Thursday, September 29, 2016

Uber Factory takes top honors in Rice Fest 'Riceipe' contest

Nadine Kam photos
The team of chef Andy Dalan of Uber Factory and KITV4's Brandi Higa took top honors during the Riceipe cooking competition that was part of the 7th annual Rice Festival that took place Sept. 25.

Chef Andy Dalan of Wahiawa's Uber Factory dessert shop successfully defended his Riceipe champ title, taking home first place honors for a second consecutive year during the 7th annual Rice Festival's Riceipe cooking contest that took place Sept. 25 on Auahi Street fronting Ward Centre.

Dalan, also a chef consultant at Waimea Valley, was teamed with KITV4's Brandi Higa for the task.

Chef Andy Dalan's winning dish of pineapple and rice crème brulée. As good to eat as to look at.

The event featured four chef/TV celebrity teams vying for the top spot, with recipes judged on criteria of taste, creativity, simplicity of preparation and visual appeal. The other teams were Johnny Kai (Treetops Restaurant) and Hawaii News Now's Lacy Deniz, Maile Sengoura (Maile's Thai Bistro) with KHON2's Kelly Simek, and Robbie "Rbz" Acoba (Side Street Inn on Da Strip) with OC16's Tiny Tadani. All three presented variations of fried rice.

Dalan differentiated himself from the pack by presenting a surprising pineapple and rice crème brulée tart. Rice is used as a basis for dessert throughout the world, but not so much in the U.S., so it did get curious audience members coming up to the stage area to see just how good a rice brulée could be.

And that's the whole point of the fest, to see this food staple in a new light, look beyond the basics and appreciate rice in all its forms.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Dean & DeLuca opens in Waikiki

Nadine Kam photos
Dean & DeLuca will open its doors tomorrow, offering to-go and fast salads and lunches, wine, cheese, charcuterie and its own branded candies, pastas, chips, preserves, and more.

Dean & Deluca will open the doors to its first Hawaii location at the Ritz-Carlton Residences Waikiki Beach at noon Sept. 14.

The gourmet food purveyor first opened in New York City's SoHo district in September 1977 and became known for searching the globe for the finest ingredients and kitchenware, and as a go-to spot for premium food gifts, wine, cheese and charcuterie.

The smaller Hawaii location means its less of a grocery and more of a boutique shop that will also be a site for quick bites to eat, whether purchasing food items by the pound, sandwiches or salads to go, to eat on the spot in a casual outdoor space, or head upstairs to the wine lounge where you can enjoy sips, cheese and charcuterie boards, or panini and bruschetta featuring showcased ingredients. The paninis are wonderful, at about $15 or $16 each.

The curated wine list features unique domestic and international selections with a focus on natural and biodynamic wines where possible. Food is being prepared by sister restaurant BLT Market, upstairs in the Ritz-Carlon Residences, under the leadership of executive chef Johann Svensson.

In addition to Dean & DeLuca-branded artisanal goods, there will also be packaged goods from such local purveyors as Kahala Fresh, Madre Chocolate, Haleakala Creamery, Monkeypod Jam, Choco Le'a, and more.

Dean & DeLuca is in the Ritz-Carlton Residences, 383 Kalaimoku St. and it will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Here's a quick look at some of the selections that await:

Among cheese selections that await in the wine bar are fontina, morbier, port salut and mimolette.

Selections available by the pound downstairs include broccolini with garlic, wild rice with mushrooms, meatloaf, beef rib roast, and below, spinach salad.


Caesar salad with chicken.

Charcuterie available in the wine bar. Sample prices are $12 for 18-month aged prosciutto di parma, $18 for a cheese of the day platter, and $16 for sliced charcuterie and cheese with an assortment that might include prosciutto, coppa, chorizo, salami, cow's milk and goat milk cheeses.

A peek inside the wine bar.

The pastry case and coffee bar downstairs.

Treats for dessert lovers include lilikoi cakes, strawberry shortcake, and macarons, below.


More cheese selections.

Quail eggs.

Dean & DeLuca preserves and products available for purchase downstairs.

Dean & DeLuca branded flatbreads, honey and caramelized onions.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage is in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Kahala presents Asian Street Food

Nadine Kam photos
Satay skewers sizzle on the grill during The Kahala's Asian Street Food event Friday.

Inspired by the bustling street and night markets of Asia, The Kahala hosted its first Asian Street Food event on Sept. 9.

