Check out the TGIF section in today’s (4/16/10) edition of the Honolulu Advertiser, where the cover story is “How to Have a Progressive Dinner“.
In there you’ll find yours truly featured as one of three Oahu-based food bloggers mapping our own ‘Progressive Dinner’ route on the island.
Also contributing are Mari Taketa, Martha Cheng, and of course Kawehi Haug, the Advertiser’s Entertainment Editor.
I chose the theme “On the Beach”, which actually was originally submitted as “A Progressive Dinner on Waikiki Beach”, hence the restaurants that I chose.
Speaking of which, ironically, and without knowing it would turn out this way, both Stanley and I chose Waikiki as the theme. His on a walking tour and mine on the beach. Also ironically and without knowing it, both Edward and I landed at Michel’s for dessert! Very interesting.
I’ll definitely have to try Michel’s Flambe Strawberries and Foie Gras on Tiramisu Ice Cream, which Edward says is one of his favorite desserts in Honolulu. And Edward, you must try their Pineapple Lilikoi Macadamia Nut Cheesecakes! One of the best cheescakes in the WORLD!
In case you don’t know what a progressive dinner is, here’s how Kawehi Haug, the staff writer who put this whole thing together explains it: “A social trend in the 1970s and ’80s, progressive dinners were essentially mobile potlucks. A group of eaters would go from home to home, with homeowners preparing and hosting different courses of a meal.”
Because of the limitation of print, we were given up to 250 words to do this. Well, since we’re not confined by space here, without further ado, here’s my entire uncut submission for Kawehi Haug’s ‘Restaurant-hopping‘ feature…
A Progressive Dinner on Waikiki Beach
By Pomai Souza
Whether it’s a special occasion or just to relax and “play tourist”, Waikiki beach is a great place for kama’aina to come and enjoy the fantastic live entertainment, onolicious food and of course that million dollar view we are so blessed with.
If I were to organized a progressive dinner, I’d theme it “Waikiki Beach”, where I’d begin by having everyone meet for pupus and drinks at Duke’s On the Sand at the Outrigger Waikiki.
Henry Kapono performs live every Sunday afternoon at Duke’s Waikiki
Preferably on a Sunday when Henry Kapono plays, turning Duke’s into one of the most happening spots this side of Daimond Head crater. It’s such a special moment in time, that Henry even wrote a song about it aptly named “Duke’s on Sunday”. Best of all, it happens every weekend.
The drinks and pupus at Duke’s are fantastic as well. While not being the cheapest place in town, as they don’t have a “pauhana hour” or special Kama’aina discounts, still reasonably priced considering the location right on the beach and free live music by one of the biggest names in Hawaii’s entertainment industry.
As back-to-basics as it may sound, I especially love their “Beach Fries”, which are waffle-cut with a mild spice seasoning. Personally I think it’s one of the best fries on the island.
Beach Fries – seasoned and waffle cut
Another popular pupu on their Barefoot Bar menu is “Duke’s Nachos”, which as “bar food” as it is, somehow those negative ions from the ocean that’s just footsteps away makes the simplest of dishes like these taste that much more “onolicious”.
Duke’s Waikiki Hot Wings and Mango BBQ Baby Back Ribs are also fantastic, with bold ‘n tasty sauces. I’d go as far as saying their ribs give Tony Roma’s a run for the money. Their Ahi Poke has also left me quite impressed.
Moving on to the next location for the main course and perhaps a few appetizers, we’d sit down for dinner on a beachside table at Ocean House in the Outrigger Reef Hotel, which is just a hop, skip and a jump from Duke’s further up Waikiki beach heading Ewa.
I’ve had some of the best seafood dishes at Ocean House, including their Pan Seared Kona Kampachi and the Parmesan Crusted Opah Picatta; both of which were to die for.. They have the freshest catch, while their recipes and preparations are outstanding.
For those in the party who may not care for or be in the mood for seafood, Ocean House also serves a fabulous Slow Roasted Hawaiian Salt Prime Rib, as well as chicken and steaks.
Ocean House features fresh, locally grown organic produce and fresh-baked breads, Their plantation home decor setting feels elegant, yet casual and relaxed at the same time, while their service is always great. Just like Duke’s, they’re situated right on Waikiki beach, so them negative ions enhance this already elevated dining experience that much more.
For dessert and a nightcap, we’d all share a cab and head on over to the footsteps of Diamond Head at Michel’s in the Colony Surf. Sticking with the theme, like Duke’s and Ocean House, Michel’s is literally right on the beach, albeit a bit further down, where you’re looking back at the heart of Waikiki instead of from it.
Reason I choose Michel’s is because it was here that I’ve had the most INCREDIBLE cheesecake in the WORLD, which would be their Pineapple Lilikoi Macadamia Nut Cheese Cake.
Never mind that it was a complimentary dessert for my birthday. All I know is it’s by far the BEST Cheesecake I’ve ever had the pleasure of indulging into. If it’s not your birthday, you can still order it for $10, yet let me tell you, it tastes like a million bucks. Hats off to Executive chef Eberhard “Hardy” Kintscher for doing such a fine job on this dessert.
Michel’s also features a number of dishes prepared tableside, including dessert classics such as Cherries Jubilee and Bananas Foster done “Hawaiian Style”.
Being a French restaurant, of course they have an extensive wine list and service bar for them nightcaps. Not to forget the Dessert Martinis on the menu, with such dreamy names as “The Fantasy”, “Chocolate Classic” and “Perfection” with Bailey’s Irish Creme and Three Olives Shot Espresso.
Michel’s also has live entertainment nightly, where you can catch the nahenahe slack key and classical guitar stylings of virtuoso Jeff Peterson Thursday, Friday through Saturday evening, the soothing melodies of Shareen Lum on Harp on Sunday evenings, with Chad Kim and Richard Woltz filling in the beginning of the week.
That would round out the evening covering the entire span of Waikiki beach, putting the bookends to what should be a diverse and interesting Progressive Dinner experience.. It starts off casual, yet full of excitement with the live entertainment and fun crowd at Duke’s, toning it down with a quiet and relaxed dinner at Ocean House, and ending the meal on a sophisticated note over at Michel’s.
Sounds like we’ve got a plan.
For more details and photos of these restaurants, see these Tasty Island pages:
Once again, check out the TGIF section in today’s Aloha Friday (4/16/10) edition of the Honolulu Advertiser!
Mahalo Kawehi! The whole thing looks and sounds onolicious! Now to get some friends together and do it!