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Loco for loco moco? Vote for your favorite

Calling all loco moco connoisseurs: Waikiki Beach Walk wants to figure out which of its neighborhood eateries puts out the top loco moco, and it’s asking customers to help them decide. From Saturday through July 20, diners can vote via Facebook or Twitter, using the hash tag #WBWloco, to name their favorite version. Participating restaurants include Ocean House, Cheeseburger Restaurant Waikiki, Jimmy Buffett’s, Giovanni Pastrami, Keoni’s by Keo and Hula Grill.


Big Island students craft fruit products

Big Island residents and visitors can enjoy delicious local products and support the isle’s culinary program by visiting Grocer Choice Mart in Captain Cook, which is selling specially made fresh-fruit products concocted by the Hawaii Community College-West Hawaii culinary students.

Proceeds from sales will help fund an upcoming trip to the American Culinary Federation National Convention in Los Angeles.

The students worked with local fruit producers to create such fruity treats as fig and cinnamon jelly, jaboticaba syrup, a mixed citrus jam and other products that use star fruit, tangerines, Kona rangpur limes and poha.

In addition, students will be selling the jellies, along with laulau, sushi and baked goods, through mid-July at the Keauhou Farmers Market and South Kona Farmers Market.



Wine tastings, pairings on tap

Several wine tastings and pairings are coming up at Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar in Restaurant Row, and Wine the Experience in Kapahulu.

» At Vino, learn about five chardonnays at 6 p.m. tomorrow. Featured wines will be a 2006 Au Bon Climat "Historic Bien Nacido Vineyard," 2006 L’Angevin "Russian River," 2006 Ici La-Bas "Elke Vineyard," 2006 Catena "Mendoza" and 2005 Bouchard Beaune Premier Cru "Clos St. Landry." Cost is $36 per person, not including tax and gratuity.

On June 23 at 6 p.m., wine and music will be the order of the evening as vintner Fred Scherrer and master sommelier Michael Jordan will be guests of Vino. Scherrer is known to hand-craft small lots of choice chardonnay, zinfandel, syrah, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon. Jordan, a Kalani High School graduate, was formerly wine director for the Disney corporation and left the position to create his own wine, monikered Word. The duo also play a bit of guitar, adding music to the ambience of the evening.

For either event, call 533-4476 or e-mail

» Wine the Experience presents "Local Favorites," a meat and wine pairing, with meat being defined as not only steak and kalua pork, but chicken and fish as well. Cost is $30 for next Tuesday’s event, to be held from 6 to 8 p.m. The shop is located at 1016 Kapahulu Ave., Suite 1. Call 738-0738.


Underground eats in Kailua

The Kailua High School Canoe Club plans to spend a weekend tending an imu and is offering space inside for trays of food.

Food goes into the underground oven on July 2, emerging the next morning steamed full of luau flavor.

Cost is $15 per large aluminum tray. Food – such as whole turkeys, roasts or pork butt, sweet potatoes, taro or luau leaves – must be thawed, seasoned and well wrapped in foil. Meat chunks should have three deep cuts in them. Drop food in pan and wrap again in foil. Weight limit per tray is 25 pounds.

Reservations due by June 25. Make checks payable to Kailua High School and send to the school, 451 Ulumanu Drive, Kailua 96734. Write "Attention IMU" in lower left corner of the envelope. Include your name, telephone number and a self-addressed, stamped envelope so a confirmation ticket can be sent to you. To be included in an e-mail list for future imu, provide e-mail address as well.

Call Duane at 234-3700 or Todd at 728-7389.


Fukui to unveil latest kaiseki

Chef Hiroshi Fukui’s latest contemporary kaiseki, slated for June 29, will feature nine courses of all-new dishes at Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas in Restaurant Row.

The divine lineup starts with Oyster & Pearl, Penn Cove oyster chawanmushi with ikura, shiso and white truffle oil; Peanut Butter & Jelly, with fresh lumpia, pork, sauteed Big Island heart of palm, mint jelly and peanut butter sauce; and Fish & Chips, with mekajiki, unagi and shiso sandwiched tempura with crispy gobo and sweet spicy aioli.

Surf and Turf continues the meal, with ginger-sizzled hiramasa roll o’ tini, bacon jelly, cilantro, chili pepper water aioli, tobiko and soy reduction; Katsu & Curry, featuring soy-braised kurobuta pork belly tonkatsu, homemade fukujinzuke, katsu sauce air and curry broth; and Corned Beef & Cabbage, with homemade corned beef wrapped in braised cabbage with Dijon mustard sauce and Frankie’s peppercorn.

Steak and Eggs includes braised rib-eye steak rolled in dashimaki eggs with herbs, grilled Hamakua mushrooms and red wine sauce, and pickled wasabi croquette; and Fish & Game includes chirimenjako-takana rice, grilled teriyaki quail and homemade tsukemono with green tea broth. Fire & Ice rounds out the meal, with frozen watermelon mousse, cantaloupe granite and honeydew sorbet with jalapeno pepper anglaise, and mint oil.

The kaiseki is $75; $100 with wine pairing. Call 533-4476.



Get those lychees while you can

Summer lychee season in Hawaii is brief, so enjoy it while you can. The bright red fruit with juicy, creamy white, sweet flesh is so refreshing on a hot summer day.

» Buying and storing: Look for rough, bright red skins indicating lychee at its peak. Commercial growers, especially on the Big Island, offer a number of varieties that have small seeds and lots of delicious flesh. Some fruit are the size of golf balls! Lychee, like mango, can be pricey if you’re used to backyard sources, but commercially grown fruit is usually more consistent in flavor and quality.

» Freezing: Lychee is best eaten fresh. But you can prolong the season a little by freezing ripe, whole lychee. Freeze and store in a plastic bag; thaw slightly to peel and eat. It’s like eating frozen grapes!


Hawaii food writer Joan Namkoong offers a weekly tidbit on fresh, seasonal products, many of them locally grown. Look for "Fresh Tips" every Wednesday in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.


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