Guests were welcome to visit stations set up on the beachfront lawn outside Plumeria Beach House for drinks and food selections like wok-fried garlic prawns, satay skewers, Indonesian corn fritters, and dim sum with Tsingtao and Taj Mahal beers, wines and more.

Woks and grills set up on the lawn brought some of the street sizzle to the venue, that is decidedly cleaner than the streets of Singapore or Thailand. This being The Kahala, diners also had the run of the restaurant for seating, so everyone could dine comfortably without the usual struggle to juggle drinks and plates as at other street-oriented events.



A selection of Indian beef curry and Thai chicken curry kept warm on the grill.

In between bites, diners could stop by calligraphy and a craft station, where I was able to make an origami box. With most people focused on eating however, little origami kits with instructions were offered for those who wanted to try their hand at making boxes, lucky stars and cranes at home.

It was a great relaxing evening, and though no decisions have been made over future pop-up dining events, I hope they will continue offering new themes and dishes, especially ones hard to find locally. (Hint: Being there gave me a craving for Singapore chili crab and prawn mi over the weekend so I finally made it from a box mix I had purchased there. But sadly, it wasn't the same as the real deal.)

Tibetan prayer flags fluttered between coconut trees, while tables were graced with Chinese lanterns.

Singapore noodles tossed in a wok on the lawn. The finished dish below:

Satay skewers and delicious Indonesian corn fritters.

Korean BBQ beef shortrib sliders.

It was hard for them to keep the pork hash tray full. These were made fresh with juicy diced pork.

Chinese chow funn.

People who needed to give their stomach a brief rest, could get a mini origami lesson from Casey—whose father, Alan Arita, went table to table performing magician's tricks—or visit a calligraphy station.

A make-and-take origami box and crane.

After the event, I had a craving for Singapore chili crab, and made it from a box mix I purchased in Singapore, but I always prefer to have someone else do the cooking for me.


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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage is in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Make way for more malasadas

Nadine Kam photos
Pipeline Bakery & Creamery offers one more spot to shop for office goodies in the morning. Gayle Young's malasadas, scones and cake bombs have been an instant hit with pastry lovers.

Have malasadas become a thing? These humble Portuguese confections are popping up in more places these days, having found their way onto the upscale menus of the newly open Stripsteak and Eating House 1849 menus, and they are among the treats baked up by Gayle Young and her crew over at Pipeline Bakeshop & Creamery in Kaimuki. After a soft opening period, the new bakery and ice cream shop held its blessing ceremony this morning, in advance of its public grand opening at 6 p.m. today.

Young said she spent a year perfecting her malasada recipe, and its texture out of the oven is amazing, with a crisp shell and airy, pillowy, and slightly salty, center.

Young received a State Senate proclamation from legislator Calvin Say, recognizing Pipeline's opening day.

Pipeline features a lineup of treats baked from scratch, such as blueberry cream cheese and cherry cream cheese scones ($3.50 each), wicked triple chocolate brownies ($3.25 each) and cake bombs ($3.25 each) in flavors such as blueberry, lemon, matcha green tea, chocolate hazelnut and coconut. Back at the office, people who claimed not to like coconut, loved the coconut bomb.


A tray full of cherry cream cheese scones.


Classic white sugar-coated malasadas are $1. Add 10 cents more for li hing sugar, add 20 cents for cocoa, and add 30 cents for coffee flavor.

During grand opening weekend, there will be giveaways, contests and specials. Grand opening hours are 6 to 9 p.m. today, and specials such as $2 scoops of housemade ice cream will run 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 9 to 11.

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Pipeline Bakery & Cafe is at 3632 Waialae Ave. (across from Coffee Talk). Call 738-8200.



Kimo Kahoano performed an oli before this morning's blessing.


Kahu Kelekona Bishaw blesses the hands of all employed by Pipeline.
 

Inside the shop.
 

Energy bars are $1.95 each.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage is in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Fish House rolls out taco truck

Glenn Yoza photos sourtesy Four Seasons Resort
Chef Ray German's tacos will star during Taco Tuesday, when the Four Seasons food truck appears at Ko Olina's Lagoon 1.

When I wrote my formal print review of Fish House at The Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina, I mentioned there's nothing stodgy about the restaurant, the opposite of what one might expect from a brand built on connotations of grace, elegance and discernment. Well, the fun vibe continues now that chef Ray German has introduced Taco Tuesday.

