Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

Exciting things cooking on Maui

April 6th, 2016
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PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Rosemary panna cotta with kumquat marmalade and chocolate bark dessert at Hana Ranch Provisions in Paia.

On Oahu, it's easy to develop a myopic view of the Hawaii dining scene, putting Honolulu at the center of the universe in terms of progressive ideas.

But on Maui, where resort restaurants have received the most attention in mainstream media, the food scene is being transformed by a new generation of chefs and collaborators.

Earlier, I popped into a Wailuku popup presented by Rua Catering.

A followup visit found "Top Chef Seattle" fan favorite Sheldon Simeon putting the finishing touches on his new Tin Roof restaurant in Kahului, which opened Monday.

When I was on Maui a few weeks ago, Sheldon Simeon was putting the finishing touches on his new Tin Roof eatery in Kahului.

In the spot that was formerly home to Ko Ko Ichiban Ya, Simeon said he hated to see another mom-and-pop close, "so this is the next generation mom-and-pop," he said. "I hope it'll be a hang-out spot for everyone."

Much more casual than what he had been offering at Migrant, a sample menu included rice bowls, poke bowls, ramen and "kau kau tins" of such local favorites as mochiko chicken, garlic shrimp and chop steak.

Customers will be able to dine in at communal tables or pick up food to go. He also plans to create Chef's Table events that will seat 12.

The setting at Mill House Restaurant on the grounds of Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu.

Next up, a peek at the new Mill House restaurant on the grounds of Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu, on the day of its grand opening celebration, March 17.

Housed in the plantation's former banquet hall, the restaurant and surrounding grounds and farm are envisioned as the hub of an ambitious development plan that will include several residences.

On the lunch menu there were small plates of root vegetables sourced from the plantation's own farmland, gnocchi ragu, and a range of burgers and sandwiches.

But what I loved most were desserts of "Milk and Honey" olive oil cake and chili-spiced doughnuts with thick chocolate cremeaux.

A coffee-roasted beet salad at Mill House Restaurant.

But the main attraction on that day was a drive to Paia to visit Hana Ranch Provisions, a sustainable restaurant started by Hana Ranch as an experimental key to survival in the 21st century as the ranch moves beyond the commodity business into value-added pursuits.

You can read all about it in our new Crave food section that launches today. Here are the links:

Review: staradvertiser.com/food/simple-local-fare-stars-at-hana-restaurant/
Some background: staradvertiser.com/food/hana-ranch-enlists-help-to-pursue-sustainability/

Forget all that you imagine a sustainable restaurant is. The vibe is more sophisticated than rustic, but it's nevertheless a place that embraces a philosophy of honoring the work of farmers and food producers, respecting nature, and eating food that is certified organic, sustainable and nurturing for body and soul. If successful, the venture could serve as a template for other farmers across the globe.

Hana Ranch Provisions is at 71 Baldwin Ave., Paia, Maui. Daily hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch, and 5 to 9 p.m. for dinner. Its to-go shop offers coffee and pastries from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. daily. Call (808) 868-3688.

Here's a look:

Your destination.

Pickled vegetables are among the value-added products produced by Hana Ranch.

Great bread is hard to find in Hawaii, and here it's well worth the $5.50 for a bowl of crusty, tender-crumbed house-baked bread served with fresh-churned cultured butter sprinkled with Hawaiian sea salt.

A curry kabocha squash soup ($11.50/$12) warms the heart with its creamy texture and a balance of natural sweetness and touch of spice. It's topped with an ulu chip, pipitas and a drizzle of cilantro oil.

The menu changes with the seasons and availability of ingredients. This wonderful beet carpaccio ($14 day/$14.50 evenings) featured yellow striped Chioggia beets sliced as thin as sashimi and was just as satisfying in their silkiness. Topped with mustard greens and dill, then accented with the sweetness of sliced kumquats. A great introduction to farm freshness.

More salads are available, but you're likely to get your day's ration of vegetables no matter what you order, even with Vietnamese beef meatballs ($15) seasoned with fish sauce, garlic, lemongrass and chili peppers, served over a Thai-style salad of green papaya slaw, graced with chopped peanuts, cilantro and basil leaves.

Both lunch and dinner menus feature the restaurant's signature Hana burger ($16/$16.50) made with Hana Ranch grass-fed beef, and served on ulu brioche that is comparable to a pretzel bun. The juicy burger is finished with caramelized onions, lettuce, cheddar and horseradish aioli, with more greens on the side.

