Archive for August, 2016

Chinese Chamber of Commerce seeks Narcissus contestants

By
August 30th, 2016



STAR-ADVERTISER / 2015Ashley Fu was crowned the 67th Narcissus Queen during last year's festival.

STAR-ADVERTISER / 2015

Ashley Fu was crowned the 67th Narcissus Queen during last year's festival.

The Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii is gearing up for the 68th Narcissus Queen pageant in January at the Hawaii Theatre and is currently accepting applications from qualified contestants.

Along with the pageant itself, participants in the search for a new Narcissus Queen are provided opportunities to participate in cultural classes that cover subjects like Chinese history, cooking, kung fu, narcissus bulb carving and Chinese knotting. Contestants are also coached on personal development in order to be prepared for the pageant experience.

Want to give it a shot? You must be single, 19 to 26 years old and have never been married or given birth to a child. All contestants must also be Hawaii residents or lived in the state for at least 12 months prior to the pageant.

According to pageant organizers, the deadline to apply is Sept. 11 or after the “first 16 applicants” have been accepted. Call 533-3181 or email info@chinesechamber.com for more information.
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Jason Genegabus has covered the local entertainment, nightlife, music and bar scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at jason@staradvertiser.com.

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Kaleikinis headline Ahamele Music Series at Royal Hawaiian

By
August 25th, 2016



COURTESY NICHOLAS KALEIKINILongtime local entertainer Danny Kaleikini, left, and his grandson, Nicholas Kaleikini, will headline this weekend's Ahamele Hawaiian Music Series at the Royal Hawaiian Center.

COURTESY NICHOLAS KALEIKINI

Longtime local entertainer Danny Kaleikini, left, and his grandson, Nicholas Kaleikini, will headline this weekend's Ahamele Hawaiian Music Series at the Royal Hawaiian Center.

It will be a family affair at the Royal Hawaiian Center on Saturday night as longtime local entertainer Danny Kaleikini and his grandson, Nicholas Kaleikini, headline the latest installment of the Ahamele Hawaiian Music Series.

A classically trained saxophonist, Nicholas Kaleikini also plays the piano and ukulele and performs on tour with international hip-hop artist Shing02 when not playing solo gigs or serving as director of the Pow! Wow! School of Music. He also released an EP, “Aloooha,” with his grandfather, which was nominated for Best EP at the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards in 2016.

The Kaleikinis will be joined in Waikiki this weekend by Ka Hale and the O Kahala Halau, the Ryan Tang Trio and Sean Tiwanak and Friends. Admission is free, with entertainment getting started around 2 p.m. Saturday.

The Ahamele Hawaiian Music Series launched in 2014 as a monthly showcase of Hawaiian music and culture presented by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Previous concerts have been held at the Hawaii Convention Center, Iolani Palace, Waimea Valley and Queen’s Marketplace in Waikoloa on Hawaii island.

Upcoming events include a Ahamele Music Series stage as part of the upcoming 10th annual Onipaa Celebration at Iolani Palace on Sept. 4, along with a headlining performance by Palani Vaughan at Washington Place on Oct. 22.
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Jason Genegabus has covered the local entertainment, nightlife, music and bar scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at jason@staradvertiser.com.

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Gordon Biersch offers guide to help with food, beer picks

By
August 24th, 2016



COURTESY GORDON BIERSCHGordon Biersch Honolulu brewmaster Jeff Liles with some of the beers he's responsible for producing at the Aloha Tower restaurant.

COURTESY GORDON BIERSCH

Gordon Biersch Honolulu brewmaster Jeff Liles with some of the beers he's responsible for producing at the Aloha Tower restaurant.

It’s unfortunate so many craft beer fans look at the corporate ownership of Gordon Biersch and somehow take that to mean the rank-and-file brewmasters at each restaurant don’t know to make beer worth getting excited about.

In reality, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Long before Honolulu residents enjoyed beer brewed on-site by other locally owned businesses, Gordon Biersch set up shop at Aloha Tower Marketplace and has consistently served quality beer in the same location for the last 20 years.

Longtime brewmaster Jeff Liles started at Gordon Biersch Honolulu as a server before he was tapped to study the science of making beer at California’s American Beer Guild. You might not see him from your barstool overlooking Honolulu Harbor, but his influence flows freely from each of the restaurant’s taps. Along with perennial favorites like the Golden Export, Marzen and Coconut Stout, beer fans who haven’t paid Gordon Biersch a visit lately should be excited to see even more variety these days, including their versions of a German kolsch, Belgian triple and Czech pilsner.

Besides the beer, Gordon Biersch is also making the effort to better educate its customers on food pairings. Instead of just overwhelming customers with a menu full of different items, the chain developed a new guide with recommendations of different food items to go with each type of beer served.

