Archive for June, 2016

Wine and fellowship at Plantation Tavern

By
June 30th, 2016



Charred Hamakua tomato bisque

Charred Hamakua tomato bisque with crab ravioli and cilantro pesto, served with Triennes Rose 2015 and Chateau d'Esclan Whispering Angel, both from Provence, France.

 

Once a month Adam Gilbert sets up the patio of his Plantation Tavern restaurant in Kapolei for a dozen or so guests primed to appreciate a good pairing of food and wine.

June's dinner was held Wednesday night, a three-course meal of tomato bisque, duck confit and creme brulee.

Plantation Tavern is not a fancy-pants restaurant. It's an unpretentious, family-friendly place set in a strip mall between a bead shop and a Chinese restaurant. Gilbert says he designed it to be affordable and comfortable, "so you can come in here in a construction outfit or on a date."

The menu is plantation-inspired, with traditional Korean, Chinese, Hawaiian and Filipino dishes all prepared in today's farm-to-table spirit. He's fascinated, Gilbert says, "by how Hawaii came to be," but also believes strongly in sustainable food production and sources his ingredients from Kahumana Organic Farms, Honolulu's fishmarket and Big Island cattle ranches.

Duck confit with raspberry hoisin sauce and baby carrots, served with Botromango Primitivo from Puglia, Italy, and Margerum M5, a Rhone blend from California.

Duck confit with raspberry hoisin sauce and baby carrots, served with Botromango Primitivo from Puglia, Italy, and Margerum M5, a Rhone blend from California.

The wine dinners allow him to build on that philosophy and stretch the chefs chops developed in a long career that included stints in the kitchens of Indigo, 3660 on the Rise and Padovani's Bistro & Wine Bar. Just before opening Plantation Tavern he was executive chef for the Star of Honolulu cruise ship.

Gilbert's partner in these wine dinners is Danny Matsushita, a wine expert who selected two wines for each dish, then happily refilled glasses of whichever the diner liked best, or both in many cases.

Ginger cream brulee with creme Anglaise, berries and spun sugar.

Ginger cream brulee with creme Anglaise, berries and spun sugar.

Wine dinners at Plantation Tavern take place at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month (June's was later than usual). Cost varies; this week's was $68. Call 888-4299. The restaurant's regular hours are 11 a.m. to midnight.

 

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Authentic aloha

By
June 29th, 2016



Make-A-Wish Hawaii California leukemia patient Adrian, whose original wish was a visit to Sicily, spent the day instead in Waikiki, where he fulfilled a dream to cook Italian food, working with chef James Aptakin to whip up fettucine. wish was to visit Sicily for an authentic Italian culinary experience, but his flight was canceled due to a European airline strike, and his wish was diverted to Hawaii.

Make-A-Wish Hawaii
California leukemia patient Adrian, who was set for a visit to Sicily, spent time instead in Waikiki after an airline strike in Europe curtailed his plans. He met up with M.A.C 24/7 executive chef James Aptakin, who taught him to make fettucine.

Aloha spirit is a term that in many instances must be taken with a grain of salt, as marketers of these islands make much ado of our gracious culture in saccharine (and profitable) ad campaigns and the like.

But the real deal was in fine form June 22 when generous folks in Hawaii's culinary community went all-out to help a 16-year-old leukemia patient indulge his passion for Italian cuisine. Wish kid Adrian spent a day in the kitchen with M.A.C. 24/7 executive chef James Aptakin and sous chef Edmund Kwok, to whip up a fettucine meal.

The private cooking class was arranged on the fly. Adrian and his family had planned to travel from their California home to Sicily for an Italian culinary experience that had been in the works for more than a year. But a European airline strike left them grounded, and within hours the family was rerouted to Hawaii, thanks to the efforts of the Make-A-Wish Hawaii chapter.

The chapter is delivering more than 600 wishes to ill youth this summer and is seeking support. Visit hawaii.wish.org to make a donation.

