Today was another early rising day as we had decided to drive towards the northern end of Kauai to look for birds in the reserve in the Wailua River Valley. We also stopped to view the waterfall and to look over the Wailua River into the restored Hawaiian Village. It was a beautiful day and we had some good viewing. We also saw quite a lot of birds there as well.
After our early morning sightseeing we stopped at Smith’s Tropical Paradise. Their lush tropical gardens cover 30 acres of land; it is right next to the river. In the evenings they host luaus that anyone can purchase a ticket to attend. They also offer boat rides on the river. We saw quite a few different birds here but the most entertaining were the peacocks which of course are introduced birds. It is breeding season, the mails in all the finery strut around and around as if they were in a fashion show. (Will put up a video of one on U-Tube).
Back in Poipu we went to the Poipu Shopping Mall for lunch and tried out the dogs at Puka Dogs. The most outstanding thing about this eatery is all the different toppings that they provide for their dogs. Ev decided on the Polish Dog with Coconut Relish and I had the Polish Dog with Mango Relish. Their Polish Dogs taste more like regular hot dogs. I normally don’t like Polish Dogs, but their regular hot dogs were veggie dogs and that didn’t sit too well with me. I like my hot dogs to be made with beef. The best thing about this eatery was their fresh made-to order lemonade. It was very good. To see Puka Dog’s Menu go to http://www.pukadog.com/menu After lunch it was more beach time.
For dinner this evening we went back to Kalapaki Joe’s and tried out a couple of their menu items that featured fresh lobster. Ev had the lobster burrito which was quite large and contained more than an ample portion of lobster. I had the lobster salad and it too had an ample portion of grilled lobster with a variety of vegetables and was topped with grilled pineapple slices. This salad came with a wonderful sesame dressing which was absolutely perfect.
After dinner we walked back to the condo and spent some time outside on the grounds to soak up what was left of our time on the island. Kauai is a very peaceful place with beautiful scenery. With the gentle breeze, you feel like you are being bathed in silken strands. It is a wonderful feeling and one that you can carry with you in your memory for a long time afterwards.
Day Seven was Saturday and again, I will skip breakfast as that wasn’t notable. For lunch we had a combination plate (items purchased from the market) of Tako (octopus) Poki Hawaiian Style Ahi Poki and Lomi, Lomi Salmon with seaweed snacks and sliced cucumbers. This was a very tasty and light lunch and it was completely satisfying. It met both flavor criteria and a minimum of calories if you are watching your weight, yet after eating this we felt completely satisfied and not the least bit hungry. Poki and Lomi Lomi is made with marinated raw fish. The marinating takes the place of cooking and the other ingredients such as onions and chilies add flavor. If making these dishes at home, only use the freshest of fish or fish that has been labeled Sushi quality. In the photo below, the dish in the upper right is Tako Poki, next to is the Lomi Lomi Salmon. Lomi Lomi is usually pretty mild in flavor. In the lower half of the picture is the Ahi Poki; the Ahi was Hawaiian Style and had lots of flavor but practically no heat. The Tako on the other hand was spicy.
For dinner we purchased some Ono from the market and cooked it Island Style with Soy Sauce, freshly grated Ginger, Sesame Oil and the leftover Lomi Lomi Salmon. To make it, I heated up the pan and added the Lomi, Lomi, a little sesame oil and the ginger. Then I cooked the ono on each side (it doesn’t have to be cooked all the way through) and added the soy sauce. Along with the Ono we had [amazon Jasmine Rice purchased a bag of Jasmine Rice that contained sliced, dried carrots and other vegetables. Along with this I sautéed some Baby Bok Choi, Scallions and fresh Basil. This made a very tasty meal. Dessert again was Brownie Bites and Ice Cream Sandwiches.
Additional pictures of our food preparation can be viewed on Flicker. Click on the Flicker Link and look for Kauai Food Pictures.
Today was Sunday so we decided to have breakfast out again at Burgers in Paradise. As mentioned earlier, this restaurant offers a lot more than Burgers and provides quite a variety of breakfast items. Ev had Pancakes which were rather large but quite good tasting. My breakfast was a Papaya /Pineapple Boat that was served with toasted coconut and chopped macadamia nuts. The boat was a very healthy and tasty breakfast. We both enjoyed cups of Hawaiian Coffee with the meal. After breakfast we returned to the condo and then to the beach for more sun, sand and surf.
For lunch, we ate the leftover stir-fried vegetables with what was left of the Tako and Ahi Poki. So far, our meals have been quite healthy and tasty. Eating good fresh fish with perky seasonings is really a good way to go, whether you are looking to lose weight or to just have a healthy, tasty and satisfying meal.
For dinner this night we decided to try Brennecke’s Broiler. We have been to Kauai many times, but never actually ate at this restaurant as we usually stay at the North Shore and don’t like driving at night between the North and South Shores. The main restaurant is upstairs with a great view of the ocean and beach just across the street. The restaurant features both steaks and seafood and since by this time we had just about had our fill of seafood we decided to go with beef dinners. Ev ordered the Prime Rib and I ordered the Rib Eye Steak. Both these items are basically from the same cut of beef, but one is roasted whole and then sliced and the other is cut into steaks before cooking. Both dinners were served with rosemary mashed potatoes and the Rib Eye was served with a mushroom wine sauce. The Prime Rib was served with au jus and horseradish. Since Ev doesn’t like horseradish, I used that on my steak along with the mushroom wine sauce.
When we finished dinner there was an unexpected downpour (typical of tropical climate) so we waited it out in the downstairs portion of Brennecke’s where we purchased a few items for our breakfast ‘on the go on’ Monday morning. After about 5-10 minutes the rain let up enough for us to make to the car without getting wet. We shortly arrived back at the condo for another relaxing evening in Paradise.
Today, I am going to skip right ahead to dinner as breakfast and lunch meals were not exciting and the day was pretty ordinary. For dinner we went to Keoki’s Tropical Paradise at Poipu Village Shopping Mall. Keoki’s interior is true to its name. It is truly a Tropical Paradise and as in most Hawaiian Restaurants, the walls are open to the surrounding outdoor area, which included Palm Trees and a Lagoon. We were seated nearest to the outdoor area which made the ambience very nice for dinner. In addition, on weekend evenings there is entertainment, Hawaiian Style; we enjoyed the music while we ate.
Since we are both light eaters we opted for the Sea & Land Pupu Platters. The Sea Platter consisted of Scallops, Shrimp and Crab Cakes and the Land Platter contained Beef Teriyaki Skewers, Egg Rolls, Pork Ribs on Mashed Potatoes with Skinny Onion Rings. The sauces and marinades were excellent and we entirely enjoyed our choices. Our beverages were Lite Beer for Ev and a Tropical Fruit Cocktail for myself.
For dessert we just had to try their famous Hula Pie. The Hula Pie is a large portion and was enough for the two of us. It was built on a chocolate cookies crust and contained Vanilla Ice Cream shot through with Coffee and was topped with Hot Fudge Sauce, Macadamia Nuts and Whipped Cream. The Hula Pie was a thoroughly satisfying ending to a delicious meal.
Thursday was Day Five and it was another early rising day. Again we had breakfast on the go and that consisted of hard-cooked eggs, banana bread and apple bananas. We drove to Koke’e, a natural area located in the upland area of northwestern Kauai, along with Waimea Canyon and Nä Pali Coast State Parks. Our purpose was to view the native birds that inhabit this area. This time we did the easy trails and did get to see quite a few different birds. When we were here in 1996, we actually did the trail in the Alaka’i Swamp. By the time we finished our clothes were covered in Kauai’s red dirt mud and actually had to hose off in the park before we got into our car. It was quite an experience though and am glad we got to do it.
The birds that we say this time were: Hawaiian Amakihi, which is a greenish bird with a long curved beak, the Kauai Elepaio, which is a small bird with a long tail. Its head is a reddish brown and it has a small beak designed for foraging for insects. We also saw the Akeke’e, which is a greenish-yellow bird with a black mask around the eye (especially prominent in the male) and a bluish bill. We saw an Anianianu; a honey-creeper with distinct yellow coloring. This bird unfortunately has been prey to malaria brought in by mosquitoes and its numbers are dwindling. The birds can now only be seen in the higher elevations where there are fewer instances of mosquitoes. The last native bird we saw this day was the Hawaiian Iiwi, whose bright red feathers, pink curved bill, and black wings and tail distinguish it from the rest of Hawaii’s forest birds.
