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Sunday, February 14, 2016

15 CRAIGSIDE GOES TO FORTY CARROTS AT BLOOMINGDALE'S

All of us had not yet been to this new portion of the Ala Moana Shopping Center.  I was pleasantly surprised at the presentation, which kind of reminded me of Waikiki, the Lewers Street portion heading toward the Halekulani Hotel.  Watching what was abuilding, I expected another Sears-type boxed structure.  Instead, according to TripAdvisor, this is now the World's Largest Outdoor Mall.  The planners actually sacrificed obvious profit for admirable allure.



Let me  start on Forty Carrots with some negatives, because the positives will be overwhelming.  Bloomingdale's occupies 165,000 square feet on three floors at the Ewa end. I didn't bring my tape measure, but Forty Carrits is really small, and lacking in the distinction it deserves.  Go see it to make your own judgement.

There is a juice and yogurt bar that occupies a fair portion of the tiny corner.  Bloomingdale's 35 years ago introduced their now famous frozen yogurt, so nothing wrong with this take-out.  Not much has been written about the restaurant itself, but click on this review for one person's viewpoint, which mostly reflects mine.

They don't take reservations at Forty Carrots, so we were almost surprised that only a few minutes after we arrived, our party of 14 was accommodated on two tables.  And it's not that no one comes here.  We were a good percentage of the diners.  Every table was taken during our 1.5 hours there, and there was a line at the end.

The best part about the experience was Chef Jon Matsubara's fusion cuisine, blending local with the world.  Let me begin with what I did not order: Local "Lobster" Moco, with Kona Lobster Tail, Sautéed Foie Gras, Kalei Egg, Hamakua Mushroom, Toasted Bonito Rice with Italian Black Truffle and Madeira Sauce = $45.  I asked, I'm allergic to crustaceans, what can you do?  Our server came back with my choice of fish, pork or beef to replace the lobster.  I later learned that you could add a filet for a total cost of $65.  I need to come back for that Moco with the filet replacing the lobster.

At our table:


From the top, Sets and Harriet with their Ocean Salad, Pepper with macaroni and cheese (which she said she had difficulty finding in town, and certainly not at 15 Craigside, something she has requested for awhile) and Eric with a French Dip sandwich.  I had an elegant marriage of a truffle cream of mushroom soup and caviar with upgraded potato chips.  


Note that the caviar cover says IMITATION.  That was not necessary, for this was authentic smoked trout egg with cream cheese at the bottom.  I also had a flight of sake.  This combination was fabulous, although I gagged a bit at having to pay more than $8 for each of the one ounce (okay, maybe two ounces) sakes.

The group very much enjoyed our meal, particularly because we were allowed some time to stroll around and check-out the surroundings..

I especially salute Chef Jon Matsubara's creativity.  I indicated yesterday that he started as an Alan Wong's dishwasher and is known for establishing Japengo and Azure.  I should add he graduated from Punahou, comes from a family of lawyers, and himself once began law school.  However, in addition to the above, he went on to Roy's, the French Culinary Institute in New York, Restaurant Jean Georges, Tabla, Bouley, Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Stage Restaurant, where he won the Hale 'Aina Award for Best New Restaurant in 2007.

On the way back to our van I felt compelled to drop into Nitrogenie, which has gained a reputation for serving terrific ice cream.  However, a small cup sold for $5, and a slightly larger version for $7.  Not even with a cone.  Those that had this treat said it was creamy, and the reason was probably the frozen nitrogen preparation.

Let me end with the product of a discussion that occurred at the previous 15 Craigside outing to Le Bistro.  The discussion had something to do Sue crafting leis for people living here.  So I joked about making me a rainbow lei.  This Sue did, and gave it to me before our Forty Carrots lunch.  I'll wear the lei for 15 Craigside's Valentine's Dinner tonight.



Actually, Sue, I did mention a feather lei, so perhaps she'll surprise me with one someday.

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