Tuesday, July 31, 2012

App aims to make search for local produce a breeze

Nadine Kam photos
From left, YWCA of Oahu CEO Kimberly Miyazawa Frank, Café Julia chef Lance Kosaka and app developer Melanie Kosaka, at the beta launch of Lei Fresh.

The YWCA's new Café Julia was the setting for the beta launch of Melanie Kosaka's latest app venture, Lei Fresh.

The Hawaii-grown, interactive mobile app will help conscientious shoppers find and share local products as they pop up in grocery stores and farmer's markets throughout the islands.

The app will be available Aug. 15 as a free download in Apple's App store. In the meantime, you can take a look at a video posted at LeiFresh.com.

It was a no-brainer that the event take place at the cafe, where Melanie's brother Lance is the chef, who also represents Laniakea Catering. He was offering an array of artisan pizzas including one with butter, tomatoes and arugula, and others topped with smoked pork, and another with adobo and chicharrón.

Neighboring restaurants also serving their specialties included 'Umeke Market, Mix Cafe and Brasserie Du Vin.

Natalie Aczon of Whole Foods Market, with Stephanie Chang of Design Ink, who created the logo for Lei Fresh.

Laniakea Catering's adobo and chicharrón pizza.

'Umeke Market's kimchee meatloaf made with Big Island grass-fed beef.

Mix Cafe and Bruno's Forno chef Bruno Iezzi mixes his lemon rigatoni, with Wu Qin He.

The Whole Foods display included some of the misshapen carrots you don't get to see in their perfect in-store displays. This one looks like a claw or the bottom half of a grotesque doll. Natalie Aczon said the employees pull odd ones all the time that look downright pornographic.

This one looks like a pig's foot. After the event, the produce was available for the taking. I don't know who got these carrots.

Among the guests, Sean Morris and a homecoming Candice Kraughto, briefly back from Shanghai.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Garlic, garlic everywhere!

Nadine Kam photos
A garlic-and-chive macaron from Life is Sweet by Cakeworks, inspired by the garlic theme of the last "Eat the Street" event. Next up on July 27, "Eat the Street: Spicy!"

I don't always eat by theme when it comes to monthly specials at the "Eat the Street" food-truck rallies. But garlic was the star of the June 29 event and I do love garlic, so I was swayed to try some of the creations.

Among the most novel were EAT Honolulu's offering of two crispy garlic frog legs over basmati rice, served with a choice of kochujang sauce or garlic lemon aioli, for $8, and Life is Sweet by Cakeworks' presentation of a goma-studded garlic-and-chive macaron!

I noticed most people just stuck to the sweet variety. Life is Sweet offers nine flavors, some pictured below, but I had to taste firsthand the savory-sweet combo and it was so delicious, with full roasted garlic and chive flavor.

Alas, the garlic macaron was a one-time creation for the event, but you can look forward to a new creation at the next Eat the Street taking place 4 to 9 p.m. July 27 at 555 South St., when the theme is "Spicy." Upon hearing what the theme would be, she didn't skip a beat promising a Hawaiian chili pepper and chocolate combo. Can't wait for that!

It's hard to believe pastry chef Abi Langlas been focusing on French macarons for only about a year-and-a-half, after a trip to Paris brought her to famed macaron purveyor Ladurée.

She returned home with the notion that macarons would be the "next cupcake," and has perfected her creations in spite of our high humidity, which isn't kind to macarons.

That just means each batch is carefully tended, with adjustments made for various ingredients, such as chocolate and sugar content.

You can visit Cakeworks at 2820 S.King St. Call 946-4333.

Or, find the Life is Sweet by Cakeworks booth at the Ala Moana Farmers’ Market from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays on the upper deck by Sears.

A single kochujang sauced crispy garlic frog leg from EAT Honolulu. "Tastes like chicken," was my friend's verdict.