Posts Tagged ‘Ed Kenney’

One of the things that makes working in downtown Honolulu so great is the variety of restaurants available for lunch. Just about every type of ethnic cuisine can be found within walking distance of Bishop Street as you head to Chinatown or towards Aloha Tower Marketplace. And while I enjoy eating dim sum at Mei Sum, pho at Pho My Lan, a tasty burger at Murphy’s Bar and Grill, or a great piece of fresh fish at Cafe Julia, sometimes all I want to eat is a great salad.

And that’s where Downtown @ the HiSAM comes into the picture. Literally in the photo above. Tucked away on the ground floor of the Hawaii State Art Museum, chef/owner Ed Kenney‘s Downtown is a lunchtime favorite for the movers and shakers of Honolulu and visitors alike. It’s common to see politicians, business executives, and entrepreneurs in the dining room enjoying dishes featuring the freshest, locally sourced food from across the state. The menu here is great and dining in is always a treat. As Kenney’s motto goes: “Local first, organic whenever possible, with Aloha always.”

But if you’re in a rush and don’t have time to sit down for lunch, take advantage of Downtown’s ASAP Counter, which offers a nice selection of paninis (my favorite is the pastrami), quiches, and an antipasti salad bar that even a non-vegetable eater would enjoy.

Each day, the “salad bar” changes depending on the produce available and inspiration from the kitchen has a way of elevating the simplest carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, and kabocha pumpkin to “broke da mout” status. For $9.50 (plus tax), the salad plate includes a nice bed of fresh MA’O Organic Farms sassy greens, four choices of antipasti (there’s usually 8-10 choices available daily), and a nice slice of bread. With the variety and offerings changing daily, it’s quite possible to enjoy a different salad everyday.

Are there cheaper salad options in downtown? Of course. A few co-workers religiously ate salads from a certain fast food restaurant in the area which run about $7 a pop. However, after introducing them to Downtown, they have come to agree that spending a couple more dollars is worth it for the variety, freshness and deliciousness found there. I’m certain you will too.

Downtown @ the HiSAM
250 Hotel Street, 1st Floor (in the Hawaii State Art Museum)
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: 808-536-5900
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., First Fridays: 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Reservations recommended.
No parking available at HiSAM. Park in metered street stalls or in garages in the area like Alii Place.
Follow them on Twitter

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The more I eat, the more I’ve started thinking about where the food I’m eating comes from and who’s cooking it. Are ingredients used grown locally or from the mainland?  Is the protein local or from another part of the country? What’s the story behind the restaurant? And more recently, does the person preparing this meal care really give a “shirt” about these things or are they just going through the motions trying to make it through another shift? I blame it on a client who I traveled with to New York and D.C. years ago. I’ve never looked at food the same way again.

Eating has become somewhat of a spiritual thing for me. But eating local has definitely become a pride thing for me. There’s something enlightening these days about eating a dish so perfectly cooked and constructed from local ingredients on your plate that it’s almost like reaching nirvana…that out of body experience that makes you say…well usually nothing…kind of just leaves you speechless and rushing back for a second bite. And honestly, I’ve found this rush is intensified when local produce and products are involved and moved from farm to table as quickly as possible.

A long intro to help you understand the point of this post…why I’m taking Kanu Hawaii’s “Eat Local Challenge” and asking you to do the same. Between now and October 2, eat locally-grown and make an ongoing commitment to support our local food systems. According to Kanu Hawaii’s website, “Hawaii’s food supply is extremely vulnerable. If barge and air freight to Hawai‘i were interrupted, our islands’ food supplies would last only 14 days. We can build a healtheir, more sustainable and secure food supply with our consumer power.”

So what are you waiting for? Let’s all work to make a difference in Hawaii’s future by starting off with a pledge. For me, I’ve committed that “l will eat all locally-grown food for at least one meal during the Eat Local Challenge” and “I will spend at least 10% of my food budget on locally grown food year-round.” You can participate by eating at restaurants that use local ingredients or buy local yourself from your favorite grocery store or farmer’s market.

In case you’re wondering, I upheld my end of the deal and began today by having lunch at Town, one of my favorite restaurants on Oahu where the motto is “local first, organic whenever possible, and with Aloha always.” What I admire most about Chef/owner Ed Kenney and Dave Caldiero is their commit to using Hawaii ingredients first and their ability to execute a menu of clean, simple, and delicious dishes. The food isn’t pretentious, it’s just damn good.

It was the perfect place to begin the challenge and the food was excellent as always. I was fortunate enough to share the meal with travel guru Rudy Maxa and his girlfriend Ana who were returning to Minneapolis today after a week on the island. We had one of those close to nirvana experiences today. Here’s a few photos from lunch.

Today's menu at Town.

antipasti: long bean, fried okra, fresh flaked ahi.

bruschetta, mozarella, hamakua mushrooms, basil.

