Archive for the ‘Events’ 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.

‘Eat the Street’ marks 1st anniversary

January 30th, 2012

Nadine Kam photos
“Eat the Street” founder Poni Askew shows a plate of swordfish and another of enchiladas from the Cooking Fresh for You truck at the event’s one-year anniversary luau.

Eat this street held its first anniversary at the Kakaako waterfront, from 4 to 9 p.m. Jan. 27, where the truck count is up to 32, and founder Poni Askew said she regularly turns away 25 to 30 vendors for lack of space, although she said it breaks her heart to do so.

They include people who are starting up specifically to be a part of the monthly communal food event. Picking which newbies get in is difficult, she said, and is a matter of finding those with something new or novel to offer. For instance, one to look forward to in coming months is the Sweet Revenge pie truck that’ll offer sweet and savory selections.

In the beginning, Poni was working as a district manager for Starbucks when she started her Street Grindz blog and website just to bring the food truck community together and offer a convenient place to share sightings and locations of trucks. But with the popularity of the trucks affordable fare, the whole project took on a life of its own.

Now, it’s become political as well, with the city moving to enforce a 1978 law that requires street vendors to move at least 300 feet after being in one spot for 15 minutes.  Violators face a petty misdemeanor charge punishable by up to 30 days in jail and  a fine up to $1,000 fine.

After police began citing lunch wagons and other street vendors several months ago, Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard introduced a bill that would allow the vendors to stay in place two hours, to get them through a typical lunch period, although final testimony is pending.

Poni said it’s a shame that the city is doing this at the height of the trucks’ popularity, and I think attendance at the monthly events also speaks to consumers’ wishes.

“It would be a shame if they turn away a legacy that’s been here for so long, for so many generations of Hawaii families,” she said.

Shortly after arriving at the event, I stopped by the Eat the Street booth, where food writer Mari Taketa said she’d just been asked if she were me. The late John Heckathorn also told me in the past that people asked him the same question!

This city is not without precedent of the mystery writer with the fake name and fake gender. The Honolulu Weekly once had a male restaurant reviewer writing under a  woman’s name. But I started writing about food a decade before that, when I was 22, too young to consider the consequences. If I had to do it over again, I probably would have used a pseudonym and just walked away from any grief.

One of the attractions of the waterfront setting was a huge warehouse with seating for the tired and hungry.

Getting fancy. An $8 lobster roll made with Maine lobster was one of the specials at the Why’z truck. Andy Hope was prepping lobster outside and I had to do a doubletake when I saw his doppelganger inside the truck. His twin.

The lobster roll: Not as much lobster as I’d like like, but fair for $8. I paid double for awesome lobster rolls in New York, but don’t think most people would spring for that here.

Also offered by Why’z, ribs dubbed “dinosaur bones.”

Former newsperson-turned-foodtrepreneur Kawehi Haug, shared her latest venture, Street Frites.

A closeup of the frites.

Some of the sauce selections accompanying the Street Frites. Offered are savory and sweet flavors, and sometimes a combination of the two, as with the bacon jam.

A suggestion from The Curb truck.

I got it. If you love Godiva’s Chocolixirs, you’ll love this. It’s topped with mini chocolate chips and strawberry slices. (more…)