You know that TV show where the celebrities, chefs and foodies talk about the best thing ever ate? This next item is one of those things I would love to feature if I were on the show.
Lee Anne Wong was catapulted to culinary stardom after appearing on the first season of the hit show Top Chef on Bravo. After finishing in the final four, she popped up here and there but it wasn't until May 2013 that I had the honor or meeting and working with Lee Anne and her lovely mother when they came to Hawaii to do a special Mother’s Day brunch.
I was a bit star struck as first, I have to admit I was a huge fan of the show from the beginning. I even made a cameo when the crew came to Hawaii in 2007 to film the finale on Hawaii Island when I still worked at Alan Wong’s Restaurant I got to be a guest.
When Lee Anne came to visit KHON she was one of the best prepped chefs I have ever seen behind the camera and on live TV. She treated us to something she called the Japanese rusk which had fresh fruits, Greek yogurt and lime zest. Imagine cinnamon toast, without the cinnamon, but topped with fresh sweet, zesty local fruits and had a crisp sugary crust with dense toast. The flavors were like an explosion in my mouth. I quickly booked two tickets to partake of the special Mother’s Day pop-up event she was having that Sunday. My friend was a mother so that was my excuse for trying Lee Anne’s food again.
Fast forward a little less than a year, and Lee Anne now calls Hawaii home and has now opened her very own restaurant in Kaimuki called Kokohead Café, where 12th Avenue Grill used to be. The décor is southwest meets Bali and the place ONLY serves brunch. Yep, that’s right, everyday – brunch and only brunch for all you brunch and breakfast lovers, 7am-2pm.
Lee Anne knew I loved the Japanese rusk so much she opted to put it on the menu. I was so honored and so tickled to know that my opinion actually mattered to her. This being the best thing I ever ate I am glad that I can now get it every day if I wanted.
The dish is an appetizer and comes with two little servings. They are finger food that you can simply pick up and bite into. The crisp sweet toast with the creamy yogurt, which is mixed with vanilla and macadamia nuts, is a little piece of heaven. But add to that the fresh citrus and sweetness from the local fruits like pineapple, mango and strawberry –to me this is the perfect dish. I have a sweet tooth and love to eat fruits, breakfast items and desserts anytime. This “breakfast bruschetta” as she now calls it, is the perfect combo any day, any time and any place. That’s why this is the best thing I ever ate.