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Hale ‘Aina Happenings in November

Check out the latest news from some of our Hale ‘Aina Award-winning restaurants.


Two of the courses offered on the prix fixe menu for Restaurant Week Hawai‘i at Alan Wong’s Honolulu: a Maui Kula Romaine lettuce soup (left) and a “Cioppino” in a Bag, with North Shore-raised tilapia, clams and shrimp. Restaurant Week Hawai‘i kicks off on Nov. 14.
Photo: Courtesy of Alan Wong’s Honolulu


Restaurant Week Hawai‘i kicks off next week. Scratch Kitchen and Bake Shop opens a second location—and serves dinner—at Ward. And the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, in conjunction with Mahina & Sun’s, is launching a field-to-fork experience at Ma‘o Organic Farms. See what else is happening at some of our 2017 Hale ‘Aina Award-winning restaurants.


1. Hale ‘Aina Winners Participate in Restaurant Week

Dozens of Hale ‘Aina Award-winners—including Alan Wong’s Honolulu, Mariposa, Bread & Butter, Highway Inn, Hy’s Steak House, Noi Thai Cuisine—are participating in this year’s Restaurant Week, which kicks off on Nov. 14.


In its ninth year, Restaurant Week Hawai‘i is a seven-day culinary celebration featuring more than 60 restaurants offering special menus and discounts. A portion of the proceeds raised from every dining meal purchased all week will go toward Kapi‘olani Community College’s Culinary Institute of the Pacific.


New to the Restaurant Week roster this year are Piggy Smalls, Eating House 1849, Roy’s Beach House and Forty Carrots.


It’s a great opportunity to try new restaurants—Piggy Smalls, the second location for The Pig & The Lady, has a $30 menu with its already-popular scallion corn cakes, a choice of an entrée and a slushy strawberry-almond-milk float for dessert—or dine on dishes created specifically for this event at your favorite eateries. For example, Alan Wong’s Honolulu is doing a play on its popular “Da Bag” appetizer with Cioppino in a Bag, featuring North Shore-raised tilapia, clams and shrimp and paired with a glass of French rosé. It’s part of his four-course, $65 prix fixe menu ($95 with wine pairings), which ends with a tangy Wailea Meyer lemon tart.


It’s also a way for these restaurants to showcase locally grown ingredients. Vino Italian Tapas and Wine Bar is offering a four-course prix fixe menu with a Hau‘ula tomato salad with Maui onions and Moroccan shrimp ouvo made with OK Farms eggs for $39 per person. Roy’s Hawai‘i Kai has a $48 prix fixe menu that features Waimānalo baby kale salad and a half-roasted Jidori chicken with Hāmākua mushroom and white truffle gravy. And 12th Ave Grill is offering a salad showcasing Big Island roasted beets and veggies from Ho Farms, grilled Jidori chicken marinated in Mānoa honey with a Hāmākua mushroom ragout, and a Mānoa Chocolate and Punaluʻu sweet bread pudding for $40 per person.


Restaurant Week Hawai‘i takes place Nov. 14–20. See the menus at restaurantweekhawaii.com.


2. Scratch Kitchen and Bake Shop Opening Second Location at Ward

The Milk & Cereal Pancakes, one of the signature brunch items at Scratch Kitchen and Bake Shop in Chinatown, will be on the menu at its second location at South Shore Market, slated to open next spring.
Photo: Steve Czerniak


The popular Chinatown brunch spot Scratch Kitchen and Bake Shop will open its second location—and serve dinner!—at the new South Shore Market by the spring of 2017.


The 1,950-square-foot restaurant—three times the size of the Chinatown original—will be located next to Core Power Yoga on the market’s first floor. Scratch joins Brick Oven Pizza (opening in 2017), Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (opening in December), Lucy’s Lab Creamery (opening in December) and Nalu Health Bar & Café (opening in 2017) as the food options at South Shore.


“Primarily, the location and its foot traffic appealed to me,” says owner and head chef Brian Chan. “I’m super excited to be part of the market, which will consist of a bunch of young and creative entrepreneurs.”


The brunch menus for both restaurants will remain the same—yes, you can expect the milk-and-cereal pancakes—and change seasonally. But the new location will offer dinner, with a menu heavily influenced by foods and flavors of New Orleans and the South. Dishes include a daily gumbo, chicken fried deviled eggs, chicken and waffles, a 12-ounce dry-aged natural rib eye with potatoes, chicken and dumplings, seafood couvillion (the hearty Cajun cousin of bouillabaisse), shrimp and grits, and smoked cauliflower red beans and rice.


