Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tailgating in Hawaii with Iron Chef America!

Hi there! Well, I had to knock the cobwebs off my blog and invite you to watch a pretty cool Iron Chef America episode tonight on Food Network. I almost typed Food Network with an "@" in front of it lol, shows I've been on twitter way more than here. I love the long form but I gotta tell you, I can type as the day is long, just like I talk. I often hope it's not too much information. Both here and there. Cool thing is, no one is making you read this or that, if you happen to be a long-format reader versus a short-format reader (did I just coin a term?), then I hope you enjoy :-). In the pic above I'm standing with Miss Hawaii 2012, Brandie Cazimero. She was not only sweet and poised, but she ATE!!! She was a such a fun judge and obviously she has great metabolism, I envy her lol! Here we are with EAT MY GLOBE blogger and fellow judge Simon Majumdar...
Simon is a complete joy to talk to. He loves food like I do and even more he loves to travel for it like I do as well. Check his blog link above and see what he's into, cool guy. Also, be nice to him, he's sensitive to the missives people write online and tweet simply based on his honest opinion. It ain't easy being a judge, I found myself having to nit-pick on stuff and split hairs because seriously, we are talking about IRON CHEFS here lol. It was all so good! Hard to judge at that level.

We taped tonight's Iron Chef America back during the 1st week of December. People always ask me when I'm going to be on the show and I think they want me to cook. Ummm that's the thing ... I'm a cook. Not a chef. I don't even want to pretend to be one for a day. I love nothing more than chillin' in the kitchen. I don't want to run, I don't want to sweat lol, I want to cook. I did a Food Network Challenge a couple of years ago and even then, I fought wearing an actual chef coat lol. I turned it into an apron and kept it moving. I've owned my own catering company and I cook professionally, but the "chef" thing just seems so stiff. I'm cool with being a cook. Ok, so anyway, I was thankfully asked to judge. HECK YEAH!!!! I will gladly sit for two days and let Morimoto, Cora and Symon work on several plates for my palate!

We taped two episodes, but tonight is the one featuring Chef's Morimoto and Symon and it's a tailgating theme! Just in time for my Giants to win the Superbowl next week! (Please, don't be so serious, if you are a fan of another team, just wish us well and rep your team in the comments ... us NFL fans can get along, right? pass me a beer lol). Speaking of, Alton introduced me with a bit of a smirk saying I was a Giants fan. At the time ... our team wasn't doing so well, but I'm no fair weather friend, so I repped BIG BLUE. Now, we're going to the Super Bowl...so HA, Alton! HA HA HA! I don't think he likes me and it's ok, sometimes you don't have to do a thing to be disliked, it's just that way. We met years ago and he was stiff and remains stiff lol. I don't take it personal. He won't be the first person looking down their nose at me in life. I kill 'em with kindness. Ever work with someone you can tell doesn't like you for no reason? You did absolutely nothing to them? Then, we have something in common. LOL. We all ended up having a great time though and I still adore him. I'm crazy, huh?

I say all that to say, he is the definition of professional. I've enjoyed his shows and talent long before I was on Food Network. Check him out leading the U of H Marching Band onto the set, which was a military hangar.
The band was given the sheet music for the ICA theme and killed it! They sounded soooooo good! Can't wait for you to hear it! Look at the chairman, Marc Dacascos, chillin in his tailgating corner...
Marc is such a nice guy and he's from Hawaii, so I met some of his family. You can tell his apple dropped right next to the tree, smiles all around. Pretty cool.

