Malia Hutton is a coordinator at Hawaiian Airlines who dreams of the perfect food day. If money and stomach space were no object, her daylong menu would have Cafe Kaila’s Belgian waffles with blueberries and strawberries, Via Gelato’s Frosted Flakes gelato, a Dragon Tea peach iced tea, Fook Lam dim sum, uni nigiri from Sushi ii, dashimaki tamago from Izakaya Torae Torae, mushroom risotto from La Cucina and dessert by Michelle Karr-Ueoka at MW.
My job keeps me busy during the week, so as much as I can I try to hit up different places on the weekend. My boyfriend helps me eat so we can cover more ground!
Having made multiple visits to the eateries at Ala Moana’s new Ewa Wing since it opened, I have definite favorites. Here are the dishes that stay on my brain. Together they constitute a pretty awesome meal — especially since this dream meal includes three desserts!
Forty Carrots. The caviar with nori chips and wasabi lemon creme fraiche ($15) is my favorite way to start a meal. It’s light and refreshing: The nori chips are dusted with a nori powder, the caviar is fresh and not too salty and the briny flavors balance nicely with the creme fraiche.
Ruscello. You can still find the tomato soup and other favorites from the old Nordstrom café menu, but one of the new dishes is the grilled skirt steak chimichurri ($17.95). I honestly wasn’t expecting much, since skirt steak is usually chewier, so I was surprised how tender and flavorful this was. It’s served with roasted asparagus, carrots and Yukon gold potatoes. What totally makes this dish is the chimichurri sauce. The bold, tangy flavor works really well with the steak and as a dipping sauce for the vegetables.
Café Lani. The parfaits here are enormous and definitely shareable. My favorite is the Very Berry ($12), which to me is the lightest. Vanilla soft serve is layered with berry sauce and heaped with fresh berries, strawberry ice cream, whipped cream and more berry sauce. The cornflakes in the middle add a nice crunch. When I’m craving something more than a scoop of ice cream, this is what I want.
Pierre Marcolini. You really can taste the chocolate in this soft serve ice cream made with Pierre Marcolini’s original couverture chocolate. It makes Godiva chocolate taste light by comparison. I honestly didn’t realize this was a soft serve until I read the menu, but that’s partly why I like it—the combination of soft texture, rich flavor and overall creaminess. To me it’s worth the $7 price. And it’s a perfect treat to nibble as you window-shop and walk off your meal.
Magnolia Bakery kiosk. The thing is, I don’t even like bananas. But I love this banana pudding. The layers of vanilla wafers, fresh bananas and creamy vanilla pudding aren’t heavy or overly creamy. You can pick up a small, medium or large at the kiosk ($3.50, $5, $6.50) or order it at the cafe (large only, $6.50). I love getting some to take home so I can have a spoonful now and then.