Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

Aroma Caffé brings Euro style

October 4th, 2016


Keep your eye on the chalkboard at Hawaiian Aroma Caffé for the day's specialty coffees.

Upon arriving in Hawaii one of the first things Jonathan Rotmensch noticed was that the coffee was not the same as what he was accustomed to while growing up and living across Europe. He put up with it for a while and when he couldn't stand it any longer, he opened Hawaiian Aroma Caffé.

In addition to a local following, his cafe drew a number of Australians, New Zealanders and Europeans who he says tell him they are grateful to find the kind of coffee they grew up with finally available in Hawaii.

Hawaiian Aroma Caffé chef/owner Jonathan Rotmensch, welcomed patrons during a grand opening celebration Sept. 28.

That popularity resulted in three locations. Hawaiian Aroma Caffé can now be found in the Davies Pacific Building in downtown Honolulu, the Ilikai Hotel, and the newest location on the lobby level at the Holiday Inn Beachcomber Hotel (take the escalator up from Kalakaua Ave.).

The newest cafe has a bright poolside location and ample seating to enjoy locally roasted artisanal coffees that includes a global roster of estate-grown Guatemalan coffee, Peruvian and Mexican blends, a North Shore Waialua blend, and three exlusive Kona blends from the island of Hawaii.

The hungry will find a number of pastries and sandwiches, as well as acai bowls, for light continental-style breakfasts, lunches and snacks.

An overview of the cafe.

There's seating indoors ...

.... and near a doorway with a view of the hotel's swimming pool.

Menu selections include various panini and below, ham and cheese croissant sandwiches.

Or start your day with bacon.

Ham and brie served on baguette with a drizzle of honey and truffle oil will be a sometime special at Hawaiian Aroma Caffé.

Caprese and pesto on baguette will also be an occasional special.

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 and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Gudetama at Eggs 'n Things

October 3rd, 2016


A Gudetama loco moco with bacon blanket is part of a three item Gudetama "Sleepy" menu available at Eggs 'n Things through Oct. 28. Gudetama's face is created with edible gel paper.

Two Gudetama set menus are available as part of a Sanrio and Eggs 'n Things collaboration benefit for the Japan Society's Kumamoto Relief Fund for victims of the April earthquakes in Japan.

The offer has Gudetama doing good, in spite of his detached, disengaged nature.

For those who have yet to discover Gudetama, he is Sanrio's popular "lazy egg," who prefers the warmth and security of his bacon blanket, or to hide in his shell, rather than explore his horizons and engage with society. Here's a video:

Gudetama is stenciled in cocoa atop whipped cream and hot chocolate.

Two set menus are available at Eggs 'n Things three locations:
Outside Ala Moana Center at 451 Piikoi St.
Waikiki at 343 Saratoga Road
Waikiki Beach Eggspress at 2464 Kalakaua Ave.

Gudetama is stenciled in lemon frosting onto dessert pancakes at Eggs 'n Things on a promotional menu through Oct. 28.

The $15 Gudetama "Sleepy" menu available from noon to closing features a loco moco with Gudetama egg and bacon blanket, Gudetama hot chocolate with whipped cream, and dessert of Gudetama pancake with lemon frosting, whipped cream, strawberries and chocolate sauce.

The $16 Gudetama "Lazy" menu available from 4 p.m. to closing features a burger with Gudetama egg and french fries, Gudetama iced coffee (or iced cappuccino) with whipped cream, and the Gudetama pancake dessert.

A portion of the sales price will go to the relief fund. For more information about the fundraising effort, visit

Two good things together.

Our photographer Cindy Ellen Russell posed with a Gudetama display piece at the Eggs 'n Things Ala Moana location.

Unwilling to walk, the lazy egg Gudetama was rolled into a media event Sept. 29 at Eggs 'n Things Ala Moana.

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 and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Saturday brunch at Mud Hen

August 9th, 2016


A cava bar is at the heart of new Saturday morning brunch at Mud Hen Water in Kaimuki. It starts with sparkling wine for build-your-own mimosas and sangrias with ingredients like mango and lilikoi purées, champagne grapes, sliced strawberries, and simple syrups.

Many of us use weekends for catching up on all the errands we can't get to over the busy week. But, it should be a time to restore a little balance and relaxation to our lives. For me, there are few things more relaxing than a weekend brunch, and Mud Hen Water separates itself from the pack with the offering of a cava bar and dishes that are strictly local in inspiration.

