Women – And Bloody Marys – Rule

Anyone who turned up for breakfast at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach last Sunday could not have failed to be impressed by the stunningly colorful array of food on display for a modern-day brunch created by some of the top female chefs in the country.

Christina Tosi (Momofuku Milk Bar, N.Y.) handed out miniature glasses of milky coffee to sip alongside softly poached eggs on tiny muffins topped with sweet onion marmalade, as Top Chef Masters‘ Susan Feniger (STREET) wowed the happy crowd with fried apple bananas glazed with sweet shoyu and coconut jam. During the all-too-short two-hour brunch high above the crowds in Waikiki, our expectations of Sunday brunch were elevated.

No soggy pancakes or wilted omelets at this extraordinary event pulled together by Roy’s corporate executive chef Jacqueline Lau, whose own ocean-inspired offering of moi with Kahuku sea asparagus, limu salad and watermelon radish was one of the most colorful and creative of the morning.


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Southern Wine and Spirits' mixologist Chandra Lucariello and colleague Erin Suzuki introduced guests to the wonders of an expertly made modern-day Bloody Mary last Sunday at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa. Jo McGarry photos.

And amid the food, champagne and lively conversation, the highlight was a Bloody Mary bar so bountiful that there were at times guests who mistook the drink station for the breakfast buffet.

Southern Wines and Spirits mixologist Chandra Lucariello and colleague Erin Suzuki spent the morning introducing guests to the wonders of an expertly made modern-day Bloody Mary. If your idea of the popular weekend breakfast drink is tomato juice with a splash of Tabasco, then think again – contemporary consumption of vitamins and vodka today are garnished with everything from rainbow baby carrots to celery, cucumber, shrimp, fresh basil, anchovies, mini mozzarella balls, tomatoes – all topped with a rimful of colorful herb-and-spice-flavored Hawaiian salt. Anyone looking to see how far we’ve come since the 1990s in our food culture need only take a look at the Bloody Mary then and now.

I recommend organizers start looking for a much larger location for next year’s Girls Got Game brunch. No self-respecting foodie will miss out next year. And if we’ve put you in the mood for an excellent Sunday brunch, then head to Orchids at Halekulani or Hoku’s at Kahala Resort and Spa for two of the fanciest the Islands have to offer. For something simpler – but no less delicious – Goran Streng’s Tango offers breakfast daily, and across the street at Tango Market there’s a Sunday brunch that lasts all day. Try the Cheddar and dill scones with smoked salmon and a dill sauce for the chef’s version of “Biscuits and Gravy.”

And if you’re searching for a Bloody Mary worthy of a second sip, then head to Chart House Waikiki, where the decades-old recipe is still good enough to revive a flagging Sunday morning spirit.

Happy eating!