Friday, November 27, 2009

"calitalian" wines - November 25, 2007

Last night we tasted "calitalian" wines with John Behler. Italian grapes grown in California. This tasting was awesome, because of the different characteristics of a wine. Where a grape is grown determines how it will taste, just like a person.

Astoria Pinot Nero ’07 (Italy, Veneto)
paired w/ Beet green ravioli

Peter Dipoli Merlot ’04 (Italy, Alto Adige)
paired w/ Wild boar sausage patty

Opolo Sangiovese ’05 (California, Paso Robles)
paired w/ Lambwich

Graziano Moscato ’07 (California, Mendocino)
paired w/ Moscato gelee, local fruits

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

To Brine or not to Brine

It is two days before Thanksgiving and want to try a new turkey recipe. I have been brining turkeys for the last 10 years and I thought I would do a practice turkey - a salted one. With the great prices on turkeys for Thanksgiving, I bought 4 turkeys, but could only fit 3 in the freezer, so 1 defrosted in the refrigerator and I needed to roast it.

The turkey came out moist, juicy and really tasty. And I did not have to mess with a brining solution or make room for a big container in my refrigerator. And it was so easy....see how I did it.

I researched several salted turkey recipes and found one that was simple and easy...Clementine Salted Turkey. Because I did not have Clementines, but have a tangerine tree going crazy with fruit, I decided to use the tangerines instead. I also had a container of culinary lavender from Maui and ended up changing the recipe to incorporate products I had in my possession. And trying to keep it as local as possible.

Here is the salt rub recipe:
Chopped rind from a medium Wilhelmina Rise tangerine (about 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon of Maui grown culinary lavender
1 tablespoon of course ground black pepper
3/4 cup kosher salt

Mix in a bowl.

This recipe is for a 12 lb. turkey. Sprinkle tangerine/salt mixture all over the turkey, also in the cavity. Cover turkey with plastic wrap and refrigerate turkey overnight (24 hours).

Take the turkey out of the refrigerator and rinse thoroughly, also in the cavity. Coat the bottom of your roasting pan with extra virgin olive oil (2 tablespoons). Place the turkey in the roasting pan and pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Let stand out for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

With a stick of butter that has been also sitting for 30 minutes, rub the turkey evenly. Cut 2 tangerines in half and stuff in turkey cavity. Tuck wings under and turn the turkey over to its breast side down, sprinkle turkey with pepper and ground sage, more salt is not necessary.

Roast turkey breast side down for an hour, then lower the heat to 350 degrees, turn turkey over breast side up and roast for another hour and a half. Baste the turkey once at this point.

The turkey is ready when your therometer reads 160 degrees in the thickest part of the turkey, usually the breast.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Not All Persimmons are Created Equal

It is almost Thanksgiving and that means you are now seeing those strange, little pumpkin looking, orange fruits in the produce department of your grocery store or at the local open markets....yes, they are persimmons. For many years, I've stayed away from eating these fruits, thinking they were just ornamental, like those little pumpkins and gourds you use to decorate your Halloween, then Thanksgiving table.

But to my surprise, they are sweet, juicy, crunchy, jellylike, and delicious. So every November, I look forward to eating these seasonal jewels.

There are three varietals of persimmons available here in Hawaii and two of them are grown on Maui....Hachiya, Fuyu and Maru. A friend of mine just came back from a weekend trip to Maui, he brought back some Fuyu and Maru persimmons, and shared them with the crew at work. He informed me that these persimmons are grown on the slopes of Haleakala - upcountry Maui. I did not know that. I always thought they were all grown in California. The farm in upcountry Maui is called the Hashimoto Persimmon Farm. I lived in upcountry Maui for a year and worked back and forth from Oahu, for 11 years, and I did not hear of this farm...go figure.

So I am doing a taste test of the 3 varietals of persimmons. The first is the Hachiya. It looks like a heart shaped orange tomato. This persimmon cannot be eaten unless it is fully ripe. Ripe is when the fruit is a dark rust color and very, very soft to the touch - when it is almost ready to pop & the skin is very thin. Like a very ripe tomato. Warning - if you eat it before it's time, it is like biting into sticky cotton balls. So sticky that you have to brush your teeth, at least twice, to start getting the cotton feeling off your teeth and the sides of your mouth. Yucky. So ripen your Hachiya on the counter until soft (up to 2 weeks) and must be eaten within 2 days. Or you can freeze your unripe Hachiya, then thaw (this hastens ripening).

But when you eat it at it's perfect ripeness, it is like eating a sweet, satiny, jellylike strawberry papaya peach nectarine - but with a hint of cinnamon. Hachiya's are usually from California and not that readily available in our Hawaii markets.

The next tasting is the Maru persimmon. The Maru looks just like the Fuyu, a plump orange tomato, but lighter in color and not as pretty (it's the one on the right). You can eat the Maru crunchy and not fully ripe, not like the Hachiya. But you can wait until it is fully ripe. When you eat it not fully ripe, it is like eating a perfect peach and nectarine, but with a smooth apple texture.

And now the Fuyu persimmon. This is the pretty sister of the Maru, in appearance, not as plump, the skin is clear and deeper in orange. But comparison in taste, I think the Maru has a sweeter taste and creamier texture. The Fuyu might be prettier to look at, but the Maru has the better taste. It's the pretty/plain girl philosophy.

So run to your closest market now and get your seasonal jewels, before it is gone, like Fall.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Open Markets in Spain are like Cathedrals!!!

I've been back from my trip in Spain for a month now and I surely miss the open markets. The love, passion, and pride put into the merchandising, quality and selection of their vegetables, fruits, meats, seafood, eggs, etc. was so beautiful and inviting.

I had the pleasure to have an apartment just around the corner from the famous open market in Barcelona - Mercat de La Boqueria, also known as Mercat de San Josep. So my early mornings, for the first week, were spent going to the market and watching the vendors set-up and prepare their fruits, vegetables, juices, eggs, jamon (cured hams), candy, spices, cheeses, poultry, fish, shellfish, breads, etc. for the local and tourist shoppers. Each booth/kiosk was very specialized and sold a specific item. The egg kiosk sold only eggs, the candy booth sold only candy, vegetable kiosk sold only vegetables, etc, etc. And the owners/workers were very knowledgeable about their products - what it was, where it was from, how it is grown and when it was picked....WOW.

Then I would stroll to the popular "Pinotxo Bar" for my cafe con leche and an ensaimada a la plancha. And sometimes a bowl of their delicious chickpeas with mushrooms or whatever was fresh. The owner of the bar was my barista every morning, so it felt like being at "Cheers". He knew my drink and my pastry before I even got a seat at the bar. And always got me to try something new on their menu.

Then I would go to my favorite juice stand for my 16 oz. freshly squeezed, chilled, mixed juice mix. My favorite was the papaya/orange juice and it was only 1 euro.

With my juice in hand, I would normally cruise the market looking for fruits, cheese & jamon that might be great snacks for our touring ventures later in the day. The fishmongers and their fresh catch of day, were so fun to watch.

I just loved the colors, animation of the people and the whole experience of this mercat. I was totally absorbed in the moment.

Please enjoy my pictures. Let me warn you, the pictures do not capture the true beauty & essence of this market. It is a feast for the senses.

Tenga muchisima hambre...I am very hungry!!!!

the hungry traveller

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wine down Wednesday @ town Review

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Tonight we had a very creative and delicious tasting - "ports" with Mark Lloyd. I say creative because it opened my taste buds and mind to ports. Ports are not only an "after dinner" drink. The food pairing tonight was spot on. Ed, Dave and their team in the kitchen always amazes me. The first course, just brought me back to Spain and the flavors of great memories. The second course, steak with ulu puree "unreal". I thought the ulu puree might be gummy, but it was creamy, tasty and a perfect starch for the hangar steak. The last course, OMG, was truly a orgasmic chocolate experience. See more of the pairings after each wine description. Enjoy!

Cossart Gordon "5-year-old Bual"
Made with Bual grape and aged in cask for at least 5 years. Bual (boal): luscious, medium-rich Madeira with great concentration of flavor and a complex bouquet. Best served with drier salty cheeses.
paired with aged mahon, marcona almonds, jamon wrapped dates

Pombal do Vesuvio Douro '07
This wine comes from one of the Douro Valley's regions grandest estates, a history dating back to 1565. In 2007, this vineyard produced a small quantity of exceptionally concentrated Touriga Nacional, perfectly matured grapes that resulted in wine of elegance and finesse yet with great depth and power. The Touriga Nacional makes up 70% of the final blend of the inaugural 2007 vintage of Quinta do Vesuvio Douro DOC wine (plus 20% Touriga Franca and 10% Tinta Amarela).
paired with pu'u o hoku hangar steak, ulu puree

Graham's Six Grapes
Founded in 1820, W & J Graham's is a consistent leader in producing exceptional Vintage Ports known for their rich complexity and superb againg potential. In 1890, Graham's acquired Quinta dos Malvedos, its flagship vineyard and one of the top sites in Portugal's Alto Douro Valley. The Symington Family acquired Graham's in 1970.

Quinta do Vesuvio '07
96 Points-Food & Wine Magazine - "A great vintage of Vesuvio, this is completely Douro in its flavors, a bold stroke of color across the palate, a ruch of green, red, blue and purple. It's plump, if not downright fat (the wine seems softer in acidity than some of its peers), but it's ripped by tannin, with a pervasive schistiness that makes it grand. Those resonant tannins combine with vibrant spice, licorice and green herb to create a hum of energy around all the fruit. The wine vibrates with power, intensely compressed. Drink it young to be wowed, or cellar it for decades; it's anyone's guess when this will calm down."
both wines were paired with 77% dark chocolate, chocolate pretzel tart, port soaked blueberries

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Adventure in Espana

We have been here for approximately 2.5 days...and it has been a whirlwind. Seen alot, ate alot and we still have not even scratched the surface.

Spain is such a diverse city. The people are a mixture of the world, I thought Hawaii was the melting pot. We are living on a street that is predominantly Middle Eastern, but mixed with East Indians, East Africans and now Hawaiians. I am getting ahead of myself. This adventure started about 2 years ago. I knew I wanted to do something special for my 50th birthday which was coming up pretty fast. We, meaning my friends and I, always go to somewhere exotic and special for the "big" birthdays. So I planned on Spain. Bill, Doug and myself decided on the dates, booked our tickets, and let everyone in my little universe know of our plans. Bill and Doug ended up making other "big" plans and are in India now. So nine of my friends made their plans and we are all here.

First day - September 17, 2009
When we arrived, a couple of our friends were already here and had seen a lot of the city. So they gave the rest of us some ideas of what to do. We were jet lagged from a 10 hour flight from Honolulu, an 8 hour lay over in NYC, and another 8 hours from NYC to Barcelona. But of course, we were hungry as soon as we got settled in our apartment. We ended up eating at a neighborhood "cervasareria" on the Raval Ramblas.

I need to give you the definition of what a "Ramblas" is. It is a large wallway that is similar to a median with a one-way street on each side. I would say the width of an average Ramblas is 30 feet. In Barcelona, the Ramblas were filled with cafes and kiosks and is usually busy with people and tourist....a wonderful place to shop and people watch.

The "Raval Ramblas" was not a very busy one, but filled with several cafes and alot of people walking and riding their bikes. The "cervasaria" we picked was not a very good one, but it was open during "siesta" and we were hungry for tapas or real food. The place food was not cutting it. It was just wonderful to eat outdoors, under the beautiful "Spanish Sky", eat and drink, being with good friends and people watch. What a great way to start our vacation.

After lunch, we went back to our apartment to change our clothes and wait for our other friends to get their keys to their apartment. We all got to go to their apartment, which was located in the Barri Gothic district and about 5 blocks from our place. I have to say that their place was located in a nicer & better neighborhood, but our apartment size, charm and layout, was so much better. Yes, you cannot have everything. Oh well. I guess we had the best of both worlds if we just shared the best with each other and that is why we are here - to share our best experiences and moments, and make unforgettable memories.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

ROAD TO SPAIN - 2 more days - September 13, 2009

It seems like only yesterday, I made the decision to spend my 50th birthday in Spain. I've always wanted to visit Spain, so about 2 years ago I made a decision that it would be on a "BIG" birthday. My core friends always spend our "BIG" birthdays in a special place, we've been to Paris, Italy, London and San Francisco. And now it's Spain.

At my birthday last year, the core friends started planning our trip and now it is here.

There will be 10 of us and we are all staying in this apartment complex -

I hope they are legit!!!!


Saturday, September 12, 2009

I am back on-line!!!!

This is very appropriate, because the last post I did was right after the preview of the movie Julie & Julia on July 21st and I just had Chef Mavro's "Julia Child" inspired menu this Friday. I am not going to blog much about it, because my friend Lesa's blog about Chef Mavro's dinner is much more descriptive and informative - she is a much better writer, than I am...."Eatizen Jane".

One sentence about the meal - "the courses were well planned and executed", Julia would be very proud. I enjoyed the meal very much and it really fulfilled my expectations, and has totally heightened my hunger pangs and taste buds. If pictures is worth a hundred words, what does my picture say?

I've been gone from my blog for over a month, for a couple of reasons:
  • my home wifi has been acting up and landlords too slow to fix
  • I've been so busy with work - an event every week since July 15th
  • been also busy getting ready for my "birthday trip" to Espana
I feel these are really good reasons - don't you?

So from today and until my trip from Spain ends in October, I will be blogging about getting ready to go to Spain and while in Spain, about my daily adventures in Spain.

I've been preparing myself for this trip by cooking Spanish, practicing the Spanish language, and watching Spanish travel shows, especially the cooking ones.

So come along for the ride and put your flamenco shoes on!!!! We are on the ROAD TO SPAIN.

nos vamos!!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Julie&Julia - the new movie

Just got back from watching the Honolulu preview of the movie "Julie&Julia" with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams based on Two True Stories of Julie Child and Julie Powell, a New York City blog writer. Hosted by Chef Mavro and his wife Donna.

I loved it!!! The who's who in Hawaii's food industry were also there watching the film. Inspiring and funny. Check out this photo:

Go to for more information. Coming to theaters on August 7th.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Wines from Spain @ wine down wednesdays - July 15, 2009

It's summer and it's hot. What sounds good? Lighter weight wines that are cool, and that means wines from Spain.

Mark Lloyd, one of wine townies & favorite wine experts, led this week's wine down. Mark is from Chambers and Chambers Wine Merchants.

Bodega Muga Bianca, Rioja
Viura and Malvasia fromthe famed house of Muga, founded in 1932. Harvested from vines 15-45 years old the Mugas produce traditional and artisan wines. This crisp and luscious white Rioja is packed with fruit flavors of melons, lemon lime, and sea breeze with bright acidity. A perfect summer wine to sip while grilling oysters and veggies.

Pirineos Mesache Rosado, Spain
Cabernet and Grenache dry Rose; the perfect compliment with Paella. But also great with Salmon off the grillm, and most tapas.

Finca Luzon, Luzon, Jumilla
Monastrell (Morvedre) and Garnacha produced by family owned estate of 98 hectares near the Mediterranean Sea. Thee Gil family have been making rich and fruit forward wines with a modern style (you may have seen Guan Gil in the wine shops). Flavors of blueberries, black tea, raspberry and chocolate. This is a very stylish wine.

Sierra Cantabria Rioja 'Cuvee Especial, Rioja
The Sierra Cantabria mountain range rises abruptly from the Rioja Valley, and protect the region from the harsh Atlantic winds. This winery was founded in 1957, and these grapes are harvested from estate grown vineyards 1,800 feet above sea level. Common descriptors for aged Rioja reds is leather, exotic Asian spices such as sandalwood, cinnamon, but surrounded by a fruity frame.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

wine down wednesday @ town - July 15, 2009

Wine down Wednesday @ town will be tasting Spanish wines tonight with Mark Lloyd. Please check out their blogsite - - for tonight's menu.

Muga, Pirreneos, Finca Luzon, Sierra Cantabria wines and food pairings of Fideos, Ciccioli, Anticuchos, & Potato Chips.

"tengo muchisimo hambre!!!!" I am very, very hungry!!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Surf Film Festival @ the Honolulu Academy of Arts

Tonight's opening night was sold out!!!! A great crowd showed up at the Doris Duke Theatre @ the Honolulu Academy of Arts.

These films will be showing until July 24th. Every movie goer will get a chance to win a "Wade Tokoro" surfboard.

