DISCERNING DISHES . . . I remember savoring a $100 cheeseburger a few years back at the Four Seasons Tokyo at Marunouchi and thinking how decadent it was - although it was a magnificent hunk of Kobe beef with truffle fries.
Now, I hear a hamburger just went for $36,811.02, sans the cheese, at Fleetwood's on Front St. However, it came with a shiny new, customized-to-be-retro Harley Davidson, and it benefits charity.
"It's listed on the menu, or you may pull it down from our website, fleetwoodsonfrontst.com," says Manager Partner Jonathan Todd.
“A long time ago, Hawaii was a very sustainable place, like one of only six civilizations in the world,” says Alan Wong, who hopes to turn it around again as co chair of the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival Sept. 6 to 9 on Oahu.
HAWAII FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL photo
"Bill Pine of California bought his girlfriend Jo Bol the Harley, so she can auction it with all of the proceeds going to her favorite charity, a court-appointed advocacy for kids who have foster parents."
Speaking of top dollar, Fleetwood's will throw its grand opening bash tonight for $500 a pop. Or, you may back it down to pay $350 and watch the concert from a large screen on the rooftop.
I also hear that a $1,000 a plate dinner to be held Sept. 7 at Halekulani on Oahu and created only by chefs who have cooked for presidents and/or royalty, is already sold out. It's part of the second annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. Of course, this dinner and Fleetwood's event are for Hawaii charities, so it's a good thing.
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James Beard Award winners and Maui restaurateurs, Alan Wong of Alan Wong's Amasia at Grand Wailea and Roy Yamaguchi of Roy's in Kaanapali, are the co chairs of HF&WF again this year.
For all intents and purposes, Wong is like the personal chef for President Obama and his family and friends when they come to Hawaii.
He and Yamaguchi are also pals with the creme de la creme of chefs and will bring in 60 world-class celebrities from around the world. While they are certainly not giving the other events away for free, none come close in price to the $1,000 a plate mentioned above.
"All of these 60 famous chefs will be cooking with local Hawaii products," says Wong. "Whenever we shine the light on our farmers, agriculture and fishers, it's good. We need to make sustainable decisions today, so that our children and grandchildren can enjoy later."
Tasty events will be presented at the Modern, the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, the Halekulani, the Hyatt Waikiki and Ko Olina Resort's Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa. Former Mauian Patrick Callarec (who was chef owner of Chez Paul) is now executive chef at Aulani and will head up that event.
The Modern's event on Thursday, Sept. 6 is called Enter The Modern Dragon: ?Morimoto & Friends. What has this to do with Maui, you ask?
Well, rumors are swirling and I have very good reason to believe that Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto will open a Maui restaurant next spring. Another chef-participant at the HF&WF will be two-star Michelin Chef Josiah Citrin of the acclaimed Melisse in Santa Monica, who is reportedly owner of Sure Thing Burger in Lahaina.
ON THE FLIP SIDE . . . Cooking at 5 p.m. Sunday, or should I say, "not cooking, " will be a Raw Foods Class at Joy's Place in Kihei. "We'll be using super fresh, locally-grown produce with healthy fats and low sugar sweeteners!" says Chef Tyua Sereda. "Join us for an evening of food and fun. Cost is $50 per person. Call me at 385-7779."
Kamaaina get 50 percent off all food and 25 percent off all drinks, all day, everyday when dining at the Ko bar at the Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui in Wailea. Ko bar also features live slack-key guitar nightly from 6 to 9 p.m. Valet parking is free.
There are reasonably priced events coming up such as the sixth annual Crockpot Cook-off at high noon on Sunday at the Lahaina Jodo Mission. Admission is free and tastes are nominally priced. Last year's champ was Chad Metcalfe.
Scores of people have sent me info that the Broke Da Mouth Food Festival held last weekend at Lahaina Gateway was just what the doctor ordered in terms of good prices, and plenty of restaurant food variety all backed up by island sounds.
Comedian Brad Starks went up against the Bubba Gump Shrimp in the dance battle of champions and he says he wants grind it out with the Pig from Famous Dave's Barbecue next year.