Ono for Applelicious Goodness

Columns Ono, You Know

March 10, 2012

Story By: Dining Out Team |

Happy Sunday, Ono readers! Steve Jobs wasn’t the only one to think up creative Apple products. In fact, bakers for centuries have been baking up a storm producing apple turnovers, apple pies, apple tarts and more. Mott’s is the leading producer of healthy apple sauce and fruit juices, and apples in general have been the highlight of many other culinary creations.

With this said, you really can’t go wrong with apples, which is why they’re one of my most favorite fruits. And although it’s believed that “one bad apple spoils the bunch,” that’s definitely not the case when it comes to these following Ono, You Know establishments, as they are one of a kind and the apple of my eye! Go ahead, read on, and let the exquisite apple fare captivate your taste buds.

Big City Diner

  • The editor has a lot of love for BCD's Rustic Apple Pie a la Mode ($6.99).
  • Big City Diner's Apple French Toast ($7.99)
  • Big City Diner's Rustic Apple Pie a la Mode ($6.99)
  • Big City Diner's Murphy's Apple Pancakes ($9.99)
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This award-winning restaurant never sacrifices on taste and has the highest of standards when it comes to presenting customers with the epitome of comfort food. President and owner Lane Muraoka took the opportunity to open the original Big City Diner in Kaimuki nearly 13 years ago, and four locations later, BCD, as I affectionately call it, has risen to the top in the world of diners.

On my most recent visit to the Pearlridge eatery this past week, it was raining cats and dogs, keeping to the rhythm of booming thunder. Cold and soaking wet (silly me, forgot my umbrella), all I wanted at this point was warm and gooey apple delights. While in the midst of this cold and gray weather, my adoration for a good old fashioned apple pie surmounted everything else in sight. Thank goodness, BCD’s Rustic Apple Pie a la Mode ($6.99) came to my rescue. This tried and true favorite of mine can best be described as a deconstructed apple pie, complete with pieces of puff pastry, a sinfully sweet apple filling, morsels of raisins and last but not least, a scoop of Bubbie’s vanilla bean ice cream and whipped cream! Can we say amazing?!

Now, if that doesn’t win you over, Chef Dennis Franks knows what will. How about BCD’s Murphy’s Apple Pancakes ($9.99) and Apple French Toast ($7.99)? Trust me, no matter how bad the storm, these breakfast favorites are bound to sprinkle a little bit of sunshine into your life.

Murphy’s Apple Pancakes features three gigantic, fluffy pancakes adorned with a homemade apple topping, whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon zest. Apple French Toast wows early risers with its warm and savory apple filling as well, and as a new special on the menu, it’s definitely worth trying. Although it’s supposedly only available on certain days, Chef Dennis let me in on a little secret.

“Guests can request Apple French Toast as an off-the-menu option and we’ll gladly prepare it for them,” he says with a smile. “The homemade apple filling is what makes the dish — it’s comprised of Granny Smith apples, cinnamon and a hint of lemon zest. Here at Big City Diner we like to use Granny Smith apples because of the tartness and crunch that’s associated with it.”

Big City Diner
Pearlridge (and various locations)
98-211 Pali Momi St.
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Fendu Boulangerie

  • Fendu's Fuji Apple Crumble Pie ($5.75 each)
  • Fendu's Fuji Apple Danish ($2.25 each)
  • Niel Koep with Fendu's alluring apple delights.
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Continuing on my wet and dreary journey, the skies may have been gloomy, but my spirits weren’t dampened as I headed into my hometown of Manoa Valley where the temperature is always noticeably cooler. Fendu Boulangerie in Manoa Marketplace never ceases to put a smile on my face with its array of fresh breads, pizzas, sandwiches, pastries and more, and owner and chef Niel Koep whips up quite a few “applelicious” favorites.

My top pick? Most definitely Fendu’s Fuji Apple Danish ($2.25 each), filled to the brim with Koep’s remarkable apple filling and topped with sweet powdered sugar.
“The apple filling is homemade with Fuji apples and cooked with brown sugar, cinnamon and a bit of vanilla,” Koep says.

And if you have yet to sink your teeth into Fendu’s decadent treats, really, what are you waiting for? Please try the Fuji Apple Danish, and if you’re yearning for something even more elaborate, you’ll find it in Fuji Apple Crumble Pie ($5.75 each). Best when served at room temperature, this individual-sized pie is made with a European-style pie dough and an irresistible Fuj apple filling. Koep then adds an oatmeal crumble topping to finish it off, bakes it to perfection and dusts it with powdered sugar.

“Anything with apples sells very well,” Koep says, “so, we sell a lot of both the Fuji Apple Danish and the Fuji Apple Crumble Pie.

“We always use fresh Fuji apples. It’s my favorite apple because it has a sweet flavor, but it’s still firm enough so that it’s perfect for cooking,” he adds. “When you eat a Fuji it always has a nice, clean and sweet flavor.”

Fendu Boulangerie
Manoa Marketplace
2752 Woodlawn Drive. #5119
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  • Zpizza's Apple Fresco Salad ($8.50 small, $10.95 large)
  • Zpizza's Chris Llarenas with Apple Fresco Salad.
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With my sweet tooth satisfied, nothing sounded more refreshing than Zpizza’s Apple Fresco Salad ($8.50 small, $10.95 large). Available till the end of March, this salad spotlights a mix of savory and sweet, and a dash of amazing!

“Apple Fresco Salad has been extremely popular with our customers — once they try it they want to have it again,” says owner Cesar Llarenas, who opened the doors to the eatery’s Ward Centre location in 2008 and the Kailua establishment two years later.

“We call Zpizza ‘the pure one.’ We only use the highest quality ingredients, and although we specialize in pizzas, our salads are great, too,” he adds.

Yes, there’s no arguing that fact, weather it be Chicken Caesar, Greek, Pear and Gorgonzola or Apple Fresco, Zpizza’s tempting salads are ono indeed.

Aching for apples? Well, Apple Fresco Salad features the best in mixed greens, dried cranberries, gala apples, goat cheese and toasted almonds, splashed with a balsamic vinaigrette.

“Gala apples are very sweet and refreshing,” Llarenas says.

Hopefully we can give this heavenly salad a hana hou, but until then be sure to snag it while supplies last!

Zpizza Hawaii
1200 Ala Moana Blvd. (Ward)
151 Hekili St. (Kailua)
596.0066 (Ward), 230.8400 (Kailua)
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