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Shep Gordon, Supermensch

By
October 6th, 2016



He still manages Alice Cooper, but Shep Gordon is otherwise retired and enjoying life on Maui, his home of the last 43 years.

Just out with a book, "They call me Supermensch," Gordon tonight talked about his life at an event that quickly outgrew its intended venue at CookSpace in Ward Warehouse. Instead, it was in a seating area next to the courtyard at the IBM building, and got started just after the evening's well-attended yoga class.

For those not versed in Yiddish, "mensch" means a person of integrity and honor.

Shep Gordon, manager to rock stars, movie stars and chefs, and a leader of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement, appeared at a book signing in Honolulu Thursday night. Photos by Erika Engle.

Shep Gordon, manager to rock stars, movie stars and chefs, and a leader of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine movement, appeared at a book signing in Honolulu Thursday night. Photos by Erika Engle.

The book represents "a backstage pass to the amazing worlds of film, food, and rock 'n roll," according to the cover, and yes, he's well-known in show-business circles. For Hawaii, though, he is likely best-renowned for helping to create and promote Hawaii Regional Cuisine (HRC) starting in 1991.

In the audience was chef Roger Dikon, one of the original 11 chefs of HRC, as well as chef and restaurateur Ed Kenney and Brandon Lam, an owner of La Tour Cafes, as well as recording artists Jack Johnson and Makana.

Denise Hayashi Yamaguchi, CEO of the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival and wife of HRC chef Roy Yamaguchi, introduced Gordon, as well as CookSpace Hawaii co-owner Melanie Kosaka, who led Gordon through a question-and-answer session.

CookSpace partner Melanie Kosaka led Gordon through a Q&A session before opening up questions to the audience.

CookSpace partner Melanie Kosaka led Gordon through a Q&A session before opening up questions to the audience.

It was a chef that saved his life, Gordon told the audience. He was at dinner with a bunch of movie stars and other noteworthy figures of the time, after winning an award at the Cannes Film Festival. He was young and "too successful," he said, indicating a proclivity for drug use back then, as well as the then-recent deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, both of whom he'd known and with whom he had interacted. At that same dinner, when chef Roger Verge entered the room and Hollywood actor James Coburn leapt to his feet to hug him, Gordon thought of Verges, "this was the guy who was going to save my life," he said.Verge, who died last year at 85, told Gordon if he learned to cook, he could come work in his kitchen some time. Gordon took the classes, showed up at Verge's restaurant looking to cook with him, but instead traveled with him to Thailand. The journey made them fast friends and Verge, a leader in the nouvelle cuisine movement (along with Paul Bocuse and others), as well as Dean Fearing, a leader of the Southwestern cuisine movement in the U.S., came to Hawaii to help Hawaii's chefs lay the foundation of HRC.As for Gordon's decades-ago drug activities, he said it had been an awkward subject until friend and celebrity chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain jokingly referred to Gordon's past activities as his pharmaceutical career, which got a hearty laugh from the audience. Gordon's book, published by HarperCollins, also is labeled "an Anthony Bourdain book." Bourdain has never been a client, Gordon said, but described Bourdain as a rock star, and it was clear the two are friends.Gordon also has cooked for the Dalai Lama more than once, along with a cadre of volunteer chefs and other team members. Even then-Kauai Mayor Joanne Yukimura volunteered to scrub pots and pans and wash dishes for his Hawaii visit, Gordon said, describing her as a short, hard-working woman whose daughter was taller than her, and saving her name until the end of the story as a punchline, not intended to be funny as much as surprising.Given his long and storied career, Gordon was asked about his passion, about what makes him get out of bed in the morning. "I don't have a record player, and I don't really watch movies," he said. The culinary world is what inspires him, he said, and to illustrate the point, he said he soon will be going to Italy for truffle-hunting.

Chef Roger Dikon, Shep Gordon, Jack Johnson and chef Ed Kenney gather for photos after Gordon's talk-story session.

Chef Roger Dikon, Shep Gordon, Jack Johnson and chef Ed Kenney gather for photos after Gordon's talk-story session.

Gordon and the HRC chefs launched a movement some 25 years ago …

http://www.staradvertiser.com/2011/02/27/business/from-a-small-fraternity-came-an-identifying-style/

… and some returned to the James Beard House in 2011 to blow away some mainland taste buds.

http://www.staradvertiser.com/2011/03/21/business/hawaii-regional-cuisine-pleases-palates-that-matter/

An alumnus of that Beard House dinner, chef Wade Ueoka, now owns and operates MW Restaurant with his wife Michelle Karr-Ueoka, and it was at MW that Gordon, the Dikons, the Johnsons and the Kenneys enjoyed a pre-event dinner.

