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New Kailua breakfast, brunch spot, ready to open

By
July 12th, 2016



Kailua Eggs ($12), a Nik Lobendahn signature dish riffing on congee, comprising rice, Portuguese sausage, rice and two sunny-side-up eggs from Waimanalo, with Lobendahn's special bacon-cabbage broth poured tableside.

Kailua Eggs ($12), a Nik Lobendahn signature dish riffing on congee, comprises rice, Portuguese sausage, rice and two sunny-side-up eggs from Waimanalo, with Lobendahn's special bacon-cabbage broth poured table-side. Photo by Erika Engle.

A media preview this morning offered a glimpse of savory and sweet breakfasts, and savory lunches to come, starting Wednesday morning in Kailua. Those who aren't early risers but still love breakfast fare will appreciate that breakfast is served as long as the restaurant is open.

Over Easy, at 418 Kuulei Road, is the fruition of a longtime dream for Nik and Jen Lobendahn, both alumni of chef and restaurateur Alan Wong's culinary empire.

Put the toast and bacon on the side, mix up the remaining ingredients in the bowl, and dig in using toast and/or bacon. Photo by Erika Engle.

Put the toast and bacon on the side, mix up the remaining ingredients in the Brunch Bowl, and dig in using toast and/or bacon. Photo by Erika Engle.

The Brunch Bowl (above, $11) is served with sourdough toast made from a starter that Jen Lobendahn has been feeding for seven years. It is delicious. Also served with the bowl, the bacon and the toast can be used in place of utensils once the remaining contents in the bowl are mixed together, stone-pot-bi-bim-bap style. Lobendahn makes his own yogurt and tomato jam, and adds avocado, spinach and soft-cooked OK Farm eggs from Waimanalo.

Okinawan sweet potatoes, lomi tomato, OK Farm eggs, green goddess dressing, cilantro. Photo by Erika Engle.

Okinawan sweet potatoes, lomi tomato, OK Farm eggs and cilantro atop a bed of restaurant-made kalua pork, surrounded by a swirl of green goddess dressing. Photo by Erika Engle.

 

Potato puree, bacon crumble, French bread, topped with poached eggs, served with greens. Photo by Erika Engle.

French bread, topped with poached eggs, potato puree and crumbled bacon, served with greens. Photo by Erika Engle.

The Potato n’ Eggs ($13) is Chef Nik's playful take on Eggs Benedict, using flavorful potato puree in place of Hollandaise sauce, perfectly poached OK Farm eggs from Waimanalo atop French bread, topped with a bacon crumble and served with greens. Because you may share the writer's interest in egg-yolk porn, the following photo is provided as a bonus.

Because you too, might enjoy a close up of the luxurious, silky egg yolk the dish offers. Photo by Erika Engle.

Sigh. Photo by Erika Engle.

 

Soaked in custard and coated in crushed Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, this thick and hearty French Toast is crunchy and creamy. The restaurant-made blood orange creme fraiche adds another dimension of dreaminess. Photo by Erika Engle.

Soaked in custard and coated in crushed Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, this thick and hearty French Toast is crunchy and creamy. The restaurant-made blood orange creme fraiche adds another dimension of dreaminess. Photo by Erika Engle.

Custard French Toast (Full order $13, half-order $8). The thick-sliced Punaluu sweet bread from Hawaii island is soaked in custard and coated with crushed Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, and is served with blood orange creme fraiche and berries. The toast takes 15 minutes to bake, and is absolutely worth the wait. It could just be the best French Toast you will ever encounter.

Chef-made pork sausage by Nik Lobendahn of Over Easy, in Kailua. Initially porky and sweet, the kick of chili pepper flakes intensifies slightly at the end of each bite. Photo by Erika Engle.

Chef-made pork sausage ($5) by Nik Lobendahn of Over Easy, in Kailua. Initially porky and sweet, the kick of chili pepper flakes intensifies slightly at the end of each bite. Photo by Erika Engle.

A side order of Crispy Mixed Potatoes ($4) is just that, crispy and flavorful outside, soft and comforting inside. Photo by Erika Engle.

A side order of Crispy Mixed Potatoes ($4) is just that, crispy and flavorful outside, soft and comforting inside. Photo by Erika Engle.

 

Lunch at Over Easy is served beginning at 11 a.m., though breakfast is available during all hours of operation.

