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Eating like a star

Ono, You Know

February 18, 2019

Story By: Ellise Kakazu | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo

Editor Ellise Kakazu gets the star treatment at Vintage Cave Cafe.

The 61st Annual Grammy Awards was held last Sunday, which brought the best of the best in the music industry together for one night. Per usual, the stars shined ever so brightly as they dazzled in eye-catching outfits and gave lively, memorable performances and speeches.

Favorites like Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga and Cardi B walked away with shiny, gold gramo-phone trophies at the end of the night, and even local boy Kalani Pea snagged a Grammy for his album titled No Anei.

Mesmerized by the Grammy’s glitz and glam, I was inspired to live a day in the life of a celebrity and treat myself to plates of luxurious, award-worthy wagyu beef — a highly prized beef that features beautiful marbling.

Are you ready to live like a star with me? Let’s jet.

A GRAND ESCAPE

I wish I could take this Ono, You Know escapade across the globe, as traveling to far away countries is an ordinary venture for the rich and famous. However, that idea is simply out of reach. So I decided to visit Vintage Cave Cafe, a restaurant that makes guests feel like they escaped to another part of the world, particularly Italy.

With its celestial paintings, crystal chandeliers, elegant statues and exquisite menu filled with Italian delights, Vintage Cave Cafe is unlike any other dining destination on the island.

Vintage Cave Cafe’s Wagyu Filet Mignon (part of Speciale C menu)

Providing customers with unforgettable experiences, the restaurant presents stellar multi-course meal options to its guests. One of Vintage Cave’s set menus is Speciale C ($128), which comes with six divine courses. Speciale C starts with Smoked Salmon Mousse Crostini then is followed by Prosciutto & Papaya, Lobster Bisque, Fresh Spaghetti with Truffle Cream Sauce, Wagyu Filet Mignon or Coda Di Vitello alla Vaccinara, and ends with a Chocolate Lava Cake served with vanilla gelato.

Vintage Cave Cafe’s kitchen supervisor Chancy Martinez explains Wagyu Filet Mignon features tender, top-notch beef that is paired with a made-in-house berry sauce. The superb sauce consists of reduced red wine, roux (flour and butter) and mixed berries.

Along with the succulent cuts of wagyu beef, the chef adds a vibrant medley of fresh vegetables on the plate, consisting of baby carrot, yellow and red bell peppers, two pearl white onions and zucchini. Bringing more color to the dish is a bed of arugula drizzled with a tantalizingly tangy balsamic dressing.

The restaurant also offers other set menus like Speciale A ($58 four courses) and Speciale B ($88 five courses), both of which come with different selections. But if one really wants to eat like a star, Speciale C is definitely the way to go.

M.A.C. 24/7 Restaurant & Bar’s Fully-Loaded Local Bacon Cheeseburger ($19)

Guests can indulge in any one of these satisfying sets from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. or from 8 to 9:30 p.m. (restaurant closes at 10 p.m.) seven days a week.

What’s more, Vintage Cave Cafe holds an afternoon tea service every day from noon to 3:30 p.m. (last seating at 3 p.m.) — the restaurant now offers pizzas, pastas, salad and soup during this time as well.

AT YOUR BECK AND CALL

Celebrities are known to get what they want anytime of the day or night, so to feel like a true superstar I turned to M.A.C. 24/7 Restaurant & Bar in Waikiki.

The restaurant provides customers with “Modern American Cuisine” (M.A.C.) around the clock, seven days a week. I like to think of M.A.C. 24/7 as diners’ personal chef — always ready to whip up a fabulous meal.

“Our goal is to provide a welcoming environment for locals and visitors of all ages where they can enjoy a creative menu of generously portioned gourmet comfort foods, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” says executive chef Rey Baysa. “M.A.C. 24/7 delivers a memorable and fun experience where guests enjoy anything, anytime.”

M.A.C. 24/7 has made a name for itself by serving up generous stacks of pancakes — the former host of Man v. Food Adam Richman once visited the restaurant to partake in its M.A.C. Daddy Pancake Challenge — but the eatery offers much more than that.

Chef Baysa notes some of the restaurant’s best sellers are Lobster Mac & Cheese Benedict, Double Decker Grilled Mac & Cheese Sandwich and M.A.C. Aloha, which is a kicked-up version of a local mixed plate.

Another pleasing item on the restaurant’s menu is the Fully-Loaded Local Bacon Cheeseburger ($19) featuring a half-pound wagyu beef patty.

“(The) wagyu beef patty has rich flavor due to the high marbling content of the chuck and brisket mix that’s used to make our patties,” notes Baysa.

The hefty burger also comes with Vermont cheddar cheese, applewood-smoked thick-cut bacon, Portuguese sausage, locally grown pineapple and tomato, lettuce, guaca-mole and a beer-battered onion ring within a fluffy brioche bun. Adding more decadence to the burger is a generous side of fries and teriyaki sauce for extra zing.

Baysa notes the burger is “like a symphony of flavor in just one bite.”

I may not be a real celebrity, but after this week’s foodie adventure I sure feel like one! After indulging in any one of these dishes, I am sure you will too.

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