I love it when I hear about the opening of a new restaurant, bakery, coffee shop, or other food establishment on our Island. A couple of months ago, some in-the-know foodie friends of mine alerted me that Patisserie Nanako had just opened in Waimea, featuring authentic Japanese pastries. Never one to turn down a good pastry, I decided to go by on my way home from a short Waikoloa staycation. I was told that a line often forms and that they usually sell out each day. So, I got up “early” (6:00 am is SO early when you are lazy!) and headed to Waimea to stand in line. Of course, I ended up behind a horse trailer because I was in a hurry, and because, Waimea, so I did not get to the parking lot until 8:15 am. The line already stretched around the side of the building into the feed store parking lot. Wow. I got out and dutifully stood in the blisteringly cold wind for 1.5 hours. I got all the way to 6th in line when the news broke that there was nothing left. Nothing. Sold out by 10:00 am. I drove back to Hilo dejected and determined- I WOULD get there in time one day.
One day turned out to be almost two months later before I made it into Patisserie Nanako. After the recent torrential rainstorms subsided, I decided to try my luck again. This time I left my house at 6:15 am, figuring I could get there by 8:00 am. But this time I had a secret weapon- it was Thursday rather than Saturday, and most people would be at work!
I arrived at Patisserie Nanako at 8:08 am and was delighted to see only a handful of people in line! I was certain to be victorious this time! And I was! Promptly at 9:00 am, the doors opened (only two people from the same party allowed inside at a time for COVID safety) and the lucky first shoppers entered. I think I was 5th in line, so I was quickly inside to see all the beautiful pastries Chef Nanako had created for the day. I went with the Chocolate Chiffon cake, the Kona Coffee Tiramisu cake, the Raspberry Ladybug, cream pan, melon pan, curry pan, and SHOKUPAN!
I was so excited for the shokupan since I had first seen Iron Chef Morimoto use it on Iron Chef America. I just knew this would be the white bread of my dreams. I was not wrong. I made toast, avocado toast, toast points for my soft-boiled duck eggs with butter and caviar, and then today I used the last of it making a breakfast sandwich with sausage, duck egg, swiss cheese, and spinach. The bread crisped up amazingly and held its contents without breaking or leaking. Now that IS some Iron Chef bread.
The pans from Patisserie Nanako were fantastic- airy bread dough similar to a brioche, filled with a creamy custard (cream pan) and the vegetarian curry pan had just the right amount of spice and the vegetables still had a nice crunch. The cakes were absolutely sinful. Rich chocolate, light and spongy cake, with multiple creamy and delicious layers. The tiramisu had a good coffee taste without being overpowering, and the chiffon had that amazing mouth feel of a perfectly turned mousse.
Oh, and the raspberry ladybug? She was hiding an amazing raspberry chocolate mousse filling. Sneaky (and delicious) little bug.
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