Sunday, May 20, 2018
15 CRAIGSIDE GOES TO CHINATOWN
DAY 18 of the Puna eruption featured lava flows crossing Highway 137 and into the ocean. There is now a new danger: LAZE, which is a more potent haze caused by lava, which turns the marine steam into hydrochloric acid laced with fine particles of glass.
There are now 23 fissures, 44 destroyed structures and one injury. A man on a third-floor balcony had his leg shattered from shin to foot when hit by a lava spatter. The molten rock is at 2,000 F. With lava fountains several hundred feet high and ash plumes up to 30,000 feet, it's actually remarkable that he is the only casualty thus far.
On the island of Oahu, residents of 15 Craigside had two outings yesterday. In the morning, the Photo Club went to Chinatown, and later that evening, four neighboring families on the 12th floor had dinner at Senia.
Kekaulike Mall is the walkway between Oahu Market and Mauna Kea Marketplace. It was nearly six years ago that I posted on Chinatown Honolulu. Nothing has changed.
A few of us were scouting around for tamarind and mangosteen, but these exotic fruits seem now not to be on sale.
But have you ever had a jack fruit?
Interestingly enough, of all that volume, just the small layer outside each seed is eaten. Fully 95% of the fruit is discarded.
I love lychee, but am wary of overripe guava. Clearly, if yellow guava can have worms, they must just be smaller and growing up when the fruit is half-ripe.
This has to be high on any list of worst foods to eat, but the crispy skin of roast pork is heavenly:
But I'm not into pigs' feet, nor head.
The interesting thing about this photo is the reflection, where you see things, both real and imagined.
At one time I chaired a 15 Craigside committee that featured dining out at Honolulu's top restaurants. Our first was to Hy's Steakhouse more than three years ago and we went to more than a dozen places. Well, I have given up all my chairmanships, and these night out adventures seem now to be limited to four adjacent neighbors on the 12th floor. Vintage Cave (left) was one our expeditions, and so was La Mer below:
Last night we went to Senia, adjacent to Honolulu Chinatown. And if you wondering, I did not wear my Thai blue sportscoat.
See those seats facing the kitchen? It would have cost us $185 each to sit there, plus wine and other extras.
This is otherwise a so-called family-style fusion restaurant, where you are encouraged to share dishes. The co-chefs are Chris Kajioka (from Hawaii) and Anthony Rush (from the UK), former employees of Per Se. Kajioka also once worked at French Laundry and Vintage Cave. In the middle as the hostess is Katherine Nomura Rush (from Los Angeles, and wife of Anthony):
So we ordered an excellent ahi poke on bread, and two orders of bone marrow, raw hamachi and scallops, plus one main entre, an Idaho wagyu rib barbeque, with the cheapest red wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon at $60/bottle:
We asked for some rice or potato to go with the beef, and, after a long while, some mushrooms and fancy potato concoction came. Frankly, everything was tasty and artsy. The service was friendly, but a bit compulsive. There is a pervading superiority complex sense, for Senia is so popular that your credit card number is taken for tables of six or more, with the admonition that if one person does not show up, there will be a charge for $100 (I need to check on this as to exactly how much). Then, the bill at the end automatically adds a 20% tip. With one bottle of wine and tax, the cost was just about $500, not bad, actually, for the cuisine and setting. Vintage Cave cost $2000 for five diners, and I was allowed to bring my own wines. There is no parking, so the best option was one of the municipal or private lots. To our surprise, the total cost was $2, but you got to wonder about safety at night in this part of Honolulu.
At the end, we were supersaturated with food, so instead of coffee and dessert, we decided to return to the 15 Craigside Dining Room, where we had coffee / tea and pecan pie / ice cream. Senia would have charged us at least an additional $100 for this conclusion. 15 Craigside? Free.