HONOLULU Small Bites: 11 Happenings Worth Buzzing About in April 2018

Here’s a quick-bite guide to the latest foodie news around the Islands.


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The Bird of Paradise is one of the new cocktails at SKY Waikīkī.
Photo: Courtesy of SKY Waikīkī

 

The second annual Grand Lānai Restaurant Week kicks off today in Waikīkī, Koko Head Café hosts a special dinner featuring fresh local seafood, and MW Restaurant pairs five courses with Sierra Nevada beers. Here is some of the buzziest food news this week:

 

1. Restaurant Week is Back at The Grand Lānai

Baku at the International Market Place is serving a $55 four-course prix fixe dinner—including this spicy ʻahi roll—during the Grand Lānai Restaurant Week starting today.
Photo: Courtesy of Baku

 

Running today through Monday, April 16, the seven restaurants occupying the third-floor Grand Lānai at the International Market Place—and The Street, A Michael Mina Social House on the first floor—will be offering special prix fixe menus during the second annual Grand Lānai Restaurant Week, with proceeds supporting the Hawai‘i Foodbank.

 

Eating House 1849 is offering a $55 three-course dinner with Roy’s signature blackened ‘ahi and Sichuan baby back ribs; your choice of braised lamb shank, hibachi grilled salmon or steamed local fish; and chocolate-macadamia-nut bread pudding with a bourbon-caramel sauce for dessert. For $22, Yauatcha is serving a lineup of locally grown greens, five different dim sum (including the roast duck pumpkin puff) and two macarons. Flour & Barley has a three-course, prix fixe menu for $35 with a starter, your choice of pizza and dessert, with an option to pair each with wine or beer for an additional $20.

 

Yauatcha Waikīkī is offering a prix fixe for Restaurant Week for $22 and includes five different dim sum.
Photo: Courtesy of Yauatcha Waikīkī

 

At The Street, buy a discounted Party Pass for $26.99 and choose seven items from its vendors, from two spicy ʻahi tacos from Kai Bar to any ramen bowl from The Ramen Bar. Get a 16-ounce draft beer from Beer & Be Merry.

 

But the festivities don’t stop there. On April 13, Eating House 1849 chef Randy Bangloy and Stripsteak chef Jamie Zager will battle in the Poke Bowl II at the Queen’s Court at the mall. The event, which takes place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., will showcase the two chefs preparing traditional and specialty poke for guests to sample for free. On April 16, James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Mina will personally host a four-course seated dinner at Stripsteak Waikīkī—classic Hawaiian ‘ahi tartare, broiled whole Kona kampachi, 30-day dry-aged prime New York strip steak, Maui Gold pineapple flambé—with wine pairings. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. with a reception, with dinner to follow at 6 p.m. Cost is $175 per person and tickets can be purchased here.

 

April 9 to 16, 2330 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 931-6105, shopinternationalmarketplace.com/grandlanairestaurantweek

 

2. Koko Head Café Hosts a Dinner of Sustainable Local Seafood

Chef Lee Anne Wong is creating dishes inspired by local seafood from Local Iʻa—including this sesame-crusted ʻahi—for a special dinner on April 10 at Koko Head Café.
Photos: Courtesy of Koko Head Café

 

Lee Anne Wong, chef and partner at Koko Head Café, isn’t one to sit back and stay quiet.

 

So when she found out that Hawai‘i imports more than 60 percent of its seafood supply—“It seems ridiculous for a state surrounded by water,” she says—Wong wanted to raise awareness about the importance of supporting sustainably caught local seafood.

 

She partnered with Local I‘a, a community-support fishery—and one of her restaurant’s suppliers—to present a dinner showcasing fresh. local seafood, from cold smoked aku toast with lomi tomatoes and fried sea asparagus to a poached uku (blue-green snapper) ramen with truffle-shoyu consommé and ali‘i mushrooms.

 

Cold smoked AKU toast, one of the dishes that will be served at tomorrow’s dinner.

 

The dinner starts at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10, at Koko Head Café. Cost is $68 and includes two cocktails, three wines and three Waikīkī Brewing Co. beers. Buy tickets here.

 

Some of the supporting fisherman will be at the dinner to talk story about Local Iʻa and the different seafood served that night.

