Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Grand Cafe marks grand reopening

Nadine Kam photos
Celebrating the grand opening of Grand Cafe & Bakery at the Hawaii State Art Museum were, from left, chef Anthony Kui Sin Vierra, Mona Chang-Vierra, Patsy Izumo, and one of their many fans, Nery Heenan, who attended with her husband David.

The Year of the Snake is said to symbolize a progressive year with fruitful results, so Feb. 11, the start of the Year of the Snake, seemed an auspicious time to celebrate a grand opening, and that was the date chosen to mark Grand Cafe & Bakery's move and reopening at HiSAM.

Chef Anthony Kui Sin Vierra was in the kitchen, cooking up Chinese specialties for the occasion, while his mom Mona Chang-Vierra and Patsy Izumo, co-owners in the venture, made prune mui for guests to take home.

The gathering of friends and family included many a businessman and politician from the neighboring State Capitol building, plus a familiar face in the newsroom, political columnist Richard Borreca, who echoed the sentiment that the cafe is a great place for breakfast and early morning meetings and interviews.

He plans to meet up here with Colleen Hanabusa the next time she's in town, when he says it'll be her turn to pay.

Guests lined up for food could study the menu en route.

Nina Wu photo
The Chinese lion got fed after the people.

Kalua pork bao.

Spring rolls.

Hoisin-honey chicken wings.

A luxe take on Chinese chicken salad, with the common bird replaced by turkey.

Grand Cafe fried rice.

Dessert of oranges, symbolic of luck, wealth and prosperity, surrounded by take-home prune mui made by Mona and Patsy.

For future reference: Anthony's char siu is selling for $10 per pound, available by calling 531-0001 or emailing grandcafeandbakery@yahoo.com

Mona addresses the crowd during the celebration.

Someone dropped off a gift of a bottle of wine dressed for the occasion.

Among the guests were, from left, Eva Laird Smith, executive director of the Hawai i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts; educator Barbara Sarmines-Ganne; and Henny Saraswati.

I asked Barbara about her bracelets and she told of recently celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary with a vow renewal ceremony in India, in which she arrived by horse, and her husband Christian, by elephant. She was instructed to wear her bracelets for four months.

Speaking of breakfast earlier, here is a sampler pair of them from a recent Sunday brunch at the cafe. In front is a Reuben benedict, and at right, the more traditional, with Canadian bacon.

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