Beach goers don't need to bother getting dressed for the occasion when they can enjoy tacos from the Four Seasons Food Truck every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lagoon 1.

Items on the menu include tacos al pastor, North Shore shrimp tacos, Hulihuli chicken tacos, elotes (Mexican street corn) and "Guacamole Madness," at prices of $3 to $4.75 per item. (Love that corn! Wondering if the truck can make a town run one day a week? A month?)

In the hot sun, you're bound to get thirsty, so rehydrate with agua fresca of watermelon lime mint ($1.50), or head over to happy hour at Fish House for cocktails priced at $3 at 3 p.m., $4 at 4 p.m., and $5 at 5 p.m., plus a special 50 percent off food menu offered from 3 to 5 p.m. daily.

A sampling of what's on the menu.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage is in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

First Look: Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi

Nadine Kam photos
Chef Roy Yamaguchi was tending to business at his newest Eating House 1849 early in the morning on Aug. 25, opening day of both the International Market Place and his restaurant at the market place's third-floor Grand Lanai.

Not wanting to miss any of the action on opening day, Aug. 25, of the International Market Place, media were among the first people on the property. And chef Roy Yamaguchi was another earlybird, hovering around his newest baby, Eating House 1849, which also opened that morning.

Yamaguchi has been on a roll this year, having opened Roy's Beach House Aug. 2 at Turtle Bay Resort, with two more Eating Houses set to open in Kapolei and Maui.

It's exciting to see him break from his original Roy's Asian fusion formula and explore new territory, even if what's new is inspired by the past. With Eating House 1849, Yamaguchi goes back to the roots of Hawaii's restaurant scene to pay homage to Peter Fernandez, who opened one of Hawaii’s first restaurants in the 19th century, and called it Eating House. Fernandez used ingredients available from local farmers, ranchers, foragers and fishermen, a practice our top chefs are trying to reclaim today, after decades of seeing our palates shaped and restaurants co-opted, by sellers of convenience.

The outdoor patio and bar.

The pork and shrimp gyoza with garlic aioli and spicy XO sauce were so good, we ended up ordering up a second serving because one per person just isn't enough.

Yamaguchi explained that the first food purveyors were likely the equivalent of today's bed and breakfasts, where people seeking room and board were fed simple meals. Entrepreneurs like Fernandez offered an alternative.

Of course, this being Roy, don't expect your great, great, great grandfather's chicken hekka or Porgtuguese bean soup. Though rooted in our plantation heritage and the chef's taste memories of his grandfather's cooking, dishes are thoroughly contemporary to suit today's more adventurous, sophisticated palate.

Something like Eating House 1849's "Huli Huli" kim chee pork belly, with its combo of pork belly laced with go chu jang and miso aioli, and draped with kim chee would probably have made your ancestors' heads spin and their eyes pop out of their sockets. The audacity! The explosion of flavors! But for us descendants, it is oh so good.
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Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi is on the third floor Grand Lana at International Market Place, Waikiki. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch and 5 to 10 p.m. for dinner. Call 924-1849.


Most people don't think or vegetables like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts as an adequate pupu, but these are fried with toasted pine nuts, Golden raisins and tossed with balsamic vinegar to become the appetizer of your dreams.

After doubling up on the gyoza, it was really tempting to do the same with "Huli Huli" pork belly. This dish with go chu jang, miso aioli, kim chee and green onions amounted to a party in the mouth, in a good way, without trashing the premises. Flavors were balanced and got on well together. So awesome!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Video link

Here's a small peek inside the Sun Noodle factory in Honolulu, where the humble process of mixing flour, water, eggs and other ingredients to make noodles and dumpling wrappers feeds people hungry for ramen, saimin, gyoza, won tons, and more.

It coincides with my story in the paper today, about how a tiny one-man operation that started in 1981 has grown to become a kama'aina operation at the forefront of a global ramen revolution due to its philosophy of providing artisinal noodles to restaurants' specifications and push for creativity.

Some of that creativity starts with Sun Noodle's New Jersey-based Ramen Lab, that welcomes both consumers and restaurant professionals to learn more about ramen, and helps chefs develop recipes for their shops.

Moving beyond traditional Japanese ramen, they've supported regional incarnations ranging from New York-style Italian ramen, Texas brisket tsukemen in Austin, Texas, and gator ramen in Gainesville, Fla.

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Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage is in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at nkam@staradvertiser.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.