THINGS I ATE: Food and Adventure in Kauai

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I’ve spent so much time this summer blogging about Big Brother and podcasting about Bravo that I’ve hardly had time to post about food, but I can assure you that I have been eating. I’ve been eating a lot. Perhaps too much. Nevertheless, way back in July, I had a glorious jaunt over to the island of Kauai (that’s in Hawaii, for all of you who are geographically challenged), and in between luxuriating in the sunshine and falling off rocks in the mountains, I managed to enjoy a bite or two at some of the local eateries.

After the jump, check out what I ate and a few vacation pictures to boot. Warning: long post!

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Okay, this technically isn’t anything I ate in Hawaii. It’s a bag of Krave Beef Jerky. I ate a few pieces the morning I left (I was in a rush), and when I got back to my apartment a week later and had no food to snack on, I ate some more. Needless to say, I actually enjoyed this brand greatly. I will always be loyal to Oberto for personal reasons, but I may work Krave into the mix. Be warned: it’s slightly sweet, even for “sweet chipotle.”

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Now we’re in Kauai. This handsome platter comes courtesy of Koloa Fish Market, a veritable shack on a scenic stretch in the town of Koloa. For those who can endure the market’s extremely surly staff, you’ll be rewarded with something like this, the Kalua Pig and Lau Lau plate. Everything, including the poke, is delicious on this plate, but the stars are the two pork offerings, which are so moist and succulent, you’ll nearly weep. Not to be overdramatic or anything. Also worth getting is the market’s wasabi poke. Yummbers.

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Just down the street from Koloa Fish Market is Koloa Mill, a super tasty ice cream shop. Later in the week I tried the ice cream at Tropical Dreams in Kapaa after it came highly recommended by my friend. I thought Koloa Mill was better though. SARRRY.

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For more refined fare, we headed to Red Salt at the swanky Ko’a Kea Hotel. Definitely no styrofoam containers here. Bonus points to the friendly waiter who tended to us way after the restaurant had cleared out. Also, an important note: restaurants in Kauai close around 9 or 9:30. Be warned.

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The town of Hanapepe holds “Art Night” on Fridays. Locals amble about the streets, trying food, listening to music, and touring shops. Here’s an island brownie I tried at the cute coffeeshop, Little Fish. Adorable spot, average brownie. There, I said it.

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A glimpse of Art Night.

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Pies at Art Night. Hanapepe? More like HanaPIEPIE. Get it?

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Butter mochi pie. Sort of tricky to describe this. Gelatanous, buttery, gooey? I dunno. It was good though. [and the James Beard award for best food writing goes to… B-Side Blog!]

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Chocolate coconut is definitely my speed.

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Wait. Stop. Forget the pies. THIS is what you must eat if you find yourself at Art Night. It’s a Cuban meatball skewer so full of flavor and perfectly cooked that it may have been the best thing I ate the entire vacation. Thanks to my friend Kambra for making me stop and get one. And yes, I realize that my photo is not oriented correctly, but I’m entirely too lazy to fix it.

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This is the lady with the skewers. FIND HER.

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More skewer porn.

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Locals enjoy some music. This cat has no qualms about claiming its own seat.

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It’s a fact: cats love island music.

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Basically, there are more animals in chairs than humans.

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What’s this unassuming roll?

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Only the freshest, most perfect sweet potato bun of all time. Also sold at Art Night.

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Breakfast at the hotel. I ate variations of this every day for eight days. And this is just the first plate of the morning. Unsurprisingly, I gained nine pounds. (But it was good!)

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Another reason why I gained nine pounds: all the ice cream cake. Whether it was grasshopper pie in Hanalei or Kimo’s Original Hula Pie® (seen above) at Keoki’s Paradise, there was lots of this stuff to go around. And even though none of it was earth-shattering, there’s a very simple truth when it comes to ice cream cake: IT IS ALWAYS GOOD (unless it’s made of poison, and even thennnnn….).

