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Ono, You Know

Professing an Adoration for Asparagus

Story By Alana Folen Photos By Leah Friel
April 15 - 21, 2012

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I‘m not a fan of dieting and never have been. In fact, a friend of mine recently texted me a humorous saying clearly summing up my thoughts on dieting: “Dear Diet, It’s not me, it’s you. I just don’t think it’s going to work between us. You’re boring, tasteless and I can’t stop cheating on you.” Yup, perfectly put — it’s over between me and diets.

And as editor of Dining Out, going on a diet is nearly impossible, if you ask me. So in order to stay somewhat healthy, without having to sacrifice the food I love, I try my best to make smart decisions when it comes to what I eat. Therefore, this week I’ve decided to pay tribute to my favorite vegetable of all time — let’s give a great big round of applause for asparagus!

Asparagus is one of the most nationally well-balanced vegetables in existence, and leads nearly all produce items in the array of nutrients it supplies. As one of nature’s most-perfect foods, asparagus is extremely versatile, low in calories, very low in sodium and high in potassium, fiber, vitamin B6 and thiamin, just to name a few. For today’s health-conscious consumer, asparagus is heaven-sent.

So, without further ado, let’s kick diets to the curb and make room in our stomachs and hearts for the new love of our lives — asparagus.

Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant

Always on the brink of something new, Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant continues to impress diners with its traditional Chinese cuisine and somewhat unconventional fare. Home of The Perry and Price Show, Jade Dynasty, conveniently located in Ala Moana Center, is always bustling with customers on any given day, and general manager Gary Chan always does his best to reinvent the norm as to never bore his loyal patrons.

When asked if Jade Dynasty offers an asparagus dish, Lam quickly and eagerly responded, “No, we don’t have any asparagus dishes on our menu, but we can create one.”

So, just like that, with a snap of a finger, Bamboo Fungus with Asparagus was born. Available starting today, Bamboo Fungus with Asparagus ($16.95) features an alluring shrimp mix and asparagus wrapped in bamboo fungus. Six pieces of asparagus complete the dish, and a sauce comprised of egg whites, chicken stock and carrots complements this new creation. Bak choy garnishing also gives this entree a pop of color.

“This is something that you won’t find anywhere else,” Chan says with a smile. “It’s a nice combination.”

Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant is the place to be to elevate your taste buds to new horizons.

Jade Dynasty Seafood Restaurant
Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd. #4220
947.8818
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On On at McCully Chinese Restaurant

Chinese food hits the spot, and when that craving becomes too much to bear, On On at McCully Chinese Restaurant knows just exactly what you need. Located on McCully Street, this family-owned-and-operated establishment has quite a loyal following of patrons across the state. Owners Cowan and Faith Wong first opened the doors to On On in 1980 before moving to its current location 20 years later. Known for its mouth-watering Northern Chinese cuisine, On On always makes it a point to add a touch of local flair to each and every one of its dishes.

On On at McCully is my go-to spot for all of my Chinese favorites, such as Minute Chicken Cake Noodle, Mongolian Beef, Salt and Pepper Pork Chops and more — and when it comes to asparagus dishes, believe me, On On’s Beef or Pork with Asparagus is a force to be reckoned with. My mouth is already watering.

Priced at $11.95, Beef or Pork with Asparagus is served family-style and features none other than your choice of beef or pork sauteed with savory asparagus spears in a zesty black bean sauce. What I love most about this dish is the abundance of flavor that it exudes. The morsels of meat are oh, so absolutely tender and the pieces of asparagus are stir-fried to perfection. Now, many say black bean sauce is an acquired taste, but I’ve grown to simply enjoy it. Sure, the flavor may be somewhat sharp, pungent and spicy in aroma, but with a taste that’s salty, and somewhat bitter and sweet, it packs a punch to any dish.

So, the next time you wish to liven up your palate, pay a visit to On On at McCully and make it a point to take in the onolicious flavors of this popular dish. All you need is a bowl of rice and a cup of tea and there you have it, your meal is complete.

On On at McCully Chinese Restaurant
1110 McCully St.
946.8833
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Ruth’s Chris Steak House

As one of the premier restaurants for legendary steaks, Ruth’s Chris Steak House claims the prize, as this award-winning restaurant offers diners only the finest USDA prime steaks, and the freshest island fish and seafood. With five franchised establishments throughout the state, Ruth’s Chris’ culinary team expertly prepares steak like you’ve never tasted before. Utilizing USDA prime Iowa-fed, Iowa-grown beef products, Ruth’s Chris’ executive chef Eli Low knows that the secret to succulent steaks lies in the cooking. Each steak is cooked at 1,800 degrees and served on a 500-degree plate, resulting in the tastiest and juiciest of steaks yet.

“Everything is served a la carte here,” Low says, “but a favorite has to be Filet, and if you are a fan of asparagus, you can ask to have it prepared Oscar Style.”

Ruth’s Chris’ Filet Mignon ($42) is the most-tender cut of corn-fed Midwestern beef, broiled to your liking. It’s superb as is, but want to treat yourself to a little something extra? Opt for Oscar Style Filet for an additional cost of $17.

“With the Oscar-Style Filet we top the filet with fresh spears of asparagus and a homemade crab cake served with bear-naise sauce,” Low explains. “It’s a decadent pairing that goes very well with a nice glass of merlot.”

And a simple but noteworthy side at this upscale restaurant is Asparagus with Hollandaise sauce ($12). As a healthier a la carte option, the 6-ounce portion of asparagus is boiled in salted water, and the Hollandaise sauce incorporates a bit of tanginess and tart flavor to the dish.

“A lot of our customers order asparagus,” Low says. “Here at Ruth’s Chris we think asparagus is a good accompaniment to our steaks.”

Ruth’s Chris Steak House
500 Ala Moana Blvd. #6C and 226 Lewers St. #L-236
(and other locations on Maui and the Big Island)
599.3860 (Ala Moana Blvd.) or 440.7910 (Lewers St.)
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