Fried chicken sandwich ($11). Buttermilk-brined chicken breast, breaded with signature mixture and fried; served with cole slaw and Asian aioli on a French roll, and a choice of mixed greens or French fries. Photo by Erika Engle.

Fried chicken sandwich ($11). Buttermilk-brined chicken breast, coated with a signature breading mixture and fried; served with cole slaw and Asian aioli on a French roll, and a choice of mixed greens or French fries. Photo by Erika Engle.

One of the four standard lunch choices is a Fried Chicken Sandwich, comprising buttermilk-brined chicken breast, breaded and fried, and served atop a French roll with Asian aioli. Also on the menu are a Quinoa and Mixed Seed Salad ($10); the Over Easy burger ($10); or the Coconut Shrimp Burger ($13).

Keiki can choose a grilled cheese sandwich ($6) or fried chicken strips ($8) for lunch, offered with a choice of carrot sticks or French fries.

Over Easy serves Kailua-based Chadlou’s Roast Coffee, made with beans grown on Maui, roasted especially for the restaurant. Other drinks include its signature Bloody Mary made with fresh tomatoes, onion, wasabi, celery salt, house-pickled vegetable and bacon; a lilikoi mimosa, and among other non-alcoholic choices, bright and refreshing  Calamansi limeade.

The Bloody Mary at Over Easy is a unique and eye-popping blend of fresh tomatoes, wasabi, pickled vegetables and bacon. Photo by Erika Engle.

The Bloody Mary at Over Easy is a unique and eye-popping blend of fresh tomatoes, wasabi, pickled vegetables and bacon. Photo by Erika Engle.

In addition to traditional mimosas, Over Easy offers a lilikoi mimosa. Photo by Erika Engle.

In addition to traditional mimosas, Over Easy offers a lilikoi mimosa. Photo by Erika Engle.

The non-alcoholic drink includes calamansi and lime juices, lime zest and simple syrup. Photo by Erika Engle.

This refreshing non-alcoholic Calamansi Limeade includes calamansi and lime juices, lime zest and simple syrup. Photo by Erika Engle.

Over Easy will open to the public Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon. It will open for its regular hours, from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Closed Mondays, its regular schedule will be Tuesdays through Sundays, 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

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Favorite isle restaurants, foodie finds, featured

By
July 8th, 2016



Jeremy and Wendy Gilbert sip fresh coconut juice at the Twin Falls Farm Stand along the Road to Hana, on Maui. Photo courtesy of Travel Channel

Jeremy and Wendy Gilbert sip fresh coconut juice at the Twin Falls Farm Stand along the Road to Hana, on Maui.
Photo courtesy of Travel Channel

The Travel Channel series “Island Explorers” continues its series about Hawaii’s major islands this weekend with “Capturing Kauai” and “Mastering Maui, both airing Sunday.
Local couple Wendy and Jeremy Gilbert will show viewers Kauai classics including Hamura’s Saimin, Aunty Sandy’s banana bread in Hana, as well as the Maui Chocolate Tour.
The premiere episodes of the show shot on Oahu and Hawaii island, took viewers to a blend of iconic as well as off-the-beaten path experiences, including kava sampling.
“Island Explorers: Capturing Kauai” will air at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m., while “Island Explorers: Mastering Maui” will be shown at 8:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on the Travel Channel.
All four episodes will have an encore showing on Sunday, July 24, beginning at 2 p.m.

http://www.travelchannel.com/shows/island-explorers

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Poke preserver still passionate

By
June 2nd, 2016



Chef Sam Choy sure knows how to work a room.

Chef Sam Choy prepares for a poke demonstration and a talk to culinary educators at ChefZone.

Chef Sam Choy prepares for a poke demonstration and a talk to culinary educators at ChefZone. Photo by Erika Engle.

Talking to a group of culinary educators from Hawaii high schools and community colleges, including some retirees who remain active, he had them in rapt attention as well as roll-laughing as he shared personal experiences and amusing stories to help them continue to keep their students — the next generation of Hawaii’s culinarians — inspired.

It didn’t hurt that there also would be pounds and pounds of expertly prepared poke, as well as numerous small plates prepared by Chef Jacqueline Lau assisted by her son Dustin.

