February 23rd was a night of island breezes and mai tais despite the pouring rain outside in Burlingame’s striking Sub-Zero & Wolf Showroom. Three of Hawaii’s biggest chefs, Roy Yamaguchi (yes, that Roy of Roy’s restaurants), Alan Wong and D.K. Kodama, plus a mixologist, wine-maker, products (like sweet and spicy Kilauea hot sauce), all came over from the islands, transforming Sub Zero’s kitchens into a Hawaiian luau.
Gorgeous leis made from fresh flowers were draped over our necks as we entered. Festivities began with shiso, ginger and elderflower soju-based cocktails, followed by a three-course tasting in a back room before other guests joined us in the main areas. The table was laden with flowers and artistically-presented fish dishes from all three chefs.
I was pleasantly surprised at the range of tastes available… and the high quality. Proud of Hawaii’s recent resurgence in locally grown produce and sustainable, local seafood and animals (they’re even raising Maine lobsters on the islands), everyone from chefs to farm owners (brought together by Hawaii’s Visitors Bureau) talked of Hawaiian grass-fed cows and a new iPhone app, What Chefs Eat, which gives Hawaiian chefs’ recommends for the best in non-touristy food joints. Keep up with Hawaiian food news at Share Your Table.
Hawaii’s food scene is changing and I, for one, am eager to go check it out. In the meantime, this was one delightful peek into what’s happening… You can get into the aloha spirit as well as Hawaii’s Visitors Bureau has scheduled a slew of events over the coming weeks, from Maui Magic at the Embarcadero Center to Aloha Fridays at Gordon Biersch. Choose your March escape to the islands here.
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