Monday, December 31, 2012

Ready for New Year detox?

Drink your way to good health in 2013.

By now, you're probably up to your ears in cookies, chocolates mochi and other treats, which doesn't bode well for getting in shape in 2013. Too much holiday cheer means you need detoxing. Now.

Cleanse America is on mission to transform the health of the nation, and is aiming to inspire 1 million Americans to participate in its 10-day raw food cleanse, running Jan. 4 to 13. You can join the cleanse at

Omega Juicers is on board for a 3-day cleanse ritual to help people eliminate harmful toxins, restore their internal system and reset their bodies through juicing.

I haven't tried it myself, but one of my friends was beginning to develop a rough, ruddy complexion due to stress, and the only change she made in her life was to start green juicing with spinach, kale and fruits, and her complexion cleared up in about a week of drinking her vegetables three times a day.

Here are Omega Juicers recipes for one day of cleansing:

The vitamin C in oranges enhances the absorption of the iron in the spinach by 30 percent.
4 oranges
1 bunch of spinach

Juice and drink.

Bee Fruity
There are a thousand different variations of fruit salads. This one makes a great first meal of the day.
2 bananas
1 mango
2 cups of blueberries
2 tablespoons of bee pollen

Cut the banana and mango into bit sized pieces. Put into a bowl and add blueberries topped with bee pollen.

Get Rooted
Beets are powerful health foods, containing compounds that may reduce blood pressure, ease digestive disorders and control heart disease. They can also raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides, respectively, by 30 percent and 40 percent.
3 carrots
1 beet (palm size)
Thumb size of ginger

Juice and drink.

Green Machine
Blending produce makes the process of absorbing protein and minerals more efficient. If you are drinking the green machine after a workout, add double hemp seeds and a few more greens. When you drink a smoothie with a lot of protien 30 minutes after a workout, the protein synthesis is about 75 percent compared to only 30 percent beyond that time.
2 large kale leaves (or 2 handfuls of other leafy greens)
2 bananas (frozen)
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
1-½ cups of hemp milk
1 tablespoon spirulina

Place all ingredients in a juicer or high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Top with hemp seeds.

Lemon Apple Blast
Apple and lemon contain a lot of vitamin C and citrus acids. This assists in dissolving gallstones which are deposits of a composite of calcium salts such as oxalates and carbonates.
2 small lemons
3 apples
2 inch piece of ginger

Juice and drink.

Celery Stalker
1 cup coconut water
3 celery stalks
1 handful of greens or 1 bunch of spinach
1 cucumber
1 apple

Juice and drink.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Make most of holiday leisure at The Veranda

Nadine Kam photos
Tea service at the Kahal Hotel & Resort Dec. 19 included assorted sweets and savories served with dragon pearl jasmine tea.

The Kahala Hotel & Resort hosted a holiday tea event Dec. 19 to introduce the newly remodeled Veranda lounge and adjoining grand terrace lanai.

It was a great reminder that the open-air lounge is a perfect setting for entertaining out-of-town family and friends who tend to arrive in search of warm weather (and your company, of course) this time of year.

You can spend a relaxing morning or afternoon strolling the property and visiting the dolphins, before settling in for afternoon tea, which runs from 2 to 5:30 p.m. daily.

A single pot of loose leaf Harney & Sons tea is $8 per person. Simple tea service of a Harney & Sons tea and four sweets and fresh-baked scones, or a plate of four sandwiches, is $17 per person.

Classic tea service, at $28 per person, features a plate of four sweet treats, four savory sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and preserves, and a choice of a Harney & Sons tea.

The Royal tea service is $42 per person, includes all of the classic menu, plus a glass of champagne with a strawberry.

If you want to extend your stay, The Veranda is open for pupu from 5:30 to 10 p.m., and cocktails from 2 p.m. to midnight.

The new menu includes such dishes as fall roasted vegetable tart ($8); roasted Bussels sprouts with shredded duck, caper anchovy vinaigrette ($10); grilled South Pacific shrimp ($10/$14); red wine-braised lamb shank ($24); grilled prime flatiron steak ($22); harissa roast chicken ($18); and more. Or, order off the Hoku's menu.

You can view all the menus online at
Find out how your photo memories of The Kahala can win you a two-night stay at the resort, here.

There's still time to view the Kahala's 25-foot tall Noble fir.

A selection of traditional sandwiches at The Veranda's tea service. Clockwise from top left: smoked salmon on rye toast with parsley cream cheese; chicken salad with tarragon and grapes on toast; Hamakua Springs Farm mushroom turnover; ham and manchego cheese on multi-gram bread; and chicken tarragon and grape salad on endive.

