Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

Pastries hot out of the oven

July 1st, 2016
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PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Neko pan is one of the delightful new pastry selections at the new BRUG Bakery at Ala Moana Center.

Pastry lovers can get more than their share of daily bread now that BRUG Bakery and Kai Coffee have opened new locations.

First up, since the closing of the Shirokiya store on the Diamond Head end of Ala Moana Center, BRUG is now a solo act, moving into the lower level mauka side of the center between Lupicia and the Sanrio store.

It opened its doors June 25, offering a range of sweet and savory options, including fruit danishes, ratatouille cake, sausage rolls and adorable neko pan, complete with bread tails.

The bakery also has plans to open at Pearlridge in November, followed by the addition of a downtown branch.
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BRUG Bakery is on the mauka side street level of Ala Moana Center, next to Lupicia. Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays. Call 945-2200 or visit brugbakery.com.

The Japanese name for this pastry translates as "North Country," in honor of BRUG's Hokkaido roots. The foccaccia is topped with fresh local produce that BRUG Bakery Hawaii president Miho Choi said is evocative of the fresh produce Hokkaido is also known for.

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SECOND SITE FOR KAI COFFEE

Bing cherry and honey ricotta soustenir from Kai Coffee.

Bing cherry and honey ricotta soustenir from Kai Coffee.

Once downtown, the bakery will find company. On the same day of Brug's opening, Kai Coffee opened the doors to its second location in downtown Honolulu's Arcade Building.

In addition to serving craft-brewed coffees ranging from cortados to lattes, the new café also marks the debut of a menu featuring Kai Coffee's own in-house baked goods, which produces dozens of savory and sweet pastries.

In addition to cafe basics such as croissants, scones and cakes, those hungry for a quick breakfast or lunch bite will find items such as banana bread and soustenirs—ciabatta and focaccia breads baked with toppings such as pastrami and onion, Black Forest ham and cheddar cheese, or baked fruit. A few salads and stew selections will round out the menu.

A sampling of peanut butter, honey and chocolate croissants.

Responsible for producing all these baked goods is Antonio Domingo who spent 26 years as executive pastry chef at the Hawaii Prince Hotel, while simultaneously working as a pastry chef at the Hilton Hawaiian Village 24 years, learning on the job after moving here from the Philippines.

"I always liked cooking and baking," he said, knowing it was unusual in the macho culture of the Philippines for a little boy to prefer helping his mom in the kitchen than playing outside.

Coffee love, inside the new Kai Coffee in downtown Honolulu.

Samples of Domingo's work were in abundance during a grand opening celebration ahead June 24, where it looked like a wedding day when local founders Samuel and Natalie Suiter cut into a congratulatory cake baked for the occasion. Only this time, it wasn't Natalie who got splattered by cake. Frosting flew around the room as Sam hacked away, saying, "I always wanted to do that."

Sam and Natalier Suiter made the grand opening celebration look like a wedding day as they cut the celebratory cake.

The couple opened the first Kai Coffee in the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa two years ago to showcase the best Hawaii regional and international coffee.

Now with its own in-house bakery, what started as a coffee bar is well on it's way to becoming a full-fledged dining café.
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Kai Coffee's new location, at 207 S. King St., will be open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. Call 537-3415 or visit kaicoffeehawaii.com.

A view of Kai Coffee from the street.


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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.

Pressed Juicery's Freeze makes it easy to get all your fruit & veggies

June 20th, 2016
By



PHOTOS COURTESY PRESSED JUICERY

Pressed Juicery's all-greens "Green 1" cold-pressed juice is turned into an all-natural, guilt-free frozen dessert that is delicious, sweetened with apple, dates and with coconut meat for added texture.

In the evolution of healthful drinking, there was a time we carried around plastic water bottles, soon replaced by Hydro Flasks and bkrs once we learned the hazards and toll of plastics.

These days, you're likely to see the return of plastic. Only the contents have changed from clear to hues of bright reds to dark green, even cream and black.

Yes, our cups runneth over ... with juice, and the juice bars, they keep a-comin'. The latest is California-based Pressed Juicery, which opened its doors June 12 in Ala Moana Centers Ewa Wing, street level, makai side next to the Bloomingdale's entrance.

