Archive Page 2

23
Feb
11

Food in the House

I guess it is a food-filled week for lawmakers as well. The  Hawaii House Committee of Consumer Protection and Commerce (CPC) has decided to make it a food day for its agenda, today (2/23). The following bills will be heard today:

  • HB1545: RELATING TO CONSUMER INFORMATION:
    • Would require bread products that have been baked and then frozen to be labeled “previously frozen” and also prohibits bread that has been frozen to be labeled or advertised as “fresh”.
  • HB1552, HD1: RELATING TO COFFEE:
    • Would restrict the use of the geographic origin of Hawaii-grown coffee on coffee labels.

In addition to those two bills, a joint hearing between CPC and the House Judiciary Committee will hear two bills on sale or distribution of caffeinated beer beverages. The two bills are HB903, HD1 and 904, HD1.

If I listen to any of the testimony it will probably make me hungry, thank goodness for this weekend!

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23
Feb
11

Sushi ii: a place for a really “good” time

Sushi ii

655 Keeaumoku St, Ste 109
Honolulu, HI 96814
(808) 942-5350

The man that made our stomachs sing, Garrett Wong.

For starters let’s clear up something. This place is Sushi ii (pronounced “ee” as in the Japanese word for “good”), and NOT Sushi 2 or whatever it is called in Waikiki. This happy little eatery is located in the Samsung Plaza and lives up to its name as “good” if not super. Garrett Wong, who has had the fortune of being written about in Honolulu Magazine, and serving the HGC at Natsunoya a year ago, has created a great sushi spot that I would rather keep hidden for my friends and I, then share with the rest of you. However, that would not do him any credit. Anyway, let’s get to the review.

The Good: the Fresh Selection

So much to choose from, where to begin?

At Sushi ii there is an awesome selection of sushi. You want it? Garrett probably can make it or has it. He puts in orders for Japanese fish (as in they are from Japan!) and he really puts care in selecting the freshest and tastiest fish possible.. The Grub Club supplied over fifteen eaters at this establishment and I think we ate almost every kind of fish or crustacean supplied on the menu. Everyone in general seemed please, with the people at the counter getting a nice selection of fish. I will say that the kitchen also makes some great deep-fried moi and flounder. You can tell that Garrett cares when he makes his sushi as well, as generally, you never need to add shoyu and wasabi. It is just right, as sushi should be consumed.

One moi time!

Finally, dessert never disappoints. You would think that you wouldn’t feel heavy and full after eating a bunch of fish, but oh no you definitely can. So I appreciate the lightness of the panna cotta. It is a nice finisher.

The Bad: Wait and Size

I am kind of torn, as this was probably my fault and lack of planning. However, I definitely felt that the kitchen orders for the table group could have come a little faster, but then again when you try to pack in over 15 people at the same time I think that is totally my bad. So it wasn’t Sushi ii’s fault that we had to wait so long, but the wait was bearable due to the BYOB and great company. The size of the restaurant and parking lot definitely will make it a wait some nights. So come prepared, by buying a lot of sake from the Sake Shop.  In terms of the food though, nothing I ate was bad. I would order it again, and would probably like to try more from the regular and special menu.

Wait for this? Absolutely, would do it again!

Bottom Line: 4 out of 5

I would go back and indeed I am trying to plan another dinner for some other friends. I have a bottle of Dai Ginjo and some ideas of what fish I want in my belly. I highly recommend going to the Sake Shop before hand and selecting a bottle of sake or two. The owners of the Sake Shop are friends with Garrett and they definitely know what he is making and help you select a good bottle to go with your meal. For our own part, it was kind of neat I met the owner who made the sake bottle I bought for dinner, which was Mizbasho and it was the Ginjo, which was perfect because it was subtler and matched all the variety of sushi that we ate.

I highly recommend for sushi lovers to check this fun little place out. I also wish Garrett and his crew the best, and hope to see them soon.