Chef Jacqueline Lau and her son Justin prepare some small plates for presentation to members of the Hawaii Culinary Education Foundation at ChefZone. Photo by Erika Engle.

The gathering at ChefZone, staged by the Hawai‘i Culinary Education Foundation, was to give educators insights into Choy’s culinary journey, offer practical tips on minimizing food waste, see a demonstration of classic and contemporary poke dishes, and to watch the chef prepare a dish from a box of mystery ingredients.

Choy demonstrated a recipe which included only pre-contact ingredients, and he shared a recipe.

Before Captain Cook Poke

Ingredients:

1 lb fresh ahi, cut into 3/4-inch dice
1 teaspoon Hawaiian salt
3/4 cup limu kohu*
2 tablespoons inamona*
2 Hawaiian bird chilies, minced (optional)

Method:

In a bowl, mix ahi with salt and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Choy’s secret tip is to serve the poke very, very cold, paired with beer or a good wine.

* Choy says limu kohu and inamona can be purchased from Young’s Fish Market and Haili’s Hawaiian Foods.

Made with pre-Western-contact ingredients including Choy's favorite limu (kohu).

Made with pre-Western-contact ingredients including Choy's favorite limu (kohu). Photo by Erika Engle.

Choy insisted about being kept in the dark as far as the contents of his mystery basket. He wanted it to be the way it was when he appeared on “Chopped,” on Food Network.

When he opened the basket he found: fish sauce; cardamom pods; tomatoes, pre-packaged, fully cooked bone-in braised shortribs; cilantro, Guilin Style Chili Sauce (Lee Kum Kee brand); and Big Island macadamia nut honey.

He put the ribs into a hot skillet, tossed in some cilantro, added water, which he jokingly referred to as chicken stock; tasted the chili sauce and added just a little bit, perhaps a generous teaspoon; drizzled in some mac nut honey and squeezed in fresh lime juice followed by a generous splash of fish sauce. At some point he took a single cardamom pod, crushed and minced it, and added a portion of it to the sauce, then almost-surreptitiously tossed what remained on the knife blade over his shoulder, drawing a chuckle from the crowd. He cut the tomato into wedges and added some to the pan. After tasting the sauce he was building, he added more honey and more “chicken stock” (water, in this case), and then added the remaining tomato wedges to the pan, stirring as he went along. Choy took a one-pound block of butter from the refrigerator and cut off about a 3/4- to one-inch deep prism shape off the end of the block, cut it into smaller pieces, and added it to the pan sauce to enrich it.

The short ribs were placed atop scoops of rice on long rectangular plates, which each then got some tomato on one end, and a generous spoonful of the butter-enhanced pan sauce on the other end. Decadent was a word one might use to describe the fall-apart tender meat slathered with the pan sauce. That’s why he’s Chef Sam Choy, and we are but mere mortals.

The dish Chef Sam Choy made from a mystery basket.

The deliciously decadent dish Chef Sam Choy made from a mystery basket. Photo by Erika Engle.

After the demonstration and the noshing on two types of poke Choy made and Lau’s dishes including “Foil Chicken” comprising red chili chicken, charred lime and goat cheese; spicy shrimp remoulade with pickled vegetables on buttered toast; fried garlic noodles with sesame, green onion and basil, and sweet corn griddle cakes served with orange, onion and crisp bacon marmalade, participants heard a presentation from HCEF sponsor Hawai‘i Gas, and then it was time for the culinary teachers' sessions with professional chef mentors for program planning.

Chef Jackie Lau's "Foil Chicken," “comprising red chili chicken, charred lime and goat cheese.

Chef Jackie Lau's "Foil Chicken," “comprising red chili chicken, charred lime and goat cheese.

Chef Jackie Lau's spicy shrimp remoulade with pickled vegetables on buttered toast.

Chef Jackie Lau's spicy shrimp remoulade with pickled vegetables on buttered toast.

Fried garlic noodles with sesame, green onion and basil, by Chef Jackie Lau.

Fried garlic noodles with sesame, green onion and basil, by Chef Jackie Lau.

Sweet corn griddle cakes served with orange, onion and crisp bacon marmalade, by Chef Jackie Lau.

Sweet corn griddle cakes served with orange, onion and crisp bacon marmalade, by Chef Jackie Lau. Photos by Erika Engle.