Make-A-Wish Hawaii  Adrian, 16, fulfilled his dream of cooking Italian cuisine and earned a certificate as a master of fettucine-making.

Make-A-Wish Hawaii
Adrian fulfilled a dream of cooking Italian food and earned a certificate as a master of pasta-making.

When Aptakin heard about Adrian’s change of plans, he got to work organizing an authentic Italian meal for the family that featured Italian salad, handmade fettucine with a variety of sauces and spaghetti gelato for dessert provided by IL Gelato.

Friends of the chef joined the effort with donated gifts for the teen, including a hand-embroidered chef jacket by Malihini Hawaii uniforms, a handmade Koa wood cutting board from Foundwood, a recipe book filled with all the foods from the day, and a certificate of achievement for Adrian for mastering pasta-making.

After Adrian's class, the family — including Adrian's mother, brother and grandmother — sat down to the meal and listened to music by acoustic guitarist Kiana Luna. The family deemed the day a great success.

“Every day since Adrian’s trip was changed, we’ve experienced good omens that everything is as it should be — that we were meant to be here for this experience,” said Jannette, Adrian’s mother. “We were not expecting this at all. It’s so amazing!"

MAC 24/7 is in the Hilton Waikiki Beach hotel at 2500 Kuhio Ave. True to its name, it is open 24 hours a day, everyday. Visit mac247waikiki.com.

Since 1982, Make-A-Wish Hawaii has granted wishes to more than 13,000 youth with life-threatening medical conditions. The Hawaii chapter is among the busiest in the nation, assisting not only isle youth with their wishes, but coordinating the wishes of kids from across the globe seeking a visit to Hawaii. The chapter has more than 700 volunteers and 200 business partners.

For more information on Make-A-Wish Hawaii, visit hawaii.wish.org or call 537-3118.

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Brug Bakery, a beginning

By
June 24th, 2016



Brug butter rolls.

Brug crescent-shaped butter rolls.

Brug Bakery Hawaii hosted a preview of its new shop at Ala Moana Center Friday, showcasing a sampling of its distinctive pastries for a carb-hungry crowd of invited guests. The bakery opens to the public Saturday at 8 a.m.

Brug owner Miho choi with a tray of Sozai Pan.

Miho Choi with a tray of Sozai Pan, topped with lotus leaf slices and filled with nishime-like vegetables.

President Miho Choi opened the bakery inside Shirokiya in 2013, but has her own place now (Shirokiya, meanwhile, is opening Japan Village Walk in the Ewa Wing of the shopping center).

Like many Japanese bake shops, Brug has a self-serve set up. Customers pick up trays and tongs, then fill up from bins lining the shop.
A crowd of guests sampled the pastries in Friday's preview.

A crowd of guests sampled the pastries in Friday's preview.

 The sweet and savory pastries come in intriguing flavor combinations (okra and garlic) and shapes (garlic, cheese and tomato, baked into a cube). They include my new favorite thing, a cheesey-mochi puff inside a pastry dough.

A selection of Brug pastries.

A selection of Brug pastries, clockwise from top left: chocolate roll, garlic-tomato cube, corned beef slider, cheese mochi pan and an okra-garlic mini loaf.

If only I had a little more room in my daily carb allowance I would have tried the most tempting sweet pastry, a lemon-cream cheese cupcake.
What's inside the pastries.

What's inside the pastries.

Lemon-cream cheese cakes, topped with slices of roasted lemon.

Lemon-cream cheese cakes, topped with slices of roasted lemon.

Brug Bakery Hawaii is in a former Pretzelmaker location, near the Lupica tea shop, on mauka side, street level of the center. Hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays.

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Nostalgia in every bite

By
June 22nd, 2016



Glutino Gluten Free Toaster Pastry satisfies a longtime yearning for that childhood food.

