Tag Archives: hawaii

Hawaii Food & Food Festival!

The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival is by far one of the best food events I’ve ever attended. Not only did I get to enjoy Hawaii’s best cuisine (prepared by world-renowened chefs), but I also got to soak up some major island culture (surfing, art, local joints!) as well.

If you’re a food lover planning a trip to Hawaii in September (2013), check out all the festival has to offer here. And do NOT miss the Saturday morning farmer’s market at Kapiolani Community College! (Links & Details Below)

Photos below from the 2012 Hawaii Food & Wine Festival:

Enter the MODERN Dragon: Morimoto & Friends (9/6/12):
In Chinese Astrology, 2012 is the year of the Dragon – the most powerful and auspicious of the 12 animal signs, bringing high energy and prosperity.  Led by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, “Enter the MODERN Dragon” showcased foods prepared by twelve of the most esteemed international chefs from Asia and the Pacific.

Oahu 2012
Walking into the event at the Modern.

Oahu 2012
Chef Roy Choi.

Oahu 2012
Roy Choi’s Chubby Pork Belly Squares.

Oahu 2012
Looking down from upper level.

Oahu 2012
Butterfish with Spicy Radish by Sang Yoon.

Oahu 2012
Ginza Sour Cocktail

Oahu 2012
Upper level

Oahu 2012
Chef Ming Tsai

Oahu 2012
With the one and only Iron Chef Morimoto!!!

Oahu 2012
Chef Morimoto’s Shrimp Taco.

Oahu 2012
Dragon pool at night. Note: I was born in 1964, Year of the Dragon. Fit right in!

Oahu 2012
Ming and Morimoto at the “Mix with the Masters” event. Food demos, talks and lunch! (9/7/12)

Oahu 2012
Morimoto’s beautiful sashimi display.

Oahu 2012
Chef Charles Phan (Slanted Door, San Francisco) brought a pho noodle bar.

Oahu 2012
Chef Josiah Citrin’s Kona Abalone, Grilled Cucumber and Sweet Onion & Squid Ink Puree ~ Sea Asparagus, Thai Basil and Chilled Cucumber Broth. From Farm to Table: A Makahiki Festival  (9/8/12)

Ono Kine Malama Farm Berkshire Pork by Chef Ed Kenney
Ono Kine Malama Farm Berkshire Pork by Chef Ed Kenney

Oahu 2012
Beautiful evening for the Makahiki Festival!

Oahu 2012
Dinner at Miso and Ale was a terrific finale to my Honolulu visit! My favorite bite was the braised short rib w Okinawa purple potato!

A few places NOT to miss on your visit to Honolulu:
Rainbow Drive-in for a classic “Plate Lunch”. And yes, it comes with BOTH white rice AND macaroni salad!

Feel like experiencing local culture? Have dinner at Side Street Inn, and definitely order the Pan-Fried Island Pork Chops!

KCC Farmer’s Market. Eat lunch and buy treats to bring back home.

Surfing lessons… by Honolulu Firefighters!

Need a quick bite before surfing? Spam Musubi! Fort Ruger Market, Oahu

Photos from the opening night Rum Fire party here

Honolulu’s Art Scene 2012

All photos from Hawaii Food and Wine Festival 2012

2013 Hawaii Food and Wine Festival is September 1-8!

Oahu 2012

Many thanks to the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau www.gohawaii.com, Oahu Visitors Bureau www.visit-oahu.com, and Hawaii Food & Wine Festival www.hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com for inviting and hosting me on this trip.

1 Comment

Filed under Eating Out, Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.), Hot Chefs, Travel

Hawaii: Waikiki, Rum Fire & Art

In early September I was invited to the “Hot & Hip Honolulu” press trip on Oahu, which included tickets to the 2nd Annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. It wasn’t my first visit to the islands, but it was definitely the most interesting by far.

In the past, my Hawaii visits consisted mostly of lazy beach-time with my nephews, or Mai Tai sunsets with Peter. This time around I got to spend five days not only tasting the best of Oahu’s cuisine, but also experiencing the beautiful art and culture of the island. I didn’t even KNOW Honolulu had an art museum!

Since I have so many photos to share, I’ve decided to write several blog posts about the tour. This first post includes photos of my island arrival, food porn from the welcome party, and a day exploring Honolulu’s lively art scene. Please check back soon for much more!