Gordon's book is $25.99 and is available at bookstores and online.

Look for more insights into Gordon's thoughts about, and love for, Hawaii and its food, in next week's Crave.

 

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Gudetama goodies at Eggs 'n Things, Sanrio

By
September 30th, 2016



Gudetama, a popular new Sanrio character, appears at Eggs 'n Things on sunny side up eggs, pancakes, and beverages hot and cold. Photos by Erika Engle.

Gudetama, a popular new Sanrio character, appears at Eggs 'n Things on sunny side up eggs, pancakes, and beverages hot and cold. Photos by Erika Engle.

The public will have chances to eat Gudetama-inspired food and to meet Gudetama Saturday and Sunday at Ala Moana Center’s Sanrio store.

The Sanrio Gudetama character was wheeled in to Eggs 'n Things for a media preview this week.

The Sanrio Gudetama character was wheeled in to Eggs 'n Things for a media preview this week.

Gudetama is the latest sensation from the Hello Kitty maker, and is the inspiration for a fundraising partnership between Eggs ’n Things and the Japan-based lifestyle brand.
Gudetama means “lazy egg” in Japanese, and Sanrio's ovoid character is decidedly unmotivated, asking for "just five more minutes' sleep" under a blanket of bacon, and shrugs off the world with a "meh."
Understand it or not, it is increasingly beloved by many, especially millennials, said Sanrio USA’s Susan Tran, senior manager of marketing.

A different Gudetama sticker will be offered at each location of Eggs 'n Things during the month-long fundraiser.

A different Gudetama sticker will be offered at each location of Eggs 'n Things during the month-long fundraiser.

Gudetama will make 20-minute, top-of-the-hour appearances at the Ala Moana Sanrio shop from 11 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The shop will give customers a small gift with each Gudetama merchandise purchase of $25 or more, limited to one per customer.
The fundraiser is at Eggs ’n Things’ three Hawaii locations at Ala Moana Center and in Waikiki, which are offering two set Gudetama menus through Oct. 28. Each location offers a different Gudetama sticker.
The Gudetama "Sleepy" menu includes a hot chocolate with a cocoa powder Gudetama on top; a  loco moco with a Gudetama-branded egg under a bacon blanket, and for dessert, a pancake with an image of Gudetama stenciled on it in lemon frosting. It is also served with whipped cream, fresh strawberries and chocolate sauce. The dish is served from noon to closing.

Eggs 'n Things and Sanrio are offering two different Gudetama-inspired set menus to raise funds for earthquake victims in Japan.

Eggs 'n Things and Sanrio are offering two different Gudetama-inspired set menus to raise funds for earthquake victims in Japan.

The Gudetama "Lazy" menu is served from 4 p.m. to closing and includes iced coffee or iced cappuccino with a cocoa powder Gudetama on top; a burger topped with a Gudetama-branded egg and French fries, and the same pancake dessert that comes with the "Sleepy" menu choice.

Eggs 'n Things and Sanrio are offering two different Gudetama-inspired set menus to raise funds for earthquake victims in Japan.

Eggs 'n Things and Sanrio are offering two different Gudetama-inspired set menus to raise funds for earthquake victims in Japan.

The Gudetama face on the sunny-side-up egg yolk is essentially an edible sticker, Tran said.
The Gudetama set menus cost $15 and $16, respectively.
Three dollars from each purchase will be donated to the Japan Society's Kumamoto Relief Fund, to aid victims of April’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake in the Japanese prefecture, said Michael Skedeleski, Eggs 'n Things director of operations.

https://www.eggsnthings.com/

 

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Man finds brunch battle at MW Restaurant

By
September 28th, 2016



Travel Channel host Adam Richman makes a point during a mock brunch battle Wednesday morning. Photo by Erika Engle

Travel Channel host Adam Richman makes a point during a mock brunch battle Wednesday morning. Photo by Erika Engle

The Travel Channel's "Man Finds Food" host Adam Richman is in town briefly for preliminary work for next month’s Hawaii Food and Wine Festival, and participated in a mock Brunch Battle this morning.

The combatants and host gathered at MW Restaurant, owned and operated by husband and wife culinarians Wade Ueoka and Michelle Karr-Ueoka. Chef Lee Anne Wong, of Koko Head Cafe, was paired with "Sunrise" anchor Grace Lee for the mock battle.

Richman and his room-filling, funny personality had the chefs and Lee cracking up as they prepared their respective dishes during a broadcast shoot for Hawaii News Now’s “Sunrise” morning show.