Glutino Gluten Free Toaster Pastry satisfies a longtime yearning for the Pop Tarts of childhood.

In my day, there wasn’t a kid who didn’t love Pop Tarts, those toaster pastries that provided a hot, quickie breakfast in a mere minute. (Straight from the toaster, they were so hot, in fact, that they had to be wrapped in a napkin to be able to hold in the hand, and each bite needed a few seconds to cool between the teeth before chewing, lest you burn your tongue.)

Pop Tarts came in every flavor imaginable, and I was envious of the kids who ate the chocolate and cinnamon varieties in the morning. My mom’s rule was we had to eat a fruit flavor for breakfast; the others were only for snacks. Looking back today, it probably didn’t make a heck of a lot of difference which one we consumed. What with all the frostings and deliciously sweet fillings, there probably wasn’t a tremendous difference in nutritional value — or lack thereof.

The vending machine in our newsroom often carries Pop Tarts, and those of us of a certain age sometimes stop to check what flavors are available. We can’t understand why younger staffers don’t find the pastries appealing.

At my house, I’ve occasionally offered my daughter a Pop Tart from the boxes her father buys. Her response has always been: “Yuck.”

Why have I kept trying with her? Because I’ve wanted to live vicariously. My gluten sensitivity has not allowed me to indulge an absolute yearning for a Pop Tart.

But here’s why hope should always spring eternal: I FOUND A GLUTEN-FREE POP TART!

It happened nearly a year ago, when I spocked boxes of Glutino Gluten Free Toaster Pastry on a shelf at Whole Foods Market. I must admit my excitement was tempered by a bit of caution — some gluten-free products are just plain disastrous.

But this one was fabulous. Not because it was an exact replica of what I recall from childhood; rather, the fillings, made with real fruit, aren’t overbearingly sweet for an adult palate. Coupled with a good gluten-free pastry, they are tasty and delicious. Flavors include strawberry, frosted blueberry, frosted strawberry, and my favorite, apple cinnamon.

And the icing on the proverbial cake? My daughter likes them, too. It makes indulging in a nostalgic food a little bit more of a heartwarming experience.

Whole Foods Market sells a box of five for $5.99, but I’ve got ‘em on regular order at Amazon.com, for roughly the same price.

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Pitmaster champ shares techniques

By
June 17th, 2016



Myron Mixon sprinkles a rack of ribs with his signature rub. He advises a "medium" coating of rub, which was really quite thick.

Myron Mixon sprinkles a rack of ribs with his signature rub. He advises a "medium" coating of rub, which was really quite thick.

I'm not sure there are metrics for barbecue championships, but Myron Mixon is known as "the winningest man in BBQ" and you're not likely to find anyone to contest that.

Certainly not in the crowd at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Friday, where Mixon beguiled a sellout crowd of 120 — most of them his fans, but all of them fans of the art of the smoker.

Mixon is a television BBQ celebrity, featured in Discovery's Destination America shows "Smoked," "BBQ Pittmaster," "BBQ Rules" and "BBQ Pit Wars." He has his own line of gear, including a $4,000 smoker. He's got cookbooks, a cooking school and this summer opens restaurants in Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

He's gruff and tough and does nothing small. "Go big or go home," he said, " 'cause nobody ain't gonna care 100 years from now."

If you've never heard of him you're just moving in the wrong crowd.

Mixon has won more than 200 grand championships in competitions that can involve more than 100 grilling teams. "He's always the top dog," said Norris Sherfield, an attendee who follows Mixon on TV.

Press your rub firmly into the meat, on both sides, Mixon advises.

Press your rub firmly into the meat, on both sides, Mixon advises.

In Friday's session, Mixon gave out proportions for his brine and his injection recipe, measured by gallons, and his tips for how to prep a rack of ribs and a whole chicken for the smoker.

Class participants followed Mixon's demonstration with a hands-on application of his techniques. They took it very seriously.

