Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Second Dinner at Whole Ox Deli

Even before we finished our first dinner at Whole Ox Deli, we started making plans for our second! We were full of good food and wine, but we needed to eat the Pork Shank for 4! We weren't sure what to expect, but pork and shank said "beer" to me. Mike & Laurie said to leave the beer to them, and we picked a date for two weeks in the future.Well, none of us could stop thinking about it, and every time we bumped into each other - Honolulu is such a small town - we were just reminded of our dinner date.

When I emailed Mike to remind him of the date and time, he replied asking if he could bring his friend, Vinh. I asked, Vinh ____ ? Then I said, "NO!"

I was just kidding - I'd worked with Vinh about 3 years ago, but we hadn't been in touch for maybe 2 years. So with the DH, that made 5 eaters for this dinner!

When we got to the Whole Ox, we found we weren't the first of the group to get there. Vinh had staked out an inside table, but we convinced him to sit outside. We quickly caught up on our families, and Mike arrived from parking his car. Laurie joined us, and this is the beer they brought.

It went very well with the vegetable pakoras of lightly battered and fried kale and alii mushrooms served with a harissa sauce. We also had another appetizer because we spoke to Chef Bob so longingly about it. That is all.

There are no photos of those items because we ate it all. All. Gone.

By this time, we were ready to take a deep breath before the main event. And here it is in all its glory. Deep-fried. Pork. Shank. With Ma'O greens and fried potatoes. For just a moment, all of us just stared. Then we tried to figure out how to dissect it.

Well, all we needed to do was pull out the bone, and it literally fell apart. And we fell in. So delicious. Indescribable. Add the sides of pickles, mustard and lime-chili vinaigrette - heaven. And the beer - perfect!

Our only reference point of comparison would be the German pork shank, schweinhaxe. But that is roasted and served with sauerkraut. This is gloriously better. Don't let us get started on the skin!

Did we have room for dessert? Of course! Especially when they're from the inventive mind of Aker, Alejandro Briceno. These are not in order, but, here's the Smoked Brownie with Lay's BBQ potato chips, and the Jasmine Rice Panna Cotta. Both ono! So much that Mike got a panna cotta for himself! And just about licked it clean.

I've included our desserts from the previous dinner. The beef and pork fat cookies with chocolate ganache and cacao nibs and dulce de leche with shaved coconut, respectively. And the caramelized white chocolate cake that looks like bacon.

The Whole Ox Deli Dinner Fan Club needs to return. We have to eat the tasso, the New Orleans-style ham. We don't know how many of the group will assemble, or when. And there's always lunch!

See you there Thursday, after 8 pm. I'll need a burger by then. Our group agreed that Chef Bob's burger has spoiled us for any other!
Please note: all the lovely food porn photos are from Laurie, @konaish
Dinner at Whole Ox Deli, 327 Keawe St. in Kaka'ako around the corner from Auahi St. - across from the former COMPUSA - is served Tuesday through Saturday, 5:30 pm to 10 pm. Last order in by 9:30, please. BYOB

Monday, September 3, 2012

Adobo Eggplant

Or how to use it up. This is a made-up recipe; this isn't fancy, it is home cooking. I did look up the ingredients for the seasonings in order to get the proportions right.

Trim and cut 4 to five small to medium long eggplants in diagonal pieces. Lightly saute these in canola oil just until slightly soft. You will probably need to do this in 3 batches; set them aside on a plate as they finish cooking. I had a small piece of pork - about 1/3 lb. - that I sliced into 1/2 x 2-in. strips. I cooked the pork along with half a medium size onion, sliced;

Combine 1/4 cup shoyu, 1/4 cup + 1 T. rice vinegar, about 1-1/2 tsp. sugar (I'm sure I used less; I don't care for sweet food) and a grinding of fresh black pepper. Put this sauce mixture in the pan and heat until slightly bubbling. Add the eggplant back to the pan, along with 1/2 cup hot water. Heat all of the ingredients through, then turn off the heat.

Take a package of Sun Noodles Yakisoba, gently break up the noodles into a microwave-safe bowl, add a couple of tablespoons of water, and nuke this for a minute or two.

Note: this yakisoba does not come with sauce. Costco carries a multi-pack - more economical plus you can freeze it.

Drain the water, plate the noodles and top with eggplant mixture and, of course, some sauce. If you have cilantro and sliced green onions, garnish heavily with those, but I had neither on hand.

The DH took the leftovers to school for lunch, the pinay office staff all tasted and declared they loved it, "cause it's not strong like adobo usually is". Must be the Japanese rice vinegar and light hand with the pepper.

I've written about making adobo-style eggplant before here, but the seasoning and the noodles made this a winner.

There is another eggplant recipe with goat cheese and balsamic vinegar I make over and over because it's delicious. I thought I'd written about the banchan-style vegetable recipe I made up because I don't want to eat Korean takeout just to eat that. But I haven't done so yet, so that will be posted here soon.

But I think you might want to know about the second meeting of the Whole Ox Deli Dinner Fan Club before that? Coming sooner!