Oahu 2012
Checking into the Waikiki Parc Hotel. PARADISE. I didn’t want to leave the room!

Oahu 2012
Room 1503, Waikiki Parc Hotel.

Oahu 2012
I didn’t eat on the plane, so was thrilled to see a plate of fruit & cheese in my hotel room. Thanks again Rebecca, Darlene, Nathan and Kelley!

Oahu 2012
Waikiki Park’s poolside gym. NEEDED it!

Oahu 2012
Of course I brought “Travel Maxie”. He makes me miss Maxie just a little bit less when I’m away from home.

Oahu 2012
View of Diamond Head from Rum Fire, Sheraton Waikiki. A beautiful first evening meeting event hosts and fellow writer/photographers.

Oahu 2012
At Rum Fire, Grilled Kona Lobster w Anchovy & Marrow Butter from Azure Chef de Cuisine Jon Matsubara.

Oahu 2012
At Rum Fire, Twice Cooked Australian Wagyu, Mung Bean Puree, Hamakua Tomato, Waipoli Fern Shoot Salad by Kai Market’s Chef Darren Demaya.

Oahu 2012
At Rum Fire, Hamakua Vine Ripened Tomatoes, Roast Baby Beets by Sheraton Waikiki’s Executive Chef Daniel Delbrel.

Oahu 2012
At Rum Fire, Hawaii Food & Wine Festival co-founder Chef Roy Yamaguchi greets the crowd.

Oahu 2012
Spicy Rim Cocktail!

Oahu 2012 (with Lee Anne Wong)
Party time! With the fabulous Lee Anne Wong at Rum Fire.

Spam Fried Rice for breakfast!
Day two began with Spam Fried Rice at Waikiki Parc’s Breakfast Buffet (made me so happy!)

Oahu 2012
We started the morning with a private tour of philanthropist and heiress Doris Duke’s beachfront home. The 14,000 square foot estate was built in 1937 and is officially called “Shangri La, the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts”. For nearly 60 years, Duke collected artifacts for Shangri La, ultimately forming a collection of about 2,500 objects, the majority of which were made in the Islamic world. Read Doris Duke’s biography here. (Above, our guide Carol Khewhok standing in the entry courtyard).

Oahu 2012
Shangri La has a remarkable collection of Islamic art and is considered one of Hawaii’s most architecturally significant homes. I loved this tile entry into the garden. We weren’t allowed to photograph the interior so I’ve added links below.

Oahu 2012
Looking into the living room through the spectacular, glass WALL elevator which was installed in 1938. Yes, it still works!

Oahu 2012
Ocean-front garden seating. I stood there fantasizing about throwing the perfect cocktail party! The living room is behind the tree at right.

Oahu 2012
View of the ocean and Diamond Head from living room.

Oahu 2012
Pool  (with view of Diamond Head) and Playhouse, which served as Doris Duke’s guesthouse. The Playhouse was modeled on the Chihil Sutun, a royal pavilion built in 1647 in Isfahan, Iran. It consists of three rooms: two guest bedrooms and a large living room with a small kitchenette.

Photos of the interior are available on the official website. You can tour the entire property here.

Some of my favorite rooms:
The Syrian Room is Doris Duke’s interpretation of the qa’a (Arabic: hall), a reception room found in Syrian homes of the late Ottoman period (in Syria: 1516-1918).

The Damascus Room is a highlight of the Islamic art collection assembled by Doris Duke and one of two Syrian interiors preserved at Shangri La. Its acquisition dates to September 1953, when she placed an order for “1 Old Damascus Room made of old painted panels of wood” with Asfar & Sarkis, an antiquities firm based in both Damascus and Beirut.

The Dining Room/Lanai originally had a Hawaiian theme, but in 1960’s Doris Duke completely remodeled the room adding a large mosaic tile panel, Egyptian cloth panels and an Ottoman-style fireplace.

View of Shangri La from the ocean.

NOTE: If you’re planning to be in New York before mid-February, the Museum of Arts and Design is presenting “Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art” through February 17th, 2013.

I learned so much about Islamic art, tiles and textiles during just this one visit. If you love history, art or architecture, a visit to Shangri La is a MUST.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Exhibitions featuring Tattoos and Boardshorts? Only in Hawaii!

