The Weekly Eater

By Nadine Kam

Thursday, November 4, 1999

Custom meals
to eat in or out

IVANA Trump says she's done it. You may have done it yourself, that is, try to pass off take-out food as your own cooking. Of course, it was probably done in jest because only a fool would not know the difference, right?

Before you answer, check out C&C Pasta Company, where the line between restaurant and home cooking is blurred. C&C turns out meals soulful enough to have been made at home, savory and elegant enough to have come from a restaurant.

C&C is not a restaurant per se, but a specialty grocer and deli that demonstrates a handful of its products by offering a small daily menu. The idea is to take home their pastas, arborio rice, cans of San Marzano tomatoes (known for their low acidity and delicate flavor), lovely garden-fresh pesto and puttanesca sauces for a quick dinner you make yourself. The pesto and puttanesca run $6.50 per pound, and I found that a little goes a long way. A half pound of sauce easily covers pasta for two, making for a very inexpensive meal.

C&C Pasta Company


Bullet Address: 3605 Waialae Ave.
Bullet Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; Sunday hours TBA
Bullet Prices: About $20 for two
Bullet Call: 732-5999

Trouble is, while you're waiting for them to package the pasta -- sold in sheets or cut to spaghetti, fettuccine or cappellini to your specifications -- you may be tempted to throw your cooking plans out and return home instead with ready-made Chicken and Spinach Cannelloni ($8.50) or a Sausage and Bean Cassoulet.

Owner Carla Magziar and chef Paul Renault seem to have been overwhelmed by the public's response to their small store and are still learning the art of managing customer flow. So it's important to call ahead with orders, the more lead time the better.

I found it hard to believe how long it takes for them to put together an Ahi Sandwich ($7.50), for example, about 20 minutes with no one else in the shop. But the results are worth waiting for. While other places slap two bread halves together, here, the sandwich is lovingly built with the fresh-cooked fish, grilled eggplant and red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, snips of parsley, and finally, topped with artichoke hearts and olives. Also offered is a choice of plain mozzarella, smoked mozzarella or goat cheese, which I declined. One more ingredient and the whole package would burst, I thought.

There are three or four tables for two if you must have your pasta straight from the pot. It's too bad the restaurant biz is not their current emphasis, because they could easily fill a medium-size room with slow-cooked, remarkably tender servings of Pork with Sage and Cherry Tomatoes ($10.50) and Tuscan Chicken and Porcini Mushrooms ($10.50), stewed in red wine and tomatoes.

Then, just when you get through with dinner, and you're thinking, "Gee, I wish I could make this at home," well, there are those basic sauces to take home. Add a little more garlic, more fresh tomatoes and red chile flakes to the puttanesca, and voila! it's your own. No lie.


Note: Last week I mentioned Bay View Golf Park's Hana Hou Restaurant's popular crab legs. For the record, those are standard buffet snow crab legs, not king crab legs.

See a listing of past restaurants reviewed in the
Do It Electric!

section online. Click the logo to go!

Nadine Kam's restaurant reviews run on Thursdays. Reviews are conducted anonymously and paid for by the Star-Bulletin. Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants:

-- excellent;
-- very good, exceeds expectations;
-- average;
-- below average.

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