A Royal Hawaiian Weekend

Sunday, May 1, 2016 0 No tags Permalink 0

26631703045_a255e429ee_cA weekend at The Royal Hawaiian

26312050646_7d466aa824_c…starts with one question…

26631479445_2c6ee10a9d_c…do you prefer the Historic Building or the Mailani Tower?

26311950156_75537fb154_cMailani Tower opened a year ago – it’s fresh and bright.

25735078633_b4be15f89a_cYou get the best views from this tower…

17360560002_fc9870bed0_c…and don’t forget about access to the Mailani Lounge.

26026146764_e5a1d8db11_cBut! The Historic Building has all that charm and character…

26631903015_4e981de538_c…the history of the hotel is pretty neat.

26538774952_c0214ac36b_cYou can’t go wrong either way. I stayed last weekend for the Fanta-Sea dinner (the next one takes place June 24 and 25)…

25987235063_8daaaf5def_c…which started with a five-course dinner on Friday evening. Best bites of the night was the Opah from Head to Tail. The opah was served raw, cold-smoked, pickled, cured, and confit. Paired with a Vouvray Sec (Southern Wine and Spirits did the pairings).

26524423071_bf8f487a7a_cAnd check out this dessert. Black Tea Infused Soy Milk Pave! Hello, heaven. You can see surinam cherry jam on the right and dots of sweet bay leaf cream. There’s also streaks of black sesame and ginger, salted caramel leche and…candied ogo!

26604825986_d54531ee0f_c The next morning we got up at 6am to visit the United Fishing Agency at Pier 38 (they offer regular tours to the public).

26604820846_f18349663e_cI always forget how lucky we are to have easy access to all this fish in Hawaii…

26358140510_674df68659_c…aside from duck, fish is the main protein I cook with at home.

26605310356_6a08a7811b_cAnd then we drove back to The Royal Hawaiian for a picnic lunch…

26538196172_da6dcfcdcb_c…in the King Kamehameha Suite. Everything was set up buffet-style. Check out this…

26358248860_e0c2285290_c…Singapore-Style Fried Onaga. That sauce on the bottom was made with shiitake mushrooms, black pepper jam, fried shallots, and a chili-lemongrass sambal. I wanted a gallon to smother over…

26538289032_7547b25597_c…this rice! Chef Colin made a Pandan-lemongrass rice that was beyond dreamy (remind me to get the recipe). Came with sesame-garlic, peanuts, scallions and bits of fried chicken skin. Insanely fragrant and paired with….everything heheh.

26312145156_1e23f9d8c5_cWe had drinks at Mai Tai Bar in the early evening…

26338111935_f0d7d9b377_c…for mai tais, of course. They have nine types of mai tais on the menu.

26358216770_9fb1963e70_c…and dinner at Azure later that night. The sashimi duo is a signature, pairing Hawaiian yellow fin ahi and Japanese hamachi. There’s avocado tucked underneath. Watermelon radish salad and ginger vinaigrette poured table-side.

26604872666_f9bd7916c4_cDon’t skip the seafood platter – they have a nice mix of many local items including Kauai shrimp, Kona lobster and Kona abalone.

26358429290_d0b689a5e7_cThe thing about being in a hotel you love is that you never want to leave the property…

26737487426_e20d106283_c…I spent most of my downtime reading (just finished Jitterbug Perfume and All the Light We Cannot See)…

26245523912_84c8b90233_c…in a bathrobe (those pink and white candy stripes!) with a slice of haupia cake, big mug of tea and some quiet time.

26605038716_98a9eed3d1_cEarly breakfast the next morning. Surf Lanai just put Pink Palace Pancakes on the menu. It’s a guava-raspberry shortcake and the pink shade comes naturally from beets. How cool is that? It’s plated with balsamic-strawberry relish and coconut-kaffir lime crème. Comes with butter and maple syrup but def ask for the housemade coconut syrup (served warm).

26631701265_34381aa1a5_cAnd because it’s also a buffet…don’t skip the rice, eggs, and Portuguese sausage ^-^

26631711075_d82b5ff43f_cA Hui Hou Kakou!

This post was done in collaboration with The Royal Hawaiian. Find them here on Twitter and Instagram.

Afternoon Tea in Hawaii | The Kahala Hotel

Friday, April 22, 2016 0 No tags Permalink 0

25884328874_4958e49041_cThere’s a new afternoon tea at The Veranda at The Kahala Hotel.

26489305065_04e69b5ae1_cNew furnishings in the Veranda room, new china from Wedgewood (replacing the blue and white stripes from Bernardaud – see 2012 and 2014 visits), and most importantly…

26463371706_efc8cd869a_c…new sweets!