No winner was named after this morning's demonstration, but at the real Brunch Battle during the festival, diners who taste six dishes prepared by three competing teams will decide the victor.

It was impossible to get close-ups of both dishes as they were plated, because the TV shoot was underway.
Wong’s cornflake-crusted French Toast, or what was left of it, was delicious and sweet but balanced, and notably, was not made with a mere slice of bread, but rather a large cuboid, or rectangular prism. The sauce was creamy and not overly sweet. You can see that bacon also was involved.

 

Chef Lee Anne Wong prepared long, thick, rectangular cuboid-shaped French toast, crusted with cornflakes for a mock brunch battle.

Chef Lee Anne Wong prepared long, thick, rectangular cuboid-shaped French toast, crusted with cornflakes for a mock brunch battle.

The base of Ueoka’s French Toast was a thick slice of brioche, crust removed, made by his wife and MW Restaurant pastry chef Michelle. It incorporated savory ingredients such as onions and Hamakua mushrooms, served with a jus made from pork bones and pork belly from Dave Wong’s pig farm, which is run according to traditional Korean practices. Ueoka plated up a new dish for pictures and for tasting.

Chef Wade Ueoka's entry for the mock battle was built on a foundation of brioche with crispy chicharron and savory pork belly as well as a jus made using pork bones.

Chef Wade Ueoka's entry for the mock battle was built on a foundation of brioche with crispy chicharron and savory pork belly as well as a jus made using pork bones.

Both dishes were amazing, though Ueoka said the one prepared this morning might not be the dish that goes into battle the morning of October 30 at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort. He and his wife will brunch-battle against a team comprising Celina Tio, a Kansas City chef and restaurateur and "Top Chef Masters" contestant, and Colin Hazama, executive chef at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel & Resort; and against two-time champions Wong and her teammate, Sven Ullrich, executive chef at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort.

The Hawaii Food and Wine Festival runs from October 14 through 30.

http://www.hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com/

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Kona Grill open in Waikiki

By
September 15th, 2016



Arizona-based Kona Grill has opened its first Hawaii location in the International Market Place, on the third floor Grand Lanai.

The Big Kahuna cheeseburger at Kona Grill. Photos courtesy Kona Grill Inc.

The Big Kahuna cheeseburger at Kona Grill. Photos courtesy Kona Grill Inc.

Offering such items as the Big Kahuna cheeseburger, sushi rolls both traditional and naruto-style, or rice-free, the more than 30-location restaurant company has recently rebranded to avoid using such terms as Hawaiian, or Asian-fusion, to describe its menu offerings.

The Atlantic roll at Kona Grill includes baked salmon, spicy aioli, cucumber, tempura flakes and eel sauce.

The Atlantic roll at Kona Grill includes baked salmon, spicy aioli, cucumber, tempura flakes and eel sauce.

The company calls its 8,380 square-foot restaurant in Waikiki the first of its kind in Hawaii. Led by chef Alejandro Baez, the restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

The Kona Grill bar offers daily pau-hana specials including cocktails and pupu.

http://www.konagrill.com/locations/waikiki-hi

Stripsteak by Michael Mina and Eating House 1849, by Roy Yamaguchi, opened on August 25, the day of the International Market Place opening. Additional restaurants will be opening on the Grand Lanai in the coming months including Chinese dim sum restaurant and tea house Yauatcha, in November; pizza restaurant Flour & Barley, in December; Herringbone, by celebrity chef Brian Malarkey in February; and Japanese restaurant Baku, in Spring of 2017. Other restaurants, including locally based Goma Tei, are characterized on the International Market Place website as "coming soon."

http://www.shopinternationalmarketplace.com/dining_entertainment

 

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Dean & DeLuca previews first Hawaii location

By
September 9th, 2016



Dean & DeLuca’s first Hawaii location is a bright, airy, two-story market, cafe and wine bar at the base of the Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach, at 383 Kalaimoku Street, that will open to the public on Wednesday.

Assistant General Manager Karina Pinto and Executive Chef Johan Svensson of Dean & DeLuca display platters for Star-Advertiser photographer Dennis Oda. Photo by Erika Engle.

Assistant General Manager Karina Pinto and Executive Chef Johan Svensson of Dean & DeLuca display platters for Star-Advertiser photographer Dennis Oda. Blog photos by Erika Engle.

The first floor features a coffee bar and cafe that will offer coffees and other hot or cold drinks with pastries and additional baked goods, as well as ready-to-eat, or heat-and-eat foods that can be purchased for grab-and-go or by-the-pound.
Hawaiian sodas, Dean & DeLuca’s take on Italian sodas, will be offered in tropical flavors including lilikoi, according to General Manager Luke Blubaugh.
The first floor also has a gourmet market with Dean & DeLuca-branded food items and snacks such as coated almonds in a range of flavors, and a variety of chocolate bars, such as salted dark chocolate, and logo items such as tote bags, canvas and insulated, water bottles, and more.

Dean & DeLuca General Manager Luke Blubaugh shows an example of branded merchandise the market will have for sale. Photo by Erika Engle.

Dean & DeLuca General Manager Luke Blubaugh shows an example of branded merchandise the market will have for sale.

Dean & DeLuca chocolate bars on shelving awaiting further stocking.

Dean & DeLuca chocolate bars on shelving awaiting further stocking.

Matcha-flavored coated almonds are among the treats offered at Dean & DeLuca.

Matcha-flavored coated almonds are among the treats offered at Dean & DeLuca.

The second floor wine lounge will offer wines by the glass and noshables such as charcuterie, cheese, or bruschetta platters made using a range of imported, domestic, and made-in-Hawaii products.

An example of a charcuterie platter that will be offered in the second floor wine lounge.

An example of a charcuterie platter that will be offered in the second floor wine lounge.

An example of a cheese platter that will be offered in the second floor wine lounge.

An example of a cheese platter that will be offered in the second floor wine lounge.

An example of a bruschetta trio that will be offered in the second floor wine lounge.

An example of a bruschetta trio that will be offered in the second floor wine lounge. Choices can be mixed and matched.

Specialty meats and cheeses also may be purchased by the pound, and there are 30 to 35 cheeses from which to choose, said Johan Svensson, executive chef for Dean & DeLuca. More are coming from local purveyors, he said. Svensson also is executive chef for BLT Market on the building’s eighth floor.
Dean & DeLuca’s first-floor patio offers outdoor seating for 40, while the second floor lounge can seat as many as 20 people.
Dean & DeLuca will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily starting Wednesday. The first hour of parking is complimentary with a minimum purchase of $30, and costs $4 for each half-hour thereafter.

Corrected: Based on information from the company, a previous version of this story reported a different opening date.

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Hawaii chef trio cooks at James Beard House

By
September 9th, 2016



For chefs, going to the James Beard House is akin to a pilgrimage to Mecca. If they are going there to cook for some 80 guests, a bit more pressure and stress is involved, as one's reputation is at stake in front of a very important audience.

Chefs Shaymus Alwin, Jeremy Shigekane and Carolyn Portuondo of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, A Luxury Collection Resort are in the Big Apple for just such an event, and have been busy preparing for tonight's opportunity to display their culinary mettle.

Chefs Shaymus Alwin, Jeremy Shigekane and Carolyn Portuondo at the Beard House. The giant sunflower pineapple was created by Hawaii event designer Steven Boyle. Photo courtesy the Royal Hawaiian.

Chefs Shaymus Alwin, Jeremy Shigekane and Carolyn Portuondo at the Beard House. The giant sunflower pineapple was created by Hawaii event designer Steven Boyle. Photo courtesy the Royal Hawaiian.

Luckily, the home crowd can watch the cooking unfold beginning at 1 p.m. today (Friday) as the James Beard Foundation's kitchen-cam will live-stream their work in the home-sized kitchen. (See link below.)

Jeremy Shigekane, Shaymus Alwin and Carolyn Portuondo, chefs and pastry chef at the Royal Hawaiian, at a New York City farmers market picking up fresh ingredients. Photo courtesy Royal Hawaiian.

Jeremy Shigekane, Shaymus Alwin and Carolyn Portuondo, chefs and pastry chef at the Royal Hawaiian, at a New York City farmers market picking up fresh ingredients. Photo courtesy Royal Hawaiian.

 

The nine-dish menu features flavors from delicate to bold and playful, with wine pairings prepared in cooperation with Southern Wine & Spirits in Hawaii. One particularly bold choice sure to have the New York food media buzzing, is the serving of a white wine with beef. Alwin is confident in the pairing, which met with positive reviews at a preview dinner last week. He knows it will attract attention, discussion, and debate.

Passed appetizers include heart of palm chawanmushi with Peaky Toe crab, Maine uni and nasturtium, an edible flower; "Abalomi" made with Kona abalone, lomi heirloom tomato and chili water, and Kona Kampachi with caviar served atop a shrimp chip. Dinner comprises Alwin's elegantly plated take on a lobster roll, a nod to his upbringing on the East Coast and his father, who was a lobsterman, as well as dishes highlighting Kauai shrimp, crispy-skinned onaga from Hawaiian waters; and Hawaii Ranchers Ribeye of Beef. Portuondo's dessert is a compressed pineapple butter rum cake with Volcano honey yogurt gelato.

jbh-menu-rh_azure_shaymusalwin16_09-09

The trio, as well as one of Chef Shaymus' childhood friends who also is a chef, started going about their work in the Beard kitchen early this morning, Hawaii time.

