Archive for the ‘Benefits’ Category

Celebration: Dave & Buster’s marks 10 years at Ward

October 7th, 2011

Nadine Kam photos
Dave & Buster’s Honolulu manager Matt Luckett, backed by his staff, thanked the audience for their patronage over the last decade.

Dave & Buster’s marked its 10th anniversary in Hawaii on Oct. 3, with a grand celebration covering two floors of the dining-and-entertainment mecca.

To be honest, I was a little confused when I saw the invitation. Ten years in Hawaii! Couldn’t be. I thought it might refer to the entire chain of restaurants, but no, D&B was born in 1982, when Dave (Corriveau) and Buster (Corley) teamed up in Little Rock, Ark., figuring an all-in-one entertainment complex would keep people on the premises a long time.

But when I thought about it, I realized that so many friends I dined with at D&B when it opened here a decade ago have left for the mainland in the interim. Time sure does fly!

More than 500 showed up to celebrate, purchasing $50 tickets, with half the proceeds going to Aloha United Way to support various community services.

There was a buffet set up in the second-floor Show Room, where I stopped first. There were a lot of families there enjoying a fried food buffet. Strangely enough, I went with a friend who had a dinner date afterward, so didn’t want to eat much, so I figured we’d go upstairs to the rooftop Sunset Bar and Lanai to see what was there before committing.

D&B’s rooftop Sunset Lanai’s lounge area was dressed up with balloons for the anniversary.

It was more adult, so we decided to stay there the rest of the evening, out in the open air, and there was some lighter fare such as fruit salad and poke, plus many items from D&B’s Sunset Bar & Grill menu, including teriyaki bar burgers (four mini cheeseburgers sell for $8.89 on a regular night), huli chicken, and more.

The Sunset Lanai is a great place to show up for Pau Hana Fridays, where you can listen to Hawaiian entertainment from 6 to 8 p.m., and enjoy happy hour from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Or late-night Wednesdays when there’s half off drinks and beer and wine specials from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., club sounds and a dress to impress crowd.Take the elevator up and it’s like the game and kiddie area doesn’t exist, unless that’s your thing.

Fried chicken and fried gau gee, below, were among the array of deep-fried offerings on the second-floor buffet.

Kiwi, honeydew melon, starfruit and mango on the Sunset Lanai.

Poke is always a crowd pleaser. It’s $12.95 on the bar menu.

A lot of people couldn’t handle the North Shore Spicy Garlic Shrimp, but if you like spicy and garlic, you get both to the max. Ten pieces are $15.99 on the bar & grill menu.

My other favorite dish of the evening was the kalbi, also on the menu at $14.95 for a pound.

Dessert of haupia squares.

HFWF’s grand finale

October 5th, 2011

Nadine Kam photos
John Besh of the Besh Restaurant Group in New Orleans and James Beard Best Chef of the Southeast 2006, cooked up Molokai shrimp and andouille and served it over baked jalapeño cheese grits. I’d heard it was very good, but I was too full to try it.

With 15 chefs, plus winemakers, mixologists and dessert purveyors stationed on the lawn at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort for “Mauka to Makai: Hawaii’s Sustainable Future,” on Oct. 1, the finale of the spectacular three-day Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival, there was more than enough food and drink for the evening’s 1,100 guests to handle.

I say “handle” because for those who took in two or all three days, could barely manage to sample six or seven more plates, much less sample all the chefs’ creations.

The inaugural festival—one of, if not the biggest food festival held on Oahu—was a major feat for James Beard Award-winning chefs and co-chairs Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, and executive director Denise Hayashi, who drew on their international cred and connections to draw their illustrious roster of chefs. Usually, festivals with this caliber of talent have taken place on the Big Island.

Evening 1 at the Modern Honolulu drew 800 for its focus on “Streets of Asia: Morimoto and Friends, Evening 2 gave way to a Halekulani Master Chefs Gala Dinner Series aimed toward the 270 elite diners who could afford a $1,000 ticket or two. During the days there were chocolate and wine tastings, a food-oriented fast-pitch session with Dave McClure of 500 Startups which provides seed money for entrepreneurs, and discussions of the 21st century table in Hawaii and innovations in the food and farming industries.

When it got dark, Rick Moonen’s fiance, art director turned photographer Roni Fields, guided me to the light for this photo.

Moonen served up striped marlin poke with tropical vinaigrette, hearts of palm, Waialua onion, inamona and lemon balm.

The Hilton’s Great Lawn could barely contain the event, with reserved tables in the center forcing those without tables to crowd the perimeter. I finally got smart and crossed through the central area whenever I had to move quickly. In trying to get photos of all the visiting chefs, I think I sampled just five or six dishes that night, and even had to pass on some of my favorite foods, I was so full. I was amazed when skinny people told me early they had not only made a complete circuit, but tried everything!

I did make it a point to try town’s pig’s feet though, after being told by a couple of people, including L.P. “Neenz” Faleafine how good it was, “and I don’t even like pig’s feet!” she marveled.

To promote sustainability, all the chefs were provided with local ingredients to use in their creations. In addition to the host chefs, the night’s roster featured:

John Besh, John Besh Restaurants, New Orleans
Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles
Celestino Drago, Celestino Drago Restaurant Group, Los Angeles
Dean Fearing, Fearing’s, Dallas
Michael Ginor, Hudson Valley Foie Gras & Lola, New York
Ed Kenney, Town, Hawaii
George Mavrothalassitis, Chef Mavro, Hawaii
Peter Merriman, Merriman’s, Hawaii
Rick Moonen, Rick Moonen’s rm seafood, Las Vegas
Michel Nischan, Dressing Room, Connecticut
Philippe Padovani, Padovani’s Grill, Hawaii
Jeffrey Vigilla, Hilton Hawaiian Village, Hawaii
Marcel Vigneron, “Top Chef Bravo,” Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen TV, Los Angeles

Marcel Vigneron, who gained national notoriety in season two of Bravo’s “Top Chef,” and now with his own reality series, “Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen,” presented Big Island moi and pork belly with pineapple poi, sea asparagus, hon shimeji and micro shiso, below.

Marcel accommodated several fans who wanted photographs.

Host property Hilton Hawaiian Village executive chef Jeffrey Vigilla with the wok-fried Kauai shrimp tempura that crowned the kiawe wood-smoked Kahua Ranch beef he was also serving with Hawaiian brown sugar-black rum BBQ sauce, Surfing Goat cheese and kabocha puree, micro arugula and radish. The assembled dish, below:

It was hard to track down Roy Yamaguchi, who was all over the premises as event co-chair, along with Alan Wong. Finally caught up with him as he greeted Deena Nichols, senior vice president of Macy’s West, right, and Laura Townsend, also of Macy’s.

Alan Wong served up Keawa Nui Farms sweet and meaty Molokai shrimp with Sumida Farms watercress, below. He is one busy guy, who will be giving a culinary demonstration and signing copies of his cookbook, “The Blue Tomato: The Inspirations Behind the Cuisine of Alan Wong,” from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Williams-Sonoma store at Ala Moana Center. He’ll also be hitting the road with food historian Arnold Hiura on a “Taste Hawai’i” tour of the San Francisco Bay area from Oct. 27 to Nov. 2, with culinary demos, tastings and book signings. Details are at