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Thursday, August 24, 2017

CUISINE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK

There is a relatively new restaurant in downtown Honolulu, Senia (pronounced SEN-ya), which opened eight months ago by two former Per Se chefs, Chris Kajioka (who also trained at French Laundry) and Anthony Rush.  Thomas Keller started both restaurants.


I don't want it to be a special-occasion place.  I would like everybody to be able to afford to come, and feel like it's their neighborhood spot.

I met him four years ago when he was the chef at Vintage Cave.  The title of my experience there was:


There is a kind of simplicity in the decor at Senia with an exposed brick wall and open view to the kitchen, which looks almost as large as the 50-seat restaurant.  There is also a a 12-seat chef's counter that faces the kitchen.  The music featured older rock classics.


In the background is Berkeley Spivey, who a month ago joined me on my table for Chef Alex Atala's special Waikiki dinner, hosted by the Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Kapiolani Community College.  Berkeley came by to discuss the three-course $35 menu offered for lunch.  I asked if they could substitute a pasta-foie gras-truffles dish for their entre.  They went one better, as they instead deleted the dessert (which I didn't want anyway) and charged me an extra $20 for this experiment.  Considering that Vintage Cave charges $50 for a few shavings of truffles, I thought this was very generous.  

I sat at the best table in the house and had glasses of champagne and Italian red (sorry, but the sheet of paper I had with details got lost on the way home):

Anyway, Ahi Tataki, Ahi Burger and Truffles Pasta, which was a kind of ravioli with potato filling.  Note the abundance of real truffles.  This could well have been my best lunch in Hawaii.

Cost?  Not $35...more like $105, because of the special dish, tax, generous tip and $8 for coffee.  They don't have an expresso machine, which is surprising.  I asked why, and the answer was they don't have any room in the kitchen.  As I said, the kitchen must be as large as the dining area, so I guess it's a matter of space priority and dining philosophy.  I'll need to return for dinner, as Chris Ramelb is the sommelier here.

Back at 15 Craigside, the Dining Committee was able to work out a barbecue option for the residents.  A spiffy grill was purchased a year or so ago, and there were several excellent BBQ events.  However, no one used it for half a year until this past week when the floor I live on hosted one:


We had teriyaki steak, chicken, shrimp, corn of the cob, salad and musubi.  The weather was perfect, and this is something we should do more often.  

Did I tell you that the papaya tree on my lanai now has a few papayas?  Nah, just kidding, I saw this plant  on the left down the road from where I live on Nuuanu.  My papaya sapling is on the right.

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Tropical Storm Harvey has been significantly upgraded, and now could attain Category 3 strength before the eye crashes into Texas just northeast of Corpus Christi, then head in the general direction of San Antonio.  Should this occur, Harvey would be the first C3 hurricane in 12 years:


In the Orient, Typhoon Hato caused significant damage in Hong Kong, and, especially, Macao, killing at least 9, then moving on into China:


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