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A bonus pic of Keoki’s Paradise. The food is not amazing, but the atmosphere it relaxed and fun (despite what this grainy photo shows). Kind of like a cheesy place in Disney World that you secretly enjoy. Plus, they stayed open until midnight, which was shocking.

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One of Kauai’s famously modern bus stops.

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The giant boat I drove around for a week. I’m shocked we didn’t wind up in a ditch.

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Check it out: taro cake at McDonald’s!

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Looks just like an apple pie, but…

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IT’S PURPLE INSIDE!!! IT’S MADE OF GRIMACE!!! GAAAAAH!!!! (Also, it’s delicious).

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There may have been a few beverages throughout the week.

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Here I am at a luau. I forgot to take pictures of the food — pork, poi, salad, etc etc — which was all shockingly good considering this was basically a tourist trap. What I did take a picture of was this table, which had to be completely stripped down after my friend stood up abruptly and caused everyone’s drinks to fall over. Heh.

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Sunset hula action.

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Many of us greatly enjoyed the work of this hula dancer. Not saying we were obsessed or anything, buuuuut…

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No comment.

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Here I am at Puka Dog in Poipu. I have clearly obtained a hat.

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Getting some serious hula action with the menu board.

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Here’s how this works. The tweens behind the counter take a BLAZING hot spike and poke a hole in a hoagie roll. The spike toasts the innards while the rest of the bun remain soft and doughy. A grilled hot dog goes into the hole (yes, this is very suggestive, snickering IS encouraged), which is then followed by a garlic sauce and a tropical sauce of your choosing (ie. mango, pineapple, coconut, etc). This is all a long way of saying THESE HOT DOGS WERE SO GOOD. Honestly, my favorite meal of the week.

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Meanwhile, at the Kauai Coffee Co., we toured a coffee plantation and got to see cool things like these unroasted coffee beans.

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It’s pretty kewl.

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I’m getting a caffeine contact high. Also, the hat is back in a look that my parents warmly referred to as “white trash.”

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These are the machines that knock the coffee berries off their branches. Future prop in the next Final Destination movie, I’m sure.

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Another menacing view.

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The coffee bean is inside the berry, and when you squeeze the berry, gross stuff comes out. Ewww.

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After our coffee tour, we headed to Island Taco, famous for their fish tacos.

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The gang, ready to chow down.

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A friend comes to lunch. The island is overrun with roosters and hens, FYI.

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And here are the tacos. These bad boys are huge. Ordering three is not advised. I enjoyed mine quite a bit — sorry, I don’t remember what I ordered — but others at the table felt their tacos were bland.

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Across the street is Jo Jo’s, specializing in shaved ice.

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The menu. Lots of options.

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If you’re lucky, someone is there to help you.

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I ordered half coconut, half lemon. The end result was something that looked like it had been peed on. Fear not: the flavors were great. Honestly, I was shocked. I’m not a big shaved ice person, but this was damn good. Loved the coconut.

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Heading up into Waimea Canyon. No food here, just pretty pictures.

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Behold, the majesty of nature! RAH!!!

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Cocky.

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They say it’s the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. I wouldn’t disagree.

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Close your legs to married birds. BLOOP.

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When bloggers snorkel.

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A chilling encounter with the most benign fish of all, the humuhumunukunukuapua’a.

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Galavanting in the hotel pool. One must always protect the beer.

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Bravery incarnate.

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One of several brutal encounters with the surf.

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Wah wahh.

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I may be down, but I’m not out. It’s not like there are any giant waves coming up behind me…

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Gah.

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Here we are at 9:30 AM, about to embark on an 8 mile trek to a waterfall. I’m wearing sneakers from Walmart on my feet, fear in my heart.

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As we trek up into the mountains, I’d say the views are AIIIIGHT.

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Okay, Hawaii. We get it. Your water is amazing. Shut up already.

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Sweating profusely. I believe this goes beyond the notion of a “tropical sheen.” Behind me is the Na Pali Coast, a sixteen miles stretch that is considered to be one of the wonders of the world. Or so I’ve been told. Anyhoo, it’s there.

