Welcome back to The Queens’ Table! We have missed you much during our quarantine hiatus, and though we are not fully up in pumps and running back to our favorite food spots yet, we had the opportunity to creep through the back door of Nashville’s hottest Hawaiian pop-ups for this, THE FOOD ISSUE!
This awesome opportunity came from the campy, comedic podcasters over at Gay Space. You may know these two gal pals from the Church Street scene as @traceyottomey and @mrmikegill. Check them out @gayspacepod for all kinds of interviews with special guests and surprises down boots.
We all met up at Kapu Haole, East Nashville’s premier pop-up for killer cocktails and inspired Hawaiian fare. Head chef Sarah Liu utilizes the kitchen at Babo, a sweet Korean bar on Riverside at Porter. Many of the flavors spark similarity between Korean and Hawaiian, but it's her attention to detail and comfort food style that makes this a charmer.
She started us out with a round of Asian Orange, a refreshing vodka cocktail that tastes just like an orange creamsicle, only better. As we caught up on all things current and quarantine, Sarah presented us with bowls of fresh Poke, a salad of raw chilled salmon, a perfect light appetizer on a hot summer evening.
Shortly after that came the Hawaiian Yuca Fries, her unbelievably delicious take on disco fries. The table went silent as we devoured these super crispy and savory delights.
Spam Musubi was next on the list. Now, for anyone not familiar with spam, it is canned pork notorious for, well, being canned pork. It was made popular as a non-perishable food source for the military during World War II. It has a very similar taste to fried bologna and can be prepared in many ways. Spam Musubi is a slice of fried spam on top of a block of sticky rice and wrapped in crispy seaweed. Divine!
Just before our entrees, we received two more bottles of fun, fresh soju and a blueberry Makgeolli. Makgeolli is a light sparkling rice wine, originated in Korea. It is sweet and tart in its taste and slightly cloudy in its appearance. As we enjoyed these decadent beverages the entrees arrived and the girls start raving!
Sweet and Sour Short Ribs and Crunchy Chicken Katsu were on the menu and we dug right in! The ribs, rich, sticky and fall off the bone tender. The chicken was juicy and perfectly fried. We were in love. Sarah puts much heart into the flavors and textures of her dishes.
As we watched the sun set, she surprised us with one more delight, a sweet little confection called a Malasada—fried dough, sweetened with powdered sugar and chefs filling of choice. Sarah chose spiced banana for this batch, and they were everything! So soft and light, crispy and crunchy. Sarah has a special way with her food. Simply put, transcendent flavors and celebration of culture.
Though we cannot currently travel to the destinations of our choice, we can always be transported through authentic food and flavor. Be sure to follow Sarah @kapu_haole to see when she’ll pop up next. Many thanks to her and the dolls at Gay Space for this awesome opportunity. Be sure to listen to the Gay Space x The Queens' Table episode of Gay Space on Apple Podcasts or wherever fabulous podcasts are found.
Until next time fierce foodies! As always, much love and good taste from The Queens’ Table. Our visit to Kapu Haole was at Babo, located at 1601A Riverside Drive, Nashville, Tennesse 37216.