Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

First meals

January 3rd, 2012

Nadine Kam photos
First meal of the New Year, Navitas Naturals chewy raw cashews.

When making up lists of symbolic meals, I’ve often seen people struggle to come up with the perfect last meal.

Not much is made of the first meals of the new year because they are typically preordained by tradition, whether one’s culture calls for ozoni, mochi, ahi, jai or candied fruit, whether to bind families together or bring sweetness, longevity and fortune into one’s life.

New Year tradition in my family is tied to the Lunar New Year, which begins Jan. 23, so Jan. 1 tends to be more of a culinary free-for-all that’s not weighted in any kind of tradition or superstition.

So, what was on the menu? After waking up too late to head to Mariposa as planned, my afternoon started with a fistful of Navitas Naturals raw, kosher, gluten-free, vegan and 100 percent organic cashews.

To balance the healthy goodness, lunch/dinner was a decadent one-third pound Kua ‘Aina ortega burger with avocado.

It was totally random, and I’m not saying a colossal burger is a good thing, but I like the word “balance” for 2012 and hope to make more healthier choices in the new year. My personal choices are not something that’s necessarily reflected in my restaurant columns, which, as a mirror of our times, relays what is happening in local dining rooms at this particular point. But wouldn’t it be nice if more restaurateurs thought like personal trainers, creating meals to optimize the functions of the human body?

Second meal of 2012: Kua ‘Aina ortega burger with avocado.

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.