Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category

4th of July Four Seasons-style

July 6th, 2016


Glen Almazan oversaw a raw bar featuring crab claws and snow crab legs, and different kinds of poke.

All across the nation, the 4th of July is celebrated with an All-American backyard bash. In Hawaii, the beach cookout is another popular option. So the Four Seasons Oahu at Ko Olina made it a double celebration when it hosted a grand opening party for 500 with a backyard barbecue extraordinaire, complete with a view of the resortwide fireworks show at the end of the evening.

Guests were welcomed with cocktails and treated to music by Tahiti Rey while enjoying food from a raw bar, seafood paella, bone-in prime rib, roast pork, and grilled corn on the cob which my friends and I were calling magic corn after enjoying a version of it during a visit to the resort's Fish House restaurant. (This was a pared down version, so you'll just have to go to the restaurant to get the full impact of just how good it is.)

Fireworks above the palm trees.

In addition to his welcoming remarks, Jeff Stone, founder of The Resort Group behind the development of the Four Seasons property, formerly the Ihilani Resort. Looking to Maui for inspiration, he said he envisions Ko Olina as "Wailea on Oahu," as a draw for travelers, with the aim of creating another economic engine for Hawaii.

Well, they certainly started with a bang!

Biggest wok ever.

Welcoming cocktails.

A table set with bone-in prime rib and tomato and arugula salad.

Roast herbed potatoes and a view of the beachfront lawn.

More prime rib making its way to other stations across the lawn.

Paella for 500.

Grilled corn being plated for service.

I had a view of the fireworks from the adult pool deck.


Gangsta pose at the end of the night with Sean Morris, with Four Seasons caps added to our red, white and blue outfits.

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.

On the menu for Father's Day

June 16th, 2016


A5 wagyu carpaccio will be on the BLT Steak menu for Father's Day.

For all the times dad cut the food on your plate into manageable, bite-size morsels, time to return the favor. Here are a few restaurants running specials that will help you honor dad on Father's Day:

A5 wagyu is aging and awaiting day 25, when it will be ready to serve at BLT Steak Waikiki, where the well-marbled wagyu will be available as carpaccio, one of the Father’s Day specials June 17 through 19. The wagyu will be served with confit heirloom tomatoes, pickled shiitakes, Maldon Sea salt and Parmesan tuile.
BLT Steak Waikiki is in the Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk, 223 Saratoga Road. Call (808) 683-7440. Complimentary validated parking available. More information:

Long live dad, at Chef Mavro, where guests will be able to enjoy Chartreuse, known as the elixir of long life, in cocktails and dessert.
But before you get to that point, the restaurant is offering a four-course barbecue menu June 18 and 19 in honor of dad, with each dish taking its turn on a charcoal grill.
The four-course meal is $105 and will feature a veggie course of charred asparagus, leeks, heart of palm and fennel with avocado-lemon purée dressing; grilled opah with bean-potato ragout; Niman Ranch pork and Hobbs Shore bacon skewer with Hamakua mushrooms, confit shallots and poha berry barbecue sauce; and dessert of BBQ peaches with chartreuse semi-freddo and white peach shave ice.
Chef Mavro is at 1969 S. King St. Call (808) 944-4714 or email Reservations from 6 p.m.

On June 19, any guest who announces to his/her server, “My Dad is a BFD” (with dad present, of course) will receive the restaurant's signature 1/3-pound burger.
Premium proteins and premium toppings are extra. The offer is for one burger per dad with paying guest. Dine-in only.
The counter is at Kahala Mall, 4211 Waialae Ave. Call (808) 739-5100.

The hotel is presenting the ultimate Father's Day barbecue, welcoming pitmaster Myron Mixon to a Honolulu BBQ Festival Weekend.
Mixon, known as “The Winningest Man in Barbecue," will reveal the secrets of great barbecue during a 5 to 8 p.m. June 17 cooking class that will have participates preparing a full barbecue spread from the ground up, from rubs to a rack of ribs, BBQ chicken, sides and more, in classic Southern style.
Mixon is a three-time world barbecue champion and chief cook of the Jack’s Old South Competition Bar-B-Que Team. He's the executive producer and host of “BBQ Rules” and star of two other hit television shows “BBQ Pitmasters” and “BBQ Pitwars” (a competition show that Mixon has won in each of its two seasons) on Discovery’s Destination America. He is also the host of the new show “Smoked,” airing summer 2016.
The cost for the class is $149 per person, that includes two tickets to Saturday's Honolulu BBQ Festival, and a goody bag.
For those who just want to eat, the festival will take place 3 to 9 p.m. June 18 on the Hilton's Great Lawn, where guests can indulge in a barbecue feast prepared by Mixon. The for-purchase menu items will include smoked Southern-style hog, smoked turkey, chicken, dry-rub ribs, brisket, sausage, Hawaiian imu-style hog, a variety of southern BBQ sides and a Georgia-inspired dessert station. There will also be entertainment by Kahulanui, Kalapana and other special guests.
Admission to the fest is $20 per adult in advance, $10 for military with valid I.D., and free for keiki younger than 15. Tickets at the door are $30. (Note that food and beverages is available for individual purchase.)
Self-parking is $8; valet is $13.
For more information, visit or call (808) 947-7955.