Afternoon tea treats clockwise from 10 p.m. spot: lilikoi Madeline; chocolate-raspberry tart; brown sugar shortbread; Kona coffee ganache pave; profiterole with pistachio cream; yuzu macaron.

Sunday, December 9, 2012 names its Hawaii 'Rising Stars'

Nadine Kam photos
Fourteen of Hawaii's Rising Star chefs and their mentors share a stage at the Halekulani Ballroom before heading to the lawn to plate up their specialties.

Since 2003,, the online magazine for culinary insiders, has criss-crossed the country with its StarChefs Rising Stars Revue, showcasing up-and-coming chefs.

Each year, selects four American markets in which to name its Rising Stars. Candidates are nominated by the Advisory Board, previous winners, local media,and the website, as well as through editorial research. Winners are then chosen by the editorial team.

On Dec. 4, StarChefs members descended on the Halekulani Hotel, where executive chef Vikram Garg had been instrumental in pitching Hawaii as home to dozens of up-and comers. And on stage, CEO said, Hawaii chefs "blew our minds," as the website's advisory board sampled cooking of 60 candidates on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii island, over what she told me was two 12-day trips over the summer, sampling from about five restaurants per day. The winner's list numbered 14, though the cutoff age to win an award is 40, and they couldn't find a winner for their sommelier award.

Also conspicously missing from the list, to me, was Christopher Kajioka, whose current home at Vintage Cave Honolulu was not yet open at the time of the sampling. But I'm sure there will be many other accolades ahead for the young chef.

During the gala tasting event at the Halekulani, hosted by Garg and co-hosted by Chai Chaowasaree of Chai’s Island Bistro, with beverage pairings from host sommelier Kevin Tomaya of Halekulani, each of the 14 winning chefs presented the dish that won them their award.

After a night of noshing, diners at the event picked their favorite dishes, and the winners, with Michelle Karr-Ueoka, center, pastry chef for Alan Wong's restaurant, named the winner for her dessert of a quadruple-layered Hanaoka Farms Lilikoi Brûlée. CEO Antoinette Bruno, left, said Michelle has the distinction of being the first pastry chef to win top honors at any of their annual Rising Stars competitions, held in different cities nationwide. The award was well deserved. Coming in second was Mark Noguchi, right, of Pili Hawaii Catering and Taste Table, and in third, next to him, was Andrew Le of the Pig and the Lady. Presenting the Jade's Best Dish Award is Lex Poulos, VP Sales and Marketing at Jade Range. 

The 2012 Hawaii Rising Stars Award Winners are:

Christopher Kulis: Capische? (Maui)
Featured dish: Australian Beef Carpaccio, Horseradish Aïoli, Radish, Lemon Oil, Fried Capers and Parmigiano-Reggiano

Andrew Le: The Pig and the Lady (Oahu)
Featured dish: Pho with Betelnut Leaf-wrapped Pork Sausages

Cameron Lewark: Spago (Maui)
Featured dish: Onaga Ceviche, Green Papaya Salad, Kaffir Lime, Coconut, and Passionfruit Flower

Nick Mastrascusa: Beach Tree at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai (Big Island)
Featured dish: Gnocchi with Oxtail Ragout

Wade Ueoka: Alan Wong’s (Oahu)
Featured dish: Oxtail “Soup” of Oxtail and Corned Beef Roulade, Boiled Peanuts, and Shiitake Mushrooms

Jojo Vasquez: The Plantation House Restaurant (Maui)
Featured dish: Australian Lamb Rack, Eggplant Purée, and Chickpea Cake

Michelle Karr-Ueoka: Alan Wong’s (Oahu)
Featured dish: Lilikoi Brûlée

Elizabeth McDonald: Honu Seafood & Pizza (Maui)
Featured dish: Vegan Chocolate Mousse Cake

Quinten Frye: SALT Kitchen & Tasting Bar (Oahu)
Featured dish: Octopus, Chorizo, Olives, Potatoes, Compressed Grape Tomatoes, Almonds, and Kahuku Corn Purée

Doug Kocol: SALT Kitchen & Tasting Bar (Oahu) for excellence in charcuterie
Featured dish: Pork Rillette and Soppressata

Sheldon Simeon: Star Noodle (Maui)
Featured dish: Hapa Ramen: Roast Pork, Poached Egg, Bamboo Shoots, Kamaboko, Bok Choi, Mayu, and Spicy Miso

Mark Noguchi: Pili Hawaii Catering (Oahu)
Featured dish: Ho’i’o Fiddlehead Ferns, Dried Cuttlefish, Kombu, Octopus, and Tomatoes

Ed Kenney: Town, Uptown Events (Oahu)
Featured dish: Cervena Venison Pipikaula with Bud Bucket Ice

David Newman: Pint+Jigger (Oahu)
Featured cocktail: The Whiskey Thatcher: Rye, Mint, Lime, and Flamed Pernod Rinse

In addition, Alan Wong, whose kitchen produced two winners, and countless other young chefs around town, won the StarChefs Mentor Award.