See you again real soon!

One More Word

As always please check out my fellow Grub Clubber, Kyle H., who is a better foodie and reviewer than I at this link. Moreover, if you just peruse the other Yelp reviews most people have given it a four or five stars. Also please check out the HGC Flickr photostream for all that we ate that night!

05
Feb
11

Off-Premise: “Oshogatsu” at Off the Wall Restaurant

Oshogatsu (お正月) or Japanese New Year is appropriately celebrated when it is the weekend before Chinese New Year at a restaurant that serves Okinawan food with a twist of French, Italian, and Korean flavors . . . wait a minute, what?!

Well, of course it all makes sense when the celebration is in Hawaii, the catering events company is Off-Menu, and the restaurant is Off the Wall.

The menu for the night.

Off-Menu: the Start

While, some traditions are dying in Hawaii others are beginning to take root. I sincerely, hope that this third Off-Premise event is a sign of things to come and look forward to like the New Year that we all celebrate. While I found the food at Off the Wall not necessarily new and mind-altering, I would daresay that the food was more approachable than Chief Sean Priester’s experiments. They offered something that I would eat on a regular basis or be happy to bring to a potluck, per chance celebrating the New Year or gathering of friends. However, before I get into it all let me lay the scene.

The sun is setting, but the reds and oranges in the sky are still strong enough for sunglasses as I pull into the Pearl Kai Shopping Center. The parking lot is half full, with dinner goers and drinkers trickling in to their affordable eating spots and drinking dives. Out across the uneven parking lot a white tent stands out. It is signature Off-Menu.

I arrive and sign in. I’m handed my table number on a personalized card and handed a sheet of paper. It’s game time. This time it’s not guessing the name of exotic fruits and vegetables. This one is squarely running with the theme of Japanese New Year. The party-goers need to play a matching game of connecting the meaning/symbolism of a traditional food dish to the food name. I stare at the food, the names, and the symbols. I then stare at them again, and then I proceed to fold my paper and stuff it in my pocket. I had realized that studying seven years of Japanese, watching countless anime, and hanging out at my best friend’s house every New Years for o-zōni was not going to help me. Time to mingle.

Can you tell me the meaning of all foods without looking online. Actually, go and look online I doubt you would get it all.

I’m handed a free pomegranate pear spritzer, which is sweet and relaxing, even without the alcohol and grab a caprese skewer. The spitzer with the skewer are perfect for enjoying the weather and the company of old and new friends.  After chit chatting we are ushered behind closed doors into Off the Wall.

I could drink these all day as they had no alcohol . . . wait actually I could drink the ones with alcohol all day as well.

However, this was not the Off the Wall I remembered eating at several weeks ago for dinner. Off-Menu has done it again. They have transformed a tiny space into something else with tricks of lighting and fabric, what was once a local hang out spot for plate lunch, is now a white room with hints of red. It is like an homage to the “Red and White Song Battle” of NHK fame.

Move over salad in a cup, it is salad on a stick!

Off the Wall: the Food

With the visual feast and set-up presented by Off-Menu, and their guests ushered in this hidden white room, the real fun could begin. Off the Wall presented us with five courses.

First up, was Edamame Hummus with Grilled Flatbread and Tofu Katsu Wrap, served with a Soy Sweet Chili Sauce. This was served family style, which was different from the past two Off-Premise events. It was a nice change and kept well with the Asian theme. I would order this for my attempt at “Meatless Mondays” and is a good lunch snack. However, I would like to see the edamame teased out more. I think they should experiment with different types a flatbreads and see, which would hold the hummus better. The tofu katsu wrap was fun and the crunch was there. I think I would like a more crispy bite. More akin to the rolls you would get at a Vietnamese restaurant. Overall, good warm up and a way for people at the table to get acquainted with each other.

