Wednesday, June 6, 2012

FoodTrek: TGI-Aloha-Wine-Foodtruck-Friday

I know, it's not Friday yet, but a girl can dream, can't she? I wanted to share a Friday night hangout spot I've been heading to as often as I can -- it's in wine-eriffic Woodinville, over at the Matthews Estate tasting room. They do regular Friday night events with live music, the pouring of tasty wines and more often than not, a fabulous food truck, which I have to say is freakin' brilliant, since tasting rooms are wine-only, and there's not always a restaurant close by. We can go to countless happy hours, but it's hard to beat sitting outside on a nice summer evening, a glass of wine in-hand, live music, and a rotating offering of snacks. Friday night, you are giving Saturday a run for its money.

Halau Hula O Napualani performing at Matthews Estate - Photo by Wasabi Prime
Last Friday was a special event at Matthews -- they hosted the Aloha Celebration, which was a total Hawaii-fest with live music, dancing and yes, ono kine grindz. I helped out with the design of the event's flyer and I just wanted to show some Island Love, so even though the sun wasn't shining, it didn't keep crowds away from the good Aloha coming from Matthews Estate. The event was to benefit the local group, Queen, It's a New Day, a support program dedicated to helping abused women. There were performances by Seattle's Hawaiian school of dance, Halau Hula O Napualani, and the group Kohala, who have such a great combination sound of jazz and traditional Island sounds. The crowds were relaxing with bottles and glasses of Matthews wine, with an up-close view of the stage, since it's nice, small setup. It was like a casually elegant luau, minus the Primo Beer. And of course there was the food -- The Box on Wheels, a Wasabi favorite, were there with their addictive pork hum bao (I had their equally addictive karaage chicken), and I finally got to try a new vendor, Malasada Shack. One guess as to what they serve. No, it's not hot dogs.

It's not a Hawaii celebration without da broke-da-mouth grindz - Photos by Wasabi Prime
If you've never had a malasada before, just think doughnut or beignet. Once again, God bless the Portuguese for coming to Hawaii, way back in the plantation days. They brought their Baking Jedi Skills to the Islands and have made Hawaii one of the best places to get some amazing baked goods. The recipes of course have evolved over the generations of being in Hawaii. I'm sure if you went to Portugal and said, "eh, braddah, you wen make da good kine malasadas?" in your best Pidgin English, they'd look at you much like you're reading this post and say, "...wha...?" Malasadas can range in size and texture; the ones from Malasada Shack are perfect hand-held sized treats, the dough is eggy and rich; it's got a heavier consistency, like a cake doughnut, which makes just one pretty satisfying. But don't kid yourself, you'll eat more than one in a single sitting. The flavor is buttery, which goes nicely with the crispy-fried texture of the outside dusted in sugar, but it's not overly-sweet; the dough is yeasty and slightly savory, just to balance out the sugar coating. They remind me of the Okinawan doughnuts, andagi, which are very similar, minus the sugar coating, and the whole eating experience makes me think of summer o-bon season, when you would celebrate family, gather for the o-bon dance, and eat andagi until your stomach hurt. Ah, sweet childhood! 

If you're wanting a taste of Hawaiian Portuguese-style doughnuts, Malasada Shack is the place to track down. They're new on the food vendor scene -- they've been hitting Hawaii-themed events where they can, and hope to get a truck soon, so they can be more mobile. The owners, Tom and Vi West are super-nice and if you have a catered event where you need a wicked-good dessert, give them a ring.

Cheers to Kohala and Halau Hula O Napualani performing at Aloha Celebration - Photos by Wasabi Prime
Friday's Aloha Celebration was a special event, but every Friday there's always a band playing and the tasting room is open till 9. The events aren't exclusive to Matthews wine club members, it's open to everyone -- I'm not a member, but seriously considering joining! A really nice thing about these events is that I've had tasty things from other food trucks I may not have had the chance to visit during the week. They had Crisp Creperie at one event a little while back, and they were fabulous. They usually hit Seattle-area locations during the week, which are hard for me to get to, given my BFE status out in Duvall for most weekdays, so having them take a turn at the Matthews Estate Friday night events was a less hectic way to enjoy their food. I loved their dark chocolate and cherry crepes, and they had great combinations like honey, hazelnut and pear -- definitely keep track of their stops, they do savory crepes as well, and their ingredient combos are flavorful and inventive!

Holy crepe, Crisp Creperie is tasty! - Photos by Wasabi Prime
So there it is... my Friday night secret, REVEALED! Don't tell everyone, I like that this is still a nice little Eastside secret... shhhh! Oh... all right -- you can tell everyone.While I can't always make it every Friday, I hope you get a chance to head out to Matthews and sample a sip and a bite of what the area has to offer. It really gives a Friday night some regional flavor, with delicious Washington wines and equally tasty local vendors who want to serve up something unique and from the heart. And cheers to iPhone cameras, as nearly all these photos were taken with my phone -- I usually want to just relax on a Friday night, but sometimes you can't help but take photos, even on a night off!

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