Other than native birds there were a few introduced species such as Erkel’s Francolin, Jungle Fowl and the Red Crested Cardinal. We also had many Red Crested Cardinals visiting us at our condo. The Jungle Fowl are chickens who roam freely around the island. The Jungle Fowl have become so symbolic of Kauai that you can even purchase a red dirt t-shirt with a picture of a jungle fowl on it.
This has been enough about birds now, when I’m really supposed to be talking about food. But the birds did lead us to our lunch today and that was at the Shrimp Station in Waimea. We did get there a little early and had to wait for them to open up. The Shrimp Station is more of a stand than a restaurant and all seating is outdoors. Since their kitchen is open to view, we just sat and watched them set up for the day. This is mainly a lunch and early dinner place as the hours are from 11 AM – 5 PM daily. Ev had a craving for Coconut Fried Shrimp and that is what he had along with fries. My cravings went towards the sweet chili garlic shrimp and that was served with white rice of potatoes. The portion of the sweet chili garlic shrimp was more than ample and even though it was sweet chili there was still a kick to it that the rice helped to buffer. A salad would have been good with this dish as well as some bread. Fortunately we did have cold drinks.
Again, the afternoon was spent on the beach and just relaxing and enjoying the tropical weather. For dinner, I made hamburgers which I ended up calling Tropic Burgers and will probably feature in one of my classes. I had purchased the ingredients the day before and that included ground sirloin, buns, and we had lettuce and tomatoes from the farmers market along with cheese from Big Save. The items I did forget to purchase were mustard, mayo and ketchup so I became innovative and used our Papaya Seed Dressing as our only condiment. They turned out very good.
Here is how I made the burgers; sautéed sliced red onions in butter until they were soft and just starting to caramelize. Toasted the buns in the toaster and then cooked the burgers with salt and pepper and some garlic powder. Put cheese on them after they were turned and started to cook on the second side. The dressing went on the buns and the burger on one side and the onions on top of the meat, and then the tomato and lettuce. This really turned out to be an excellent burger. Along with the burgers we opened the bottle of wine that came with the condo. All in all, it was a very good dinner.
After dinner, we drove around the corner to the beach and checked out Brennecke’s Beach Broiler for a future meal. The downstairs portion of Brennecke’s makes fresh sandwiches for breakfast and lunch and even dinner, if you are so inclined, and they also sell chips, sodas and other various sundry items. Later on we went back to the condo and sat on the balcony and enjoyed the sunset.
Wednesday was a pretty simple day as far as activity goes. Most of the day was spent at the beach in the sun and surf and just lazing around the condo. For breakfast we had easy –over eggs on English Muffins with crispy bacon and coffee along with Banana Bread and Apple Bananas.
For lunch we paid another visit to the Kukui`ula Village Shopping Center and had lunch at Dude Dogs. To influence our lunch decision, we had a coupon that allowed us to order a hot dog, drink and chips for $5.00 each. The Dogs are all-beef hot dogs and the toppings are very inventive. The toppings that are available at Dude Dogs are:
Mustard, Tomato, Relish & Onions
Mustard, Coleslaw & Onions
Mustard, Onion, Cheddar & Bacon
Chipotle Mustard, Nacho Cheese & Jalapenos
Maui Onions, Mustard, Cream Cheese & Pineapple Salsa
Mustard, Chili, Onions, Pepper Jack Cheese & Jalapenos
Deli Mustard, Dill Pickles & Cheddar
Thousand Island, Swiss Cheese & Sauerkraut
Passion Fruit Wasabi Mustard, Cream Cheese & Onions
Mayonnaise, Mustard & Crushed Chips
Dijon Mustard, Bleu Cheese, Tomato & Bacon
Mustard, Chili & Coleslaw
Wasabi Mustard, Swiss Cheese & Kraut
Ev chose the Mustard, Coleslaw & Onions while went for the Maui Onion, Mustard & Pineapple Salsa. I had them leave out the Cream Cheese as that didn’t really sit very well with me for a hotdog. In hindsight I probably should have tried it but didn’t. I did enjoy the Pineapple Salsa though and would have it again and even duplicate it at home.
