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Saturday, March 25, 2017

15 CRAIGSIDE FINE DINES AT KA'IKENA LAUA'E


Ka'Ikena Laua'e, meaning vision with a view, has now for 28 years been the fine dining restaurant at the Kapiolani College campus.  It's both a learning laboratory and showcase for high cuisine.  Next year, they will relocate to the old Cannon Club.  By the time all is done, this will be a $50 million investment for the school's Hawaii Culinary Institute of the Pacific.

You can bring your own alcoholic beverages.  I would recommend also taking your favorite Reidel crystal, for the wine glass they use is below pedestrian level.  There must be a conscience factor at play, for they think by providing tiny glasses, diners will drink less.


While I'm at providing constructive criticism, let me add:
  • The noise level is too high.  Some people talk and laugh too heartily.  However, perhaps the relocation will cure this problem.  Plus, the new view will be uber-fantastic.  The present one is not bad (above).
  • The food was way too lukewarm.  They need to do something about the temperature.  If most restaurants can do this, no reason why these students can't.
  • The 15 Craigside chopsticks are of higher quality.  But they have white tablecloths and we have unsanitary table mats.
  • They could add some classy music.  Perhaps a strolling student quietly playing a romantic violin or soft piano sounds.
  • The artwork on the walls should be from student artists.
  • Frankly, they go overboard on making each dish too fancy.  Some simple accompaniments would balance the meal.
Otherwise, the food quality is better than 15 Craigside, and the dress code is similar to our dining room, meaning a lot of slippers and shorts.  The meal price is not cheap, at all.  However, this place is so popular that 15C is having trouble trying to get a reservation to send a second set of diners here.  Call 808 734 9499 if you want to eat here.  After 4:30PM call 734 9488.  Here is the lunch menu for March 22 to April 27.  Click on dinner menu for our choices.

Our group, with leader, Leilyn:


See that seahorse piece of art?  You can buy it for $2500.  The start was a spoon of enhanced chawan mushi:


Excellent, except it could have been much hotter.  The wine was our standard 15 Craigside red.  There is no finer tasting healthy liquid for the price.

I had a scallops/soba concoction (see the menu above):


The taste was there, but cooler than lukewarm.  Here, they could very well have instead served the traditional al dente soba style to balance the saucy seafood.  They must make the world's smallest makizushi:


I ordered beef, and it was just too busy.  Something closer to simple grilled steak would have been best to complement all the other fancy stuff:


The dessert bar was a real treat, and dangerous for people with high blood sugar:


I had a little bit of nine desserts, plus a fruit-covered creme brule', with coffee.  They should make available the option for expresso and cappuccino.

The student chefs came by to say hi:


All in all everyone enjoyed the outing, including me.  Maybe I was a bit harsh here and there, but I was disappointed that the facility had not yet moved to their future Cannon Club location.  I'll definitely be back....when they relocate.

The following evening I dined on my lanai on Japanese Wagyu Beef from J-Shop:


Note the price of the beef.  Myoga for a special Japanese tai sashimi with kazunoko, plus an assortment of lotus, shiitake mushrooms, garlic and butter in the pan, augmented by three kinds of sauce, with beer and sake.  Two bottles because I could not finish either one and they were sitting in my refrigerator for days.

Today for lunch went to Vintage Cave Cafe at the Ala Moana Shopping Center for their grand opening.  Until Tuesday, March 28, the first 200 guests/day will enjoy 50% off the entire bill.  It was earlier this month that I might have had my best lunch, ever, in Hawaii at this  restaurant.

The check-in desk:


A large side room for special occasions and group meals (there are several of different sizes):


My previous time here I was served by  Kuber also:


I ordered a truffle pizza and chicken salad, with a rose'.


It looks like that middle shaving of truffle was on rice, but that is a poached egg.  Nice touch.  By the time I had dessert the place was half full:


The panna cotta was artistic and tasted great.  The price?  $45 for two courses, coffee and dessert.  But I paid extra for the truffle pizza, and that glass of rose' was $20.  My final bill was $40 plus tax and tip.  At this price, they should do well.  But $100 for everything after the grand opening discount could become a problem.  Plus, I don't think the clientele coming here would appreciate American jazz.  Some high class Italian music would provide a higher state of ambience.

All in all one of my better lunches in Honolulu.  And they do use real black truffles.

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Tropical Cyclone Debbie looks fierce, with the potential to reach Category 5 status, and is heading for Townsville:


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