First Look: Taste of Times in Mililani
Taste of Times is changing the way you think about supermarket food.
Photos: Maria Kanai
Hawai‘i supermarkets are getting all upgraded and fancy these days. First, it was Whole Foods, showing off its salad and hot bars and fresh deli offerings, then, late in 2016, it was Foodland Farms Ala Moana, opening with its own deluxe, local spin on the concept.
Most recently, Times Supermarket in Mililani has unveiled Taste of Times, a collection of food and bakery stations that includes hand-tossed pizzas, smoked-in-house meats, hot plate lunches, sandwiches and burritos, not to mention cakes, sweet and savory pastries and pies, all made in-house.
Times hired head chef John Donnelly and pastry chef Emily Clearly to oversee the new food efforts and a spanking new smokehouse that’s cooking beef, spare ribs, duck, chicken and pork overnight.
Richard Kim Davis, assistant store manager, says this smokehouse has been a hit so far. He recommends avoiding the 11 a.m. to noon crowd if you don’t like lines—fortunately, the meats are available all day.
“We’re really proud of our smokehouse and the fact that we smoke our own meats,” says Davis. “There are challenges of time and labor, but the result is really fresh food. We also use the meats in our sandwiches and plate lunches.”
We found the brisket to be on the chewy side, so our favorite is the more tender Chinese roast pork with tangy house-made barbecue sauce, at $12 per pound.
On to the bakery, which we think is the real star of Taste of Times. It’s one of the largest bakeries in the state, with fruit tarts, pineapple upside-down cakes, cream puffs, limoncello floats (!!), doughnuts and more.
“A lot of special care is taken to make sure all the pastries look beautiful,” says Clearly, who used to work in Wolfgang Puck restaurants in Las Vegas. “We eat with our eyes first, so we try to make the pastries look as pristine as possible.”
Try the dense, chewy brownie slathered with a thick, incredible chantilly cream ($1.29), or that limoncello float, which comes in its own fancy little glass filled with whipped cream and topped with a pretty raspberry. For savory items, there are spinach and feta cheese pastries, as well as maki bombs ($1.50) and kim chee pork bombs ($1.50), which are basically musubi dunked in panko bread crumbs and then deep-fried.
We also have to mention the ice cream sandwiches, the cheapest we’ve ever found, at $1.65. You can choose your own chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, sugar or double-chocolate cookies made in the bakery, and get them filled with a scoop of any flavor of Dave’s Ice Cream. And, get this: You can eat the “paper” wrapping that comes with the sandwich. It’s printed with cute illustrations and quotes (“If you have a great friend, take time to let them know they are great”) and it dissolves in your mouth if you bite into it. But it still manages to keep you from making a big, melting mess, which is a problem we’ve had with other ice cream sandwiches.
Ice cream sandwich, $1.65.
Times Mililani, 95-1249 Meheula Parkway, Suite 144, Mililani, 564-7160