For a larger view of the pictures in this blog, just double click on the picture itself.
While we were eating lunch the mall was being set up for another Farmer’s Market. This one was billed as a gourmet market featuring organic vegetables, cooked dishes and baked products. In the center of the mall near Merriman’s Restaurant, a demo booth was set up with chairs for the audience. In addition, there was a beer garden where you could buy tickets and sample various beers. This market was due to open at 3 o’clock so we returned to our condo to rest for a couple of hours and then went back to the mall for the Farmers Market. We browsed through the market and sampled some Korean food, but didn’t really find anything to purchase although the products were beautiful and interesting.
For dinner, Ev wanted Pizza so we went back to Koloa and had dinner at a restaurant called Pizzette. It was Happy Hour again and Pizza was $1.99 slice for an ample sized piece so Ev ordered 2 slices of Pepperoni Pizza and I ordered the BBQ Rib Appetizer which was served with a Mango BBQ Sauce. After dinner we went back to the ‘Big Save’ Market and purchased some more items including ground sirloin and Buns for dinner the next night, ice cream sandwiches for dessert and Pepsi for me.
Back at the condo we enjoyed the evening breezes on the balcony and then watched some TV while I knitted. (To see the view from our balcony, go to Tropical Food Chronicles, Day One. Before going to bed, we prepared our items for our trip to Kokee to do some more bird watching. So watch for more of our trip, coming tomorrow.
On Tuesday we roused ourselves out of bed around 5:30 AM so that we could drive to Hanapepe to look for the Rose-ringed Parakeets. The flock of Parakeets that exist here are the progeny of pet birds that were released many years ago. While they are very pretty to look at, they do present themselves as pests to the agricultural world. However, since we are birders we love to seek out the colorful tropical birds. The best time to find these birds is early in the morning when they leave their roost for their feeding grounds or at dusk when they return to their roost.
We left the condo at around 6 AM and brought breakfast with us. Breakfast consisted of Banana Bread, Apple Bananas and cold drinks. The Apple Banana is a small banana no longer than 4 inches. The flesh of this banana is somewhat firm even when ripe and as they are named, they do taste somewhat like apples. They seem to be the banana of choice among the Kauai growers. Ours were purchased at the Koloa Farmers Market on Monday, but all the markets carry them as well.
As you drive to Hanapepe from Poipu there is a scenic overview close to Hanapepe. This is where we stopped to try and get a look at the parakeets. After about 30 minutes of patient watching, we did manage to catch a glimpse of several of these birds that flew by. Along with the parakeets, there were many numbers of Cattle Egret, another introduced bird.
The Cattle Egret is similar in size to the mainland Snowy Egret, but has a gold bill and gold feathers on the back of its neck. The Cattle Egret also flourishes in the state of Florida, another rather tropical area. These birds are called Cattle Egret because they often are seen around cattle where flies tend to congregate. The birds feed on the insects and flies that are attracted by the cattle. After our viewing at the scenic overview, we then drove into Hanapepe to look for more birds in the river and the rice fields.
Also in Hanapepe is a swinging bridge (which doesn’t really swing too much) that crosses the river. We both went across the bridge and did get a good view of the river and its banks. Of course, we did jiggle the bridge a little to get the swinging effect. After this little jaunt we then visited the Hanapepe Café which is on Hanapepe Road, the main street in this town. The Hanapepe Café is owned by a friend of mine who took classes at the Westlake Culinary Institute where I teach children’s, teens and parent/child classes. Since it was really too early for lunch and we did have a breakfast of sorts we just decided to order the Mango Pie and Coffee. The pie was packed solid with sliced mango and the crust was really tasty and flaky. The coffee was excellent as well.
On the way back to our condo we stopped at the Living Foods Market in Kukui`ula Village near Poipu. While there we picked up some Eggs and Bacon for breakfast the next day and a Turkey Hoagie from their café. The sandwiches are made to order and there is a whole selection of items to put on them along with a large variety of meats from which to choose. There is also a variety of bread product to choose from. We ordered ours on a Hoagie Roll along with Lettuce, Tomato, Red Onion and Dijon mustard and mayonnaise. We brought the sandwich back to the condo as it was still too early to eat lunch. It was an excellent sandwich and we enjoyed it along with Maui Style Potato Chips.
