Articles from March 2011



Taste Lauds 10-Year Participants

The 30-some participating restaurants at Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range indulge ours senses and tastes with their creative culinary styles of entrees all year long. At the 2010 Taste, Café Pesto Hilo, the Hapuna Prince Beach Hotel and the Hilton Waikoloa Village were recognized for dedicating their time for 10 years of support.  In appreciation of their efforts at Taste of the Hawaiian Range, we entice you to join us in learning more about these resorts and restaurants and trying them—if you haven’t already!

Hilton Waikoloa Village

Hilton Waikoloa Village

The Hilton Waikoloa Village’s culinary station is perennially popular with Taste attendees like Jason Moniz, livestock disease control branch manager for HDOA.

On Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, Hilton Waikoloa Village (HWV) will again serve as the host property for Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range. In addition, the Hilton’s culinary team will also join top chefs from around the Hawaiian Islands to dazzle diners with mouth-watering fares using 100 percent grass-fed beef, pork, lamb, goat, mutton and wild boar, plus fresh island fruits and vegetables.

“Every year we always look forward to Taste of Hawaiian Range at Hilton Waikoloa Village,” says Debi Bishop, general manager. “This event so perfectly showcases the Big Island’s extraordinary resources and talent from our farms and restaurants. We are excited to help sustain this event and bring its important message to all of the attendees.”

Farm-to-Fresh Dining
Farm-to-fresh dining is the way of life in the kitchens of KPC, Imari and the Lagoon Grill at Hilton Waikoloa Village. With dishes created from locally produced food and agriculture such as Hamakua mushrooms, Kona lobster and fresh fruits and vegetables—these restaurants support local farmers while delivering exceptional, fresh Big Island flavor.

Chef Charles Charbonneau

Executive Chef Charles Charbonneau (center) is assisted by HawCC culinary students at Taste.

“Hawaii is our home and our passion,” says HWV Executive Chef Charles Charbonneau,” By using Big Island ingredients to create savory meals for our guests, we are able to truly immerse them in the culture that makes our home so special. Hilton Waikoloa Village strives every day to keep our cultural identity intact and to do our part to be a part of a sustainable future.”

Eco-Friendly Practices
In addition to using farm-fresh ingredients, HWV created a Food Waste program, which provides a clean and reliable source of food for local pig farms and reduces the amount of wet waste that goes into its trash compactor. Last year’s Taste partnered with the Hilton in its first Zero Waste effort.

KPC-Kamuela Provision Company

KPC's Waimea Tomato Salad

KPC's Waimea Tomato Salad

Known for its perch over the Pacific, KPC is also popular for island-inspired food. Named after the upcountry ranching and breadbasket community of Kamuela (also called Waimea), KPC sources a cornucopia of local food products, In fact KPC’s menu indicates which menu items use the majority of their ingredients from the ocean and islands of Hawai‘i with a naupaka flower symbol. Case in point is the Molokai Sweet Potato Gnocchi, the Waimea Tomato Salad and the Ginger-Steamed Monchong.

KPC's Ginger Steamed Monchong

KPC's Ginger Steamed Monchong

Discriminating locavore diners will find KPC Chef Dayne Tanabe offers four locally-sourced appetizers, four soups/salads, five sides, five ocean entrees and two desserts, including the spectacular Coconut Crème Brulee, which is concocted with the Big Isle’s own vanilla.

KPC is open nightly for dinner, reservations are recommended, 886-1234 ext. 1.

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2010 Recognizes Island Restaurants – 10 Year Award: Hilo Bay’s Cafe Pesto

Many of the restaurants at the Taste of the Hawaiian Range continue to indulge ours senses and tastes with their creative culinary styles of entrees. Café Pesto Hilo, the Hapuna Prince Beach Hotel and the Hilton Waikoloa Village were recognized for dedicating their time for 10 years of support.  In appreciation of their efforts toward the Taste of the Hawaiian Range we entice you to join us in learning more about these restaurants.

Hilo Bay’s Café Pesto
Receives 10 Year Restaurant Award

Take a walk in downtown Hilo Bay and stroll into Hilo Bay’s Café Pesto restaurant in the restored S. Hata Building as you smell pizza from their wood-fired oven.  The commitment of the restaurant to serve fresh island cuisine dishes had them returning to the Taste of the Hawaiian Range as our 10-year award recipient.

Blue Cheese Caesar Salad with Kekela Farms Organic Romaine Lettuce

Blue Cheese Caesar Salad with Kekela Farms Organic Romaine Lettuce

Executive Chef Casey Halpern shares the event strives to give the customer the best possible experience with local fresh agricultural products. He finds it to be a great challenge as you never know what meat cut or vegetables you’ll be getting. Yet, he enjoys working with products never used before and having the opportunity to try something new.  Halpern shares, “I would say that most challenging cut I have utilized would be the MOUNTAIN OYSTERS.  It is a story that I will never forget.  When 100 lbs of frozen cow balls showed up in my walk-in refrigerator, I almost cried.  But after poaching, roasting, breading, and frying-the mountain oyster cakes were pretty good.”  For those ranchers, farmers and adventurous cooks, we include Chef Casey’s recipe in this blog!

