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Saturday, October 7, 2017

15 CRAIGSIDE GOES TO LEAHI CONCEPT KITCHEN


In May, the University of Hawaii's Culinary Institute of the Pacific opened the Leahi Concept Kitchen (LCK), a Waikiki version of their Kapiolani Community College dining room, Ka'ikena Laua'e, which 15 Craigside visited earlier this year.  In July I attended a special dinner here cooked by Chef Alex Atala, who operates DOM in San Paulo, Brazil, where I had one of my better lunches.

The 15 Craigside group entering the Waikiki Parc Hotel, the site of the former Nobu, and now the home of LCK.  Nobu is now in Ward Village.


Click on that photo to the right to read what LCK is all about.  

  • BYOB ($10/bottle corkage charge for wines, $1 for beer)
  • free valet parking
  • no tipping
The whole place is run by students and teachers from Kapiolani CC.  Of course, the service was terrific.

The executive chef is Eddie Mafnas, who originally came from Guam to play for the University of Hawaii baseball team, but went on to create this dining concept.  He indicated that their next step will be their new home at the former Cannon Club on the slopes of Diamond Head.  When?  That was not made clear.  He did, though, sit and talk to us for a very long time:


And more:


If you look closely at his uniform, it says Sous Chef, which usually connotes the #2 chef.  However, he is the main guy here.  Here is another shot of the 15C gang (they only allowed a maximum of 10 diners):


The free wines from Stanford were donated by me:


A restaurant would have charged at least $100/bottle.  I ordered three appetizers.


The Caesar salad and Asparagus Hollandaise were good, but the best was the Miso Hamachi Kama (collar):


Something new for us.  They had fluffy, but tiny, bread loaves, and not with butter or olive oil, but chili-water.  Sitting next to me was Leroy, and here is his lobsters meal:


I had an ending cappuccino, but skipped the dessert, which is Chef Mafnas' specialty.  Certainly very artistic:


As if that was enough for a whole week, the next evening, meaning last night, I had earlier found a piece of Costco blue plate ribeye in my freezer, dated November 2016.  
I wondered if it was still edible.  On the way home from golf, I stopped by J-Shop and got some o-toro and shiitake.  There is chu-toro (fatty yellow-fin tuna), but o-toro has even more fat, extremely high in Omega 6 fatty acids, and extremely expensive.
I first took a long, hot bath, with a gin martini, where scotch served as the vermouth, and I added two blue cheese stuffed olives and some capers

I'm into coconuts these days, and for the bata-yaki, used this toasted tropical coconut flavor from Naked Cow.  The meal on my lanai featured the two bottles of wine from LCK:


Oh, the nearly year-old ribeye was edible.  Aging by freezing, though, cannot be recommended.

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Hurricane Nate will be a Category 2 when he makes landfall close to Biloxi


I remember in 1969 driving by the main highway near Biloxi on my way to Florida.  A few weeks later, Hurricane Camille (left) tore through this area as a Category 5.  When I returned to this same spot in 1972, there was no road.  The good news about Hurricane Nate are that New Orleans will not be much affected, and those coastline roads in Mississippi will survive.

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