Archive for the ‘Wine and spirits’ Category

Bills introduces new happy hour

April 11th, 2016
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PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

I appreciate the green touches on Bill's new happy hour menu. Korean fried chicken, recently $6, has the chili sesame sauce on the side to give diners more control over how much heat they can take.

Bill's has introduced a new happy hour menu in keeping with its Aussie roots. For us, that means seeing a lot more greens on the plate than we're accustomed to seeing, and all the fresh fare left me feeling a lot less guilty than usual about nibbling on deep-fried pupu.

The menu encompasses five small plates and four flatbread pizzas. Some are on the regular menu, but they are priced a few dollars lower at happy hour, from 3 to 6 p.m. daily.

I love the restaurant's beachy vibe and high ceilings, which helps make this a pleasant place to spend an afternoon.

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Bills is at 280 Beachwalk Ave. Call (808) 306-9241.

No, Bill Granger's not from here. You can tell by the sweet-ish poke, accented not only by sesame seeds and sea asparagus, but buckwheat, which one of my birds loves. The avocado and shimeji mushrooms on the side are a plus. Recently, $8.

I enjoyed the blanco pizza topped with caramelized fennel, sausage, ricotta and basil; recently $9.

If there is a downside to seeing more greens on the plate, it's that I felt more justified to indulge in calamari when pairing it with all that cilantro.

Happy hour cocktails include the hibiscus margarita, left, and traditional 1953 mai tai with Flor de Cana rum, pineapple, Bols orange curacao and Whaler's dark rum. Recently, $6 each.

Hula Grill shows its support for farms and the community

March 29th, 2016
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PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Makaweli Ranch tenderloin tartare with pickled ho'io, pecorino, Ululoa amaranth and truffle was my favorite dish of the evening at the "Hula Grill Digs Farmers" farm-to-table event, paired with Ocean Vodka.

Hula Grill Waikiki paid tribute to Hawaii’s ranchers and paniolo during "Hula Grill Digs Farmers," a farm-to-table event that took place at the restaurant on March 23.

Chef Matt Young's menu highlighted the Kauai-based Makaweli Meat Co., with five stations offering food and drink pairings at $65 per person.

A portion of ticket sale proceeds will be donated to the Royal Order of Kamehameha, which supports the Paʻu Riders of the King Kamehameha Floral Parade. June 11, 2016, marks the 100th anniversary of the parade that will begin at Iolani Palace and continue down Kalakaua Avenue to concludes at the Waikiki Bandstand.

Guests included several pa'u riders, including pa'u queen Gayle Fujita Ramsey.

The event is part of Hula Grill’s charitable Legacy of Aloha program, supporting local non-profit organizations that foster sustainability in our communities and/or preserve the Hawaiian culture and the culinary arts.

The view from Hula Grill.

For this paniolo-themed event, even the Lanikai Brewing Co. bottles dressed for the occasion. Excuse the spelling of "paniolo" on the inset caption. I was playing with Snapchat and the booboos are impossible to fix!

A snap of Ocean organic vodka. I promise to get a stylus so my handwriting is better!

A different kind of loco moco, made with burger topped with roasted Hamakua mushroom and bordelaise sauce, with 146-degree poached Ka Lei egg and rosemary arancini. Paired with Deep Island Hawaiian Rum.

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Red curry-marinated Makaweli skirt steak was accompanied by coconut-braised taro, Ho Farms cherry tomatoes, and toasted peanuts. Pairing: Lanikai Brewing Co. Imperial Red Ale with Ginger.

Niihau lamb ragu with handmade pappardelle, tomatoes, melted leeks and Naked Cow Dairy feta. Pairing: Lanikai Brewing Co. Pillbox Porter.

Dessert came in a paper bag, accompanied by a Lanikai Brewing Co. Haupia Imperial Stout and Okole Maluna chocolate gelato milkshake. I promise to get a stylus so my handwriting is better.

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'Libations' toasts Moana's 115th

March 23rd, 2016
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HISTORIC PHOTOS COURTESY MOANA SURFRIDER, A WESTIN RESORT & SPA

The Moana Hotel after its completion in 1901.

The Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, celebrated 115 years since its opening on March 11, 1901, with a March 11 concert by Makana on the Banyan Courtyard stage, where guests have been entertained for more than 100 years.

And, taking place on the Diamond Lawn that night, a peek at the hotel's future with an enhanced edition of "LOL: Love of Libations," with food and drink pairings by the Beach Bar at the Moana Surfrider, RumFire from the Sheraton Waikiki, Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop, The Pig and the Lady, Koko Head Café, MW Restaurant, MAC 24-7 and Square Barrels. Part of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Life Foundation Hawaii Chapter.

