Archive for the ‘On the plate’ Category

On the plate: Oscar Night 2012 at Halekulani

February 28th, 2012

Nadine Kam photos
The finale of the HIFF Oscar Night America 2012 dinner was a mignardise platter complete with caramel popcorn and white chocolate event “tickets.”

Inspired by the Best Picture nominees, Halekulani executive chef Vikram Garg created a menu as dazzling on the eye as the palate for HIFF’s Oscar Night America 2012 viewing party Feb. 26.

Being in the Halekulani Ballroom and watching the ceremonies on a big screen with amplified sound, made it feel as if you were in the room with the nominees.

Food also figured in the silent auction to benefit HIFF programs. When I saw the logo for Bob Chinn’s restaurant, I thought I had missed something and that he had somehow opened in Hawaii, but it was actually for a couple of gift certificates to have one of his seafood dinners for four— including gumbo and four kinds of crab—shipped to Hawaii from his Chicago restaurant.

Although “The Artist” took home the Academy Award that night, it was the gleaming “Moneyball” dessert creation had guests buzzing at the end of the evening, over the sugary orb that encased a square of espresso praline crisp topped with dehydrated chocolate mousse.

On the Halekulani red carpet: Best dressed and a wardrobe malfunction.

“The Artist”: A canvas of green pea gelee with lobster, citrus and bouquet of herbs and edible flowers.

“Tree of Life”: A tableau of roasted cauliflower, dotted with raisins, pine nuts and onion seeds.

“The Descendants”: Kauai shrimp sitting on a cake of smoked pork belly in a pool of tomato honey sauce.

“Midnight in Paris”: Steak frites with Café de Paris butter.

The frites were passed around, and there wasn’t much left by the time I got the basket.

“The Moneyball”: The sugar orb was cracked open to reveal its content of espresso praline crisp topped with dehydrated chocolate mousse.

These days, an extra place at the table is necessary for cell phones.

Guests who weren’t munching on candy popcorn in between courses could take home their bags for their next film viewing.

Foodspotting comes to town

September 30th, 2011

Nadine Kam photos
Foodspotting’s Fiona Tang with company mascot, Spot. This is Spot II, as the original Spot was packed away in someone’s suitcase and never found.

First, Yelp’s Kristen Whisenand came to town for an eatup at Sushi ii, and on Sept. 27, Foodspotting’s San Francisco-based head of outreach Fiona Tang came to town—restaurant, that is—for a Honolulu Eatup with 26 of Honolulu’s top Foodspotters.

That shows how important Hawaii’s dining community is to these growing social media sites. For both, Hawaii ranks within the top three or four cities, which makes sense given that this is a small community that loves food—such that being the first to set foot in a restaurant is a competitive sport—and the latest news/gossip spreads fast.

Honolulu Foodspotters gave Fiona a list of 34 must-trys while she’s in town, and on her first day here, she managed to try just one, Ted’s chocolate-haupia pie.

Tsk, tsk. Any local Foodspotter would have probably managed to cross off at least five or six items off such a list in a single day!

At town, we settled in for a family-style dinner that came pretty close to offering everything on the menu that night. It was, at minimum, a 14-course dinner. I didn’t count the bread and olives that accompanied the opening charcuterie platter. Needless to say, many of the dishes went up on Foodspotting that night!

You can follow my Foodspotting at

The mealtime camera is essential for Foodspotting.

A beautiful platter of Shinsato Farms salumi: chorizo, soppressata, cacciatore, capicola and coppa di testa.

Baby arugula salad with slices of yakon, a root vegetable, Maui onions and macadamia nuts.

Ahi tartate on risotto cakes, a sort of deconstructed Mediterranean musubi.

Bruschetta toped with a spread of roasted beets, poached tuna, arugula and refreshing ruby grapefruit.

Grilled eggplant with Waimea tomato, handmade mozarella, almonds and basil.

Slow-roasted porchetta and bitter greens with pine nuts and raisins.

Bowl o’ polenta was offered to accompany the pork shoulder.

Risotto with collard greens, topped with crisped pancetta.

Pan-seared opah with local greens.

Kulana striploin with Roquefort butter and Hamakua mushrooms.

Hand-cut herbed french fries were intended to accompany the steak.

Dessert 1 was my favorite, panna cotta surrounded by fruit including papaya, mango, lilikoi and dragonfruit and orange slices.

Apple banana cream pie was also very good.

If I had been hungrier, I probably would have been more enamored of a chocolate pretzel tart sprinkled with sea salt. After such a large meal, lighter worked better.