Class participants followed Mixon's demonstration with a hands-on application of his techniques. They took it very seriously.

For example, never oil a chicken. It makes the skin rubbery, and don't put your spice rub under the skin or it will taste over-seasoned and possibly chalky. On the other hand, always oil your ribs. It helps the rub adhere. Press down firmly to set the rub (don't actually rub it in).  And always use St. Louis spareribs, taking the time to remove the membrane and the excess fat, but not to the point where you puncture the meat.

"I'd rather you take less of it off than make a hot mess."

Racks of ribs prepared in the class were sent to the smoker to be served at Saturday night's BBQ and Blues Festival at the Hilton.

Racks of ribs prepared in class were sent to the smoker to be served at Saturday's BBQ and Blues Festival at the Hilton.

 

A barbecue meal followed the class, with Southern sides of grilled corn on the cob, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, baked beans with peaches, mashed sweet potatoes and coleslaw.

A barbecue meal followed class, with Southern sides of grilled corn on the cob, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, baked beans with peaches, mashed sweet potatoes and coleslaw.

For more of Mixon's tips and his recipe for ribs, see Wednesday's Crave section

 

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Roy Yamaguchi bids America 'good morning'

By
June 15th, 2016



Roy Yamaguchi, left, with Jesse Palmer, a contributor to "Good Morning America," on Tuesday after taping a segment for the show.

Roy Yamaguchi, left, with Jesse Palmer, a contributor to "Good Morning America," on Wednesday after taping a cooking segment for the ABC show.

Hawaii chef Roy Yamaguchi is in New York, promoting National Hawaiian  Foods Week with an appearance that airs Thursday morning on "Good Morning America."

Yamaguchi taped his segment Wednesday, preparing a mango sweetbread pudding, an avocado-bacon breakfast sandwich, Portuguese sausage frittata sliders and pineapple French toast.

His dishes used the products of companies sponsoring Hawaiian Foods Week — King’s Hawaiian, Dole, Mauna Loa, Kona Brewing Co. and Spam.

The special week, which runs through Saturday, was recognized last week in a U.S. Senate resolution and is being marked by promotions involving the sponsoring products at supermarkets nationwide.

Yamaguchi talked up Hawaii and its food culture on "Fox and Friends" Wednesday and continues with an appearance on San Francisco television Friday. "GMA" airs at 7 a.m. on ABC.

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Carpaccio is a slice of heaven

By
June 15th, 2016



By Bruce Asato / basato@staradvertiser.com A simple, albeit skillfully prepared offering of wagyu carpaccio took visitors over the moon at the Wagyu Plaza in the new Shirokiya Japan Village Walk at A Moana Center.

By Bruce Asato / basato@staradvertiser.com
A skillfully prepared offering of wagyu carpaccio took visitors over the moon at the Wagyu Plaza in the new Shirokiya Japan Village Walk at Ala Moana Center. Village Walk is open today for a public preview and officially opens on June 25.

I must say, folks in the newsroom certainly don't hold back on sweat equity to put out the paper each day. But the hard work sure does afford us wonderful opportunities to experience first-hand what's going on in the community. We're a lucky lot.

On Monday during a media preview, a small crew of us visited the colossal Japan Village Walk, Shirokiya's revamped yataimura (food court), at Ala Moana Center's Ewa wing. It took each of us to tackle the 44,860 square-foot space, nearly the size of a football field, even with only about half the shops presenting their fare. The scope of what Shirokiya is presenting is astounding: 56 shops offering a long, varied list of foods and cuisines.

Yet one dish, just a taste, garnished with a couple arugula leaves and delivered on a humble plastic plate, made my world drop away — perfectly chilled, perfectly marbled, buttery, tender wagyu carpaccio from the Wagyu Plaza.

Now, I've always assumed that it takes special care to make such a dish — carpaccio is a raw preparation — but the skilled treatment of the melt-in-your-mouth beef, perfectly balanced with a touch of rice wine vinegar and adeptly seasoned with a perfect, light touch of salt, turned the dish into something magical.

