Let’s Talk Food: Taste of the Hawaiian Range 2016
The 21st annual Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range at the Hilton Waikoloa Resort is a partnership with the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Kulana Foods, the Hawaii Beef Producers, UH-Hilo College of Agricultrue, Forestry and Natural Resource Management, Hawaii County Department of Environmental Management and community volunteers, as well as sponsors county Department of Research and Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service and Culinary Program, Kamehameha Schools and KTA Super Stores.
The collaboration of so many of these agencies, companies and organizations could not have been made possible without the seed planted more than 20 years ago by Milton Yamasaki, who recently passed away. Milton’s photo was displayed in the front of the entrance as the co-originator of Taste of the Hawaiian Range.
Each vendor was given 100 pounds of a cut of beef or a carcass of goat, mutton, lamb or pork and asked to create a dish.
Marriott Waikoloa chef Jason Kanekoa received mutton and prepared it four ways: kiawe smoke riblets, Thai curry shoulder with steamed ulu, roasted leg with bone au jus and sous vide mutton belly. Each dish was wonderful and well thought out, very tender, especially the sous vide mutton belly that was cooked for 17 hours, and had no “gamey” taste or smell. Chef Jason is going to be the Hospice of Hilo’s annual Holiday Dinner guest chef, and we are excited to have his creativity and imagination at that event.
Merrimen’s in Waimea was given pork and made carnitas street pork tacos and bacon cayenne pepper chocolate truffles. The tacos were delicious and the truffles were to die for.
12th Avenue Grill in Kaimuki, Oahu, was given beef tongue and did a great job cooking it so it was very tender and tasty. Owner Kevin Hanney was serving this dish. It was not difficult to get a sample as I think a lot of people were afraid to taste tongue.
Sansei Restaurant at Queen’s Marketplace had oxtails to work with and made oxtail stew; Earl’s Snack Shop cooked beef heart.
I stopped to visit the Hawaii Community College Palamanui Campus booth, which was given island lamb. The two dishes were lamb stew served with rice and Greek lamb skewers. The desserts showcased by the students and instructors were absolutely scrumptious. The West Hawaii culinary program is so lucky to have the former owner of the French Bakery, chef Fernand Guiot, to teach the students desserts. I miss his French baguettes and spinach and mushroom sandwich, a must stop every week when I worked in Kona.
Roy’s Waikoloa Bar and Grill made a dish with beef top round; Kuhio Grille with beef bottom round; Mauna Kea Beach Hotel had island goat; Hapuna Prince Hotel had beef tri-tip; Sheraton Kona worked with feral pork; Kohala Burgers and Tacos had island lamb; The Feeding Leaf made a dish with beef flank; and Mai Grille at the King’s Course had beef mountain oysters, just to name a few.
Other agricultural vendors included King LauLau, which was pounding pai‘ai and serving poi, and Hawaii Balsamic, which gets balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy, and infuses various tropical fruits such as coconut, habanero, mango, lilikoi, spicy mango and coconut lime balsamic vinegars. The University of Hawaii had samples of three types of sweet potatoes, and after tasting each one wanted people to vote on the best-flavored sweet potato. The first sample was the Okinawan purple sweet potato, the second was Murasaki and the third, No. 821P developed by Louisiana State University, where there is a 308-acre sweet potato research station in Chase, La. In addition, in 2009, LSU’s AgCenter, along with Mississippi State University, North Carolina State University and the University of California at Davis received a $2.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative program to focus on improving production efficiency and quality in the sweet potato production.
No. 3, the 821P variety, which is now being planted in Hawaii, is sweet, tender and not stringy. I voted for it as the best sweet potato.
Akmal Foods of Hilo, located in the Kress building, also was a vendor, giving out samples of their lassi drinks. Akmal made its own yogurt and makes a sweet lassi, a salty lassi and coconut, mango, lilikoi and strawberry lassi. In addition, Akmal Foods wholesales its lassi drinks. The lassi drinks are a great alternative to any carbonated or sugary drink out there. Because the drinks are made of yogurt, it is beneficial to your health to soothe the digestive system. The yogurt promotes digestive enzymes and helps anyone with stomach problems. It also eases bloating, prevents constipations and other stomach disorders.
Russel Nagata, county administrator for CTAHR, was very pleased with this year’s turnout, saying it seemed there was an increase in numbers from last year.
• The Hawaii Community College cafeteria will be open today through Thursday. Call 934-2559 for menu selections and/or to place an order.
• Our son, Reid, had to entertain a group of Japanese tour operators a few weeks ago and took them to Daylight Minds Café in the Queen’s Marketplace for breakfast. He was impressed by the restaurant’s dishes and wanted to take us to breakfast. The clam chowder in the house-made sourdough bread bowl was full of clams and very tasty, the hollandaise sauce on the Benedicts was delicious, pancakes great and huge, and the desserts also were wonderful. I ordered the white chocolate gluten free cake and loved it! I never thought of going in to have a meal as I made the assumption that it was a coffee shop, so I was totally surprised by the delightful breakfast.
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