The Kaimuki restaurant is offering a Father's Day special entrée of Duroc pork porterhouse ($36) with house bacon, smashed new potatoes, crispy Brussels sprouts, Maui brewing Co. Pueo pale ale and manchego mornay, and a dessert special of a Manoa dark chocolate s'mores tart ($9) with Graham cracker crust, Crown Etates dark chocolate, and housemade bourbon marshmallow.
The Sunday Supper special will be Hawaiian sea salt-crusted Hawaii Ranchers prime rib with twice-baked potatoes, roasted asparagus, horseradish crème fraîche rosemary au jus, and sea salt caramel apple tart; at $38 per person.
12th Ave Grill is at 1120 12th Ave. Call (808) 732-9469.


Take dad out to a Father’s Day champagne brunch that will run 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 19, with many stations set up to offer soup, salad, a selection of local favorite entrées and dessert, a cold seafood bar and a carving station.
Among dishes on the buffet are a California crab and avocado salad, several types of poke, oysters and mussels on the half shell, kiawe slow-roasted prime rib, char siu-glazed pork, made-to-order omelets, shrimp scampi, kalua pig and cabbage, Korean-style chicken, BBQ beef brisket, seafood jambalaya, and more.
The cost is $46.95 for adults, $25 for children 12 and younger; and free for children younger than 5 accompanied by a paying adult.
The Ka’anapali Beach Hotel is at 2525 Kaanapali Parkway in Lahaina. Reservations are required. Call (808) 667-0124.

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.

Shorten your wait: App speeds food order at lantern ceremony

May 27th, 2016

L & L Hawaiian Barbecue, the official concessionaire of Ala Moana Beach Park, will be offering a special pre-ordering opportunity for those expected to attend the Lantern Festival Hawaii on Memorial Day, May 30. Pre-orders will be accepted via the Dodecki mobile app.

If you are one of the 40,000 people expected to attend the festival, reserve your meal and avoid long lines by ordering ahead of time. All who pre-order will receive a free gift and be entered to win prizes from L&L and Dodecki. Pre-orders will be accepted until 3 p.m. on May 29 for the following items:

Mini bento: Includes shrimp, teri beef, teri chicken and rice, for $6.99.
Deluxe bento: Includes fish, chicken katsu, teri chicken, Spam and rice, for $8.99.
Drinks: Bottled water, Coke-brand bottled drinks, at $1.99 each.

All pre-orders must be picked-up within a two-hour window of time (determined by customer at the time of ordering). The designated pick-up area for pre-orders will be at the Ala Moana Beach Park Concession nearest the Diamond Head end close to Magic Island.

To pre-order, install and open the Dodecki mobile app on your smartphone and find the special L&L menu under the "Deals+Rewards" section in the navigation bar on the left. You’ll be able to build your order and pay in advance to avoid Monday's lines.

Dodecki is a Hawaii-based smartphone ordering app that gives people options for ordering food from a variety of restaurants via their mobile phones. Learn more at
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.

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.

Post detox: Return to normalcy in the new year

January 2nd, 2014

The table was set with beautiful lacquerware at Kensei Takeda's Japanese new year dinner.Nadine Kam photos

New Year's Day marked Day 2 of my return from Blue Tree Cafe's five-day "Renew" juice cleanse. I'd been slowly introducing solid foods back to my diet, and after starting the morning with a banana, another handful of raw, unsalted almonds, and lunch of more of my homemade chicken soup, dinner would mark my return to normalcy.

I had been invited to a friend's home for what was described as "a little traditional Japanese New Year's food." Knowing Kensei, it probably would not be a little, but it would be healthful, and delicious. It sounded ideal for my return to social dining.

"Creation namasu" of cauliflower and Japanese cucumber marinated in ume and rice wine vinegar, topped with turkey bacon and cracked black pepper.

Of course his idea of "traditional" involves what he calls "Creation," a bit of fusion and contemporary interpretation. Traditional foods and ingredients such as ozoni, mizuna and mochi, were not to be found, for instance. He explained that every year in Japan, people die after choking on mizuna and mochi so he wanted to offer alternatives.

The resulting meal numbered eight courses presented on a mix of antique Wajma, Imari and Noritake porcelain, Japan Imperial household lacquerware, European crystal and ceramic ware by the artist Nanzan, whose work also inspires meals at the Pensacola Street restaurant Nanzan Giro Giro.

It was a lot of food, though the meal comprised mostly vegetables, and I rationalized that most of it would have filled only two of the 16-ounce juice jars I was ingesting over a two-hour period the past few days. With dinner spread over three-and-a-half hours, it worked out fine.

Did I overeat? I would say yes, by five dishes, but it was worth every bite on this special occasion.

Second course of steamed edamame potsticker topped with a light Middle Eastern style sauce of tomato, onions and cumin.

New Year Osechi platter including kuro-mame (black soybeans) signifying good health, datemaki (sweet rolled omelet), kamaboko topped with uni,  kazunoko (herring roe) with a touch of yuzu, and chestnut purée.

Recent Posts

Recent Comments