Monday, October 22, 2012

Poke: Celebrating National Seafood Month 2012

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One of my favorite seafood dishes is poke.  In Hawaii, poke is served as a appetizer or pupu.    Everyone has their favorite recipe and hence why there are so many varieties in Hawaii, esp if you visit Alicia's Market, Poke Stop, Tanioka's and even Foodland.

In celebrating National Seafood Month 2012, here's my favorites pokes:

 The Famous Wasabi Masago Ahi Poke

My first stop after I leave the airport...

Sweet Onion Ahi Poke

Love Maui Onions, so sweet...

Sea Asparagus Ahi Poke

I love sea asparagus!
If you've never had them, they're salty
with a nice crunch.

On the mainland, they're called "sea beans"
but the quality is not the same.

Tako Poke

Just wanted something different

Since I can't find a good one at home, I just make my own...
 Cubed yellowfin tuna
(A simple tuna and octopus recipe here)

Add in some soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil
with your favorite condiments.

In this case, I used masago, sweet onions,
and green onions in this one.
You can use whatever you like and have.

My version of Masago Ahi Poke
Get the recipe here

267 Mokauea Street
Honolulu, HI 96819
(808) 841-1921

Monday - Friday: 8 am - 7 pm
Saturday: 8 am - 6 pm
Closed Sundays

Now you know what Jay Eats,
make your own poke and share with
us your variation, cause that's
what food's all about...

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats
©Jay Terauchi

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Biggest Shochu Event!

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With the popularity of sake over the last 10 years, you can imagine how many sake training sessions I've taught to the service staff at numerous restaurants.  Having attended the recent Mutual Trading Restaurant Expo and sampling many different sake, it was good to be able to compare with today's Shochu tasting.  But I have to admit, I really don't know much about Shochu...

Over the last 5+ years, I've heard talk about Shochu, but it didn't sound like they knew any more than I did.  So when I was invited to "The Biggest Shochu Event" by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), I jumped at the chance to learn more and be able to share with you.

The Biggest Shochu Event
(Japan External Trade Organization)

First, the difference between sake and shochu?  In a nutshell, sake is a fermented alcoholic beverage and shochu is a distilled alcoholic beverage.  I always thought of it as a Japanese vodka, since it's distilled.  What I didn't know, Shochu is made from rice, barley or sweet potatoes, each giving a slightly different flavor and aroma.  There's another one from Okinawa called Awamori (which uses Thai rice and black koji).   

Shochu Seminar

The basic ingredient in shochu making is koji, a mold (Aspergillus oryzae) used to start the shochu making process.  Other factors in making shochu include; the main ingredients (rice, barley, sweet potato, brown sugar, etc.), water, region climate, aging, and storage containers also play a part in production.  Each region and brewery has their own distinct flavor and aroma to their product line.

Types of Shochu
  • Barley:  Clean and dry flavor, paired with tempura or yakitori.
  • Rice:  Elegant and smooth flavor, paired with sashimi or miso marinated fish.
  • Sweet Potato:  Pronounced and roasted flavor, paired with steak, cheese dishes, pizza, or Chinese dishes. 
  • Awamori:  Rounded sweet flavor (Thai Rice with Black Koji), paired with pork chops or lasagna.
  • Sugar Cane:  Rum like flavor with sweet finishing aroma.

Let's see what Jay Eats
or in this case Drinks...

Tasting and Pairing Time!
Walking into the Tasting Room,
where does one begin?

18 Shochu companies represented, along with
5 distributors, and 50+ shochu products to taste...

This was a great product line up

Yatsushika Brewery Co., Ltd
line up of products.

Barley Shochu Iki
by Genkai Shuzo Co., Ltd

Tuna Carpaccio
paired with Barley Shochu

One of the most popular shochu brands
that I've seen in retail stores and restaurants.

Iichiko Frasco
by Sanwa Shurui Co., Ltd
Oita, Japan

A Barley Shochu
in a container that tells me
this is something different than sake.

Ginza No Suzume Kohaku

A mellow color that has been aged
in oak bourbon whiskey barrels.

Ginza No Shzume Kohaku
mentioned in the Los Angeles Times

Lots of people, lots of Shochu

Pear and Brie in Phyllo
paired with Rice Shochu

Aged in whiskey barrels for 30 years

Nice and smooth


A traditional Okinawan Awamori container

I saw a lot of these in Japan

A Special Edition Godzilla Shochu Container
A limited edition licensed product

Only 30 sold in the U.S.
out of 300 produced.

The Sweet Potato Shochu Section

Too many choices...

Mini Beef Wellingtons
paired with Sweet Potato Shochu

Cocktail Time!

Recipe courtesy of 
Ikinokura Distillery Co., Ltd.

