Going Green in 2017
With the new year already off to a great start, many of us are on a mission to make healthy dining choices in 2017. Whatever your motivation for this may be — whether it’s shedding some excess holiday weight or simply leading a healthy lifestyle overall — there’s no harm in filling your opu with nutritious, revitalizing fare.
I’m here to remind you that, contrary to popular belief, eating well can, in fact, be a delicious endeavor. One of the easiest ways to do so is to incorporate more fresh heaps of salad into your dining routine — and trust me, this doesn’t have to be a chore.
The meals that I’ve scoped out for you and me both will not only give our taste buds something unique to try, but also will leave us feeling full and satisfied. And let’s not forget that there’s still room for a little indulging along the way.
IN AN OCTOPUS’ GARDEN
Harbor Restaurant at Pier 38 brings something new to the seafood-dominated port located off Nimitz Highway, accenting its popular neighbors (Nico’s and Uncle’s Fish Market) with a well-rounded menu of great-quality food.
While you can still enjoy delectable seafood at Harbor — hence, our star salad — you also can bite into sizzling steaks, juicy burgers and more, all given a Spanish touch from the charcoal-fired Brasa grill-ovens that make the eatery’s cuisine so distinct.
Head chef Rob McDaniel is dedicated to offering fresh, high-quality ingredients — thanks, in part, to his lengthy background in fine dining — so there are many dishes for health-conscious diners to order. The robust list of salads on the menu includes Spanish Grilled Octopus with Fennel Salad ($17 lunch, $21 dinner), a must when dining at Harbor.
Great for sharing with the whole table or as a personal meal, the entree features octopus that’s flown in from Spain twice a week. Because it’s a different type of tako than the local variety we usually enjoy, it has a slightly higher fat content — relatively speaking, as octopus remains a naturally low-fat seafood option — making it wonderfully tender.
The clean flavor of the proteinand vitamin-rich octopus is counterbalanced by peppery arugula and licorice-toned fennel, not to mention sweet cherry tomatoes. And with a calamansi dressing, which can be accented with a juicy drizzle of lemon on top, this dish quickly becomes the definition of refreshment.
“We use a lot of fresh-squeezed citrus and olive oil here — like for our salads, they aren’t made with ranch or heavy mayonnaise-style dressings,” explains McDaniel. “And the darker and more bitter the greens are, the better they are for you, so we use a lot of arugula and spring mixes.”
Stop by Harbor Restaurant during happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. daily. You’ll also love the expansive copper-top bar that serves as the centerpiece of the spacious eatery. And McDaniel notes that Harbor no longer has a corkage fee for wine, in case there’s a special bottle you’d like to bring along.
Harbor Restaurant at Pier 38
1129 N. Nimitz Hwy., Honolulu
SALAD, AND THEN SOME
Eating right does not only translate to having a salad as your whole lunch or dinner. For many diners, a better approach is getting in their greens alongside the meal of their choice. And if that meal is something more indulgent such as pizza or pasta — and let’s face it, cravings for those comforts aren’t going anywhere — you can still enjoy them in moderation without going overboard.
Café Lani Hawaii at Ala Moana Center has a fantastic menu item for striking the perfect balance between eating well and satisfying cravings. It comes in the form of Healthy Green Salad Set ($23), which offers the right portions of some soul-soothing creations with a big bowl of vivacious salad on the side.
More specifically, the set gives a sampling of your choice of soup (French onion or clam chowder), a mini pizza Margherita and a mini shrimp gratin, all to supplement the colorful mix of greens, tomatoes, mushrooms and asparagus. As an added plus, the salad portion of the set meal is topped with a nice crunch from lotus root slices, which are a great source of fiber.
Chef Masayuki Ohara explains that customers love the Healthy Green Salad Set because it “has a little bit of everything.” And if your culinary habits include carbs, you’re in luck because “you also can enjoy all-youcan-eat bread. We bake over 20 varieties,” adds the chef.
Café Lani has been met with rave reviews since opening about a year ago in Ala Moana’s revamped Ewa Wing. The Italian-inspired restaurant, whose menu showcases Japanese and American touches, is ready to release its seasonal winter menu tomorrow, which will be available through February.
Some of the seasonal bites to look forward to are Octopus and Mountain Vegetables Pasta Set and Mentaiko Cream Pasta with Crab Meat Set, both of which are priced at $22.50. The sets come with salad, soup, mini pizza and all-you-can-eat bread. As a special treat, Ginger & Walnut and Azuki Bean & Sesame breads also will be freshly baked as all-you-can-eat options for the duration of the winter menu.
Ala Moana Center (Level 2, Ewa Wing, next to Longs Drugs)
1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu