Archive for September, 2015

Exploring the California Cheese Trail

By
September 15th, 2015



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comBohemian Creamery's offerings include Boho Belle, a semi-soft Italian-style cheese made with organic Jersey cow milk, and aged 6 to 8 weeks for development of the for the natural development of geotrichum mold that enhances its vanilla flavors.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Bohemian Creamery's offerings include Boho Belle, a semi-soft Italian-style cheese made with organic Jersey cow milk, and aged 6 to 8 weeks for development of the for the natural development of geotrichum mold that enhances its vanilla flavors.

CALIFORNIA — One doesn't have to be an oenophile to appreciate the charms of California Wine Country and the surrounding area encompassing Napa and Sonoma counties, including the towns of Healdsburg, Petaluma and Sebastopol, also part of California's Cheese Trail.

The cheese trail encompasses 23 creameries and/or dairies open to the public. There are 14 more in operation that are not open to the public. You can visit cheesetrail.org for a full list of the operations and details for visits. Some are open during set hours; others by appointment.

One of the providers of the milk that goes into Bohemian Creamery's Capriago, Caproncino, BoDacious and HolyMoly cheeses.

One of the providers of the milk that goes into Bohemian Creamery's Capriago, Caproncino, BoDacious and HolyMoly cheeses.

If you're interested in simply sampling and buying cheeses, Cowgirl Creamery at 80 Fourth St., Point Reyes Station, is a popular stop. It's open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays as of this writing, with 11:30 a.m. Friday tours by appointment months in advance.

You could also stop by Marin French Cheese Co., at 7500 Red Hill Road, Petaluma. It's open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

At Loleta Cheese Factory, you can witness the cheese making process through a window, and taste some of the 30 different types of cheese made there. It's at 252 Loleta Drive, Loleta, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

The exterior of Bohemian Creamery's tasting room and shop.

The exterior of Bohemian Creamery's tasting room and shop.

I appreciate going to the source so had to visit a site with goats. Dropping in at Bohemian Creamery in Sebastopol, Sonoma County, I found a Hawaii connection with owner Lisa Gottreich, an avid surfer who visits our islands frequently.

From left, Bohemian Creamery's Capriago, Caproncino and Bovoncino cheeses.

From left, Bohemian Creamery's Capriago, Caproncino and Bovoncino cheeses.

On the rooftop.

On the rooftop.

When she's not in the water, she makes a variety of Italian-style cheeses, and such novel creations as "Cowabunga," a soft Holstein cow’s milk cheese filled with a sweet cajeta (goat milk caramel), and "Surf n' Turf," an organic cow’s milk ripened to a soft thickness with a thin layer of Sonoma coast harvested toasted dulce seaweed through its center.

If you want to visit, you'll find Gottreich at 7380 Occidental Road, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays through Sundays, with tours by appointment.

It was all enough to make me want to go out and raise some goats.

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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.

Chopstix & Cocktails at The Modern

By
September 11th, 2015



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comThis foie gras macaron was prepared by chef Keith Pajinag from host hotel, the MODERN Honolulu.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

This foie gras macaron was prepared by chef Keith Pajinag from host hotel, the Modern Honolulu.

The Modern Honolulu welcomed 15 chefs and 15 winemakers and mixologists to take part in the second night of Hawai'i Food & Wine Festival on Oahu.

Chopstix & Cocktails took place throughout the property, with food and drink served on the Sunrise and Sunset pool decks and in the Sun Suites overlooking the Ala Wai Boat Harbor.

Dishes by the international roster of chefs were inspired by Asian cuisine and intended to be eaten with chopsticks.

Here's a look at what was on the table:

Continuing the tradition of savory/sweet desserts, New York chef/author Elizabeth Falkner practiced her culinary alchemy, ladling charred pineapple ice over her dessert of coconut-chia creme with smoked macadamia nuts and passionfruit-soy caramel.

Continuing the tradition of savory/sweet desserts, New York chef/author Elizabeth Falkner ladled charred pineapple ice over her dessert of coconut-chia creme with smoked macadamia nuts and passionfruit-soy caramel.

