Friday, August 22, 2008

FoodBuzz Hawaii Featured Blogger Dinner at Tokkuri Tei

I had the pleasure of expanding my blogging horizons a bit more this week by having dinner with some wonderful fellow bloggers. Hosted by Nate and Annie of House of Annie, the dinner was funded by FoodBuzz as part of their Featured Blogger Program, which I joined recently. Nate and Annie were here on vacation, visiting Nate's family and eating their foodie way through the island and they had the brilliant idea of trying to get some of the Hawaii FoodBuzz FPs together. We were a small but fun group; in addition to meeting Nate & Annie, I got to meet Albert from Pizza Therapy and hang out some more with my foodie friend Michelle from The Accidental Scientist.
Nate and Annie have good taste, they picked Tokkuri Tei as our restaurant, which I had heard about but had not tried yet. Tokkuri Tei is considered some of the best Japanese food and the first and best Izakya restaurant in Hawaii. (If you are not familiar with Izakyas the term usually refers to a casual "pub-like" restaurant where the food is mainly served small plate style and often consumed with beer or sake.) They have a pretty huge menu which I didn't have to spend too much time perusing as we voted Annie to do the ordering for us. (Its always refreshing to eat with a group of foodies who have no "don't/won't eat" foods and a sense of adventure for trying new things).
Annie did a spectacular job of ordering a ton of different dishes and once she ordered they just kept coming and coming, faster and faster. (Did you see the episode of "I Love Lucy" where she is trying to wrap the chocolates on the conveyor belt and the belt speeds up and she keeps shoving candy in her mouth to try to keep up? That's how I felt with all the food--trying to look at it, take pictures and eat it when it seemed like it just kept speeding up). We asked a server if they could slow it down but she said once the orders hit the kitchen they just come out--no slowing or stopping them. That would be my one real complaint with Tokkuri Tei, the food is very good and I wanted time to appreciate each dish a little before getting the next one (or the next 10!). I finally stopped taking pictures of all we ate because I didn't feel I was getting great pictures in the rush of food. I managed to get a few shots of some of the food (maybe a third of our dishes) but for much better pictures check out Nate's here.
The food quality was very good--the fish was incredibly fresh. (We went on Tuesday--as those of you who read Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential know, Tuesday is the best night for getting fresh fish--never on a Monday!) Nate and Annie said they picked the night for that very reason--again, don't you love Foodies!?! The breaded, deep fried miso butterfish was sweet and melted in your mouth and the salmon and scallops were fresh and tender.
The hamachi was "like butter" The Spider Poke roll was a standout--poke, softshell crab and garnished with fish roe, a delicious combo of colors, flavors and textures. The portabello mushroom was delicious too in its buttery miso sauce.

Tokkuri Tei was a bit less successful on the yakitori dishes (grilled meats on sticks). Both meats, pork with shiso leaf and beef tongue, were a bit tough and didn't have as much seasoning and flavor as they could have. They weren't bad but they were not great.

The company was terrific as well. We got to chat about blogging and I am definitely the newbie in the group in terms of blogging experience. Nathan is a techno-wiz and Albert a pizza guru (he has an e-cookbook on the subject) and Annie, Michelle and I had no problem talking about one of our favorite subjects--food. It was a very fun evening with great company, lots wonderful food and it was free too thanks to Foodbuzz--how can you beat that? I am glad I became a Featured Publisher in time to join them all for dinner! (Apparently a yearly local blogger dinner, potential tickets to Foodie Events and other perks are all part of the FP program) Thanks again to Nate and Annie who arranged it and to Foodbuzz for footing the bill for a delicious evening.
Tokkuri Tei
611 Kapahulu Ave.
Lunch: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. daily.
Dinner: 5:30 p.m.-midnight daily.


  1. Deb,

    great post! It was a lot of fun. Let's do it again when next we're in Hawaii!

    Guess what? We went back to Tokkuri Tei tonight! I told my mom how good it was, and she wanted to go too. So we went early (no reservations) and sat at the bar. Check out my site for the Tokkuri Tei Two post.

  2. what a great gathering. I love Tokkuri Tei.

    Yup, izakaya usually bring everything out at once, so the key is not to order everything all at once, space it out a bit :)

  3. What a great night! You have had some good adventures with foodies lately. I really must move to Hawaii. (think my family would mind?)
    I love Japanese food. (only squeamish towards organ meats) otherwise, I am up for anything.
    I was born in Japan but have no memory of it as we left when I was a baby. (I'm not Japanese, my parents were teaching)

  4. Deb, the dinner looks delicious. It must have been so wonderful to get together with other foodies. I hope I can do this someday too. Great post.

  5. You lucky, lucky, insanely lucky woman. I think there is one Japanes rest. here and it's not worth going to.

  6. How come we don't ever have foodbuzz events in Chicago. That is just unfair.

  7. Nate-n-Annie--It was fun. Can't wait to read about your second visit!

    Kat--great point--next time we will order slowly!

    Natashya--your family will probably mind if you don't bring them!

    Teresa--I hope you get to do it too!

    Prudy--I am lucky--it was very good!

    Jude--Get one together--there should be plenty of you in Chicago!

  8. forgot to say, order slowly if the place isn't too busy.
    but put a lot in if the place is jumping, otherwise you'll be waiting and starving by the time things come out if you don't order all at once.

  9. Well, I'm really behind, but I just got my new computer!

    It was a wonderful night, and so great to see you again! You described everything perfectly - so much so that I'm already craving that miso butterfish again...MMMMM...

  10. Kat--Thanks! I will remember those tips!

    Michelle--It was fun. Finally, a new computer yea!!!!


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