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A Caterer’s Holiday: Our Honeymoon AKA Reno / Lake Tahoe Catering Research (the tastiest kind!)

We’re back from our Hawaiian honeymoon … FULL of top-notch cuisine and flavorful inspiration!

Here’s our mouth-watering report …

A Caterer’s Holiday: Our Honeymoon AKA Reno / Lake Tahoe Catering Research (the tastiest kind!)

It took us a year and a half to get around to it, but we finally took our honeymoon! [Editor’s Note: Chefs Josh & Whitney Deri got married in the summer of 2014]. While we did manage to squeeze some relaxation in–being the fresh, local food lovers that we are–we pretty much ended up turning the celebration of our matrimony into an exploration of amazing food!

Basically, the food in Hawaii is uh-mazing.

The availability of fresh fish (meaning caught that day) is just not something you can find in many corners of America’s “mainland.”

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Poke-ing Fun

We have a delicious tuna poke on our menu, but after trying so many different kinds in Maui, we are excited to craft a spicier version, with the addition of tobiko for a burst of flavor. Don’t worry! We will keep our popular original recipe on the menu, which we found out is actually very similar to the shoyu version found around Hawaii.

Sweet and Savory

We discovered Kihei Cafe. Well, “discovered” may be a stretch, considering the massive lines every morning of hungry folks rising to wait for the amazing Kihei breakfasts. The pork fried rice and scrambled eggs were our favorite savory item. Meanwhile, their banana bread muffin–with its toasted coconut, macadamia nuts, and hint of chocolate–took the Sweet Award … not just from Kihei’s menu, but out of our entire trip.

Chefs at the Table

That said, a close second in the sweet category would have to be the dessert we had from Maui Chef’s Table. The menu’s mysterious description said only “Bananas / Rosemary,” so we really had no idea what to expect. When it arrived–from an 8-course tasting menu, mind you–we were absolutely blown away. It was a banana bread (seeing a pattern here?) made from bananas grown on the farm right behind where we were eating, featuring a rosemary sabayon, roasted banana, a tuile for crunch, and a banana semifreddo. Very appealing.

Star of the Show

Fate saved one of the best for our last night. One of our far-and-away favorite meals was at Star Noodle, and we simply could not have ended our trip on a higher note. The Filipino version of “Bacon ‘n’ Eggs” was a nice, crispy pork belly with a chili-and-vinegar sauce, perfectly crunchy onions topped with a poached egg. It was incredible on its own, but then the noodles came. The best pad Thai we have ever had. For kicks, we went ahead and ordered the Hapa ramen, too. We’re so glad we did.


Equal to the creative spark we got from Maui’s flavorsome, fresh cuisine was the inspiration we took from their food industry’s dedication to sustainability. Almost everywhere we ate and drank, the proprietors were directly supporting local farms. The island is certainly helped by its diverse landscapes–with the upcountry farms growing things like strawberries, while more coastal properties focus on tons of tropical fruits and vegetables.

It made us so happy to see a whole community supporting each other, with a collective love for the land that is rarely paralleled in the “Lower 48.” As caterers in Reno, we proudly belong to a wave of locals who are actively working to change this for our region.

Thanks to our friends at Urban Roots, Lost City Farm, Sample the Sierra (and a great and growing list of amazing restaurants!) we look forward to the day that Hawaiian catering chefs can come to Reno-Tahoe and go home as moved, inspired and gloriously full-bellied as we have!

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Check out all our pics from the trip!