About “Tattoo Honolulu” (from the website)

Tattooing is art. After decades of being viewed as a mark of the marginal, tattoos have gone mainstream and are winning over the art establishment—including the Honolulu Museum of Art. The lines between ink on skin and paint on canvas or pencil on paper have been blurred with tattoo artists reaching the skill level of other artists. Now the Honolulu Museum of Art breaks new ground with an exhibition focusing on Hawai‘i’s high quality of tattoo art—and how it sprouted from the islands’ mix of cultures rich with tattoo traditions.

The museum is in the unique position to draw upon its world-class collection to place contemporary tattooing within an art historical context. By linking the past—through works such as 19th-century prints by Jacques Arago depicting tattooed Hawaiians—with the present, the museum hopes to expand cultural awareness not only about the art of the tattoo, but also the rich cultural traditions it is based on.

Oahu 2012
“Chinese Dragon on Megan Wong” by Billy Whitney. Photographed by Shuzo Uemoto. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art. Did you spot Hello Kitty?

Oahu 2012
“Full Back on Anthony Alameda” Tattoo by Lucky Olelo. Photographed by Shuzo Uemoto. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

Oahu 2012
Tattoo designs by Joe Leiber. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

Oahu 2012
Part of the Tattoo Gun collection. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

Oahu 2012
Lucky Olelo, one of the talented tattoo artists joined us for lunch at the Museum of Art Cafe.

About “Boardshorts: A Perfect Fit” (from the website)

Hawai‘i’s unofficial uniform is the boardshort—a perfect fit for the birthplace of surfing. Boardshorts in Hawai‘i were initially created as custom-made surf trunks by tailors at popular venues such as the H. Miura Store in Hale‘iwa, Take’s in Waikīkī, or M. Nii’s in Mākaha during the 1950s. These early boardshorts were first designed for fit and comfort, maximized for the ultimate wave-riding experience. Boardshorts: A Perfect Fit, chronicles the fascinating evolution of a single, simple garment that today is a symbol of extreme sports and a counterculture lifestyle.

Oahu 2012
Boardshorts: A Perfect Fit. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

Oahu 2012
I would have bought ten pairs of these SPAM shorts! Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

Note: Both the Tattoo and Boardshorts exhibits run through January 13, 2013.

A few favorites from the 19th Century Collection.

Oahu 2012
Kamehameha III (left) and Nahi’ena’ena (Sister of Kamehameha III). Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

Oahu 2012
Whistler’s Arrangement in Black, No. 5 (Lady Meux). Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

Below from the Asian Art Collection:

Oahu 2012
Seated Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (Guanyin). 11th century Chinese Northern Song dynasty (960–1127) Shanxi province.  Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

Oahu 2012
For scale.  Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

Oahu 2012
The Art of the Chinese Snuff Bottle. I LOVE tiny bottles.
Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

Oahu 2012
Snuff Bottles close-up. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.

Oahu 2012
Shibata Zeshin, traveler’s writing case with landscape and plovers. Photographed with permission from Honolulu Museum of Art.  Many thanks to Museum Director, Stephan F. Jost and Deputy Director, Allison Wong.Please visit the museum website for current and upcoming exhibitions.

More photos from Honolulu’s Art Scene

All photos from Oahu 2012

Waikiki Parc Hotel

Rum Fire

Roy Yamaguchi (follow him on twitter)

Shangri La / More about Carol Khewhok

Honolulu Museum of Art

This trip was generously provided by the Oahu Visitor’s Bureau  / Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau.  Many thanks to Rebecca Pang (Account Supervisor, Travel & Tourism, McNeil Wilson Communications), Nathan Kam, Stephanie Killion, Darlene Morikawa, Lindsay Chambers and their staff members!

Current and upcoming Hawaii events:
Kona Coffee Cultural Festival (Hawaii, the Big Island) – Nov. 3-11, 2012 – http://www.konacoffeefest.com/

Wailea Wine & Food Festival (Maui) – Dec. 6-9, 2012 – http://waileawineandfoodfestival.com/


Filed under Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.), Travel

Deep Fried Ramen Dog

The Cooking Channel’s Unique Eats is one of my favorite, food shows on TV. The recent Hawaii / Polynesian Paradise episode included one of the most interesting hot dogs I’ve seen in years.

The Ramen Dog from Hank’s Haute Dogs in Honolulu is a skewered hot dog wrapped in sticky, cooked ramen then deep fried until crispy. Genius!