More on Choy’s talk and his “new wave” poke will be in Wednesday’s Crave in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

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Hawaii Restaurant Hall of Fame nominees sought

By
May 31st, 2016



The Hawaii Restaurant Association is accepting nominations for its 10th annual Hall of Fame awards program, which honors people and companies for industry achievements.
Winners chosen will have a track record of contributing to the enhancement of the restaurant and foodservice industry; providing service to the industry through civic or educational outreach, and for demonstrating dedication and commitment to the growth of the industry.
The 2015 winners included chefs and restaurateurs Alan Wong and Ed Kenney; Roy and Dora Hayashi of Like Like Drive Inn; Glenn Tamura, of  Tamura’s Market and Tamura’s Fine Wine & Liquors; and inductees from the neighbor islands as well.
Nominations will be accepted through June 30, with the Hawaii Restaurant Hall of Fame Awards Dinner scheduled for September 21 at a yet-to-be-announced venue.
Nominations may be submitted online here .

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Foodies can nom nom nominate faves for new food and drink awards

By
May 26th, 2016



The inaugural Taste Talks Food & Drink Awards has just been announced for September, and organizers are inviting nominations and votes for 30 categories of awards. There's also a possible prize for those who submit nominations.

TasteTalks_logo_BLUE_1000x213

Categories include best food startup, best food-related Instagram account, and best nonprofit. The awards also are intended to highlight chefs, restaurants, innovators, and food media, according to the Taste Talks website.
Mo Rocca, a “CBS Sunday Morning” correspondent and host of cable shows such as “Henry Ford's Innovation Nation” and “My Grandmother's Ravioli,” will host the awards ceremony in New York Sept. 26.

Rocca will host Taste Talks' inaugural food and drink awards program in September. Courtesy photo.

Rocca will host Taste Talks' inaugural food and drink awards program in September.
Courtesy photo.

"The only thing I like better than eating is awards shows," said Rocca in a statement, adding, “I hope there's an ‘In Memoriam’ for all the great meals I devoured in the last year."

Members of the team behind Taste Talks, an online editorial platform and national festival series, aren’t all based in New York City, though Taste Talks was created from a so-called thought leadership conference and barbecue in Brooklyn. It now is three, weekend-long food, drink, culture and music events in New York and elsewhere.

"We've created a culinary awards program that is celebrating what's inspiring the new generation of food and drink lovers," said Awards Director Will Levitt. "We're excited to celebrate America's best people, places and ideas in food, with a real focus on culture, innovation and diversity."

Nominations from the public will be voted on by Taste Talks Voting Academy members, who include musician and pop culture figure Questlove, pastry chef and Momofuku Milk Bar founder and owner Christina Tosi, Dominique Ansel, owner of a self-named bakery and creator of the cronut, or doughnut made like a croissant, as well as dozens of others.
Producers of the awards program have created a short video to promote the awards competition.

Nominations can be submitted free online, here,  through June 20. Each Friday, people who submit nominees will be entered to win free tickets to the awards show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Howard Gilman Opera House.

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Food and wine fest features fish

By
May 25th, 2016



This opah, or moonfish, was presented at the United Fishing Agency auction. It is also known as Moonfish.

This opah, or moonfish, was presented at the United Fishing Agency auction.

Tuesday started early for Hawaii Food and Wine Festival participants who wanted to see Honolulu’s famed fish auction and visit Tamashiro Market to sample poke.
Chefs George Mavrothalassitis and Lee Anne Wong accompanied the tour and talked story with paid guests, answering questions along the way. They were to conduct a poke demonstration at the  Kahala Hotel & Resort, host hotel for the HF&WF Culinary Journey launch event.
John Kaneko of the nonprofit Hawaii Seafood Council led the United Fishing Agency fish auction tour, which started pier-side with an explanation of how commercial long-line fishing boat crews lay their lines while out on the ocean, with hooks at depths ranging from 50 meters to 350 meters.
With some 3,000 baited hooks, the percentage of fish caught each time the line is laid, is 1.1, he said. “Ninety-nine of 100 hooks are empty,” he said, so the boats are out for 11 to 14 days, and immediately process the fish and stow them below deck on ice.
Once inside United Fishing Agency, the auction was in full swing, with pallets of fish being wheeled in as Kaneko explained the differences between the grades of fish, the basics of what to look for when choosing fish at the market, and more.

