Celebrating Local Food And Drinks
On June 5, my husband Daniel Lane and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary in style. Our kine style, that is: a foodie’s playground.
The Taste of Hawaii at Smith’s Tropical Paradise in Wailua is a fundraiser for Kapa’a Rotary Club, and for 23 years the club has been hosting a garden party featuring Pacific Rim Cuisine and more. This year, several of the 36 statewide chefs created dishes just for the occasion, 13 beverage vendors kept us happy and hydrated with beer, wine and water and 14 bands got their groove on.
The global head-to-tail movement inspired two restaurants, whose mantra is local and sustainable. Also known as nose-to-tail, chefs such as Chris Cosentino of Incanto in San Francisco use the entire animal and diners line up for gourmet pig’s feet, salumi and tuna heart.
At 22 North in Kilohana, Chef de Cuisine Aaron Leikam goes through six hogs from Kaneshiro Farms in one week. Using tasty pig bits, he created a delec-table smoked pork terrine studded with Kilauea root vegetables.
But he didn’t stop there. The coarsely chopped pâtÃ© was served over roasted and spiced Kilohana pineapple and garnished with cracked Telicherry black pepper, fresh shaved purple carrots and fennel and finished with a peppadew sauce. Waiting in line, the aroma of pork was driving me crazy, and once I ate it my tongue did the happy dance.
The innovative staff at Oasis on the Beach bought three whole lambs from Daryl Kaneshiro of Omao Farms for the event and turned them into a flavorful lamb cassoulet. The traditional slow-cooked French stew usually contains pork, sausage and white beans. Chef Joey Cole infused his rendition with house-made lamb sausage and tender chunks of lamb. Manager Collin Darrell confided that the team at Oasis is considering a house-made char-cuterie plate, and I hope they do it. I can’t imagine anything better than ocean-side seating, a glass of cold beer and a plate of house-made bacon, ham, sausage, pâtÃ© and whatever else their collective minds conjure up.
I’m glad the staff at Tiano’s Restaurant and Bakery decided against the ubiquitous prime rib and went with their delicious Lechon Kawali and Fried Rice Adobo. It’s making my mouth water just thinking about it. Fried rice laced with succulent pork tucked inside a tender omelet was wonderful by itself, but the good folks at Tiano’s took it over the top by adding crispy chunks of bacon and a “secret” tangy sauce. This was easily one of our favorite dishes of the day; a tie between this and 22 North.
By the time we made our way to Roy’s for Cured and Smoked Island Ono Tartare with Yuzu Chili Peppa Shave Ice, they had run out. Chef Matt Dela Cruz, a Rotary Club scholarship recipient, created his dish exclusively for the event and even rented a shave ice machine! Next week I’ll be talking story with Chef Matt, so be sure to read about what he’s cooking up at Roy’s.
The Coconut Cup was there with fresh vegetarian wraps and smoothies; our favorite Indian restaurant Shivalik served delicious Channa Palak (spinach and chickpeas), Chicken Tikka Masala, rice and naan; roasted red pepper hummus and tomato bruschetta was Olympic Cafe’s offering, and Maui’s Fairmont Kea Lani served a Crispy Shrimp Wrap with Sesame Salad.
For dessert there was Lappert’s Aloha Ice Cream to cool us down; mango pineapple ginger crisp by the Right Slice; Koloa Rum cake by Da Kine Foods; gluten-free coffee cake from Passion Bakery CafÃ©; and Guava French Toast with toasted macadamia nuts, Kula strawberries and ginger syrup from the St. Regis.
Stephanie Krieger of Nani Moon Mead served her White Hawaiian, made with fresh pineapple steeped in Pineapple Guava Sunset mead. Kona Brewing Company, which generates 60 percent of its energy from 990 solar panels, traveled here from the Big Island, and Kaua’i Springs kept us hydrated with fresh Kahili Mountain spring water.
Events like this inspire healthy competition by encouraging our state’s top chefs to bring out their best, and we get to sample that. We also get to sample tried-and-true comfort food and the best of what a few newcomers have to offer. Many mahalos go out to the Kapa’a Rotary Club, vendors, musicians, police officers, rescue teams and the many sponsors who made this event happen.
TASTE OF HAWAII
A good time was had by all at the annual Taste of Hawaii recently. MidWeek Kaua’i photographer Daniel Lane was busy taking photos – hope he got to eat.
Photos by Daniel Lane