Chris Kajioka, Shigeru Kobayashi and Mourad Lahlou at Café Miro, which will retain its name under its new owners.

Chris Kajioka teams with Mourad Lahlou to open Honolulu’s only French bistro

While interviewing Senia co-chef Chris Kajioka about his new project Bar Māze last month, I learned even bigger news: “I’m opening a French bistro with Mourad in the Café Miró space.” Mourad is Mourad Lahlou, chef-owner of his eponymous restaurant in San Francisco, and half of the city’s It Couple, with San Francisco Ballet principal dancer Mathilde Froustey. I think I just looked at Kajioka, … Continue reading Chris Kajioka teams with Mourad Lahlou to open Honolulu’s only French bistro

New and about to be new

While the #HFWF2013 grandstanding frenzy inundates your instagram feed, just a reminder that when the celeb chefs leave town, there are some new places anyone can visit anytime, and others to look forward to! • The Pig & the Lady opens next month. No more being beholden to the Farmers Market schedule and sold-out pop-up dinners to get your fix of Andrew Le’s elegant Southeast-Asian-influenced cuisine … Continue reading New and about to be new

New + notable: Café Julia

Every few years, the downtown YWCA’s café—for more than a decade known as Café Laniakea—gets a new chef, gets buzz, then goes off the radar (or closes altogether). All kinds of locally known names have helmed the kitchen—such as Town’s Ed Kenney (Wanda Adams announced his appointment in the Honolulu Advertiser in 2003, reporting that the café’s new motto was “Local first, organic whenever possible … Continue reading New + notable: Café Julia

Chris Kajioka reunites with Ron Siegel

I feel like I’m working on a soap opera script, following chef Chris Kajioka. Two months after I interviewed him and Mourad Lahlou (see below) in September, the Hawai‘i-born chef went through a tearful divorce (I keed! It was all amicable) and reunited with his old flame Ron Siegel at the Ritz Carlton’s new restaurant Parallel 37 (they gutted the eight-year-old Dining Room). Seigel is … Continue reading Chris Kajioka reunites with Ron Siegel

Pier joy

The Vertical Junkies—the party-and-promotions group—are turning into restaurateurs. First they teamed up with former Nobu pastry chef Alejandro Briceño to create V Lounge Pizza in 2009, and now they’re poised to conquer Kane‘ohe. Vertical Junkies founder Russ Inouye has a vision for his hometown. When it comes to food, “Kaneohe has the money and the knowledge, but there isn’t anything here,” says Inouye, who founded … Continue reading Pier joy

One more reason to go to Ka‘imuki: Salt

Today Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar officially opens at 5pm. This is the first Honolulu opening I’ve looked forward to in a long time. Why? It’s a Kevin Hanney production, and he’s teamed up with Robert McGee, who came to Honolulu from Portland’s Slow Bar and opened the kitchen at apartm3nt. Hanney blazed a trail with 12th Avenue Grill in 2005, and he’s doing it … Continue reading One more reason to go to Ka‘imuki: Salt

CLOSED // At long last injera: Ethiopian food comes to HNL

I started this blog with the happy discovery of a good pain au chocolat—something that did not exist in Honolulu before Fendu Boulangerie opened. On Thursday another non-indigenous craving was sated—at a pop-up Ethiopian restaurant. Now, every Thursday, J2 Asian Fusion, the offshoot of Praseuth Luangkhot’s JJ Bistro in Kaimuki, hosts Addis Ababa Hawaii’s Ethiopian Thursdays. Meron and James Spencer launched the event just three weeks ago—and 82 people showed up. On the event’s second night, 75 came for dinner, and this week the place was packed as well. A lot of the diners are some of Honolulu’s brightest academic stars—James is a political science professor at the University of Hawai‘i, so you can imagine what his email invitation list is like. (That’s how I found out about the dinner, from my American Studies superstar prof friend.) Meron is from Addis Ababa and she’s earned a name among friends for her dinner parties. The next step was taking it public. Continue reading “CLOSED // At long last injera: Ethiopian food comes to HNL”

[CLOSED] New in Kalihi: Puka’s plate-lunch chic

Last week I housesat deep in Kalihi Valley, and driving home for the first evening of cat-feeding duties I spotted this inviting storefront with a modern, streamlined logo across from Kalihi Uka Elementary. Wassat? The next night I pulled into the school’s parking lot, ran across the street and found a cheery plate lunch spot. Continue reading “[CLOSED] New in Kalihi: Puka’s plate-lunch chic”

Kaua‘i find: Living Foods Market + Cafe

San Francisco transplant (and a 1996 Food+Wine Best New Chef) Jim Moffat is going island wide. With his Bar Acuda in Hanalei getting play in every national food magazine (though not so known in Hawai‘i—why???), in January he expanded to the other end of Kaua‘i with Living Foods Market and Cafe in the faux old plantation mall Kukui‘ula Village just up the road from Po‘ipu Beach. Continue reading “Kaua‘i find: Living Foods Market + Cafe”