Let’s Talk Food: Thursday is Valentine’s Day

  • Photo courtesy of AUDREY WILSON Special of the day board at Vibe.

  • Photo courtesy of AUDREY WILSON Mushroom vegan burger on gluten-free bun from Vibe.

  • Photo courtesy of AUDREY WILSON Loaded avocado toast from Vibe.

Thursday is Valentine’s Day. It’s a special day to show your loved one how much you care for them and also ranks as one of the busiest nights for restaurants. So if you did not yet make reservations, maybe you could fix a nice dinner at home.

I prefer to cook a special dinner, and these days it would not only include my husband, Jim, but also our grandchildren, Quentin and Artemis, and their parents. I think there should be designated date nights on a regular basis instead of only once a year to show your loved one you care so Valentine’s Day can be any day of the year … the only problem is that you might not find heart-shaped chocolates or a Valentine’s card!

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The meal does not have to be expensive, such as lobster. It is, after all, the thought that counts.

• • •

The Original Fettuccine Alfredo

From Saveur

Serves: 2

1/2 pound dried fettuccine

1 stick unsalted butter

1 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add fettuccine and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente, about 8 minutes.

Cut the butter into thin pats and transfer to a warmed platter. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water, place pasta over the butter on the platter.

Sprinkle Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over the pasta with 2 tablespoons of the pasta water.

Using a large spoon and fork, gently toss the pasta with the butter and cheese, lifting and swirling the noodles and adding more pasta water as necessary. (The pasta water will help create a smooth sauce.)

Work in any melted butter and cheese that pools around the edges of the platter. Continue to mix the pasta until the cheese and butter have fully melted and the noodles are coated, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately on warmed plates with a nice simple salad.

• • •

Jim would be totally happy with these very garlicy steamed clams and a nice bottle of wine! A restaurant we love in San Francisco is The Stinking Rose, a garlic-themed restaurant that is not fancy by any means, but has its own atmosphere and tasty food.

Garlic-Steamed Manilla Clams

From Saveur

Serves: 2

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 cloves garlic, chopped

2 small shallots, minced

1 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup clam juice

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 pounds Manilla or little-neck clams or mussels

2 tablespoons minced parsley

Crusty bread to sop up the juices

Heat oil in 6-quart saucepan over medium heat. Cook garlic and shallots until golden, 8 minutes. Add wine, clam juice, butter, thyme, salt and pepper, boil. Add clams, cook covered, until shells open, 3-4 minutes. Stir in parsley, serve with bread and wine.

Now open

Vibe, a vegetarian restaurant, just opened at 750 Kanoelehua Ave. in Hilo. Its coffee is 100 percent Puna grown; the rainbow lattes are interesting. Breakfast choices are Vegan Loco Moco, Breakfast Spliff and Carrot Cake Smoothie Bowl. The pre-party dishes, or appetizers, include jackfruit “pulled Pork” Street Tacos, Stuffed Shrooms, Mediterranean Goat Cheese Dip and Beet “Poke Bowl.” Keepin’ It Green or Salads include The Big Fat Greek, Tofu “Chicken” Caesar. B.L.T. A, or a spring mix of greens, fakin’ bakin (fake bacon), tomato, avocado, jalapeno hempseed ranch and housemade croutons, and Beet “Poke” Salad. Get Toasted, or dressed up toast, are The Naked Toast, Loaded Avocado, The Caprese and Get Nuts! Toast.

What Vibe calls Hand Held are sandwiches such as Classic Club, The Classic Vibe Burger, Bacon-Blue, Mushroom-Swiss, BBQ “Brisket” and “Cheesesteak” Sandwich. Sweet Stuff, or desserts, include CBD Donuts, Vegan Affogato, vegan ice cream and vegan milkshake.

Vibe is owned by Dylan Shropshire, Richard Gallegos and Karina Carvajal.

If the menu items intrigue you, stop by from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

We enjoyed the Loaded Avocado Toast, Vegan Loco Moco and the Mushroom-Swiss Sandwich on a gluten-free bun.

Foodie bites

Hawaii Community College’s Culinary Arts program’s Cafeteria is open this week, as well as the Bamboo Hale. The wines for the upcoming dinner and wine special events are sold and supplied by Kadota Liquors. The schedule for the Bamboo Hale is as follows:

• Today through Friday, Asian Standard menu and India.

• 6 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 13), Dinner and Wine Special, call 934-2591 for reservations.

• Feb. 20-22, Asian Standard menu and Thailand.

• Feb. 26-28, Asian Standard and the Philippines.

• March 5-8, Asian Standard menu and Chinese.

• 6 p.m. March 6, Dinner and Wine Special, call 934-2591 for reservations.

• March 12-15, European Standard menu and Spain.

• March 27-29, European Standard menu and France.

• 6 p.m. March 27, Dinner and Wine Special, call 934-2591 for reservations.

• April 2-5, European Standard menu and Italian.

• April 9-12, European Standard menu and Germany.

• April 23-24, Hawaii Special

Please support the college and check out what the second-year students have to offer.

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And finally, happy birthday, Carla, and happy Valentine’s Day to all.

Email Audrey Wilson at audreywilson808@gmail.com.

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