Start with a $12 carafe of sparkling wine for build-your-own mimosas and sangrias with ingredients like mango and lilikoi purées, champagne grapes, sliced strawberries, and simple syrups.

With drink in hand, you can start perusing a menu that follows through on Ed Kenney's philosophy for the restaurant, of delivering a "Hawaiian sense of plate," setting it apart from just about every restaurant in town. Don't expect your basic bacon and eggs here. Instead, your locally inspired breakfast will more likely feature biscuit and mapo tofu gravy, waffle-fried chicken wings with spicy guava sauce, and corned beef hash with kim chee. Here's a look:


It's always nice to share, and Mud Hen allows you to do that with its popular Sea Board, on this visit comprising smoked a'u ku, preserved akule, walu brandade fritter, cheese, soda crackers, bread, starfruit mostarda and pickles, for $22. I loved the varied flavor profiles of the fish, and liked the walu fritter so much I ordered seconds.

Polenta can be one-dimensional in large quantity and tiresome after a while, but the GoFarm Polenta here is topped with Sweetland Farm goat cheese, stewed fruit and honey to make it more interesting. This dish is $11.

One of my favorite dishes was the waffle-fried chicken wings. The batter was feather light and crisp. It's served with spicy guava sauce and slaw ($12). I'm not that big a fan of sweet sauces. I would love to see this redone with prawn paste, as done in Singapore. Now that would be spectacular!

The Eggs Benedict reimagined as biscuit and mapo gravy, with two eggs and bok choy ($13).

Somewhere under that egg is corned beef hash accompanied by avocado and kim chee ($15). Eat separately or mix it all up bi bim bap style.

Fresh fish and lu'au is served with two poached eggs, roasted roots and inamona dukkah ($18). This was another of my favorite dishes. They have a way with roots.

Fresh fruit offered at the cava bar.

Mud Hen Water is at 3452 Waialae Ave. Saturday brunch runs 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 737-6000.

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 and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Bread & Butter adds brunch

May 3rd, 2016


Prosciutto-wrapped baguette is presented with egg yolk for dipping, one dish on the new weekend brunch menu at Bread & Butter.

I love breakfast, and the latest to make mornings easier to wake up for is Bread & Butter, which is offering weekend brunch from a most civilized 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, because, not everyone is up at dawn.

That's something I found out when, jetlagged, I wasn't responding to messages from friends about our 10:30 a.m. brunch date. They ended up coming to my house and pounding on the door exactly one second after I woke up, looked at the time on my phone, and realized I slept through my alarm. Talk about scrambling to action!

It was all worth the massive confusion and pain of getting ready in 10 minutes.

Here's a look at some of the dishes offered on the menu. Absent is one of my favorite dishes, the taro pancakes, which I didn't photograph because they couldn't really be seen, buried under whipped cream.

My full review is in the May 4 Crave section.

Bread & Butter is sister restaurant to Hide Sakurai's Shokudo, next door at
1585 Kapiolani Blvd., and Buho Cocina Y Cantina. Call 949-3430.

The room is bright and spacious.

The kim chee-fried rice-filled omelette is topped with slices of Portuguese sausage. It's the sausage that provides all the flavor because the rice is light on kim chee flavor.


The non-traditional Caesar salad comes with slices of bacon and avocado, with dressing on the side. For $12, recently, it comes with a slice of housemade garlic, cheese and rosemary-topped focaccia. Add $2 for your choice of a cup of Maui onion soup or clam chowder.

So sad that I have yet to find a lobster roll in this town that's comparable to those on the East Coast. This one is a nice try, but the sweet roll detracts from sweetness of lobster, and pink peppercorns also overpower the lobster. The pickled vegetables do help to brighten the roll. Otherwise, gotta keep it simple.

Egg Slut is fun to eat and the smoked mashed potatoes are addicting.

Pork belly eggs Benedict is one of my favorite dishes here, along with taro and banana pancakes that I did not photograph because they did not look like anything underneath a cloud of whipped cream.

Fans of avocado toast will find comfort in a dish of "Smashed Avocado and Bacon," the avocado topped with sunflower seeds, crushed pistachios and walnuts, over baguette.

There are seven pizza options on the menu, including this one with prosciutto and figs If you've never tried their four cheese and honey pizza before, add it to your list. The savory-sweet combo is killer.

A baked egg and sausage stew is more ratatouille than either of the top-mentioned ingredients. The dominant flavor is tomato.

