As 2013 comes to a close, here’s a look at the great dishes and bites I encountered this past year, from quick snacks to epic multi-course dinners. Because my list is long, I’ve assembled it in three parts. My criteria for this list is simply digging through my food memory bank and recalling the most memorable dishes I’ve enjoyed. Just thinking about them allowed me to relive the flavor and textures, as if I just indulged all over again.
Pili Hawaii at Taste (1 of 15)
Chef Mark Noguchi makes some of the best local foods. He finds ways to take local ingredients and turn them into nostalgic and familiar dishes with great flavor and execution. His grilled cheese sandwich with tomato dip is made with Christopher Sy's famous artisan bread, adding a nice toothsome bite for the creamy cheese. The tomato dip is reminiscent of the American grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup mom used to make.
661 Auahi St.
Kan Zaman (1 of 15)
New to downtown is a Moroccan and Lebanese restaurant with my favorite working lunch. The merguez sandwich is loaded with a tasty lamb sausage, pressed with cheese, onions and peppers and served with a side of crispy fries and aioli. Very filling and satisfying, I hope you have a pillow at your desk for the post lunch nap.
1028 Nu'uanu Ave.
Asuka Nabe + Shabu Shabu (2 of 15)
One of my favorite finds of this year is the vegetable set at Asuka Nabe and Shabu Shabu in Kaimuki. Asuka piles on a huge assortment of fresh veggies to cook in one of their delicious broths, creating a more than satisfying meal. Make sure to pick their gokokumai five grain rice with your meal (free of charge) for a textured alternative to standard white rice.
Asuka Nabe + Shabu Shabu
3620 Waialae Ave.