Kanu Hawaii Eat Local Challenge Item: local bibb lettuce, mao radish, sweet onion, spicy ulu (breadfruit) chips, avocado-buttermilk

kuahiwi ranch grass-fed hamburger, potato roll, and french fries

fresh squeezed lemonade with parsley juice, mint, and honey

chocolate-hazelnut gelato

Town Kaimuki
2435 Waialae Avenue, #103 (corner of Waialae & 9th Avenue)
Honolulu, HI 96816
Phone: 735-5900 (reservations strongly suggested, walk-in dining on the patio)
Monday – Saturday (6;30 a.m. to 2:30)
Monday – Thursday (5:30-9;30 p.m.)
Friday – Saturday (5:30-10:00 p.m.)
Closed Sundays

-NGK

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It’s been quite some time since my last blog post. I blame it on work, quality family time, and the pending arrival of our second child any day now. Exciting stuff! But this being Good Friday and a holiday for me, I thought I’d take some time to give thanks and praise to a few of my favorite things that took place this past month…

(1) University of Hawaii Baseball Games – It’s hard to beat a lazy weekend afternoon at the ballpark and Les Murakami Stadium is no exception. As University of Hawaii alumni, Kelly and I have enjoyed coming to cheer on the UH Rainbows for years, usually sipping on a couple of ice cold beers, chowing down on ballpark food, and the just kicking-back and taking in the atmosphere. And now Ensen loves it too. For $5/person, we sit in the upper deck and soak up the action. Give it a shot if you’re looking for something fun to do the next time the Rainbows are in town.

(2) Golfing – Those who knew me a few years ago know that every chance I got, I was usually on the golf course…though that has changed significantly since Ensen was born. I’ve chosen to cut back on my golf game to spend more time with family, watching Little E grow up, and doing as much family activities on the weekends as possible. It’s the way life should be. But don’t get me wrong, every now and then, I need to be on a golf course, hack it around with friends, and enjoy some friendly competition. In fact, a couple friends – John Garcia and Shawn Nakamoto – and I recently started a new “social media golf club” of sorts – TwitterTeeOff.com. It’s our humble attempt to mix social networking with one of our favorite sports. Here’s a few photos from our first get together at Hawaii Kai Golf Course’s Executive Course on March 6. Hope you’ll come out and join us for our next…stay tuned.

@TherapyGrill @johngarcia @surfchik4jesus @shawnnakamoto

@beradical @annie_lee

@gypsyraven @kaeok

@hawaiidawg

(3) Kuru Kuru Sushi – The Kam family loves sushi and Kuru Kuri Sushi in Pearl Kai Shopping Center is our go-to place when we have a craving. As “conveyor belt sushi joints” go, this place is superior to all the others in my opinion. The quality of the fish and portions are always great, service is consistently awesome, and the prices are right. Plus the diversity of raw and cooked items on the menu means there something to please everyone’s palate. However, be prepared to wait for a seat as this place is extremely popular. We’ve waited for up to 45, but I will tell you it’s worth it. If you get there, let me know what you think.

(4) Chef Ed Kenney and Downtown/Town – One of the great things about working in downtown Honolulu is all of the great places to eat. One of my favorites is Downtown at the Hawaii State Art Museum (HiSAM). This is one of Chef Ed Kenney’s two great restaurants in Honolulu (the other being Town in Kaimuki on Waialae which we love too!) where his motto is “local first, organic whenever possible, and with aloha always.” And this shines on his beautiful plates of food. Fresh, simple, clean, and ono is the way I like to sum up the menu.  For a true taste of local farm-to-table cooking, this is the place. I recently had lunch there with PR colleagues Melissa Malahoff-Kamei and Robin Carr and enjoyed the Kulana Ribeye with Ho’s Farms Long Beans, Roasted Tomato, Chimichurri. Talk about one tasty steak!

(5) Blarney Burger at Murphy’s Bar and Grill – Just ask my pal and co-worker Dan Zelikman and he’ll echo the same sentiments about the Blarney Burger at Murphy’s Bar and Grill. What exactly is a Blarney Burger you ask? Well it’s a juicy  and delicious burger topped with imported white cheddar and Guinness cheese and served with a good helping of fries. It’s even more heavenly if you add bacon (as shown below). Murphy’s is a favorite lunchtime spot of ours for good food and inspiring conversation. It’s also a great place to run into the “who’s who” of downtown Honolulu.

(6) Student Tours of Anthology Marketing Group – One of the rewarding things about working at Anthology Marketing Group is being able to share our company’s story, expertise, and values with college students.  The latest group to visit us a few days ago was the young men and women of the University of Hawaii’s Business Executive Society of Tomorrow (or B.E.S.T.). One of my best buddies, Brad Araki, was one of the original founders of the club back in the day and this group has kept the momentum going. I’ve always been impressed with the leadership and activities this club organizes for its members. Mahalo to president Cody Momohara and his board for coming by to visit the agency.

So now I ask you. What’s on your list of favorite things to do? I actually should have put photography on the list, but I’ll save that for the next one. Happy Good Friday to all!

-NGK

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