Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wine Down Wednesday @ town - April 29, 2009

Here is last night's menu of beers -

  • Christoffel Bond Pilsner (Netherlands) w/ goat cheese en carrozza

  • Mikkelier Monk's Brew Trappist (Belgium) w/ ham on rye, pickles

  • Ballast Point Big Eye I.P.A. (San Diego) - taleggio burger, fries

  • La Choulette Framboise (France) - chocolate panini
I was not present, but heard that it was interesting and an eye opening tasting. Thank you Donato!

I hear next week's tasting will be ABC wines - no Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon.

sorry but my computer has been acting up - no blogs for awhile.

I will be blogging on my lunch breaks at work - sorry.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Memory Post - Ricotta Stuff Pasta Shells in Greve, Italy

Today was such a beautiful Spring day here in Hawaii and I spent most of it on my deck. Sitting there reminded me of Tuscany, specifically Greve, five years ago, blue skies, trees, red poppies and wine vineyards around our villa. So I looked for pictures of the villa and came across pictures of one of my dinners - fresh ricotta & mozzerella stuffed pasta shells in a tomato sauce.

I have never tasted ricotta like the one we bought from the little grocery store in the town of Greve (15 minutes from Firenze)....sweet milk, creamy polenta texture cheese....I can't even describe it in words. Cooking in Tuscany was like being on a food tv show. We went to the market every day and bought what ever looked good and fresh. Then tried to out do the meal the night before and staying true to the country's cuisine. I so loved doing that and could do that every night. The only time we really went out to eat was during our day trips to the surrounding towns or at our over night trips.

I've posted a couple of pictures. ENJOY!!! Ciao

Friday, April 17, 2009

Olive Tree Cafe - a constant friend

Tonight after my boot camp workout, I called a friend that I had not connected or seen for a couple of weeks and invited her out to dinner and the question is always - WHERE?

Olive Tree Cafe - my old faithful, old friend, old constant friend. I can't remember when I first had Savas' menu of souvakis, but I know it was on Ala Moana Boulevard and from a little hole in the wall (really!) under an apartment building and it was just a take out menu.

The story is Savas was assaulted, stabbed and robbed, so he closed the business. Then went into business with a couple of friends and opened the Mad Greek in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center a couple of years after the incident. Then that closed and he opening the Olive Tree Cafe in it's current location (it used to be a Penquin's yogurt place). I probably have some of this wrong, but I think it is pretty close.

Olive Tree Cafe is so consistent in their food and service, that every single time I eat here, and that's alot and often, but sometimes I have long periods of time when I forget to eat here - I get the same delicious, tasty, fresh, hot, no bullshit, awesome food and service.

Tonight we started with the Tabouli with fresh parsley, lemon, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, bulgar - nutty citrusy garlicy properly seasoned salad and an order of mussels ceviche with ginger, capers, lemon, olive oil, garlic?, greek cheese, awesomely delicious - yummy!!!! The mussels are never tough or chewy, moist and mouth watering.

And for my entree I had what I always get, because I never want to not have it, their Shaorma (ground lamb pattie) w/ onions & tomatoes with a tanini sauce and a beautiful Greek salad with a dressing that everyone in Honolulu wants to recreate or steal the recipe. The lamb patty was moist, perfectly seasoned with Greek seasonings and grilled to perfection. The tahini sauce is another sauce that everyone wants to recreate or steal the recipe. And believe me I have tried with no success.

The dinner and company was perfect as always. The staff know me by name and always make me feel @ home and welcomed. Busy or not too busy, everyone gets the best food and service. I love this restaurant and I love Savas the owner, because he too is consistently friendly and kind.

Rating 5+ all around

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"wine down wednesdays" @ town

First, I want to apologize to all of my followers, because I have not blogged for awhile, I've been so busy being busy. Please don't leave me.

We took a break from wine and had cocktails tonight!!!!!

