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Take a trip to Hawaii

Plus: Food Matters, U of Eat, The Mix and Sippin’ out

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Café Hawaii

As I turned into the strip mall housing Café Hawaii, I caught myself muttering almost desperately, “Please let it be good.”

The small café was overly bright with a television blaring; an uncomfortable combination that urged me to get a to-go order and get the hell out of there. The kitchen was quick with my take-out.

Once home, I was dismayed by dry rice, bland macaroni salad, an oil slick coated bowl of curry beef stew, and pungent fishy salmon poke (Hawaiian ceviche).

Kahlua pork saved the day. Moist, medium salt content and cooked flesh that fell apart at the thought of being pierced by a fork lay in the Styrofoam container waiting to be rescued.

After many trips over the years to the islands to visit family and friends, I was glad to have a momentary connection through the memories this good meat brought on. Lau Lau is another adored dish; butterfish wrapped in taro leaves. The texture is off-putting to some — gooey, thoroughly cooked taro bundled around firm fish in a salty bath. To others, it is the best thing on earth. — Jennifer Johnson

[Café Hawaii, 14125 Pacific Ave. S., Parkland/ Tacoma. 253.531.2600]

Food Matters

  • Tempest Lounge offers a late-night menu now. Bring your appetite and pillow to 913 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Tacoma.

  • Affairs Café & Bakery in University Place spreads out its annual Valentine’s Day dessert buffet Feb. 14.  It’s always impressive, and delicious. They pump the sugar between 5 and 9 p.m. for $20. Reserve your spot at 253.565.8604.

  • Tom Pantley, chef/owner of Toscano’s Wine Bar and Café in Puyallup and Dan Hutchinson of Brix 25 in Gig Harbor join seven other Puget Sound chefs for live cooking on KCTS 9 Chefs 2008 Saturday, Feb. 9 at 11 a.m. Tune in.

U of Eat

  • The title of this cooking class reads “Gung Hay Fat Choy.”  It’s a wok cooking class. Whew. Bayview School of Cooking, Feb. 9, 9 a.m., $25, 516 W. Fourth Ave., Olympia, 360.754.1448.

  • Primo Grill hosts a Valentine’s Dinner For Two cooking class. Feb. 9, 2-4 p.m., $65, 601 S. Pine St., Tacoma, 253.383.7000.

The Mix

What we’ve been eatin’

  • Cheesy British, Doyle’s Public House, Tacoma

  • Zihua Mushroom Quesidilla, Crown Bar, Tacoma

  • Roasted Beets and Herbed Goat Cheese Terrine, Stadium Bistro, Tacoma

Sippin’ Out

  • Every Friday: Wine tastings, 6-8 p.m., Mandolin Cafe, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma, 253.761.3482.

  • Feb. 8: Wine tasting with Vino Aquino, 6-9 p.m., Affairs Café & Bakery, 2811 Bridgeport Way W., University Place, 253.565.8604.

  • Feb. 12: Barleywine tasting, 5:30 p.m., $5, 99 Bottles, 35002 Pacific Hwy. S., Federal Way, 253.838.2558.
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