In an email interview, co-founder and CEO Hayden Slater said, “Growing up in Los Angeles, I was educated about health and wellness trends, but I rarely practiced them in my own life. In the early days of my career, I constantly felt lethargic and stressed and was living on a diet of fast food.

"It wasn’t until I traveled to Southeast Asia that I tried a juice cleanse—it began as five days and ended up lasting for 30 days. I was amazed at how energized I felt, and after returning home I realized I wanted to share this experience with others.

"I think that juicing was a catalyst for healthier behaviors. I began to start my day with a green juice, and that motivated me to make better decisions every day, ultimately leading me to get in better shape and feel great again.”

Juice delivered by the numbers, allowing people to gauge their flavor compatibility. In the case of Greens and Roots, the No. 1s are the most unadulterated flavors. Higher numbers will have fruit juices blended in for sweetness, and lemon for a bright touch of citrus.

With Pressed Juicery, Slater said, "Our main priority is making high nutrition a realistic option for everyone. To that end, we’re focused on creating blends that appeal to a wide range of customers—whether they’ve been drinking cold-pressed juice for years or are trying it for the very first time. We also love to experiment with unique flavors and ancient ingredients; for example, our Greens 5 is a tropical take on green juice that includes pineapple and fennel, and our charcoal lemonade can provide detoxifying effects."

Pressed Juicery's blends have been tested over time in 40 markets nationwide, and they're all delicious, from the all-greens "Green 1," to unique signature blend of Brazil Nut, with the nuts, kale, spinach, romaine, vanilla bean, dates and sea salt.

Well, actually, I'd probably stay away from Greens 4 just because it contains watercress, and that's the flavor that stands out most because I'm not a big fan of watercress.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

A flight of greens. Greens 1 on the left has the highest concentration of greens. Next to it, Greens 1.5 has sea salt added. Greens 4, counting toward right, tastes greenest, with the bitterness of watercress. Most people will gravitate to Nos. 2 and 3, with the sweetness of apple and a touch of lemon.

Juices are divided into citrus, roots, greens and fruit categories. Each category has three to five different blends. I'm a fan of the greens and roots. Of course I love citrus and fruits as well, but I'm cautious about taking in too much sugar. Prices range from $7.50 to $9 for 16 ounces.

One thing Pressed Juicery has that no other local juice bar is offering is their juice-based Freeze soft-serve that may change the way we enjoy dessert and offers a palatable way for even the most fruit-and-vegetable averse to get their five a day. The six flavors offered are Greens, Roots, Citrus, Fruits, Chocolate and Vanilla. Each starts with the juicery's standard juice sweetened with dates and with coconut meat added for body.

The Freeze is offered in $5 and $6 cups; add $1.75 for your choice of toppings such as fresh fruit, chia seeds, granola, shaved almonds, shredded coconut, cacao drizzle, almond butter, dark chocolate chips and pink Himalayan sea salt.

With the Freeze, it would be nice to have a place to sit down and enjoy dessert with friends. The company is growing fast, and that's something they'll need to consider in planning future stores as today's juice bars have the potential to become tomorrow's soft-serve parlors.
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Pressed Juicery is open 9 a.m.to 9:30 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, and 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sundays. Call (808) 949-5272.

Midweek's Rasa Fournier looks forward to her Greens Freeze, which she had topped with cacao drizzle, raspberries, pineapple and shaved almonds.

A diverse line of tourists and locals, young and old, flowed through the juicery all afternoon, four days after its Sunday opening.

The setting, makai side street level next to the lower level of Bloomingdale's in Ala Moana Center's Ewa Wing, around the corner from Shirokiya's soon-to-open Japan Village Walk.

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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.

Icing lessons at Magnolia Bakery

June 11th, 2016
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omMagnolia Bakery celebrated the launch of its new rainbow-colored Aloha cupcake June 9 .

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Magnolia Bakery celebrated the launch of its new rainbow-colored Aloha cupcake June 9.

A class in how to ice a cupcake at Magnolia Bakery Cafe turned into confirmation that I should never work at a bakery.