 

Local Iʻa, a program started and funded by Conservation International Hawaiʻi, is a seafood-based distribution and subscription business that delivers fresh, local, sustainably harvested fish to O‘ahu consumers, including restaurants such as Koko Head Café, much in the same way community-supported agriculture subscription boxes work. The goal of the program is to connect consumers directly with suppliers—meaning the fishers and aquaculturists—to provide transparency in how our seafood is sourced.

 

SEE ALSO: Get Fresh, Local Fish Caught Sustainably Delivered To You Weekly

 

“The average consumer no longer has to rely on supermarket seafood and can get it fresh directly through Local Iʻa,” Wong says. “The goal of this collaboration is to showcase [the program] to our guests and build awareness.”

 

April 10, 1145 12th Ave., (808) 732-8920, kokoheadcafe.com. Buy tickets here.

 

3. Learn Wine Basics at BLT Market’s New Series

Ever wonder what the difference is between Champagne and prosecco? Or are you clueless about what “new world wines” are?

 

A new wine series at BLT Market in Waikīkī can help would-be oenophiles navigate the confusing world of wine. “Wines Over Waikīkī,” a five-part series starting this month, will feature a different topic, from rosé (May 11) to summer reds (July 13). The first event, which runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on April 13, is all about bubbly wines.

 

Cost is $65 per person per event or $275 per person to attend all five events. It includes wine samplings paired with appetizers. Buy tickets here.

 

On a separate note, BLT Market has recently committed to reducing single-use plastic by using only paper straws in its restaurants.

 

April 13, 383 Kālaimoku St., (808) 729-9729, bltmarket.com

 

4. Celebrate Honolulu Beerworks’ Fourth Anniversary With a Benefit For the Hawaiʻi Foodbank

Honolulu Beerworks, the family-owned and –operated brewery in Kakaʻako, is dedicating its superhero-themed, fourth anniversary block party to the Hawaiʻi Foodbank.

 

Beertastic Four, which starts at 11 a.m. on April 14 and runs to midnight, will feature live bands, costume contests for kids and adults and, of course, specialty beer releases on tap and in bottles.

 

Proceeds from the Super Friends Food Drive Raffle, which starts at noon and will run every hour until 8 p.m., will benefit the Hawaiʻi Foodbank, the only nonprofit agency in the state that collects, warehouses and distributes mass quanities of perishable and nonperishable food.

 

“Hunger affects 1 in 5 people living here in Hawaiʻi, with ages ranging from small children to our elderly population,” says Honolulu Beerworks owner Geoff Seideman about the company’s decision to dedicate its anniversary party to this cause. “If there is something we can do to help, we will.”

 

The craft brewery has been hosting monthly food drives since October 2017.

 

April 14, 328 Cooke St., (808) 589-2337, honolulubeerworks.com

 

5. Donate Shoes, Get Brews at P.F. Chang’s Waikīkī

P.F. Chang’s is celebrating its 10th anniversary with Shoes for Brews, a benefit for Aloha United Way, on April 14. Donate a new pair of shoes or slippers and get a free Kona Brewing Co. beer (or cup of coffee, if beer’s not your thing). The event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., will feature live music by Super CW, happy hour specials, games and prize giveaways. The first hour of parking at the Royal Hawaiian Center is free with validation.

 

April 14, 2201 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 628-6760, pfchangshawaii.com

 

6. Support Ballet Hawai‘i at a Fundraiser with a David Bowie Soundtrack

Some of Hawaiʻi’s all-star chefs and music by David Bowie. What’s not to love? Ballet Hawai‘i, which has been promoting ballet in the Islands for more than 40 years, is presenting yet another festive event, this time featuring dishes by such local talents as Ed Kenney (Town, Mud Hen Water, Kaimukī Suprette, Mahina & Sun’s), Robynne Mai‘i (Fête), Shaymus Alwin (Azure) and Michelle Karr-Ueoka (MW Restaurant). The event will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. April 14 at the Pacific Club, 1451 Queen Emma St. The music will be provided by David Bowie and the music inspired from this genre. Tickets are $225 per person and includes dinner and wine, $120 of which is tax deductible. A table of 10 is $2,250.

