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Matsumoto Shave Ice turns 65

By
August 24th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

A visitor is mesmerized by the glory of Matsumoto Shave Ice.

Matsumoto Shave Ice will be celebrating 65 years of serving Hawaii at Hale‘iwa Store Lots, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 27. The event will feature shave ice specials and an opportunity to purchase exclusive Matsumoto Shave Ice T-shirts commemorating the occasion.

In honor of its 65th year of business, Matsumoto Shave Ice will be offering one flavor shave ice for 65 cents, from 9 a.m. until noon. There will also be 500 special print anniversary T-shirts available for purchase at $6.50 per shirt while supplies last. Guest artist DJ Shift will provide entertainment from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by Mike Izon from 2 to 4 p.m.

“Matsumoto Shave Ice is an iconic North Shore destination and we are thrilled to celebrate their 65th Anniversary,” said Ryan Ng, Senior Asset Manager for landlord Kamehameha Schools. “Their 65 years of being in operations is a true testament to the spirit of Hawaii’s homegrown business.”

Selling rainbows and happiness in a bowl.

Established in 1951 by Mamoru Matsumoto and his wife Helen, Matsumoto Shave Ice has been familiar Haleiwa landmark for more than half a century. Matsumoto aimed to open his own business and when an opportunity to open a grocery store arose, he took it, originally taking orders and delivering goods on a bicycle, while Helen, a seamstress, managed the store. After the birth of their three children, the couple decided to expand the business to support their growing family.

Given the store’s beachy North Shore location, Matsumoto began selling shave ice made with homemade syrup. The store’s reputation grew as surfers, weekenders circling the island, and visitors from abroad, dropped in to sample the multiple flavors of Matsumoto’s Shave Ice.

The business remains in family hands, currently owned by one of Mamoru's sons, Stanley Matsumoto.

“We are very excited to be celebrating 65 years in business,” he said, in a press statement. "I am proud to be a part of the legacy that my parents started 65 years ago and I plan to continue this legacy for years to come.”

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

First course: Stripsteak

By
August 23rd, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Michael Mina is excited to be opening his first restaurant in Hawaii. Stripsteak by Michael Mina will open its doors Aug. 25 at International Market Place.

Whereas I have heard some imported chefs dissing Hawaii's cuisine lately, Michael Mina embraces it. He clearly loves everything about Hawaii, saying that he has tried multiple times to open a restaurant here.

And why not? He's practically a part-time resident anyway, traveling here about five times a year to vacation because he "doesn't want to be disappointed," as he has been when traveling elsewhere.

The reason is simple. "I need the time to unwind, and here, I can unwind in a day. Otherwise, it's hard for me."

So he's thrilled to be opening Stripsteak by Michael Mina at the International Market Place. His restaurant will open at lunch time, from 11:30 a.m. Aug. 25, the same day as the market place, and he'll be here through early September to make sure the operation is running smoothly.

COURTESY STRIPSTEAK

The restaurant's interior hews closely to these artist's rendering of Strip Steak's bar and lounge, and dining room.

strip int

"I'm definitely nervous, I'm always nervous when opening a new restaurant," he said. But he said because this is a city where many people pass through, his waitstaff is accustomed to dealing with every type of patron, and he's happy with the team he's assembled, starting with executive chef Ben Jenkins, an 18-year company veteran whose held the top posts in the Mina Group.

The restaurant represents a departure from the traditional steak house in that Mina said he's noted that people no longer embrace the stereotypical notion of walking into a steakhouse and being almost too stuffed to walk out. He said people want to eat lighter and cleaner.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Staffers go through a training session in the dining room, during which Mina Group president Patric Yumul offers serving suggestions and demos the tableside presentation of Michael's ahi tuna (poke).

Michael's ahi tuna (poke) calls for first mixing the egg, then tossing the fish with ancho chili pepper, sweet Asian pear and pine nuts before enjoying on toast points. Different, yet still credible for locals steeped in poke knowledge.

With Stripsteak Waikiki, Mina is merging the best ideas from his Bourbon Steak restaurants and izakaya-style Pabu restaurants, a combination that fits in naturally with Hawaii's diverse culinary scene, where we are accustomed to preceding main courses with raw selections, and of course, surf-and-turf combos.

He said obsession over great product and great technique, binds the steak house with the izakaya, and both concepts suit the modern diner, who enjoys sharing dishes as a path to exploring more of what a menu has to offer. Especially with the addition of distinct regional flavors.

As for prices, starters range from $8 and $12 for charred edamame and blistered shishito peppers, respectively, up to $21 for chilled lobster tacos and $31 for Hudson Valley foie gras with roasted pineapple, brioche, coconut and macadamia nuts.