Coinciding with the bakery's launch of its Hawaii-only Aloha cupcake, a coconut cream-filled lilikoi confection topped with rainbow-colored meringue frosting, a bunch of writers and photographers were tasked with recreating the signature buttercream swirl that tops the cupcake.

Pastry sous chef Alison Yokouchi led a session in how to ice a cupcake with an icing spatula she referred to as her "magic wand."

Our initial results were mostly disastrous, and pastry sous chef Alison Yokouchi assured it took her about 20 hours to perfect her skills.

Maybe golfers will appreciate that one also has to be pretty flexible and limber to perfect the swirl that calls for a nearly 360-degree flick of the wrists.

I ended up digging too deep in the icing and scalping my cupcake. Oh well, with Magnolia here, I have no reason to ever do such work myself.

For those who want to try their hand at the task, Magnolia is offering icing classes for private parties, with a minimum of six participants. Each participant will take home six cupcakes they have created, plus recipes for Magnolia’s best-selling vanilla cupcake and vanilla buttercream frosting. The cost per person is $75.

If you can't get a group together, public classes for set days and times are being planned.
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Magnolia Bakery Cafe is at Ala Moana Center. For more information on the classes, call 942-4132.

This is the swirl we were aiming for.

Yotaro Takenaka with his cupcake finished with candy sprinkles.

Emi Hart was pleased with her creation, after four tries.

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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.

One strawberry shortcake is not what it seems at Kulu Kulu

May 12th, 2016
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PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Strawberry shortcake is among the confections available at Kulu Kulu, but one of these is an "imposter." Can you guess which one?

The answer is below.

The answer is at the bottom of this post.

Today was the opening day of Kulu Kulu's third Hawaii location, this one in the Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikiki.

For the occasion, the popular Japanese pastry shop introduced soft-serve ice cream with two locally sourced flavors, Maui vanilla bean and 100 percent Big Island Kona coffee. The soft-serve is exclusive to the RHC location.

Kulu Kulu introduced its newest jelly drink, Tropical Lemonade Jelly, a half-half layer of soft lemonade jelly topped with your choice of black, green or hibiscus iced tea, for a current price of $4.25. Different shops offer different flavors.

Tropical lemondade jelly drinks made with green tea and hibiscus tea.

The newest shop also features Maui vanilla custard pudding, Kona coffee pudding and the "Honolulu Banana," a fluffy mini dessert "omelet" confection of locally sourced apple bananas topped with chocolate or plain cream, wrapped in sponge cake, offered in addition to its original classics such as the Diamond Head (chocolate cream) puff, multi-flavor roll cakes and green tea tiramisu.

Samples of the new Maui vanilla bean and 100 percent Kona coffee soft serve.

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Kulu Kulu is in the second-floor Paina Lanai Food Court at Royal Hawaiian Center, 2233 Kalakaua Ave. Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Call 931-0915.

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Kulu Kulu chief technical pastry chef Taka Horiki creates three layers of shave ice and strawberry syrup. When turned over, this final layer becomes the bottom of the ice cake.

Not to be outdone, the Kulu Kulu Eaton Square location is about to debut a new dessert set to win over calorie counters.

In a spin-off of Kulu Kulu's signature light strawberry shorcake, chief technical pastry chef Taka Horiki—who was trained at the renowned Japanese shave ice shop, Sebastian, in Tokyo (Kamiyama-cho, Shibuya-ku)—uses shave ice, whipped cream and freshmade strawberry syrup to create his cakeless confection. The only calories come from the whipped cream and fresh strawberries with just a dash of added sugar.

Because of the time needed to create the strawberry shortcake shave ice ($10), quantities will be limited.

The Strawberry Shortcake Shave Ice will be introduced May 22 at the Kulu Kulu booth at the Honolulu Ekiden & Music Festival at Kapiolani Park before its official launch May 23 at Kulu Kulu Eaton Square, at 438 Hobron Lane. Call 931-0506.

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Sugarless Graham cracker crumbs and fresh fruit are the finishing touches of the strawberry shortcake shave ice that is the second photo at the top of the page.