It was decadent and refreshing all at once, subtle yet flavorful, absolutely delicious. The dish achieved what fine cuisine is designed to do: provide an experience.

Staff from the Vintage Cave, Shirokiya's fine-dining restaurant that uses only the finest ingredients from across the globe, runs the Village Walk's Wagyu Plaza, six stations dedicated to wagyu, and eight-station Seafood Plaza, plus a Vintage Cave bakery.

Vintage Cave will next open a cafe focusing on Italian cuisine, slated for the fall.

Village Walk will be open for a public preview today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Doors will officially open at 10 a.m. June 25. Hours will be 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

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Chocolate shop customers share in win

By
June 13th, 2016



Choco Le‘a produces truffles in flavors such as cookies and cream, sea salt caramel and Guinness beer.

Choco Le‘a produces truffles in flavors such as cookies and cream, sea salt caramel and Guinness beer.

Choco Le‘a, a chocolate shop in Manoa, won some special recognition recently and is sharing the love with gifts of chocolate.

Visit the shop at 2909 Lowrey Ave. Tuesday through Saturday for a free truffle and beverage.

The occasion? In March Choco Le‘a was named a winner in the American Small Business Championship, an award that came with a trip to a regional training event and a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card. The shop is in the running for a $25,000 top national prize.

To compete the owners had to state what they’d do with the gift card and the training (their response: use the funds to buy supplies to better organize the shop and serve customers, plus give 10 percent to charity; and use the training to grow, then help mentor others).

The award is sponsored by the Score Foundation, which provides mentoring to small businesses. A second Hawaii award went to Coradorables, a children's clothing maker.

Shop hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 371-2234 or visit chocolea.com.

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Poke takes 9-year-old isle girl to the White House

By
June 11th, 2016



For this fifth and final year of first lady Michelle Obama's Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids' "State Dinner," Hawaii's representative offered a poke dish that earned her a seat among 55 other 8- to 12-year-olds at the White House.

On July 14, Kaira Grace will share a meal with the first lady and other youths who created healthy, affordable and original lunch recipes that reflect the USDA's My Plate recommendations.

In addition, this year's challenge encouraged entrants to include locally grown ingredients from their state, territory, or community. The competition garnered more than 1,200 entries, which were pared down to include representatives from each U.S. state, five territories and the District of Columbia.

The 56 aspiring young chefs will attend the dinner hosted by Obama with a parent or guardian. The menu will feature a selection of the winning recipes

The meal will be followed by a visit to the White House Kitchen Garden.

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Artist captures spirit of Kona Coffee fest

By
June 8th, 2016



Kona artist Carol Tredway's image of a coffee picker at work will be the official image of the Kona Coffee Festival.

Kona artist Carol Tredway's image of a coffee picker at work will be the official image of the Kona Coffee Festival.

Each year the Kona Coffee Festival selects a work of art to represent the theme of the event. The 2016 theme, “Brewed with Tradition,” has been illustrated by Kona artist Carol Tredway with a representation of a coffee picker and Kona farm life. The piece will be featured on commemorative items and in the festival’s 2016 advertising campaign. Look for it in posters, buttons and other retail items.

The festival, in its 46th year, runs Nov. 5 to 13. The key event is a cupping competition that selects the region's top beans for the year. Other highlights:

Nov. 5: Holualoa Village Coffee & Art Stroll and Miss Kona Coffee Scholarship Pageant

Nov. 6: KTA Super Stores Kona Coffee Recipe Contest

Nov. 8: Council farm and mill tour

Nov. 10: Cupping competition 

Nov. 11: Lantern parade
Nov. 12: Ho‘olaule‘a

Nov. 13: Aloha Makahiki Concert with kumu hula Mika Keale-Goto and Halau Keale

For a complete list of events visit konacoffeefest.com

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