When the liquid "smoke" cleared, we had a better look at what was for dessert.

When the liquid "smoke" cleared, we had a better look at what was for dessert.

One of the three original "Iron Chefs" in 1993, Kenichi Chen  of Akasaka Szechwan Restaurant, more popularly known as Shisen Hanten, Japan, was there with sone Kentaro Chen. Kenichi Chen is known as Japan’s “Father of Sichuan Cuisine.”

One of the three original "Iron Chefs" in 1993, Kenichi Chen of Akasaka Szechwan Restaurant, more popularly known as Shisen Hanten, Japan, was there with sone Kentaro Chen. Kenichi Chen is known as Japan’s “Father of Sichuan Cuisine.”

The Chens served up island shrimp two ways, with curry and chili mango sauces.

The Chens served up island shrimp two ways, with curry and chili mango sauces.

At chef Jonathan Waxman's station, a crew member, turns ono over on the grill.

At chef Jonathan Waxman's station, a crew member, turns ono over on the grill.

Waxman's ono was topped with guacamole and Romanesco sauce.

Waxman's ono was topped with guacamole and Romanesco sauce.

The Slanted Door chef Charles Phan's Vietnamese beef tartare on sesame cracker.

The Slanted Door chef Charles Phan's Vietnamese beef tartare on sesame cracker.

One of the host chefs, Masaharu Morimoto, served up tempura shrimp with green tea soba.

One of the host chefs, Masaharu Morimoto, served up tempura shrimp with green tea soba.

 Thierry Rautureau, Seattle's "Chef in the Hat," served opah confit over watermelon with goat cheese, avocado and lilikoi dressing.

In The MODERN's Sun Suites, Thierry Rautureau, Seattle's "Chef in the Hat," served opah confit over watermelon with goat cheese, avocado and lilikoi dressing.

Sarah and Evan Rich, of Rich Table, San Francisco, put kampachi with hearts of palm and bone marrow salsa verde on their table here.

Sarah and Evan Rich, of Rich Table, San Francisco, put kampachi with hearts of palm and bone marrow salsa verde on their table here.

Chef Bobby Chinn of House of Ho, London, offered up a most local dish of caramel smoked pork belly and sous vide, or onsen-style egg. It turns out his grandparents lived here on St. Louis Heights, and he told of Don Ho (no relation) singing at his 6-year birthday party.

Chef Bobby Chinn of House of Ho, London, offered up a most local dish of caramel smoked pork belly and sous vide, or onsen-style egg.

[caption id="attachment_209292" align="aligncenter" width="415"]WIt turns out his grandparents lived here on St. Louis Heights, and he told of Don Ho (no relation to the restaurant) singing at his 6-year birthday party.

It turns out Chinn's grandparents lived here on St. Louis Heights, and he told of Don Ho (no relation to the restaurant) singing at his 6-year birthday party.

Tea-cured duck breast with sizzling chili oil, bok choy salad and sesame from Celina Tio of Julian, Kansas City, Mo.

Tea-cured duck breast with sizzling chili oil, bok choy salad and sesame from Celina Tio of Julian, Kansas City, Mo.

The event is always a great opportunity for food fans to mix and mingle with their favorite chefs, whose passion for what they do also makes them so entertaining. I just started using the Periscope app on my phone, so it was fun to talk to chefs Elizabeth Falkner and Bobby Chinn — even if the videos only live online for 24 hours.

In Bobby's case, he may be happy that his rendition of the hula and mangling "Mele Kalikimaka" doesn't live on. Coming all the way from London's House of Ho, the half Chinese/half Egyptian chef told of his family's roots in the islands, his grandparents living on St. Louis Heights, and of his six-year birthday party, during which he was serenaded by none other than Don Ho (no relation to the restaurant, where he serves up a contemporary take on Vietnamese cuisine).

———

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.

