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Returning to Oahu after a decade

I've been following all the posts with interest. I lived on Oahu for a decade and just loved poking about in the food culture, specially local food, there. At the end of this month I'll be going back for the first time for a whole week (though I do have various commitments).

Any suggestions from all you knowledgeable people about the biggest changes you've seen, where to go to get up to speed quickly. I'd be really grateful,

Rachel Laudan

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  1. how long have you been gone? give us a better idea of what's new since then.

    8 Replies
    1. re: KaimukiMan

      he said he's been gone a decade in headline-but i supposed second sentence could confuse u.

      1. re: UES Mayor

        yep, you are right I missed that. So late 90's.

        Mavro, Alan Wong's, Roy's were already here. Not sure about 3360. Town is new, along with a whole lot of stuff in Kaimuki. One I don't hear much about is 12th Avenue Grill. I haven't been in a while, but it was good the couple of times i went. Rachel, if you have been keeping up on the posts, then you should have a pretty good idea of whats going on - probably better than most of the people who live here. While there is still a LOT of good local stuff, one of the biggest changes has been the explosion of mainland chains here. Ruby Tuesdays, Chilis, PF Chang's, Cheescake Factory, the return of IHOP. Kinda disappointing in some ways, but competition is always good.

        Let us know if you have any specific suggestions.

        1. re: KaimukiMan

          Yup, the HRC people were just getting going about when I left. Never got to Mavro or Alan Wong's but to Roy's and I think 3360. Thanks so much for the rest.

          Interesting about the mainland chains because that does not occur in most of the posts. Bound to happen I suppose. What about Japanese chains that were making landfall in the years I was there?

          I was interested to hear about the changes in Kaimuki. Am I right in getting the impression it has been going up market?

          One of my interests was the extent to which the high end HRC-type places could draw on Local Food. Were they going to concentrate on that? Or were they going to concentrate on locally-grown ingredients?

          And there seems to be some disconnect between "locally grown" in the sense of largely mainland-type fruits and veg now being produced in Hawaii and "locally grown" in the sense of Asian fruits and vegetables that I could buy in the Kalihi farmers' market or in Chinatown.

          Many many thanks for the time. Rachel

          1. re: Rachel Laudan

            Aloha Rachel - I really really enjoyed your seminar this morning. Afterward we went to Town in Kaimuki on Waialae and debated and discussed regional cuisine. It was interesting at Town today, they had a sort of head cheese item made with wild boar from the Big Island and these amazing star fruit (carambola) that were marinated pickled almost that were an awesome condiment with the salumi, prosciutto and that aforementioned boar product. These interspersing of a wide variety of ingredients gave us more to talk about when considering regional cuisine. We had a burger with Kulana beef from the Big Island and a salad with fresh persimmons that was a great combination of flavors with a green goddess dressing. I hope you get to Town in the next few days of your visit you would have a completely enjoyable experience
            with a very clear and present "farm to table" approach.

            1. re: manomin

              Manomin, Just came across your post. And I never made it to Town. Oh my goodness, it was a fantastic week back in the islands. Old friends, old places, food on the move. Incredible. Wish I could have joined you for that discussion. Regional cuisine is really interesting. Thanks for the comment.

              1. re: Rachel Laudan

                Another fabulous lunch at Town yesterday. I am sure you would have loved it.
                The gnocchi with cranberries, almonds and kale (from MA'O Farms) was just
                a dreamy meal. We also had the salad with MA'O greens, manchego, pancetta
                pine nuts, Big Wave tomatoes with a lovely piece of grilled monchong. The
                service was incredible, I've never seen this guy before but he was just awesome. They're doing infused gin and making some fabulous creative cocktails to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition using all local fruits and herbs.
                I am glad you had a great trip here! Your lecture has continued to inspire conversations and dialect between myself, chefs, farmers and others, truly
                a wonderful way to communicate about such an interesting topic. I've recommended your book to many who want to know more exactly about the
                Hawaiian cuisine history. A hui hou!!!!

                1. re: manomin

                  Manomin, Did we chat at my talk? If so, why not? And this is a reply to Dare2d as well since when I hit the reply button on that post, everything freezes.

                  Anyway, I thought it was useful to compare France and Hawaii, specially for students. French cuisine seems so remote and grand, Hawaii so local. Glad you found it interesting.

                  I just wish I had had time to explore restaurants more. I had just one week, three of the days at a conference. And for the rest, I found I was taken out to breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day. Who's complaining? But if and when I get back, I'm keeping all your suggestions.

                  Rachel

                  1. re: Rachel Laudan

                    Aloha Rachel - yes we did talk, during your book signing. I have been looking at your blog with regard to your visit. What restaurants did you enjoy while here?
                    As you know I really enjoy Town, Mariposa (but it's expensive for lunch!), Vino and HIroshi's. I am looking forward to trying the new Winter menu at Vino this weekend before a symphony concert. I spend most of my time eating foods bought for the week at the KCC farmer's market, we really try to not buy anything that we can get locally and it seems to work out well.

    2. I would recommend these relatively new restaurants (the next time you're back)

      kaiwa - modern japanese
      ichiriki - affordable japanese nabe
      tae's teppanyaki - affordable steak (ask for egg on top :) )
      uncle bo's - asian fusion
      hiroshi's - french japanese

      -----
      Ichiriki Japanese Nabe Restaurant
      510 Piikoi St, Honolulu, HI

      Tae's Teppanyaki
      1666 Kalauokalani Way Ste 101, Honolulu, HI 96814

      Uncle Bo's Pupu Bar & Grill
      559 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

      Hiroshi's Eurasian Tapa's
      500 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI

      1 Reply
      1. re: dare2d4l

        btw, board admin....kaiwa linkage is broken :D there were some japanese characters in the address.