Even though I’ll be in Hawaii soon (for the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival), my schedule is so packed that I’m actually not sure I can make it to Hank’s. So last night I attempted to make the Ramen Dog at home. It was SUPER EASY and definitely a special (once-in-awhile ONLY) treat. Peter and my brother Greg loved it too!

Deep Fried Ramen Dog

My version of Hank’s Ramen Dog


Deep Fried Ramen Dog4 hot dogs

4 skewers (soaked in water for at least 30 minutes to prevent burning). Note: I cut each skewer to fit in pan.

2 Packs of cooked ramen (no seasoning), drained and dried. You want LONG strands and it should be very sticky (and DRY).

Vegetable oil for deep frying.

Optional Garnishes: I cut up Nori and sprinkled each finished dog with Shichimi and Furikake.


Skewer each hot dog with wet, wooden skewers.

Wrap each dog with various strands of sticky, cooked, DRY ramen. Set aside on plate.

Deep Fried Ramen DogHeat oil to 350 (make sure to prepare ramen dogs before eating oil).

Using tongs, gently lay ramen dog into hot oil, turn if needed.

Watch until the ramen strands are golden brown and drain on paper towels.

Garnish (optional).


The Cooking Channel

Video of Hank’s Haute Dogs

Hank’s Haute Dogs
324 Coral Street
Honolulu, HI 96813
Facebook: Hank’s Haute Dogs
Twitter: @hankshautedogs


Filed under Recipes

Hawaii Memories

Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

Next week I’ll be heading to Oahu for the 2nd Annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, as a guest of the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau. Besides all the amazing food, I’m most excited to experience bits of Hawaii that I hadn’t on previous trips.

Some of my itinerary includes a visit to Doris Duke’s 1937 “Shangri La” estate,  Hawaiian Fire Surf School 
(taught by off-duty Honolulu firefighters!), and an afternoon at the Honolulu Museum of Art. My culinary schedule is packed with various food events and lectures, then winds down with a pop up dinner at Honolulu’s Miso and Ale.

Hawaii w my nephews, 2004The last time I travelled to Hawaii was a summer trip in 2004 with my two (then teenaged) nephews. We stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and spent most of our holiday surfing (them), eating and drinking (me) with a little bit of sightseeing along the way.

The previous year, Peter and I booked a room at the Ilikai Hotel on Waikiki Beach. I’ve always been a huge fan of the original “Hawaii Five-O”, and if you remember the opening credits with the cool, balcony shot of Jack Lord (aka the legendary Steve McGarrett!), then you’ll recognize the Ilikai Hotel.

Hawaii w Peter, 2003We had such a fun time visiting random locations from the show, and definitely made an effort to eat like the locals. Our favorite dish back then was the Loco Moco. The traditional version is made with white rice, hamburger, fried eggs and brown gravy. We first ordered the burger version for breakfast at our hotel, and also tried a SPAM version (instead of beef) that we loved as well.

My ex-husband Perry (we married in 1987) was an airline pilot and surfer. With his free air travel (my tickets were gratis as well) he would trek to the world’s best surf spots, including Indonesia and South Africa.

Since we lived in California, Hawaii was of course a favorite. I went on one of his surfaris in 1991 and pretty much spent the long days watching his extra surfboards (so no one stole them) as he caught waves on the North Shore.

North Shore, 1991In exchange for being Perry’s “board watcher” I insisted we check out the “Al Harrington Show” at the Reef Towers Hotel. Al Harrington played the roll of “Detective Ben Kokua” on, you guessed it, “Hawaii Five-O”. The dinner show was a mix of stand-up comedy, singing and Hawaiian dancing. Perry cringed throughout the entire evening, but I was thrilled at being one step closer to Steve McGarrett. I never got to meet my favorite TV cop, and when Jack Lord died in 1998, a good friend of mine sent ME a condolence card. I still watch H5O repeats to this day.

During the upcoming trip I’ll be tweeting (of course) and posting photos on instagram. Both user names are MyLastBite in case you’d like to follow along. If you plan on attending the event, feel free to drop me a tweet! Please do check back for a full blog post upon my return.

Aloha & Mahalo!