Champagne & Caviar at Halekulani

By
September 11th, 2015



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comSturia Primeur caviar was one of four styles of caviar served during the "Champagne & Caviar" event at Halekulani as part of the Hawai'i Food & Wine Festival.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Sturia Primeur caviar was one of four styles of caviar served during the Champagne & Caviar event at Halekulani as part of the Hawai'i Food & Wine Festival.

After opening stints on Hawaii Island and Maui, the Hawai'i Food & Wine Festival moved over to Oahu Wednesday, beginning with Kamehameha School Presents Urban Lu'au at SALT Kakaako, and Caviar & Champagne at the Halekulani, an encore to last year’s Caviar and Krug.

This time around at Halekulani, four of the world’s most illustrious champagnes were paired with French Sturia Caviar for a most decadent and educational experience.

Sturia grew out of a 25-year-old French-based sturgeon-raising operation, and after 15 years now offers 10 types of caviar from two species of sturgeon: Acipenser baerii and acipenser gueldenstaedtii.

We were able to sample four of the different caviars: Sturia Vintage, Primeur, Grand Chef, and Oscietra Grand Cru, paired with, respectively, Cristal Louis Roederer 2006, Salon Blanc de Blancs Le Mesnil Brut 2002, Moët & Chandon Dom Pérignon 2004, and Krug Grande Cuvée.

Most of the time, restaurants offer caviar as an embellishment for other food, so it's rare to have a tasting like this, where all the focus is on a few types of caviar.

COURTESY ORLANDO BENEDICTO / HAWAI'I FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL

Great champagnes accompanied the caviar.

With each sampling, presented on mother-of-pearl spoons to avoid the reactive effects of a metal spoon, we were able to gauge texture of the beads, salt, iodine, fishiness and nuttiness of the sturgeon roe, discerning differences between each style. To me, the salty mildness of the Primeur was reminiscent of cheese. It was one of my favorites, along with the well-balanced Oscietra, a rare product considered the Rolls Royce of caviar. Sturia produces only 600 kilos, or 1,320 pounds of Osetra Grand Cru caviar a year, and only 10 kilos, or 22 pounds is allocated to the United States each year.

Because of distance and FDA and Fish and Wildlife regulations, the U.S. is new territory for the company. Most of Sturia's caviar now goes to Russia and the Middle East, at about 1.3 tons each annually. Japan is close behind, and the China market is growing rapidly.

Those who prefer their caviar more fishy, might try the Vintage or Grand Chef styles. The Grand Chef is the most popular, with a bold saltiness. I enjoyed them all.

In addition to the 10 styles, Sturia will be offering a special Christmas caviar, refined over five weeks to be less salty, as well as another Valentine's Day caviar.

Sturia's Osciettra or Osetra caviar had a green tinge. It is said to be a favorite of women, and I did like its delicacy very much.

Sturia's Osciettra or Osetra caviar had a green tinge. It is said to be a favorite of women, and I did like its delicacy very much.

A tin of Oscietra or Osetra caviar might sell for $400 to $500.

A tin of Oscietra or Osetra caviar might sell for $400 to $500.

Following the solo caviar tastings, Halekulani executive chef Vikram Garg showed how the caviar might be incorporated into a dish like this puree of smoked potato and lemon with potato croutons.

Following the solo caviar tastings, Halekulani executive chef Vikram Garg showed how the caviar might be incorporated into a dish like this puree of smoked baked potato and lemon with potato croutons.

Before the event ended, people lined up for a second chance to compare selections and choose their favorites.

Before the event ended, people lined up for a second chance to compare selections and choose their favorites.

A representative from Sturia told me that it's customary in France for gentlemen to present their beloved with a gift of a tin of caviar for Valentine's Day. Well of course there are aphrodisiac properties associated with caviar. Then there is the price point. A tin of Oscietra Grand Cru will set you back $400 or $500, and that may mean more to a woman than the cost of a box of chocolates!

Those wishing to purchase Sturia caviar might get in touch with Gatlaine & Paul Evidenza Gastronomy & Prestige at Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Building 7 Suite 400. Call (808) 543-1160.

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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.

