority Destinations World and World Elite MasterCards will be offering exclusive HFWF product promotions to attendees.

courtesy HFWFThe Hawaii Food and Wine Festival annually gives back to the community by donating event proceeds toward agricultural- and education-oriented awards that help grow the local food community. These are representatives for the  2014 beneficiaries

COURTESY HFWF

The Hawaii Food and Wine Festival annually gives back to the community by donating event proceeds toward agricultural- and education-oriented awards that help grow the local food community. These are representatives for the 2014 beneficiaries.

In its earliest years, main beneficiaries for the event were Kapiolani Community College's Culinary Institute of the Pacific and the Hawai'i Agricultural Foundation. Today, there are beneficiary schools and organizations on three islands. Since the festival's inception in 2011, started by chefs Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, HFWF has raised nearly a million dollars for local nonprofit organizations.

This year, net proceeds were donated to:

» Culinary Institute of the Pacific, $80,000

» Hawai‘i Agricultural Foundation, $70,000

» Leeward Community College Culinary Arts Program, $25,000

» Maui County Farm Bureau, $20,000

» Paepae o He‘eia, $10,000

» Papahana Kuaola, $10,000

» Hawai‘i Island Community College Culinary Arts Program, $7,500

» Maui Culinary Academy, $7,500

» Hawaii Seafood Council, $7,500

» Honolulu Zoo Conservation Fund, $7,500

» Hawai‘i Island Farmers & Ranchers, $5,000

» Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation, $2,500

» Hawaii Speed & Quickness, $1,000

» ALS Ohana of Hawaii, $800

Beyond the formality, there was plenty of food and drink on the table, capturing the sustainable, locally grown ethos of the festival. And co-founder Alan Wong received a surprise when a birthday cake materialized in his honor.

Alan Wong was surprised by a birthday cake delivery by Aya Nishihara, and a roomful of people serenading him with the "Happy Birthday Song."

Alan Wong was surprised by a birthday cake delivery by Aya Nishihara, and a roomful of people serenading him with the "Happy Birthday Song."

Halekulani executive chef Vikram Garg presents a dish of spicy vegetarian Sloppy Joe a la Inde, to Ritsuko Kukonu.

Halekulani executive chef Vikram Garg presents a dish of spicy vegetarian Sloppy Joe a la Inde, to Ritsuko Kukonu.

The Halekulani chef also offered beef kebabs marinated in pomegranate and walnuts.

The Halekulani chef also offered beef kebabs marinated in pomegranate and walnuts.

From Roy's Restaurant came sauteed scallops and below, ahi tartare topped with quail egg.

From Roy's Restaurant came sauteed scallops and below, ahi tartare topped with quail egg.

hfwf tartare

Not to be outdone by fellow HFWF co-founder Yamaguchi, Alan Wong also offered a delicious duo of open-faced sliders comprising lamb from Ni'ihau, goat cheese and olive tapenade, and below, chili shrimp.

Not to be outdone by fellow HFWF co-founder Yamaguchi, Alan Wong also offered a delicious duo of open-faced sliders comprising lamb from Ni'ihau, goat cheese and olive tapenade, and below, chili shrimp.

hfwf shrimp

Host chef Marc Freiberg of Mariposa, showcased grilled Kurobuta bacon accompanied by hearts of palm puree, kabocha caponata and pomegranate port. One bite later, I regretted promising to share half with a friend.

Host chef Marc Freiberg of Mariposa showcased grilled Kurobuta bacon accompanied by hearts of palm puree, kabocha caponata and pomegranate port. One bite later, I regretted promising to share half with a friend.

Also from Mariposa, a salad of kale, hijiki and herb-seared hamachi.

Also from Mariposa, a salad of kale, hijiki and herb-seared hamachi.

It was a fun evening that set the tone for more exciting partnerships to come in 2015. Next year's event will take place Aug. 29 through Sept. 13. Visit the festival website for updates throughout the year.

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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.

Iichiko YUZU makes a splash

By
November 4th, 2014



fashion tribe header

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comYukie Aizawa pours Yuzu Lady cocktails comprising iichiko BLU, Iichiko Bar FRUITS YUZU and Yuzu sorbet, in The Modern Honolulu's Sun Suite during the launch of the liqueurs.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Yukie Aizawa pours Yuzu Lady cocktails comprising iichiko BLU, iichiko Bar FRUITS YUZU and yuzu sorbet, in The Modern Honolulu's Sun Suite during the launch of the award-winning liqueur.

There is such a thing as being too popular. I first tasted iichiko's Bar FRUITS YUZU and Bar FRUITS UME at Honolulu's ARTafterDARK back in May and wondered where I could get my hands on more. They're so light and refreshing, and with only eight percent alcohol, just my speed.