According to Gordon Biersch senior director of brewery operations Tom Dargen, the new guide “will enhance the dining experience for our guests and offer them insight into the Gordon Biersch brewing process.”

While brewmasters in different markets are encouraged to develop their own take on each of Gordon Biersch’s featured beer styles, the new pairings guide is designed to connect each beer with chef-driven menu items featuring made-from-scratch recipes that were introduced in 2015.

Categories in the pairings guide include:

» Hoppy: Beers that emphasize the contribution of the hop flower that are higher in bitterness with accentuated spicy, fruity, herbal, floral or piney aromas.

» Fruity and Spicy: Unique flavors from fermentation are the hallmark of this category. Fruits such as apples, bananas, cherries and oranges can be combined with spices of pepper, cloves and coriander.

» Light and Refreshing: Select this type of beer style when looking for a refreshing beer that will cleanse the palate; these types of beers will also complement lighter dishes.

» Malty: These beers highlight sweet, caramel, toffee and nutty characteristics and are the perfect companion to almost all foods in that they offer great balance.

» Dark: Beers that derive their dark color and sweet flavor from the use of roasted malts. This style of beer best complements chocolate and other dessert-like flavors.

Want more help in learning how to pair food with beer? Gordon Biersch Honolulu will host a special beer and menu pairing from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the restaurant. Call (808) 599-4877 for more information.
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Jason Genegabus has covered the local entertainment, nightlife, music and bar scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at jason@staradvertiser.com.

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Ruth's Chris partners with Grey Goose for cocktail pairing

By
August 17th, 2016



Tickets are still available for a special cocktail dinner featuring Grey Goose vodka on Thursday at all three Ruth's Chris Steak House restaurants in Hawaii.

“We are extremely honored to be pairing with Grey Goose to bring this exceptional dining experience to Hawaii,” said Ruth's Chris Steak House Vice President Jay Kaneshiro in a release announcing the dinner, which will take place simultaneously at the chain's Hawaii locations at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. “Grey Goose uses only the finest ingredients in its vodka, and has maintained a level of craftsmanship that is unparalleled, matched only by its extraordinary passion and singular commitment to quality.

Priced at $95 per person, the dinner includes the following five courses, plus cocktails:

» First Course: Smoked Duck Breast Salad with Black Mission figs, apricots and micro greens with Saint Germaine vinaigrette; with Le Grand Fizz, featuring Grey Goose and St. Germain Elderflower liqueur with fresh lime juice and soda water.

» Second Course: Dry Chili Rubbed Salmon with Vermouth and Tarragon Beurre Blanc over baked fennel; with Pear & Cardamom Collins, made with Grey Goose La Poire, cardamom syrup and fresh lime with pear slice garnish

» Third Course: Stuffed Chicken Breast with dried fruit and thyme, with natural jus made with fresh ginger and roasted fingerling potatoes; with Le Melon Mule, made with Grey Goose Le Melon, ginger beer and fresh lime.

» Fourth Course: Filet Mignon with roasted Parmesan cauliflower and Chèvre and Blue Macaroni and Cheese with fire-roasted corn; with Ruth's Dirty Goose Marini, made with Grey Goose, Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth, olive juice and stuffed olives.

» Dessert: Mini chocolate almond cake and chocolate almond bark; with Francois' Coffee Cocktail made with Grey Goose Cherry Noir vodka and fresh coffee, Kahlua, Creme de Cacao and almond liqueur.

Reservations for Thursday's Grey Goose dinner are still available at Ruth's Chris locations at Waterfront Plaza on Oahu, The Shops at Mauna Lani on the Big Island and The Shops at Wailea on Maui. Visit www.ruthschrishawaii.com for more details.

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10 places to drink a mai tai in Honolulu

By
August 5th, 2016



web1_Justin-Park-Mai-Tai-2015

Now in its eighth year, the Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival at the Royal Kona Resort on Hawaii island has evolved into a showcase of what talented mixologists can create when given time to elevate a classic cocktail recipe.

Last year’s winning bartender, Justin Park of Bar Leather Apron in Honolulu, took home a $10,000 check after presenting his mai tai in a custom tiki-style display box that included a puff of kiawe wood smoke as it was opened.

“I took elements of Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic for my version,” Park said, in reference to the two bartenders credited with originally developing the cocktail some 75 years ago. “This contest brings a better understanding of what the mai tai can be. It’s not just pineapple juice and high-fructose corn syrup.”

The 2016 Mai Tai Festival kicks off at 11 a.m. Aug. 13 with a Battle of the BBQ, featuring a number of Hawaii island chefs competing for top honors as well as a People’s Choice award. At 2 p.m. Henry Kapono returns to the festival for a free poolside concert before the mai tai competition kicks off at 4:30 p.m. Admission to the festival is free; the Royal Kona Resort is at 75-5852 Alii Drive. Call 329-3111 or visit donsmaitaifest.com for more information.