Edamame Hummus and Tofu Katsu

Next up was something that surprised me. It was Korean Salmon Carpaccio. Normally, I do not like salmon. However, this Kalbi Salmon Tataki with Kim Chee Garden Salad took me by surprise. When I think of Korean food I do not think of salmon, nor do I think of a searing on the salmon. I personally think that the kalbi compliments the taste of salmon quite well in the way it was presented. I would probably eat this as a salad for lunch. It is light enough, but has a slight spiciness that I like from the kim chee. So compliments to the chefs, as I appreciate it when someone can get me to eat something I normally do not care for. If you want to see a pictures of the Korean Salmon Carpaccio and other food pics from the event check it out at here.

"Asian Shrimp and Chips"

The third course was different for me than everyone else. As you can already guess it has to do with my shellfish allergy. So I can’t really comment on the “Asian Shrimp and Chips” or Sweet Prawn Kaarage on a Bed of Vegetable Fries. Lucky for me I had the chicken kaarage, “lucky” because I love salt. I love salty and crispy. So this suited me just fine.  I thank the chefs for allowing substitution and I recognize their priority is not to wow the solo serving of chicken from the sea of prawns, but to me at the end of the day this was typical chicken kaarage. However, do not take that the wrong way I would probably order it day in and day out at as a plate lunch. I would say it is definitely better than all other places that serve chicken karaage nearby.

The chicken that I had instead of prawn.

Following that was the Braised Shoyu Pork with Okinawan Soba Pasta. This dish is what I was looking forward to and I think it was good, but I think what would have made it for me and other party-goers was if they had not shredded the pork and cubed it. The pork was there, but the consistency of the noodles versus shredded pork had the pork being lost in that texture. Still, I liked the dish and would also order it regularly as a plate of noodles to go.

Where is the pork? It was there, and it was still good.

Even after all that we were given dessert. It was Okinawan Andagi with Azuki Beans and Yuzu Mousse. I enjoyed it. I think it was a little too heavy after four dishes, but I can understand the need to end with something signature Okinawan. I don’t care for azuki beans so I skipped that, but scoped up the Yuzu Mousse. I have to say that the Yuzu could have teased out the citrus flavor more because it was closer to regular whip cream. The green tea powder flaked on the andagi though was a good move and did nice balance of bitter to sweet.

Little balls of deep fried deliciousness.

All in all the meal was filling and there are dishes I would eat again. Would I say this was mind-blowing food? I’ll be honest, no, but it did not have to be. To me New Years celebrations are paradoxes. It is a celebration of the new using traditions of the old. We say good-bye to the past, welcome the future, and all doing this with things we are familiar with. However, every year you may celebrate it with a new friend, new location, a new food. This is what we had. I know the chefs used themes and ingredients they are familiar and comfortable with, but tried to make things that would be a welcome addition to your plate lunch or good eats dinner rotation.

I just needed a pretty image to break up the text, so here you go!

Before I close out this post, I would like to say that the restaurant and its staff was very accommodating. Off the Wall’s serving staff waited on us, and not Off-Menu’s. Lastly, they have a good selection of beers and sakes from Japan and Okinawa to match the dishes they have on hand. Moreover, they have good specials on them on certain nights of the week. I highly recommend stopping by Off the Wall whenever you find yourself out in Aiea and Pearl City area.

With that I look forward to a new year of food, friends, and fun.

P.S. Want another take on the event? Read this HGC and awesome Yelper’s write-up here.

28
Jan
11

So Many Choices

Well, it is almost the weekend and I cannot wait, as I have had a busy, day, which will pale in comparison to tomorrow. Oh well, at least baby it is the weekend and I am going to have me some fun. But oh the choices!

This Friday (1/28) is Art After Dark, and celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with the appropriately named theme, “Show Me the Bunny.” For more info., click on this link.  As always there will be good fun, and of course food, with Chef Kenney of Town and Downtown there, and if you don’t want that there is always Le Guignol a hop and a skip away.

