Archive for the ‘Food hero’ Category

Tea Drops simplifies art of tea

By
July 25th, 2016



PHOTO COURTESY TEA DROPS

Tea Drops provide a convenient, portable way for tea lovers to enjoy a their favorite beverage whereever they go. In the cup is a tumeric tea drop. They come in a variety of shapes and flavors.

I love tea, but I'm also lazy, and that's a problem. Because, good tea requires a lot of implements, whether it's a bamboo whisk for your matcha powder or infuser for leaf teas. Then there's cleanup. There are a lot of times I'll pass in favor of an easy sugar-saturated juice instead.

Sashee Chandran also found it difficult to enjoy a fresh pot of tea while working in an office. But, unlike me, she was determined to do something about it, because tea is in her blood. She grew up steeped in tea culture east and west. Her mother is Chinese, and her father is Sri Lankan, raised in the British tea tradition.

"I realized how difficult it is for people to make tea, but there are a lot of people who would drink tea if the process could be simplified, so I spent 2-1/2 years experimenting in my kitchen," said Chandran, who was in town to share her creation at the Hawaii Lodging, Hospitality & Food Service Expo that took place July 13 and 14 at the Blaisdell Center.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Sashee Chandran spent two-and-a-half years perfecting her recipes in her kitchen.

The result is Tea Drops, organic teas and spices ground fine compressed into a variety of shapes, that can simply be dropped into a cup of hot water any place, any time. The drop dissolves in hot water, and voilá, hot (or cold) tea in flavors such as Cardamom Spice, Chocolate Earl Grey, and Citrus Ginger, all with a touch of organic sugar. (Sugar-free options are coming in fall.)

I have to say I was confused when someone gave me a couple of drops with no instructions. I placed it in my cup, expecting it to dissolve into loose leaves. When it just disappeared, I was like, "What is this?" It all came clear when I was able to sit down with Chandran—how else?—Over cups of tea.

Although tea fanatics in Hawaii prefer their teas sugar-free, Chandran said she loves chai and the British tradition of adding milk to any tea, so her first impulse was to recreate that combination of sweetened milk tea spiced with cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.

"I'm the last person who should have been experimenting in the kitchen. I have no chemistry background, no food service background, but I did know how to make a good cup of tea because I've been drinking it all my life. The hardest part was finding the right proportion of tea vs. spices and organic cane sugar to make it balanced."

Tea Drops come in paper or reusable and gift ready wood boxes. When done, the boxes can be upcycled in myriad ways, including finding a second life as a desktop or windowsill planter for your cacti garden.

She made the first batches just for herself, which she dropped into cups of hot water while working at eBay. Co-workers who witnessed it started asking, "What's that?" Pretty soon, they wanted them for themselves and Chandran was in business. With her background in ecommerce, she launched an online shop and within a couple of months was able to leave her full-time job.

Tea has now become part of her philosophy toward promoting a happy, healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Tea Drops all-in-one recipes eliminate the need for teabags and sweetener packets. The boxes are 100 percent biodegradable and compostable. Paulownia wood boxes can be repurposed for storage or used as planters.

She has also been experimenting with adding tea drops to cookies, soups, and making tea-infused soaps.

"I feel like this is the right time for it. People are into organic, they're into tumeric and matcha. There's something for everyone. Each tea has its own medicinal properties."

Turmeric, for example, has been used for centuries to treat wounds and infections. Modern science has shown that its main ingredient, curcumin, has antibiotic and antioxidant properties. According to WebMD, other chemicals in turmeric are anti-inflammatory, considered beneficial for overall health.

Her teas are now available in 200 small boutiques across the nation, including Nic's Island Cafe in Kukui Plaza. They are offered in single-flavor boxes at $16.50 for 10 drops, or a giftable wood box that can be customized with eight drops, for $18. It has been a popular seller during holidays, for both individuals and corporate gift givers looking for something new that also happens to be thoughtful, healthful, time-saving and beautiful.
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Look for Tea Drops at Nic's Island Cafe at 50 S. Beretania St. Call 200-7416. Or visit myteadrop.com.

PHOTOS COURTESY TEA DROPS

Ground tea leaves are compressed into different shapes, in just the right amount to create an 8-ounce cup of tea when water is added. The heart shape represents Sweet Peppermint.

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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.

Little bites of Marcolini heaven

By
July 15th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Macarons have arrived at Pierre Marcolini Haute Chocolaterie at Ala Moana Center.