Chan says he’s planning on offering charcuterie and butchery programs, too, and a dry-aging room, which will house 60-day aged beef, duck and pork. (It’s called Scratch Kitchen and Meatery. Get it?)




3. Last Wine Class in November at Vino

Back in January, master sommelier Chuck Furuya launched a series of wine classes at Vino Italian Tapas and Wine Bar that cover a number of topics, from chardonnay to wine-and-food pairings. It started with Wine 101, limited to 25 people, and the class sold out within a matter of days.


SEE ALSO: Learning Wine from the Master at Vino


After almost a year of these classes, the interest in wine education hasn’t died down. The next wine-tasting workshop is Wine 1101, held at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 13 at the restaurant. In this class, you’ll taste two trios of wines, exploring the differences between fruit-driven, oak-driven and earth-drive flavors.


As with all of these classes, tasting participants will receive 25 percent off regular Vino menu items from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., right after the tasting. On the dinner menu that night is the roasted cracked Dungeness crab, roasted with brown butter, chili flakes and basil—back by popular demand.


For reservations, call 524-8466 or email ataketa@dkrestaurants.com.


4. Agu Bistro Opens Fourth Location In Waikīkī

The spicy tonkotsu ramen is one of the signature dishes at Agu Bistro, which recently opened its FOURTH location, THIS ONE in Waikīkī.
Photo: Courtesy of Agu Bistro


Agu Bistro has grown from a single restaurant on Isenberg Street in Mō‘ili‘ili to a full-blown chain of eateries, with expansion to Houston later this month.


The most recent addition to the Agu family is its Waikīkī location at 2146 Kalākaua Ave. It’s already open and serving its classic ramen dishes using a rich, clear chicken broth made from organic Jidori chicken raised on a vegetarian diet; thick and decadent tonkotsu ramen with thin, Hakata-style noodles; Hiyashi cold ramen with sliced cucumber and char siu and topped with chopped jellyfish slices; and its popular spicy tonkotsu and kotteri ramen with choices from mild to epic (when hot just isn’t hot enough).


Specials to this location are the chahan ($10, $12 with kim chee), Agu-style fried rice with house-made char siu, negi, onion and tamago; and the buta yakisoba ($11, $12 with kim chee), Agu-style fried noodles with cabbage, carrots and bean sprouts tossed in a tonkatsu sauce.


5. The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club Launches New Farm Excursion

An aerial view of the 23-acre Ma‘o Organic Farms in Wai‘anae, one of the farms on a fork-to-field tour currently being offered by the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club.
Photo: Courtesy of Ma‘o Organic Farms


In line with the off-the-beaten-path activities offered by the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, the boutique hotel is offering a guided tour of Ma‘o Organic Farms and Kahumana Organic Farm, both in Wai‘anae. These two farms supply ingredients to the hotel’s restaurant, Mahina & Sun’s, run by chef Ed Kenney, who also owns Town, Kaimukī Superette and Mud Hen Water.


This exclusive tour takes participants on a tour of the 23-acre Ma‘o Organic Farms, with tastings of its selection of seasonal and exotic produce. Just down the road is the 50-acre Kahumana Farm, where guests will feast on lunch from the farm’s café, with dishes including macadamia nut pesto, coconut curry, an in-house-brewed hibiscus tea and dessert.


Tours are held every first and third Thursday of each month. Cost is $125 per person ($90 for children 12 and under), and includes transportation and lunch.


For more information or to book reservations, call 923-8882 or visit surfjack.com.


6. Restaurateur Bill Tobin Pens New Book—With Recipes

Restaurateur Bill Tobin, co-owner of Tiki’s Grill & Bar, has penned a new book, Food To Write Home About: Hawai‘i ($29.95), with Brian Berusch. It’s the story of a culinary journey that began when Tobin moved to Hawai‘i from a small farming town in Nebraska to attend college. He immediately fell in love with the people, culture and food—and stayed. The story is told through a series of letters from Tobin to his mother, with imagery captured by Olivier Koning, one of HONOLULU Magazine’s frequent contributors. Through these letters, Tobin explores the ingredients and dishes—and the chefs behind them—that turned a love for food into a career, including a stint as the president of the Hawai‘i Restaurant Association.


The book can be purchased here or at Tiki’s Grill & Bar.




For a complete list of our 2017 Hale ‘Aina winners, click here.




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