Here’s our monthly round-up of eats and drinks for September!
Of course, we ate a ton of goodies at the Kā‘anapali Fresh events and during our long weekend on Maui, which straddled the end of August and beginning of September. You can read about our whole weekend in my earlier posts on Kā‘anapali Fresh and Star Noodle/Leoda’s, but here are a few of our favorites from the trip:
- Pork Belly Sous Vide by Chef James Domingo, Leilani’s On The Beach at the Kā‘anapali Fresh Food & Wine Festival
- The Maka Tai, mixologist Chandra Lucariello’s interpretation of a Mai Tai in honor of Kā‘anapali Fresh
- Star Noodle’s Filipino “Bacon & Eggs”
- Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop’s “Pork, Pork…Mmm, Pork” sandwich
- Leoda’s famous Fried Salad
- Chocolate-Coffee Coconut Snowball at Leoda’s
Back at home we had visits from several out-of-town friends, which necessitated lots of going out to eat! Our friend @Chef_Jay comes to town once or twice a year and tries more new places than we do all year long. Surprisingly, he hadn’t tried one of our favorite new haunts, Pint + Jigger. We set a date. “We HAVE TO GET THE BACON!!!” I texted him. “OK!!!!!!” he agreed. Jay digs bacon. That’s why we can be friends.
And here’s the bacon. If it’s Happy Hour (which it was), we get two orders. (Fiscally, it just makes sense — it’s pretty much half-off at Happy Hour, so it’s twice as much bacon for the same price!) When I describe it to people, I always say it’s not so much bacon as an ultra-thin bacon-y pork chop. And just so you don’t feel like you’re a total Neanderthal, chowing down on massive piles of bacon, Chef Noah Blair adds some veggie content — a spicy, fresh-corn salsa with tomatoes and jalapeños.
The food at Pint + Jigger rocks, but it’s really the drinks that keep us coming back. Owner/bartender Dave Newman is basically kept chained to the bar, serving us inventive cocktails. Dave’s an ingenious guy and he came up with the cleverest way I’ve ever seen of ensuring quality control on cocktails he’s created — batch it and serve it on tap. Yes, on tap.
This is “The Business” tap at Pint + Jigger. (The one with the cocktail glass.) It dispenses “The Business” — Dave’s brilliant rye whiskey cocktail. The cocktail is kept, like the draught beers on tap, under pressure in the keg chill (we snuck a peek — brr!). There’s a nitrogen fill so the cocktail doesn’t oxidize. On nights Dave’s not behind the bar, you’re still guaranteed to have The Business exactly the way he makes it — ’cause he did! Just not, you know, right there in front of you.
Is it really just as good as one Dave shakes up on the spot? Well, Shake’s a devoted fan of The Business, and he liked the one that came off the tap so much, I couldn’t get him to put it down so I could take a photo.
More of Dave’s clever concoctions: A Sous Vide Boulevardier — Rye Whiskey, Campari and Carpano Antica, with toasted Jack Daniel’s barrel chips; all of that cooks sous vide for two days to extract the barrel flavor and mellow the cocktail. And a twist on a mule with vodka infused with citrus, campari, cassis, fresh muddled ginger, Peychaud’s bitters and Bundaberg Ginger Beer.
I love this Russian cup. Don’t steal it, because I’ve already threatened to do that, so Dave will totally think it’s me that’s absconded with his glassware.
Another night, another cocktail, another favorite spot: Brasserie Du Vin in Chinatown. Over the past couple years they’ve really ramped up their cocktail program. This one is Shake’s favorite starter — a Blackberry Old Fashioned. Shake says that the description on the menu also mentions beet syrup.
Can’t have a round-up without desserts. This one’s from The Whole Ox. Considering they’re a place so devoted to meats, it’s somewhat surprising that they’re so excellent at desserts too. It’s awesome. This time we had a Frangipane Tart with Figs and Citrus Zest. I wasn’t a huge almond dessert fan when I was a kid (almond float, almond cookies, even Almond Joy — I always liked, and still do, Mounds better), but I love it now. Maybe it’s one of those “you like it when you get old” things. Like cilantro.
More drinks! This evening’s selection was from The Manifest, also in Chinatown. Their head bartender, Justin Park, is über-talented. He made my favorite drink at the Grey Goose Cherry Noir competition a few months back, incorporating espresso and cherry bitters, and he just won the big $10K prize at the “World’s Best Mai Tai” competition.
One of the specials on the board was this “Mexican Milk Punch,” made with horchata Justin got from the Mexican hole-in-the-wall across the street. “I wanted to use things from the neighborhood,” he explained. I loved it.
Also at The Manifest, our dear friend Brookelynn ordered this pretty drink, “The Jane Doe.” It was a vodka-based drink with passion fruit tea and house-made grenadine. See, all the cool kids are making their own grenadine. I gotta try it.
And that, my friends, wraps up the highlights from 30 days of chowing down around town. It was a great month of spending time with friends we rarely see and taking them to some of our favorite places. Cheers!