Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

A peek at Japan Village Walk

June 2nd, 2016
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PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

 

Pork ramen is one of the specialties of Kobe-based Gashoken Ramen, among the 30 to 40 eateries that will be a part of Shirokiya's Japan Village Walk, slated to open June 25 on the ground level of Ala Moana Center's Ewa Wing.

A handful of restaurants in the soon-to-open Japan Village Walk at Ala Moana Center, were testing the facilities and recipes June 1 and needed a few guinea pigs to dispatch the food. I was happy to do so while getting a sneak peek into Shirokiya's newest food concept.

Shirokiya's former Yataimura was just a warmup act for this colossal food court, set to house about 30 to 40 different food vendors.

The layout is clean and orderly, but will also be a grid-like maze of boxy take-out counters. It will be easy enough for adults to navigate, but parents will have to hold on to their children, who may get confused by the sameness of the setting—sort of like townies driving around Mililani or Kapolei.

God-san will offer a variety of yakisoba dishes, such as these bentos featuring omelet and shrimp, and omelet, bacon and fried egg.

 

So far so good as far as the equipment testing. Deep-fried croquettes and tonkatsu were turning out crisp and light. Ramen from Gashoken was perfection. But with many more vendors set to move in, JVW won't be open until June 25, when everyone is confident they'll be ready.

Vintage Cave Honolulu will be introducing Wagyu Plaza featuring six boutique restaurants; Seafood Plaza featuring eight bistros; and Vintage Cave Bakery. The original Vintage Cave remains at its current location in Ala Moana Center’s Diamond Head Wing.

 

Adding to the foodcentric venue, Vintage Cave Café, is set to open next to JVW in October. The Italian-inspired café will feature an array of seafood dishes, Milan style pasta, Napoli style pizza, Wagyu steak and more, in a room mimicking the look and feel of an Italian Cathedral, complete with dome ceiling, murals, and sculptures from Italy. The 9,000-square-foot venue will seat 150 and include four private rooms.

A sukiyaki bowl from Yakiniku Tamura.

 

A spicy poke and avocado bowl from Hale Mai.

 

Shinogu Sato and Yotaro Takenaka made the most of the tasting.

 

$1 beers will be among the draws.

 

Also from Gashoken, shrimp ramen with intense shrimp broth. Love it!

 

Gashoken's introductory menu.

 

Promising sweet treats to come, these faux fruit-filled and creme brulée crepes were on display at one of the vendor booths.

 

jvw rest

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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.

Noodle soup your way at Aunty's

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

Aunty's Red Soup appears to be the most fiery of the soup options, but it isn't as spicy as you'd imagine. It starts with a beef base with peppers, ginger, garlic, basil, parsley, celery and onions. Ingredients chosen for this soup were beef, shiitake and enoki mushrooms, beef balls, shrimp balls whole shrimp, and green beans.

Personalization is everywhere and the the build-your-own concept that has been applied to burgers and tacos, has made it's way to soup and noodles.

Over at Hawaii Pot Shabushabu House in the 808 Center, you can now get a personal hot pot. Even so, you're typically sharing ingredients with your dinner date(s), and not everyone always wants the same thing. Maybe you're tired of paying for other people's tripe or shellfish that you're allergic to.

Now, with Aunty's Ramen, Susend Tran (formerly of Sweet Home Cafe) is back with a concept that puts an end to those share days.

Upon entering, get your table assignment, then grab a plastic bowl and start filling it with your favorite ingredients. Next, head to the cashier and take your pick of noodles, soup base and meat. The line for the cashier can be long, but your finished bowl arrives remarkably fast given the crowds this restaurant is seeing.

Only thing is, you'll pay for your chosen ingredients by weight, at $7.50 per half pound, which adds up fairly quickly if you're grabbing such weighty items as any seafood or meatballs, sausages, taro, and pieces of corn on the cob.

Some of my first bowls weighed in at a pound-and-a-half, adding up to $20 and $24. But the last time I got it down to a more manageable $10. You'll learn.
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Aunty's Ramen is at 1110 Mccully St., at Young. Closed Tuesdays. Call 946-8686. The small parking lot can get crowded, but $5 parking is available at the American Savings Bank building across the street.

Aunty's Yellow Soup starts with a seafood base with coconut milk and red curry, but it's dominated by yellow curry flavor. Ingredients chose for this soup were lamb, corn, shrimp balls, fish balls and mini spicy sausages. Topped with a sprinkling of cilantro from the sauce bar.

This bowl features shrimp, pork, kabocha, won bok and enoki mushrooms in Aunty's Golden Soup that starts with a creamy seafood base with kabocha, celery, garlic, fresh onions and dried fried onions. The red is the spiced version that aunty recommends.

To get started, grab a basket and tongs and start making your selections from plastic bins in refrigerator cases. Pictured are two sizes of imitation crab, kamaboko, baby corn, squash and Shanghai cabbage, orbok choy.

After making your soup, noodle and meat choices and paying at the cashier, it's time to visit the sauce bar for various chili, sesame and black bean sauces, and other condiments and garnishes.

I usually opt for a blend of cilantro, sesame sauce and a chili sauce or two.

For those ordering udon noodles only, you have the option of turning them into jjajangmyeon (with black bean sauce) for $1 extra.

There is a handful of $5.95 each side order dishes, such as dried fried chicken wings with a shoyu-based sweet, slightly sour Taiwan-style glaze.

Butterflied garlic shrimp is another of the side dishes.

The build-your-own concept also applies to shave ice dessert. Choose from various fruit jellies and fresh fruit. Then hand your bowl over for the ice and condensed milk with brown sugar syrup.

Here's another shave ice with the focus on custards. Clockwise from top are mocha, taro, mango, green tea and almond flavors. The taro tastes more like lychee, and the green tea has a minty finish.

The custards await selection, and it looks like taro and mango are the most popular. I like the mocha and almond for their creamy flavors.

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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.

Shorten your wait: App speeds food order at lantern ceremony

May 27th, 2016
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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 dodecki.com.
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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.

Tall aims for IHOP's short stack Pancake Day fundraiser

March 4th, 2014
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sstackAn IHOP short stack is free today, National Pancake Day. IHOP photo

Today is National Pancake Day, and IHOP restaurants nationwide, including the 1850 Ala Moana Boulevard location, are offering each guest a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes in an effort to raise awareness and funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals nationwide. Locally, donations received will benefit Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children. The event continues through 10 p.m.

Pancake Day is a tradition that dates back several centuries to when the English prepared for fasting during Lent. Strict rules prohibited the eating of all dairy products during Lent, so pancakes were made to use up the supply of eggs, milk, butter and other dairy products, hence the name Pancake Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday.

The aim is to raise $3 million, adding to the nearly $16 million IHOP has raised over nine years with its National Pancake Day fundraising effort.

 

First Course: The Pig & the Lady at home in Chinatown

November 14th, 2013
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The pho tsukemen served at the grand opening of The Pig & the Lady was terrific. Loved the texture of the silky noodles with the crunch and burst of salt from the fried shallots and garlic, and fantastic slow-roasted brisket.Nadine Kam photos

After two years of pop-ups, The Pig & The Lady, or, The Pig & the Le Family, has a true brick-and-mortar home at Lemongrass Cafe at 83 N. King St., partnering with The Pacific Gateway Center in developing programs to promote its mission of supporting and assisting immigrants, refugees and low-income residents.

As part of their partnership, TP&TL will be employing participants in the PGC's work training program and using produce they are planning to grow on their farms.

The dining area was built with community effort as well. Le took time to thank Daniel Anthony of Mana Ai for donating five beautiful, communal handcrafted mango wood tables. Someone I was talking to suggested the tables would be great for an Oktoberfest party. Other decor was the work of Fishcake.

The new restaurant will continue serving Vietnamese street food-style lunches and tasting dinners—based on Le's food memories—that have been hits with its pop-up and farmer's market clientele ever since TP&TL first popped up at Hank's Haute Dogs.

The restaurant hosted a private grand opening party Nov. 12, before opening to the public on the 13th.

For now, the restaurant is only open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., offering popular dishes from the farmer's markets and expanding its selection of banh mis (Vietnamese sandwiches), and noodle and rice dishes.

A few new additions featured at the grand opening party were:
>> P.L.T. melt banh mi: Fried portobello mushroom filled with cheddar, sprouts, local tomato and "Srirancha" sauce (Sriracha and ranch dressing).
>> New noodle soups: Including Vietnamese posole and pho tsukemen.
>> Doughnut- and Specaloos-flavored soft serve ice cream.

Dinner service will start on Dec. 12, when the restaurant will be serving Southeast Asian-inspired food.

Future events include the ever-popular “Dinner and a Movie” and “Trough Dinners,” and an oyster bar is in the works.

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At the bar.

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Chef Andrew Le and the lion.

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Chef Andrew with his sister Allison and mom.

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The ingredients for Vietnamese posole soup with chickpeas, pig head, shishito pepper paste, lemongrass and radish, before the broth went in.

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The P.L.T. (Pig & the Lady, tomato) Melt with a center of portobello mushroom, topped with spicy Sriracha sauce.

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Dessert of Speculoos ice cream sandwiches.

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The red brick walls and high ceilings gave the feeling of being inside a New York City or Boston restaurant.

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A tribute to the family.

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A friend of the family also dropped off a pink cake in the shape of a pig, with a dragonfruit in its mouth.