Chef Mavro’s fall menu

Chef Mavro with his new chef de cuisine Jeremy Shigekane.

Chef Mavro with his new chef de cuisine Jeremy Shigekane.

Throughout the year, Chef Mavro changes his menu to match the season’s freshest ingredients. I got to try his latest fall menu offerings recently, which are always spectacular (with or without wine). This time, though, was a little more special: I got to meet his new chef de cuisine, Jeremy Shigekane.

Shigekane is young (and looks younger) but has about 10 years of mainland experience under his belt and was most recently chef de cuisine at Hoku’s at the Kahala Resort. As it turns out, all of my nieces know him from different walks of life, and when I posted his photo, they were all so thrilled to see him doing well. Chef Mavro is thrilled, too — he had been without a chef de cuisine for a long time, and had been working almost double time to fill that position. “Just when I thought I was going to die, Jeremy came along,” he laughed.

After Shigekane showed us how he makes his pomegranate-teriyaki sauce for their Wagyu, we had dinner.

Chef Mavro's Fall Menu

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To start: Chilled crécy orange with coconut foam. I didn't realize it was orange until later — it was so comforting!

Chef Mavro
1969 S. King St.

Amy Hanaiali‘i and Willie K are reunited

Amy and Willie reunionIt’s a project long overdue: Amy Hanaiali‘i and Willie K. have reunited to again create beautiful music together.

Hawaii’s powerful musical duo have spent the past year in Willie’s Maui recording studio, crafting lyrics, writing music and collaborating on a completely new original album titled, “Reunion.” The CD officially drops on Nov. 11, but Melissa Chang and I last night celebrated with the artists at a preview event at Washington Place. There, the two sang a few new songs, along with some past favorites, to revive the mele. And yes, it felt and sounded good.

After being partnered in 1993 by Mountain Apple Company’s Jon DeMello, Amy and Willie worked together, toured together and were even in a relationship for nine years. There was great synergy in their sounds and spirits. But the pair then split up and ventured into separate directions, personally and professionally. While Willie went to Europe, Amy headed to Japan, and their careers and new personal relationships blossomed separately.

As luck would have it, two years ago at a wedding, the two were asked to sing the Hawaiian Wedding Song. They hadn’t performed together in a decade, and it was that night that the concept of coming together to produce a reunion album was born.

“We are stepping outside of the hula skirt,” Willie says, explaining the new album started with 52 songs and had to be whittled down to 10. “We’ve updated our genre and style, added her R&B flare and my rock-n-roll influence; it’s still a Hawaiian contemporary album, but with some traditional and personalized influences.”

Amy describes the reunion as like riding a bike. “Coming back into the studio with him was emotional, refreshing and comforting; I could do songs in one take,” she says.

Eager to share their new project with the world, the pair will soon tour across the islands, the East and West Coasts and Europe. “We want people to be entertained by the music and not just hear another CD; it’s going to make them laugh and cry,” Willie says.

Amy and Willie performed at Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s signing of the same-sex marriage bill last December. That was a bit of a teaser for the album to come. On Wednesday, Abercrombie surprised them by proclaiming Oct. 15, 2014 as “Amy Hanaialii and Willie K. Day in Hawaii.”

Here’s one of the new songs they performed at last night’s event, showing Amy’s R&B flair with Willie’s rock-n-roll style:

A look at the scene at Washington Place last night for their album launch:

Amy and Willie reunion

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—Photo by Melissa Chang

New eats: Heavenly

Although “eating local” is a popular catch phrase these days, it’s actually not easy to find a lot of Waikiki restaurants that really offer a locavore menu. We were excited to try Heavenly — located in the Shoreline Hotel — which uses organic and local products in most of its menu.

The owners are no strangers to the restaurant business, as they already own Cafe Goofy and Aloha Table in Waikiki. (The odd thing, though, is that we like Heavenly much better than the other two, despite their local sourcing at all of their restaurants.)

We went a few times to try their some of their most popular items. The verdict? We’d go back, and can’t wait to try their breakfast.


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Here's the front of the restaurant at a recent daytime event. You can enter from the front, or through a side door at the hotel.


Parking can be a little bit of a challenge. They do have some valet parking onsite, but we opted for the nearby Waikiki Shopping Plaza ($5 flat rate after 6) or Royal Hawaiian Center (partial validation with a purchase of $10 or more) or on the street.

Shoreline Hotel, a Joie de Vivre Hotel
342 Seaside Ave.
Open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to midnight

Something new: HASR Deli

The HASR team. —Photo by Laura Kay Rand

The HASR team. —Photo by Laura Kay Rand

Starting today, Oct. 13, HASR Bistro is opening a section of its second floor to offer a deli in Chinatown with Mama’Nita Scones. The new venue-within-a-venue will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and will have gourmet sandwiches and salads, deli meats and cheeses, craft sodas, premium teas, and … well, scones. Eventually, owner Terry Kakazu says they’ll also have Gano coffee and Bulletproof coffee, pate and more.

Anita Rhee of Mama’Nita Scones had wanted her own shop, and since HASR was already selling her scones, Kakazu suggested she try it out in the area above her wine shop instead of spending $100,000 in a space that didn’t already have traffic. Since Kakazu is a big fan of Napa Valley, she renovated the place to look like Bouchon Bakery in Yountville.

The scones were nice, but you’ll be interested in the takeout options that Chef Rodney Uyehara has made: In addition to turkey, club, and pastrami sandwiches, he’ll also be making blackened ahi and a meat lover’s sandwich. Salads include asparagus, salmon and tofu, Nicoise, Okinawan potato, grilled mushroom and eggplant, and macaroni garlic ahi.

Here’s an exclusive preview of the space and food:

HASR's new deli

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Starting today, HASR is starting a new deli in the area above the wine shop.

HASR Deli (above HASR Wine Co.)
31 N. Pauahi St.

Hoku’s fall harvest sake dinner

I got an invitation this week from Hue Oldham, the public relations manager at the Kahala Resort, to check out their annual fall harvest dinner at Hoku’s — which was great, since I had not dined at Hoku’s in years. This particular event comes around only once a year, but it’s worth a mention because they have similar programs all the time, and this meal was outstanding.

Wayne Hirabayashi is still the executive chef, but we got to taste some of executive pastry chef Jeremy Choo’s wares, as well. Chris Pearce from World Sake Imports was on hand to pour sake and explain the various bottles featured. Here’s a look at the dinner, which I’m still dreaming about:

Hoku's Fall Harvest Sake Dinner

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Hoku's famous ahi spread, which they serve with an assortment of unique breads by executive pastry chef Jeremy Choo.