Royal Hawaiian Executive Pastry Chef Carolyn Portuondo slices rum cake in the kitchen at the James Beard House. Photo courtesy Royal Hawaiian.

Royal Hawaiian Executive Pastry Chef Carolyn Portuondo slices rum cake in the kitchen at the James Beard House. Photo courtesy Royal Hawaiian.

Royal Hawaiian Executive Sous Chef Jeremy Shigekane prepares crispy-skinned onaga in the James Beard Foundation kitchen. Photo courtesy Royal Hawaiian.

Royal Hawaiian Executive Sous Chef Jeremy Shigekane prepares crispy-skinned onaga in the James Beard Foundation kitchen. Photo courtesy Royal Hawaiian.

Portuondo, Alwin and Shigekane, at the James Beard House preview dinner Sept. 1, around servings of the dish highlighting Kauai shrimp. Photo courtesy the Royal Hawaiian.

Portuondo, Alwin and Shigekane at the James Beard House preview dinner Sept. 1, around servings of the dish highlighting Kauai shrimp. Photo courtesy the Royal Hawaiian.

The action will unfold about 1 p.m. Hawaii time as the chefs prepare the menu dubbed "The Royal Treatment." Guests arriving at the Beard House will be greeted by life-sized "pineapples" and other floral creations by Hawaii event designer Steven Boyle, and hula performed by expat dancers and musicians living in the New York area. Then, the culinary adventure begins.

Watch:

https://www.jamesbeard.org/kitchen-cam

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New Waikiki hot spot lures thousands

By
August 31st, 2016



The redeveloped International Market Place opened in Waikiki this week with thousands of kamaaina and visitors checking out the long-awaited event. All photos by Erika Engle.

A conch shell blower, a Hawaiian chant and speeches by elected- and company officials launched the new IMP.

A conch shell blower, a Hawaiian chant and speeches by elected- and company officials launched the new IMP.

Naturally there were speeches by elected officials and executives with the center's developer, Michigan-based Taubman Centers Inc.

What the crowd was eagerly anticipating, was the doors of about half of the 90 shops and three completed restaurants to open.

Kona Coffee Purveyors, with San Francisco-based b.patisserie inside, had vigorous business on opening day. Photo by Erika Engle.

Kona Coffee Purveyors, with San Francisco-based b.patisserie inside, had vigorous business on opening day.

Belinda Leong, James Beard Award-nominated pastry chef and co-owner of b.patisserie, prepares her famed Kouign-amann pastries for baking. Photo by Erika Engle.

Belinda Leong, James Beard Award-nominated pastry chef and co-owner of b.patisserie, prepares her famed Kouign-amann pastries for baking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honolulu Cookie Co. had a long line of people awaiting the opening of the doors to its shop, which offers free taste-before-you-buy samples of its various baked-in-Hawaii cookie flavors.

New-to-Hawaii candy store Sugarfina, also brightly and cheerfully lit, was packed with people perusing the shop's sweets, many of which are whimsical and geared toward grown-up tastes.

These candy-coated almonds made to look like martini olives. Photo by Erika Engle.

These chocolate-coated almonds are made to look like martini olives.

The shop offers a large assortment of gummies in various flavors. hoto by Erika Engle.

The shop offers a large assortment of gummies in various flavors.

The Cuba libre gummies, taking their inspiration from a rum and cola beverage, are another grown-up-themed candy selection.

The Cuba libre gummies, taking their inspiration from a rum and cola beverage, are another grown-up-themed candy selection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also on the ground floor, a billboard relays a promise of things yet-to-come. The Street, curated by Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Michael Mina and his team, is set to open in the Spring. Among its more than one dozen dining options will be the Ramen Bar, by chef Ken Tominaga. Tominaga and Mina are partners in Pabu, a popular San Francisco izakaya. The Ramen Bar, which serves Tokyo-style ramen right next door to Pabu, in the city's financial district.

The Street, a food hall concept with more than one dozen casual dining options, is to open in the Spring.

The Street, a food hall concept with more than one dozen casual dining options, is to open in the Spring.

On the third floor Grand Lanai, Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi, and Stripsteak, by Mina, were ready to open on the first day of IMP's new life. By 11:15 a.m., the Eating House bar was full, and many of the tables also were full of eager diners.

One view of the large bar at Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi, in Waikiki.

One view of the large bar at Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi, in Waikiki.

The Eating House kitchen was bustling with Executive Chef Mike Leslie calling out orders and cooks churning out orders.

Executive Chef Mike Leslie works on an order with a red-bandanna-wearing crew member.

Executive Chef Mike Leslie works on an order with a red-bandanna-wearing crew member.

A line formed outside Stripsteak as local people sought to try the famed cuisine by an award-winning chef.

On the market place's opening day, local people and visitors got to try award-winning chef Michael Mina's menu, as prepared by Mina and Executive Chef Ben Jenkins.

On the market place's opening day, local people and visitors got to try award-winning chef Michael Mina's menu, as prepared by Mina and Executive Chef Ben Jenkins.

Smartly dressed Stripsteak General Manager Ron Bonifacio was ready for a busy day with sensible, yet whimsical footwear, for which he is known.

Stripsteak General Manager Ron Bonifacio is known for his shoe collection, which includes these hula-girl festooned sneakers.

Stripsteak General Manager Ron Bonifacio is known for his shoe collection, which includes these hula-girl festooned sneakers.

The expansive International Market Place spans nearly six acres, with stores and restaurants on three levels. Touch-screen directories offer helpful navigational guidance, if you'd like to formulate a plan before heading in to Waikiki.

 IMP's large directories are interactive, with touch-screen technology that also allows for scrolling to the desired information.

IMP's large directories are interactive, with touch-screen technology that also allows for scrolling to the desired information.

More restaurants will open on the Grand Lanai in the coming weeks, and additional retailers also will be opening as time progresses. The International Market Place offers 700 parking stalls, and validated parking, though depending on how long you're there, you may still have to use your plastic in order to exit.

 

 

 

 

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SALT eateries prep for prime time

By
July 29th, 2016



Todd Constantino, executive chef, and Mason Hundhausen, general manager of Moku Kitchen, serve Pumpkin Patch ravioli at a preview event. Photo by Erika Engle.

Todd Constantino, executive chef, and Mason Hundhausen, general manager of Moku Kitchen, serve Pumpkin Patch ravioli at a preview event. Photo by Erika Engle.

At some 8,000 square feet, Moku Kitchen by Peter Merriman will be the largest tenant in Kakaako's SALT development when the restaurant opens in October. Executive Chef Todd Constantino and General Manager Mason Hundhausen, as well as a number of other employees, will be making the trek from Monkeypod Kitchen in Ko Olina to open the new restaurant, to ensure a smooth opening, according to Sara Hill, vice president of development and general counsel for parent company Handcrafted Restaurants.

Some menu items will be familiar to Monkeypod Kitchen devotees, while Moku Kitchen also will offer its own signature dishes cooked in a rotisserie oven. Constantino said the oven and the dishes that emerge from it will give the restaurant a point of differentiation from other restaurants.

To see a listing of SALT tenants that are preparing to open and when, as well as places that are open and operating, keep reading.

Handcrafted pot pies, including kalua pork, traditional chicken, and vegetarian kabocha-kale, as well as other combinations, will be offered at the Village Bottle Shop & Tasting Room. Photo by Erika Engle.

Handcrafted pot pies, including kalua pork, traditional chicken, and vegetarian kabocha-kale, as well as other combinations, will be offered at the Village Bottle Shop & Tasting Room.
Photo by Erika Engle.

Village Bottle & Tasting Shop, set to open in early August, is a project by Star-Advertiser beer industry writer Tim Golden and his business partner Daryn Ogino. The "beer cafe," as Golden calls it, will offer a rotating selection of beers and wines on tap, as well as savory pies and other baked goods by HI Pie owner and baker Casey Burns (shown below). Village is "Hawaii's first bottle shop and tasting room," Golden says, as it also is a retail shop that will specialize in beers. The business isn't aiming to offer the largest beer selection, "just, the best," Golden said. A certified cicerone, like a sommelier is for wines, Golden and Ogino plan to curate the shop's selection and offer "beer geeks" and beer noobs, or those new to brews, "a really good experience," he said.

Customers who chose to buy a bottle can enjoy it on-premises for a corkage fee, from $2 to $4, depending on the bottle size, "and we'll give you glasses," for sharing with friends, perhaps at the 19-foot communal table, while smartphone and laptop users can avail themselves of the free WiFi.

"We want people to feel comfortable here, even if it's just for 20 minutes," Golden said.

Given his longstanding relationships with local brewers, the shop will feature local beers, both on tap and bottled for sale. "Hawaii's (beer) scene is strong and vibrant, and we want to help that thrive," said Golden.