Here is what we had:
  1. rum mixed with hibiscus and a splash of milk w/ jerk chicken - the spices of the jerk went well with the hibiscus sweetness and the nuttiness of the rum
  2. bloody maria, a bloody mary with tequila w/ carne asada, avocado, fennel, onions, cilantro and lime, on a homemade torilla - I normally don't like bloody mary's, but was perfect with the soft taco
  3. house-made gin & Fever Tree Tonic w/ grilled Lanai venison & a farro salad - my favorite because I am a gin drinker, the gin had cardamon, juniper berries and some other spices and the tonic was from India, so I loved it - the venison lean and tender and the farro salad, nutty & lemony - lovely
  4. almond sazerac, a blend of different liquors w/ brown-butter almond financier, my favorite dessert with a grappa tasting liquor, did not taste the almond in the sazerac, but for some strange reason, they worked well together, or maybe I was just a little to tipsy
My recommendation to the restaurant was not to do a cocktail tasting on a Wednesday, because I have to work the next morning and do it on a Friday night. Fun night with my friends, we got so giddy and sassy.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Himalayan Kitchen in Kaimuki

I really give this young couple from Nebraska, but originally from Nepal, credit to open a new restaurant in this climate of uncertainty and in Hawaii. A friend of mine was told by his friend that she had the best service at this new restaurant in Kaimuki last night, so we thought we would try it out ourselves.

Himalayan Kitchen in Kaimuki behind of Happy Day & Cafe Laufer. It used to be the New York Deli (upstairs location) and before that a little cafe.

The decor simple, but warm and cozy, yellow and rust walls. Seven to eight tables inside and four 4-tops outside on the lanai - cute. We sat outside, because the sun was setting and it was a beautiful time to be sitting in fresh air. Though your view is 11th Avenue, it was nice.

The food is marketed as Nepal and Indian cuisine. I am new with Nepalize food, but I am a lover of Indian. We were really ready for something different like food from Nepal, but we went with what we know and ordered Indian. We started with two appetizers: veggie samosas filled with potato chickpeas and peas. Very plump and flaky, the inside smooth and perfectly seasoned and spiced. Our second appetizer a paneer pakora and their house chutney. They looked like fried sausage, but they were mashed paneer cheese mixed with seasoned bread crumbs and deep fried. Flavors pretty mild and pakora not too exciting, but still tasty for a little snack.

They also gave us a complimentary garlic naan, since we did not order one. I loved it because it had fresh garlic and parsley dusted on the homemade naan with their house chutney - very good. Their house chutney, I believe was a mint chutney, spiced just right and very flavorful. It accompanied every appetizer and naan.

For dinner we ordered the Navratna Biryani - yellow spiced rice with fresh vegetables (eggplant, cauliflower, peas, carrots, zucchini, and a special surprise of diced pineapple and cashews)...this rice was delicious, a great accompaniment with any main entree, and this came with a small salad with lettuce, cucumber and tomato with a light yogurt dressing.

Our entree was a Lamb Bhuna - tender pieces of lamb with a creamy garlic yogurt sauce. This was not a spicy sauce, but it was a very tasty and spiced filled sauce - yummy and I would order this again. This came with basmati rice and a small salad, a meal by itself.

I really want to try their Nepalize dishes and let the owners pick what we should eat the next time we come back and yes, I will be back. The owners introduced themselves to all of their guests and were very engaging and welcoming. I packed the leftovers for lunch tomorrow and they gave me a whole naan bread to go with it.

For dessert we had chai and their Mango Kulfi. Frozen mango flavored with condensed milk, well that is what it tasted like. It was a Himalayan style ice milk. It was in cubes and can be shared, it was good, but a little sweet for me. The chai needed a little more spice and black tea, I like my chai strong. They let you sweeten your chai, which is a great idea, because sometimes chai already sweetened is too sweet. I did not need to sweeten the chai, because the mango kulfi was sweet enough.

I would definitely come back for some Nepal dishes and I would bring some wine, because it is BYOB - good deal. Our whole meal cost us $50.

Ambiance - 3
Service - 5
Food - 3.5

Try them.