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Archive for December, 2010

Chai-ing in the rain.

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

If you feel like this and the rain/cold/monsoon isn’t letting up, follow these easy instructions, sit back, let it pass and hang loose.

Gather the following. If you’re earthquake prepared you might as well be rainy day prepared.

3 tea bags, whatever,  2 bayleaves, small chunk of nutmeg, 1/2 stick cinnamon, 2 cloves, 7 pepper corns, tsp cumin seeds, tsp coriander seeds and some sugar. Pulse in your coffee grinder or use powdered sawdust, I mean powdered spice.

Melt a tab of butter in a pot. Grate a stick of ginger and lemon grass into the mess. Add your spices or dust and fill with 1 qt water. Simmer and reduce by 25% for 20 minutes. You’ll know when it looks dark and awesome.

Add some cream or powdered milk and strain into your mug.

Sit back and sip your hand crafted spicy brew. Feel accomplished, brave and happy. Starbucks can’t even come close.

PS. Go crazy with the ginger and the whole recipe. It may take a few tries but once you get it down, it WILL be your all time best thing to make for those necessary occasions.

- Happy Holidays.


Sunday, December 19th, 2010

The party was half an hour away. Meticulous planning and prep had been hashed, re-hashed, reviewed and re-reviewed. One phone call and none of it mattered.

The count went up 25% at 3:30. The party was a 6:30. The horn sounded and Rin-tin-tin was getting smashed at his own Holiday joint. Now it was us, all 4 of us vs. however many broke down the gates.

The hord of jolly and jaded were on the march, beating holiday drums, drums in the deep and not the ones baby Jesus bobs his head to, mugging Joseph from the swaddling mess of gold frakenscence and mirr.

The Audi, BMW and Benzo mufflers in the distance grew louder. They were coming. The Kahala maze from outer space would have shown 40 pac mans chomping through luxury homes and our party was the strawberry in the middle.

What happened at 6:30? 4 people showed up. I took a breathe, blinked and when my eyes opened, the back yard was going off. Lounge music soothing, people grazing, women sipping and guys chugging. Aukai swashbuckling, Malu parrying. Kanani flying out plates and if there were ropes, John would have been swinging from them with tongs in one hand and a slicer in his teethe.

The filet walked out medium rare, basking in oxtail demi glace. The golden shrimp cakes stuffed with goat cheese stole the show, again. And the plump masala chicken with grilled marsala pears was gone.

Before the night was over I was working the bar and the DJ was bussing wine glasses. Once the faux silver balls, pine needles and Champagne bubbles had settled, I had an excellent Kentucky Bourbon with a happy host.

Aukai and Malu did an impossible job. They handled 65, professional party going guests, between the 2 of them… In the end it comes down to one thing. True hospitality and flexible service. The client has a need and we have a solution.

-Happy Holidays.

Tsukiji Phenomenon

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Moving through the world’s largest fish market is dangerous if you don’t first understand you are not welcome. Fish mongers flying through the narrow lanes on what look like levitating barrels with steering wheels on top, will run you over if you do not move.

Cupping a hot coffee after staying up all night partying in Tokyo, I strained to comprehend it all. Scallops larger than my fists, and no one was gawking. Ahi loins locked under glass vaults and already spoken for were not allowed to be photographed, and so I had to. Menpachi fish from the Land of the Lost brought me to my knees. I know the game so I stayed clear. Hustling loads of fish out to all the restaurants by the morning requires intense organized chaos.

Their sense of urgency became mine. I felt like passing out tiny cups of Gatorade and cheering them on, but I was wasted and that move would have left dead in some oversized barrel out back as chum for the next day.

I underpaid for a prize sea bass, went home, threw it in the fridge and passed out. Later that day I scaled and gutted the fish in Dan’s freezing cold backyard with his dull knife. We spent our last night with a group of friends, good wines and cheeses plus a sea bass preparation that left everyone gruntled.

I can prepare the dish again for anyone reading this now. The seared preparation stems from my approach to choosing the right salt and the right pan for the sear. Then I cross flavor attributes of the particular specie (whatever’s on hand that day) with pepper seeds, crushed citrus, vinegar and buttery things ( whatever’s on hand that day as well.)

But not before

Japan’s pound for pound

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

I saw the marbled white lines of fat outweighing actual red beef.  The Kobe beef display was calling me. I could only stand still under the solo ray of awesomeness beaming down from the super market ceiling.

Nothing says relaxation like massages, sunshine, all you can eat and beer throughout the day, everyday.

“These cows are living better than most Japanese businessmen,” I whispered aloud. The long faced man who had slept the night before in his suite next to me looked severely offended and shuffled away.

With both hands holding out more money than I could register, a slight bend in the torso and I respectfully held out my earnings. “They’ve had a good life,” I whispered again, still perturbing the patrons in the market.

After a long while I realized the display would not accept my money and that someone in the front of the store would have to close the transaction. Prize in hand I made it to the register, walked outside and the Jesus ray faded away into the Tokyo neon.


Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Tucked at the end of the 15 lot Poamoho estates is a quite little farm.


Poamoho Flowers

Poamoho Ocean

Husband and wife team Al and Joan Santoro run and operate their 7 acre Organic farm (and home) mostly all on their own. With only some part-time staffers who weed in the morning, then surf in the afternoon, the two of them harvest and cultivate some of the most flavorful fruits on the island.

How do I know this? By sampling of course.

The purpose of my visit: To scout out locations for our new Farm 2 Table offerings (check back in a bit for details on our tour sites and menus).

The result of my visit: A beautiful morning spent walking, and golf carting through the farm. Mauka vistas off to the left, ocean views straight ahead, and not another house in sight. The avocado trees laden with ripening fruit (7 varieties to be precise). And the mango trees recovering from a longer than normal season.

Mango & Papaya

And the loot: A perfetly ready to eat duo of avocados. That’s the Big Island Butter on the left, and the Malama variety on the right.

Poamoho Avocados

Mahalo to Al for letting me enjoy his beautiful farm. To find out what Poamoho has in season, please visit their Website.