John Kaneko, of the nonprofit Hawaii Seafood Council, explains the fresh fish grading process.

John Kaneko, of the nonprofit Hawaii Seafood Council, explains the fresh fish grading process.

The fish are laid side-by-side with a portion of the tail cut out, yielding a flat, or fileted cut and a “steak” cut, as well as a cored sample. The auctioneer barks out information about each fish, and fish buyers stake their claims before moving on to the next fish.
For those of us who are not experts, the differences between the big eye ahi flesh from fish to fish was stunning. Color and texture ranged from lusciously glistening and red, to lighter red with pinky, fatty tissue prized by many, to brown and dull, some with space between the muscle tissue. Kaneko described the latter as “gaping,” and said the brown flesh definitely would not be destined for use as sashimi.
Anything at the supermarket that is cherry red and “screaming at you” has likely been gassed with carbon monoxide to enhance the fish’s color, Kaneko said. The council offers fish auction tours via its website.

It was then on to Tamashiro Market, where owner Guy Tamashiro, a regular at the fish auction, is getting a new parking lot at his North King Street shop.
Tamashiro’s is known not just as one of the go-to stops for New Year’s ahi, but for selling reef fish and other seafoods popular with local residents, as well as produce including green papaya, marungay leaves, raw peanuts, and other items not readily found at many supermarkets.
Of the reef fish, Uhu is very popular, Tamashiro said.
They live in “harems,” Tamashiro explained, adding that if the male should die, a dominant female will transform into a male to keep the group going. Males are blue, and females are red, and while undergoing the gender change, the red female will begin to turn blue.
“I only learned that today,” said Mavro, though he loves cooking uhu, and says the female of the species has a superior flavor.

Tamashiro Market owner Guy Tamashiro pulled two uhu from the display, to show the gender-changing process the formerly female one in front had been undergoing. The blue fish immediately behind it, is male.

Tamashiro Market owner Guy Tamashiro pulled two uhu from the display, to show the gender-changing process the formerly female one in front had been undergoing. The blue fish immediately behind it, is male.

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Poke sales help once-active surfer

By
May 13th, 2016



Through May, Da Hawaiian Poke Co. will donate $3 from every Friends of Mycah poke bowl sold to help offset the Muranaka family's medical expenses.

Through May, Da Hawaiian Poke Co. will donate $3 from every Friends of Mycah poke bowl sold to help offset the Muranaka family's medical expenses. Photo by Upspring Media.

 

The Manoa Elementary School Festival of Music & Fair from 2:30 to 7 p.m. today promises bouncy-house fun for kids, a bake sale, silent  auction of donated goods and more, including an opportunity to help a young local man with a rare disorder.

Mycah Muranaka, 20, was diagnosed with Surfer’s Myelopathy that has paralyzed him from the waist down since January.

While out on the water, Mycah may have hyperextended his back muscles and pinched a crucial blood vessel, said his father Kyle. By the time he was loaded into the ambulance, “he couldn’t feel his legs,” he said. Since his hospital stay, he has returned home and has been undergoing rehabilitative therapy.

Cody Okimoto, a teacher at Ma‘e Ma‘e Elementary, told his friend Mark Oyama about the situation affecting the former Ma‘e Ma‘e student.
“We were touched by the story of Mycah and all he is doing to persevere during this challenging time in his life,” said Oyama, a partner in Da Hawaiian Poke Company, in a statement. “We wanted to be able to help him and his family by raising funds to assist them with their medical expenses and let them know that in Hawaii, we stick together and we wish the very best for them.”
The company’s sale of the Friends of Mycah poke bowl at a recent fundraiser at the school raised $600 to assist Muranaka’s family.

The Friends of Mycah bowl contains spicy ahi poke, sweet chili sauce, furikake and tempura chips on a bed of sushi rice.​ It is being sold today at Manoa Elementary's Manoa Festival of Music and Fair until 7 p.m.

The festival is at Manoa District Park, 2721 Kaaipu Ave., off Lowrey Avenue. Mycah Muranaka participated in athletic events in Manoa in his younger days, his father said.

