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Sunday, December 31, 2017


By the time you read this, more than half the world will already have welcomed 2018:

As this will be my final New Year for this blog site, I will instead of my usual pontifications and predictions focus only on moveable feasts and general nourishment for the next two days.  I begin with my venture back to the best restaurant in Hawaii, Vintage Cave.

I found out that members could now bring their own wines to store in your VC wine locker, and not face a $50 corkage charge.  I loaded a few of my prized Stanford wines into a roller and caught The Bus to the Ala Moana Shopping Center, where the entrance to this first-class restaurant is the pits, for  you need to walk to the basement parking level, and hopping around water puddles, try to find the front door.  However, they were waiting for me:

I had them open a 2013 Haywood Cabernet Sauvignon, asking them to keep leave the cork on the table, for there was no way I could finish the whole bottle:

Incidentally, on the wall in the background are 18 Picassos:

Close by is a large painting of the atomic bomb falling on Hiroshima:

The eleven course meal began with a clear tomato caprese:

Nothing special.  The smokey seared scallop, with the theatrics, was good:

Next, Ossetra Caviar on tofu:

A bit disappointing, but this was a substitution for the ama shrimp, as I'm allergic to crustaceans.  The caramelized Foie Gras Terrine topped with Black Truffles was terrific:

Came the toro, hirame and assorted veggies:

These are tiny pieces of sashimi, and the artistic nature of this effort can be recognized.  So far, every dish has been cold.

The creamed cauliflower soup, which was hot, had bits of sea urchin, kombu dashi foam and karasumi powder:

This soup had character and body, something many of the offerings did not.  The Chilean Sea Bass and tempura with green asparagus were excellent:

The intermezzo was lime mint granite (and maybe they meant to say granita):

The duck confit was fine:

The best dish tonight were two types of Japanese wagyu beef, ribeye and filet, from Sendai, on a scorching hot piece of brick, on which you fried the meat:

That's a stalk of popped rice in the middle.  You could eat the rice, which I did.  

You would think for a $300 kaiseki the coffee would be free, but, what you see here was $15:

The dessert was pear caramel mousse flambe:

They kept pouring wine into my glass, and I ended up finishing the whole bottle.  I don't remember the last time this happened.  Incredibly enough, when I woke up this morning, I felt fine.

The Bus was free, the wine was mine, Vintage Cave charged me around $30 for the coffee and taxes, for my membership meant the meal was free, and the taxi home cost $20.  Still $50, but a pleasant and worthwhile experience, and the free was not really.

Tomorrow, I will report on the 15 Craigside New Year's Eve party, the special dinner tonight, the Poker Club's 9PM to Midnight play with incredible pu-pus, then on New Year's Day, my ozoni, ending with a summary of the best I ate the past week or so.  When you combine them, they will far exceed what Vintage Cave offered.


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