For more information on the films and schedule go to:

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wines from the Loire Valley with Tyler

Our tour of the Loire Valley was fantastic on Wednesday at "wine down @ town". Tyler Uehara of Grand Crew was a wealth of location and taste profile knowledge. We had 3 whites and a red.

Here is the tasting menu:

Domaine de L' ecu Guy Bossard, Muscadet '06

paired with hunter point oyster, muscadet mignonette

Le Clops Vigneau, Vouvray '07

paired with poached oyster, potato, prosciutto, chive

jean Reverdy, Sancerre '07

paired with oyster po'boy

Domaine des Rouet, Chinon '05

paired with pork raviolo, tomato, fennel

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Eat Local Challenge - August 8 to 15

The Eat Local Challenge!

Kanu Hawaii is challenging people across the islands (and their members across our islands, our country and our world) to Eat Local during the week of August 8 to 15. To join the campaign and take the Eat Local Challenge, they are asking people to commit to at least one of the following actions and to report back afterwards about what they learned from the experience:

· Eat Local Week. Eat strictly local for the whole week of Aug 8 to 15 (all local grown produce, or items made from all local-made ingredients)

· Eat Local Day. A slightly less strenuous alternative: Eat all local, breakfast lunch and dinner for 1 day on August 15.

· Participate in a “smart mob” of a local producer/retailer on Saturday August 8, where we will buy together (options will be posted soon)

· Throw an Eat Local party where you make a meal made from all-local ingredients during the weekend of Aug 15-16 and share with friends.

If you aren’t sure about whether an item is “local” or not (e.g., should locally manufactured tofu considered ‘local’? Or, locally brewed beer?), post your question in the discussion space of the Campaign prior to Eat Local Week. It’s okay if we make some mistakes…the point is not to get it perfect (though of course, we should try). Rather, the point is to be challenged, share info, and learn together. We will become aware of the difficulties of eating local, the importance of local food sources, and what changes need to happen in order to make our food supply more sustainable and secure.

Any actions you commit to, please also submit a photo or testimonial to kanuhawaii by email or in your own personal journal (which can be found under the “My Pages” tab on, when you are logged in as a member), telling us what you’re learning, what’s hard or easy, etc. Good luck and good eating!

Monday, July 6, 2009

"Spain on the Road" Paella Recipe

With my little obsession about everything Spain, this is the first recipe I've tried (in it's entirety) from the Mario Batali cook book "Spain on the Road".

Can you believe it? So on the 4th of July I volunteered to cook it in my friend's outdoor gas wok - a really big one, it took 2 recipes to fill the wok.

Here it is:
1/2 c Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
6 large prawns
1 medium Spanish onion
1/2 cup pureed ripe tomatoes
1 t kosher salt
1 t saffron threads
1 T sweet pimenton
1 lb cleaned cuttlefish or calamari cut into 1" pieces
2 quarts fish stock
2 cups Valencia rice
1 lb monkfish cut into cubes
1 lb manila clams, scrubbed

Heat a paella pan over med-high heat. Add the oil and heat until smoking. Add the prawns and cook until golden brown on both side, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and cook until sofe, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato puree, stirring it into the onions, and cook for 3 minutes. Add the salt, saffron, pimenton, and cuttlefish and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the calamari firms up slightly. Add the stock, bring to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir well to distribute it evenly. Add the monkfish and clams, arranging them nicely, bring the stock back to a boil, and cook, without stirring for 10 minutes. Add the prawns, taste for salt, and cook, again without stirring, for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until the liquid is almost completely absorbed and the pan starts to make a crackling noise (don't worry, this what you want). Remove from the heat and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

The secret is to grind your saffron threads and kosher salt in a grinder. You can also add chorizo (with the onions) and cooked chicken (with the clams).

The taste of the paella was full of seafood and saffron. The rice has to be from Valencia to great that al dente but flavorful Spanish paella taste.

The feedback from everyone was that it was the best paella they every had.

When using a wok, you will need to stir the rice more than this recipe states, because of the distribution of the heat and rice in the wok. When left alone, the middle of the wok gets more heat than the surrounding edges.

This recipe feeds 6 people.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Wine Down Wednesday @ town - July 1, 2009

Please check out the new "Wine down Wednesdays @ town" blog site -

This site will post all of town's "wine down" tasting menus.

