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New Saturday Brunch; Wellness Workshop

One rainy, cool Saturday afternoon last fall we happened to be in Chinatown, and I decided to take the boys to Brasserie Du Vin for lunch. Max ordered a steak sandwich – a freshly made baguette topped with grilled onions, medium-rare beef, melted cheese and a seasoned au jus. He couldn’t stop talking about it, and I’ve no doubt that it will remain one of his childhood food memories because he already craves the taste of something that had an impact the moment he took the first bite.


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Brunch items at Brasserie Du Vin might include (foreground) lox, egg and toast. Jo McGarry photos

What I recall about his sandwich is that it became the focus of a whole conversation. As we sat in the semi-shadowy Saturday afternoon light of Brasserie Du Vin, we talked about France and Scotland, food cultures, fishing, the difference between great french fries and average ones, and a whole bunch of other things I can’t remember now. But what I do remember is a simple, peaceful lunch hour spent eating well and enjoying the conversation – a rare moment in our all-too-busy lives.

I mention this because Brasserie Du Vin is opening this weekend for Saturday brunch, and there’s something about the restaurant, with its dark corners, European bar and sunny courtyard, that invites conversation and encourages lingering, memorable meals – especially on a weekend.

The new Saturday brunch dishes will change frequently so chef Marco Elder can keep the menu inspired, and this week’s dishes include Caesar Salad with Kula baby romaine, Manchego cheese and Spanish white anchovies; a burger made with local beef, local tomatoes and onion on a toasted house-baked roll topped with caramelized onions and choices that include Gruyere, Swiss or bleu cheese, apple-smoked bacon, mushrooms and avocado, or a fried egg. There’s a Loco Moco made with local eggs, Eggs Benedict, Crab Omelets and a host of other dishes including the regular menu. If you have some time, call friends and go try a French-inspired, bistro-style Saturday brunch or lunch. Details of hours and menu are at brasserieduvin.com …

There are probably no two words more inclined to strike fear and loathing into the hearts of dedicated carnivores than “vegan” and “macrobiotic.”

Chef Leslie Ashburn, a vegan, macrobiotic personal chef and cooking teacher, is used to having to explain to people how her health-driven eating is not only enjoyable, but can encourage a complete lifestyle change.

“People hide their coffee and their steak when they see me,” she says, laughing, “but really I never notice what people are eating. This way of eating is not about being judgmental.”

Supporting long-term health and offering people an alternative way to eat is part of Ashburn’s mission, and she’s partnered with life guide Alice Inoue and Chad Sato, a Manoa chiropractor with a devoted client base, to present a workshop on wellness this coming weekend.

“There are so many ways to create a balanced life,” says Inoue. “Dr. Chad will speak about mind and body wellness; Chef Leslie will talk about understanding the food we choose to put in our body. They both have added to my life in such a positive way that we wanted to come together and share with everyone in this workshop. ”

The trio will share their tools for a completely balanced approach to wellness Sunday, Oct. 7, in the Special Events Room at Macy’s. More information is at aliceinoue.com.

Happy eating!