If you have not yet experienced Pierre Marcolini Haute Chocolaterie on the third floor of Ala Moana Center's Ewa Wing, now is a good time. In addition to the chocolatier’s fine Belgium chocolates, the boutique has welcomed some delicious new arrivals.

Although chocolate is at the heart of the company's business, after tasting their macarons, it's hard to go back to any other. These shimmer in beautiful pastels, some with a mica-like shine, and come in 10 intense flavors ranging from dark chocolate to salted butter caramel to rose water buttercream.

The meringue shells are so delicate, it feels like a bite of air. The cost is $3.80 per piece, $17 for a box of four, and $32 for a box of eight.

Marcolini’s signature Les Coeurs (hearts) are now available in six flavors—passionfruit, lime, matcha, nougat, pistachio and salted buttter caramel—beyond his signature framboise, or raspberry, flavor. A four-piece boxed assortment is $17, the eight-piece box is $28.

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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.

Pierre Marcolini's beautiful chocolate les couers, or hearts, now come in signature framboise, or raspberry, flavor, plus passionfruit, lime, matcha, pistachio, nougat and salted butter-caramel flavors.

Macarons in rosewater, dark chocolate, dark chocolate caramel, lemon tea, cassis, coffee, vanilla, pistachio, and salted butter caramel.

Natural almond and butter, chocolate chip and raspberry Financiers are also new, sold in a six-piece box for $27.

A macaron tree in the store's window on the third floor of the center, outside Bloomingdale's.

Got Seoul? Try this sausage

By
June 25th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Temptation on the grill. Galbi sausage to the left, spicy pork sausage to the right.

With wide-ranging interests from punk music to graphic design, L.A.-based brothers Yong and Ted Kim and friend Chris Oh, started making sausages on a lark.

"It was 2012 when we made our first sausage, just for fun. It was just something we were doing on weekends," said Yong. "We didn't think anything of it, but when lightning strikes, you gotta run with it."

So they did, and their Seoul Sausage truck made it all the way to winning the Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race” Season 3, where their Korean-inspired sausages captured fans' hearts and appetites across the nation.

"From that, we've had opportunities to go to Korea, to New York. We've gotten speaking engagements in Asia, just by being different and going off the beaten path," Yong said.

Brothers Ted, left, and Yong Kim brought their Seoul Sausages to Eat the Street Honolulu last night and they're coming to Kapolei tonight, June 25. Don't miss it.

Ted shows the Korean BBQ galbi sausage layered with garlic jalapeño aioli and kim chee relish. So delish!

The Seoul Sausage Co., crew has been on the island for a week, appearing at the in4mation downtown store to celebrate their T-shirt collaboration June 17, appearing at Honolulu Night Market on the 18th, Eat the Street Kakaako last night, and are set to appear today at a Kapolei block party sponsored by Kapolei Lofts, running from 2 to 7 p.m. on Kuou Street between Manawai and Wakea streets.

Ted said, "When we came here, we had no idea how people would react to the sausages."

But the brothers felt Hawaii was a good fit for their spicy pork sausage and ono Korean BBQ galbi sausage. At Eat the Street, the spicy pork was impressively fiery, tempered by a topping of apple-cabbage slaw. The galbi sausage was topped with garlic jalapeño aioli and kim chee relish. Both were delicious, at $10 a pop, but if you can't take heat, go with the galbi.

"We felt like you already eat a lot of Portuguese sausage, eat a lot of Spam."

If you happen to be in L.A. you can get more at their Little Tokyo restaurant, including an chicken-apple sausage banh mi, and their other specialty, Flaming Balls of cheesy kim chi fried rice, modeled after the Italian arancini.

"We just want to make food fun, easy and approachable for most people," Yong said.

The crew at work.

Among Seoul Sausage's local boosters is restaurateur Sean Saiki, who pitched in behind the hot grill. He's wearing one of the company's T-shirts, available at seoulsausage.com for $20.

Naturally, there was a line. In Hawaii, there's always something good at the end of a line.

Seoul Sausage's local connections run deep. This collaboration T-shirt with in4mation is the result of relationships started a decade ago when the Yong said he was one of "four Korean dudes playing punk music."

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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.

Titus Chan still a booster for Chinese cuisine

By
May 23rd, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Lobster with mochi rice steamed a lotus leaf bowl was among the highlights of a dinner presented at Jade Dynasty by hosts Titus Chan and Kimo Wong.

