Mar 2015

#MauiChefsLAX: A Taste of Aloha in Hollywood

Maui & Los Angeles Chefs' Collaboration Luncheon

I recently attended a delectable eight-course “Aloha Friday” lunch prepared by a trio of Maui-based chefs using prime ingredients from the Hawaiian islands. Held at Acabar Restaurant, the event was hosted by the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau to give L.A. food writers a literal taste of Maui’s vibrant culinary scene. From start to finish, I was seriously impressed by the flavors, techniques, and of course, aloha spirit.

Maui & Los Angeles Chefs' Collaboration Luncheon

Making the trip from Maui were Michael Lofaro (bottom row, right) of Humuhumunukunukuapua’a at Grand Wailea, Riko Bartolome (bottom row, left) of Cane and Canoe at Montage Kapalua, and Kyle Kawakami (top row, left) of Maui Fresh Streatery food truck. Oscar Torres (top row, right), executive sous chef of Acabar, rounded out the stellar lineup. Each chef was tasked with preparing two courses this afternoon.

Maui & Los Angeles Chefs' Collaboration Luncheon

Chef Michael Lofaro kicked off the good eating with a pristine ahi tuna tartare dressed in a ginger-lime vinaigrette and punctuated with cucumbers, shiso, and parsley.

Maui & Los Angeles Chefs' Collaboration Luncheon

Chef Kyle Kawakami followed next with bite-sized takoyaki, traditional Japanese “dumplings” made from a wheat-based batter with octopus, pickled ginger, and green onion, accompanied by a sweetish sauce. Fun fact: The chef personally speared the octopus just a few days prior! Bad ass, right?

Maui & Los Angeles Chefs' Collaboration Luncheon

The final appetizer featured lightly battered and deep-fried Surfing Goat Dairy chèvre in a balsamic caramel with fresh liliko’i (passion fruit) by Chef Riko Bartolome. The cheese, tangy and tender, was made on the idyllic slopes of Maui’s Haleakala Crater in lower Kula. Happy goats equals delicious cheese.

Maui & Los Angeles Chefs' Collaboration Luncheon

Next, Chef Oscar Torres treated us to an impeccable foie gras terrine accented with a rhubarb and quince chutney and topped with a quince gelee and salt. Served on the side was toasted bread and dressed mustard frill. This was one of my all-time favorite preparations of fatty duck liver. Welcome back to California, foie gras!

Maui & Los Angeles Chefs' Collaboration Luncheon

Chef Kyle Kawakami’s done-up green papaya salad was next on the scene, highlighting grilled beef hearts from Maui cattle and fresh pohole (fiddlehead fern) grown in Hána. Sriracha “crisps” added a touch of heat to the plate. This unique and beautifully composed salad gave us a sense of the kind of creative cuisine that Chef prepares aboard his food truck.

Maui & Los Angeles Chefs' Collaboration Luncheon

The penultimate savory course from Chef Michael Lofaro featured delicately grilled Kona kampachi atop a sticky rice raft in a tomato-coconut broth. The broth, reminiscent of Thai tom kha gai soup, was incredibly fragrant and paired stupendously with the fish.

Maui & Los Angeles Chefs' Collaboration Luncheon

A beautiful filet of herbed-crusted, grass-fed beef from Molokai by Chef Riko Bartolome was the final course before dessert. Prepared sous vide, the steak was perfectly pink throughout, just the way I like it. Complementing the meat were three equally outstanding sides: vadouvan-spiked kabocha purée, braised eggplant, and cauliflower “mash.”

Maui & Los Angeles Chefs' Collaboration Luncheon

The final course by Chef Oscar Torres, “Piña con Coco,” used Maui-grown pineapples in a number of delightful ways including in a granita and an egg-less meringue.

Maui & Los Angeles Chefs' Collaboration Luncheon

Hidden inside the meringue sphere was a fantastic coconut curd center. I loved everything about this light, bright, and sweet finish.

A big thank you to the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau for bringing the flavors, ingredients, and spirit of aloha to Los Angeles. My belly salutes you.

Acabar Restaurant
1510 North Stanley Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Phone: 323-876-1400

Good food goes to Hollywood:

 

Previous Post
Next Post

2 thoughts on “#MauiChefsLAX: A Taste of Aloha in Hollywood

  1. Over 21 years of Hawaii Regional Cuisine (seed or egg to plate) need I say more??? You should try the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival: //www.hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com/ encompassing 7-days and three islands with over 80 international world-wide chefs cooking Hawaii Regional Cuisine with only what is locally grown in State of Hawaii.

  2. That foie is beautiful. I love fiddlehead ferns. They taste like my childhood when my grandma and I would gather them from the woods behind our house. How does one make eggless meringue? Sorry about the random thoughts. I really love your blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *