Archive for the ‘Hawaii regional’ Category

Saturday brunch at Mud Hen

By
August 9th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

A cava bar is at the heart of new Saturday morning brunch at Mud Hen Water in Kaimuki. It starts with sparkling wine for build-your-own mimosas and sangrias with ingredients like mango and lilikoi purées, champagne grapes, sliced strawberries, and simple syrups.

Many of us use weekends for catching up on all the errands we can't get to over the busy week. But, it should be a time to restore a little balance and relaxation to our lives. For me, there are few things more relaxing than a weekend brunch, and Mud Hen Water separates itself from the pack with the offering of a cava bar and dishes that are strictly local in inspiration.

Start with a $12 carafe of sparkling wine for build-your-own mimosas and sangrias with ingredients like mango and lilikoi purées, champagne grapes, sliced strawberries, and simple syrups.

With drink in hand, you can start perusing a menu that follows through on Ed Kenney's philosophy for the restaurant, of delivering a "Hawaiian sense of plate," setting it apart from just about every restaurant in town. Don't expect your basic bacon and eggs here. Instead, your locally inspired breakfast will more likely feature biscuit and mapo tofu gravy, waffle-fried chicken wings with spicy guava sauce, and corned beef hash with kim chee. Here's a look:

I

It's always nice to share, and Mud Hen allows you to do that with its popular Sea Board, on this visit comprising smoked a'u ku, preserved akule, walu brandade fritter, cheese, soda crackers, bread, starfruit mostarda and pickles, for $22. I loved the varied flavor profiles of the fish, and liked the walu fritter so much I ordered seconds.

Polenta can be one-dimensional in large quantity and tiresome after a while, but the GoFarm Polenta here is topped with Sweetland Farm goat cheese, stewed fruit and honey to make it more interesting. This dish is $11.

One of my favorite dishes was the waffle-fried chicken wings. The batter was feather light and crisp. It's served with spicy guava sauce and slaw ($12). I'm not that big a fan of sweet sauces. I would love to see this redone with prawn paste, as done in Singapore. Now that would be spectacular!

The Eggs Benedict reimagined as biscuit and mapo gravy, with two eggs and bok choy ($13).

Somewhere under that egg is corned beef hash accompanied by avocado and kim chee ($15). Eat separately or mix it all up bi bim bap style.

Fresh fish and lu'au is served with two poached eggs, roasted roots and inamona dukkah ($18). This was another of my favorite dishes. They have a way with roots.

Fresh fruit offered at the cava bar.


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Mud Hen Water is at 3452 Waialae Ave. Saturday brunch runs 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 737-6000.

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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.

A taste of West Maui at Kapalua Wine & Food Festival 2016

By
June 14th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

From the Hyatt Regency Maui, Japengo sushi chef Jin Hosono took a photo break from serving up his seared kampachi on a mountain yam chip.

Hundreds converged on The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua's Aloha Garden Pavilion for a Seafood Festival June 12, the finale of the 35th annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival featuring 17 restaurants and dozens of wine purveyors.

Funds raised benefit the Maui Culinary Academy, helping to provide scholarships and awards for deserving students, funding student participation in culinary competitions, allowing for purchase of kitchen equipment and enhancing opportunities for study abroad internships in France, China, Korea and New Zealand.

It's apparently money well spent because the students presented a couple of impressive dishes, showing exactly why they deserve such support.

The entrance to the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Beach House Lawn, where the finale Seafood Festival took place.

The Ritz-Carlton had its dessert bar set up right at the entrance so diners knew they would be saving room for desserts of bananas foster, coconut-ginger, chocolate-salt caramel and peanut butter cupcakes with, respectively, infusions of dark rum, Malibu rum, Bailey's and Kahlua.

In addition to cupcakes, Ritz-Carlton executive pastry chef Yoshikazu Kizu was serving up Surfing Goat Dairy chevre and Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream made on the spot with liquid nitrogen, and served with poha berry compote and salted coconut crunch. It was worth saving room for.

From Japengo, chef Hosono's seared kampachi on mountain yam cracker also featured shichimi, ikura, uni, arare, shiso, housemade eel sauce and saikyo miso vinaigrette. It was one of my favorite dishes of the evening.

Not to be outdone, Japengo chef de cuisine Gevin Utrillo had a more local-style offering of "Ono Katsu," a sushi rice cake layered with fish katsu, lobster cream, pomegranate soy and tobiko.