Kauai shrimp tagliatelle ($32) is a simple, satisfying dish, with the shellfish beautifully arranged, heads on but otherwise shelled—the best of both worlds—over the housemade pasta, all tossed with a Hawaiian chile-spiced tomato sauce.

My favorite dish during a dinner visit was the seared ahi ($35). Again, not a typical favorite because many restaurants also overdo the searing so the ahi often ends up cooked through. Here, the ahi is in block form so stays rare inside. The blocks are arranged with stalks of Kula cauliflower around a bed of braised chicories topped with a soft-poached egg. Every bite felt like magic.

Ambitious 'Localicious' at NM

March 16th, 2016
By



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Soft-shell crab katsu over Waialua asparagus risotto with prosciutto, bagna cauda butter and katsu sauce, was an impressive offering on Mariposa's Localicious menu last week. New entrées are being introduced weekly through the end of the month for the statewide sustainability and agricultural education campaign.

We're in the third week of the Localicious Hawai'i campaign, a statewide fundraiser for the Hawai'i Agricultural Foundation's education programs.

Nearly 70 Oahu restaurants, and nearly 50 more from the Big Island to Kauai, are participating in the monthlong event during which $1 from each "Localicious" dish sold will go directly toward funding nutrition and sustainability education in our schools.

You can find the full list of participating restaurants at LocaliciousHawaii.com.

Each restaurant has come up with one or two special dishes highlighting locally grown or raised produce and products.

Over at Neiman Marcus, executive chef Marc Anthony Freiberg was ambitious in coming up with new Localicious dishes each week, for each of the restaurant's dining facilities.

Last week, I was lucky to try a delicious shrimp and Kahuku corn salad and soft-shell crab katsu.

This shrimp and Kahuku corn salad with arugula, frisee, carrots, avocado, sunflower seeds and white balsamic vinaigrette was on the Espresso Bar menu last week. So yum!.

Here's the menu for the rest of the month:

Today through March 20

Mariposa
Lunch: Mahimahi with spring pea risotto, citrus-caper butter, fennel confit and micro green salad; $26.
Dinner: Pan-roasted onaga with curry crab, haricot vert and jasmine brown rice; $36.
Dessert: Pineapple upside-down cake with Koloa rum caramel and Big Island macadamia nut ice cream; $8.

Mermaid Bar, Level 2 (closed Sundays)
Lunch: Hamakua mushroom pizza with smoked bacon, onions, sun-dried tomato pesto and goat cheese; $18.

Espresso Bar, Level 1
Tiger shrimp orzo salad with Ho Farms cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, watercress, red onions, cilantro-lime vinaigrette and feta; $18.

The one Localicious dish I tried that you can still get through the end of the month at Mariposa is this juicy pineapple upside-down cake, served with Koloa rum caramel and Big Island macadamia nut ice cream. Well worth a dietary splurge.

March 21 through 27

Mariposa
Lunch: Grilled opah with squid-ink linguini, rock shrimp, pancetta and lobster bisque; $26.
Dinner: Dungeness crab chitarra with Ho Farms heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, capers, garlic olive oil sauce and parsley breadcrumbs; $34.
Dessert: Pineapple upside-down cake with Koloa rum caramel and Big Island macadamia nut ice cream; $8.

Mermaid Bar, Level 2 (closed Sunday)s
Hawaiian plate of laulau, lomi lomi salmon, Kauai poi or white rice, mac salad and haupia; $18.

Espresso Bar, Level 1
Cheeseburger wrap with Big Island beef, cheddar cheese, grilled onions, lettuce and tomatoes; $18.

March 28 through 31

Mariposa
Lunch: Ahi steak frites with Big Island mushrooms, spinach, porchini fries, fennel jus and saffron-potato aioli; $30.
Dinner: Stuffed pork chops with salumi, fontina, Big Island mushroom faro "risotto" and fennel jus.
Dessert: Pineapple upside-down cake with Koloa rum caramel and Big Island macadamia nut ice cream; $8.

Mermaid Bar, Level 2 (closed Sunday)s
Pork Milanese with Ho Farms cherry tomato and arugula salad, fresh mozzareall and balsamic dressing; $18.