Ninja Refresher

1.5 oz (40 mL) Ikinoshima™ Shochu

1/2 (30 mL) Fresh squeezed limes

Ginger Ale

1 or 2 Shiso leaves
Collins Glass

Put shiso leaves in bottom of glass. Add lime
and Ikinoshima™ Shochu. Muddle the mixture
until the leaves are fully crushed.  Add ice and
top with Ginger Ale. 

Cocktail mixes with fruit flavors

Recipe courtesy of 
Ikinokura Distillery Co., Ltd.

Rising Passions

1.25 oz (40 mL) Nadeshiko™ Shochu
1/2 oz (15 mL) Passion Liqueur
1/4 oz (5 mL) Fresh squeezed lemon
Highball or Tropical cocktail glass

Add the Nadeshiko™ Shochu, passion liqueur
and lemon juice to an ice filled mixing glass.
Mix and pour mix into tropical cocktail glass.
Garnish lavishly.

Here's my favorite picks...
(cause they're so different)

(A coffee flavored Shochu)
from Fukano Shuzou Co., Ltd.

A different tasting shochu,
but it worked for me.

Yuzu Liqueur
from Ikinokura Distillery Co., Ltd.
Nagasaki, Japan

A natural barley liqueur with yuzu (Japanese citrus)
makes for a refreshing shochu

Sengetsu Shuzo Co., Ltd

Love's in the Air
A shiso flavored shochu.
A rice shochu with red perilla (shiso)
and great tasting.

This product will become a hit
if promoted correctly.

Do I think Shochu will succeed in the American market?  I do, with the right branding and promotional message.  To find out what it is, you'd have to hire me...  

This was a huge learning experience for me and have a better understanding of the industry.  If branded and staff trained right, Shochu could exceed the demand for sake in the U.S. 

 I thank JETRO for the invitation!

Ikinokura Distillery Co., Ltd.
Mutual Trading Co., Inc.
Sengetsu Shuzo Co., Ltd.
Wine Warehouse

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats
©Jay Terauchi

Monday, October 15, 2012

Kailua: One Night at Prima

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During my trip to Honolulu for the Hawai'i Food and Wine Festival, one of the places I wanted to return to was Prima in Kailua for some modern Italian.  Only open for about a year, Prima is that casual place that has great food.

A few of us took a break from the festival food and stopped in for dinner.

See What Jay Eats...

 While looking over the menu
and specials board,
we enjoyed the fresh bread.

Specials tonight
Headcheese Adobo

Really good...

Sweetbread with Biscuits
(another special)

A variety of mushrooms

Pizza Time!
Prosciutto Rucola

Tomato, mozzarella, prosciutto, arugula, parmesan

A favorite of mine...

We had a few other dishes, including
Pappardelle - curry bolognese, fried curry leaves
Meatball Pizza

Dessert Time!
Their famous house made ice creams

jasmine, pineapple, lilikoi, and peanut butter.

The peanut butter was my favorite

Almond cake with figs

It was another great meal at Prima, my first visit was during lunch.  Hard to believe that last trip was only 4 months ago... Click Here to see my first visit.  This is a must visit place!

A few days after I got home from Hawaii, I sent friends from the Bay Area to Prima, they LOVED it!  They went back again for dinner and another night just for dessert.  I hate to admit, but they've been to Prima more times than I have in 4 months...

Special Thanks to Rebecca Pang for organizing the dinner,
and to Chef Lindsay Ozawa and the Prima Staff for a great evening!

108 Hekili Street, Suite 107
Kailua, HI 96734
(808) 888-8933
Dinner:  5 - 10 Monday - Sunday


NOTE:  I was a guest of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau,
Oahu Visitors Bureau, and their partners.
I thank them for the invitation and their hospitality.
All comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.

Photos by Jay Terauchi
Jay Eats
©Jay Terauchi

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Honolulu: Hotel Renew

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I was on Oahu for the 2012 Hawai'i Food and Wine Festival as guest of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, I thank them for the invitation and hospitality.  

I knew this would be food-filled four days of go-go-go and go...  Arrangements were made for  me at the Hotel Renew in Waikiki.  When I visit Honolulu, I usually stay on the Ala Moana side of Waikiki, so I had no idea where to find Hotel Renew.  It's actually located on the Diamond Head side of the Marriott Waikiki and not far from the beach... 

Photo by Hotel Renew

You're probably thinking the same thing I did... Well, Hotel Renew is Honolulu's first boutique hotel, designed by acclaimed designer Jiun Ho.  Since I'm a food guy, hopefully my descriptions make sense.

First off, it's not a mega resort, only 72 rooms.  It's a modern hotel with a tranquil feed, away from the Waikiki noise and the tons of people.  It didn't have a chain feel to it, so I had a feeling that I'd like this place...

Photo by Hotel Renew
Front Desk
At check-in, guests receive a wet towel and glass of juice,
which was nice after coming directly from the airport.