The Easter hen came a-layin'

April 22nd, 2014

nest   I looked down to find 10 eggs, nine white and one brown.Nadine Kam photos

Easter came a day early for me when I returned home from an early morning blessing and grand reopening celebration at the Louis Vuitton store at Ala Moana Center, to find that recent high winds had blown a bird nest out of my mango tree.

It was a small nest, likely meijiro, and appeared to have been long abandoned, so I tried tossing it in my compost heap, in a repurposed water fountain, from about four feet away. But the winds picked up and blew it off course. As I walked over to pick it up off the ground, there was a huge commotion as I shared the terror of the chicken that came clucking and flying off the compost heap.

I had purposely filled the heap with thorny bougainvillea branches just to keep chickens from digging up the compost. I don't mind their churning leaves and dirt, but in doing so, they also eat the worms that help break down the dried leaves, grass and vegetable scraps.

My whole yard is often overrun by feral chickens, and as much as I try to scare them off, they keep coming back, not only digging up dirt but pavement foundations, causing a lot of destruction. Finally, I set up a trap last week, baiting it with corn and peanuts. The only thing is, the trap attracted the doves that roost in the eaves of my house. They set up camp near the trap, nestled in the ground, none stupid enough to actually enter the trap, but smart enough to enjoy the free meal.

Perhaps the presence of food also made the chicken feel at home enough to start nesting in the compost? The number of eggs roughly corresponds to the time the cage appeared, at about an egg a day, if two chickens are involved. The brown egg would have come from a second chicken.

I wasn't about to allow more chickens to hatch and continue their path of destruction. But then I was faced with the dilemma of whether or not it was safe to eat the eggs. Of course I was going to try out of pure foodie instinct. But as a city slicker, it dawned on me that I knew nothing about how to eat an egg straight from a chicken.

eggThese eggs passed the water test by sinking to the bottom of a container of water.

A craving for eggs usually means heading straight to the grocery store and picking up a carton. So what does the modern person do when he/she has a question? We put it to our lifeline, our Facebook friends, whose responses ranged from, "Don't eat them," to "If there's something inside, isn't that just balut?"

The most helpful came from my sister-in-law Laurie Jacobs, who referred me to two websites for testing eggs for freshness and embryos

The last thing I wanted to find on cracking one open was balut, or, for those not familiar with the Filipino delicacy, the developing embryo.

At any rate, the eggs were dirty from sitting underneath the mother, so I did what came naturally and washed them.


I had to go out again, so I simply left the eggs sitting on the counter for the rest of the day.


About midnight, when I had a chance to rest and read up about my eggs, I learned that washing destroys the protective bloom that coats the eggs and prevents bacteria from entering the porous shell. Washing pulls in bacteria, which can grow quickly at room temperature, so washed eggs should be eaten immediately, or stored in the refrigerator.

With bloom in place, eggs will stay fresh in your refrigerator for about 8-1/2 weeks.

Reading on, I had to get out of bed to candle the eggs, holding them up to the light to see whether there is anything solid inside. Satisfied that none of the eggs held chicks, I looked forward to a breakfast of scrambled eggs on Easter morning.

egggGolden yolks are a mark of fresh eggs.

The benefits of fresh eggs is that, compared to typical store-bought, pasteurized eggs, they contain:
>> 1⁄3 less cholesterol
>> 1⁄4 less saturated fat
>> 2⁄3 more vitamin A
>> Two times more Omega-3 fatty acids
>> Three times more vitamin E
>> Seven times more beta carotene
>> Four to six times more vitamin D

There was one more test to perform before actually cooking the eggs. Because I don't peer into the compost heap every day, I had no idea when the eggs started appearing and how old they were. The water test, for freshness, can be performed with a glass of room temperature water.

Place the egg in the glass and see how it falls. If it lands on the bottom of the glass on its side and stays there, it's a good egg. If it stands on one end, it's older, meaning air has entered the shell, but you may still be able to eat it hard-boiled. If it floats, it's full of air and gasses and should be discarded.

On Facebook, chicken expert Sandy Tsukiyama put it much more dramatically and colorfully: "Floats = danger of exploding pilau, but pretty, turquoise-colored, sulphurized contents all over. Carefully wrap in newspaper & dispose asap!"

Finally satisfied that the eggs were edible, I cracked one open, relieved to find a perfect yolk inside, just as described as being more golden than the typical supermarket egg.

Then came a second and a third, and I soon had a perfect Easter breakfast of fresh scrambled eggs. I will make omelettes of the others and hope the chickens come back with more peace offerings.

eggssThe end.

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