Archive for August, 2015

Foodland hosts HFWF preview

By
August 14th, 2015



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Hawai'i Food & Wine Festival co-founder Roy Yamaguchi was among the chefs offering a preview of the fall foodie event during Foodland's most recent Eat Local Tuesdays tasting.

In partnership with Foodland’s Eat Local Tuesdays tasting series, representatives from the Hawai'i Food & Wine Festival were at Foodland Farms Aina Haina on Tuesday to whet shoppers' appetites for the full-range of epicurean and wine-centric events starting Aug. 29 on the Big Island, before moving on to Maui and arriving back on Oahu on Sept. 9.

Chef and HFWF co-founder Roy Yamaguchi (Roy’s Restaurant), Keoni Chang (Foodland Supermarket), Mark Noguchi (Pili Group) and Colin Hazama (Royal Hawaiian Hotel) were paired with local farmers and food purveyors including MAʻO Organic Farms, Ho Farms, Hawaiian Crown and Wow Farm to offer up tasty bites, sips and curated wine pairings.


Foodland launched its Eat Local Tuesdays tasting series to promote local produce and products, in line with HFWF's mission to support Hawaii's culinary scene, farmers, food products and promote sustainability.

p align="left">Roy served up curry-coated New Zealand salmon topped with crunchy bubu arare, served with WOW Farm tomatoes and shallot sambal.

Yamaguchi served up curry-coated New Zealand salmon topped with crunchy bubu arare, served with WOW Farm tomatoes and shallot sambal.

p align="left">Shoppers had the opportunity to sample new beers with flavors such as sweet potato and banana.

Shoppers had the opportunity to sample beer with flavors such as sweet potato and banana.

Colin Hazama, who recently made the move from the Sheraton Waikiki to executive chef position at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, shows his dish, below, a Taste of Tuscan Twin Bridge Farms starting with ahi prosciutto, with tomato sorbet, Waialua asparagus ribbons and caponata.

Colin Hazama, who recently made the move from the Sheraton Waikiki to executive chef position at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, shows his dish, also below, a Taste of Tuscan Twin Bridge Farms starting with ahi prosciutto, with tomato sorbet, Waialua asparagus ribbons and caponata.

foodland colin

Pili Group's Mark Noguchi with HFWF development manager Aya Nishihara.

Pili Group's Mark Noguchi with HFWF development manager Aya Nishihara.

The Pili Group offered up refreshing lime and Waiola coconut water-pineapple shooters with Kohana Rum and a cloud of dry ice emanating from the blender before the pour.

The Pili Group offered up refreshing lime and Waiola coconut water-pineapple shooters with Kohana Rum and a cloud of dry ice emanating from the blender before the pour.

OnoPops Josh Lanthier-Welch served up bites of his Kona coffee and butter mochi paletas, perfect on a very hot day. Grill's Kevin Hanney was also there sharing his very popular Koko Head Foods smoked ahi spread.

OnoPops Josh Lanthier-Welch served up bites of his Kona coffee and butter mochi paletas, perfect on a very hot day. 12th Ave. Grill's Kevin Hanney was also there sharing his very popular Koko Head Foods smoked ahi spread.

Keoni Chang served up lettuce wraps, below, with grilled fish, Ho Farms tomatoes, shiso relish and cucumber dill sauce.

Keoni Chang served up lettuce wraps, below, with grilled fish, Ho Farms tomatoes, shiso relish and cucumber dill sauce.

foodland greens

Just as in past years, the festival started by Yamaguchi and chef Alan Wong will welcome more than 100 internationally renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, and wine and spirit producers. Funds raised will support local beneficiaries committed to sustainability and cultural and educational programs in Hawaii.

Visit www.hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com for the full schedule and ticket information.

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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.</em

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Morton's offers $1 sandwiches

By
August 13th, 2015



take a bite header

PHOTO COURTESY MORTON'S THE STEAKHOUSEMark National Filet Mignon Day with $1 sandwiches at Morton's.

COURTESY MORTON'S THE STEAKHOUSE

Mark National Filet Mignon Day with $1 sandwiches at Morton's.

Are you hungry? Morton's the Steakhouse will celebrate National Filet Mignon Day Thursday with $1 filet sandwiches in its bar area from 4:45 to 10 p.m.

No catch. Eat as many as you want for an indulgent experience without the steep price tag.

The restaurant company that began life in 1978 in Chicago is known for its USDA prime-aged beef, served at 73 locations worldwide.

Morton's the Steakhouse is at Ala Moana Center. Call (808) 949-1300.

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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.

Longhi's adds new dishes

By
August 12th, 2015



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comLobster served over creamy gnocchi is among a couple dozen new dishes on the menu at Longhi's.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Lobster served over creamy gnocchi is among a couple dozen new dishes on the menu at Longhi's.

Longhi’s is celebrating its 12th year on Oahu with a refreshed menu, adding a couple dozen new dishes that have passed several blind taste tests with owner Charlie Longhi and staffers, to arrive at a vast range of crowd pleasers.

The refresh precedes what will be the biggest retail event in recent years when Ala Moana Center opens its new Ewa Wing in November.

Longhi said he anticipates a lot of traffic coming through the West end of the mall and he wants to be prepared with a taste tempters to draw a crowd.

The dinner-time loco moco gets luxe treatment, served atop risotto with onions, mushroom gravy and 5 ounces of filet mignon. At lunch time, a more traditional hamburger-style loco moco is made from prime cuts of beef.

The dinnter-time loco moco gets luxe treatment, served atop risotto with onions, mushroom gravy and 5 ounces of filet mignon. At lunch time, a more traditional hamburger-style loco moco is made from prime cuts of beef.

Both lunch and dinner menus have new additions, including two variations of the loco moco. By day, the loco moco features a prime beef patty ($18 breakfast and lunch). In the evening, an and Italian version of the local classic features five ounces of filet mignon, caramelized onions and peppercorn demi-glace over mushroom risotto, at $36.

One of my favorite dishes off the new menu is a simple yet decadent dinnertime side dish of Sicilian cauliflower ($8) rolled in breadcrumbs, crisp-fried and served with browned butter and garlic, capers and chili peppers.

Another highlight is a rich Maine lobster gnocchi ($36) with a lobster stock-sage-butter sauce.

Though entrée prices may sound steep, Longhi said that in his household, dining was always done family style, and he welcomes that. With a few side dishes and shared entrée, dining for two can be quite reasonable, and satisfying.

One of the foodie favorites is the fried cauliflower with a light crispy crust, simply served with browned butter and garlic, capers and red pepper. Swoonsville!

One of the foodie favorites is the fried cauliflower with a light crispy crust, simply served with browned butter and garlic, capers and red pepper. Swoonsville!

Finish with dessert of tiramisu pancakes ($16), the griddle cakes standing in for ladyfingers that often tend to be soggy. That’s not the case here, as the pancakes hold up well to the weight of espresso Kahlua mascarpone and chocolate sauce. Yum!

Longhi's is a family affair, with the first restaurant opened by Charlie's father Bob in Lahaina in 1976, when Maui was a culinary desert and friends thought he was crazy for doing so.

"He couldn't get anything fresh on Maui so he went to farmers and asked them to grow tomatoes," Charlie said.

To give you a better idea of how pioneering he was, all these things we take for granted today were not really being done on Oahu until 15 years later, in the early 1990s, when chefs like Roy Yamaguchi, Roger Dikon, Sam Choy, George Mavrothalassitis and Philippe Padovani banded together with like-minded neighbor island chefs to form the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement, partnering with farmers to grow produce they wanted to put on their tables.

Toppings of arugula and prosciutto de parma were great, but we adored the light, crispy housemade crust of Longhi's Neapolitan pizza, made with Caputo "00" flour imported from Naples, and the crunch of cornmeal on the bottom. Their pizzas are also available to go.

Clams served over light risotto.

Clams served over light risotto.

The grand finale was a dessert of pancake tiramisu, with the breakfast class a suitable substitute for the Italian dessert's lady fingers.

The grand finale was a dessert of pancake tiramisu, with the breakfast class a suitable substitute for the Italian dessert's lady fingers.

Longhi's is at Ala Moana Center. Valet parking entrance on Ala Moana Boulevard. Call (808) 947-9899.

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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.

MW hosts bakery pop-up

By
August 11th, 2015



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comMy friends and I are addicted to San Francisco's b. patisserie maple-bacon kouign amann, and even with a change of venue and climate, Belinda Leong did not disappoint.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

My friends and I are addicted to San Francisco's b. patisserie maple-bacon kouign amann, and even with a change of venue and climate, Belinda Leong did not disappoint.

Not everyone has the good fortune to be able to travel to San Francisco for a taste of b. patisserie and the work of its James Beard Award-nominated pastry chef Belinda Leong, so MW restaurant brought a taste of b. patisserie to Honolulu.

Leong and her cafe/bakery business partner Michel Suas joined MW chef/owners Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka in the kitchen for their tea service brunch on Aug. 1 and 2, which never ceases to be a wonderful excuse to get together with friends or family.

COURTESY JASON KIM

Belinda Leong, left, with business partner Michel Suas in back, next to MW's Wade Ueoka, and far right, Michelle Karr-Ueoka.

MW was recently featured on Eater.com as one of 6 Killer Afternoon Tea Services From Around the World, in the illustrious company of such institutions as the InterContinental Hong Kong, Ritz-Carlton Kyoto and Four Seasons Tea Lounge in Qatar.

For my friends and I, the collaboration seemed like a mad experiment in baking. We always hear from pastry chefs that Hawaii's high humidity is to blame for deflated, soggy pastry.

OK, we get it. They have simply set us up to have low expectations. But Belinda has proved otherwise. In skilled hands, we can have amazing puff pastry and bread here.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comThe morning feast started with b. patisserie's light, crunchy granola, served over yogurt and strawberries.

The morning feast started with b. patisserie's light, crunchy granola, served over yogurt and strawberries.

MW Kauai shrimp cocktail.

MW Kauai shrimp cocktail.

Lovely spicy ahi tartare.

Lovely spicy ahi tartare.

b. patisserie's lilikoi bostock with seasonal berries and noyau cream. Some of my easily confused tablemates were bothered by the pacing of the meal, which had sweets interspersed with the savory. They prefer to finish all the savories before moving on to sweets. You learn a lot about people at the table.

b. patisserie's lilikoi bostock with seasonal berries and noyau cream. Some of my easily confused tablemates were bothered by the pacing of the meal, which had sweets interspersed with the savory. They prefer to finish all the savories before moving on to sweets. You learn a lot about people at the table.

Pint-size won ton soup.

Pint-size won ton soup.

Now, here's the thing with Belinda's pastry: One of my friends is obsessed with her kouign amann, a light, airy Breton cake comparable to puff pastry or a croissant, with a crunchy and buttery caramelized sugar crust. It is divine. So, when he heard I was going to San Francisco last year, he made me promise to bring some back.

I picked it up en route to the airport at 3 p.m., flew home, went straight to a dinner party of about 30 people to meet him, but we couldn't enjoy it until 11 p.m., when the dinner party disbanded. We were not about to share this edible gold with mere acquaintances.

With the time difference between California and Hawaii, about 11 hours had elapsed since I walked out of b. patisserie. But, in the worst of conditions, bumped around with my luggage and airport security, in the frosty air-conditioning of the plane, in a taxi and finally, the trunk of my car, the texture and flavor was still amazing as four of us gobbled them up in the darkness of a dingy underground parking lot.

Seafood cake Benedict.

Seafood cake Benedict.

This was one of my favorite dishes of bacon, eggs and crispy rice.

This was one of my favorite dishes of bacon, eggs and crispy rice.

Mentaiko pasta for four.

Mentaiko pasta for four.

Chocolate haupia eclairs were one of five of Michelle's creations arriving as the meal's finale.

Chocolate haupia eclairs were one of five of Michelle's creations arriving as the meal's finale.

But again, those low expectations are hard to retire. When I saw the kouign amann here in petite form, a quarter of their full size in keeping with the meal's petite proportions — the only way we could enjoy all 16 courses — I had my reservations. I thought that with the change in venue and recipe adjustment they might be dry. I braced myself for the worst. But, they were just as good as I remembered. It was one of those Oliver Twist, "May I have some more," moments.

Mango "pudding" was so refreshing and light.

Mango "pudding" was so refreshing and light.

We were mystified by the lemon meringue ice cream sandwiches, trying to figure out how Michelle could get the lemon cream into the fragile meringue cap without cracking them.

We were mystified by the lemon meringue ice cream sandwiches, trying to figure out how Michelle could get the lemon cream into the fragile meringue cap without cracking them.

MW has perfected the combination of savory and sweet with its summer truffle chocolate brownie.

MW has perfected the combination of savory and sweet with its summer truffle chocolate brownie.

Berry-topped almond float .

Berry-topped almond float .

My friends were able to purchase a few extras. As for me, I plan to be in San Francisco very soon, and you know where I'm heading.

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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.