Two more of my favorite dishes came, not from the pros, but students of Maui Culinary Academy, Here, students add cherry wood smoke to a dish of Kumamoto oyster with yuzu gelée and compressed Asian pears. Look out KCC. The students also prepared Kauai shrimp and lemongrass custard with kaffir lime crème fraîche.

Messy looking but tasty, Makena Beach & Golf Resort's butter-poached snow crab and Maine lobster with squid ink gnocchi and black truffle cream.

There was easy access to wines at the center of the venue.

Spago presented its signature spicy tuna tartare in sesame miso cones.

Mark Ellman's Honu/Mala/Frida's trio of restaurants teamed up to offer a kim chee panini and pasta Bolognese.

Pacific'O offered an ahi tartare Napoleon and below, a seared diver scallop over saffron O'o farm beet risotto.

kw scallop

Gannon's offered ginger shoyu oxtail in steamed buns with a malassada and lobster bisque.

After tasting, guests could vote for their favorite restaurant.

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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.

The Kahala welcomes HFWF with Hukilau, a beach cookout

By
May 30th, 2016



PHOTOS COURTESY JASON KIM

The Kahala Hotel was the setting for Hawai'i Food & Wine Festival's hukilau.

The Kahala Hotel was welcomed into the Hawai'i Food and Wine Festival fold with the presentation of "Hukilau" on the hotel grounds May 27.

The beach cookout featured a contemporary take on the hukilau and Hawaiian cuisine, with food offered by host chef Wayne Hirabayashi, Elmer Guzman of The Poke Stop, Andrew Le of The Pig and the Lady, Alan Wong, Roy Yamaguchi, Vikram Garg, Chef Mavro, Mark Noguchi, Lee Anne Wong, and Ed Kenney and Dave Caldiero, who presented an interesting take on kalua pork and cabbage, with the pork delivered in the form of a sausage. Rounding out the dishes were desserts by The Kahala, and Michelle Karr-Ueoka of MW Restaurant, whose sweet finales included Strawberry Sangria Shaved Ice, Pina Colada Push Pops and Waialua Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Chef Vikram Garg served up paella from a giant pan. Even when divided into individual portions, there was a generous amount of fish and shellfish on each plate.

Wines from the cellars of Opus One, Caymus Vineyards, Silver Oak, Patz & Hall, and more, completed the picture.

Before guests were set loose on the beachfront lawn to take their picks from the food and wine booths, Denise Hayashi Yamaguchi introduced representatives from hotel partners who announced the festival's lineup of fall events beginning Oct. 15 with "Kaanapali: A Chef's Paradise" at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, and Hawaii Island promises to bring the sizzle with "Hot Lava Hotter Cuisine" taking place Oct. 22 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Among the highlights are "Kamehameha Schools Presents Urban Lū‘au" on Oct. 26, featuring two chefs who have helped to introduce Hawaii cuisine to the rest of the country, Noreetuh's Chung Chow and Liholiho Yacht Club's Ravi Kapur; a new event at The Modern Honolulu, "Hungry Monkey," on Oct. 27; "Sun Noodle Presents Clash of the Ramen" Oct. 28 at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki; and on Oct. 29, "Foodtopia" at Ko Olina, which will welcome 16 chefs, including the first time appearance of Singapore-based pastry chef Janice Wong of 2am:dessertbar, who is a genius at her craft.

When I was there last year, I tried to convince her to come to Hawaii in some capacity. It was a long shot because she is in demand around the world for her edible art installations. So it will be great to see her here because she has a progressive, intellectual take on culinary development that I find rare and inspiring. You can read about her here in a previous post: honolulupulse.com/2015/10/take-a-bite-janice-wong.

You can view the full schedule here: hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com/event-schedule.

PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Chef Mavro presented his Marseille-style bouillabaisse with onaga.

Chef Elmer Guzman of The Poke Stop was serving up fresh seafood by the sea. Below, the chef with his mixed poke that included opihi. He also offered samples of his torched salmon poke bowl and pulehu tako with chorizo.

hukilau guzman

hukilau poke

From Roy's Restaurants came Pulehu Hawaiian Ranchers Ribeye with Thai chimichurri and crispy Brussels sprouts. Yummy!

Andrew Le stokes the fire for his roast pork, served with ogo, below.

hukilau pork

Chef Lee Anne Wong presented her take on huli huli-style chicken with hoio and mac salad.

Desserts from The Kahala.

Desserts from The Kahala.


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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 course: Mahina & Sun's

By
May 18th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Deep-fried whole snapper, and salads of root vegetables and pohole ferns are part of the Family Feast at Mahina & Sun's.

Following a zombie apocalypse and cut off from the rest of the world, what would we eat?

If you envision such a future, sustainability makes perfect sense. I'm not saying Ed Kenney and Dave Caldiero are thinking in those bleak terms, but with their latest restaurant, Mahina & Sun's, I think they have the opposite in mind—a bright sunny future in which people awaken to caring for the planet and nurturing their bodies in a single move, by choosing foods both healthful and sustainable.

The two have been preaching this concept for about a decade, but takes it even further with Mahina & Sun's, making sustainable seem more palatable than ever.

A "snack" of Sweet Land Farms goat cheese beignets with beet ketchup and arugula.

It all starts with teaching us to love such basics as 'ulu and ugly root vegetables, hairy roots, green tops and all. There was a time I would have lopped off these unsightly ends, but here, they're a joy to pop whole into the mouth, and I was surprised to see my meat-loving friends reaching continuously for the bowls of vegetables and 'ulu.

Kenney would be the first to tell you he could do more, noting that it is still difficult to go without imported oils, beans, grains, Japanese products, pastas and spices, as well as most bar content.

Satisfying kahala (amberjack) crudo with preserved lemon, toasted inamona, purslane and brown butter vinaigrette.

But moreso than most outlets, I see a commitment, not only to the locally grown, but foods basic to the earliest Hawaii settlers. Most chefs, and diners, would find that limiting, but Mahina & Sun's is doing its best to win over a 21st century audience accustomed to getting any foodstuff they want, sourced from all parts of the planet.

It won't be an easy feat bringing diners back to the homestead, but they're committed to trying.

The setting, poolside at the equally new Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club.


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Mahina & Sun's is in the new Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club at 412 Lewers St. Call 924-5810.

Mild, clean-tasting Kualoa Ranch oysters are simply graced with chili pepper water, succulents and slices of kalamansi.

It doesn't get much more local than pa'i 'ai topped with akule. Not for those who don't like fishy fish.

Usually, I would love the Shinsato pork paté, but having so many other good things to eat made it seem less interesting than the alternatives.

The grilled he'e is my favorite dish.

Rigatoni with local wild boar ragu. I don't know how they are able to secure a steady supply of local boar for making this dish.

A pour of smoky bacon broth over swordfish and savoy cabbage. The restaurant is committed to using sustainable seafood based on the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, but swordfish has a tendency to be dry and is still not one of my favorites. A dish of monchong, however, was perfection.

A pan-roasted half chicken is tasty, but has been inconsistent, moist one day, dry the next. But I love the coriander chutney on top.

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

Going off menu at Forty Carrots

By
May 11th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Maui Nui Venison tartare with quail egg, pickled wasabi and chicharron was one of the off-menu dishes presented by chef Jon Matsubara at Bloomingdale's Forty Carrots May 5.

Foodies are always on the prowl for what's new, but to think every diner is thrilled by change is a mistake. There are many more people who seek the tried and true, people I don't understand, who can eat teriyaki beef (or whatever their favorite food is) every day.

Trying to satisfy both kinds of diners is a balancing act for chefs, creatives who for the most part must commit to a menu—whether for three months to decades—but who otherwise get to play and wow us through daily specials and special occasion menus.

Over at Bloomingdale's third-floor Forty Carrots restaurant, chef Jon Matsubara bridges the gap between the two kinds of diners by introducing specials that riff on classic, familiar local fare. He can also go off-menu to create unique dinner menus for organizations or individuals who want to book the space for evening events or special occasions. The space seats 38.

One such recent menu was highlighted by a local, literal and luxurious take on the French beef stew, pot-au-feu, or "pot on fire."

In it, the chopped watercress, salt meat and chili pepper water of a Hawaiian diner was upgraded. The greens and beef were layered with a generous helping of foie gras, followed by a pour of chili pepper bouillon. Served with rice.

And we all had second helpings of crispy chicharrons that accompanied the opening dish of Maui Nui Venison tartare.

For special menu inquiries, email jon.matsubara@bloomingdales.com.

A juicy Hokkaido scallop was paired with Kona abalone in Italian black truffle sauce. Hidden on the other side of the dish was an elegant slice of pork "shumai" freed of its wrapper.

A generous piece of foie gras was layered over three slices of salt beef and presented with chopped watercress for a local-style pot-au-feu. Below, the pour of chili pepper bouillon.

40 soup

Dessert of vanilla bean sticky rice topped with toasted almonds and spearmint, served with ruby grapefruit and lemon-ginger syrup.

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