Depending how much time you have or how swift you are, take your pick of two videos, long-form (minute-and-a-half) and fast:

'Ai Love Nalo feeds body & soul

May 11th, 2016
By



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

The Medi Bowl, a Mediterranean combo comprising kalo falafel, roasted baba ganoush, beet hummus, millet tabouleh and greens with an herb tahini sauce, is one of my favorite dishes on the menu at 'Ai Love Nalo. The colors are a feast for the eyes.

Because my foodie diet is so rich in protein and fat, I'm happy for those occasions when I can escape to such basics as fresh veggies and hummus, staples in every food writer's/blogger's kitchen for those detoxing down times when we're not at a restaurant.

I once suggested we feed hummus to the hungry instead of stocking up on salt-, sugar- and preservative-laden canned goods during food drives, only to be told the hungry wouldn't eat it. Critics of my plan had a point. As much as I love hummus and a good salad, I don't crave them the way I crave fried chicken, pork ribs, or lately, Fat Boy ice cream sandwiches.

Humans have a natural affinity for fats, sweets and carbs. You can read up on some of the science here: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK53528/

Yet, immediately after visiting 'Ai Love Nalo, I found myself craving the casual vegan restaurant's tofu poke bowl, with limu providing all the ocean essence I needed, and avocado providing body and richness, so I didn't miss the fattiness and texture of fish at all.

I also crave the Medi Bowl ($11), a Mediterranean-inspired combo of kalo falafel served over greens with an herb tahini sauce, millet tabouleh, and small portions of local eggplant baba ganoush and beet hummus with all the flavor of chickpea hummus with a tinge of beet.

It's no wonder the restaurant tends to be packed on the weekends, when people are most likely to have the time to make the drive to Waimanalo. It's well worth the trip.

Dishes here are fresh and delicious, and there will be many a dessert lover who will rejoice over its non-dairy, all-natural dessert of Outta This Swirled soft-serve sundae. Replacing the ice cream is a mixture of coconut milk and bananas, coated with a no-added sugar "Cacao Magic" shell.

A meal here is a treat for the body, soul and senses from beginning to end.
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'Ai Love Nalo is at 41-1025 Kalanianaole Highway. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays. Online at ailovenalo.com. There's no phone.

You can opt to sit indoors, or, if you don't like being confined by four walls, bring a mat to sit outside in the "Garden of Eatin'," pictured below.

ai garden

The tofu poke is delicious, available in a generous poke bowl that starts with a choice of brown rice, millet or a half/half combination, with limu, onion, avocado, green onion, furikake and greens. Recently, $11.

The Kaukau Lu'au plate is 'Ai Love Nalo's healthier remake of the Hawaiian plate lunch. Local Okinawan potato and an assortment of local veggies are baked in creamy coconut lu’au, and served with your choice of poi, brown rice or millet, with a sampling of tofu poke and a side salad. Recently $11.

Roasted veggies and avocado are piled onto a veggie sandwich, but the whole-wheat vegan bun didn't hold up well to the ingredients and became mushy quickly.

Dessert lovers will rejoice over 'Ai Love Nalo's vegan, guilt-free soft serve, made with bananas and coconut milk, with cocoa powder shell that mimics chocolate. It's presented here with sliced bananas, papaya and housemade granola.

There are several smoothies on the menu. This is the Lime in Da Coconut, made with coconut milk, key limes, avocado, honey and bananas, and topped with coconut flakes.

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Before leaving, head next door to visit the Waimanalo Market Co-op. There, you'll find fresh produce, 'Nalo-related merchandise including jewelry, clothing and tote bags, and a couple of food purveyors.

The co-op is at 41-1029 Kalanianaole Highway, open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays to Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. Call 690-7607.

Produce at the Waimanalo Market Co-op is sourced from the area ahupua'a.

If you think you've found the island's best poke, better remake your list if you haven't tried poke from Hale I‘a Hawaii. Lance and Lucie Kaanoi's poke is exceptionally fresh and delicious, making both their Korean-style, and ogo and ahi poke must-trys on your next visit to Waimanalo. They also serve poke hoagies.