BUT WAIT, what is this?! There is another fun and food-filled event in Chinatown itself. This weekend celebrating Chinese New Year and the return of the NFL ProBowl is the “I Love Chinatown Festival.” For more information click over here.

And of course, I have to choose between Art After Dark and I Love Chinatown Festival on Friday because Saturday is Off-Menu’s Off-Premise Dining with Off the Wall, which will be off the hook (how many times can I say “off”?). Hmm, I mentioned all events and venues that are featuring Chefs that are with Off-Menu, hmmm . . . they must be on to something.

Anyway, last, and certainly not at all least is Nonstop Honolulu, they have filled my lunch and dinner schedule with a wide range of new eats around the fair city and county of Honolulu. Check it out, they have 57 new and upcoming places that foodies, like myself, are interesting in feeding their four stomachs. As always Mari Taketa is truly on it!

26
Jan
11

Quick Lunch Review: Downtown @ HiSAM’s Seared Ahi Club and a much needed Update

Hey everyone, long time no see on this blog. HGC is getting more attention now. Anyway, if you know anything about me I have a job at Hawaii’s State Capitol, trying to set up a third blog, and keeping the HGC running and going . . . yes, busy galore. If you want awesome food reviews, and not the ramblings of someone who has too much on his plate check out this HGC Yelper’s Reviews. She is as awesome as the food item I am about tor review. Speaking of that, let’s get to the important thing, the FOOD!

Where I work, luckily a seared ahi club is never too far away!

Quick Lunch Review: Seared Ahi Club by Downtown@ HiSAM

My job at the Capitol keeps me pretty busy, it is stressful, long, but I like it. Keeps my mind agile and my stomach hungry. Thank god there is Downtown @ HiSAM (“Hawaii State Art Museum”) nearby (less than a 3-minute hungry-walk). Downtown is owned by Chef Ed Kenney of Town, in Kaimuki. The menu is light and perfect for the busy lunch crowd of lawyers, business people, lobbyists, and legislators (and their staff!). It is the same style of food that Chef Ed has become known for in Hawaii.

I would just like to bring attention to his Seared Ahi Club, which I have had three times in this past month. All I can say is it is the right portion of food at all the right places. There is enough searing to the ahi to make it light, but it is still the raw. The bacon is there to bring saltiness and crunch, but it does not overwhelm the ahi, but compliments it. The wasabi has enough hint to help the ahi (reminiscent of sashimi-style) and the salad is a good companion to the sandwich. The quartering of the sandwich into fours always means it can be shared with a lunch companion or you can eat each slice in two to three bites. It’s awesome!

From a Yelper who captured this delightful lunch item.

It is so awesome that I run from my office when I take my lunch break that I forget my camera and so must use a yelper’s picture because it is just a perfect lunch for a busy person at work. So if you are new to the Capitol or downtown scene and want a quick bite, but not feel stuffed or overwhelmed (because work does that) head to Downtown and grab a Seared Ahi Club.

Update and Other Random Tidbits:

So just like the HGC blog, this blog will be updated, but randomly and not as frequent as last year (but something tells me you already figured that out from the fact that the last blog post came in November). Anyway, feel free to subscribe and you can get my mad-hunger laden ramblings from time to time without clicking this site everyday at work as you figure out how to waste time. Anyway, I just like to talk about some interesting food things and then go to bed.

Like everyone else one of my NY’s resolutions was to eat healthier this year . . . that went out the door when I started working at the State Capitol. However, my boss happens to be a vegetarian and so it has motivated me once again to go with the Meatless Monday movement. I was able to do it for several consecutive Mondays last year during the summer, but just dropped it. Now with Huffington Post reporting that Sodexo, the world’s premier food services provider, rolling out Meatless Mondays as well, I think there is no excuse for me to strive for it again.

The protest coming to these Sandwich Isles next via 2011 HB77.