Farm fresh at Sons & Daughters

By
September 10th, 2015



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comPerfection in an eggshell: Poached Bantam chicken egg yolk topped with honey-whipped cream topped and garlic scape.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Perfection in an eggshell: Poached Bantam chicken egg with honey-whipped cream topped with garlic scape.

Coming back from a vacation in San Francisco, I was asked, "What did you do there?"

In one of the foodie capitals of the nation, I ate.

"Is that all?" came the response.

"Isn't that enough?"

Now that we have just about all the stores I have use for, I don't need to shop much during travels, and I'm not the sightseeing tourist type. I just like to travel like a local, doing the things they might do, like browsing farmers markets, participating in cultural activities and hanging out in cafes. When I did shop, it was just because I was told San Francisco is hot this time of year.

For some reason, I was thinking Hawaii hot, which is not the same as SF hot of 70 degrees. I travel light so only packed seven dresses for seven days, and at the last minute grabbed a jacket. So when I did shop for a second jacket, I ended up picking up an anorak jacket/dress from Old Navy.

A leather-bound  at Sons & Daughters is your guide to the farm-sourced ingredients that go into the restaurant's dishes.

A leather-bound at Sons & Daughters is your guide to the farm-sourced ingredients that go into the restaurant's dishes.

When I did go to the DeYoung Museum, I found I had arrived in time for the grand opening of a most Hawaiian exhibition, "Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Nā Hulu Ali‘i," with examples of Hawaiian capes and feather work from the Bishop Museum, Smithsonian and various London museums. You can catch it there through Feb. 28, 2016, or if you can't make it, the exhibition is slated to travel here next fall.

My first night's dinner at Sons & Daughters turned out to be the best of the entire trip. I am most in tune with this type of restaurant, with an approach to food they describe as thoughtful and delicate, displaying clarity of ingredients. In other words, food that is true to the essence and integrity of the individual and exceptional ingredients chosen for the table. Much of what's out there otherwise is just noise.

In this case, food is sourced from the restaurant's sister Dark Hill Farm, which covers 83 acres in the Santa Cruz mountains.

"Shades of 'Portlandia,' " I thought when we were introduced to first course, a poached Bantam chicken egg yolk topped with honey-whipped cream. But, they stopped short of naming the chicken our eggs came from.

There is a set prix fixe menu each evening. For $150 per person, our meal was elegant and delicious from beginning to end, and anyone who believes in sustainability and the farm-to-table dining experience should plan a visit the next time they're in the Bay Area.

Seafood salad of Penn Cove mussels, Oregon bay shrimp, compressed cucumbers, sour gherkins, yogurt and green peppercorns.

Seafood salad of Penn Cove mussels, Oregon bay shrimp, compressed cucumbers, sour gherkins, yogurt and green peppercorns.

Hijiki bread with sea salt and Strauss butter whipped with buttermilk cream.

Hijiki bread with sea salt and Strauss Family Creamery butter whipped with buttermilk cream.

Salad of avocado mousse, lentils, quinoa chip and succulents with a pour of tomato water.

Salad of avocado mousse, lentils, quinoa chip and succulents with a pour of tomato water.

Black cod with Japanese eggplant and summer beans.

Black cod with Japanese eggplant and summer beans.

Paté and dice of apples with second bread course.

Paté and dice of apples with second bread course.

Another bread that reminded me of a bird beak.

Another bread that reminded me of a bird beak.

Guinea hen two ways, with Pink Lady apple gastrique.

Guinea hen two ways, with Pink Lady apple gastrique.

Steak bavette with chanterelle and maitake mushrooms and Romanesco sauce.

teak bavette with chanterelle and maitake mushrooms and Romanesco sauce.

Hazelnut cake and ice cream served with cherries and sweet woodruff-infused chocolate and caramel.

Hazelnut cake and ice cream served with cherries and sweet woodruff-infused chocolate and caramel.

Finale of butter brickle, brownie bites and peanut butter jelly.

Finale of butter brickle, brownie bites and peanut butter jelly.

Sons & Daughters is at 308 Bush St., San Francisco. Call (415) 391-8311.

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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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