The overall purpose of today’s festival is to benefit Manoa School Association of Parents and Teachers, but $3 of each $12 Mycah bowl sold will contribute to Muranaka’s continuing recovery. Additionally, Da Hawaiian Poke Co. will sell $7 tickets for its Smoked Ahi Dip that can be redeemed at its shop in the Safeway Kapahulu Center. Each dip sale at the Manoa event will result in a $3 donation to help offset Muranaka’s medical costs as well.

Da Hawaiian Poke Co. will continue selling the Friends of Mycah bowl throughout the month of May, and will continue to donate $3 from each bowl sold, to the Muranaka family.

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Kenney opens first Waikiki eatery

By
April 29th, 2016



Caption pending email/call from Ed Kenney.

The Mahina & Sun's version of Portuguese Bean Soup, created by chef-owner Ed Kenney. Rather than canned kidney beans, Mahina & Sun's uses borlotti beans, and the soup is topped with a crispy, soft-boiled egg breaded in parmesan cheese, as well as fresh local watercress, and, according to Kenney, "a few glugs of extra virgin olive oil." Photo courtesy Mahina & Sun's.

Chef and restaurateur Ed Kenney has opened his first restaurant in Waikiki, adding a fourth restaurant to his ventures.

Mahina & Sun’s opened Thursday at Surfjack Hotel & Swim, where it is open for grab-and-go breakfast service from 6:30 to 11:30 a.m., and dinner service from 5:30 to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Its hours eventually will expand.

"At Mahina & Sun’s we strive to provide locals and visitors alike with food and a dining experience that is fresh and new but also very comforting and rooted in nostalgia," chef-owner Ed Kenney told the Star-Advertiser.

The pictured Portuguese Bean Soup was recently ordered by visitors from Los Angeles and New York.

"Both licked the bowl clean, stating that it was reminiscent of something their moms would have made -- only better," Kenney said.

Signature dishes include Town’s Aku Tartare with risotto, named for one of Kenney’s Kaimuki restaurants, for $13, as well as a Kuahiwi Ranch burger for $18.

A family dining option includes a whole two- to three-pound opakapaka served with three sauces and several side dishes and dessert.

The restaurant also offers room service options to guests of the hotel, located at 412 Lewers St.

Kenney, a four-time James Beard Award semifinalist, also owns Mud Hen Water, Kaimuki Superette and Town, in Kaimuki.

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Poke Pau Hana pairs seafood and suds

By
April 19th, 2016



This card, printed on two sides, illustrates which craft beers pair best with Foodland poke varieties. It will be available in stores and on the Foodland website.

This card, printed on two sides, illustrates which craft beers pair best with Foodland poke varieties. It will be available in stores and on the Foodland website.

Starting bright and early Wednesday morning, Foodland Super Market will up its already-go-to poke-purveyor status with a craft beer pairing program called Poke Pau Hana.

In a partnership with Southern Wine & Spirits, Foodland and Sack N Save locations will show customers the craft beers that pair best with 10 of its 20 different poke choices.

It will be "a whole new tasting experience … a whole new way of enjoying poke," said Sheryl Toda, Foodland senior director of marketing and corporate communications, at a Tuesday evening "sneak peak" tasting event at which nary a green bottle was in sight.

Starting Wednesday customers will see a variety of the beers displayed at the seafood counters where the poke is sold. Two-sided tasting cards, like the one pictured here, will be available to customers looking to make pairing choices and to make their own notations about what they liked about each pairing — or didn't. Cards and information touting the program also will be available near the beer displays.

This card, printed on two sides, illustrates which craft beers pair best with Foodland poke varieties. It will be available in stores and on the Foodland website.

This card, printed on two sides, illustrates which craft beers pair best with Foodland poke varieties. It will be available in stores and on the Foodland website.

Sampling will be offered at select stores, Toda said, and each week a discounted price will be offered on the featured craft beer. Information about which stores will offer samplings will be shared via Foodland's social media channels.

The pairings were achieved by Foodland and Southern Wine & Spirits culinary staff; cicerones, or certified beer professionals; and executives, during meetings that included some "robust discussions," said Foodland Corporate Chef Keoni Chang. Working their way through as many as 50 craft beers, the choices were made. The hope is that the suggested pairings won't be an end-all for customers, but rather the beginning of "a journey," and further "conversation," Chang said.

He and Southern Wine & Spirits officials on hand encouraged tasters to linger over the flavors in both the poke and the beer, to let their palates discern how the flavors in each poke sample balanced or complemented — or even contrasted with — the notes in each beer's taste profile.