In’s long-running tradition, guests at the event were given the opportunity to vote for their favorite dish of the night. As the favorite of the evening's tasters, Michelle Karr-Ueoka will receive a Jade Range 18” commercial plancha. Because she's a pastry chef, wondering if her boss Alan Wong has dibs on the range?

Tickets for the event were $95 to $125, and a portion of the evening’s tickets sales will be donated to the Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Kapiolani Community College.

Next year, will take their search for rising stars to Philedelphia in February, New York in April, the San Francisco Bay Area in June, and the Carolinas in December.

Christopher Kulis led his restaurant, Capische?, on Maui to win Steelite's Restaurant of Distinction Award. When I took this photo, I broke up the swarm of women around him, and they were like, "You have to be in the picture." I was like, "No, I can't be in my photos," and they were like, "Oh, you have to! He's so handsome!" Then they were all saying how good-looking he was and how he was the most handsome chef in the batch, then all the guys around started getting into it. Chris took it all with humor, and having set him up for that, I quietly slinked away.

Halekulani executive chef Vikram Garg was instrumental in bringing the Starchefs competition to Hawaii. To whet appetites prior to early award announcements, he prepared this Petrossian Royal Shassetra caviar and lemongrass panna cotta.

During the tasting event that followed the award announcements, Vikram also served this spiced sumac-marinated Australian lamb chop over hummus. A favorite with many, but as host chef, his dish wasn't eligible for the Rising Stars vote.

Christopher Kulis's Australian beef carpaccio with horseradish aioli, crisp radish, lemon oil, fried capers and Parmigiano-Reggiano. In addition to his work at Capische?, he recently started Stir, a personal chef company, and The Salt Box, a high-end picnic basket caterer.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A meal to remember at Vintage Cave

Nadine Kam photos
The epic triptypch "Hiroshima," by Adron Mordecai, holds a place of honor at Vintage Cave, depicting the city in its glory, the tragedy and the aftermath of the atomic bomb's destruction.

A peek inside Vintage Cave Honolulu Oct. 23 made me eager to see what would be on the menu when it opens Dec. 10 with the ambitious goal of elevating art and cultivating pleasure in Honolulu.

Inspired by the anthropological and artful discoveries within the Lascaux and Altamira caves, Vintage Cave is in what was originally storage space and offices in Shirokiya. The 15,000 square foot space has been transformed by the laying of 150,000 bricks from the Pennsylvania Brick Co., custom Swarovski crystal chandelier crafted in Czechslovakia and assembled in Japan, installation of Neolithic to fine art by Picasso, Michelangelo, and glassware by Lalique and Daum.

It was envisioned as a private wine cellar and art society, before the decision was made to go public. But how public? Considering a prix fixe meal will cost $295 per person, throw in $100 more per person for wine pairings, tax and tip, and you're looking at a bill of about $1,000 for two.

What will this get you? On a test run Nov. 30, dinner comprised 26 amazing dishes with a light touch in quite a few combinations I had never tried before in more than 20 years of reviewing restaurants, presented in 16 courses over 3-1/2 to 4 hours. It's best suited to those who like the idea of dining as theater.

The menu won't be the same every time, and chef Christopher Kajioka, an alumnus of Roy's, New York's Per Se and San Francisco's Aziza, said he may present different dishes to each table on any given night.

During the actual food service, there will be wine pairings for each course, but on this preview night, two wines were served by beverage manager Randy Uyechi: La Follette Chardonnay, North Coast, 2010, and Raymond Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, 2010. And you will also see the familiar face of general manager Charly Yoshida, formerly with Alan Wong's and Stage restaurant.

You don't have to be a member to dine here, but members will have access to private wine cellars, priority reservations and wine discounts. Regular membership is $5,000, special membership is $50,000 and charter membership is $500,000.Visit for more information.

One of the semi-private dining rooms.

One of the lounges, with artwork by Picasso at left.

More Picassos.

Chef Christopher Kajioka worked at Thomas Keller's highly praised Per Se in New York City, and with Mourad Lahlou at Aziza in San Francisco before coming home to Vintage Cave. Here's what he and his team, and executive pastry chef Rachel Murai put on the table:

Amuse bouches:

Oyster with hibiscus, shiso and ginger with sweet smoked pain au lait in the background.

