Has it already been half a year already since Off-Premise 1? The monthly events by Off-Menu Catering and Lokahi Event Services have become more sophisticated in their execution and more varied. Dinner at the Movies was created at La Tour Bakehouse, now before you think La Tour Café, no I mean the Bakehouse, as in the actual warehouse side where they produce bread, pizza dough, and macaroons. In addition, to the fantastic meal we got a tour of the facilities from La Tour’s management. The Off-Premise Dinners lives up to its namesake and definitely takes us diners off the beaten path of dull dining events.
I’ll be honest, I had reservations about this dinner, as Chef Travis Inouye is an unknown quantity. I knew that Off-Menu and Lokahi Event Services would have the set-up, catering, and all the event services part covered. My question was about the food, as Chef Travis does not have a traceable lineage like all the other Off-Premise chefs. He is relatively new. However, he did great! All his dishes were fun and entertaining, and exactly the way a night at the movies feeling should be captured. I’ll put it this way, as a child, I used to love Bobby McGee’s Restaurant where the waiters and servers would dress up as characters. The fact that Off-Menu’s staff dressed up as movie characters, the food great and fun, and the décor and entertainment matched, it evoked that feeling of being excited going out to the movies or dinners with the family.
Let’s get started on how the evening went frame by frame. Kind of like going backstage, it was awesome to waltz pass the La Tour Café front and enter the side door that led to the offices and the bakehouse. I checked in and received a movie trivia quiz sheet and my ticket. My ticket was done up like the old style movie tickets. Taking an elevator up I was then whisked into the waiting room where I mingled with other guests. Popcorn was served, with the movie style popper off to the side, and traditional boxes of different flavored gourmet-style popcorn. I tried the curry and coconut popcorn, and it was sweet and spicy, like thai curry. The movie trivia quiz had various questions ranging from easy, “Who was Luke Skywalker’s father?” to “what kind of fruit did Don Corleone pick-up before he was shot in the Godfather?” The prize for getting the most answers correct? Two tickets to the next Off-Premise, which I hear is going to be Moroccan-themed!
After we were done with mingling we were ushered into the seating area. Each table was made up of a movie theme with various props and items displayed. Many of these were contributed from staff and employees of Off-Menu and definitely added to the authenticity of the table. The tables were Austin Powers, Forrest Gump, Harry Potter, Disney, and one that escapes my memory right now.
After we all settled in, we were treated to a special screening of local born, raised, and schooled, director Dane Neves’s award-winning children’s short feature The Green Tie Affair. The under 20-minute film used Hawaii American Idol contestant Jordan Segundo’s voice and singing talents, a cute puppet with a green tie, and local volunteer actors to tell a story of staying true to what makes you unique through music. It was really nice that Off-Menu is committed to working local on all levels of their events. It also makes me interested to see Dane’s Giant Monsters Attack Hawaii!
The Main Feature: The Food
The first course was “Children of the Corn” Chowder made from local buttered corn and was accompanied with chiso crab salad, with corn sprouts. I can’t comment about the crab (allergy), but it looked delicious. What I will say about the chowder very creamy, rich, and I like the crunch and bite from the corn and corn sprouts. I liked that it was corn chowder, as I said earlier, very playful menu and reminiscent of things that you liked as a child with a bit of adult stuff thrown in, like our next dish.
The second course was “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” Salad (personal favorite movie and short-lived cartoon series of mine). The salad was composed of heirloom tomatoes, avocado cream and crispy goat cheese with rockets (arugula) and parmesan granola. I hate tomatoes in the raw, unless it is caprese, ketchup, or sauce, I generally avoid them, well, like Killer Tomatoes trying to attack you. However, I ate this entire dish. The heirlooms bedded on avocado cream was very nice and the goat cheese was moist, creamy, and oozed in your mouth balancing against the tomatoes. The way the juices of the heirlooms popped in your mouth while mixing with the other ingredients (including the bitterness of the arugula, which I love) was just great. If tomatoes attacked me like this then I would be screaming for joy.
For our main course it was burger and fires. No simple burger, the “Kahuna” Burger and Fries was definitely magical, and may have been spiritual at a point as I had a great red wine with the burger. Made up of Kobe Beef, with a crisped Brie Cheese, Tomato Jam, Salsa Verde and Foie Gras, with “Gun Powder” Fries this was a huge burger. Ok, Kobe beef with foie gras is already decadent, but that brie cheese that crispy was a fun touch. So on the one side you have met that melts in your mouth with this crispy bit of cheese that is salty and has that distinct brie taste. Also the size of this thing was just massive, but to bed it with nicely seasoned and crunchy fries? Like I said earlier, it was like being a child again, but the meal added that layer of being an adult, with adult tastes.
Last, and certainly not least, a panoply of La Tour desserts waited for already stuffed guests. However, with panna cottas, little tarts, tiramisu, and some of the best flavors of La Tour’s signature macaroons laid before us all there was room for another plate or may be two! Look I could describe each and every one of the desserts created by La Tour Bakehouse Chef Rodney Weddle that I sampled, but let me sum it up they were all friggin’ awesome! By this point of the night I was so stuffed and I wanted to completely destroy my past two weeks worth of workouts with little delectable treats of sweetness. I highly recommend stopping by La Tour for their macaroons, as they try new fun and different flavors every week like White Peach, Green Apple, Pandan, and Yuzu.
I would also like to say I am very appreciative to La Tour management as we were able to tour their facilities. It was very neat seeing the company that has brought freshly baked breads, pizza dough, etc . . . to our local stomachs. I think it is always great when a local company reaches such a size from humble beginnings.
On an interesting side note, La Tour also operates a high-end luxury massage chair dealership. These chairs were forged in the factories of Heaven, as many stuffed dining compatriots did not want to leave the office side of La Tour as they allowed us to try out some of their models. These chairs envelope you and massage every part of your body. For several thousand dollars one of these could be yours!
I think that the evening went very well, and the food was really good. My only humble suggestion is that in terms of timing, and it is always hard for events (great and small), to get food out at a good pacing. The first two dishes came up at pretty good intervals. The burger felt a bit delayed, but the size and tastiness of the burger more than made up for that small little quibble and in no way did it ruin the evening. If Chef Travis keeps making meals like he did last night La Tour will be a favored hangout of many people in the future.
I would like to give a quick shout out and thank you to J n J Wine and Spirits and S.W.A.M. for their suggestions of wines for the evening. Boom Boom Syrah was great with the Kobe Beef Burger and Las Rocas was a great partner throughout the meal.
In addition, thank you to my fellow dining blogger @kyleepuu for bringing Kai Coconut Pandan Vodka and to La Tour’s management for bringing us their signature Mint Water to experiment on. I highly recommend to La Tour that they have a special alcoholic version of their Mint Water with this specialty vodka. Great for the after work crowd with a banh mi sandwich. Just a suggestion.
See you next plate!
For more information on some of the people and companies mentioned in my write-up click on the following links: