Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Zippy’s a finalist for national beef award

December 1st, 2011

Zippy’s Restaurants is a finalist for the National Beef Backer Award, which will be presented at the 2012 Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show, Feb. 1 through 4, in Nashville, Tenn.

The finalist status came with Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council and the Hawaii Beef Industry Council’s awarding Zippy’s the 2011 Beef Backer Award for the company’s support of the beef industry.

The organizations cited Zippy’s as a leader in beef promotion for chain restaurants. Hawaii’s beef industry hopes that consumer and food service use of local ground beef will create enough purchasing volume to continue to keep local production viable.

For the competition, Zippy’s Research and Development Chef, Wayne Komamura, developed a recipe reminiscent of an old-fashioned, kama’aina style, homemade hamburger, using beef grass-fed, home-grown beef.

Celebration: P.F. Chang Honolulu turns five

October 7th, 2011

Nadine Kam photos
P.F. Chang co-founder Philip Chiang with Lynn Cook, left, and Rae Huo.

P.F. Chang co-founder Philip Chiang is in town to celebrate P.F. Chang Honolulu’s fifth anniversary in at Hokua.

The restaurant is offering a $27.95 per person five-year anniversary menu for parties of four or more (inquire about smaller party options) today through Oct. 9, with Chiang in the house on Oct. 8, when there will also be a celebration lion dance.

The family style anniversary dinner will feature starters of Chang’s poke and hot and sour soup; entrees of Oolong Chilean sea bass, Mongolian beef, shrimp and candied walnut and Singapore noodles; Sichuan green bean vegetable course; and dessert of Emperor’s blackberry rolls.

The restaurateur hosted a preview dinner on Wednesday, and such is Chiang’s stature that there were so many food writers in the house, considering that the much bigger “Chopsticks and Wine” event was taking place the same time in Waikiki.

For me, after several days of festival dining, it was quite a treat to be able to sit down for dinner and chat quietly. Well, maybe no so quietly because PFC Honolulu CEO Dean McPhail wanted to know what more I wanted to see out of his empire.

As for the man of the hour, Philip Chiang was kept busy posing for photos all evening. Photographer Rae Huo made sure she got a photo she could show her husband, who wouldn’t believe there was a real Chinese namesake behind the brand.

Guess how many fortune cookies fill this Mini Cooper and you could win a $500 P.F. Chang gift certificate. I’m usually good at calculating jellybeans in jars with a mix of adding and multiplying, but I pretty much wild guessed at this one. The contest ends Nov. 1. You can submit an entry online at

Chiang was raised in Shanghai and grew up in Tokyo, before moving to San Francisco where his mother opened The Mandarin in the 1960s, one of the first Chinese restaurants in the United States to serve Chinese food from regions other than Canton. The Mandarin became widely known for its high-end cuisine.

Chiang graduated with a B.F.A. at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, and ran The Mandarin for several years before opening the off-shoot Mandarette in West Hollywood, offering a grazing menu that caught the attention of fellow restaurateur Paul Fleming, who was looking for a new opportunity. In 1992, Chiang agreed to consult on Fleming’s Chinese restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona. One year later, the first P.F. Chang’s China Bistro opened and today there are more than 200 locations worldwide.

Chiang continues to work as a culinary consultant overseeing new dish development at P.F. Chang. His love of art and design is reflected in the ambience at each of the restaurants, including handpainted murals, terra cotta warriors and 11-foot horses that grace the restaurants’ entries.

Dining in the open air lanai. We were told it would be a four-course dinner, but that didn’t take into account that there were three appetizers and a sampling of three entrees, turning it into eight courses.

The formal dinner started with hot and sour soup.

Next up was oolong tea-infused Chilean sea bass, at $27.95 one of the priciest dishes on the menu, yet one of the most popular for good reason. It’s super moist and delicious.

Philip was ecstatic to see the Sichuan green beans perfectly cooked to his specs, with plenty of garlic, ginger and pepper, but also done to a still verdant, pliant crisp. He said he wants his chefs to cook as much with their eyes, as with regard to time and flavor. I love green beans cooked this way.

Mongolian beef is another of the restaurant’s best-selling entrees.

Singapore noodles have a sour bite here that’s absent from most of our Chinatown restaurants.

Everyone was tasting a new dessert of Emperor’s blackberry rolls that evening, a cream cheese and berry mix in a crisp spring roll. It was a hit. I’d call it a Chinese cannoli, and being that I haven’t found a good cannoli in town, this makes a great alternative.

After dinner, Rae Huo shot this photo of me with P.F. Chang Hawaii CEO Dean McPhail and chef Kellan Kubo, who’s been with the restaurant since Day 1.