Archive for May, 2015

Morimoto celebrates 60th in Waikiki

By
May 27th, 2015



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comChef Masaharu Morimoto with his most famous birthday guests Malia Jones and Alex O'Loughlin.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Chef Masaharu Morimoto with Malia Jones and Alex O'Loughlin.

Hawaii is fortunate that Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto celebrates two birthdays every year — his real February birthdate and his legal documented birthdate of May 26. He celebrated his 60th February birthday in Napa and chose to spend his second celebrating one day early at his namesake restaurant in the Modern Honolulu.

Star gazers were elated to see "Hawaii Five-0" well represented by none other than Steve McGarrett, aka actor Alex O'Loughlin, with swimwear designer wife Malia Jones, Taylor Wily, Dennis Chun, Teilor Grubbs and associate producer Angie Laprete. (See more Honolulu Pulse photos from the party here.)

The chef with Taylor Wily, Kamekona on "Hawaii Five-0.".

The chef with Taylor Wily, Kamekona on "Hawaii Five-0.".

A screen on one side of the room looped the 2011 "Five-0" episode "Ma Ke Kahakai," in which Morimoto made a guest appearance as himself.

The centerpiece of a table laden with desserts was a birthday cake for the chef, created by A Cake Life's Kristin Kato. There were many details reflecting the chef's life, pastimes and favorite things, including his Yoskshire Terrier, Mai, golf at Honolulu Country Club and singing, among the talents he demonstrated for guests that evening.

Morimoto hams it up with his birthday cake.

Morimoto hams it up with his birthday cake.

The cake, created by A Cake Life, was embellished with details reflecting Morimoto's life.

The cake, created by A Cake Life, was embellished with details reflecting Morimoto's life.

Sashimi and floral arrangement. Below, lobster tail. I'm so glad more Hawaii chefs have learned to cut up the morsels for us, for easy picking. Coz the last thing anyone wants to do on a date is to tackle food hands on.

Sashimi and floral arrangement. Below, lobster tail. I'm so glad more Hawaii chefs have learned to cut up the morsels for us, for easy picking. The last thing anyone wants to do on a date is to tackle food hands on.

morimoto lobster

Yummy Chinese-style duck bun with tomato and green onion relish.

Yummy Chinese-style duck bun with tomato and green onion relish.

Yellowtail pastrami dredged in togarashi has been a mainstay of the Morimoto Waikiki  menu since opening day.

Yellowtail pastrami dredged in togarashi has been a mainstay of the Morimoto Waikiki menu since opening day.

Waiters passed around some of Morimoto's most popular dishes, including pork gyozas, hamachi tacos, and, pictured, rock shrimp tempura coated with spicy kochujan and wasabi aioli sauces.

Waiters passed around some of Morimoto's most popular dishes, including pork gyozas, hamachi tacos, and, pictured, rock shrimp tempura coated with spicy kochujan and wasabi aioli sauces.

Calamari tempura salad with white miso dressing.

Calamari tempura salad with white miso dressing.

Oyster with uni and foie gras.

Oyster with uni and foie gras.

Wagyu carpaccio with yuzu soy sauce was o e of my favorites.

Wagyu carpaccio with yuzu soy sauce was one of my favorites.

Spicy Alaskan crab leg and fries with tobanjan aioli. So yum!

Spicy Alaskan crab leg and fries with tobanjan aioli. So yum!

There were many desserts available, including Liliha Bakery Coco Puffs, but I passed them up. I could not eat another bite.

There were many desserts available, including Liliha Bakery Coco Puffs, but I passed them up. I could not eat another bite.

Morimoto also took centerstage for a Tahitian dance (some captured on video below), though some of his moves looked more like bon dance or air guitar, all in fun.

With so many talents and definitely not shy, it's no surprise he found TV fame before arriving on our shores.

Happy birthday chef! And come back and celebrate with us next year!

———

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is 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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Get ‘Crackin’ in Waikiki

By
May 20th, 2015



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comThe best way to get the full Crackin' Kitchen experience is to order up the $70 Ultimate Combo comprising snow and king crab legs, shrimp, mussels, clams, potatoes, corn cob slices and Spam, prepared in the restaurant's signature red, white and black sauces.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

The best way to get the full Crackin' Kitchen experience is to order up the $70 Ultimate Combo comprising snow and king crab legs, shrimp, mussels, clams, potatoes, corn cob slices and Spam, prepared in the restaurant's signature red, white and black sauces.

Oahu became flooded with seafood boil restaurants beginning in the summer of 2012. New to Waikiki this summer is Crackin' Kitchen.

Its menu is highlighted by a $70 Ultimate Combo comprising three bags of snow and king crab legs, shrimp, mussels, clams, potatoes, corn cob slices and Spam, prepared in the restaurant's signature red, white and black sauces created by Takeshi Omae, who was executive chef at Morimoto XEX in Tokyo when the restaurant received its Michelin star in 2008 and 2009.

Hmm, since when does a satisfying crab require the skills of a Michelin chef?

For each sauce, you can pick spice levels of mild, hot or XXX. The “hot” level was enough to create the sort of burn painful when paired with warm food.

The white sauce is a sort of throwaway, with a basic sauce of Maui onions, ginger and lemon butter, for those who like plainer, jolt-free meals. The flavor hints more at Chinese than Cajun cuisine.

So diners are lured into a friendly battle over red sauce or black sauce, with staffers gushing over the black sauce that blends coffee, black pepper and Hawaiian cacao. Every once in a bite, you’ll come across a nib of chocolate.

Does it actually enhance the crab? I’m not so sure, but it tastes great with the pieces of potato and slices of corn. By leftover time, the complexity had grown on me, but frankly, I'd rather taste fresh crab and wish there was a plain boil with sauces served on the side to give diners more control.

For the finale, chef Takeshi Omae created "Sweet Art," a Waikiki beach scene painted with a variety of fruit sauces, chocolate sauce and an assortment of macadamia nuts, fresh fruit and mini malasadas.

For the finale, chef Takeshi Omae created Sweet Art, a Waikiki beach scene painted with a variety of fruit sauces, chocolate sauce and an assortment of macadamia nuts, fresh fruit and mini malasadas.

Fanny Bay oysters on the half shell.

Fanny Bay oysters on the half shell.

Guava-soy chicken wings topped with mac nuts.

Guava-soy chicken wings topped with mac nuts.

Housemade chips with avocado and lobster dip. You need to use that lime wedge to bring out the lobster flavor.

Housemade chips with avocado and lobster dip. You need to use that lime wedge to bring out the lobster flavor.

Decadent chowder fries combine mashed potatoes and french fries, with a layer of chowder, cheddar and bacon.

Decadent chowder fries combine mashed potatoes and french fries, with a layer of chowder, cheddar and bacon.

Bags separate seafood prepared with the trio of house sauces.

Bags separate seafood prepared with the trio of house sauces.

Ready to dig in.

Ready to dig in.

The dessert artist's palette.

The dessert artist's palette.

A little bit of humor addressing diners' klepto habits.

A little bit of humor addressing diners' klepto habits.

Crackin' Kitchen is at 364 Seaside Ave. Call (808) 922-5552 or visit www.crackinkitchen.com.

———

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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Running with Lanikai Juice

By
May 19th, 2015



PHOTO BY YOTARO TAKENAKALanikai Juice launched its running club in Waikiki last month, with health enthusiasts led by coach Mariane Uehara (in day-glo top) on a 3-mile run along the Ala Wai Canal.

COURTESY YOTARO TAKENAKA

Lanikai Juice launched its running club in Waikiki last month, with health enthusiasts led by coach Mariane Uehara, pictured, on a 3-mile run along the Ala Wai Canal.

Lanikai Juice owner Pablo Gonzalez grew up in Argentina with the notion that fresh fruit and juices were not just part of a healthy lifestyle, but a routine and pleasurable part of everyday life.

“My mom, she used to put apples, bananas in my bag every morning when I went to school,” he said. “It means when I stop working every day, the first thing I do is go pick up fruit at a warehouse and bring it to my house. It means fruit and vegetables, we’re not afraid to it. It’s part of our regular diet.”

When he arrived in the United States, he saw the obesity problem and in 1997 launched Lanikai Juice to ease people into the joy of juicing. Two years later, he started a series of educational programs that he took to schools and hospitals to encourage dietary moderation.

And most recently, in keeping with his health-oriented philosophy, he launched the Lanikai Running Club out of Waikiki’s Lanikai Juice JTB Travel Plaza in the basement level at Waikiki Shopping Plaza, 2250 Kalakaua Ave.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comUehara leads runners through a warm-up session before strapping on some safety tape and taking to the street.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Uehara leads runners through a warm-up session before strapping on some safety tape and taking to the street.

Runners safety is important and the tape makes them more visible to drivers.

Runners safety is important and the tape makes them more visible to drivers.

Runners finish back at Lanikai Juice, where at dinner time, they might order up a pittaya, or dragonfruit, bowl.

Runners finish back at Lanikai Juice, where at dinner time, they might order up a pittaya, or dragonfruit, bowl.

The inaugural group of runners with Lanikai Juice owner Pablo Gonzalez second from right.

The inaugural group of runners with Lanikai Juice owner Pablo Gonzalez second from right.

Runners of all ages and levels are invited to join in on a three- to five-mile run every Wednesday, with a meetup time of 6 p.m. at the Waikiki Lanikai Juice. Refreshments will be served after the run, and there will be a weekly raffle of Lanikai Juice gift cards. There will also be free monthly seminars on running, nutrition and wellness.

Call (808) 262-2378 for more information.

———

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is 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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Courtyard Brunch returns

By
May 14th, 2015



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comBrunch at Ward returns Sunday morning.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Brunch at Ward returns Sunday morning.

Ward Village Shops' monthly Courtyard Brunch returns from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at the Ward Village Information Center Courtyard (formerly the IBM Building), 1240 Ala Moana Boulevard.

The festive monthly event features farm-to-table dishes served up local chefs, with produce and value-added edibles offered up by farmers, as well as live entertainment. This month’s theme is “Green,” and vendors — including Morimoto Waikiki, The Pig & The Lady, Whole Foods Market, EAT Honolulu and Poke Stop — will be highlighting anything from green ingredients to sustainable farming.

To set the scene, here's a recap of the inaugural April 12 event, themed "Women Working for Ward," and featuring local female chefs and farmers, including pastry chefs Michelle Karr-Ueoka from MW Restaurant, and Jayme Vaniew from Morimoto Waikiki, Jill Nordby and Jamie Sexton of Holoholo General Store, chef Gida Snyder from Naked Cow Dairy, and food from MW, The Pig & The Lady, Whole Foods Market and Morimoto Waikiki:

Fresh fruit is a beautiful, eye-opening delight in the morning, and citrus lined the bar, where two barmen were not enough. As long lines formed, two more troops were called in. </strong

Fresh fruit is a beautiful, eye-opening delight in the morning, and citrus lined the bar, where two barmen were not enough. As long lines formed, two more troops were called in.

Brunch goers caught on camera and video at April's event.

Brunch goers caught on camera and video at April's event.

Naked Cow Dairy's Sabrina St. Martin shared her company's specialty cheeses.

Naked Cow Dairy's Sabrina St. Martin shared her company's specialty cheeses.

MW husband and wife team Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka posed at their menu board listing dishes including housemade S.P.A.M. and seafood chawanmushi, below.