Remember meeting Michael when he was pastry chef at Mandarin Oriental New York? That was the only time I ever had haupia in NYC. But guess what…Michael just moved back to Honolulu the other month and now he’s pastry chef at The Kahala Hotel. Welcome home.

26463334276_8abedf050e_cThe new sweets portion of tea now include matcha financier with raspberries…

25884336884_a407795225_c…and a yuzu meringue bar (sablé base, yuzu custard, and toasted meringue).

26396955452_27355fa017_cBrown sugar shortbread with pink guava preserves (I wish I had an entire jar of these preserves)…

26216376130_54742338e4_c…and a macadamia nut caramel tart. It’s made from a dark chocolate tart shell filled with salted caramel and roasted macadamia nuts, all enrobed in dark chocolate. This one was my favorite.

26489280145_dcd291dd16_cEvery afternoon between 3-5pm should be like this.

25884361864_8bb7a6eb03_cLet’s take a look at the savories. Here’s pickled egg salad on crostini with serrano ham, herbs, and olive oil.

26423120001_12b4993123_cCrab and mango with yogurt, cilantro, and mint on sesame seed-crusted wheat bread.

26489235315_b75be4cb4e_cBig Island goat cheese and roasted peppers with candied walnuts on white bread.

26423111691_84c8463d63_cAnd a local ahi niçoise with boiled eggs, capers, tomatoes, basil, and celery.

26423175411_8518c79bd2_cDon’t forget about the scones. Served with clotted cream and lilikoi preserves.

26216368030_80a6320d17_cStill warm, ahhh. A little bit of each.

26216468090_f1c1a5f529_cAnd after you’re finished with tea…

25884028614_68ce067ab5_c…don’t forget to stroll around the property for a bit. Good exercise…

25886068093_82108b67c9_c (1)…and it’s also very beautiful.

Hawaii | Fanta-Sea with The Royal Hawaiian

Wednesday, April 20, 2016 0 No tags Permalink 0

25735078633_b4be15f89a_cEvery other month, The Royal Hawaiian hosts a dinner series called Fanta-Sea. The concept is pretty neat. Each dinner pairs the resort’s Executive Chef Colin Colin Hazama with a local farmer on Oahu. The next one takes place this Friday (more info here) and is done in partnership with Brooks Takenaka of United Fishing Agency at Pier 38.

17362139481_e735a990e0_cThe series happens over the course of two days. First is the dinner (takes place at Azure) on Friday evening. Most guests spend the night at the resort…and the next morning, everyone heads to Pier 38 to get a hands-on look at how the ingredients are selected. Then back to the resort for a little refresher…and then lunch! Lunch is made with all the sourced ingredients from the morning visit and takes place inside the King Kamehameha Suite (which I am very excited to see heheh).

26226866160_f6c8574529_cDara sent photos from preview tasting. Dinner starts with a little bites…think Kahuku corn and lomi tomato sea asparagus…

26499718305_36b049b3ab_c…and this is the Swine & Crispy Hawaiian Snapper. The snapper is from Pier 38, served with Shinsato Farms crispy pig ears. Also in the dish are alii mushrooms (aka king oyster mushrooms), baby corn, Ululoa pea tendrils, and a brown butter chicken jus.

26064948850_936edf2746_cI’ll be attending the dinner/farm/lunch and will have a full recap here next week. Hope everyone is having a good Wednesday ^-^

This post was done in collaboration with The Royal Hawaiian. Find them here on Twitter and Instagram.

Afternoon Tea in Hawaii | Moana Surfrider

Sunday, April 10, 2016 0 No tags Permalink 0

25735180653_676946908a_cI’m back in Honolulu for the month. Early to bed and early to rise. Simple dresses and light scarves. Dinner at grandma’s and lunch with mom and dad. It’s kind of nice being in paradise. Today, afternoon tea for two with Dara ^-^

We’re at the Moana Surfrider, 3pm on a Friday afternoon. This was the first place I ever had afternoon tea (in elementary school) so the memories go far back. The service format is classic but the sweets and savories change often enough to warrant a visit each quarter. Take a look at the Moana Surfrider Afternoon Tea service from 2010 to 2013 and 2014. Now we have 2016.

26245543552_d3685194ac_cTea takes place inside the Veranda at the Beachhouse.

25732939714_8999d1c30c_cPlantation iced tea to start (pineapple juice and black tea…will do a recipe post soon).

25732947364_6b2e255010_cThere are three types of tea services:

  • Veranda Tea – the standard afternoon tea service
  • Moana Classic Tea – the standard with extra savories and sweets (including the not to miss chocolate pot de crème)
  • First Lady Tea – the standard plus berries/crème fraîche/brown sugar and sparklng dry rosé

I alternate between the Moana Classic and First Lady…can’t go wrong either way.

