On Sunday, August 12, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Woodenhead Winery (5700 River Rd., Santa Rosa) is hosting a great Hawaiian fete, with Faith Ako and her band, hula dancers, a lei workshop using fresh flowers from Hawaii, on-the-spot 15-minute portraits by Sonoma artist Timothy David Dixon and prizes (GOOD prizes) for the best aloha shirt, best aloha dress and best aloha dinner plate. Like many of events these days, this luau wants to reduce waste and is doing so in part by encouraging everyone to bring their own plates and flatware. Adding a prize is a way to motivate guests. And there are so many great aloha plates around, many of them at thrift shops for little more than a song.
There have been a lot of Hawaiian celebrations this summer, including a modified one coming up on Friday evening at Copperfield’s Books in Petaluma. Summer is the time. Some events have been inexpensive, like Carol Shelton’s $10 luau last weekend, and free, like Copperfield’s Friday night event, when there will be nibbles of poi, kalua pig and such during a conversation about summer reading.
But this luau promises to be a feast like no other and I know because I am preparing it. Although I don’t do much public cooking these days, I let my arm be twisted on this one for two reasons. The first is that I love Woodenhead wines. I started out as a fan of their lovely pinot noir and am now head-over-heels in love with their French Colombard, both still and sparkling versions. Both wines are bone dry and ideal with oysters on the half shell.
The other reason is my passion for all things Hawaiian. In the spring of 2009, I taught “Hawaiian Cooking” at Santa Rosa Junior College. The class was fun and hugely successful but I’ve not been able to teach it again because of SRJC and state budget cuts. So when this opportunity presented itself, I embraced it instantly.
The menu features my take traditional Hawaiian fare. Some dishes–Spam Musubi, for example–will be exactly or almost exactly as you find them anywhere Hawaiians eat. Others will have my fingerprints in subtle but definitive ways.
There will be a poke bar, with very fresh ahi tuna from Dave Legro and a wide array of condiments that guests can select to add to the basic poke I will prepare.
A buffet will include sliced pineapple with Hawaiian salt and black pepper, my version of Kalua pig with cabbage and chile water, Korean-style barbecued ribs, Potato-Mac Salad, Green Papaya Salad and, of course, steamed white rice. I’ll probably add sweet potatoes, too, and a few surprises.
For dessert, there will be fresh tropical fruit, Coconut Macadamia Bread Pudding and the highly addictive Butter Mochi.
Woodenhead Wines will flow throughout the day.
For tickets and more details, call Woodenhead Wine at 887-2703 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Cost is $65 for wine club members and $75 for the general public.