Japanese A5 striploin is $34 per ounce, 10-ounce prime flat iron steak is $44 and 8-ounce filet mignon is $54.
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Stripsteak by Michael Mina is in the International Market Place, 2330 Kalakaua Ave., Suite 330. Lunch 11:30 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays, dinner from 5:30 p.m. nightly. Call 800-3094.

A blessing of the 8,600 square foot restaurant took place Aug. 23. From left are Kahu Cordell, chef Ben Jenkins, Michael Mina, Mina Group president Patric Yumul and general manager Ron Bonifacio.

A trio of cocktails including the Black Tie, a mai tai reimagined with black sesame paste. Delicious! And duck fat fries, regular and furikake, served with a trio of sauces: ketchup, truffle and tonkatsu.

The market price "Luau Feast" raw platter featuring king crab legs, whole lobster, six oysters, six clams, six shrimp, six pieces of sashimi, two sushi rolls and two kinds of poke, for four to six.

The feast was almost as big as Krislyn Hashimoto.

A "small plate" of Instant Bacon comprised Kurobuta pork belly topped with tempura oyster and black pepper-soy glaze.

Blistered shishito peppers with slivers of espelette pepper and daikon sprouts are served over watermelon carpaccio, just in case you get the hot one. I did!

O

Of course you can't go to Stripsteak and order everything BUT the steak. This market price World Wide Wagyu set features Japanese A5 striploin, American wagyu skirt steak and Australian wagyu shortrib. Yes, the Japanese are hard to beat.

A side of creamed corn with Jalapeño is so ono, $12.

A side of creamed corn with Jalapeño is so ono, $12. At this point, I had to leave for a second dinner, so didn't get a chance to sample dessert. I will make up for it later.


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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Blessings at Taste of Taiwan

By
August 23rd, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

A "Tray of Togetherness," assorted fresh fruit, captured the spirit of the "Taste of Taiwan" friendship dinner that brought Taiwanese and local Chinese together at the table.

Can you build friendships through food? That is question and the driving philosophy behind the United Chinese Society's Hawaii-sponsored "Taste of Taiwan" that took place Aug. 22 at Jade Dynasty restaurant.

From what I saw, yes you can. If not through food itself and the cooperation behind the scenes that goes into feeding hundreds, then through the camaraderie of sitting through a five-hour, 12-course meal. In between courses, there was also a lively bit of alcohol-fueled karaoke, for a good cause as friends challenged friends to step up to the mic in exchange for $100-plus donations to UCS.

The Taiwan chefs and crew took their bows following the dinner.

On the menu were homestyle comfort dishes from southern Taiwan, "not restaurant dishes," our hosts made clear. Many dishes looked familiar to anyone versed in local Chinese cuisine, but flavors were not. You don't often find cinnamon, and never find basil stirred into dishes at our Cantonese or Hong Kong style restaurants.

The one thing these cuisines do have in common is that the major ingredients have meanings tied to blessings and prosperity, and dishes presented were intended to bestow all guests with good wishes and abundance, and they sent us all home with a small planter of lucky bamboo.

Co-sponsoring the event were the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Honolulu, the Hawaii Taiwanese Center, China Airlines, Lucoral Museum and Jade Dynasty.

The dinner started with an appetizer of blessings, foods representing abundance, prosperity and all-round success. Plates comprised a shrimp fritter, a sliver of abalone, sea snail, mullet roe and spicy abalone.

Auspicious soup consists of crab meat, shrimp, ham and mushrooms. The Chinese word for crab and harmony are pronounced “xie.” Therefore, the dish reinforces the desire for peace. Shrimp represents liveliness, and mushrooms represent longevity and ability to sieze opportunities.

Lobster is known as the “dragon of the sea” and it represents strength, energy and good fortune. It was served chilled in these individual portions of salad.

The whole fish course was dubbed "Swimming in Prosperity" because the Chinese word for fish has the same pronunciation as the Chinese word for abundance or surplus, symbolizing the wish for an increase in prosperity.

Taiwan virgin, or juvenile, crabs were steamed, then cut in two to expose their insides and supposedly make them easier to eat. No having to lift the carapace. It was not as messy as our way, but I found it a little unappetizing because I thought of horror movies in which people are sliced in two.

Thin-sliced braised abalone signals an assurance of surplus, representative of wealth and good fortune.

Cuttlefish was stir-fried with sesame oil, basil and mushrooms, and served with broccoli.

A whole chicken went into this "Happy Family Chicken" soup with mushrooms representing longevity and seizing opportunities. The chicken represents prosperity, joy and togetherness of the family. Sweetened with antioxidant red dates and goji berries, it's also a home remedy for colds.

Serving the chicken and mushroom soup.

Aniseed and angelica were among the medicinal seeds and herbs that went into this dish of herbal shrimp, along with sorghum liquor and shaoxing rice wine. The flavor was light, but complex, not at all the basic salt/pepper shrimp offered at most Hawaii Chinese restaurants. I also detected a celery/celeriac component.

