I recently had the opportunity to experience a private Na’au dinner during which Chef Brian Hirata cooks food to highlight and preserve Hawaii’s food culture while progressing our local cuisine. Our dinner was a eight-course meal at Whitehaven Farm in Pepeekeo. Finding the farm took me past the Pepeekeo Sugar Mill that was on the way to my childhood home in Pepeekeo Mill Camp. I moved out of Mill Camp when I was very young so I don’t think I’d be able to find my way to the Mill Camp to see how much it has changed today.
I was so curious about this dinner and I bet you are too. This is what I ate.
I am not someone who can easily make choices about what was my favorite. I don’t have a favorite color or favorite food or favorite music. I like all kinds of colors and foods and music depending on my mood. I will say that this group of pals loved every dish. Bronson and Jensen (sp?) were knowledgeable about the food, the preparation, and the best wine to pair each dish with. Plus, they were fun! If you want to know more about the wine that was served/paired with our dishes, be sure to see Ryan at Kadota Liquor. He had some awesome choices! He worked on the pairings with our sommelier Bronson who you can also find at ‘Ulu at the Four Seasons Hualalai.
Some food notes —
–Amuse Bouche – I want to take home some of the ume to make chazuke or onigiri for myself later.
–Opihi Course — I thought I didn’t like opihi. However, I tasted this opihi and was wowed. Bronson caught the opihi and I heard that he got the tastiest opihi and of course, Chef Brian worked his magic to bring out its amazing flavors.
–Tofu Salad — I’ll have to try making tofu salad with a smoked fish in the future. This was a great combination! But it won’t be as good since I don’t plan to make my own tofu. The pickled kakuma was a great addition. Good idea. I have some kakuma in my fridge right now. Maybe I’ll pickle it.
–Shrimp Tempura — YUM.
–Fish & Poi — The pork was so soft and almost buttery! And the chicharonnes! I need that to have for pau hana beer time.
–Chicken Course — I loved it. There were so many different preparations of chicken on this dish and it was all good!
–Fig Mui — YES! Can someone make it here? I need more!
–Banana Cream Pie — I’m not a huge dessert person but I ate this one all up. I loved the addition of the crunchy mac nut brittle sprinkles on this. And the rum went perfectly with it!
If you have a chance to experience a Na’au dinner, go! I bet you’ll also be saying, “Wow, Na’au!” Living Hilo Style!