Town: So pig-headed!

Pig head at the Town barFrom day one, Town‘s Ed Kenney and David Caldiero have been talking of locavorism, house-curing meats, house-made pasta, and other seductive culinary promises. From the first lunch they prepared for me in spring 2005 (before they served their first customer!) to dinner last night, this pono pair has delivered. And not just to so-called foodies, but to the community, as unflagging participants in fundraisers, as the commercial partner of MA‘O Farms and as an affordable spot for the people (check $12 Souper Tuesdays—organic greens and washtub-size bowl of house-made soup).

Four years on every time I go to the restaurant there’s something new and intriguing to try on the daily-changing, local-farmer-supporting menu. Last night it was pig head. Continue reading “Town: So pig-headed!”

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It’s Hiroshi time

bar_biosHiroshi Fukui, the genius behind Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas, does three “contemporary kaiseki” dinners a year. And they’re always sellouts. Once you try one, you’ll know why half the crowd is there every single time. Hiroshi creates nine completely new dishes. Master sommelier Chuck Furuya chooses wines to go with each one. If you’ve been feeling like life is kinda blah lately, book a table at this Thursday’s contemporary kaiseki. Everything will seem better, at least for a couple hours. The dinner starts off with beef and foie gras “shabu shabu” style and includes gomadare gelee, yuzu kanten, Tokyo negi, scallions and hot konbu cha. I can’t wait to see what the quotation marks mean. There’s also “chowder,” a “sandwich” and a “parfait.” Hiroshi is the best at culinary puns. Check the full menu. Continue reading “It’s Hiroshi time”

My brother and Marco Pierre White

img_01771I’m proud of my brother. We were worried he wouldn’t graduate from high school (he went to Roosevelt for a year and finished up at the international school in Bahrain) and now he oversees the world’s largest “capacity airline catering kitchen” in Dubai. (Yes, the airline is Emirates.) He says that “there are quite a lot of people that want to come and take a look.” Continue reading “My brother and Marco Pierre White”

George in the Beard House, he Tweets experience

chefmavroGeorge Mavrothalassitis, aka Chef Mavro, just dropped off some Big Island abalone at the James Beard House in New York City. How do I know? He tweeted about it. (It’s also sunny and beautiful in Gotham.) He’s preparing for tomorrow night’s big dinner/fundraiser in honor of Mildred Amico, who for 22 years is the person who booked the chefs who cooked at this culinary center. Mildred has met them all, and she chose nine of her favorites for this $500-a-seat dinner. Mavrothalassitis is one of them. Alongside him in the kitchen will be: Florian Bellanger (Mac Mac and Ruby et Violette), Ed Brown (Eight One), Rebecca Charles (Pearl Oyster Bar), Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier (Arrows), Eric Ripert (Le Bernardin), Ming Tsai (Blue Ginger), and Takashi Yagihashi (Takashi). They’ll all be in the historic James Beard House in Greenwich Village. Continue reading “George in the Beard House, he Tweets experience”

Azure review: The beautiful room is not empty

azureLast month the Royal Hawaiian reopened with much fanfare. And a new restaurant. I never have high hopes for hotel restaurants here. The Sheraton fell flat with Twist and RumFire—their food is as lackluster as the settings are mesmerizing (there must be some sort of Demetri Martin equation there). But dinner at sister operation Azure last week? Boy did that quash my skepticism.

What was the Surf Room is now a grand, cool, all-white space, with the kind of head room you find in spots like 11 Madison Park—OK, maybe not that high, but just so phenomenally airy and with a real ceiling, not that Styrofoam stuff so many local rooms have to settle for. It immediately makes the list of best dining rooms on the island, along with spots like La Mer, Nobu Waikiki and Kaiwa (topic for a future blog post!). More after the jump. Continue reading “Azure review: The beautiful room is not empty”

Happiness is a warm pain au chocolat

pain au chocolatWhen I moved back to Hawai‘i six years ago after being away for 17, I brought with me a suitcasefull of cravings. For two years they lay dormant as I luxuriated in the poke explosion and plate lunches and nostalgic Liliha Bakery orange freezes. The sanctification of local produce by George Mavrothalassitis, Alan Wong, Ed Kenney, Hiroshi Fukui et al mixed with our island ocean bounty had me all lucky-I-eat-Hawai‘i. I discovered pa‘i ‘ai and swore off supermarket bag poi. But my tongue has TDD and in time those cravings awakened. I wanted what I couldn’t have. I complained that I couldn’t find skirt steak in the markets (Whole Foods solved that). I complained that I couldn’t buy fresh cavatelli. I told myself “You’re in the middle of the Pacific, relish what you CAN get.” “Shut up, I want a pain au chocolat!”  And every time I found one somewhere in town (like Panya), I tried it. And every time I was bitterly disappointed. Until today. Continue reading “Happiness is a warm pain au chocolat”