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Bringing a Taste of Maui to LA

Bringing a Taste of Maui to LA

Being a food lover and food enthusiast, I've always admired Hawaii and its dedication to sustainable food culture and buying local. But on top of that, I've always been a bigger fan of good food and and even better company. The Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau were in town from Hawaii in Los Angeles and were kind enough to invite me and some other influential food folks to a Maui chefs exchange luncheon at Acabar in West Hollywood.

Can we take a moment to mention how gorgeous Acabar's architecture is?

IMG_0297(From left to right)  Chef Kyle Kawakami, Maui Fresh Streatery, Chef Oscar Torres, Acabar LA (event host), Chef Mike Lofaro, Grand Wailea, and Chef Riko Bartolome, Montage Kapalua. The talented Maui chefs were in Los Angeles to share the Maui food scene with us Angelenos!IMG_0219Chef Michael Lofaro kicked things off with his 'Ahi Tartare Shiso with ginger/lime vinaigrette and soft herbs. Amazing! I barely got any pictures of this dish because I gobbled it down so fast. The ahi was so fresh. IMG_0237LA chef Oscar Torres from Acabar joined in on the fun and created this delicious Foie Gras Terrine Quince and Rhubarb Chutney, Quince Gelee, Petite Mustard Frill, Chinese Long Pepper. Boy have I missed eating foie gras. I'm so glad it's legal again to eat in California... for now. Every chef did two dishes for the lunch: an appetizer and a main dish. IMG_0229Next up was Chef Kyle Kawakami's Takoyaki Dumpling. Who doesn't love octopus? I have to admit when I saw the takoyaki I thought it would be very filling. I've had takoyaki in multiple countries including Japan and this was by far the best takoyaki I've had. Bravo!IMG_0231Chef Riko Bartolome was up next with his Surfing Goat Dairy Chèvre, Balsamic Caramel, Liliko'i appetizer. IMG_0233I love passionfruit. A plate full of passionfruit just for me? You know I was freaking out! A ball of tempura goat cheese ball fried to perfection and in my favorite sauce. I'm literally drooling right now just thinking about it. IMG_0253At this point, I was already getting full. Chef Kyle brought out his Vietnamese Seared Maui Cattle Beef Heart, Green Papaya, and Hana Pohole Fern Pok Pok Salad with dehydrated  Sriracha Chips. IMG_0262Chef Michael once again brought his 'A' game with this Kona Kampachi Fragrant Rice Cakes, Anise, Tomato Coconut Emulsion, Hearts of Palm. Wow! The tomato and coconut flavors were such a game-changer. I wasn't expecting that. What a pleasant surprise! I also loved the texture of the fragrant rice cake. IMG_0281The dish that wowed me was Chef Riko's Herbed Molokai Grass Fed Beef, Vaudouvan Kabocha Puree, Eggplant Braise, Cauliflower Cous. His herbed Molokai grass fed beef seriously melted in my mouth. The beef was hen vacuumed and poached. Our beef here was clearly not good enough. There was just no comparison. I think even American Wagyu may need to watch its back. This was THAT good! IMG_0289I can't believe there was still dessert. I was so full at this point I just intended to sample the dessert. Let's just say I ended up eating the entire Pina Con Coco, Crispy Pineapple Meringue, Rum I.C. and practically licking the plate. The pineapple was that good! So fresh! 2015-02-21_09-21-52A big thank you to the chefs and my fellow Los Angeles foodie friends: Jay, Tammy, and Amy who were able to join in on all the fun. And a big, big thank you to the Maui Visitors and Convention BureauRiko BartolomeCharlene KauhaneKyle KawakamiMike Lofaro for having me. The chefs not only brought their talent all the way from Hawaii, but also their own amazing ingredients in order to create those delectable dishes pictured above!

Also, if you're going to be in Hawaii in April make sure to check out the Maui County Agriculture Festival. It'll be on April 4th, 2015. They'll be a bunch of cool events and chefs showcasing the very best of Maui's cuisine and food sustainability! Click here for more.

Aloha!

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I Survived Umami Burger

Poke Bar Grand Opening

Poke Bar Grand Opening