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Friday, October 31, 2014


Chaine des Rotisseurs (click on that, scroll down, and you'll see me in Aloha regalia--on the other hand, it is possible that this site might at this moment be malfunctioning) recently had an outing at Wolfgang's in Waikiki featuring steak and Italian red wines.  The restaurant had long waiting line, but we had reserved a special room.  Three hours later, the line was still long, and almost all seemed to be from Japan.  

There were only a few of us Chaines, led by two former Baillis (the equivalent of president) above, Maurice Nicholson and Bruce Liebert.  We all have French titles.  I am a Chevalier, which surely has a French meaning, but stands for someone who has no power in the organization.   

Many of our members are famous chefs.  The organizer was Donato Loberfido (above), who once had his own steakhouse and is now a wine importer.  The other chef in attendance tonight was Vikram Garg, who has been the Executive Chef at the Halekulani since 2008, and usually hosts our annual Black Tie Gala Event in December (however, this year we're going to the Moana Hotel):

This was epicurean indulgence to the ultimate.  Of course we had salads, breads, potatoes, spinach, tomato, cheese and mushrooms, but there was an unlimited supply of four kinds of steak:  porterhouse, rib eye, etc.  They were all medium rare and sliced into two ounce portions.  I normally can tolerate, at the maximum, half a pound of beef.  I surely well exceeded more than pound, and some doubled that, at least.  When I was younger, I tried a 50 ounce (more than 3 pounds) Trail Dust special in Denver, which came with all the wine you could drink, and cost all of $18.99.  Enlarge to read the details for the Bull Shipper.   Imagine just the opposite, that is, Wolfgang's had the best prime cuts and the wines were truly fabulous, while that was not the case for Trail Dust.  Here is my first serving of steaks, followed by a variety of desserts:

The stars of the night were the wines.  All nine were Barberescos made from the Nebbiolo grape.  While this and Barolos are both located in northwest Italy and use the same grape, Nebbiolo, the difference in characteristics is due to the soils.  The other big Italian red is Brunello di Montalcino, made from the  Santiovese grape, grown around 80 miles south of Florence.  We started with a dry Prosecco, followed by the following NINE Barberescos:
  • PORA: The Dolce Vita Wine. 
  • RIO SORDO: The Silky One. 
  • ASILI: A Word On Its Own. 
  • PAJE’: Evergreen. 
  • MOCCAGATTA: Pristine Beauty.
  • RABAJA`: Pure Breed. 
  • OVELLO: The Tomboy. 
  • MONTEFICO: The Academic. 
  • MONTESTEFANO: The Barolo Of Barbaresco

While they were all terrific, I lose total credibility by saying this, but, frankly, all nine tasted about the same to me.  Donato might never speak to me again.  That's him to the right when he and Chef Phillipe had Elua.

It is said that Barbaresco is from Mars and Barolo is from Venus.  Our next Italian adventure will be Barolo by Donato.

I yesterday also took my almost weekly walk into downtown Honolulu, and for the third time, went to Lucky Belly (and, yes, the first time was an official Chaine function).   I again had the Lucky Belly ramen, with some sake:

The walk through Chinatown always is interesting, for here is a store that sells magic potions:

Like the Trail Dust menu, you need to click on it to expand and read the details.  Just a block or so away is Honolulu Tower, whose architect, Norman Lacayo, also designed 2101 Nuuanu, where my penthouse is located.  The buildings look very similar:

Lot of flowers, starting with an orchid tree:

The bottom flowers were intoxicatingly fragrant.

Yes, the flow has stalled, but Pahoa is on the verge of being overrun by lava.

The American stock market reached all-time highs today:
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average, up 195 to 17,390.
  • S&P up 23 to 2018.
  • NASDAQ finished at a 14.5 month high.
The Japanese Nikkei jumped 756 to 16,414.  Of course, in 1989 it closed at 38,916, so today was only 42% of that all-time high.  Actually, it's worse than that, for the worth of 38,916 in 1989 is 73,100 today, so Japanese stocks are now only 22% of that value.  China is in the same neighborhood and the Russian exchange is 25% lower than 2008 and not doing well.  Mind you, they all increased today, but the USA has never been higher in our entire history!!!

There are two ocean storms.  The more serious one is now Tropical Storm Nuri, at 50 MPH, expected to become a Category 3 typhoon and head for Japan:  

In the East Pacific, Tropical Storm Vance will become a hurricane and crash into Mexico:


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