Ok, let's get to the food....
First, I cannot and will not go to Hawaii without a heavy helping of Polynesian food. I got in the car from the airport, did a quick interview of the driver and headed over to ONO Hawaiian Foods. Here I am fresh from the plane, lei in place, smile on my face, tummy needs an embrace ...
We got to ONO and I said O-Yeah!! Take a look at some pics...
It's right across the street from a gas station, I had the taxi wait there and ran inside. Look at the fun waiting sign on the door ...
I love places with crowd control issues, means something good is going on inside. I've been to Hawaii many times, but I've only been able to enjoy poi there once, so I was determined to get it again. Never had it? Here's a sign up in the restaurant telling you why you should ...
Yeah! Gluten free baby! I'm not a gluten watcher, but these days they are multiplying like Gremlins. Wanna read about my first time having poi in Hawaii? It's kinda funny, read "I'm Lau, Lomi Lomi and Poi'd Out". Ok, take a look inside ONO...
Looks like plenty of history in there, eh? I was getting really excited. Sure, tourist traps have some of the same markings; lines, walls cluttered with memorabilia and celeb visits, but the ONE singular thing I ask for when looking for an authentic place is (please don't be mad), but I ask for "an old lady in the kitchen" or "an old man in the kitchen" and if it's a lady, sometimes for laughs, but I'm quite serious, I throw in "an old lady in the kitchen--with a mustache." Seriously, it's the exact way I ask for it. It creates a laugh, but then the person I'm asking gets it, I want something real. So boom, imagine when I turned towards the kitchen and saw this ...
TWO OLD LADIES in the kitchen!! Don't ask about the mustache, ok, not polite :-). Teeheehee... Ok, I ordered pretty much everything I could eat in one night, then loaded it into the back seat of the cab...
I asked the driver if he wanted anything when I went into ONO. He said no, but on the way to the hotel I could tell he wished he'd said yes. It was perfuming the whole cab. Ok, so I go into a classy hotel (and this happens all the time) with a tray like this and people stare. Look, I like room service sometimes, the variations on the Caesar Salad and Eggs Benedict with salmon are a joy, but when in Hawaii ... c'mon now ...

You may ask why I didn't eat at the restaurant? Well, I don't think I eat pretty when I'm hungry and good food is in my face. Plus I wanted to get out of my plane clothes, and who doesn't like eating with a view?
I sat on the balcony and tore up my Pork Lau Lau...
That's the Pork Lau Lau on the right. Then next to it on the left? More pork, don't judge me please. If you've never had lau lau, try my quick and easy recipe using ground pork. I call it Pork Stuffed Collard Greens. Authentically it's made with pork shoulder (butt) and taro leaves. The latter is hard to get in the upper states and the former takes longer. So I make some creative changes to get to the same finish line. Nothing is better than the original though! Sometimes we just want to eat and eat fast. give it a try!! Take a look inside ONO's version...
Seriously, I really did just get a little mouth water action looking at my own pics. If you've never had this, it's a must try. It's salty, and porky and yummy.
Geez. I'm writing this on an empty stomach, not smart. Ok, look at my poi!! I love to cut the density and texture with salmon lomi, it's salty and has an acidic bite, prefect match for the thick texture of poi. Again, I have a recipe for it, I call it Sunny Lomi Salmon. I don't make poi, ingredients are hard to source, but I love the lomi I make with steamed white rice. A friend of mine made it and served it with chips and crostini. Pretty darn good.
And here's the whole spread before I killed it all....
That's a kind of stew in the back on the left there. I ate it all the night before judging more Hawaiian food...pretty happy to do that! Thank you so much for watching. Can you imagine that you along with so many others add up to me having a job? I can and I do everyday. Pretty cool relationship we have and chances are, we've never met. That's why if we do, I will surely tell you thank you.

Ok, now I don't know how to handle the food pics from the Iron Chefs. I know the show is tonight so I don't want to give up who won of course, but how about some pics of what was made? You can try to decide now which chef made what. You can also try to decide which of these following dishes made me cry tears of joy. Because it happened. I took a bite, it took me back ... and the tears flowed. Even now as I type my eyes are watering, there was something divine in that dish. I put it down after the first bite because I could feel my emotions rising and I really hate crying in public. I got myself together, then took another bite and realized the sensation was too strong, I couldn't eat it without crying. And that my friend, that right there... is why I cook. I love how food can touch my heart, it can remind me of places, things and in this case tonight it reminded me of a person. I am sure the person was there in spirit, the feeling was just too strong. Pretty powerful food.

First, a look at the Iron Chefs working on the food. That's Morimoto on the left, then you can jusssst make out Alton because of his hat and then Chef Symon is in the background hunched over...
Ok, can't tell you the secret ingredient or tell you who made what and what was made ... but have at it!! Take a look ...
Ok, there it is! The makings of a great tailgating episode of Iron Chef America on Food Network tonight at 10pm. Tell a friend and let's all wait and see if Spam makes an appearance :-).

16 comments:

jen @ one curly fry said...

Hey Stranger!!! How fun you got to go to Hawaii for this! The weather looked amazing! I've never been there, but I'm dying to go! And I'm sure the food is fabulous!

I'm so bummed I'm not going to SOBE this year. :( We have to catch up soon!!

Sunny Anderson said...

jen, girl ... i almost didn't make it myself lol ... i just got confirmed and i'm scrambling to get my recipes in and stuff. i'll be sure to have a drink for ya, maybe we can wine-skype and have a virtual glass of wine from the balcony like last year ...

Anne said...

Hi Sonny, what a great blog entry! Thank you for sharing your Hawaiian adventure with us! I've been looking forward to this show since Dec, when Simon(we often tweet back and forth) was dropping hints to me about it! It looks like a great show. I'm really happy you've got to be a judge and spend time with everyone, sounds like you had a blast.
I watch your show whenever I can and really enjoy it. You seem to be such a warm and caring person, and I hope one day I get the chance to meet you.
As for Alton Brown, glad you didn't take it personally. I don't think he dislikes you at all, you seemed to hit it off on Thanksgiving Live, and the after show. I've met him 10 times(yes, he knows me now) and have seen all sides of his personality--and wondered too, if he disliked me, turned out not to be the case at all. He'a a brilliant and complicated guy. (and yeah, I'll admit, I kind of adore him too.) :P
I'm looking forward to seeing the second HI episode as well (do you know when that will air?) and in the meantime, please take care of yourself! Oh, and one more thing---
GO, GIANTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We'll do it again, you'd best believe, Tom Brady is a PUNK! (I'm a long time fan, carrying the torch for my late dad, who I'm sure will be cheering in heaven.)
Again, take care, and sorry for going on so long!
Be well!
Anne

Sunny Anderson said...

hey anne :-), thanks for the follow on twitter. i agree with you about our guy AB, i didn't even take it personal. totally why i am able to not care too much. and yes, we did look to enjoy ourselves during the show, drinks were flowing! wouldn't you have loved to have been at the rehearsal though?!?!?! no drinks there lol ... ahhh the stories i could tell, but it isn't needed, because like you, I adore him. from afar. happens from time to time in life, you meet someone you look up to and at that moment u realize they are looking down at you---while you choose to look up. simon is a cool dude. so funny and has such a love for food. very cool meeting and working with him! just looking at the pictures again, i CANNOT believe symon and morimoto did what they did in 1 hour. CRAZY!!!

Heather said...

I love your take on life and food Sunny, especially "kill em with kindness" (: Thank you for doing what you do!

Lisa said...

Hi Sunny thanks for the recap on tonight's ICA! Looking forward to it since I was joking with Simon on Twitter about running into Wo Fat while in Hawaii. ;) Simon is a good guy.

As for Mr. Brown, I completely understand where you are coming from. I've been a fan for many. many years and he's my culinary guru for sure. I've met him so many times (double digits) that AB just ribs me horribly about still coming to see him. He even knows me by name... which is kinda scary lol.

I've had my moments when I've thought AB didn't like me much too. Which really sucks. :( Because I can't figure out why he doesn't think my fansite isn't good enough to grant an interview to but does interview with & supports other websites/blog :( Yep, sucks :(

But I did love both you and AB on the FN Thanksgiving. You guys worked well together. :)

adayof5 said...

Sunny...thanks for sharing..I'm a long format kind of girl..so I loved reading your adventure. Your pictures were crisp and got me wanting to try some of that lucious looking island food. I did enjoy how honest you are with ab and about your work environment, and I, myself, ask the same thing, but I look at it as me not partaking in the clique, gossip cra%..they see my love for food, people and job...and seem to be jealous I love what I do..if that makes sense. Also, I, totally got you about the food and emotion thing. Everything I cook is with passion, it calms my inner core, just like music revitalizes it. Anyway, I look foward to reading more...@aday05...lol..guess I tweet too much too.

BigPeeps said...

Aloha Sunny!!
Awesome to see your in Hawaii and getting the best Hawaii has to offer!! Ono's couldn't say it any better!!
I would love to show you the Honolulu fish auction, while you are here. It is one of the best places to see for food lovers while on Oahu! Please hit me up and I would love to show it off to you and your team!!
The auction starts at 5:30 am, so kind of early, but worth the early alarm!! hmu mattp@gvisfd.com
Much Aloha!!

Toni from Oklahoma said...

I just simply love you! You seem so approachable in your writing and I love how real you are (the Alton comments made me go "ooh Sunny!" but I can see what you mean and understand) It really touched me with what you said about being a cook not a chef. Recently, God has been opening the doors for me in cooking for others and I've been feeling....illegitimate? because I don't have my catering license yet....times are hard! Anyhoo, You are really relatable and love your blog, don't sleep on it! I'm a long-format reader!

E said...

Hey Sunny! Fun episode to watch! The corn dog looked pretty tasty! Any idea when the other Hawaii episode will air? I loved being able to be a part of that taping & I can't wait to see it!
Ps: had wanted to tell you after the taping that we made your thanksgiving potato/green bean casserole and Oh. My. Goodness. It was so tasty. Definitely my favorite dish from Thanksgiving =).

beth said...

Hi. First time ever posting here. I enjoyed the show from Hawaii, but I am sure not as much as you enjoyed Hawaii itself! While the food looked great, I was more impressed with your hair! I would love to know how you styled it. I think I have the same haircut, and my hair is naturally wavy, but I straighten it all the time. You looked so relaxed :) Writing from Charlotte, NC

Maria said...

Thanks for sharing your trip to Hawaii. I bet the food at Iron Chef was AWESOME! Can't wait to see the Giants WIN the Superbowl. Are you planning a fun Superbowl Party? How about your folks?

Gonna make your red velvet cream cheese brownies for our little get-to-gether! Along with meatball subs

Take care, looking forward to the next post...

PS...Alton is stiff. Kate and I don't like him. Too pompous.

Maria

Sunny Anderson said...

beth, thanks! i wear wigs, but that being said they are human hair. i use different products. just depends on when I feel like washing my hair. as you know some of the products for curly hair leave it really stiff. here are a list of the stiff and the soft products. stiff - Garnier Fructis "Wonder Waves", got2b "kinkiercurling spray gel", got2b "kinkier curling mousse". Soft styling - organix "coconut milk split ends mender", organix "coconut milk anti breakage serum", loreal "studio line melting gel". Give those a try, they are all available at rite aid or cvs or drug stores :-), thanks for watching!!

maria, thanks for watching!!! glad i'm not the only one ;-)

Charesse said...

Hey Sonny! I love the blog and looking at the food from the Hawaii trip!! Ummm...YUMS! I have tried several dishes inspired by your recipes on Cooking For Real and they were a real hit..especially the stuffed burgers. I stepped away from Food Network for a while and when I returned, you weren't there! What gives? Will you be back on soon? Do tell!! Blessings to you, boo!!

Charesse (Los Angeles, CA)

Charesse said...

eh....I think I spelled your name incorrectly in my previous post. If so, please accept my apology!!

Chloe Namias said...
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