I hope you like it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Channeling Top Chef, Iron Chef & Chopped Talents

The other night my friend asked for my help. He needed to cook dinner for some special friends of his. He bought everything he wanted to cook, but needed help in compiling a menu. He had lamb chops, scallops, chicken breast, pork loin, fingerling potatos, Italian sausage, haricot verts, baby zucchini and the necessary cooking items like onions, garlic, salt, pepper, other seasonings, and shelves full of gourmet condiments.

So this is the menu we came up with:

Dijon crusted lamb chops

Proscuitto wrapped chicken breasts w/ black garlic on a bed of haricot verts

Baby zucchini sauteed in garlic and olive oil

Butifarro di patatas (Italian sausage with onions and fingerling potatoes)

Roasted pork loin w/ a port reduction sauce

Seared Shallops w/ crab butter

And we did all of this in an hour - Iron Chef move aside!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

TTT - third Tuesday @ Tango

Tonight's birthday dinner for Bill was delicious & fun @ Tango's wine pairing dinner. They started this last month and tonight was June's "TTT".

Here is a sneak preview for next month's "third Tuesday @ Tango" on July 21st menu:

"Shellfish Trio" - oyster & foie gras in savoy cabbage balsamic reduction, Maine lobster beggars purse and bill battered shrimp tempura

Papillote of snapper with confit cnion - fresh seaweed herb sauce & pommes parisienne

Cherries Jubilee - vanilla bean ice cream

all courses will be paired with a special selection of wine

$45 plus tax & gratuity
reservations confirmed by credit card 593-7288
seating limited

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wine Down Wednesday @ town - June 10, 2009

Tonight's wine tasting was a great one because we got to meet and speak to the owner/winemaker, his boss (his wife), and his daughter (the namesake of the winery)....Natalie's Estate Winery from Northern Oregon.

Todd Teegarden is the owner/winemaker that made tonight's tasting extra special - he was very personable, engaging and knowledgeable (holding the wine glass). Chef Dave Caldiero (the guy with the apron & me).

Tonight's menu:

Rock Horse Ranch, Chardonnay '08
paired w/ local lychee, prosciutto di parma
- this was brilliant, the brightness & slight buttery notes of the Chardonnay (no oak) was perfect with the sweetness of the lychee and the salt & earthiness of the prosciutto.

Estate Pinot Noir '07
paired w/ organic polenta, red veal ragu
- another winner, the juiciness & earthiness of the pinot noir married well with the honeylike butterness of the polenta and the hearty stewy flavors of the veal ragu - WOW. This was so good, I had to order another portion for dessert.

Rock Horse Ranch, Merlot '07
paired w/ grilled lamb, black garbanzo, salsa verde
- "oh my goodness", the deep grape & berry flavors from the Merlot & 25% Cabernet Sauvignon paired like a great match on the "dating game" w/ the perfectly cooked lamb and Chef Dave's homegrown black garbanzo beans w/ salsa verde and a drizzle of extra special virgin olive oil from Italy. Deep dark earthy fruity citrusy flavors were amazing. I don't usually like Merlot, but this one I do.

Elephant Mountain Vineyard '07
paired w/ ali'i oyster mushrooms, lardo toast, arugula
- a very young Cabernet Sauvignon, so it was very tart. Like chef Dave said, "this was very difficult to pair, because of the dry tartness of the wine". He wanted to pair a glass of water with it because of it's dryness. But I have to say that the moistness of the mushrooms and arugula was a good substitute to water. This was my least favorite in wine and dish of the evening.

Like the winemaker said tonight - when you can pair a wine with food that compliments and also contrasts the flavors of one another, you have the perfect meal.

I had a great time with good wine, great food and wonderful friends. Muchas Gracias!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

art@town series 3 - "tikis, canoes & tattooes"

by Sam Clemens
opening reception
Saturday, June 13, 2009 @ 10pm

Series 3 is an ocean theme by local artist Sam Clemens, curated by Spanky Kenney, wife of Ed Kenney, is now up and runs until August 1st. With the warm weather here,

“Tiki's, canoes & tattoo's” art exhibition is a perfect way to start your summer.