HI Pie owner Casey Burns with a box full of the buttery-crusted savory pies she baked fresh this morning for service at Village Bottle Shop & Tasting Room in Kakaako. Photo by Erika Engle.

HI Pie owner Casey Burns with a box full of the buttery-crusted savory pies she baked fresh this morning for service at Village Bottle Shop & Tasting Room in Kakaako. Photo by Erika Engle.

Burns' baked goods also can be found at the four Island Vintage Coffee shops on Oahu, and soon, at Mr. Tea Cafe. One of its two locations is across from Village Bottle Shop & Tasting Room.

Mr. Tea Cafe has become a popular stop among Pokemon GO players, as he offers a discount for active players. Owner George Huang's shops in Kakaako, and at 909 Kapiolani Blvd., specialize in boba teas, smoothies, and other refreshing treats. The SALT location has been open two months, while the Kapiolani Boulevard shop has been open about two years, he said.

A freshly made latte from 9Bar HNL Coffee, Breakfast and Bake Shop. Artful latte by barista Ryan Plaza. Photo by Erika Engle.

A freshly made latte from 9Bar HNL Coffee, Breakfast and Bake Shop. Artful latte by barista Ryan Plaza. Photo by Erika Engle.

Set to open in early August, 9Bar HNL Coffee, Breakfast & Bake Shop is a modern, gleaming mom-and-pop run by former coffee wholesalers Stephen and Tracey Seta. You will not find a countertop espresso machine. Instead, the equipment is built into the counter providing a more open feeling between customers, the barista, and the kitchen in back. Traditional coffee, fancier coffees such as espressos, lattes and the like, as well as still, cold-brews and nitro brews also will be available. The shop's beverage-making technology also will enable customers to order sparkling juices and teas, said Tracey Seta. As for the business name, 9Bar refers to "the pressure required to extract the perfect espresso shot," Stephen Seta said.

Gabrielle Sanehira, an employee at photography shop Treehouse, holds a vintage camera as an example of the store's merchandise. Photo by Erika Engle.

Gabrielle Sanehira, an employee at photography shop Treehouse, holds a vintage camera as an example of the store's merchandise. Photo by Erika Engle.

Photography buffs may already be familiar with Treehouse's Ward Avenue location, above Kramer's Big & Tall shop. It will be moving to the second floor of SALT, set to open by the end of the year. It will be located near the elevators, said employee Gabrielle Sanehira. The photography shop sells vintage cameras, film, and other accoutrements for photogs and hobbyists who like to keep it old-school.

Open, or preparing to open at SALT:

• ARVO - cafe and lunch spot, inside Paiko - open and operating.

• Bevy - a bar and restaurant, often with live entertainment - open and operating.

• Hank's Haute Dogs - gourmet hot dogs, burgers, Italian beef sandwiches and more - open and operating.

• Highway Inn - Hawaiian food and other local favorites - open and operating.

• Juic'd Life - cold-pressed juices - open and operating.

• Lanikai Juice - juices, smoothies, bowls, more - open and operating.

• Lonohana Chocolate - a Manoa-based maker of estate-grown chocolates - opening date pending.

• Moku Kitchen - a new restaurant concept by chef and restaurateur Peter Merriman - opening in October.

• Morning Brew - a Kailua favorite coffee shop and restaurant - opening in the fall.

• Mr. Tea Cafe - specializing in boba teas, smoothies and other refreshments - open and operating.

• 9Bar HNL Coffee, Breakfast and Bake Shop - specialty coffees, teas, all-day breakfast and baked goods - opening early August.

• Orange Theory Fitness - a gym and health studio - opening in the fall.

• Paiko - botanical boutique - open and operating.

•  Sprint - mobile communications, other services - open and operating.

• Starbucks - specialty coffees, meals, baked goods and other snacks - open and operating.

• The Boiling Crab - seafood restaurant, think brown paper on the tables. Its first location in Hawaii - to open first quarter of 2017.

• Treehouse - cameras, vintage cameras, film, and other photography needs - opening by the end of the year.

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Only one Hawaii restaurant among the nation's most-scenic

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July 27th, 2016



According to diners who use OpenTable.com, Mama’s Fish House in Paia, Maui, is the only restaurant in Hawaii that deserves to be listed among the 100 most-scenic U.S. restaurants.
OpenTable.com released its annual list today, compiled from some five million reviews submitted by what OpenTable calls verified users of the site. The reviews covered more than 20,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The big winner among the states was California with nearly one quarter of all the listed restaurants, followed by Washington state with 11, and Florida with seven.
States with four restaurants each include Michigan, Nevada and New York, while Arizona, Georgia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia each have three.
Other states that beat Hawaii, according to OpenTable.com users, were Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, and Utah, with two scenic restaurants apiece.
Alongside Hawaii, other states with one restaurant each on the list are Alaska, Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.