Gathering around the Moana's banyan tree in the early 20th century.

Gathering around the Moana's banyan tree in the early 20th century.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Party 2016 style, during "Love of Libations" on the Diamond Lawn.

In a friendly competition among participants, with guests voting by dropping one coin each for their pick of best dish and best drink, Koko Head Cafe's lemongrass pork, by chef Lee Anne Wong was voted as best dish, and "Ode to 1989" from Jesse Suderman from Beach Bar at the Moana, won the best cocktail honor.

“Ode to 1989” toasts the year the Moana Surfrider reopened after a renovation project. The cocktail will continue to be offered for $12 at the Beach Bar, and is similar to Moana Sands, a signature cocktail that was served in 1989.

The Moana's Beachhouse restaurant will continue to offer, through the end of the month, a $115 Birthday Dinner Special for two that includes a baby romaine Caesar salad and a wagyu tomahawk steak with the choice of two side dishes.

Koko Head Cafe chef Lee Anne Wong's lemongrass pork belly was named best dish via the evening's popular vote.

On the drink side, Koko Head Cafe served up a light and refreshing Moana 2.0 Ocean Vodka cocktail.

The Beach Bar's "Ode to 1989" cocktail earned best drink honors by popular vote. Based on the hotel's 1989 Moana Sands cocktail, it's made with Ocean Vodka and modeled after a piña colada.

The Beach Bar's food offering was a crowd-pleasing poke of ahi, hamachi, salmon and ikura, with crispy ogo and spiced guacamole.

Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop's 40-hour sous vide shortribs over aged cheddar grits with red eye gravy, and below, the restaurant's kim chee bloody Mary.

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MAC 24/7's Ocean vodka-cured kiawe hamachi with ginger-lime vodka quinoa, fried shallots, micro shiso and vodka popcorn glaze.

Vodka tom yum sauce in pipettes that accompanied MAC 24/7's dish, which I thought was the most inspired of the evening.

Square Barrels was serving up a Bishop Sunset cocktail of Ocean Vodka, California Common, Aperol, simple syrup and lemon juice with mint and grape accent.

MW Restaurant's poisson cru-inspired coconut ceviche.

MW Restaurant's poisson cru-inspired coconut ceviche.

Also marking the anniversary, the Moana Lani Spa is offering a 45-minute $115 “Birthday Special” treatment that includes a macadamia nut scalp treatment with additional focus on the neck and shoulders, followed by a warm stone foot massage. The “First Lady of Waikiki” package includes a head-to-toe experience with an express hydra facial, pedicure, shampoo, style and champagne for $240. Reserve at (808) 237-2535.

Sometimes referred to as The First Lady of Waikiki, the hotel was built with an investment of $150,000 and well-heeled guests at the time paid $1.50 per night for a room.

To mark the anniversary, guests who stay at the Moana Surfrider at least four nights will get the last night at $115. Guests who book this package will also receive a $115 resort credit (applicable toward dining or spa services), as well as a welcome basket with a Moana Surfrider historical book and other gifts. The package is good through Dec. 25. To book, visit moana-surfrider.com and book rate plan 115AN. Or, call the hotel at (808) 922-3111.

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

Playing mixologist for an eve

February 15th, 2016
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PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comI was on the winning team of foodies that came up with a jalapeño-accented Phoenix Rising cocktail for the Year of the Monkey.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

I was on the winning team of foodies that came up with a jalapeño-accented Phoenix Rising cocktail for the Year of the Monkey.

Most people would jump at the opportunity to play mixologist for an evening, and the Moana Surfrider is providing just that with the launch of "Love of Libations: Mixology 101."

The first installment took place Feb. 12, with hosts from Southern Wine & Spirits, Micah Suderman and director of mixology Chandra Lucariello, who offered up her own cocktails before setting guests free to concoct their own libations. It's not every day one is set loose to play with all the booze they want!

We were divided into four teams with the aim of coming up with a cocktail. On my team were Sean Morris, Pam Davis, Emi Hart and Catherine Toth. Pam had a thirst for ginger beer, so going from there, we had to figure out what would work with ginger.

PHOTO BY RITSUKO KUKONU / poohko hawaiiMioxologist Chandra Lucariello gave a demonstration and instructions before setting novices loose with alcohol and other ingredients.

PHOTO BY RITSUKO KUKONU / poohko hawaii

Mioxologist Chandra Lucariello gave a demonstration and instructions before setting novices loose with alcohol and other ingredients.

I know from years of writing about food that themes and the naming of things are as important as the flavor of a dish, so based on timing so close to the Lunar New Year, I wanted a drink with an Asian orientation.