Fish skin cracker topped with black bean clam and lime. I didn't care for the cracker with the texture of a pork rind.

Vanilla bean macaron with caviar center.

These meringues were light and snappy meringue with the savory flavor of sun-dried tomato and basil. Amazing!

Sashimi platter featured, clockwise from top right, Kona kampachi topped with lemon, radish and shiso; amaebi with fennel; cold-smoked toro with red onion; aji with smoked onion and pear, and uni with ham film and black truffle.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ramen Lab popped into Lucky Belly

Nadine Kam photos
Old School Tokyo ramen was one of three ramen options offered at the Sun Noodle Ramen Lab pop-up at Chinatown's Lucky Belly Nov. 25. The chicken and shoyu broth was topped with ajitama egg, charcoal-grilled char siu, wafu spinach and bamboo shoots. The flat, medium thick noodles are most popular with ramen lovers in Japan today.

Most people still think of Sun Noodle as the little company in Kalihi that supplies our ramen houses and makes pi for our won ton soups.

But the company, founded in 1981 by Hidehito Uki, is a major player on the national food scene due to the growing popularity of ramen. After shipping noodles to California and Washington for years, the company opened a Los Angeles factory in 2004, started shipping noodles to New York a year later, and now has established Ramen Lab in New Jersey, where executive chef Shigetoshi Nakamura helps would-be ramenya owners develop original menus and concepts for their restaurants.

They've also helped established restaurateurs like Marcus Samuelsson, who wanted a recipe incorporating Ethiopian teff flour.

With much of the country yet to discover the joys of ramen, it's definitely a business with an upward trajectory.

Nakamura was in the house at Lucky Belly on Nov. 25 for a one-night Ramen Lab popup. The particulars: No reservations, first come, first served from 5 p.m. while supplies lasted, and there were at least 60 people lined up from the corner of Hotel and Smith streets to Little Village, after the first in line, from about 4 p.m., were admitted.

I arrived at about 5, but was lucky enough to be part of a group that had been second in line at about 4:15 p.m.

The chef presented three types of ramen, representing local, Japan and New York styles. With the enthusiasm generated by this popup, more events may be coming our way. It's only fair, given that Hawaii has offered a warm, supportive environment for Sun Noodle to grow up.

New York Heritage ramen is Italian inspired, in a tomato broth topped with basil, crimini mushrooms, Italian sausage and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The chewy, curly temomi noodles are best sellers in Hawaii and New York.

Tonkotsu black ramen with thin, straight hakata noodles, pork broth topped with sumibiyaki charcoal-grilled char siu, kikurage (cloud ear mushroom), scallions and drizzled with black garlic essence. These noodles should be eaten quickly. Alas for the food blogger, time required for photography takes time from enjoying the ramen at its optimal.

Sun Noodle Ramen Lab executive chef Shige Nakamura and his wife Maiko.

Hisae Uki, daughter of Sun Noodle founder Hidehito Uki, wears a Sun T-shirt touting outposts in Honolulu, Los Angeles and New York.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Kensei way: Holiday entertaining in style

Nadine Kam photos
The holiday decorations are up at Kensei's home.

Christmas came early to guests of hairstylist, jewelry designer, stylist, and this particular evening, chef, Kensei.

The autumn-themed dinner, hosted by Kensei and Dale Young the day before Thanksgiving, was his way of saying thank you to Cathy Lee, Pam Campbell and Lesli Yano, who were involved with his recent "Art of Jewelry" fashion show.

For those shopping for holiday decorating ideas, this was the place to be. We were welcomed into his living room, already dressed in European Christmas garb, with a centerpiece of a tree filled with a handmade German glass ornaments. Even statues and cherubs were dressed with jewels for the occasion, and tabletop trees were dressed with brooches.

A while back, I had written about the intersection between art and the table, but Kensei brings the combination to the pinnacle of sophistication, with a mindful marriage of china, silverware and delectables being served. It's not every day you see a printed menu in which the food shares equal billing with the china!

In this milieu, you can't help but take the time to appreciate every visual and every scent, savoring every slow, luxurious bite, instead of simply gobbling food down.

Kensei said it's sad that many fine stores have reduced their china selections due to lack of interest. Few people have the time, inclination or talent to entertain this way anymore, but wouldn't it be wonderful if more would consider reinstating this practice, even if it means starting slowly with service for two?

Tabletops are dressed with angels, firs and other symbols of Christmas.