Espresso Bar, Level 1
Portobello mushroom burger with Big Island tomato, eggplant, prosciutto, mozzarella and basil pesto; $18.

Localicious supports Hawaii ag

February 23rd, 2016
By



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Teachers from August Ahrens Elementary School in Waipahu earned certificates for their participation in the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation's Veggie U educational program.

Some of Hawaii's top chefs gathered at Chef Zone on Monday for the launch of the 2016 "Localicious Hawaii" campaign that encourages diners to "Eat Local."

Chefs Roy Yamaguchi, Alan Wong, Vikram Garg, and Y. Hata & Co./Chef Zone's Matt Small cooked up dishes highlighting locally sourced ingredients that are the main attraction of the Localicious campaign, now in its third year.

For a month beginning March 1, participating restaurants will donate $1 for every Localicious dish ordered from their menus to the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation's Veggie U educational program supporting agricultural education in public schools. Restaurants that raise $500 are able to adopt a classroom, by offering a $500 garden kit.

The event recognized some of the teachers and restaurateurs involved in the program. This year, 148 restaurants statewide are participating in the monthlong campaign and 113 Hawaii public schools have received garden kits to foster the awareness of agriculture and food safety issues.

Denise Hayashi Yamaguchi, executive director of HAF, introduced Dean Okimoto of 'Nalo Farms, to speak in response to Andrew Gomes story in the Star-Advertiser that day, regarding a 101-page report from the state Department of Agriculture that shows where agricultural activity was lost over the last 35 years and where future crop opportunities might lie.

What’s glaring, he reported, "is the drop in the number of acres devoted to agriculture between 1980 and 2015: a decline of 200,000 acres of cropland and 340,000 acres of pastureland, representing drops of 57 percent and 31 percent, respectively."

During the event, guests enjoyed dishes featuring local ingredients such as Roy Yamaguchi's U-10 scallops with ume honey, blistered Kahuku corn and Maui onion pohole fern poke in a sauce of truffled mascarpone and tofu.

Even as sugar plantations close and food producers' costs rise, Okimoto said, food prices have not increased as much as other expenses such as utilities and "Louis Vuitton bags," a subject that hits home when he gets an earful from those very same luxury buyers when he raises the prices of his produce by 25 cents.

As a matter of complying with food safety issues, he said costs to the consumer will have to rise in the future and he said, "Without support, agriculture is not going to survive."

Speaking of the partnership between restaurants and farmers that has been taking place since the 1980s, and support of organizations such as the Hawai'i Food & Wine Festival, he said, "In Hawaii, everything we do should be together. The key for the future is these partnerships."

Putting young hands to work, Yamaguchi got an assist from, left, Hoku Hulihee, Cole Matsukawa and Remy Ah Quin.

As for Veggie U, chef Alan Wong told of being a fourth grade student at Wahiawa Elementary, and seeing the intermediate school band come to play for them. "When you're that age, you're impressionable," he said, so when it came time to choose classes in intermediate school, he chose band, and expressed the hope that by exposing youths to class gardens, the role of farmers and healthy foods, "maybe one becomes a future farmer," or at least understand and support agricultural endeavors.

Okimoto also said there's room for more dialog with the public. He said that although some people are happy to see big agriculture and plantations disappear, without them, there's "less infrastructure for everyone else to survive."

Plantation closures means that those in peripheral businesses, such as selling fertilizers, are unable to make a living, and as they go, smaller farmers may struggle to import the tools and materials they need at reasonable cost.

For the roster of restaurants participating in Localicious, visit localicioushawaii.com.

Other bites included:

Matt Small's sous vide rosemary skirt steak.

Vikram Garg's tamarind cured ahi in a pool of hearts of palm velouté.

Putting the finishing mint and basil touches on Alan Wong's Niihau lamb on house foccaccia.

Wong's finished mini sandwich.

Matt Small's dessert of orange blossom panna cotta with white ohi'a honey yuzu compound topped with candied orange peel and crystalized clover honey.

Hyatt Regency's SHOR launches Chef's Table

March 11th, 2014
By



hyattjarAquarium in a mason jar at SHOR's Chef's Table at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa.Nadine Kam photos

SHOR American Seafood Grill in Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, hosted an introduction March 6 to its new Chef’s Table menu available Thursdays through Sundays, with reservations 48 hours in advance.

