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Monday, December 6, 2010


I've gone around the world several times to experience the ultimate in cuisine, but it turns out that Hawaii can be as good as it gets.  I had dinner last night at the Halekulani on an invitation from Chaine des Rotisseurs, more specifically, courtesy of Chambellan Provincial Bruce Liebert (above with Judith), a colleague from the College of Engineering at the University of Hawaii.  The champagne flowed at their induction ceremony (top photo).  I had at least five glasses of Marc Hebrart Blanc de Blancs, a chardonnay dominated champagne, and I'm sure there were others who had a lot more.  Ample samples of melon cannelloni with king crab and hearts of palm, foie gras with dates on sauterne jelly, opakapaka with cured lemon and aquitaine caviar, and brie/cranberry turnovers were offered.  This ensemble would have been more than sufficient for my evening meal, especially with my monthly quota of champagne.

Nevertheless, after the official proceedings, and all that food and alcohol, the dinner began.  We had a charged table with Bruce and his wife, Judith Kellogg, Chargee de Presse Provinciale, Professor of English at the UH.

Also sitting next to me was Dr. Christel Yount, Vice Chargee de Presse for the Kauai/Honolulu Chapter, wife of former Vice President of Research at the University of Hawaii, and my boss a couple of decades ago.  Also sitting with us was Dr. Mark Stithem (next to Christel), a psychiatrist, who was heralded to be a Jeopardy champion.

Judith and Christel provide input to Gastronome If you had scrolled down after clicking on the Chaine link above, you would have seen the smiling faces of Judith, Bruce and the local officers.

John Michael White (real estate developer of note) with Qi Gao, next to the roses on the right, were tablemates. 
Across the table were Gerard (former supermarket magnate in France) and Lisa (real estate whiz, right) Haeringer.  We were one of at least a dozen tables.

The meal started with a Seared Onaga and Iberico Belotta (ham), accompanied by  Roasted Grapes, Tomatoes, Meyer Lemon, Sea Asparagus and Pine Nuts, plus a William Fever Chablis Grand Cru Bougros 2007, followed by a poached Maine lobster (above), which came with a Remi Jobard Meursault Les Genevrieres 2007.  
The next course was roasted Quail enhanced with  Foie Gras, Sunchoke on Red Chard and Truffle Jus, (left), and a Cascina Luisin Barbaresco Rabaja 2004, then a Veal Loin topped with Crispy Sweetbread, Oxtail Gnocchi, Green Beans and Bordelaise Essence, and, yes, another red wine, a E. Guigal Cote-Rotie Chateau d'Ampuis 2005.

The dessert was a Pistachio Religieuse with Sacher Biscuit, Five Spice Gelato and Strawberry Crunchies, finished with an excellent Marenco Pineto Brachetto d'Acqui 2009, a low alcohol sparkling sweet red wine.  But you know these expensive restaurants.  There is always more.  Finally, a double expresso for me with Petits Fours.

Towards the end of the evening, Mark Monoscalco, Bailli, Consul Societe Mondiale du Vin, introduced Executive Chef Vikram Garg and his staff.

Patrick Okubo, general manager of Formaggio Grill in Kailua, who was elevated to a regional level in the ceremony, came by to say hi.  He is now Echanson Provincial.  Let's see, French was my PhD language.  Echanson means cup bearer and Provincial means region, so I would imagine he now supervises over wines for the Hawaii chapters.

So did Diana Nicholson, wife of Peter Nicholson, professor of civil engineer (my department when I taught in the College of Engineering), who, I think, is also a CE, Diana, that is.

And also Robert (gemologist) and Kyoko Palma.

I'm here with Patrick Okubo.

So what if the world is careening towards the inevitable dual hammer of Peak Oil and Global Heating.  All the good reason, actually, to party now before the  ultimate doom, just in case it ever comes.  Hmm...if this sounds like ancient Rome, so what.  I just returned from that city, and they still serve the best Italian food with a contento lifestyle.

The Dow Jones Industrials slipped 20 to 11,362, while world markets were mixed.  Gold jumped to $1427.55, ho hum, another record high.  Gold futures for February 2011 are at $1429.40/toz.  Oil is steady at $89/barrel.


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