Archive for February, 2011

Oscar Night’s celebratory meal

February 28th, 2011

Nadine Kam photos
A white chocolate box of candied popcorn and petits fours was a postprandial treat at HIFF’s Oscar Night America viewing party at Halekulani.

It’s not every day you see grits on the menu at Halekulani, but for one night, Feb. 27, it was all about Oscar and executive chef Vikram Garg presented a delicious Academy Awards-themed dinner to coincide with the hotel’s hosting of the Hawaii International Film Festival’s annual Oscar Night America 2011 viewing party.

After the red carpet walk, guests settled in for dinner and a 5 p.m. viewing of the Oscar ceremonies that others would be watching on their television sets at 7 p.m. The way the room and screens are set up help give the effect that you are there in the room with the nominees and winners.

I was downstairs taking photos, so missed “The Social Network” of canapes, but here are the rest of the dishes in the order presented:

“Inception” salad of Manoa salad with discs of hearts of palm and cured Saikou salmon, topped with a crunchy carambola star.

Creamy blue “True Grits” were topped with two jumbo shrimp, Iberico bellota and baby arugula.

Orange Fanta granité was the intermezzo.

“Beef Oscar” comprised a natural beef filet, topped with two large pieces of Alaskan king crab, with asparagus and mashed potatoes with Béarnaise.

A “Blue Valentine” dessert comprised a chocolate and champagne bombe, with blueberry and rose confit.

Oscar-themed cocktails at Lewers Lounge

February 25th, 2011

Nadine Kam photos
Lewers Lounge’s head bartender Tim Rita shows sample sizes of his “Network of Vodka” inspired by the film “The Social Network.”

Just in time for the Academy Awards show, Halekulani’s master mixologist Tim Rita has come up with a slate of original cocktails themed around movies up for an award.

Rita, the head bartender at the hotel’s Lewers Lounge, created five drinks inspired by “The Black Swan” (La Danse Noir), “The Fighter” (Mickey’s Ward), “True Grit” (Prickly Pear Smash), “The Social Network” (Network of Vodka) and his own favorite movie, “Toy Story 3″ (Playful Punch).

The drinks are on the menu  at Lewers Lounge through Oscar night, Sunday, when those attending the HIFF Oscar Night America party from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Halekulani, can continue the party in the lounge. Tickets for the event are $300 per person, available by mailing HIFF at or calling 792-1577 ext. 1 Visit for more information.

It was fun to talk to Rita about his process, from remembering the fruity flavors of punch at his grandmother’s house when he was a kid, to creating a trio of flavors, from sweet and spicy to spirited to reflect personalities that might comprise a social network.

La Danse Noir captures the dark, mysterious beauty of “The Black Swan,” made with spiced brandy,  Marie Brizard blackberry, fresh lime and simple syrup, and garnished with blackberries and sage leaves.

“Mickey’s Ward,” created for “The Fighter,” is Tim’s take on the Ward Eight that originated in Boston, using Irish whiskey (Jameson), orange curacao, Maraschino cherry liquor and Peychauds bitters.

A closeup view of the “The Social Network”-inspired Network of Vodka. Tim used Kai vodka to reinforce the spirit of gathering and enjoyment. The trio reflect “Sweet and Spicy” (Kai lychee, Pama liquor, lime juice, chile simple syrup); “Very Spirited” (Kai 80 proof, Lillet blanc, St. Germain); and “Organic Green” (Kai 80 proof, lime and agave syrup) personality profiles.

“True Grit”-inspired  Prickly Pear Smash stars Makers mark, lemon juice, Rotui soursop (prickly pear) and
Reagan’s orange bitters.

“Toy Story 3″-inspired “Playful Punch” is a bright, lively blend of spiced brandy, Grand Marnier and fresh lilikoi, pineapple juice and lemon juice spritzer.