The exclusive event puts the services of chef Jake Andrews team at your service to create a five-course menu highlighted by fresh island ingredients purchased from the Hyatt's Thursday Farmers Market, downstairs in the Grand Atrium from 4  to 8 p.m. Five wines are also paired with the dishes and chef will discuss each course and selection throughout the meal.

The aim was to create something special for anniversaries, birthdays, and other special occasions when people are looking for a combination of memorable venue, food and company.

The cost is $500 for four people, and $150 for each additional person up to 12 people.  Reservations may be made by calling (808) 237-6145.

SHOR is known for offering sustainable seafood and shellfish, as well as beef from the Big Island and many other locally sourced ingredients.

This particular press event started with a handful of pupu at Japengo, before moving on to SHOR.
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SHOR American Seafood Grill is in the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, 2424 Kalakaua Ave.

hshooterWe started out with a few appetizers at Japengo that are not on the regular menu, such as this seafood shooter with Kumamoto oyster.

hyattSpicy Singapore crab omelette.

hyattchipSalmon skin rice cracker topped with seafood salad.

hyattbeesAfter the warmup, we were able to visit the Hyatt's beehives, tended by Michael Kliks, owner of Manoa Honey Co. and president of the Hawai'i Beekeepers' Association. While we were safely behind glass, he pointed out the queen bee and didn't care how many times he got stung. Ouch!

hyatttableSHOR's Chef's Table is set in casual, fun style, as if you were setting up a spur-of-the-moment dinner party for friends at home.

hyattplatingJon Matsubara plates the ahi portion of the crudo dish, presented on brown paper in keeping with the casual vibe of the event.

hyattcrudoIsland crudo with smoked bonito and sesame granola. A dollop of avocado and wasabi gelato was added prior to serving. (more…)

First course: Awash in abalone

February 18th, 2014
By



abatraysShingo Ochi shows two sizes of Kona Abalone. The approximately 4-inch specimens at left are about 4 years old. At right, shells of 1-1/2 year olds measure about two inches.Nadine Kam photos

Kona Abalone is among the most popular vendors at the Saturday morning Farmers Market at Kapiolani Community College because chowhounds find the succulent, lightly salted pieces of grilled locally grown abalone worth a wait in line.

Now, those who could never make it over to the market in time early enough to enjoy the abalone don't have to worry about setting their alarm clock. Kona Abalone has opened a flagship store at the Makai
Market Food Court at Ala Moana.

The shop, at the Diamond Head end of the food court, offers more than the simple grilled abalone sold at the Farmers Market. The store will also sell packaged abalone, including canned and vacuum-packed versions that are travel proofed for premium made-in-Hawaii gift giving.

If you're wondering how they can keep up with demand, The Big Island Abalone Corp. maintains an inventory of more than 4 million abalone on its 10-acre site.

ababentoA sampler of smoked salmon, ocean salad with abalone and two pieces of abalone. Two pieces of the abalone are more filling than expected, and left me feeling light and energized.

abagrillGrilled abalone, packaged and ready to go at prices ranging from $10 to $15 depending on the abalone's size and numbers. For example, one large abalone is $10, two medium size is $11, three smalls are $11, and a pack with three large runs $15.

BIAC raises a premium stock of Ezo (Northern Japanese) abalone. The success of Kona Abalone is the result of 16 years of research that led to important findings about abalone habitat and innovations in farm feeding practices.

CEO Hiroshi Arai said there were many setbacks in the process, but all along, he maintained faith in the viability of abalone he considers to be the best in the world because of the controlled environment in which they are raised, that allow the mollusks to thrive.

The farming system uses a constant supply of pure, cold, nutrient-rich Pacific Ocean sea water, pumped from a depth of more than 3,000 feet by the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA).

BIAC's facilities include a hatchery, a nursery and abalone grow-out tanks, ensuring that BIAC controls the quality of the abalone from the start of the mollusks' growth cycle. The abalone is fed a proprietary red algae (dulse), also bred onsite to optimize the abalone's flavor, nutrition, texture, color, and even shell characteristics.
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Big Island Abalone is in the Ala Moana Center Makai Market Food Court, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd. Call 808.941.4120. Open 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays, except center holidays. www.bigislandabalone.com

abaceoCEO Hiroshi Arai shows premium canned Kona Abalone. (more…)