The full list, as posted online, http://www.opentable.com/m/most-scenic-restaurants-2016/ includes the tricky addition of the Chart House's national locations, that are not individually cited on the overall list. The locations listed do not include the similarly named Waikiki restaurant.

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Michelin-starred chef hits local food truck scene

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July 20th, 2016



Ben Jenkins, left, will be executive chef at STRIPSTEAK, one of 17 restaurant concepts by Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Michael Mina, (center). Ron Bonifacio, (right), will serve as the upscale restaurant's general manager. Photo by Erika Engle.

Ben Jenkins, left, will be executive chef at STRIPSTEAK, one of 17 restaurant concepts by Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Michael Mina, (center). Ron Bonifacio, (right), will serve as the upscale restaurant's general manager. Photo by Erika Engle.

To give local people a small taste of what they can expect at STRIPSTEAK by Michael Mina at the International Market Place in August, free Maui onion cheeseburger sliders; BBQ pork spare ribs & charred Mexican street corn; chilled shrimp & onaga bowls, and samples of coconut milk horchata and chef-made “Hawaiian Punch” are being handed out at the corner of Alakea and Beretania Streets until 1 p.m. today, or while supplies last. You will have additional opportunities this afternoon and tomorrow -- so keep reading.

A sample of Michael Mina's BBQ pork rib with charred Mexican street corn was savory, a tad sweet, and its kick of spice came from a brunoise, or fine dice of fresh jalapeno peppers, among other seasonings. Photo by Jose Rodrigues.

A sample of Michael Mina's BBQ pork rib with charred Mexican street corn was savory, a tad sweet, and its kick of spice came from a brunoise, or fine dice of fresh jalapeno peppers, among other seasonings. Photo by Jose Rodrigues.

A bright orange and white food truck parked in a reserved space in a private parking lot, and inside chef Ben Jenkins and his culinary team endured the heat of the morning without the benefit of cooling tradewinds that were blowing about outside, to prepare ribs, sliders and a chilled shrimp and onaga dish. Mina recruited Jenkins from the Michelin-starred Michael Mina restaurant in Las Vegas, to open STRIPSTEAK in Waikiki. Jenkins has been with Mina Group for 18 years, while the restaurant's General Manager Ron Bonifacio, makes the move to Hawaii after opening more than 10 restaurants for the company on the mainland, Bonifacio said.

STRIPSTEAK Hawaii Executive Chef Ben Jenkins holds samples of Maui onion cheeseburger sliders and chilled shrimp & onaga bowls prior to lunch service today. Photo by Erika Engle.

STRIPSTEAK Hawaii Executive Chef Ben Jenkins holds samples of Maui onion cheeseburger sliders and chilled shrimp and onaga bowls prior to lunch service today. Photo by Erika Engle.

The two words "free food" are always a draw, but the words gain a special heft when said food is by a globally known chef and his team.

Anyone who did not make it downtown during lunch hour today can head to Kakaako for the truck's so-called "Happy Hour" from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. this evening at the Honolulu Farmers Market at Blaisdell Center.

Two more opportunities await on Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. downtown at King and Punchbowl Streets, and from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Kewalo Basin at the Makers & Tasters Food Park at 1011 Ala Moana Blvd.

Mina's STRIPSTEAK Hawaii will open at the International Market Place on August 25, alongside dozens of other upscale dining and retail shopping options in the center redeveloped by Michigan-based Taubman Centers. Mina also is spearheading "The Street" at IMP, which the marketing folks are calling a multi-concept gourmet social house. Think Shirokiya Japan Village Walk, only with many varied types of cuisines from around the world. Food halls like these are a growing trend across the mainland.

Mina's plans call for a dozen to 18 vendors in The Street, some of which will be permanent, while others will occupy spaces on a rotating basis, Mina said.

Mina has been a regular visitor to Hawaii for decades, honeymooned with his wife here, and comes at least twice a year. "We tried once to take a vacation somewhere else," Mina said. "We don't try anymore," the family always comes to Hawaii, he said, smiling.

Having arrived last night for this business trip, he and some members of his team ate at MW Restaurant, owned and operated by Alan Wong's alumni Michelle Kerr-Ueoka and Wade Ueoka, and Mina raved about every aspect of the experience from "the hospitality to the quality of the food … it was a great dinner," he said.

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