Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Last Supper: Plancha Honolulu, and now: Whole Ox

I thought I'd have time to write this before the New Year, but I thought wrong. Life and living it, working and enjoying life got in the way.

I know it takes me a long time to digest things before I can write about them, but this is ridiculous. That second and final supper at Plancha was almost 3 months ago!

Everything was cooked on a plancha - a large metal plate. Plancha was a popup - a short-term restaurant with limited life, hours and seating. We had enjoyed our first dinner there so much, when one of our tablemates offered 2 of his seats for the final seating, we had to return. Once again, it was communal seating, and we said hello to old and new tablemates.

The menu was:
Opihi with papaya seed dressing
Ahi with heirloom beans and salsa verde
Prawns with kochu jang butter and cucumbers
Onaga with peppadew and small tomatoes
Pavlova with fruit

I love opihi, and so does the DH. We shared stories of opihi famine and bounty and of eating them so fresh they might crawl back up your throat, if not chewed well! These were yummy. My favorite was the ahi -along with the beans and olive oil that were so delicious, I could have eaten more of that for the rest of the night! The kochu jang with the prawns was very restrained and just right. DH's favorite was the onaga, which was cooked perfectly. The pavlova came with a raspberry/pomegranate sauce, as there were no lilikoi (passionfruit) to be found.

But I've since found a vine growing in my mother's yard, and have been enjoying lilikoi on toast with The Pig and the Lady kaya, and on ice cream. Even on my oatmeal!

What I liked so much about Chef Bob McGee's cooking at Plancha was that it was NOT sweet. So many local dishes come with such sweet sauces that put me off! Instead, the flavors are restrained, the ingredients locally sourced, and the lamb, seafood and produce just shine!

Which brings us to Chef Bob's latest project, the Whole Ox Deli. As our friend at V Lounge tells us, the name refers to eating the whole animal, nose to tail. There will be smoked meats, charcuterie - bacon, ham, sausage, pate, confit maybe?, sandwiches, butchery classes, whole pig, as well - it all sounds "nokaoink"!

The eating community - as well as the cooking and drinking ones! - have become a part of this project by contributing toward the purchase of a smoker for Whole Ox which could enable USDA inspection. This, via alt online fundraising site

This is a chef with a big dream, and the communities have embraced it. I'm always fascinated with people with an obsession, or at least a passion for something. And by watching all of this unfold, I've become much more aware of who cares about the food we eat.

Too, Whole Ox will be part of the growing #Kakaako community of places to eat, meet, shop, live and plan for the future!

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