Despite my desire to eat healthy and go vegan for a day that does not mean I want my foie gras taken from me. The nice thing about work in lawmaking is you get to see all the bills that go through the legislative process. Some you like, some you don’t care about, and some you pray don’t pass. Like this one. Yes, HB77 aims to ban foie gras from these fair islands.

I think largely, like a lot of bills, there is good intent to curb or reduce a perceived problem. However, I think that a lot of time interested parties have a complete misconception of what is going on and thus it is a “throw the baby out with the bathwater” syndrome. As is with wagyu beef and cows, foie gras and ducks can be treated with all the same comfort and generally produces better foie gras.

This article from Serious Eats takes an in-depth look at a foie gras farm and highlights how the conditions are not the horror stories that people who would like to ban foie gras conjure up. I think the author makes a strong point ending with this conclusion:

If you are against the confinement, slaughter, and eating of all animals, then that’s a different argument to be had at a different time. But to single out foie as the worst of the worst is misguided at best, and downright manipulative at worst. Just as there are good eggs and bad eggs, good beef and bad beef, good chicken and bad chicken, so there is good foie and bad foie. We are especially lucky, because we happen to live in a country where all of the foie produced is good foie.

Quote taken from: The Physiology of Foie: Why Foie Gras is Not Unethical

I really think that this is the same case here is that it presents and easy target that a select group of people are incensed about and that is because they are letting their personal preferences cloud them from seeing the total picture. Anyway, that is just my two cents.

15
Nov
10

Off-Menu’s Off-Premise 2: Dinner with a little Soul

The sun sets on the warehouses of Waipahu. It is industry and raw, the streets are empty and the surroundings remind me more of my college days in Philadelphia than in Hawaii. However, similar to how these islands are a pocket of land in the middle of the Pacific there is a spot of lights and music in the shadows of industrial Oahu.  In one of the warehouses, hidden in the back from Farrington Highway, there is life. No, there is SOUL.

Everyone should have a little SOUL in their life, no literally I mean you should go to Soul Cafe or Soul Patrol.

This past Saturday (11/13/10), I once again had an invite to Off-Menu Catering Service’s Off-Premise Dinner 2. This time it was with Chef Sean Priester (formerly of Top of Waikiki, and now of Soul Café), who was just awarded the 2011 Hale Aina Award for Best New Restaurant. Chef Sean brought soul and jazz to the affair, but as always with his signature a touch of aloha.

The truck was there, very cool touch!

I know a lot of guests arrived with trepidation, but that soon melted away when tried the Kukui Sausage Chorizo and Black Bean Nachos with Local Sweet Corn-Asiago Cream. This was definitely fun take on Nachos and I liked how different the cream played with the nachos and sausage from traditional cheese and nachos. Added to the fun was that these pupus were served from Chef Sean’s famed Soul Patrol lunchwagon. It was very fun to get food from a truck in the warehouse, and a creative touch to the whole experience.

Nachos, Sweat Tea, and a Game, what a great way to start an evening!

During this time the guests were able to hang out in the front of the warehouse trying to guess what the pictures fruits and vegetables were posted on wall as twilight turned to evening. The diners giggled and munched on their nachos as many of them colluded to try and figure out if #2 was lima beans or edamame (it was lima beans). After the appetizer and guessing was done we were ushered behind black curtains to a tent, but much like how I described the general evening the tent hid another surprise.

Can you guess all 25 fruits and vegetables? I couldn't.

It was a done up like a jazz lounge. Fun and festive, dark and colored lights,, and a DJ spinning jazz, R&B, and other lounge favorites.

I sat at Neo-Soul, I was kind of hoping for Funk.

After sitting we had out salad, but like the nachos nothing what we are used to here in Hawaii. Haricot Vert Salad with Nacked cow feta Citronette is not a salad I’m used to, but that was a good thing. The green beans definitely had more crunch and bite than any old piece of lettuce and provided an interesting backdrop for the cow feta with the balsamic citronette. It was a unique tasting experience, which I appreciated.

