Having spent the last few weeks in Hawaii, it only seemed appropriate to spotlight a Hawaii-based food person as this month’s TasteMaker. Dave Caldiero immediately came to mind not only because he’s a friend, but also because he’s at the front lines of the local, organic, sustainable food movement in Hawaii.
Dave is a native New Yorker and his cooking reflects both where he’s from and where he’s been. As the chef de cuisine at Town, a restaurant started by chef-owner Ed Kenney, Dave has embraced the flavors and ingredients of Hawaii while paying homage to his Italian-American upbringing. The crew at Town has been so successful in creating seasonal, local food that they have become synonymous (along with sister restaurant, Downtown) with Hawaii’s local food movement. As the next generation of chefs bring a new voice to food in Hawaii, Dave and Ed continue to lead with their mantra: “Local first, organic whenever possible, with Aloha always.”
Here’s a bit about Dave and what makes him tick; and be sure to check back tomorrow, when Dave shares his top ten essential kitchen tools.
Continue Reading: TasteMakers: Dave Caldiero →
It’s that time of the year when some of us have ditched our healthy eating New Year’s resolutions while others are still attempting to hold on with dear life.
I’m in that second group and am doing my best to eat clean and healthy — with the help of a ton of lighter soups, healthy grains, and wintry salads. I know, when I write winter salads, you’re probably saying, “oh, great, that’s sure to be boring,” but it really doesn’t have to be that way.
My search for an interesting seasonal salad combined with my recent time in Hawaii led me to create this green salad topped with some seared miso-marinated tofu. It’s meatless, healthy, and made with ingredients available (to most of us) throughout the winter. The element that separates it from other, more predictable salads is the misoyaki tofu. Here I used the marinade with tofu but, if you’re not a fan, you could use it with salmon, tuna, or chicken. But, another resolution of mine has been to eat less meat so meatless sources of protein like tofu and I have become close friends.
Continue Reading: Spinach Salad with Seared Misoyaki Tofu →
It was like I walked into a freeze frame of a bygone era. The place I would be house sitting for the following few weeks was a glimpse into mid-century Hawaiian design.
Continue Reading: House Sitting in Hawaii →
It was if the skies were weeping there was so much rain falling and yet, not even 24 hours prior, I had been crossing fields of lava rock in heat so dry I could’ve baked flatbread.
Continue Reading: Food Field Trip: Volcano Island Honey →
I had a revelation this trip: food in Hawaii was fusion long before the term was ever coined.
Sure, some modern dishes are historically Hawaiian and others have been slightly tweaked from a distinct ethnic dish, but a good amount of food in Hawaii is the result of a mash up of numerous cuisines and flavors. One such dish is Saimin: it’s origin dates back to sugar cane plantation days when various immigrants worked and cooked together and saimin reflects all those influences. Saimin has a broth reminiscent of Japanese dashi, uses egg and wheat noodles reminiscent of Chinese chow mein noodles, and is garnished with an assortment of toppings hailing from Chinese, Hawaiian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Filipino cuisines.
My first taste of saimin was a late-night meal at the Hawaiian fast food chain, Zippys, which was forgettable, to say the least. Fortunately, I’ve had better tasting saimin since, but every one has been so MSG-filled that I walk away feeling like I’ve made out with a salt lick. Recently, my friends in Hawaii asked me to craft them modern, homemade, healthier versions of their favorite local grindz (aka only-in-Hawaii foods) and when I asked which to start with, one of them blurted out, Saimin!
Continue Reading: The Original Fusion Food →
The Aloha State and I are becoming good friends as I’ve spent a fair amount of time there during the last few years. Admittedly, most of that time has been on Oahu, but this latest trip included my first visit to Big Island (aka the island of Hawaii). Along the way, I uncovered a lot of food finds to share with you, and, to really do the trip justice, I’ll be making the next few posts all about Hawaii.
Continue Reading: Hawaiian Food Tour →
A few weeks ago, I got an email from fellow food-lover, Marian, who asked if I wanted to take part in a Six Taste food tour. The thought behind Six Taste is to encourage people to find their own taste experience to add to the five tastes – sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami — hence the Six. In other words, they share my goal to constantly seek out new food adventures, be they near or far. I haven’t lived in Southern California in years, and the local food climate has become much richer and more multi-faceted during that time, so I knew this tour would help me get reacquainted.
I opted for the Taiwanese food-focused Delicious Dumplings tour which takes place in the San Gabriel Valley town of Arcadia. Shadowing immigration patterns, ethnic food epicenters have evolved across Southern California and one of the best known is the corridor of Chinese and Taiwanese-dominated towns in San Gabriel Valley. Arcadia is one of the lesser-known food towns so I was curious how it would pan out. Within a few bites, it became abundantly clear how much I was about to learn. We only covered a handful of restaurants in a few blocks, but ate our way through a cyclone of Taiwanese culture, history, and food.
Continue Reading: Local Adventure: Finding My Sixth Taste →
Let’s talk design for a second.
I didn’t grow up knowing much about design, because I hail from a family where sciences and math reign supreme. Fortunately, I had an art history teacher in high school who fixed that all when he took us on on tours of Los Angeles art, architecture, and design.
Years later, once I started working in editorial, design became my job as I’d collaborate with the art team to plan photo shoots, analyze layouts, and make mood boards to visually flesh out stories. Through it all, the design eras that resonate with me most are art deco and mid-century, which coincidentally are the two most prevalent styles in Los Angeles.
Mid-century design is most celebrated in Los Angeles through the Case Houses – a series of concept homes conceived by the mid-century magazine, Arts & Architecture. My sister lives across from Case Study House No. 22, which happens to be my favorite of all the houses and is the home in the above picture. From architecture, I’ve come to admire other designers from this era, so I was jazzed to see LACMA bring it all together in their latest exhibit, California Design.
Continue Reading: California Style →
It’s official: the holiday shopping season has begun! I’m kicking it off by collaborating with my food friends over at Foodzie to launch their first Weekend Market.
Continue Reading: Weekend Market with Foodzie →
This past Sunday I checked out the Patchwork Indie Art & Craft Festival, put together by my friend, Delilah, and her niece, Nicole. Though they’ve held the event for five years, yesterday marked the first time it took place in the Los Angles area — at Helms Bakery in Culver City, to be precise. Helms is a shopping district that’s worth a visit in its own right as it’s packed with good food and gorgeous design places like Let’s Be Frank, Lukshon, and Room & Board, but yesterday it was even more worth the trip since they were hosting over 100 local vendors for the day.
Continue Reading: Local Adventure: Patchwork Festival →