A couple of weeks ago, I was shopping at Ala Moana looking for a new wallet and a pair of shoes. I didn't realize it was so late until I got a call from a friend reminding me about a dinner I had later that night. I was right outside Neiman Marcus, so I decided to make that my last stop before lunch.
On the way up to the third floor men's department, there are hundreds of strands of white butterflies hanging from the ceiling. Here's what it looks like.
After taking a quick look around, I found a case for my iPOD mini and a stripey Paul Smith knit cap (no wallet or shoes, it always happens). Since I was already here, I decided to pay a visit to Mariposa.
It's been quite sometime since I've been here, but I would imagine that the food would be the same as it always was.
Here's the dining room at about 2:30pm. When I arrived here about an hour earlier, it was full of people. This was taken as I was leaving. It's a huge airy space that's filled with light.
When I arrived, I actually had a seat inside. When I asked the hostess if I could sit outside, she said there weren't any tables available outside for me to sit at. When I motioned to two empty tables, she told me those were reserved. Not right after she sat me at a table indoors, she gave one of the tables outside to an obviously weathly couple. Peeved? You bet.
When my waiter came to the table to take my order, I asked if I could sit outside at a table that another couple had vacated. He went up to the hostess and told her that he was moving me. Two minutes later, I had a table with a nice view of Ala Moana Beach Park.
Here's the view of the outdoor seating area from where I sat. See how crowded it was?
Here's the view. The weather was beautiful and it was such a nice day for the beach.
As I looked over the menu, still undecided on what to eat, a freshly baked popover with pineapple-papaya butter was brought over to the table.
Crusty and still warm, crumbs flew everywhere as I tore it open to expose the soft, doughy inside.
Eaten with the pineapple-papaya butter, this was delicious. After I finished this one, the waiter came over to ask if I wanted another, it was so hard to say no. So I didn't.
Next came a demitasse of chicken broth.
Made for sipping, I suppose, this was lightly favored and quite tasty. The broth was clear and I wondered how they kept it oil free. It must have been strained many times over.
For lunch, I decided to have the smoked Maple Leaf Farms duck breast on baby field greens with sliced pear, walnuts, crumbled Gorgonzola and vanilla-orange citronette (US$17.00).
Tender organic greens were topped with smoked duck breast, crumbed Gorgonzola cheese, walnuts and sliced pears. Not being a duck lover, I ordered this salad because I wanted to see how the various ingredients tasted together. This was an interesting combination that was further enhanced by the vanilla-orange citronette. I do have some criticism of this dish though. I thought it could have used more than just the handful of both the walnuts and the Gorgonzola cheese that was here. The smoked duck breast, while tasty, was a little dry.
To drink, I had a plantation iced tea (US$3.00).
To make this drink at home, just use 2 parts iced tea with one part pineapple juice. This one was really refreshing.
For dessert, I actually wanted to try the ginger and Tahitian vanilla crème brûlée with strawberries and jasmine tea cookies, but it was sold out. Not wanting to have anything too heavy, I decided to try the warm lililkoi pudding cake with tropical fruit and whipped cream (US$6.00).
The lilikoi pudding cake was topped with a fresh fruit "relish" that consisted of pineapple, kiwi fruit and papaya. The was also a sweet crisp butterfly shaped cookie and a slice of dragon fruit as garnish. The fruits here were fresh and sweet, so I was expecting the pudding cake to retain most of the tart flavor of fresh lilikoi (passionfruit). Unfortunately, the pudding cake was an oozing mess and much too sweet for me.
For the most part, the food here is delicious though on the pricey side, which makes Mariposa an indulgence rather than an everyday dining recommendation. The salads here make the perfect light lunch, and the desserts are usually quite good as well. The service is excellent, except for the hostess on this particular visit. I'll be back again, and hopefully I'll be able to try the crème brûlée.
At Neiman Marcus Ala Moana
1450 Ala Moana Boulevard 3rd Floor