Enjoying Great Food And Wine For Japan

Jo McGarry
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Wednesday - April 06, 2011
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Chef Nobu cooks for Japan /Jo McGarry photo

There’s an unprecedented number of fundraisers happening in the next two weeks - because when disaster strikes, the food and beverage industry responds with great generosity of spirit. My concern is that with so many incredible events happening in a short period of time, attendance at some may be diluted.

I thought it might be helpful to give a few details of the ones that offer outstanding value and an opportunity to taste better-than-average food and wine to help you decide where to donate your dollars.

Halekulani’s executive chef, the immensely talented Vikram Garg, pairs with award-winning Nobu Matsuhisa and chef yuji Wakiya, a pioneer of haute chinese cuisine, in an evening of globally inspired cuisine.

For Nobu, a pioneer of contemporary Japanese cuisine, Peru was the place he first discovered sushi, and his dishes on april 21 will include a fusion of both cuisines - think sushi with salsa, tempura with complex spices.

Wakiya is bringing his unique style to Honolulu, with dishes that include white asparagus with green sansho and ahi, king crab, and a version of orange chicken that I bet will change your opinion of the dish for ever.

Garg, a native of India, offers an all-too-rare opportunity to taste the kind of neo-classic Indian food that takes his cooking beyond rogan josh and tandoori chicken. Look for “achari ghost” on the menu, seafood curry, and a shrimp and Kahuku corn beignet on crispy tofu. I spoke with chef Vikram last week, between interruptions by Earthquake Watch app on his iPhone.

“The food will be outstanding,” he said of the event. For details, call 931-5040 - all proceeds go to Japan.

With aloha to Japan will bring together food, wine, beer and a host of talented chefs april 9 at Pagoda.

The event promises the most food and wine for your donation dollars, and its accessibility should attract a fun crowd. Pagoda lends itself to this kind of event, with its circular dining room surrounded by fish ponds making a perfect environment for casual grazing. chefs include alan Takasaki from Le Bistro, alan Wong, Don Murphy, Jason Takemura and the guys from one of my favorite new spots, the Honolulu

Burger company. Tickets cost $50, and 100 percent of proceeds will be directed to Tohoku University Hospital, Sendai. For more information, call 348-2007.

Same night, different fundraiser: over at Saint Louis School, Dwight otani and Blenn Fujimoto will co-chair a fundraiser that’s rapidly becoming one of the premier events of the year.

The high-end evening (tickets cost $250), draws a sophisticated crowd largely because of otani’s procural of highly allocated wines. represented vineyards for this weekend’s event include Pahlmeyer, caymus, Kobalt, Joseph Phelps, Kistler, Far Niente, Littorai and J (to name but a few). Taste while you can - you’ll be hard-pressed to find any more in Hawaii after the event.

I asked otani what his everyday drinking wines happen to be, thinking I’d pick up a few recommendations for weeknight dinner sipping.

“Pahlmeyer, caymus, Kobalt, J, Joseph Phelps ...” he replied with a grin.

Food for the Saint Louis fundraiser comes courtesy of D.K. Kodama, and from restaurants that include Sarento’s, ruth’s chris Steak House, Macaroni Grill and the newly opened La Tour café.

“Last year we did all steak,” says Fujimoto. “This year we thought we’d be more diverse.”

For details on and tickets for the event, which is held on the school’s baseball field, call 694-8201.

Happy eating!

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