For the tasting event, seafood managers from different Foodland locations prepared poke freshly, on-site, for sampling by guests, along with a small pouring of the selected brew. Each tasting station offered water and so-called dump buckets to rinse out the provided glasses so as to keep the flavor of each new sampled beer, true.

One highly popular choice for the night was the local favorite spicy ahi poke, paired with New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale, which some enthusiasts said has recently become available in Hawaii.

This post eventually will be updated with some photos of the pairings, but this writer wanted you to be informed of the new Poke Pau Hana program at Foodland as soon as possible because, as they say, 'it's five o'clock somewhere.'

 

 

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Sea asparagus makes for bright, briny dishes

By
March 31st, 2016



Kahuku sea asparagus adds a briny brightness to this dish, balanced with local sweet onion and local tomatoes and tofu. Photo by Erika Engle.

Kahuku sea asparagus adds a briny brightness to this dish, balanced with local sweet onion and local tomatoes and tofu.
Photo by Erika Engle.

You may have tasted lomi sea asparagus from the farmers market and wondered how to make it at home.

Thankfully the grower of the briny greens, Kahuku-based Marine Agrifuture LLC which does business as Olakai Hawaii, has a recipe posted on its website. It's super-easy to make and the only cooking involved is boiling water, if you choose to blanch the sea asparagus. However, you don't even have to do that, a rinse or soak also is sufficient. The longer you cold-water rinse or soak (changing the water occasionally), the less salty your sea asparagus will become. A word of caution for water-boilers: If you blanch it long enough to remove the briny taste, you will ruin the color and the texture.

The version I have been making, as pictured, is an adaptation and is 100-percent local starting with the star of the show, Kahuku sea asparagus. It includes Ho Farms grape tomatoes, Ewa sweet onion from Aloun Farm and a firm block of Aloha Tofu. No dressing is needed. The briny flavor of the sea asparagus coupled with the sweet-yet-peppery onion, the sweet-yet-bright flavor of the tomatoes and the neutral but protein-packed tofu combines beautifully and feels like the "clean eating" people keep talking about.

If, after tasting the dish, you still want to add your favorite dressing, a drizzle of sesame oil, chili pepper water, chili oil, or whatever, nobody is going to call the home-cooking police.

For light eaters the dish could be a "Meatless Monday" dinner in itself with rice, somen noodles, or other carb of choice. This week at my house, the sea asparagus salad, which could almost be referred to as a tofu poke, was served alongside rice and Crock Pot Kalua pork rubbed with locally made Kiawe-flavored liquid smoke and alaea salt.

The sea asparagus is purchased from Foodland when it's on sale, usually on one of its Buy Local Tuesdays which you can learn about by signing up for emails from the store. This dish became part of the family menu plan on Sunday when the email arrived. Any creative help one can get with meal-planning is welcome, lest one fall into a predictable rut.

There's also hope for those whose kitchens don't see much action in terms of food prep. If a recent poke-stop in Mililani Mauka is any indication, you might find that some poke purveyors offer Kahuku sea asparagus as a by-request, if not a regular option. Chef Elmer Guzman's Poke Stop crew had some fresh sea asparagus on the day I asked if they offered the ingredient in any of its poke preparations, and half a pound of luscious red ahi cubes, briny sea asparagus and other ingredients made its way back home with me to the Windward side.

Lomi Kahuku Sea Asparagus

For a large family, or a potluck:

2 4-ounce containers of Kahuku sea asparagus, quick-blanched, dunked into an ice bath, drained and cut into roughly 1-inch lengths

1/2 a large Ewa sweet onion, halved horizontally and thinly sliced vertically into roughly 1-inch lengths

1 container Ho Farms grape tomatoes, washed and halved (or your choice of tomato, diced)

1 20-ounce block Aloha Tofu, cubed and drained of excess liquid (or more, or less, or omit)

Place ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss until combined.

Sit back and await the compliments, but don't forget to serve yourself a portion as well.

On the 'Net:

http://olakaihawaii.com/

http://www.seaoflifeusa.com/Olakai/recipes.html

http://www.aloha-tofu.com/

http://alounfarms.com/

http://www.foodland.com/

http://www.hofarms.com/index.html

http://poke-stop.com/

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