As best-sellers in Japan, iichiko couldn't turn out enough to meet demand, so at the time was slowly introducing the liqueur, comprising iichiko's concentrated barley shochu and fresh fruit, to restaurant clients.

At that time, only a few bars offered it, but a lot has happened in six months and iichiko Bar FRUITS YUZU and Bar FRUITS UME can be found at nearly 80 restaurants and bars in Hawaii. They're that good and are naturals for cocktails. Bar FRUITS YUZU offers a blend of yuzu and honey, while UME is balanced with lychee.

The Bar FRUITS YUZU recently received a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, one of only 10 winners in a field of 1,474 entries.

Iichiko held a launch party Monday in The Modern Honolulu's Sun Suite, announcing that the popular shochu liqueurs will be available in retail stores beginning in January — a great way to start the new year!

Bottles of Iichiko Bar FRUITS YUZU and Bar FRUITS UME are lined up with a cocktail of Kula Ume-Shu. This was my favorite of the evening, made with Iichiko BLU, iichiko Bar FRUITS UME, Kula strawberries, ume paste, lemon juice and simple syrup.

Bottles of iichiko Bar FRUITS YUZU and Bar FRUITS UME are lined up with a cocktail of Kula Ume-Shu. This was my favorite of the evening, made with iichiko Blu, iichiko Bar FRUITS UME, Kula strawberries, ume paste, lemon juice and simple syrup.

Iichiko USA CEO Kazunori Nishi shared some interesting stats about the brand, as well as the rise of shochu, which surpassed sake in popularity in 2002, with an upward trajectory ever since, which he attributes to people learning that shochu leaves them with no hangover.

Iichiko USA CEO Kazunori Nishi, left, with Akino Watanabe, the company's director of international sales.

Iichiko USA CEO Kazunori Nishi, left, with Akino Watanabe, the company's director of international sales.

The company was born in Oita prefecture in Japan, where "iichiko" means's "It is good."

In Japan, Bar FRUITS YUZU and UME are enjoyed simply, on the rocks. But here, bartenders are finding them fun to experiment with. During the event at the Modern, we were able to sample cocktails pictured here, as well as a Lemongrass Yuzu Fizz made with iichiko BLU, iichiko Bar FRUITS YUZU, Pacifickool Ginger Syrup, lime juice and club soda, and Yuzu Pink Drop of BLU, Bar FRUITS YUZU, yuzu sorbet and Campari.

A little shochu gets the party going. Toby Tamaye has a little fun with iichiko USA's Tetsuro Miyazaki, left.

A little shochu gets the party going. Toby Tamaye has a little fun with iichiko USA's Tetsuro Miyazaki, left.

Before you know it, guests were rolling up posters to accessorize the yellow ensembles we were asked to wear to celebrate YUZU. Lindsey Muraoka in YUZU yellow.

Before you know it, guests were rolling up posters to accessorize the yellow ensembles we were asked to wear to celebrate YUZU. Here's fellow Pulse blogger Lindsey Muraoka in YUZU yellow.

Some of the bites accompanying the Iichiko cocktails were a pulled pork slider, mini veggie springroll and scallops with pickled radishes on skewers. Thanks for the food styling, Cory Mitsui!

Some of the bites accompanying the iichiko cocktails were a pulled pork slider, mini veggie springroll and scallops with pickled radishes on skewers. Thanks for the food styling, Cory Mitsui!

For dessert, there were yuzu marshmallow s'mores, and shown, strawberry shortcakes.

For dessert, there were yuzu marshmallow s'mores, and shown, strawberry shortcakes.

The Sun Suite setting, overlooking the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, offered another gorgeous sunset view. I've been racking up a lot of sunset photos lately, a beautiful way to close the day.

The Sun Suite setting, overlooking the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, offered another gorgeous sunset view. I've been racking up a lot of sunset photos lately, a beautiful way to close the day.

This month, the following locations will be offering tastings or highlighting menu and bar items featuring iichiko shochu and liqueurs:

» Through Nov. 16: Shokudo will offer a limited special menu featuring a play on their popular Honey Toast, with iichiko YUZU, along with specialty cocktails made with iichiko Bar FRUITS YUZU.

» Friday, Nov. 7: HASR Bistro will host a sampling of iichiko Bar FRUITS YUZU from 5 to 8 p.m.

» Nov. 15: Ginza Nightclub will host a Yellow Kanpai Night Party beginning at midnight in celebration of iichiko Bar FRUITS YUZU. Dress code is yellow. Wear yellow and get in free between midnight and 2 a.m.

» Nov. 17-30: MW Restaurant will be offering food pairings with iichiko Bar FRUITS. The Pig and the Lady will be offering specially crafted cocktails made with iichiko Bar FRUITS.

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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.

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