26245409392_2e58f8c87a_cSix teas to select from:

  • Moana Sunset
  • Moana Royale
  • Veranda Breeze
  • Mango Mele
  • Jasmine Phoenix Pearls
  • Darjeeling
  • Lemon Rooibos

26271737911_3cc4195ae8_cI’ve been in a Darjeeling mood all week.

25732944184_cd013e316a_cReady to eat? We’ll start clockwise from the top:

  • Ahi hummus, green beans and cherry tomatoes, rosemary-olive tart shell
  • Thai-style lobster roll
  • Salmon mousse and cucumber, sea asparagus and ikura, puff pastry
  • Duck prosciutto, hoisin, cranberry jam, watercress, wonton chip

26271722191_d898ffb1e7_cBlueberry-orange scones (a very tender, delicate crumb) with lilikoi curd and clotted cream.

26245552762_97d06877f5_cAnd onto the sweets. Clockwise from top:

  • Chocolate pot de crème
  • Caramel butter cookie
  • Japanese cheesecake
  • Pistachio ladybug tart
  • Haupia roll cake (my favorite item on this plate)
  • Lemon macaron

26065064640_6b14889fd6_cAnd the one thing that never changes at the Surfrider…finishing tea with a scoop of lemongrass-ginger sorbet.

26245406192_58922a946e_cHappy weekend ^-^

P.S. All afternoon tea archives available here.

Tea at Three | Sunday at Kristy’s

Wednesday, April 6, 2016 0 No tags Permalink 0

26196883346_442383dd48_cSunday afternoon.

26052019332_8eb9c6ed75_cTea at three…

25618823983_cf20821d57_c…for four ^-^

25541849773_c9c60bd14b_cWe gathered at Kristy’s apartment one spring-ish afternoon…

25616730804_3b545cbfa1_c…hi, Kristy!

26052023132_0be5e2e911_cCheck out all the prep.

25541854653_df0888aeba_cI think we all snuck a few savories (how could you not)…

26118527946_937e10978a_c…while setting up the tea station.

25539722164_e12a8bfb7b_cWe drank teas from Silver Needle Tea Co.

26078131201_54f087f3fa_c…white peony, sencha, da hong pao (the group favorite), and a wuyi black.

26078151801_304c31f8f1_c_editedHi, Jee!

25541857153_85503c16d0_cHere’s Kristy plating…

26052018532_92d64f0d02_c…we used Mud Australia for all the dishes and teaware (these are the teapots and tea cups).

25541859373_594dfb04b0_cKristy’s apartment is pretty much an Instagram dream.

25541828303_7c464acd8b_cHi, Alice!

25541859013_5672407cae_cAre you ready to eat? Let’s start with the savories.

25871607730_057e4c64ec_cCucumbers, avocado, and herbs on rye (Breads Bakery)

25539704874_659e1e24ff_cRadishes, cultured butter, and sea salt on sourdough (Breads Bakery)

26118529326_5aa8748dae_cEgg, ramps, and pea shoots on brioche (Balthazar Bakery)

26144470545_2798b7f428_cHam, cheese, and cornichons on Epi (Maison Kayser). Super random epi fact. All the “ears” for epi baked at NYC Maison Kayer locations on the west side point west. All the ones baked on the east side have “ears” pointing east. And for the Bryant Park location (which is in the center), the ears alternate between east and west. Mind blown o_O

26144490125_f6bba91625_cAnd the scones! Still warm from the oven…

26118528886_c97abf3d5f_c…fig, almonds, and vanilla. Served with Devonshire cream and blackberry jam.

26078153931_bee63bfe12_cAnother pot of tea…

26144481975_81939abb7e_c…a little break (all of our clothing was from LIE )…and sweets.

26118528656_36de628340_cItty bitty Meyer lemon tarts…

25871607170_4c64043c92_c…and the most tender Sicilian pistachio cake (with a bit of rose water…bliss!)

26144489295_82c92c179d_cIt was a pretty great afternoon.

26118531126_d06af303a3_cTill next time ^-^

Tabletop: Mud Australia @ 91 Crosby Street, New York, NY 10012 • Clothing: LIE (use code: KYLC for 10% off online orders, valid till 4/30) • Tea: Silver Needle Tea Co. (use code: KYLC for 10% off online orders, valid till 4/30)

Hong Kong | Tea and Dinner Pairing

Friday, February 26, 2016 0 No tags Permalink 0

25153347702_00ce4a431b_cLast night in Hong Kong, a tea and dinner pairing…

DSC00973…hosted by yú teahouse / 瑜茶舍 and Ngau Saam Gun / 牛三館.

Eight beef-centric courses, each matched with a tea. We moved from cool to warm, light to dark. Started with the greens, alternated whites and oolongs in the middle, and finished with three pu’erhs (one raw, two cooked).

Compare and contrast with other tea pairings:

Dinner started with…