Archive for the ‘Take a Bite’ 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.

Uber Factory takes top honors in Rice Fest 'Riceipe' contest

By
September 29th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

The team of chef Andy Dalan of Uber Factory and KITV4's Brandi Higa took top honors during the Riceipe cooking competition that was part of the 7th annual Rice Festival that took place Sept. 25.

Chef Andy Dalan of Wahiawa's Uber Factory dessert shop successfully defended his Riceipe champ title, taking home first place honors for a second consecutive year during the 7th annual Rice Festival's Riceipe cooking contest that took place Sept. 25 on Auahi Street fronting Ward Centre.

Dalan, also a chef consultant at Waimea Valley, was teamed with KITV4's Brandi Higa for the task.

Chef Andy Dalan's winning dish of pineapple and rice crème brulée. As good to eat as to look at.

The event featured four chef/TV celebrity teams vying for the top spot, with recipes judged on criteria of taste, creativity, simplicity of preparation and visual appeal. The other teams were Johnny Kai (Treetops Restaurant) and Hawaii News Now's Lacy Deniz, Maile Sengoura (Maile's Thai Bistro) with KHON2's Kelly Simek, and Robbie "Rbz" Acoba (Side Street Inn on Da Strip) with OC16's Tiny Tadani. All three presented variations of fried rice.

Dalan differentiated himself from the pack by presenting a surprising pineapple and rice crème brulée tart. Rice is used as a basis for dessert throughout the world, but not so much in the U.S., so it did get curious audience members coming up to the stage area to see just how good a rice brulée could be.

And that's the whole point of the fest, to see this food staple in a new light, look beyond the basics and appreciate rice in all its forms.

Spam Musubi Man was there, soaking up the love we have for the Spam and rice combo.

Chef/restaurateur Maile Sengoura cooks up a meaty fried rice with KHON2's Kelly Simek.

Sengoura's beautifully plated fried rice.

OC16's Tiny Tadani was teamed with Side Street Inn on Da Strip's chef Robbie Acoba, to create the second place "Japa-Pino Pride" rice dish below, notable for the sweetness of corn and flourishes of nori and bonito.

rf-fried-rice

Hawaii News Now's Lacy Deniz sautés onions while helping Johnny Kai with his fried rice dish, below.

rf-more

Among dishes being offered by vendors were arancini from Mega-Load burgers.

Da Bolalohan and BBQ Grill was featuring dishes such as a beef brisket fried rice loco moco and a spicy grilled pork rice bowl.

There was a line for Sweet Creams genmaicha roasted rice ice cream rolls and below, strawberry rolls that were later topped with Rice Krispies, strawberry mochi and a fresh strawberry.

rf-dreams

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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.

Sabb Thai delivers authenticity

By
September 28th, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

A Laotian specialty, nam khao tod ($12), or crispy rice salad, is on the menu at Sabb Thai. Mint, cilantro, fermented pork, scallions, fish sauce, peanuts are tossed with the rice, and plenty of lime juice gives the dish its distinctive sour note. It's served with lettuce leaves for wrapping.

Thai cuisine evolved over 30 years in Hawaii to suit our love of sweet, fatty, savory flavors, and downplay the sour aspects you’d find in Southeast Asia. Sabb Thai comes closest to the real deal.

The small mom-and-pop restaurant sits across from Palama Market near Don Quijote, in the space that formerly housed Tae Teppanyaki. A small roster of plate lunches accommodates local preferences for the simple charms of garlic chicken ($10), sautéed shrimp ($14), grilled steak ($13), and calamari ($14).

But the restaurant’s individuality shows in its a la carte menu. It’s owners are Thai and Laotian, so a handful of Lao dishes also make an appearance.

Here's a look at a few of the dishes:

Fish sauce, garlic and salt and pepper marinated ribs are delicious here.

Khao piak sen (currently $10), is a Lao chicken udon soup. Rice flour and tapioca noodles add starch to the chicken broth, giving it more body than its American counterpart. The soup also features cubes of boiled blood cakes as silky as almond pudding or soft tofu.

Rolled beef is a nod to former tenant Tae Teppanyaki, but it's very plain, geared toward those who like no-frills dining.

A basic Thai red curry is another dish for those who don't care to venture far from the tried-and-true. An ample amount of bamboo shoots made it stinkier than most.

Thai pork sausage usually contains a lot of pieces of fat, which tends not to sit well with Americans who grow up averse to visible fat. It is otherwise delicious, but my friends and I ended up with piles of fatty globs on the side of our plates.

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Sabb Thai is at 1666 Kalauokalani Way. Open 1 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays. Call 445-3882.

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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.

Yakiniku pops up in Liliha

By
September 21st, 2016



PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / nkam@staradvertiser.com

Skirt steak, pork belly and beef tongue on the grill at Ono Sushi & Yakiniku.

The scenery on Liliha Street rarely changes, so I did a double-take two weeks ago when the Korean take-out shop, Ono Sushi & Yakiniku, started looking a little more like a sit-down restaurant and advertising all-you-can-eat yakiniku.

The site had been home to Mama’s Kitchen and Mama’s Korean BBQ, which first-time restaurant owners Victor and Stella Kim purchased two years ago.

The couple earns points for having the creativity to turn part of their take-out menu into a more elaborate experience in a bedroom community where there are few sitdown options.

Start with the eatery’s plate lunches, such as kalbi ($13.99), BBQ beef ($11.99), spicy pork ($11.99) and BBQ chicken ($11.99), and if you like those, you can opt for the experience of cooking these to-go items yourself at the table.

The all-you-can-eat yakiniku dinner starts with a round of all of the above, plus pork belly, inner and outer skirt steak and beef tongue, at a cost of $29.99 per person for a minimum of two people (it’s $24.99 for lunch), and $15.99 per child between the ages of 3 and 10.

After you finish the first round, you can order more of the meat you like. Basic buffet rules apply, especially, don't order more than you can finish on the spot.

The all-you-can-eat yakiniku special starts with a round of eight different kinds of meat.

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Ono Sushi & Yakiniku is at 1805 Liliha St. Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays. Call (808) 524-0024.

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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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