Archive for January, 2010

Sugar n’ spice at Hokulani

January 28th, 2010


Nadine Kam photos
Lauren Taylor shows Hokulani Bakeshops new trio of flavors, from left, Snickerdoodle, mango with chili buttercream frosting, and mango with cream cheese frosting, at $3.50 each.

Do you have a craving for sugar and spice? You can satisfy both desires at Hokulani Bake Shop, where they’ve just introduced a trio of cupcakes: Snickerdoodle, mango with chili buttercream frosting, and mango with cream cheese frosting, at $3.50 each.

The mango features small pieces of the fruit, as well as a piece of candied fruit riding atop the cream cheese frosting version. The other mango cupcake has the mild zing of chili peppers, which I thought could be much hotter, although it’s been made palatable for those who aren’t usually comfortable mixing the savory with the sweet. Maybe they’ll introduce degrees of heat later, mild, medium and hot.

The Snickerdoodle was amazing, a ringer for the retro cookies made with shortening, cream of tartar and dusted with cinnamon sugar.


Coincidentally, the same day I tried Hokulani’s cupcakes, I headed to Apartment3 in the evening, where I enjoyed a lip-tingling chili cocktail and dessert of vanilla-infused milk and cookies, including flavors and textures of oatmeal, chocolate chip and … Snickerdoodles, perhaps inspired by co-owner Flash Hansen’s grandmother, who he says sends him a home-baked batch of Snickerdoodles every Christmas. Awwwww …


Milk and cookies at Aparment3 on the third floor of Century Center. The Snickerdoodle is the palest cookie just left of center.

Chef Tourondel drops in for a visit

January 21st, 2010

BLTNadine Kam photos
Wearing a ti leaf lei was new to chef Laurent Tourondel, left, who put the LT into B(istro)LT. Chef Mavro got to use his French for a change, while congratulating Tourondel on his Hawaii opening.

I started a blog category called “Food Hero” a while back, and looking at it while creating this page, I thought it suited Laurent Tourondel, who captured diners’ hearts in New York before expanding his empire, by wedding elements of fine dining with comforting bistro fare.

It certainly makes sense in a down economy, where the precious and fussy have given way to no-nonsense fare and presentation, which is why he appears to be blanketing the nation with varied incarnations of the BLT concept: BLT Steak, BLT Fish, BLT Burger, BLT Market, BLT Prime, BLT Bar & Grill …

In case you were hibernating over the holidays, BLT Steak opened in the Trump International Hotel last month, and Tourondel came to town for a little house-warming party Jan. 18. It was great to meet the man in the flesh.

blt-juan leon

Juan Leon presided over the charcuterie table featuring soppressata, breseola, prosciutto and chorizo served with a choice of various breads or savory mini  popovers with a Gruyere crust.

Waiters were kept busy delivering pupu-sized servings of fish, sushi, lobster salad on toast, beef carpaccio on toast and shortribs to guests’ tables, while people could help themselves to shellfish and seafood salads over at the restaurant’s Raw Bar.

I was a little surprised when Natalie Aczon told me she had to leave to find an ABC store. “Huh?” was my response when she told me she’s allergic to shellfish and she could feel welts surfacing on her skin. I had just seen her devour two platefuls of oysters and shrimp! She said that even with her allergy, she couldn’t pass it up.

Afterward, we headed for the Trump’s Wai’olu Bar on the 6th floor, where the city lights sparkled and we found a third of the BLT party had also gravitated there. Obviously, no one wanted to leave.

So glad BLT came to the islands. Here’s a link to my review last month for those who said they missed it over the busy holidays:


Ahi tatare with avocado in a soy-lime sauce. A full-size serving is $16 on the appetizer menu. One of my favorite dishes of the evening was a similarly portioned spoonful of hamachi sashimi in an apple coriander vinaigrette comprising diced Granny Smith apples, toasted coriander seeds, honey, lime juice, mustard oil and cilantro.

The steak arrived toward the end of the evening, after most guests had already filled up on pupu. The steak was dressed with onion marmalade and topped with blue cheese.

blt-raw bar
From the Raw Bar guests could fill their plates with oysters, boiled shrimp and crab claws. At the Raw Bar, oysters run $18 for a half dozen, snow crab claws run $21 per five and a jumbo shrimp cocktail is $18.

BLT Steak’s Assistant General Manager Chad Yang with guest Reine Ah Moo and Chef de Cuisine Johan Svensson.