Archive for the ‘Waikiki’ Category

Aroma Caffé brings Euro style

By
October 4th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

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.

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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.

Gudetama at Eggs 'n Things

By
October 3rd, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

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 japansociety.org/earthquake.

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.


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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.

Dean & DeLuca opens mañana

By
September 13th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Dean & DeLuca will open its doors tomorrow, offering to-go and fast salads and lunches, wine, cheese, charcuterie and its own branded candies, pastas, chips, preserves, and more.

Dean & Deluca will open the doors to its first Hawaii location at the Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach at noon Sept. 14.

The gourmet food purveyor first opened in New York City's SoHo district in September 1977 and became known for searching the globe for the finest ingredients and kitchenware, and as a go-to spot for premium food gifts, wine, cheese and charcuterie.

The smaller Hawaii location means its less of a grocery and more of a boutique shop that will also be a site for quick bites to eat, whether purchasing food items by the pound, sandwiches or salads to go, to eat on the spot in a casual outdoor space, or head upstairs to the wine lounge where you can enjoy sips, cheese and charcuterie boards, or panini and bruschetta featuring showcased ingredients. The paninis are wonderful, at about $15 or $16 each.

The curated wine list features unique domestic and international selections with a focus on natural and biodynamic wines where possible. Food is being prepared by sister restaurant BLT Market, upstairs in the Ritz-Carlon Residences, under the leadership of executive chef Johann Svensson.

In addition to Dean & DeLuca-branded artisanal goods, there will also be packaged goods from such local purveyors as Kahala Fresh, Madre Chocolate, Haleakala Creamery, Monkeypod Jam, Choco Le'a, and more.

Dean & DeLuca is in the Ritz-Carlton Residences, 383 Kalaimoku St. and it will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Here's a quick look at some of the selections that await:

Among cheese selections that await in the wine bar are fontina, morbier, port salut and mimolette.

Selections available by the pound downstairs include broccolini with garlic, wild rice with mushrooms, meatloaf, beef rib roast, and below, spinach salad.

dd-salad

Caesar salad with chicken.

Charcuterie available in the wine bar. Sample prices are $12 for 18-month aged prosciutto di parma, $18 for a cheese of the day platter, and $16 for sliced charcuterie and cheese with an assortment that might include prosciutto, coppa, chorizo, salami, cow's milk and goat milk cheeses.

A peek inside the wine bar.

The pastry case and coffee bar downstairs.

Treats for dessert lovers include lilikoi cakes, strawberry shortcake, and macarons, below.

dd-mac

More cheese selections.

Quail eggs.

Dean & DeLuca preserves and products available for purchase downstairs.

Dean & DeLuca branded flatbreads, honey and caramelized onions.

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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.

First Look: Eating House 1849

By
September 6th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Chef Roy Yamaguchi was tending to business at his newest Eating House 1849 early in the morning on Aug. 25, opening day of both the International Market Place and his restaurant at the market place's third-floor Grand Lanai.

Not wanting to miss any of the action on opening day, Aug. 25, of the International Market Place, media were among the first people on the property. And chef Roy Yamaguchi was another earlybird, hovering around his newest baby, Eating House 1849, which also opened that morning.

Yamaguchi has been on a roll this year, having opened Roy's Beach House Aug. 2 at Turtle Bay Resort, with two more Eating Houses set to open in Kapolei and Maui.

It's exciting to see him break from his original Roy's Asian fusion formula and explore new territory, even if what's new is inspired by the past. With Eating House 1849, Yamaguchi goes back to the roots of Hawaii's restaurant scene to pay homage to Peter Fernandez, who opened one of Hawaii’s first restaurants in the 19th century, and called it Eating House. Fernandez used ingredients available from local farmers, ranchers, foragers and fishermen, a practice our top chefs are trying to reclaim today, after decades of seeing our palates shaped and restaurants co-opted, by sellers of convenience.

The outdoor patio and bar.

The pork and shrimp gyoza with garlic aioli and spicy XO sauce were so good, we ended up ordering up a second serving because one per person just isn't enough.

Yamaguchi explained that the first food purveyors were likely the equivalent of today's bed and breakfasts, where people seeking room and board were fed simple meals. Entrepreneurs like Fernandez offered an alternative.

Of course, this being Roy, don't expect your great, great, great grandfather's chicken hekka or Porgtuguese bean soup. Though rooted in our plantation heritage and the chef's taste memories of his grandfather's cooking, dishes are thoroughly contemporary to suit today's more adventurous, sophisticated palate. Something like Eating House 1849's "Huli Huli" kim chee pork belly, with its combo of pork belly laced with go chu jang and miso aioli, and draped with kim chee would probably have made your ancestors' heads spin and their eyes pop out of their sockets. The audacity! The explosion of flavors! But for us descendants, it is oh so good.
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Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi is on the third floor Grand Lana at International Market Place, Waikiki. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch and 5 to 10 p.m. for dinner. Call 924-1849.

Most people don't think of vegetables like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts as an adequate pupu, but these are fried with toasted pine nuts, Golden raisins and tossed with balsamic vinegar to become the appetizer of your dreams.

Hawaii's Portuguese heritage is celebrated with this dish of Manila clam and Hawaiian tako cataplana with housemade linguica. The mild tomato sauce left something to be desired, as did the sweet bread, though I get the connection. With more Italian restaurants out there, people just assume red sauce = garlic bread.

After doubling up on the gyoza, it was really tempting to do the same with "Huli Huli" pork belly. This dish with go chu jang, miso aioli, kim chee and green onions amounted to a party in the mouth, in a good way, without trashing the premises. Flavors were balanced and got on well together. So awesome!

Sometimes sequence is everything. After the pork belly, Lola's pork adobo lumpia seemed rather staid; served with a small green papaya salad and sambal tomato that wasn't particularly memorable.

Housemade corned beef reuben gets an assist from local Naked Cow Dairy Swiss cheese, Mul kim chi and the brightness of Thousand Island dressing.

It's not local without a loco moco, and the Hawaii Ranchers beef patty with Hawaiian mushroom gravy makes this one outstanding. So juicy!

Kiawe-smoked ribeye + chimichurri sauce. 'Nuff said.

Dessert of molten lava cake and vanilla bean ice cream will make you appreciate the evolution of restaurants since the days of the original Eating House.

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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.

Fanta-Sea Part I: Night at Azure

By
August 29th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

An ice display showcased fish from Kualoa Ranch's Moli'i Fishpond that was featured during the latest Fanta-Sea Table collaboration dinner at Azure restaurant in the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

While at the Sheraton Waikiki, chef Colin Hazama's reverence for the work that farmers do to sustain us, led to the start of his Table to Farm dinner series. Now, as executive chef of The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, he has introduced the combination dinner-farm tour concept via "Fanta-Sea," this time focusing on an epicurean journey by sea.

The most recent two-day event started with a chef’s dinner on Aug. 26 at Azure restaurant, followed by an Aug. 27 excursion to Kualoa Ranch's Moli'i Fishpond for a tour and gourmet lunch. Both meals were presented by Hazama and Azure sous chef Colin Sato.

At the heart of the meal was Kualoa's farm-fresh oysters, Pacific white shrimp, toau, and 100 percent grass-fed beef.

The toau was a revelation on two levels. First, the blacktail snapper is delicious. The reason we don't hear more about it is because it's an invasive species deemed a rubbish fish because it doesn't have commercial value as long as people don't know about it.

A pre-dinner small bite of verjus glazed Kualoa oyster with Wailua tomato water, pickled Kunia watermelon rind and serrano pepper. Pairing: Nicolas Feuillate Brut NV.

Another small bite of Kualoa shrimp.

It also provides a cautionary tale about nature's delicate balance and how man's shortsighted ideas for improving on nature can yield unexpected results and wreak havoc on a fragile environment.

The species was introduced from Tahiti in 1956, with the idea that the tasty, delicate white fish could become a cash crop. But it is a carnivorous night-feeding fish that fed on the fishpond's day-feeding herbivores, including more popular eating fish such as the mullet, whose populations have plummeted.

Old timers would say that we should not try to improve on nature, but we must accept and adjust to what the land and sea give us. At the moment, it seems to be telling us to eat more of what we consider to be rubbish fish such as toau and ta'ape. But it is a hard sell. Because of the cost of going out to eat, no one wants to take a chance on the unknown. So we continue to order the fish we recognize: ahi, onaga, opakapaka, opah.

Educational cuisine programs such as Fanta-Sea go a long way in introducing new ways to think about the food we eat and the impact of our choices.

First course of charred Kualoa Shrimp with Ho Farms Market radish, 'Nalo Farms mizuna puree, yuzu kosho, and Naked Cow Dairy brown butter dashi. Pairing: Henriot Blanc de Blanc NV.

A dish of Hot & Cold Oio (Hawaiian bone fish) included lomi oio tartare, pickled Kualoa ogo, Wailea Ag garlic-ulu chips, Mari’s Garden ginger-watercress puree, and a crispy shiso wrapped oio tempura with local red onion preserve, Kualoa papaya mustard and young coconut-avocado mousse. Pairing: Veuve Clicqout Rose NV.

Crispy Toau was served with Ewa corn pudding, Ho Farms summer ragout, seared Samoan crab dumpling, and Mari’s Garden negi pistou. Pairing: Bouchard Beaune de Chateau Blanc Chardonnay, 2013.

Kualoa Ranch Slow Cooked Ribeye with prickly ash, Pacific oyster and Hamakua mushroom stuffing, spiced Ho Farms butternut squash purée, Mari's Garden smoked melted Tokyo negi and marjoram-cognac essence. Pairing: Red Schooner Voyage Malbec 2013 by the Wagner Family.

Dessert by executive pastry chef Carolyn Portuondo was Wailea Ag Vanilla Kaffir Lime Semifreddo with a mac nut feuilltine crust, Kualoa Sunrise papaya and candied hibiscus reduction. Pairing: Pattrick Bottex Bugey Cerdon NV.



Next: Day 2 field trip!

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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.

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