These books nicely dovetail the high concept "Hawaii Regional Cuisine" and down home feel of family style eating in Hawaii. Both 'get' the soul of what Hawaii food means. Kau Kau historically outlines how home-style Hawaii plate lunch/potluck food evolved.
The Blue Tomato is the flip side. Alan Wong gives us "Hawaii Regional Cuisine" taking a familiar local favorite like Kal-bi, and re-inventing it in a completely different, yet still recognizable way. And making it taste better than you think it could. Chef Alan Wong just plain kicks some serious cooking butt. Hawaii Regional Cuisine should be on everyone's bucket list, and there are a few options to doing this.
The ultimate takeout was the food in San Jose. The book/lecture included lunch with two Alan Wong dishes as well as food from Hukilau San Jose. We ate on paper 'school lunch' trays and the appetizers came on small styrofoam plates. Even in the ambiance of a community center on a cold day in San Jose, the taste and spirit of the food just sang.
Alan Wong's Restaurant on King Street in Honolulu, HI
This is "the" Alan Wong's restaurant and definitely a "no-slippers allowed" place. Some of the best food I've ever eaten. I also like that it hasn't expanded into a mega-brand or even a larger space because you definitely feel like something special is being done just for you.
The Pineapple Room on the 3rd floor of Macy's Ala Moana, Honolulu, HI
While it's more casual here, the service and food are still top-notch. it's not as expensive and easier to get a reservation. Even a friend of mine who's not from Hawaii, but travels extensively through Europe and Asia told me that his favorite restaurant is the Pineapple Room. The food is a little down-home local than the dinner restaurant, and they also serve breakfast.
Next week, I'm trying to make the Avocado Poke Stacks using my Spam Musubi maker. If that works out, it might make it to the Thanksgiving table.
Eat Well. Be Well.