Odin leads vegan mission at Satori

By
August 6th, 2015



Some people achieve nirvana, described as a state of bliss or peace, through meditation. Others find it through music, or food.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comBefore anyone else is served, the Buddha receives the first offering of vegan cuisine from Satori Hawaii.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Before anyone else is served, the Buddha receives the first offering of vegan cuisine from Satori Hawaii.

The latter group might want to head to Soto Mission of Hawaii, at 1708 Nuuanu Ave., where Satori Hawaii offers Shojin Ryori, or contemporary Buddhist cuisine, for lunchtime bliss from noon to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

For $18 per person, former Peace Cafe owner Megumi Odin and her crew prepare an elegant vegan, gluten-free lunch comprising six to seven dishes.

If you think your parents had a lot of rules for the table, imagine the life of a Buddhist monk.

It all started with Buddha’s dilemma over eating vs. the sanctity of life. He taught peace and compassion, so was troubled that sustaining our own lives comes at the cost of ending the precious lives of animals and plants.

So Buddha took a serious view of eating, adopting a philosophy and rituals for cooking food in order to make the most of fresh seasonal ingredients, their preparation and the manner of receiving it.

All this came clear last fall when Satori Hawaii broughtto Soto Mission of Hawaii.

At that time, those who wished to enjoy Odin's food worked their way up to mealtime with a lengthy and elaborate zazen, or seated, guided meditation session.

After that, we were released into the mission’s social hall for what my friends and I believed would be a vegan meal in a typically social session.

Instead, diners were seated about 6 feet apart, with no one seated across from us for a traditional Zen meal taken in silence, so as to concentrate all focus and energy into the bowls of food set before us on a beautiful lacquer tray.

Sesame kale, Brussels sprouts and beans.

Sesame kale, Brussels sprouts and beans.

I laughed on the inside as I heard two of my friends being chided for their quick eating habits, rapidly pecking at each bowl’s contents with their chopsticks.

“No,” said the monk, who proceeded to introduce all to the etiquette of picking up only one bowl at a time, appreciating its contents and all the preparation and labor that brought it before your eyes, before partaking. When you have eaten a few bites, or all of its contents, you must set down the bowl and follow the same protocol with each of the five to six bowls in front of you.

The ritual is intended to foster a sense of gratitude for the source and blessing of receiving such a meal, and asking yourself whether you are even worthy of this food. All these things most of us take for granted because of the repetitive, somewhat tedious nature of feeding ourselves every day.

Tofu with macadamia nuts and sesame sauce.

Tofu with macadamia nuts and sesame sauce.

Today, you can simply enjoy the Saturday lunchtime meal without the meditation and with full-volume socializing, although Odin hopes people will take to heart her message of bringing balance, harmony and simplicity to life by starting with the food we eat.

Her food is vegan and gluten-free, made without onions or garlic and minimal condiments in order to maximize nutrition and the natural flavor of produce used. She was inspired to expand the vegan community in Hawaii after moving here seven years ago and finding no vegan restaurants here. Her aim is to eventually open a vegan cafe or noodle shop, which can't happen soon enough for her fans.

Diners on a recent Saturday had varied familiarity with vegan and Buddhist cuisine, from Karen Wong, a first timer referred by her physician Dr. Lorrin Lau, who was also there, and several members of the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii. All loved the food.

“When I went to Japan, this is how they ate,” Lau said. “Very artistic, very colorful. No meat, no dairy. You can have as many helpings as you want and you won’t gain weight.”

"Ganmodoke" refers to a deep-fried tofu fritter, but Satori Hawaii's version is baked with a crunchy texture derived from diced veggies in the mix.

"Ganmodoke" refers to a deep-fried tofu fritter, but Satori Hawaii's version is baked with a crunchy texture derived from diced veggies in the mix.

VSH president Lorraine Sakaguchi, said she made the transition to a vegan diet over a 23-year period, saying, “I did it for health at first, realizing along the way that we don’t need to eat any animal protein for health.

“I felt so much better and started volunteering with the vegetarian society. I had so much energy I wanted to help people feel better,” she said. “A lot of people in this state and elsewhere getting unnecessarily ill, and a lot has to do with diet.”

Satori Hawaii is offering lunch noon to 2 p.m. Saturdays at Soto Mission of Hawaii, 1708 Nuuanu Ave. The cost is $18 per person; limited to 40 meals, first come first serve. No reservations taken. Members of Vegetarian Society of Hawaii receive a 5 percent discount.

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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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