At the ingredient bar, we pulled together raspberries and limes that would work with ginger, going outfield by using basil instead of the more expected basil. Next, we pulled kaffir lime leaves from a display. It all smelled good after muddling, but Sean decided to try one slice of jalapeño. That proved to be the stroke of genius. I loved the heat and it differentiated the cocktail from all others. Immediately, I thought of the name Firebird, which became Phoenix Rising for the new year.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.comKaffir lime leaves from the event display helped put our drink on top.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Kaffir lime leaves from the event display helped put our drink on top.


We added neutral vodka to the mix, and after straining into a martini glass, we topped it off with the ginger beer. After tasting the rest of the competition, with standard fruit or cucumber flavors, I knew we had a winner on our hands, and so it was!

I was so excited. I never had dreams of trying mixology because I'm not a big boozer, but apparently, if you can imagine the flavors of ingredients together, you're not far from creating winning cocktails. The competition was fun but I could never be a mixologist IRL. It requires speed and I'm not into the live theater aspects of the work.

The next event takes place 6 to 9 p.m. March 11 as part of the Moana's 115th birthday bash. The cost is $75 and includes light fare and beverages provided by Koko Head Cafe, Mac 24/7, MW Restaurant, The Pig and the Lady, RumFire, Scratch Kitchen & Bakeshop and Square Barrels. Proceeds will benefit the Life Foundation and tickets are available at honoluluboxoffice.com.

With shelves of ingredients to choose from, we were drawn to the raspberries and limes.

With shelves of ingredients to choose from, we were drawn to the raspberries and limes.

I wanted to use bacon but when that wasn't happening, I did the next best thing and ate some.

I wanted to use bacon but when that wasn't happening, I did the next best thing and ate some.

More ingredients, including basil that went into our  Phoenix Rising cocktail.

More ingredients, including basil that went into our Phoenix Rising cocktail.


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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.

'Passport' to culinary adventures await at Pacific Beach Hotel

July 11th, 2013
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Nadine Kam photos
Sashimi at Pacific Beach Hotel. Just kidding! A mermaid greeted diners at the launch of Pacific Beach Hotel's new Passport to Wine & Dine Summer Series.

The Pacific Beach Hotel launched its Passport to Wine & Dine Summer Series on  June 27 in the second-floor Neptune Room. Part 1 of the series was themed “Taste of the Mediterranean,” with a selection of marinated olives and red bell peppers, risotto with seared scallop, braised shortribs over mashed potatoes, oysters and wines to match various courses.

There were stations set up for food, and servers moved through the crowd with trays of pizza and bruschetta.

Also among the highlights were an array of fabulous desserts by Fenton Lee, former executive pastry chef for such luxury resorts as the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Waikaloa Hilton Resort, Hyatt Regency Kauai, and Grand Wailea. While the desserts, including fresh fruit in champagne gelée, were elegant, befitting a fine resort, guests were able to leave with one of his more earthy confections, the croissada, which I wrote about in the paper, causing a rush on the Aloha Center Cafe.

The pastry is described by Lee as a “delicate blend of a croissant and malasada” filled with a Polynesian vanilla Bavarian cream.

croissada

Pacific Beach Hotel photo

From the outside it definitely looks like a malasada, with its crisp golden brown exterior, rolled in granulated sugar. Inside it’s flaky like a croissant, and the cream filling reminded me of a long john pastry, which actually seems to make this three pastries rolled into one.

The next Passport to Wine & Dine event is coming up 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 25. "Taste of Australia will feature the cuisine and wines of Australia. Tickets are $55.

The menu will include lemon pepper-dusted Australian baramundi, guava-glazed "shrimp on the barbie" on ciabatta, sweet basil gnocchi, roasted Australian lamb rack, Tasmanian salmon brulée, shiraz-braised ostrich ragout, gooseberry trifle with Anzac biscuits, Outback s'mores, and more.

Wines to be featured are Greg Norman pinot noir, Alice White Lexia moscato, Penfolds Thomas Hyland shiraz and Nobilo sauvignon blanc from New Zealand.

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For tickets, visit www.PacificBeachHotel.com or call the Catering Party Hotline at 921-6137. Pacific Beach Hotel is at 2490 Kalakaua Ave.

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Braised shortribs were on the menu at "Taste of the Mediterranean."

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A selection of marinated olives, bell peppers, asparagus and roasted beets.

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Roasted fingerling and red potatoes on the rocks.

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Pear tartlets by executive chef Fenton Lee were ah-mazing, as were all the other dessert selections.

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Servers had their hands full bearing bruschetta, pictured, and pizzas to complement food available at various stations. (more…)