 

April 14, (808) 521-8600, ballethawaii.org

 

7. MW Restaurant Hosting Collab Beer Dinner with Sierra Nevada

Move over, wine pairings. MW Restaurant is out to prove that good craft beer can stand up to elevated fare. The restaurant is hosting a five-course dinner on April 15, collaborating with the California-based Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. to provide pairings for each dish. The menu includes seafood chawanmushi paired with Ovila White Ale, braised short ribs with a mole sauce paired with the bold Bigfoot Barleywine-Style Ale, and an ice cream sandwich paired with a stout. Cost is $85.

 

April 15, 1538 Kapi‘olani Blvd., (808) 955-6505, mwrestaurant.com

 

8. Taps & Apps Brewpub in Mililani Unveils New Menu to Celebrate its Third Anniversary

Now, Taps & Apps Brewpub serves 36 different beers on tap. This month it celebrates three years in business with a revamp of its menu.
Photo: Lennie Omalza

 

Three years ago, Taps & Apps Brewpub opened in The Gateway at Mililani Mauka, serving a rotating selection of local and craft beers along with classic pub fare, including crab dip, sandwiches and burgers.

 

SEE ALSO: This New Brewpub Has 30 Beers on Tap

 

On April 18, the brewpub celebrates its third anniversary—with new food. The menu features mushrooms stuffed with Italian sausage, crab, cheese and onions ($15); kālua pork with beer cheese sauce, tomatoes and onions on crispy fried potato skins ($14); kim chee smoked salmon dip ($12); goat cheese and polenta cakes drizzled with an aioli of balsamic and sundried tomatoes ($12); pork bao buns topped with pickled veggies ($12 for three); and a lūʻau dip with taro leaves, blue cheese, cream cheese, tomatoes and onions ($10).

 

April 18, 95-1830 Meheula Parkway, Suite C6, Mililani, (808) 626-8277, tapsandappsbrewpub.com

 

9. Sip on New Summery Cocktails at SKY Waikīkī

The Endless Summer cocktail, new at SKY Waikīkī.
Photo: Courtesy of SKY Waikīkī

 

SKY Waikīkī unveiled nine new signature cocktails—and three more without alcohol—crafted by director of mixology Jen Ackrill and designed to evoke the laid-back vibe of Waikīkī. Some drinks include Aloha My Friend, which is made entirely of local spirits (Ocean vodka, Fid Street gin, Kōloa rum, blue curacao, lilikoʻi, lemon and agave); the sweet-and-tart Bird of Paradise, with tropical juices and rum; and Endless Summer, with tequila, prickly pear purée and lime. Enjoy these with some of the fun bites on the menu, including garlic chicken sliders on potato rolls ($20), spicy ʻahi sashimi pizza with a kabayaki sauce ($32), miso-yuzu butterfish lettuce cups ($28) or ʻahi poke with avocado mousse and bubu arare ($18).

 

2270 Kalākaua Ave., (808) 979-7590, skywaikiki.com

 

10. Six Restaurants Serve Girl Scout Cookie-Inspired Desserts

The Mint To Be Pie at Hilo Bay Café in Hilo.
Photo: Courtesy of Hilo Bay Café

 

It’s Girl Scout Cookie season, and six local restaurants have created exclusive desserts inspired by the iconic cookie flavors. Tiki’s Grill & Bar in Waikīkī is serving a Girl Scout cookie cheesecake with a Thin Mint cookie crust; Via Gelato in Kaimukī and Ward has gelato in flavors of Thin Mint, Samoa and Do-Si-Dos; and Hilo Bay Café in Hilo has a Mint To Be Pie made with—what else—Thin Mints. The other restaurants participating are Huggos Fine Dining and Lava Lava Beach Club on Hawaiʻi Island and Duke’s Waikīkī. Proceeds of sales from these desserts will support the Girl Scouts of Hawaiʻi, which supports nearly 5,000 girls and adults statewide.

 

SEE ALSO: Here’s How To Eat Girl Scout Cookies Like a Real Adult

 

gshawaii.org

 

11. Chef Alan Wong Collaborating With 53 By The Sea

James Beard Award-winning chef Alan Wong and Ocean Investments, which operates 53 By The Sea, formed a new collaboration that will result in a fresh new menu at the oceanfront restaurant. It will be unveiled later this year, as part of the restaurant’s sixth anniversary.

 

53bythesea.com

 

READ MORE STORIES BY CATHERINE TOTH FOX

 

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