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Food & Dining // Table Talk
Jo McGarry

Seafood Festivals; Chopsticks And Wine

Beachhouse at the Moana offers quality steakhouse fare, but the restaurant’s focus is on seafood Jo McGarry photos

Beachhouse at the Moana offers quality steakhouse fare, but the restaurant’s focus is on seafood Jo McGarry photos

It was a fabulous weekend for fish. Well, for fish lovers, at least. With festivities in full swing at Turtle Bay – the annual Seafood Festival drew huge and enthusiastic crowds on both Friday and Saturday evening – and the Hawaii Fishing and Seafood Festival at Pier 38 Sunday, it was truly a weekend to celebrate the sea.

If you didn’t manage to get to either one, check out the websites for next year’s events. Both have grown incredibly since their inceptions, and both deserve local support for value (Fishing Festival is free and Seafood Festival among the most inexpensive of all food events), and for keeping awareness of ocean sustainability alive.

The Fishing And Seafood Festival has become so popular that activities like Sea-To-Me (a fish-tasting event at the pier), and Fishing for Hawaii’s Hungry, where participating fishermen donate their catch to Institute for Human Services, are now part of a weeklong celebration at Pier 38. The dream of a vibrant, growing, community-centered fishing village imagined by Brooks Takenaka and the team at Pacific Ocean Producers is alive and thriving. There’s much behind-the-scenes work that goes into these events, and many people who deserve credit for ensuring our ocean management …

I had a nice conversation with William Chen Saturday morning.

He’s the chef de cuisine at the gorgeous Beachhouse at the Moana restaurant at the Moana Surfrider in Waikiki, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more enthusiastic about his job. Chen, who hails from the East Coast, has only great things to say about the Beachhouse dining room and its exqui site location. He’s also one of those devoted chefs always ready to seduce his audience with a tempting dish or two. After his six-minute conversation on radio, I was ready to head off directly the Moana Surfrider for lunch.

“We stay true to the kinds of dishes you’d expect to see in a steak house,” said Chen, “but because of our location, we naturally focus on fish.” Afternoon tea, too, has become a huge attraction at the Moana, rivaling many restaurants as a top spot to spend a late, lazy afternoon with house-baked treats and British-style tea service. You can see Chen in action, along with a host of top island chefs, at Chopsticks and Wine 2012. This year’s event, a celebration of food wine and music, will be held Oct. 18 at Hawaii Convention Center.

Chopsticks and Wine has grown into one of Honolulu’s signature food and wine events, with more than a dozen chefs participating. This year they include chefs from Alan Wong’s Restaurants, d.k Steakhouse, Kai Market, Le Bistro, Mariposa, Poke Stop, Prince Court, Shokudo, Gyotaku Japanese Restaurant, Wolfgang’s Steak House and Gokujo Sushi. There’s a “speakeasy” premium tasting this year that includes a take-home Riedel wineglass, but you’d better sign up for that, as the $75 tickets should go quickly. The event is the annual fundraiser for the Japanese Chamber of Commerce; more details at honolulu-japanesechamber.org.

Happy eating!

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