Can’t make it to Kona next weekend? You don’t have to leave Oahu to try some of the best mai tais Hawaii has to offer. Here are my top 10 places to go for a mai tai.

1. Bar Leather Apron
745 Fort St., #127A
(808) 524-0808

Owner Justin Park's version of the World's Best Mai Tai ($16) is a multi-dimensional adventure for your palate. Between the raisin-infused rum and housemade orgeat syrup, you'll spend the first half of the drink happily trying to decipher all the different tastes dancing across your tongue.

2. Bevy
661 Auahi St.
(808) 594-7445

It’s a testament to how good Bevy owner Christian Self’s recipe is when a cocktail he created six years ago is still one of the most requested by customers. The drink named World’s Best Mai Tai in 2010 is served the exact same way today, with a mix of Bacardi rum, orange curacao, falernum, lemongrass syrup and fresh lime juice topped with a candied ginger foam.

3. Mai Tai Bar
The Royal Hawaiian, 2259 Kalakaua Ave.
(808) 923-7311

The best place for a history lesson to go with your cocktails is the hotel where Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron was commissioned to create a mai tai especially for its guests. The Royal Scratch Mai Tai ($12) is still served the same way it was originally conceived nearly 65 years ago, with fresh pineapple and orange juice added to the original recipe’s rum, orange curacao and orgeat. But I’m also a fan of the Vic’s 44 ($12), which adds fresh lime and mint to cut some of the sweetness from the juice and give it more tartness.

4. House Without a Key
Halekulani, 2199 Kalia Rd.
(808) 923-2311

I love that the House Without a Key serves its Mai Tai ($14) over crushed ice, since the bartenders here showcase the mix of light and dark Bacardi rums and lime to the point where you’re not entirely sure there’s pineapple juice in your glass. And not only are the mai tais pretty at the Halekulani; drinking a few at House Without a Key provides some of the best oceanfront views in Waikiki.

5. Haleiwa Beach House
62-540 Kamehameha Hwy.
(808) 637-3435

The Ku’ula-Kai Mai Tai ($13) made its debut at Haleiwa Beach House just a few months ago when the restaurant opened in Haleiwa. Utilizing light and dark Old Lahaina Rum as its base along with fresh pineapple and orange juice, this version of the classic cocktail substitutes dry curacao for the traditional orange curacao and gains a lot of almond flavor from the Taylor’s Velvet Falernum Orgeat used in the drink.

6. Mai Tai Bar Ala Moana
Ala Moana Center
(808) 947-2900

I’ve got a soft spot for the Mai Tai Bar Ala Moana’s Icy Mai Tai ($8). Be sure to ask for a dark rum float, and if you feel like living on the edge, order a can of Red Bull to go with it. I’ll stir in the rum, take a few sips to create extra space in the glass, then refill with Red Bull, sip and repeat. The energy drink makes it a little less icy — which helps prevent brain freeze! — and provides a little extra kick from all the caffeine.

7. Monkeypod Kitchen Ko Olina
92-1048 Olani St.
(808) 380-4086

It’s worth a trip to Ko Olina for a Monkeypod Mai Tai ($13), which includes a special housemade macadamia nut orgeat syrup and honey-lilikoi foam. This one looks beautiful in the glass when the bartender presents it — and tastes even better once you stir in the foam.

8. BLT Market
383 Kalaimoku St.
(808) 729-9729

The Market Mai Tai ($16) utilizes guava juice to give it a little twist on the original, but it’s still got plenty of kick. Ask your bartender for a plastic cup and you can even take your drink out by the pool deck to enjoy the view looking towards Kalakaua Avenue and Waikiki Beach.

9. Tommy Bahama Waikiki
298 Beach Walk
(808) 923-8785

Get to Tommy Bahama Waikiki during happy hour from 2 to 5 p.m. daily and you’ll pay just $7 instead of $12.50 for the house mai tai, made with four-year-old Flor de Cana rum and housemade sour. The bartenders here follow the classic recipe, and at happy hour prices you can afford to kick back a bit longer and enjoy the view from Tommy Bahama’s rooftop lounge.

10. Chart House Honolulu
1765 Ala Moana Blvd.
(808) 941-6669

The Guy Tai, named after longtime head bartender Guy Maynard, attracts repeat customers from around the world — and rightfully so. Maynard uses housemade sweet and sour with healthy pours of Bacardi Gold and Myers rum, gives it a light shake and serves the drink over crushed ice. Be careful… this one packs a punch!
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Jason Genegabus has covered the local entertainment, nightlife, music and bar scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at jason@staradvertiser.com.

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