City View with a King 
on the 8th floor

Very plush bed and comforter (which I really liked)

Complimentary wireless access throughout the hotel,
flat screen HDTV, iPod docking capabilities,
dimmable lighting, and light controls all over the room.

For someone like me who travels with some tech stuff,
this room had more than enough outlets.

One of the amenities that I really loved...


You can see it from all over the room

Two Trash Cans

I'll explain later...

Contemporary sink and fixture
in the bathroom.

Not much counter space, but it worked.

Photo by Hotel Renew
View from the lobby into Lounge Renew

In the mornings, complementary coffee/tea and a 
selection of pastries is available for guests.

Photo by Hotel Renew
Speaking of Lounge Renew,
specialty cocktails available in the evenings
and a place to watch the game.

I wish I had more time to spend at the hotel,
but the Hawai'i Food and Wine Festival
had me pretty busy...

Getting back to the two trash cans.

When I checked in, the bellhop pointed out the
green striped trash can is for recycled materials
and the other is for regular trash. 

I don't think I've stayed at a hotel that has a recycle bin...

You're probably wondering why this food guy is writing about a 
hotel room, especially since I don't write about hotels.

A couple of important themes from the Hawai'i Food and Wine Festival
is sustaining Hawai'i future and taking care of the 'aina (land).
As I mentioned above, I don't think I've stayed at a hotel
that has a recycle bin in the room.  It's one thing to talk
about recycling and taking care of the land, but it's another
to actually do something about it.

I applaud Hotel Renew for putting a plan in action and
personally educating their guests about recycling.

Unfortunately, the hotel doesn't have a restaurant or room service.
On a regular trip, I work late into the evening and often need food. 
But being here for the Hawai'i Food and Wine Festival,
 I knew I'd have my food fill for the next 4 days...
Besides, there is an ABC Store right next door.

It was a very nice stay and the staff was great,
no complaints from this guy on the 8th floor...

129 Paokalani Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815
(808) 687-7700

Nancy Uber

NOTE:  I was a guest of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau,
Oahu Visitors Bureau, and their partners.
I thank them for their invitation and hospitality.
All comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.

Photos by Jay Terauchi
unless otherwise noted

Enter the MODERN Dragon: Morimoto and Friends

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After a full day at "The Bounty of He'eia" excursion, it's on to the first night of Hawai'i Food and Wine Festival.  "The MODERN Dragon: Morimoto and Friends" presented by Hawaiian Airlines, is tonight's Asian inspired theme celebrating the Year of the Dragon!  

Since I'm a Dragon, I took special interest in the evening...

See What Jay Eats...

Photo by Ed Morita

East meets West
at the MODERN Honolulu

Photo by Ed Morita
Some of the night's participating chefs

(Left - Right)  Roy Yamaguchi, Ming Tsai, Masaharu Morimoto, 
Alan Wong, Hiroyuki Sakai, Chai Chaowasaree, Roy Choi, 
and Sang Yoon.

Photo by Ed Morita
Fish Taco

Chef Masaharu Morimoto
Morimoto Waikiki

Photo by Ed Morita
Event Co-Founder Chef Roy Yamaguchi 
with Hawaii New Now's Guy Hagi,
tonight's MC

Seafood Tower

Chef Scott Toner
The MODERN Honolulu

Photo by Melissa Chang
Running into Honolulu's own @turkeyboy808!

Photo by Ed Morita
Chef Roy Choi
Kogi BBQ, Chego
Los Angeles

LA's Represented!

Photo by Ed Morita
Pork Belly
by Chef Roy Choi

Photo by Ed Morita
Chef Ming Tsai
preparing his 
Foie Gras Fried Rice with Ahi

One of my favorites of the evening

Photo by Melissa Chang
Finally meeting @ayathefob IRL...

Big Island Abalone

Chef Chai Chaowasaree
Chai's Island Bistro, Singha Thai Cuisine

Another one of my favorites...

Chef Joanne Chang
Flour Baker+Cafe, Myers + Chang

Serving her Pavlova dessert and homemade oreo cookies.

Pavlova with Fresh Island Fruit

Chef Joanne Chang
Flour Bakery+Cafe, Myers + Chang

A pavlova is a meringue type dessert that held up
pretty well in the Hawaiian humidity.  Chef Chang
did a great job adjusting to the climate and was
a nice dessert after a full evening.

It was a nice evening running into old friends and meeting new ones, a great start to the Hawai'i Food and Wine Festival.  Can't wait to see what Day 2 has in store, beginning with the "Mix with the Masters" event in the morning.

See Melissa Chang's post
"Did this: Enter The Modern Dragon"

Ed Morita's post


Special Thanks to
Ed Morita, Melissa Chang
who allowed me to use some of their pictures,
due to a storage issue.

NOTE:  I was a guest of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau,
Oahu Visitors Bureau, and their partners.
I thank them for the invitation and their hospitality.
All comments and opinions expressed are strictly my own.

Photos by Jay Terauchi
unless otherwise noted