This salad had some bite and crunch to it.

Now, for what I considered the highlight of the night, the Braised Kalbi Shortrib Tacos with Kim Chee Sour Cream and Ginger Scallion Tomato Relish. I echo my fellow HGC Member and Yelper when I say this, “Chef Sean, please add these to your menu.” I had two, and I’ll be honest I wanted two more. It was the right amount of meat, which was also nice and tender, spiciness from the Kim Chee, and I found myself digging the relish. Also the flavor of the braising was able to hold its on against all of those flavors. Only thing is I’d say for taco construction (similar to burger construction) is that a little less of the ingredients would make for a less sloppy experience, but then again I do recognize some people like licking their fingers.

I could have probably eaten all 8 given the chance. . . .

I had the chicken version of the SOUL Seafood Jambalaya due to my allergy, but I have to say I enjoyed it, but after the tacos I kind of kept thinking back to them. The spiciness of the Jambalaya was good for someone who likes things mild to slightly spicy. I basically found it easy to keep taking full bites and letting the spices dance in my mouth. However, I felt that out of the dishes that I could get this anytime because Chef Sean has Soul Café, so I would have liked to see something different like the other dishes. This is not say it was a bad dish, but just that I was familiar with it already.

I had chicken, so none of that shrimp in mine.

The evening had a great pacing to it and I was looking forward to dessert, Pecan Pie Cupcakes, provided by another vendor and not Chef Sean.

I have to be honest. I love sweets, cupcakes, and I am game for trying things that I normally don’t like in one form, but being re-presented to me in another form, but I was kind of disappointed with these cupcakes. I understand that Hokulani and Cake Couture have a certain method of making their cupcakes, but if that is the base that a customer is going to envision when eating their cupcake than any new entrant should be aware of this fact. What has predecessors done and have they shaped the market’s view of how the product ought to be? Unfair, but that’s business.

I felt the cupcakes were too reminiscent of some of the drier pastries found on the East Coast. It was more muffin-like than the moist cupcakes that I favor. In addition, many of the other patrons agreed that the frosting was either too greasy or buttery for their palette.

Looked pretty, but could use some work imho.

Despite that I still have to say I had fun for most of the night. I enjoyed all the dishes, the company, and the ambience. Being in contact with the management of Off-Menu I know they have a bevy of fun ideas, venues, and chefs they would like to put forth in an Off Premise context.

Off-Premise Dining is quickly becoming like the garage band that is ready for a stage act. I highly recommend you check out one of the events if you can. It is an experience that may touch your soul, but definitely the stomach.

For a review from a fellow HGCer read this Yelp Review. For more info and pictures check out Nonstop. For details of future Off-Premise events contact Off-Menu.

and that is a wrap . . . until next time!

01
Oct
10

Off-Menu’s Off-Premise Underground Dinner, First

Whoever put the Off-Menu sign under the lips picture, very clever.

This past Monday (09/27) the Honolulu Grub Club was graciously invited by Off-Menu to their first “Off-Premise” Underground Dinner. The dinner was hosted at Manifest. The food prepared by Chef Travis “Ala” Sutton of Le Guignol.

As I have written about underground dining before, I would say this experience was slightly different. It felt like a good night out at a club, but had the intimacy and friendship of a private dinner. It gave me a reason to get dressed up for fun on boring, muggy, and hot Monday and to relax with friends, old and new, in a fun locale and eat some good food.

I cannot really comment about the other underground food projects on here on Oahu, as I’ve never been to one, but it seems that Off-Menu is going off the beaten path of being elite. While, the food is important, as they want foodies to come, it is also about the event itself. They are making the event fun, the food approachable, and the guests a friendly, eclectic bunch. Makes sense given that it is a hip catering company that does weddings, charities, etc . . . . It’s food and fun for everyone.

