The first half of 2012 ushered in the official opening of not one, not two, but three gastropubs on the island. First, Dash.

What have Weekly food critics been up to this summer? Eating out, of course — here…

It was about the Brussels sprouts. In the course of a multi-course dinner one Friday at The Grove in Kailua, my childhood best friend and I kept going back to the warm Brussels sprouts salad.

An Oahu restaurant offering a pan-Latin American menu is novel enough. But add influences of Hawaii Regional Cuisine and an emphasis on fresh, local and sustainable ingredients whenever possible–and there’s a formula for what seems will be a winner.

I’ve always liked pizza. What’s not to like?

Once considered the unwelcome guest at the dinner table, the cell phone has become a favorite utensil for both eaters and chefs alike. As technology permeates American life, dinner with friends and running a kitchen is a phone-friendly affair.

What’s new behind the bar? Well, somebody has to do the research.

At 11:30pm I find myself unwinding in the classy dine-in section of Zippys’, watching the yoke of an over easy egg form a slow cascade into my brown rice and glinting Portuguese sausage. I glance from the usual meat ‘n’ eggs meal to the stack of papers brimming with culinary questions in front of me.

To eat sweets or not to eat sweets: That is the question. We could painfully avoid our sweet tooth’s most coveted treats, or indulge in them and suffer the pangs of guilt that are sure to follow.

What’s to like about The Whole Ox, Bob McGee’s new meat palace on Keawe Street across from the old CompUSA? A lot.

TIFFANY HERVEY Growing up in Peru’s rich and colorful culture, Diana Delgado DesRoches’s favorite pastime was helping her mother in the kitchen. DesRoches says Peru’s geography plays an important role in their cuisine, providing a variety of ingredients and styles–native foods such as quinoa, 3,800 different types of potatoes, mate, maize, goji berries and chili peppers such as aji amarillo and panca.

If you don’t care about food, you’ll be mouth-open asleep within the first 10 minutes of Jiro Dreams of Sushi. If food is your thing, you’ll be open-mouthed, too.

A friend of mine once said, “Okonomiyaki is just a Japanese pancake.” The sizzle of pork on the grill, dancing flakes of bonito and generous drizzles of mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce (a syrupy shoyu-based mixture). “Just a pancake?” Not!

Eu nao posso. It means, in Portuguese, “I can’t.” Those words occurred to me as I sat in Chinatown’s new Adega Portuguesa bar and restaurant the other night.

Poet Bill Holm writes about food that “sing[s] inside you after eating / for a long time,” food makes you feel every bone in your body, food that knows where it’s been and where it’s going. I also want food that has life in it.

Sing Cheong Yuan Bakery 1027 Maunakea St., 7am–5:30pm daily, 531-6688 RAINBOW TEA STOP & BAKERY 1120 Maunakea St., 5:30am–4pm (on vacation till April 13) 386-3388 LEE’S DRIVE-IN 46-026 Kamehameha Hwy., Kaneohe, 9am–6pm daily 235-1067 FOOK LAM SEAFOOD RESTAURANT 100 N. Beretania Street, Suite 110-112, 8am-3pm daily 523-9168 When I was young, I used to visit my grandpa, who sold Chinese sweets from an old cart.

Everyone agrees. Eating at home is best: most healthful because you control the ingredients, a pleasurable activity that pulls together relationships.

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s also, perhaps, the most versatile.

If you eat at Pupukea Grill, the lunchwagon nestled next to the service station and across the street from Shark’s Cove on Oahu’s infamous North Shore, you are there because someone told you to go there, or because you were lucky enough to stumble upon it. The remote wagon’s bustling business has been growing strictly by word of mouth since they reopened last summer.

Heeia Kea Pier General Store & Deli “Try the fried moi–makes you go moemoe right aftah,” a fisherman at a nearby picnic table said with a chuckle as he examined a shirtless local boy soaking in the newly spruced-up Heeia Pier. The boy’s eyes circled around the freshly written chalkboard specials with an indecisive gaze.

Watch her. The woman at the next table.

YuZu is the sort of place where you wouldn’t be surprised to see anyone: a couple of Harajuku Barbies iPhoning their food, rail-thin vegans in yoga pants nibbling vegetarian sushi, a tableful of locals slurping udon and beer. It has a peaceful yet playful vibe, reflecting the personalities of its charming owners, Isamu “Sam” and Motoko “Moco” Kubota, whose past endeavors were equally edgy for relatively staid Honolulu: Kai (okonomiyaki omelette-pancakes), Hale (macrobiotic), Kaiwa (contemporary Japanese).

Food & Drink

Food & Drink

Food & Drink / If you still have room for sweets since the Chocopocalypse known as Valentine’s Day, you’ll want to stop by one of chocoholics’ most exciting events of the year, The Hawaii Chocolate Festival. The 2nd annual festival, which culminates on Saturday, Feb.

Queen’s Surf Café & Lanai 2699 Kalakaua Ave. 924-2233 Mon.-Sun., 7am-4pm Thu.-Sat., 7am-9pm, Sun 7am- 8pm Breakfast, about $6-10 Lunch, $7-$11 (shrimp or ahi salads) Dinner, $12.95-29.95, includes salad and rice No alcohol When people ask what will bring local people back to Waikiki, forget gambling.

Food & Drink

Food & Drink

Food & Drink / Settled in at Alan Wong’s, Passion-Fruit Mojitos and Loca-Vore Mai Tais on the way, the four of us chattered with wild abandon–much to catch up on, much to celebrate. Then we opened our menus.

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