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New Year’s Dreamin’

Ono, You Know

December 30, 2018

Story By: Ellise Kakazu | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO

Dining Out editor Ellise Kakazu makes plans for 2019, while treating herself to Sekiya’s Restaurant & Delicatessen’s Ozoni Soup and Kuromame.

Whether 2018 has been the best year yet or one that you are happy to leave behind, welcoming the new year is always exciting, as it’s the perfect time to create goals and plans that will make the next better than the last.

Many tend to think small or practical when thinking about the future, but this year I challenge everyone to shoot for the stars! Life is unpredictable and often throws curve balls, which means one should not waste a moment of 2019 and make it a year to remember.

So before fireworks dance through the night sky tomorrow (Dec. 31), take a moment to write down all the dreams you wish to see come to life within the next 365 days. In the words of Walt Disney,”If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Earlier this week, I sat down and created my list of 2019 goals while indulging in some end of the year treats bursting with flavor.

TASTY TRADITIONS

Stepping into Sekiya’s Restaurant & Delicatessen is like entering someone’s home. The restaurant’s dining area is inviting and cozy, and the food rolling out of the kitchen is just as heartwarming.

Ozoni Soup ($8.85)

Visitors can sit in one of Sekiya’s comfy booths and enjoy local and Japanese dishes such as saimin, oxtail soup, sukiyaki, loco moco and beef stew. Being in business for more than 80 years, the longstanding restaurant knows how to make visitors feel like family and keep them coming back for more delicious meals.

Most of Sekiya’s offerings are staple, island favorites but there are some rather-hard-to come-by items that the restaurant offers to its customers. For instance, Sekiya’s serves Ozoni Soup ($8.85), a traditional Japanese dish that is typically enjoyed on New Year’s Day, all year-round.

A bowl of ozoni holds Chinese cabbage, carrots, green onions, bite-sized pieces of mochi and a made in-house dashi. And during New Year’s time, the chef adds mizuna (Japanese mustard greens) to the mix.

Chef Trey Paresa notes the dashi that is used in the ozoni is the same one used to create its famous saimin.

Kuromame ($4 side order, $28 per pound)

“(The dashi) is very well known,” he says. Something else not usually served at restaurants is Kuromame ($4 for side order, $28 per pound) — black soybeans that require much time to prepare. Paresa explains the glistening beans are soaked overnight in water to loosen them up, then they are boiled for 14 hours or more, until tender.

“The beans are really hearty,” notes Paresa. Once the beans reach the perfect texture, they are cooked down with a special sweet sauce and water chestnuts for extra flavor.

According to owner Fay Hara, the black soybeans are a symbol of good health and luck for the new year. So it is best that one heads down to Sekiya’s and orders some for his or herself and loved ones — Sekiya’s will be open on New Year’s Eve from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and closed on New Year’s Day. Kuromame is only available now until supplies last, so get it while you can!

TIME TO INDULGE

Situated in Market City Shopping Center on Kapiolani Boulevard, Formaggio Wine Bar draws in visitors from near and far searching for a good time, and impeccable food and drinks.

Formaggio Wine Bar’s Wild Mushroom pizza ($16.95) FILE PHOTO

As its name suggests, Formaggio Wine Bar is stocked with an array of wines — about 50 types of vino, according to owner Niraj Maskey.

While sipping on a glass, visitors can peruse through Formaggio’s menu filled with exquisite bites such as Foie Gras Crostini, Escargot Blue, Kobe Burger and Wild Mushroom ($16.95) pizza, Formaggio’s most popular pie selection.

According to Maskey, Wild Mushroom is a thin crust, 10-inch pizza showcasing an alfredo-based white sauce, shredded mozzarella, and a sensational mix of shiitake, oyster and button mushrooms. Topping the tantalizing pie is white truffle oil, giving the creation a whole new layer of flavor.

Even if your New Year’s resolution is to lose some pounds, it doesn’t mean you cannot treat yourself every once in a while, right?

Serving decadent food and beverages, Formaggio Wine Bar is the perfect place to celebrate the new year and beyond — the restaurant will be open on New Year’s Eve from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. and closed on New Year’s Day.

What’s more, Formaggio also brings in live musicians on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, allowing guests to feel the groove while enjoying their meal.

As the year comes to a close, I cannot help but feel incredibly blessed with countless onolicious meals and unforgettable moments. Thank you, Dining Out readers, for making 2018 one for the books.

Happy New Year!

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