Having a dinner party and a bar is very cool.

Hosting the dinner at Manifest was definitely a cool move. It’s always a nice feeling when the bar is yours and you freely can get a cocktail and chat with person without yelling at them to just say “hi.” Added to that fact the cocktail is not the main event, but a relaxer.

Pooh am I?

Another way to relax, especially amidst strangers, is to play games! It was great on Off-Menu’s part to incorporate some easy icebreaking games for its guests to meet and greet each other. We played the “Who Am I?” game where guests try to determine the name of the famous person taped to their back by asking other patrons a simple yes-no question. I was Cat Kora (I only wish I could cook like her or be as organized). I really enjoyed talking to the other guests as they were all friendly, and the fun of figuring out who you are seemed to overcome any awkwardness of meeting a stranger for the first time.

The table setting was cute with the paper bags serving as menu and a take away treat of cookies.

After the game was concluded we sat down for dinner. We had a five course meal for the evening that was prepped by the Chef right there.

Each bag had the name of the guest, the menu, and all of it hand-written.

The first dish, the salad of prosciutto, raspberries, arugula, etc . . . . was decent. Oh before I get too critical (esp. if Chef Ala’s wonderful wife, who sat next to me, is reading this) I applaud Chef for trying to be creative and presenting new things to people’s palettes. I always admire those who have the confidence to step out and try something new, but what I appreciate is the ability for people to take criticism of their new invention and improve upon it. I’m glad that Chef Sutton made, such a speech before we began.

You know, as Chef was plating the dinner I couldn't help, but think he also looked like a DJ esp. because of the black plates, the table, and the setting. He was our DJ Chef spinning/serving plates of goodness.

But enough of that, let me get back to the first dish. I appreciated the different textures of the salad, my problem was mainly with the strength of taste: the prosciutto overwhelmed everything and things as tart or bitter as raspberries or arugula just did not seemed to sing out. However, I’d say this dish would work if somehow the flavors of each ingredient could be enhanced.

The salad starter.

The next up was lobster tail. I’m allergic to shellfish, but in the name of food (and justice . . . and my stomach!) I gave it a go. I liked it, but I thought that the onion soup sauce didn’t stick to the lobster that well. I think it would be nice to plate it with the sauce dripping over it. But then again what do I know, I bust out in hives and an itchy throat if I eat too much of this stuff.

The third was my favorite. It was veal sweetbreads, the barbecue sauce made it feel American (well as American as barbeque can be, as it came from Caribbean . . . then again immigrating and importing is American, so never mind). Anyway, the veal was good, tender, and very moist. I just wish the chocolate was a little bit more out front. I could only get a hint of it as the barbeque sauce kind of overwhelmed it.  I liked the celery remoulade, but I don’t know if I would pair it with the sweet breads. You know, I think I need another try at it to see how I really feel . . . no, seriously, I want it again to make a determination. Free sweet breads please! Just kidding.

You should have been there for the smell as these babies were cooking.

The fourth to me was a lot of fun, even though once again I don’t eat too much seafood. I like salty, and this was it. The steamed mussels were cooked right, and not tough of chewy and have a good salty flavor to them. Added to that the duck fat fries with fleur de sel just sang to me. I was in salty heaven. It was like the Dead Sea visited my mouth with nice rich flavors.

Salty bowls of goodness.

You know, I just can’t seem to get away from cheesecake . . . . After August’s Cheesecake Competition I thought I was done with the dessert. Oh well, at least from my sake it was a mousse rather than an actual cheesecake. It also wasn’t as dense (which is why I tend to dislike cheesecake), nor as creamy. Very fun, and it felt like having an adult pudding cup to end a dinner with big kids you met at a bar.

A sweet ending to a sweet night.

All in all Off-Menu is off to a fun start and I hope to see more. I hear the next event, tentatively scheduled for November may be a “movie-style” night and I can’t wait to have dinner theatre with old and new friends.




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