MW husband and wife team Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka posed at their menu board listing dishes including housemade S.P.A.M. and seafood chawanmushi, below.

brunch egg

MW's housemade, crispy mochi-crusted S.P.A.M. was my favorite dish of the morning, served with tamago and nori jam. All the right flavors in a tidy bundle.

MW's housemade, crispy mochi-crusted S.P.A.M. was my favorite dish of the morning, served with tamago and nori jam. All the right flavors in a tidy bundle.

Also from MW, a duck pastrami Reuben with Ma'o Farms kohlrabi sauerkraut. Yummers!

Also from MW, a duck pastrami Reuben with Ma'o Farms kohlrabi sauerkraut. Yummers!

Everyone gravitated toward MW's steak and potatoes with bacon chimichurri first, but with only three food tickets in hand, I was after something more unique.

Everyone gravitated toward MW's steak and potatoes with bacon chimichurri first, but with only three food tickets in hand, I was after something more unique.

Whole Foods Market addressed the greens in the crowd, offering up veggie poke of taro and breadfruit, and below, an avocado "carpaccio" salad with tomatoes and mixed greens.

brunch salad

A $25 ticket entitles you to three bite-size dishes and a drink. It's not a lot of food, but additional food and drink tickets are available for $7 each. And you have to remember all proceeds benefit the Ward Village Foundation, which supports local non-profits and programs focusing on culture, community and environment.

Free parking will be available in the T.J. Maxx parking garage on Auahi Street. Reserve tickets online by visiting www.wardvillageshops.com.

———

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is 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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Funnyman opens shave ice pop-up

By
May 12th, 2015



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comJapan comedian Takeyama took time to pose with fans during a Golden Week visit to his shave ice popup inside Sam's Kitchen Waikiki.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Japan comedian Takeyama took time to pose with fans during a Golden Week visit to his shave ice pop-up inside Sam's Kitchen Waikiki.

There have been lines out the door at Sam’s Kitchen in Waikiki in recent weeks. While Sam Monaghan is known for his ono garlic steak and shrimp plates (it’s best when Monaghan is doing the cooking), the lines were for the pop-up shave ice stand started by Japan comedian Takanori Takeyama, known as Cunning Takeyama.

A television station challenged him to open the shave ice stand, and the comedian said he thought about it for 15 minutes before agreeing to the stunt — even though it meant putting up $65,000 of his own money. He was recently in town to greet fans and sign autographs in celebration of Japan’s Golden Week.

Passersby can't miss the bust of Takeyama as the restaurant entrance. He's known for his loud-mouthed, angry antics.

Passersby can't miss the bust of Takeyama as the restaurant entrance. He's known for his loud-mouthed, angry antics.

Takeyama's signature rainbow shave ice served in his logo bowl.

Takeyama's signature rainbow shave ice served in his logo bowl.

The shave ice popup has been drawing 600 to 800 visitors a day, typically fans eager to catch a glimpse of comedian Takeyama.

The shave ice pop-up has been drawing 600 to 800 visitors a day, typically fans eager to catch a glimpse of comedian Takeyama.

Fans left messages and drawings for the Japanese comedian.

Fans left messages and drawings for the Japanese comedian.

Fans found out about Takeyama's appearance via social media and were willing to stand in line for an autograph by the Japan celebrity.

Fans found out about Takeyama's appearance via social media and were willing to stand in line for an autograph by the Japanese celebrity.

Takeyama gamely oblighed autograph seekers.

Takeyama gamely oblighed autograph seekers.

Wednesday is the last official day the pop-up will be open, although Takeyama may consider setting up something more permanent. In business for just a month, the shave ice stand has brought in about 600 customers a day since Day 1, and at $5 per shave ice order and $30 for T-shirts, I’d say he’s made his money back and had the last laugh.

If you want to peek in, Sam’s Kitchen is in an alleyway at 353 Royal Hawaiian Ave., across from T Galleria by DFS.

———

Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage is 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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