At Kensei's dining table, another holiday tree is set on an equally graphic, contrasting stone chessboard.

We could follow along the courses with a printed menu as guide, listing both food selections and dinnerware.

Amuse bouche of escargot-style stuffed mushroom served in a delicate English etched crystal bowl over Royal Copenhagen mini saucer.
Pumpkin mousse with caviar served in a Royal KPM bowl and cameo plate.

Kensei in his kitchen with his "Creation Sushi."

Plated on an etched crystal plate and Meissen dinner plate were sushi rice with ahi, hamachi and unagi over pumpkin bread.

Kensei-style "Furofuki Daikon" with miso and red ginger, presented in a Herend-covered compote and dinner plate. The compote was designed to be used as a butter dish.

A Czechoslovakian art glass compote and hand-painted Royal Worcester plate offered the royal blue backdrop for a crunchy salad of Japanese cucumber and roast beef.

There was texture and a gold-beaded quality to the paint on the beautiful Royal Worchester plate.

An intermezzo of homemade blackberry, blueberry and yuzu sorbe was served in a Baccarat crystal stemmed glass over a white- and strawberry-hued Meissen plate.

Japanese-style bouillabaisse of hamachi, delicate fishcake, shrimp and enoki, was served in 130-year-old Wajima covered lacquer compote and lacquer plate over a hand-painted Noritake plate.

The Noritake plate also had textured gold paint.

Dessert was Kensei's secret rum liqueur cake (available at Longs Drugs), served with mint ice cream and sliced kiwi in a Baccarat crystal compote over a Lamberton plate graced with circles of shamrocks.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nobu Waikiki helps Parc celebrate 25th anniversary

Nadine Kam photos
Members of Iona Dance Theatre welcomed guests through the door at NOBU Waikiki for a celebration of Waikiki Parc Hotel's 25th anniversary.

Waikiki Parc Hotel marked its 25th anniversary with a celebration at NOBU Waikiki Nov. 20. Guests were welcomed by costumed members of Iona Dance Theatre, including a Living Fountain.

Parc staff members were offering guests shiny new quarters for tossing into the fountain's wishing well, to bestow many more years of blessings and good wishes upon the hotel, a sister of neighboring Halekulani Hotel.

Food was plentiful, and NOBU was offering some of its greatest hits, including popcorn shrimp tempura, black cod in butter lettuce cups, and one of my absolute favorites, silky, fiery hamachi topped with sliced jalapeño.

The event also honored staffers who have been at the property 25 years or close to it, and I was reminded I was there on opening day as well. (I must have been a prodigy.) I hadn't joined the Star-Bulletin yet, but was working for the Waikiki Beach Press.

The Parc is also marking its anniversary with a "25 Alive" promotion, through March 31, 2013, featuring accommodations in an Ocean View Room, chef’s special dinner for two at NOBU Waikiki, daily breakfast for two, a welcome amenity gift pack (Parc Chic private label wine, Parc’s Endless Summer CD featuring Grammy winner Daniel Ho and Herb Ohta Jr., and a Parc Surf note card pack) and complimentary parking. Guests will also receive complimentary VIP access to the Bishop Museum and Honolulu Museum of Art by presenting their Waikiki Parc Hotel room key card. Package room rates start at $885 for a minimum three-night stay.

Call 808-921-7272 or visit

Meanwhile, for a look at more of what's yum and a chance to win a $100 gift certificate from Nobu (by Nov. 23), check out photographer Rae Huo and artist Zakka's Pop Iroiro.

Rae Huo photo

Photo courtesy Halekulani Corp.
Sadly, I was reminded I was there for the grand opening 25 years ago, and I was sent the photo to prove it. You can tell it was the '80s by my permed 'do! Also at left, our columnist Ben Wood with Halekulani VP Patty Tam.

Parc staffers offered guests quarters for tossing into Iona Dance Theatre's Living Fountain, bestowing 25 more years (at least) of good wishes upon the hotel.

Heaven is a platter of NOBU's hamachi and jalapeño.

Mini ceviche tacos.

Nobu's sushi platter.

Skewered Peruvian beef antikucho, marinated in cumin, peppers, garlic and vinegar.

Black cod in butter lettuce cups from Rae Huo and Zakka's Pop Iroiro online magazine.

Offering guests their thanks for 25 years of patronage were COO Peter Shaindlin, left, and general manager Ulrich Krauer, both of sister Halekulani Hotel.

Also welcoming guests were longtime Parc employees general manager Julie Arigo, employed for 19 years, and 25-year veteran sales director Mike Kikuyama.

Guests went home with a Parc cupcake, which didn't last long after this photo was taken.