Gelati et al…

I’m thinking about doing a Honolulu gelateria round-up since there are so few good ones, and the term “authentic” is a term of the past that should be disregarded until real chefs put the meaning back in. La Gelateria on Cedar Street is undoubtedly the best…or maybe was, since owner Maurice Grasso has sold the business to non-Italians after 28 years. I’m heartbroken but understand that the man needs his retirement; passion may never wane but physical capability unfortunately does.

Now that I’m a dorming student at UH, I finally have the opportunity to sample all the restaurants Central and East Honolulu have to offer–I think I’ll start with Indian and Middle Eastern, since that is one of my favorites. Hopefully I remember to bring my new camera along.

Hope you’re eating well in 2009!


Thankfully, what’s theirs is ours, too.

You know, sometimes it really does pay to be a dork. Every couple of months or so I do a little national magazine patrol to see what kind of interesting food articles are being run in the contiguous states, although I pay the most attention to California (who calls my name louder every day…). So what do I find in Marin Magazine but a beautiful feature article on the grassroots movement of Hawaii Regional Cuisine. The magazine talks to several of the HRC founders, as well as a couple of contemporary proteg├ęs (including newcomer Ryan Loo of Twist at Hanohano), and puts together a very nice piece. Enjoy it here.

By the way, Happy 2009…I quite literally had a blast coordinating the fireworks (nothing illegal!) on the Eve. Wishing you prosperity and peace.


Holy cannoli. Lots of tragedy this week…restaurant-related, I mean, nothing to do with the awful stuff going on in India. As a side note, I work with several physicians from India and hope their families are safe.

Back to business.

Erika Engle from the Star-Bulletin reported yesterday that Harbor Court Bistro, in that cursed Palomino-Cassis spot downtown, is closing today, unsurprisingly. They seem to be citing the lack of a permanent liquor license and their temporary license’s revocation by the residential tenants of the building. That shouldn’t matter if the food is up to snuff, since BYOB restaurants all over the country continue to thrive. Just saying…

Earlier in the same article, Alan Wong is pulling his name from the Hualalai Grill, and both sides deny that it has anything to do with the economy (which the most recent reports say has ever such a little glimmer of hope).

Probably the one that evoked a rare gasp out of me was the news Gael Greene, better know as the unapologetic, sensuous “Insatiable Critic,” was let go from New York magazine, where she had been reviewing restaurants and publishing her undeniably influential words for 40 years. People here likely don’t have a clue who she is, but as a long-time subscriber to the magazine and harsh critic myself, I admired her no-nonsense prose. Happily, she will still have her blog.


(The only turkey I have ever liked was The Alley’s cola-brined breast. Lord knows what I’ll be eating today…)

National Recognition.

typical-plate-lunchSo while I’m busy being too lazy to upload my truffle pictures and recipes, there is always energy enough to navigate national newspaper food sections. For those who voted for Obama solely because he just might do something for Hawaii, they may actually have a point this week: The New York Times sent a writer down here to do a feature on the plate lunch, the gastronomical symbol of the islands that Mr. President-Elect grew up eating. And perhaps the front picture of dudes grinding at Rainbow Drive-In will dispel the myth that we wear coconut skirts and live in grass huts.

(Although I must note that the photo caption “The Thrifty and the Full” is just a tad inappropriate, since not ALL who dine in such a fashion are pinching pennies!)

Tartufi, preface

So I’m unhappily back home after a weekend stay in Waikiki, where my family celebrated the Golden Anniversary of my paternal grandparents. For the surprise event I created two different types of truffles using Callebaut chocolate–white/milk chocolate-mint Oreo and 70% cacao “midnight madness.” They turned out well but not as well as I’d hoped–tempering’s a nightmare and I didn’t have a good thermometer! ARGH. Pictures and procedures to follow soon…

Does anyone remember that Chocolate Tartufo at California Pizza Kitchen?? My mom and I used to go just for that icy sphere of decadence until they took it off the menu. A WHILE ago. They should bring the bloody thing back!!


If you’re like me and haven’t been to any of Thomas Keller’s restaurants, keep reading.

If you’re like me and are an absolute freak about restaurant menus, keep reading.

Six months or so ago, I left a comment on the French Laundry website requesting that they post the menus so that prospective diners have a clear idea of what Chef Keller’s cuisine is about.

I’m sure it is not purely my doing, but the brilliant webmasters for Thomas Keller Restaurant Group have in fact begun to post gorgeous PDF menus for both the French Laundry and Per Se, its New York twin, both of which are updated daily, yes, daily. It then struck me as odd and then consequently irritated the hell out of me to remember that town (Ed Kenney’s place) has the worst restaurant website I have ever come across–why can’t they post their menus? How rude.


After two weeks of frequenting Whole Foods like a maniac, grabbing gelato and going through every aisle again on a culinary high, it was a real bummer to see this article in Wednesday’s New York Times about how fast food is changing the Mediterranean. Leave it up to America to cause more international sorrow. Except for the “red wine” part (not old enough, boooo), I like to follow the Mediterranean diet pyramid, and to hear the eventual possibility of its extinction is heartbreaking.