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Food La La: ‘Dishcrawl’ an adventure
BY LINDSEY MURAOKA / Special to the Star-Advertiser
A food adventure known as “Dishcrawl” found its way to Hawaii last month. Purchase a ticket for $45 to go on a “secret” four-stop restaurant hop, and you’ll receive an email 48 hours in advance to know where to meet. The rest of the locations are kept a mystery until the last minute.
I was an invited guest at the latest “Dishcrawl,” which took place downtown.
First we met at bambuTwo to grab some happy hour drinks and check in. After a brief explanation — which I couldn’t hear because it was really loud — out came out the food. There was a vast assortment of appetizers; since it was the first stop, everyone was ravished and ready to chow down. Every piece of food on those trays were gone in less than 10 minutes.
Smoked salmon croissant wheels pastry puffs and shrimp shumai.
Mini quiche and pesto risotto balls.
Spiced meatballs made with lamb and pork & samosas.
I didn’t try them all since I was trying to pace myself for the rest of the night but my favorites were the mini quiche and pesto risotto balls. The risotto balls had a nice crunch and texture. The pesto sauce on top added a zap of energy to the crunchy fried coating. The quiche had a nice alternating sweet and savory effect because of the salty ham and caramelized onions bits in it.
Just remember even though you’re hungry you don’t need to go all out at the first stop! Pace yourself because there will be tons of food at the other three restaurants.
Our second stop was Le Crepe Cafe, where we tried their most popular crepe, the “Pesto-Pesto” with shredded chicken, homemade pesto, tomato and mozzarella cheese. It had lots of yummy creamy pesto! I only wished that we could’ve tried one of their sweet crepes as well with Nutella and strawberries.
Le Crepe Cafe owner, Soufiane Bouharkat, made all 45 crepes by himself!
Here I am with the “Dishcrawl” organizer, Papiloa Jourdan. She is very friendly, bubbly and is a great host.
Next we were split into two groups because the last two restaurants couldn’t hold all of us at at one time as well as their regular customers! My group went to Downbeat Diner first. This was my favorite stop of the night. We got to try an array of their popular menu items: Vegetarian chili, vegan buffalo wings with vegan ranch sauce, chocolate chip cookies, and a Monte Cristo sandwich.
The vegan buffalo wings were great. They had a similar texture to actual wings but not as greasy. And of course anything covered in buffalo sauce is lovely! I was surprised at how deliciously creamy their vegan ranch sauce was (made with tofu and herbs). I didn’t know soy could be so magical. I swear it tasted better than real ranch sauce.
I also enjoyed the Monte Cristo sandwich (not vegan). Pour some syrup on top of that crispy toasty sweet bread with ham covered in powdered sugar for an epic meal experience! The vegan chili had a nice spicy punch to it but felt like it was missing some other essential flavors. But it could’ve also been that it was greatly overshadowed by everything else on the plate.
The final spot of the night was Adega, a Portuguese and Brazilian restaurant that I never heard about. I was excited to try a new place! The atmosphere was bright and lively. There were also $5 sangrias, which I took advantage of.
I was already beyond stuffed but I had to still try their food: Bacalhau A’ Braz (codfish, crispy potatoes and scrambled eggs) and Acorda De Marisco (mixed seafood and bread with a white wine broth topped with egg yolk). Both dishes were nicely balanced and let the natural flavors of the food come out. The Bacalhau A’ Braz is something I would love to eat for breakfast. The Acorda De Marisco had a mushy texture but rich seafood flavor.
They also served a side of deliciously spiced Portuguese sausage with red peppers and onions. If you’re interested in learning Portuguese, Adega offers free classes from 6 to 8 p.m.
“Dishcrawl” is great for people who enjoy foodie adventures and want to meet new people. I didn’t think there was going to be so much food! But it is always better to have too much than too little and left with a bunch of grumpy hungry people. I will definitely be attending future events.
Tickets are usually $40-$45 (depending on the type of event) but Dishcrawl Hawaii is giving my blog readers $10 off their choice of an upcoming crawl! Just enter the discount code “lalalinzyspecial” when you purchase your ticket. The code is valid until Jan. 4, 2013, on the following events:
» “Dishcrawl After Dark: Honolulu Edition,” 7 p.m. Jan. 16, 2013
» “Dish Walk,” 2 p.m. Jan. 27, 2013
» “Love at First Bite,” 7 p.m. Feb. 6, 2013
Lindsey Muraoka blogs about food and drink for the Pulse. Contact her on Twitter or via email at email@example.com.