Star-Bulletin Features

Sunday, May 12, 2002

Roberto Los Baños experiments with the presentation of a dish submitted for the food writers' dinner.

Food writers take
chance at the stove

By Betty Shimabukuro

No one expects a reporter who covers the police department to actually catch crooks, or a political reporter to run for office, or a movie critic to be able to make movies.

A food writer, though, is expected to know how to cook and, in fact, to be pretty good at it. In my case, that would be a mistaken assumption. What I am good at is eating. My kitchen skills are strictly survival level.

For some reason, though, the food folk at the Hilton Hawaiian Village believe that people will pay to have a bunch of food writers cook for them. We hang around great chefs and fine food, so we should've learned something, right?

On Friday, if you are inclined to take a risk, you be the judge at "A Dinner with the Hawaii Regional Food Writers" (talk about title inflation). It's a four-course meal with wine pairings by master sommelier Chuck Furuya (at least he's no amateur) at Bali by the Sea.

The menu: Crispy Kauai Shrimp with Minted Hauula Vine-Ripened Tomato Salsa (my dish; sounds fancy, yeah?), Scottish Salmon "Dim Sum" Salmon Timbale with Tobiko Caviar and Cream by Jo McGarry of our advertising supplement "Food for Thought," Marinated Ahi "Madeira" with Herb Polenta and Braised Island Greens by the Advertiser's Wanda Adams, and Warm Mango Crisp with Hawaiian Vanilla Ice Cream by Joan Namkoong, former Advertiser food editor and now free-lance dabbler in many things food-related.

Fear not. The others are considerably higher up on the food-expertise chain than I am, plus we've all had professional help from Bali chef Roberto Los Baños, who would be ultimately responsible if everyone in the dining room demanded their money back.

Cost is $55. Call 941-2254.

Special events

Chef's Tables: The Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club is hosting free weekly cooking demonstrations, 4 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays at the Kukui Restaurant. Hotel chefs will showcase local fish. Samples and wine will be served. Call 245-5050.

Cigar and Port Tasting: Sample the Avo Signature Series Londsdale cigar along with three ports (Dow LBV 1995, Cockburn Vintage 1994 and Warre Tawny 1987), 8 p.m. Thursday at the Veranda, Kahala Mandarin Oriental. Cost is $30. Call 739-8780.

BYO Wine with Heartsong: The restaurant provides the menu and the music; you provide the wine at a five-course meal, 6:30 p.m. Saturday at 3660 on the Rise. The restaurant's corkage fee will be waived so you can show off your own skills at wine pairing. Music will be by the group Heartsong, with Gail Mack and Joy Waikoloa singing. The menu: Ahi Poke Hash with Tobiko and Salmon Caviar, 'Nalo Romaine Hearts with Sherry Vinaigrette, Steak au Poivre, Chocolate Souffle Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream and Kona Coffee Sauce. Cost is $35.

Australian Wine Dinner: Also at 3660 on the Rise, Craig Orchard of Pacific Wine Partners will host a five-course dinner showcasing wines from Down Under, 6:30 p.m. May 21. The menu includes Pan Seared Scallop with Salmon Caviar and Grapefruit Nage (served with Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc 2001 Marlborough); Slow-Roasted Atlantic Salmon and Crispy Fennel Salad (Chateau Reynella Chardonnay, 2001, McLarenVale); Roast Breast of Duck, Seasoned Ground Veal, Wild Mushroom Sauce (Leasingham "Classic Clare" Cabernet Sauvignon 1997, Clare Valley); Fire-Roasted Double Lamb Chop (E&E Black Pepper Shiraz 1998, Barossa Valley); and Fresh Berries with Almond Cream in Puff Pastry (Chateau Reynella "Old Cave" 12-Year Tawny Port, McLarenVale). Cost is $65. Call 737-1177.

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