Apple of my Eye

Columns Ono, You Know

May 4, 2014

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Anthony Consillio

A is for apple, a fruit that holds prestige for being a so-called “superfruit.” Regardless of the type, apples are said to keep the doctor away and are the perfect addition to any weight-loss routine; thanks to their surplus of vitamins, minerals and fiber, not to mention the fact that apples are low in calories, fat and sodium. The benefits are all quite peachy … or so it seems. Personally, I like to enjoy this all-American fruit in the most all-American way: in the form of apple pie madness. Yes, sir! And somehow, once the apple pie frenzy gets going, I become oblivious to the fruit’s nutritional benefits. But that’s only natural when flaky crust, sugar and spice, and everything nice fall into the equation.

So, this week, I’m in awe of apples (my interest clearly dessert-related, but that’s beside the point). To my sweet delight, the following Ono, You Know eateries have mastered the spectacular interaction between crust and apple filling. Marry sweet, tart and fruity flavor with buttery and rich density — and voila! — some things are just meant to be. Imagine apple filling that’s tender, yet chunky, with a bit of al dente bite, each piece held together with a sticky, shiny glaze.

Yes, Ono enthusiasts, one bite of “applelicious” flair is all you need to appreciate these sweet confections. So, I’ll leave you with this to ponder: How do you like them apples? Oh, so sweet!

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Labeled a destination of choice for Iowa-fed, Iowa-grown USDA prime steaks Ruth’s Chris Steak House is a sizzling hot spot for the avid meat eater. After all, each slab of beef is cooked at 1,800 degrees and served on a 500-degree plate, which equates to 100 percent onolicious. These steaks are a cut above the rest.

I will tell you that although an entree boasts such grandeur, a meal is not complete without the sweetest of endings. Ruth’s Chris’ Warm Apple Crumb Tart ($12) makes my heart melt. Truth is I’m in love with its toasty apple pie crust baked a beautiful golden brown. The flaky crust serves as a haven for morsels of warm Granny Smith apples tossed in lemon juice, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla extract. Executive chef Eser Domingo also utilizes cornstarch to thicken the sweet and tart apple filling. Finally, to top it all off, you have to enjoy this sinful dessert a la mode with a massive scoop of Haagen-Dazs creamy vanilla ice cream spruced up with caramel drizzle. Yum! Grab a spoon and dig into this ooey gooey goodness that only gets better as the ice cream slowly begins to melt — the perfect complement to Warm Apple Crumb Tart.

With five franchised establishments throughout the Islands, Ruth’s Chris Steak House certainly has earned its standing among the best of the best.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Waterfront Plaza
500 Ala Moana Blvd. #6C

Fendu Boulangerie

Fresh baked bread right out of the oven is what started it all at Fendu Boulangerie, a renowned bake shop that opened for business in 2009. Five years later, owner and chef Niel Koep points to the baguette and says, “There’s a lot more where that came from.” These days the oven produces a span of toasty European-style confections, including pastries, oven-baked pizzas, sandwiches and, most recently, French Style Onion Soup.

Customers have gathered at this Manoa Marketplace establishment for years, and some have made Fendu Boulangerie a part of their morning routine. With those regulars in mind, Koep often updates the menu in an effort to entice his loyal fans to try something new.

However, no matter how vast or fancy the selection, most foodies have that one particular item they go back for time and time again. For me, I’d give anything for Fendu’s Petit Fuji Apple Crumble Pie ($5.75). And for those who question why, take a moment to appreciate all that goes into this little piece of heaven. For starters, fresh, crisp, juicy apples are sliced and blanketed in brown sugar and cinnamon, then baked in a French pie dough shell. The decadent aroma of apples is compelling enough, and the addition of a streusel-like crispy crumble adorned with lumps of golden oatmeal instantly grab ahold of your sweet tooth.

Fendu Boulangerie
Manoa Marketplace
2752 Woodlawn Drive

Bob’s Big Bear Diner

Loyal fans of Bob’s Big Boy in Mapunapuna have come out of hibernation to marvel in the restaurant’s new name and location. Now known as Bob’s Big Bear Diner in Waipahu, the menu, concept and mix of American and local favorites remain the same. The original restaurant made its debut back in 1975, boasting classics such as a hearty cheeseburger and mushroom burger, as well as sumptuous steaks and seafood.

And while the industry is ever-expanding with unique culinary creativity, Bob’s Big Bear Diner keeps it real with tried-and-true dishes that never wear out their welcome. Take the famed Apple Puff, for instance. Priced at $5.95, Apple Puff is a restaurant staple. Made in-house, this flaky puff pastry is topped with warm apple pie filling and a heavenly scoop of vanilla ice cream beautified with a luscious caramel drizzle and a cloud of whipped cream.

Sounds amazing doesn’t it? So, don’t second guess the popularity of Bob’s Big Bear’s Apple Puff. Mouths are watering, I know.

“It’s such a popular item, and we usually sell out rather quickly,” says general manager Jetta Serikawa, “But you can call ahead of time to reserve your Apple Puff. Our baker bakes them fresh!”

Bob’s Big Bear Diner
Waipahu Town Center
94-030 Farrington Hwy.

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Hawaii's Best