About The Festival:
The Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival is the premier epicurean destination event in the Pacific. Set in the lush island paradise of O‘ahu, our four-day Festival features a roster of over 50 internationally-renowned master chefs, culinary personalities, and wine and spirit producers. Co-founded by two of Hawai‘i’s own James Beard Award-winning chefs, Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, the Festival in Honolulu and Ko Olina Resort will showcase wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, one-of-a-kind excursions, and exclusive dining opportunities with dishes highlighting the state’s bounty of local produce, seafood, beef and poultry.

The Festival is a benefit for the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation and UH Culinary Institute of the Pacific, with the inaugural Festival raising $250,000 for the community.

Dates: September 06, 2012 to September 09, 2012 6:00pm, Daily
The Festival will be held on Oahu at The MODERN Honolulu, Halekulani, Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort and Spa, and Ko Olina Resort.

Complete Schedule here

Download the FREE Hawaii Food & Wine App

Many thanks to:
Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau, Oahu Visitors Bureau: Go Hawaii Website  Follow @GoHawaii on Twitter

Hawaii Food & Wine: www.hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com
Follow Hawaii Food & Wine on Twitter on FaceBook

Rebecca Pang. Account Supervisor, Travel & Tourism, McNeil Wilson Communications

More of my older Hawaii photos on Flickr


Filed under Food Events (festivals, classes, etc.)

Animal’s Loco Moco

ilikai hotel, MyLastBite.comI first tried Loco Moco back in 2003 while on vacation with my husband in Hawaii. It was Peter’s first visit to the islands, and I insisted that we stay at the Ilikai Hotel on Oahu. I’ve always been a huge fan of  “Hawaii Five-O”, and if you remember the opening credits with the cool, balcony shot of Jack Lord (aka the legendary Steve McGarrett!), then you’ll recognize the Ilikai Hotel. We had such a fun time visiting random locations from the show, and we definitely made an effort to eat like the locals.

Loco Moco Hawaii 2003, MyLastBite.comOur favorite dish was (of course) the Loco Moco. The traditional version is made with white rice, hamburger, fried eggs and brown gravy. We first ordered the burger version for breakfast at our hotel, and also tried a SPAM version (instead of beef) that I loved.

It’s been almost six years since I enjoyed that first plate of Loco Moco and I guess I just never thought about searching it out in Los Angeles. So when I read about Animal’s version on TastingTable last week, my heart skipped a beat and I sent Peter a text: “WE NEED TO GET TO ANIMAL NOW!”

Animal’s Loco Moco (below) is anything but “traditional”, and should probably be called “Beyond Loco Moco”, or simply “WHACK”! The dish exemplifies the reason I love Animal so much… because chefs Vinny and Jon are absolutely FEARLESS. Their version doesn’t come with just the burger or a piece of SPAM. It comes with BOTH, and they top it off with an insanely decadent piece of seared foie gras and a fried quail egg.

Foie Gras Loco Moco! MyLastBite.com

It was so good that Peter and I couldn’t stop laughing while we ate it! You know, that guilty “we should be ashamed but we’re NOT” sort of laughing. I can still taste the runny egg yolk spilling over the seared foie gras, through the crispy spam and tender beef, then down to the bottom of the gravy soaked rice. 

Foie Gras Loco Moco! MyLastBite.com

Of course it was rich… and I admit that I made sure Peter and I both took our 81 grams of heart-healthy aspirin afterwards. A few days later, I’m pretty certain I still haven’t worked off the calories, but it was SO worth it! Foie Gras Loco Moco, Quail Egg, SPAM, Niman Ranch Burger, Anson Mills Gold Rice, $35

Crispy Hominy and Lime, MyLastBite.com

I try to order only new things when we eat at Animal, but Peter insisted on getting his favorite Crispy Hominy and Lime! $5

Fluke Crudo, MyLastBite.com
Along with the Loco Moco we did select a light and healthy dish (above) that we loved. The palate-cleansing and refreshing Sliced Fluke, Citrus, Mint, Sea Salt & Jalapeno, $12. (See? They make healthy dishes too!)

[Visit #11)

Animal Restaurant
435 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 782-9225

Mentioned Above:

Tasting Table

Opening Scene of Hawaii Five-O

Ilikai Hotel


Loco Moco on Wikipedia

A few more Hawaii Photos:
Hawaii 2003, MyLastBite.com   Hawaii 2003, MyLastBite.com

< Animal Visit #10

Written by Jo Stougaard ©MyLastBite.com All Rights Reserved.
No usage allowed including copying or sharing without written permission.


Filed under Eating Out, Food Stories (written by me)