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May 2011 Archive

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Let Them Eat Cupcakes: That is precisely what Nick Gervais and Kawehi Haug did when the Honolulu Advertiser merged with the Star Bulletin and a few hundred people lost their employment. Haug is no stranger to the local food scene, having done a stint at the Honolulu Weekly as its food writer. She and fellow cupcake lover Gervais decided to make the best of what was a disheartening situation and turn it into an opportunity. The double chocolate is the most popular, but the unusual li hing mango is gaining a following. The selection varies each day, except for that double chocolate. Let Them Eat Cupcakes, 35 S. Beretania St., Honolulu, HI 96813, 808-531-2253.
Chef Sam Choy In a move that surprised a few people, chef Sam Choy is opening a new restaurant on the Big Island later this summer. Choy acquired the lease to one of the most spectacular view locations on the Kailua-Kona coast that just happened to have been a long-closed Wendy's. The Wendy's is gone and a new 200-seat restaurant is being created which will feature casual indoor and outdoor seating and a full bar. Choy says the bar will be called "Short Bait" and will resemble a fishing boat cockpit. Expect to enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner at Sam Choy's Kai Lanai when it opens later this summer. Sam Choy's Kai Lanai, Keauhou Shopping Center, 78-6831 Alii Dr., Kailua-Kona, HI 96745, no phone.
Chef Mike Lamb, most recently the corporate chef at the Royal Kona Resort and Don the Beachcomber, will open a barbecue spot in Kailua-Kona's Kona International Market. While Hawaiian-style kalua pork will be on the menu, Lamb also plans to serve North Carolina-style pulled pork, smoked wild salmon and house-made sausages. Look for Mike's Just Barbecuing in the Kona International Market food court sometime in June. Mike's Just Barbecuing, Kona International Market, 74-5533 Luhia St., Kailua-Kona, HI 96745, n/a.
Longtime residents and visitors to Waikiki will recall Matteo's, an old-school fine dining Italian restaurant complete with tux-clad waiters, tableside service and a romantically intimate ambience in its glory days. Matteo's closed several years ago, but a new, modern version of it is scheduled to open in July at the Marine Surf Condo. Matteo's Italian Bistro will be more casual and family-focused with a menu created by Sergio's executive chef, Rodhel Ibay. In addition to the bistro, there will be a smaller Matteo's Café, which will offer on-the-go food like sandwiches, pizza by the slice and beverages. Matteo's Italian Bistro, Marine Surf Waikiki, 364 Seaside Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815, 808-922-5551.
Philippe Padovani has been associated with this specific restaurant space since 'Elua opened (2007) and then morphed into Sapori under his partner at the time, Donato Loperfido. Sapori closed in 2010, but the space remained. Calling upon his experience from what was then The Ritz-Carlton, Mauna Lani, Padovani determined that a simple steak, seafood and sides concept offered for lunch and dinner just might be the perfect fit for the location. At Padovani's Grill, look for a Black Angus NY steak for $28 and top it with béarnaise prepared à la minute. Big Island-grown Hamakua mushroom fricassée makes a good side. Lunch Mon.-Fri., Dinner Mon.-Sat. Padovani's Grill, Uraku Building, 1341 Kapiolani Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96814, 808-955-3582.


News Bytes

Taco Tuesdays at Tiki's Grill & Bar
The party really gets going at Tiki's Grill & Bar on Tuesdays from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. when this open-air spot throws its "Tiki Taco Tuesdays" weekly event. Not only are tacos just $2, host Tom Stokes buys the first 100 guests a Longboard Island Lager. Drink specials are in order as well with the aforementioned lager plus rum, vodka and tequila cocktails going for $3. Tiki's Grill & Bar, ResortQuest Waikiki Beach, 2570 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815, 808-923-8454.
Third Tuesdays at Tango
On the third Tuesday of the month, Tango Contemporary Café's "Third Tuesday at Tango" features a four course dinner of chef/owner Goran Streng's Asian-Scandinavian influenced cuisine paired with wines. You may find a duck confit tart with red onion and mango relish paired with a Washington state Bordeaux blend, or a seared catch of the day served with a Napa Valley Chardonnay. Regardless, you will dine well, and at a price typically less than $60 per person, it's one of Honolulu's best dining values. Reservations are essential and can be made by calling 808-593-7288. Tango Contemporary CafĂ©, Hokua, 1288 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96814, 808-593-7288.
Farmers' Tasting Menu at The Pineapple Room
The Pineapple Room is featuring some of Hawaii's finest ingredients on its five-course Farmers' Tasting Menu through the end of June. The menu starts with a simple salad of beets and Hamakua Springs tomatoes, followed by crab-stuffed monchong in a fennel saffron broth. The third course is a stylish version of lobster "congee" with butter-poached Kona lobster and green curry congee. Going for the bold finish, the fourth course is a kiawe grilled Maui Cattle Company strip loin with sautéed nagaimo (a delicate white Japanese yam) and ginger pesto. Dessert is whatever the chef feels like serving the day you are dining. At $65 per person (add on the wine pairings, which we highly recommend, for $25), this is a good value. Plus, a portion of the cost of the meal will be donated to "With Aloha," a Hawaii-based fundraising effort on behalf of Tohoku University Hospital in Sendai, Japan, which has been at the epicenter of treating the victims of the March earthquake. Call 808-945-6573 for reservations. The Pineapple Room, Ala Moana Center, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96814, 808-941-2345.

Chef Shuffles

The dining room of Chef Mavro Paul Feng (San Francisco's Postrio) has joined George Mavrothalassitis' Chef Mavro as chef de cuisine, replacing Kevin Chong. Mavrothalassitis and Feng have now introduced the summer menu. Chef Mavro, 1969 S. King St., Honolulu, HI 96826, 808-944-4714.
The Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa demonstrated a serious commitment to better food with the hiring of Patrick Callarec as its executive chef at the fine-dining restaurant 'Ama'Ama. Callarec, who trained in his native France, is best known for his years at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, and his small fine-dining spot Chez Paul in Olowalu (both on Maui) though he was most recently at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco. Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, 92-1185 Aliinui Dr., Kapolei, HI 96707, 714-520-7001.
With cooking credentials from places like Town and Chef Mavro, some may have been surprised to see Mark Noguchi venture out to this remote (by Oahu standards) Windward location right on Heeia Pier. Those who understand his interest in and commitment to locally sourced and produced food were not. The food is simple (guava barbecued chicken, fresh caught fish and other local favorites), but well prepared and as many ingredients as possible are sourced close to the spot. Heeia Pier General Store & Deli, 46-499 Kamehameha Hwy., Kaneohe, HI 96744, 808-235-2192.


Take your taste buds on a walk down memory lane! Check out our exclusive closed restaurant database for Hawaii to virtually visit your favorite dining spots from the past. Kincha, R.I.P.

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