Once an educator, always an educator. People 40 and older may remember Titus Chan as one of the original television chefs, right up there with "The French Chef" Julia Child, and "The Galloping Gourmet" Graham Kerr.

But few know Chan was a math instructor before finding TV stardom in 1972, when "Cooking the Chan-ese Way" debuted on KHET, followed by a national PBS release in 1973, introducing the art of Chinese cooking to 200 public television stations across the United States.

It was a combination of ease with instruction and being in front of the cameras, as well as his knowledge of Chinese cooking that got him the gig, and more than 40 years after starting to educate people in the "Chan-ese" way of cooking, he's still a proponent of learning more about Chinese cuisine.

One of the origiinal celebrity TV chefs, Titus Chan.

A frequenter of Chinese restaurants, he says he feels he hasn't done his job when he sees people going to the restaurants and ordering the same old, like beef broccoli and sweet-sour pork, when Chinese fare has evolved so much over the decades.

To prove his point, he teamed up with Kimo Wong to host a nine-course dinner at Jade Dynasty Restaurant, showcasing options beyond beef broccoli, in hope that of encouraging people to step outside their comfort zone and perhaps try one new dish at a time.

Now that it's graduation season, most of these festive dishes can be prepared with 24 hours notice.

In addition, the restaurant in the fourth-level Ho'okipa Terrace offers dim sum offerings during the day, mirroring the latest innovations in Hong Kong and China. Call 947-8818 for reservations or information.

The big reveal for the the lobster on mochi rice: www.instagram.com/p/BFidVuPva7a/

Jade Dynasty owners Alan and Sylvia Ho with Bank of Hawaii VP Kimo Wong and Titus Chan.

The first course of crisp, juicy pork in egg crepes, and garlic-marinated cucumbers (also plated below), arrived on this lighted vessel.

jade start

Steamed whole wintermelon soup arrived looking like a flower in bloom or burst of fireworks, with the rim of the melon lined with crab meat.

A baked Pacific oyster was topped with shrimp, scallop, spinach and a Portuguese-style curry sauce.

Peking duck and bun.

Crispy Peking duck skin and bun.

The duck meat was presented in lettuce cups.

Sweet, tea-smoked tiger prawns was one of my favorite dishes of the evening.

Braised pork ribs were presented for viewing before being taken back to the kitchen for shredding for individually portioned buns, below.

jade pork bun

Housemade silken tofu was ladled into bowls with ginger nectar for dessert.

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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.

Street Food Stadium is open

By
April 2nd, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Ebisuya serves up broke da mouth kalbi beef udon bi bim bap.


There's a reason every bite at the newly open Street Food Stadium is delicious.

Every bite had to pass muster with Tomoya Tsuruhara, CEO of HL Honolulu LLC, the company behind the opening of this food truck park in a lot next to Home Bar & Grill on Kalakaua Ave.

More than 50 vendors applied, but only 10 were chosen for this revolutionary incubator concept that benefits aspiring entrepreneurs and chefs wanting to break into the food truck industry. SFS breaks down obstacles to entry by owning and leasing the 10 food trucks, so wannabe business owners don't have to deal with location, regulatory and cost burdens, giving them a turn-key outlet with short-term leases of six months to a year.

HL Honolulu CEO Tomoya Tsuruhara is revolutionizing the food truck business in Hawaii.

Current lease holders include Gindaco, a chain of takoyaki restaurants popular in Japan; Sahara, Middle Eastern cuisine from Kan Zaman; Ebisuya udon; HI Cravings acai bowls; Edo Mae Gyoza; Rice Tacos Tokyo; Samurai Grill; and Poke Roll

A beer and wine bar completes the picture.

Following a VIP preview April 1, Street Food Stadium officially opened April 2 at 11 a.m., and will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily at 1687 Kalakaua Ave.

Here's a quick look:

The grand opening started with a maile lei blessing.

The Poke Roll truck is one of the first you'll spot from the Kalakaua entrance to the Street Food Stadium.

At the Gindaco truck, Yukari Whittingham is eager for a taste of its popular takoyaki, below.

street takoyaki

A Middle Eastern sampler from Sahara, including chicken shawarma, dolma and hummus.

Bar service is offered all day.

A display of Edo Mae Gyoza.

Spicy garlic shrimp ramen is the bomb! It delivers everything promised.

Acai bowl dessert from HI Cravings.

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