Food La La: ‘Farm to Table’ at Hula Grill
BY LINDSEY MURAOKA / Special to the Star-Advertiser
“Farm to Table” is a dinner series hosted by Hula Grill Waikiki that supports local food vendors and raises money for charities throughout Hawaii. A portion of the proceeds from the latest dinner on Wednesday, Oct. 9, went to the Waikiki Community Center, which provides social services for families and senior adults.
There were five dining stations with dishes prepared by Hula Grill’s Chef Paul Rivera, each using fresh ingredients from a specific Hawaiian island and paired with a drink made with Hawaii-based Kai Vodka.
First up was the Big Island, with delicious Kona Kampachi spiced with Kaiulani Coffee and kiawe-smoked abalone with tender hearts of palm from Wailea Agricultural Group. I wish I could’ve eaten a dozen of those abalone; they were so fresh.
This dish was paired with a mango-infused Kai Vodka cocktail.
Each station had a display of the ingredients used in their dish.
This is grilled sweet Kauai shrimp with local tako squid ink noodles from Crown Noodle Honolulu. I loved the texture and creamy flavor of the noodles. It also had tons of fresh pieces of mozzarella in it.
This dish was paired with a Kai Lychee Vodka orange drink.
My favorite dish was the Kaiulani Spices pulehu salted pork belly with Molokai sweet potato and Ogo from Paepae o He’eia fishpond. The pork belly was fatty and salty, so it contrasted well with the sweet potato. It was paired with a super spicy serrano pepper-infused Kai Coconut shochu margarita. It was one of those addictingly delicious drinks where your mouth is on fire but you can’t stop drinking it because it tastes so good.
This is mushrooms prepared three different ways from Small Kine Farms: Mini Portobello quiche, lemongrass chicken stuffed mushroom and crispy herb-crusted portobello fries. It was paired with a Kai lemongrass and ginger shochu cocktail.
My friend Avy Chan holds a giant portabello mushroom from Small Kine Farms in Waimanalo.
The night ended with a savory sweet dessert made with Surfing Goat Dairy cheese with Kula strawberries drizzled with Manoa honey balsamic vinegar paired with a basil- and strawberry-infused Kai Coconut Pandan vodka cocktail.
“Farm to Table” is held four times a year to correspond with the changing seasons. For information on future events check out Hula Grill’s website or follow them on Facebook.
Lindsey Muraoka blogs about food and drink for the Pulse. Contact her on Twitter or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.