An Ode To Chocolate – Peanut Butter Euphoria
Happy Sunday, Ono readers! It’s been too long since we’ve indulged in our dessert cravings and gotten our forks into some chocolate-covered, sugar-coated fun! What I ‘ve been really wanting to sing praises to lately is the most sinfully delicious food moment of all time: when chocolate met peanut butter.
Both rich and luxurious in their own way — peanut butter with its smooth, sticky and salty appeal, and velvety chocolate with its fanciful fudge factor — I mean, who wouldn’t love this combination? I know I’m not alone when saying Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups played a big role in my sweet-tooth development.
As I’ve found from exploring some of my favorite restaurants, there are many creative pastry chefs who’ve taken their adoration for the chocolate-peanut butter combo and turned it into some downright addicting desserts. And when I say addicting, I mean it — you’ll see.
A PARTNERSHIP YOUR SWEET TOOTH WILL LOVE
My first stop had to be Odori-ko, where owners and brother-sister duo Hiro Takei and Rie Akita are dedicated to partnering with local small businesses, artists and nonprofits to supplement the overall dining experience offered at their modern Japanese restaurant.
One of those partnerships is with Sweet Revenge creator Kathy Masunaga, who is known in the local farmers market scene for her delicious pies that are freshly made with local ingredients. The pastry guru came up with three exclusive desserts for Odori-ko, which feature the kind of flavors and flair you don’t often find in Japanese restaurants.
The treat I sought out is Peanut Butter and Chocolate Crisp ($9.95), an unforgettable mix of “chocola-fied” phyllo-dough crisps, which Sweet Revenge makes to pair with a fluffy mound of peanut butter mousse.
Masunaga calls the crisp “the sweet part,” seeing as she prefers a more refined, toned-down sugar content in many of her creations. “The peanut butter mousse is almost savory, there’s very little sugar in it,” she says, adding that the local cream she uses really adds to quality of the mousse. All together, taste is sublime in this perfectly balanced dessert.
“When you think peanut butter, you think rich, right? But it’s a mousse, so it’s really light. It really fits with the type of desserts we were looking for,” comments Takei.
The restaurant continues to serve up delicious Japanese fare with a modern twist — a la Odori-ko Style Wafu Steak or Dragon Tempura Roll. Takei reminds readers that in addition to yummy cuisine, there’s plenty of live music to enjoy, as the eatery hosts local musicians who love to perform for kamaaina customers.
1680 Kapiolani Blvd., F8, Honolulu
UNDER THE SPELL OF MOLTEN CAKE
There’s one dessert baked up at Restaurant Epic known to be habit-forming. It goes by the name of Chocolate and Peanut Butter Molten Cake ($8), and it’s definitely the sweet ending you can’t pass up with your meal.
“The first time I ever tried it, I ate it every day for like a month straight!” exclaims server Scott Yu. “I love that dessert; I would recommend it hands down. That’s the one I notice will always put a smile on people’s faces.”
This truly mouthwatering selection presents a dark chocolate souffle cake that rises to puffed-up perfection in the oven, as gooey bits of peanut butter and runny pudding-like chocolate fudge melt and meld together in the cake’s interior.
“The first thing you’ll taste will be the light chocolate souffle, then you get hit with the rich chocolate fudge and creamy peanut butter (on the inside),” says Yu.
The cake has a nice, crisp outer layer that contrasts well with the moist molten within. And when paired with a bite of vanilla ice cream on the side – forget about it, you’re a goner!
I’ve come to the conclusion that this dessert has magical powers. I kid you not, when Dining Out photographer Nathalie Walker and I stopped by to sample this special treat, we wound up audibly oohing and ahhing, even dancing to the Stevie Wonder song playing on the radio, all at the hands of this dessert’s sweet seduction.
When ordering Chocolate and Peanut Butter Molten Cake, you may want to request it in advance, seeing as it takes 15-20 minutes to prepare the souffle. The dessert is a welcome complement to Epic’s mix of Euro-Pacific international cuisine.
1131 Nuuanu Ave., Chinatown