This art display will feature a wide variety of art mediums, including acrylic on canvas & wood, handmade koa wood canoe paddles, painted tiki's on driftwood & handcarved tiki's, digital images done on adobe photoshop, and much more. The bright and colorful images and subject matter for Sam's art is inspired from his daily life adventures: surfing, canoe sailing, hiking, mountain biking, and daydreaming. Especially the daydreaming!!!!

The handpainted tiki's are my favorite...they are fun and whimsical.

SAM CLEMENS a young up-and-coming local artist has been experimenting with a variety of artistic mediums for over fifteen years. Originally focusing on ceramics, Clemens has expanded his repertoire to include acrylic on canvas; collages with wood, acrylic and enamel; fabrics (including costume design); metalworks; and electrical components. His spontaneous and conceptual use of color and dimension brings a unique and whimsical interpretation of his personal visions of reality and the ethereal.

town restaurant has been featuring the art@town series since its opening in March 2005. Staying true to the restaurant's commitment to supporting local farmers and ranchers by serving locally-grown produce, meats and seafood whenever possible, the art@town series seeks to support local artist by providing a venue for their work. All art pieces are available for sale.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Another Beautiful Weekend at Home

Just being lazy and enjoying my hale and garden. Here is a photo of my serene herb garden/sunning/meditation area.

I have 4 types of thyme (lavender, lemon, creeping, & regular), 2 types of mint (spearmint & regular), a tangerine tree, a key lime bush, a curry leaf plant, banana trees, a rosemary bush, 3 types of chilis (Hawaiian, habanero, & yellow banana), 2 types of parsley (flat & curly) and sage. I've used all of my herbs in cooking, cocktails and sauces. I am not sustainable yet, but as soon as I get my chickens and pigs, I will be.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Clues that Summer is Here

We planted these beautiful vines about 9 months ago and they have been blooming for a couple of weeks. I wanted to share these beautiful Red Jade flowers with you.

They are called Red Jade, but they are these brilliant coral orange beauties.

What do you think?

Third Tuesdays @ Tango - June 16th

Here is a sneak preview of Tango's TTT menu on Tuesday, June 16th:

"Trio of Duck"
Duck Lumpia, Duck Confit, Sauteed Foie Gras Deglazed w/ Raspberry Vinegar

Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb w/ Sarladaise Potato, Merlot Reduction

Vanilla Rice Pudding w/ Wild Berry Compote

all courses are paired w/ a special wine selection

$45.00 plus tax & tip
Limited Seating - Reservations confirmed by Credit Card
Call now 593-7288

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wine Down Wednesday @ town - June 3, 2009

Tonight's theme is French wines with wine expert William Gladstone. See you @ 6:30pm.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Tapas on the Rise

As you all know, I and 12 of my closest friends are going to Espana in September for my ?0th birthday. (Hint: my older son will be 30 this year and I was 20 when I had him.) So I have been immersing myself with everything Spanish - movies, language tapes, music, people and most especially FOOD!!!! So I've been cooking all kinds of tapas or pintxos.

Last week I went crazy (see my previous post).

And I couldn't get enough of it, so on another day, I tried another version of the stuffed squid - ground pork, chorizo & mushrooms stuffed giant squid, this recipe was so much better. I also made pan con tomate w/ anchoas (white anchovies), and did the gambas and long sweet peppers again, because they are so easy and so delicious. Oh yes, and bought some jamon, lomo (smoked pork loin), manchego and garrotxa cheese.

I shared all of my results with my friends again. And they loved it!!! They ate everything. I didn't even have leftovers for lunch the next day. We paired everything with cava sangria, rioja wine, and more cava.

Please enjoy the pictures!!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wine down Wednesday @ town

This week's theme was "Ed's favorite wines that don't sell" - Ian Bishop was our wine expert:

Itsas Mendi, Txakoli '06 - Spain, Bizkaiko Txakolina paired w/
boquerones, braised cardoon, almond, mint

Luretta Boccadirosa, Malvasia '07 - Italy, Colli Piacentini paired w/
red curry steamed black mussels

Dow Vale do Bomfim, Douro '06 - Portugal, Douro Valley paired w/
grilled red veal paillard, chimmichurri

Tenuta le Querce "Il Viola", Aglianico '04 - Italy, Basilicata paired w/
kulana tri-tip spiedini, pine nut-raisin salsa, baby arugula

My favorite pairing was the last, the Aglianico's fruity earthiness went perfectly with the tri-tip's organic grassiness, the spicy arugula and the sweetness of the raisins - delicious.

