Our Picks for the Weekend
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Dessert time at JJ French Pastry means a wide selection from which to choose.
JJ French Pastry
3447 Waialae Ave. / 739-0993
People who live in Kaimuki name JJ French Pastry as a favorite dinner spot, but in the same way one tends to fondly remember a first love. Having first become acquainted with JJ's through its desserts, I still consider it a place for desserts, and food is secondary.
JJ's offers a number of prix fixe menus that are quite a deal when you factor in a choice of any dessert in the chef's colorful showcase of treats. The menus range from the selection of a pasta or pizza dish with chicken or vegetable, beverage and choice of dessert for $12.95, to $24.70 for a four-course meal.
The marriage of French, Italian and Laotian cuisine doesn't overwhelm the senses. Hints of green curry or chili sauce are often just enough to perk up the palate and olfactory senses, messaging the brain to make note of these subtle new sensations.
It can be too subtle at times, as with a classic fettuccini in a Parmesan cream sauce so light you can taste the flour in the pasta. The strongest flavor in the dish ($9.95, with chicken) came from a sprig of rosemary that sat as garnish.
JJ Luangkhot's baking expertise makes the simplest croissant sandwiches a joy. This is also true of pate chaude ($6.50) of ground pork and onion baked in puff pastry. It would be comfort food for anyone who grew up with Chinese-style pork hash.
When it's time for dessert, it's difficult to choose from the 25 or so in the glass case. The Chocolate Pyramid ($4.50/$4.75 with raspberry center) has to be the favorite. After that, a chocolate fruit basket ($3.95) tempts the eye, and one starts imagining just how good an almondine tart ($4.25) or pumpkin cheesecake ($2.95) will be. Here, you can't go wrong.
Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays; to 9:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays. Lunch is about $10 to $12 per person; dinner for two about $35 to $50.
Improv group makes its debut at Mid-Pac
A new improv group debuts Friday night at Mid-Pacific Institute.
Casual Threat is made up of the trio of Shannon Winpenny, Robb Bonnell and R. Kevin Garcia Doyle, all of whom are familiar to local improv fans from their combined teaching and work in such groups as Loose Screws, On the Spot and Mental Tilapia.
Under the direction of Shawn Thomsen, Casual Threat will perform a pair of improvised one-act plays, wherein each actor plays a variety of characters, creatures and, sometimes, objects. While comedy is still the goal, Casual Threat explores a wide variety of themes and relationships, sometimes serious, sometimes silly.
Tickets are $5 at the door of the Kawaiahao Recital Hall on campus, located at 2445 Kaala St. in Manoa. Call 523-1004.
Cultures join in chorus at Blaisdell Concert Hall
The 8th Annual Pacific Rim Children's Chorus Festival presents "Voices on the Wind," featuring the 300-plus chorus singing songs from China, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand.
The special concert will also include such guests as the Langley Ukulele Ensemble from Canada, Ballet Folklorico Mexicano Quetzal, the Samoan Gospel Heralds Men's Choir, Kenny Endo's Taiko Center of the Pacific Youth Group and Au's Shaolin Arts Lion Dancers.
The event begins at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Blaisdell Concert Hall and is the culmination of a residential program designed to expose young singers to the cultures of the Pacific Rim through choral music.
Tickets are $25, with student, senior, military and children discounts. Call 591-2211 or visit voicesonthewind.org, where you can print a coupon worth $5 off the general admission price.
Organists perform at Central Union Church
Eight of Honolulu's prominent organists will be featured in this year's Midsummer Night's Organ Concert, an annual benefit for the Hawaii Chapter American Guild of Organists' scholarship programs.
Those featured include Katherine Crosier of Lutheran Church of Honolulu; Joey Fala, Nyle Hallman and Margaret Lloyd of Central Union Church; John McCreary and John Renke of St. Andrew's Cathedral; Young Pak of Logos Korean Church; and organ scholar Jordan McCreary.
The scholarship program was begun by guild member Donald L. Conover 18 years ago, and 54 students have been awarded scholarships, with many of them going on to become church organists.
This year's recipients will be announced at the 7 p.m. concert Sunday at Central Union Church, 1660 S. Beretania St. Admission is free, donations accepted. Call 221-9608.
Check out art for free at Academy of Arts
More free family fun is happening at the Honolulu Academy of Arts on Sunday.
The event this time around is "In the Space Provided." See how space is used by aerial dancer Andrea Torres of the performance troupe Samadhi, play "human checkers" in a life-size outdoor version of the game in the Kinau Court, or go on a scavenger hunt in search of artwork that makes visitors think about space.
It's also a chance to see some of the current exhibits in the museum without charge. A mini-art tour starts at 2 p.m., and, in particular, you might want to check out the work of Cai Guo Qiang in the ongoing exhibition "Shu: Reinventing the Book in Contemporary Chinese Art." He's the artist in charge of the fireworks and visual spectacles at the opening and closing of the Summer Olympics in Beijing next month.
Family Sunday runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and parking is free in the 1035 Kinau St. lot, kitty-corner to the Academy at 900 S. Beretania St. Call 532-8700 or visit honoluluacademy.org.
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