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.
Hula Grill Waikiki (15 of 15)
Hula Grill is one of the hidden gems of Waikiki that all locals should give a try. The specials are amazing, and this dessert really struck me as something special. The pineapple coconut creme brulee is served inside the pineapple and is a nice way to end a meal at the popular Waikiki restaurant. The coconut mellows the sweetness of the pineapple, and the nice crispy creme brulee topping completes this wild dessert experience.
Hula Grill Waikiki
2335 Kalakaua Ave.