One thing about traveling around on Kauai is that Kauai is a small island and even when you are going from one town to another, it really doesn’t take very long to get anyplace, so that is why when we got back to Poipu it was still too early for lunch even though we had covered a lot of territory that morning. After lunch we went to the beach and enjoyed some sun, sand and surf.
For dinner that night, we walked over to Kalapaki Joe’s which is advertised as a premier sports bar annexed to where we were staying. With a window seat you look out over the tennis courts and if you keep your viewing inside the restaurant, there are many TV Screens with sports events on them. We went during Happy Hour which extends from 3 – 6 PM. We each had two fish tacos at $3 apiece. Ev had a light beer and I had a Margarita which was a $5 special. The fish tacos were very good and were served with shaved cabbage on a cheese crusted tortilla and tomatillo cream sauce. The Happy Hour Tacos were a real bargain since two fish tacos during the dinner hour cost $9.99.
Dessert was brownie bites back at the condo where we sat out on the balcony and enjoyed the sunset and the evening breeze. Be sure and check back in tomorrow for our next Culinary Experience.
On Monday we woke up to the birds singing, the breeze wafting and the sun shining. This was the day that we decided that we would have breakfast out. We ended up at the Poipu Shopping Village and had breakfast at ‘Poipu Tropical Burger’, a restaurant that features much more than just Burgers on their menu. They opened early in the morning (6:30 AM) which was good since our bodies were still somewhere between California Time and Hawaiian Time. We both ordered the French Toast made with Portuguese Sweet Bread. It was egg battered and then dipped in cornflakes and served with diced Pineapple, butter and maple syrup. My preference for syrup would have been Pineapple or Coconut, but Maple is what was served and it was good.
After breakfast we made a stop at Whaler’s which is similar to the ABC Stores which are all over Hawaii. They have almost everything from suntan lotion to breakfast, lunch and dinner items. You can buy beach towels and mats, drinks, chocolates, coffee and then some. After our perusal of Whaler’s we went back to our condo and lazed out on the balcony until it was time to go to the Farmer’s Market in Koloa.
We were told that we should get to the Farmer’s half an hour before it opened because there are always a lot of people and the vendors sold out quickly. Since it was at the ball field in the town of Koloa, a couple of miles straight up the road from Poipu we decided to stop and check out Koloa first. Koloa is billed as the world’s largest small town. The business district is about three blocks long and has many types of shops including two full size markets, a deli, art galleries, ice cream stores and a real estate office.
Since we had an early breakfast, we decided that we should eat lunch while waiting for the Farmer’s Market to open, so we opted for the deli. Ev had macaroni salad, an Hawaiian favorite and I had a Chicago Dog, another strange choice for Hawaii, but what the heck? Chicago Dogs comes with tomatoes, usually peperoncini, mustard and onions. We still got to the Farmer’s Market half an hour before it opened and we weren’t allowed in until the official opening. It was well worth the wait as there were many vendors with fresh salad greens, tomatoes, tropical fruits and chilled coconuts with straws in them to drink the Coconut Water inside. In addition to the vegetables and fruit that I bought, I also purchased a couple of sprays of baby orchids which lasted for the whole ten days that we were in Hawaii. They added the right degree of atmosphere to our dining room table and meals that we enjoyed there.
One thing that we didn’t know and will be helpful to those traveling and wishing to shop at the Farmers Markets is that plastic market bags have been banned and people have to bring their own bags to the Farmers Market. That made it pretty difficult, because I didn’t know this until I had gone in, so had to rely on what I could carry. Fortunately, some of the produce was already bagged and I just stuffed what I bought that wasn’t bagged into the bagged items. So, if you go to the Farmers Market when you are there, do bring tote bags with you. Even at the regular markets which give paper bags, you may have to pay for the bag, so if you can bring your own that would be good.
