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Sunday, December 7, 2014


The Kauai/Oahu Chapter of Chaine des Rotisseurs has our most formal gathering in December.  Usually, the event is held at the Halekulani Hotel, but this year it is the Moana Hotel, which in 1901 introduced Hawaiian hospitality to the world as the First Lady of Hawaii.  Now, it is called the Westin Moana Surfrider.  The Royal Hawaiian Hotel did not come until 1927.

The Beachhouse at the Moana Grand Salon hosted a Drappier Brut Rose Champagne Reception, featuring a poke bowl of ahi, hamachi, chili and chives, then a king crab and Kahuku corn arrancini (stuffed rice balls), followed by edamame and mushrooms on a vegetable toast, then oyster on shell.

The annual induction/elevation ceremony was chaired by Baille Provincial (highest Chaine authority in Hawaii) Bruce Liebert and Bailli (president of Kauai/Oahu Chapter) Kathryn Nicholson.  

I am a Chevalier, and there is no one lower than me.  Someday I might be elevated, but maybe not.

The meal itself began with Osetra (second to Beluga, and means, in Russian, caviar, and one ounce costs in the range of $350) Caviar and smoked trout, with an iced Grey Goose Vodka.

Next came a Pomegranate Duck with foie gras, accompanied by a Kapesandy Vin Rose.

This is a Yountville, Napa Valley combination of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in rose form.  Then a Truffle Kona Lobster with sorrel and cauliflower, the wine being a Damien Laueau "Bel Outrage" Savennieres.  

Savennieres is just a Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley, but the New York Times called it a demanding wine worth the work.  Wow, champagne, caviar, foie gras and truffles, and we still have a few more courses left, beginning with a pork in egg sauce and charred brussels, with an Alvaro Palacios "Corullon" Bierzo. 

Alvaro Palacios (right) is the guy who is famous for helping bring Spain unto the wine map, where Corullon is a village in the region of Bierzo, but the wine is a generally unknown Mencia grape, perfect for Iberian pork.   These wines are pricey.

I was not all that satiated yet, and enjoyed a Kona Coffee Beef with spinach, onion, potatoes and Hamakua mushrooms, aided by a Tenute Rubino "Visellio" Primitivo Salante 2011.  The grape is Primitivo and, while only about $25/bottle, was probably the best "tasting" wine of the evening.

Then  flavors and textures of chocolate, featuring both a Zaya 12 years aged rum from Trinidad and Caffo "Solara" Triple Orange Liquer:

Sitting in front of me through the meal were Glenda (husband Tim sat next to me) and Christel (below):

Entertainment was provided by Dave Toma and Friends for dancing.  The executive chef of the Moana is Ryan Loo.  He and his crew did a wonderful job of preparing and serving what everyone thought was an excellent gala dinner.  Sometimes the Kauai/Oahu and Honolulu chapters combine our year-end gathering, but this year they traditionally went to the Halekulani.  This affair went so well that I wouldn't be surprised if we returned to the Moana next year.

Part of this enjoyable experience was a stay at at this classic hotel.  When I walked into my room and went to the lanai, here is what a saw:

However, an upgrade was the toilet, which converted to a Japanese washlet:

The Banyan Courtyard (the green area in the photo of my room view) is where Hawaii Calls for 40 years from 1935 to 1975 emanated:

 I went down to the Executive Lounge, where I had a glass of white wine and saw a sunset:

I had breakfast here this morning, then spent some time walking around Waikiki.  I had Marukame Udon in mind, but the line was gigantic.  So I went to Kentucky Fried Chicken, and it was closed.  The Subway line was also lengthy, so as a last choice I stood in one for beef and fish sandwiches, with french fries, plus a can of Kiren beer, to have my international lunch on my veranda, with live Hawaiian music wafting up from below, complemented by the sounds of pounding surf from Waikiki Beach:

I think sometimes I stay the night in Waikiki mostly to have this magical lunch.

Typhoon Hagupit, still at 75 MPH is just south of Manila.

While nearly a million were evacuated, neither Manila nor Tacloban were seriously affected.


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