Free-range Island Beef Pesto Cheeseburger

Free-range Island Beef Pesto Cheeseburger

The restaurant continues to support farmers and ranchers with their fresh items on the menu that include free-range island beef, Kulana short ribs, Hamakua mushrooms, Kaiwiki corn relish, Big Island Goat cheese, romaine lettuce from Kekela Farms and Mother Natures Miracles plus many other local fresh produce. The Pesto Cheeseburger made from freshly ground free range island beef is grilled to perfection and a favorite meal with crunchy onion rings and potato fries.

Take time to visit Hilo Bay’s Café Pesto at 308 Kamehameha Avenue, Suite 101 or call them at 808-969-6640 and check out their website at http://cafepesto.com.  Congratulations to Café Pesto and we look forward to seeing them at the 16th annual Taste of the Hawaiian Range!

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival continues to bring together local ranchers, farmers and restaurants in showcasing culinary delights prepared expertly by chefs for festival goers “tasting and grazing” all they can imagine to eat. The quality of this event is rooted in small business participation, sponsorship and with in-kind donations such as our participating restaurants and chefs.  For more information, continue to visit http://www.TasteOfTheHawaiianRange.com.

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Mountain Oyster Cakes

Executive Chef Casey Halpern
Cafe Pesto

3 lbs fresh mountain oysters
¼ c sweet chili sauce
2 T Dijon mustard
½ c mayonnaise
1 c of diced and cooked sweet peppers, onion and celery
1 c beaten egg
3 c panko
1 c flour
Aromatic herbs and spices

  1. Place aromatic herbs and spices into a pot of simmering water and poach the mountain oysters, skim off any scum that comes to the surface.
  2. After about 5 minutes of gentle poaching put the mountain oysters into cool water to stop the cooking process.
  3. When cool, split the mountain oysters open and cut the meat out of the skin, remove any veins.
  4. Season the meat with salt, pepper, and garlic.  Roast in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.
  5. When the meat has cooled-mix with mustard, sweet chili, mayonnaise, cooked veggies and a little panko.
  6. Scoop mixture into balls-shape into patties and bread with flour, egg, and then panko.
  7. Fry in 325 degree oil until golden brown and serve with your favorite sauce.
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2010 Participating Restaurant Awards – 15 Year Award: Kuhio Grille Restaurant

The 15th annual Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agricultural Festival featured 30 restaurants and chefs from our state in 2010.  Many of these restaurants and their chefs showcased delectable dishes made from grass-fed beef, wild boar, lamb, goat and vegetables grown on Hawaii Island.  In appreciation of their dedication to the event, a special 15 year award was announced at the event to a restaurant participating since the beginning of Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range.

15 Year Award Goes to Local Grind
Kuhio Grille Restaurant

Sam Araki of Kuhio Grille

Sam Araki of Kuhio Grille Receives 15 Year Award Plaque

The home of the 1-lb laulau and fried rice, Kuhio Grille, received the 15 year award at the Hilton Ballroom. Restaurant owner, Sam Araki, remembers CTAHR agent, Mike DuPonte, asking them to join the event as they were members of Big Island Farm Bureau.  He recalls using a lot of local produce and taro leaves grown on their Waipio farm at that time with certain cuts of grass-fed beef. Araki shares, “The Taste event allows us to interact with our visitors.  This year we made local style tripe stew and a lady from Europe said it tasted just like what she ate at home.”  He feels the event can provide an educational opportunity where everyone supports local farmers and ranchers.

Kuhio Grille 1 lb Beef & Pork Laulau

Kuhio Grille 1 lb Beef & Pork Laulau

Till today, it still surprises him how many of his student employees “have no clue where their food comes from, how it is grown and how much work goes into it.”  Araki shared, “the people at CTAHR should be recognized in this area for their educational outreach with sustainable agriculture and supporting the event.”  He notes that it takes a lot of effort to provide a festival event and appreciates the time everyone puts their energy into it year after year.

Kuhio Grille

Kuhio Grille

Located at Prince Kuhio since it began in 1995, the family restaurant continues to support Hawaii Island farmers and ranchers with good honest local grinds they dish out to their customers everyday.  Island favorites include homemade burgers, saimin, fried rice loco moco, hamburger steak and oxtail soup. Plus, the One-Pound Laulau made with pork and beef or boneless chicken thighs and fish are wrapped in taro leaves and steamed to perfection!

For breakfast, lunch or dinner, visit Kuhio Grille at the Prince Kuhio Shopping Center in Hilo located next to Jamba Juice or call 808-959-2336 for a take-out meal.  Once again, congratulations to Kuhio Grille on their 15-year restaurant award!

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival continues to bring together local ranchers, farmers and restaurants in showcasing culinary delights prepared expertly by chefs for festival goers “tasting and grazing” all they can imagine to eat. The quality of this event is rooted in small business participation, sponsorship and with in-kind donations such as our participating restaurants and chefs.  For more information, continue to visit http://www.TasteOfTheHawaiianRange.com.

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