It is the magic of a great marriage of wine and food that is ambrosia in the mouth....WOW!

The evening was really nice because I got to catch up with the gang from "Downtown".

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's been an Espanol weekend!!!

This past long weekend has been a lazy one for me. I stayed home and cooked. I shared my results with my neighborhood friends.

On Sunday, I grilled some bread w/ Spanish olive oil, cut some garlic cloves, ripe tomatoes, Manchego cheese, thyme salt and more Spanish olive oil. This is the best community appetizer or maybe I should say tapas. Everyone had to rub their own garlic, tomato, sprinkle salt and more olive oil on their own piece of bread - pan con tomate!!! This was a hit.

Then at Bob's, I made a mussel ceviche, with lemon juice, fresh ginger, shallots, parsley, garlic, lemon thyme, and olive oil. It was very good and it actually gave "Olive Tree's" version some competition.

Monday night, I was brave and made 4 new tapa recipes:
  1. gambas ala plancha - grilled prawns w/ Spanish olive oil & salt
  2. fresh sweet peppers ala plancha - grilled shishito peppers w/ Spanish olive oil, thyme & salt
  3. chorizo stuffed calamari w/ grilled onions - the stuffing was a mixture of chorizo sausage, portobello mushrooms, onions and rice
  4. salted cod & patatas croquettas w/ aioli - fried mashed potato & salted cod mixture
I brought these tapas upstairs to Cliff & Tim's and they loved all four recipes.

This tapas thing is delicious, but it surely takes a lot of time to prepare. Specifically the last two recipes.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Azure @ the Royal Hawaiian Hotel

It was another birthday celebration tonight @ the newly renovated Royal Hawaiian Hotel's restaurant AZURE.

A very interesting fact about the hotel's renovation - it costs them 90 million dollars to renovate the hotel. It has a new clean feel, but with the old Hawaiiana charm. I like it. It has a new sense of elegance and a great sense of place. Open airy, crisp and approachable.

I felt like I was vacationing in South Beach, Miami, Florida, but with better weather, cleaner ocean, and friendly people. And no planted beautiful people models in the lobby, imposing as hotel guests.

So, tonight at Azure we started with cocktails designed by Joey the famous Honolulu mixologist and wines from Carneros (the vintner was sitting right across from us). The night was beautiful and balmy and the restaurant buzzing with an international cast of guests.

We decided to order "family style", so we could taste a number of items off the menu. We started with a bowl of steamed sake clams w/ enoki mushrooms, baby back ribs, and a platter of sashimi over an avocado salad. The manila clams were my favorite - the broth was filled with ginger, green onions, sake, enoki mushrooms, and garlic. The presentation highlight was the waiter, at the table, poured the broth from a press and the area smelled of fresh ginger when he was pouring it...ummmm. The ribs were okay, it reminded me of Roy's ribs and my question is why ribs on a menu in Hawaii? That always puzzles me? I would take it off the menu. The sashimi was okay, fish was fresh, but just okay.

For dinner we had the shellfish bowl and the rack of lamb with 3 side dishes. Braised Big Island spinach, corn & hamakua mushroom confetti, and a bowl of smashed potatos. Everything was prepared perfectly, but nothing really WOWed me.

The service was wonderful, attentive, but not overpowering and the restaurant manager was on it and helpful. The whole staff was great.

Check out their website:

Overall rating - 4
Food - 3
Service - 5
Ambiance -4.5

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Black Garlic: A Whole New World of Flavor

Yesterday, I got my order of "Black Garlic" from Mondo Food. I've been reading that a large number of Bay Area chefs are using this new mysterious flavor, so I mail ordered it.

I have not cooked with it yet, but I did have a taste..... it has characteristics of fresh garlic with a savory, richness of earthiness & caramelized balsamic vinegar....WOW!!! Love it. It has a mochi texture, melts in your mouth, and is almost like a dried fig, but without the seeds. It's hard to explain, you must try it yourself.

I can't wait to try it in my wild mushroom risotto and pair it with a Turley Zinfindel. Who wants to come over for dinner?

Black Garlic is fermented garlic, which is aged for a month in a special fermentation process under high heat. For more information go to: