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Saturday, August 22, 2015

THE CUISINE OF FOUR SEASONS HUALALAI

It was two years ago that Chaine des Rotisseurs celebrated our Gala Dinner at the Four Seasons Hualalai.  For special events, we actually had to dress up.     Six years ago I compared the Park Hyatt Tokyo with Maunakea Beach Hotel and the Four Seasons Hualalai.   I had a $60 Japanese breakfast in my room at the Four Seasons on that stay.  Basically, I thought Monette's at Mauna Kea was better than Pahuia at the Hualalai.  Now, Pahuia is Ulu Ocean Grill, plus there is Hualalai Grill, mostly a steakhouse overlooking the 18th green.

Shorts and slippers are perfectly acceptable at both Hualalai "fancy" restaurants.  But let me begin with yet another uber room service Japanese breakfast:



This was $60 in the past.  Now, FREE for kamaainas (someone who is a resident of Hawaii--although there is a social distinction of calling newcomers malahinis).  Don't even need to add a tip.  Note the sake and Kirin beer.  Well, this was so great that the following morning I had the same thing, but with seared ahi replacing the salmon.  


That fruit plate itself has lilikoi...orange, pineapple and papaya slices...strawberries...blueberries...blackberries...rasberries...dragon fruit...rambutan...and an orchid.  It close enough to 11AM and lunch that the Cab was nice touch.  This was so perfect, with the sound of pounding waves and Hawaiian music playing from my Bose blue tooth speaker fed music from my iPhone:


At this point I noticed a large green dinosaur observing my lunch:



Ulu Ocean Grill still does not have the personal charm of Monette's at Mauna Kea, but the food was excellent.  Here was my view at sunset (the first photo did not show the sun at all, so a close-up.):


I first had an excellent corn and coconut soup, with lemongrass overtones, and, in honor of Neil Sims, a better than Japanese hirame, local kampachi sashimi plate:



My second course featured a fabulous tako dish with assorted greens salad


I was especially intrigued by the tako (left), because it had that distinctive old fashioned tako taste, which only comes when you reduce the moisture content of the flesh.  Not quite up to dry abalone or dry scallop, but close to the essence of umami.  I was provided a special limoncello and sake after-dinner liquor.  I am especially beholden to limoncello, for I once created an Italian substitute for Kir Royale by combining limoncello and prosecco at Buca di Beppo.

I watched a soothing sunset and went for my second dinner at Hualalai Grille:



I had the pleasure to meet with General Manager Shelbie Sanoria (above), who sent over a tako plate that was extraordinary:  a whole meal of warmed tako, with fingerlings of potato in a green salad topped by a spicy hot sauce that was outstanding.  I did mention to her that the chef here should compare notes with the Ulu chef to find out how to extract that special tako taste that was missing from this dish.

For my main entre I inquired if they had some real Japanese wagyu beef, which, at the Four Seasons Chiang Mai, was truly outstanding.  The best they had to offer was a bone-in rib eye from America.  I also ordered a dish of Hamakua King Oyster Mushrooms with onions, but asked them to please don't overcook the onions.  Well, they did.  However, the steak was great, which I had with a Cab and Taittinger sparkling wine:


Why this extravagance?  I've tended to follow the gratitude not grief philosophy at times of extraordinary despair, by trying to enjoy life to the fullest.  I went around the world scattering my wife's ashes six years ago.  Tomorrow I provide a eulogy for my brother Stan.

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Planet Earth is now up to eight ocean storms.  


My personal concern is Tropical Depression Kilo, now only at 35 MPH, but projected to attain Category 2 hurricane strength and threaten Kauai:


The really dangerous storm is Typhoon Goni, now only at 105 MPH, but the expectation is a strengthening to Category 3 and a close encounter with Miyakojima, then Kumejima:


In the Atlantic, Hurricane Danny is now a tropical storm at 70 MPH and should bring some wind and welcomed rain to a string of Caribbean islands.

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