UNLV Epicurean Society
As the Spring 2019 semester at UNLV comes to a close, our members reflect on the momentous success we had at our 2nd annual Hawaiian Night. Epicurean Society’s Hawaiian Night is an all-you-can-eat feast of classic Hawaiian dishes with an open bar for drinking age guests. The event has become a successful fundraiser as well as a time to honor our members and their hard work. Everything is put together entirely by students alone on-site.
The night began swiftly as guests began to arrive on the fourth floor of the Hospitality Hall on UNLV campus. Hawaiian music played softly as students finished setting up stations and arranging specialty drinks at the open bar. Guests entered a room presenting family-style tables and Hawaiian themed decorations put together by the students. Soon, it was time to begin. After a short introduction to our very own Vice President, Justin Leung, the buffet began. Guests were treated to a wide variety of Hawaiian dish favorites.
A true star to the spread was the roast pig, roasted all day, right on UNLV campus. Another great feature was the Kona coffee-rubbed beef tenderloin seasoned with tiki-tiki seasoning, brown sugar, bacon, pineapple, ginger and fresh Kona coffee. Spam Musubi was featured as well, made fresh that day. While a simple dish, it was quite a hit. Spam, white rice, and teriyaki sauce wrapped in dry seaweed is always a fan favorite. Another fun dish the students enjoyed making was poke. Our members had the opportunity to use fresh ahi tuna and then season it with soy sauce and sesame seeds.
For sides, we offered white rice, fried rice, seaweed salad and glazed sweet potatoes. The white and fried rice made for an excellent accompaniment to all the proteins offered. We also featured some thinly sliced spam as an added touch for those who’d like some on their rice. The seaweed salad contained dried wakame seaweed, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, fresh ginger, minced garlic, thinly sliced scallions, shredded carrots and a touch of red pepper flakes. The glazed sweet potato sauce was essentially teriyaki based, with added siracha, green onions and ginger to add depth to the flavor.
As a finale to the dinner, we featured two desserts: Coconut Pound Cake and Macadamia Nut Brittle. The coconut pound cake was just the right density, with the flakes creating just the right texture and added freshness. The macadamia nut brittle was another fun recipe for our members to make as well. The smooth, light saltiness of the macadamia made for a pleasant nutty flavor that wasn’t overpowering.
Overall, Hawaiian Night was a great success. We surpassed the ticket sales from the previous year and had a full house. Our President, Deanna Wong, made a lovely toast to our guests supporting us and the members for their hard work. We also featured a raffle with small prizes, such as kitchen utensils and candles. This proved to be a hit as well towards the end of the night. As a whole, it was a night full of fun, laughter and good food bringing everyone together. With the growing success of this fundraiser, our members are ready to plan an even bigger night next year.
After the great success of Hawaiian Night and with the semester winding down, Epicurean Society was able to have one more outing together to celebrate. For our last outing, we chose to go to Tapoka down on Spring Mountain Rd. Tapoka features Japanese street food, featuring the popular takoyaki. Takoyaki is basically a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter cooked in a special pan. We learned these are considered snacks and they made the perfect appetizer. We all shared the sampler platter, featuring different flavors: original, spicy, mentaiko and negi shio. Takoyaki are fun little bite-sized delicacies—almost sweet but not too sweet. We also tried okonomiyaki, which is basically a Japanese pancake. It features pork, shrimp, squid, cabbage, onion, green onion, red ginger, dried bonito, seaweed powder, egg, homemade sauce and mayo to top it off. All these flavors manage to come together into one delicious savory pancake. A fun fact we learned is that the dried bonito (fish flakes) react to heat; as your food arrives to the table, you may see them move just slightly. We also opted to try the tornado potato. Essentially, this is a long, curled potato chip on a skewer. The crispy potato makes an excellent snack and is fun to eat too.
After our last outing, we reflected on the year we had. Epicurean has grown and truly became a family. The leadership really set the tone, and our members are ready to take on next year and make it even more successful.