We were most curious about the dish called "Buddha Jumps Over the Wall," a seafood and poultry casserole said to be so good that smelling it would have Buddha beating a path to your door, and have vegetarian monks convert to eating meat. It is traditionally made with 30 ingredients, including controversial shark fin. This one featured dried scallops, crab meat, shrimp, ham and mushrooms. But the soup is the best part, spiced with star anise and cinnamon.

The finale was a "Happy Ending" traditional Taiwanese dessert of warm mung bean and rice porridge with sweet mochi dumplings.


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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Chibo moves to Beach Walk

By
August 15th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Negiyaki is one of my favorite dishes at Okonomiyaki Chibo.

Okonomiyaki Chibo has a new address, having moved out of Royal Hawaiian Center and onto Beach Walk Avenue, next to Bill's restaurant. The move into what was formerly Bill's downstairs cafe has meant downsizing from more than a hundred seats to fewer than 50, making it a lot cozier.

With the move, there's also been some menu changes, including making a few "hidden" menu options official, with a permanent spot so that everyone can enjoy them, not just those in the know. These dishes have a lot to do with comfort, such as okonomiyaki-style omelet of egg and slices of pork, and potatoes two ways (hash browned and sautéed) with bacon and onions.

They're still acclimating to the change, but for now, below is a sampling of a few dishes available.

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Okonomiyaki Chibo is at 280 Beach Walk Ave., Suite L-106. Open 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 10 p.m. daily. Happy hour from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

This hidden menu combo of pork and egg is now on Chibo's menu for good.

This hidden menu combo of pork and egg is now on Chibo's menu for good.

Salads cut the guilt involved with eating out, and Chibo offers several options, including this tofu salad.

A Korean salad features a spicy dressing and sprinkling of sesame seeds over lettuce, beet strings, carrots, red cabbage, onions and fishcake.

A carpaccio trio of maguro, salmon and tako are part of a new tapas menu.

A carpaccio trio of maguro, salmon and tako are part of a new tapas menu.

Paper thin crispy gyoza is one of the specialties at Chibo. That little bit of sauce packs an intensely salty kick.

Grilled opakapaka is a welcome addition to the menu at Chibo.

Fluffy garlic fried rice and miso soup are staples for accompanying any dish.

Potato lovers will be drawn to this duo of hash browns and sautéed potatoes with bacon, though the bacon was rather flabby. Crisp mo' betta.

Well this is an interesting dish for teppan steak lovers with vegan friends. This is faux steak made with konnyaku, or potato gelatin, known for being high in fiber and low in calories. It looks like steak, but its bounce factor is recognizably konnyaku. It's $8 vs. $38 for Prime New York steak here.

A strawberry or pineapple slush is a refreshing treat on a hot day. There's ice cream on the bottom. It's $8.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

You can be a Food Network star

By
August 12th, 2016



PHOTO COURTESY THE FOOD NETWORK

The Food Network is casting for the next season of "Guy's Grocery Games," open to both professionals and non-pro cooks.

Local firefighters are known for their kitchen as well as fire-fighting skills, and are among the specialty cooks being sought for the next season of Guy Fieri's "Guy's Grocery Games."

The Food Network is searching nationwide for outgoing, skilled chefs and professional cooks from all backgrounds to compete for the $20,000 prize. If you think you have the chops, or know someone who does, applications are being taken at beonguysgrocerygames.com.

grocery games

All applicants must be 18 or older, and residents of the United States.

Producers are casting the following specialty episodes:

Burgers: Open to pro chefs and cooks with unique skills and perspective on burgers.
Bacon: Seeking pro chefs and cooks with unique skills and perspective on bacon.
Cheese: Pro chefs and cooks with unique skills and perspective on cheese.
All in the family: Seeking four family members who are or have been professional chefs/cooks, who will compete against each other.
Mothers Day/Father's Day: Looking for parent and son or daughter, and parent or adult child with some pro cooking experience.
Carnival games: For pro chefs and cooks with unique skills and perspective on carnival eats.
Superfans: Cooks/chefs who are epic fans of the show.
Firefighters: Amateur cooks with skills.
Police officers: Amateur cooks with skills.
Veterans: (Amateur Armed Forces cooks with skills.
Food truck chefs
Station chefs, Chef de Parties, line cooks: Representing from every part of a pro kitchen.

The deadline is Oct. 1 for the following episodes:
Burgers, Bacon, Cheese, Carnival Eats, Father's Day (Chef Father and his daughter or son, 18 or older), Superfan, Firefighters, Police, Veterans

Casting will continue through December for additional episodes that haven't been themed yet.

Pass on the word to anyone qualified.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

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