After making our purchases at the Farmer’s Market we headed back into the business district of Koloa and went to the Big Save which is the largest market in that area. The meat department had many varieties of poki which is usually spicy, marinated raw fish. In addition to that, they had freshly prepared sushi. We picked up a large package of Caterpillar Rolls and some Papaya Seed Dressing along with Banana Bread for breakfast and chocolate brownie bites for dessert and of course soft drinks.
We headed back to the condo to put away our purchases and to enjoy some more of the Hawaiian atmosphere, the breeze and the sunshine. For dinner that night, we had the Caterpillar Roll, a salad made from butter lettuce purchased at the Farmer’s Market along with Avocado and Papaya. The salad was dressed with the Papaya Seed Dressing. Papaya Seed Dressing is a little on the sweet side, but it is something that we always enjoy when we are there and I always bring home a package of the dried dressing that we can reconstitute at home. It is on the order of Good Seasons, except that instead of adding vinegar and oil as in Good Seasons, you just have to add white vinegar and water. Therefore, it is a low calorie dressing packed with flavor.
After dinner and about an hour before dusk, we headed down to Makahuena Point, (just a couple of blocks from where we were staying) to catch the sea birds coming in to roost. We ended the day by spotting the swiftly flying Hawaiian Petrol, a Wedgetail Shearwater and a Newell’s Shearwater. We constantly had to have our eyes on the flight path in order not to miss these birds as they suddenly appeared as out of nowhere and just as quickly disappeared. As we are avid birders it is always a thrill to be able to see these birds as they make their way in for the night.
As the sun set we headed back to our car and to our condo for a relaxing evening listening to the surf and enjoying the gentle Hawaiian breeze. Tomorrow’s blog will include a description of our jaunt to Hanapepe to look for the rose-ringed parakeet and of course about the food that we ate. Don’t forget to check back!
When browsing through Costco’s Produce Section the other day, I came across a package of 4 large Portobello Mushrooms. These are the size that Mushroom Burgers can be made from and they are also great for a ‘Stuffed Mushroom Entrée’. After picking up the mushrooms, I then went over to the Seafood Section and purchased a King Crab Leg. The other ingredients that were needed were already at home.
To make the Stuffed Mushrooms, the first thing that I did was remove the meat from the Crab Leg. King Crabs have unforgiving shells; there are little bumps or thorn-like protrusions on them that make it difficult to handle. The best way to do this is to take a pair of kitchen shears and cut the shell lengthwise from top to bottom. If this doesn’t help to split open the shell, do the same thing on the other side of the leg. You can then pull the shell apart and remove the meat. If you were lucky enough to have the meat come out in large pieces, you will want to cut them up into smaller pieces. You should have about 1 cup Crab Meat.
You will also need about ¼ cup of chopped Onion and ¼ cup of chopped Celery. Remove and discard the stems from the Portobello Mushrooms. Wipe the Mushrooms off with a damp paper towel and place them skin side down in a baking dish.
To make the stuffing, melt about 2 Tablespoons of Butter in a sauté pan and then add the chopped onions and celery. Sauté the vegetables in the butter until they are limp and the onion just start caramelize. Then add 2 Tablespoons of Flour and stir into the Butter. Once a paste forms, stir in 1 cup of milk or half and half and continue to cook and stir until the mixture thickens. Add about ¼ tsp. -1/2 tsp. Salt and ¼ tsp. White Pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary and then stir in the prepared Crab Meat. This preparation is enough to fill two large mushrooms.
Top the mushrooms with shredded Parmesan or Mozzarella Cheese. Place under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the tops become lightly browned. Then place on a lower rack in the oven and continue baking for about 5 minutes more. Serve with a vegetable or green salad.
Our mushroom dinner was served with very young asparagus that I sautéed with just a tiny amount of water and sea salt and then drizzled with mushroom oil. Garlic bread was the final addition. This makes a very rich and filling meal. If you are preparing this meal for 4 people, just double all the ingredients mentioned above. If you are only preparing it for two people, then you are going to have two large mushrooms left over. On another night, you can make Mushroom Burgers. Keep posted to this blog to look for the directions for the Mushroom Burgers.
When you make your stuffed mushrooms, don’t feel that you have to stuff them with crab. You can use just about anything else that you prefer, including spinach, tofu or chopped mushrooms. Use your imagination and see what you can come up with.