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After two miles of trekking, we come across the most pristine beach I can remember. Naturally, we dive right in.

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Artsy driftwood.

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We find out after the fact that this beach is the most deadly beach on Kauai. Wooops.

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If this looks like Lost, it’s because the show was filmed here.

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And if this looks like Jurassic Park, it’s because IT IS. Minus the dinosaurs. (Spielberg filmed here)

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After two more miles, we reach our goal: a mighty waterfall!

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It’s not without its perils. I suffer a major boo-boo after I fall off a rock and over a (1 foot) waterfall.

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By the time we finish our hike, it’s 5:00 PM. We drag our sweaty, exhausted bodies into town and enjoy what else? Happy Hour! Taken at Hanalei Gourmet.

And now, all the vital information you’ll need for your trip to Kauai:

Art Night
Hanapepe Road
Hanapepe, Kaua’i, HI 96716
Official Website
*Check out The Right Slice fresh pies and the Cubana lady.

The Hanalei Gourmet
5-5161 Kuhio Hwy #5
Hanalei, HI 96714
(808) 826-2524
hanaleigourmet.com

Tropical Dreams Hawaiian Gourmet Ice Cream
4-831 Kuhio Hwy, Ste 220
Kapaa, HI 96746
(808) 822-1010
tropicaldreamsicecream.com/

Island Taco
9643 Kaumualii Hwy
Waimea, HI 96796
(808) 338-9895
islandfishtaco.com/

Keoki’s Paradise
2360 Kiahuna Plantation Dr
Koloa, HI 96756
(808) 742-7534
keokisparadise.com

Jo Jo’s Shave Ice
Kaumualii Highway
Mile Marker 23
Waimea, HI 96796

Koloa Fish Market
5482 Koloa Rd
Kauai, HI 96756
(808) 742-6199

Koloa Mill
5424 Koloa Rd
Koloa, HI 96756
(808) 742-6544
koloamill.com

Little Fish
3900 Hanapepe Rd
Hanapepe, HI 96716
(808) 335-5000
facebook.com/littlefishcoffee

Puka Dog
2360 Kiahuna Plantation Dr
Koloa, HI 96756
(808) 742-6044
pukadog.com

Red Salt
2251 Poipu Rd
Koloa, HI 96756
(808) 828-8888
http://www.koakea.com/dining-at-red-salt/

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5 thoughts on “THINGS I ATE: Food and Adventure in Kauai

  1. I’ve enjoyed Hawaii but it is not always my first choice for a holiday because I don’t enjoy the cuisine. I been to Maui a few times but my last trip was to Waikiki for a conference. I was excited to be paid to go to Hawaii for a week and only have to give an hour long talk. Until I arrived at my hotel. A friend met in the lobby and exclaimed with sardonic excitement that we were staying at the same place where The Brady Bunch and every game show contestant who ever won a trip to Hawaii had stayed. It was a week of plastic cups by the pool, premixed frozen drinks from a spigot, and families of four pretending to enjoy staying in a one room condo rather than their suburban home. So, whether it’s a bruised shin or a pina coloda brain freeze there’s a price to pay for staying in paradise.

    Lastly, I am again flabbergasted by the notion that BSide would eat poi and a purple pie from McDonald’s but would refuse a strawberry? Like all readers, I’m left wondering – Is there an unconscious berry trauma that we’ll discover as the blog evolves?

  2. The hot poker hot dogs is genius!
    Thanks for sharing your vacation…so if there is an empty beach in Hawaii there is a reason.

    Oliver, I think Ben got sick on berries as a child, it must have been traumatic…maybe someone’s white carpet ruined, will we ever know for sure?

  3. I had no idea that fish was the humuhumunukunukuapua’a. We went to Maui in August and I saw those suckers at the Maui Ocean Center… I had no idea what they were, except weird looking! Kauai is the next island we want to visit. When we go, I’m going to need one of those hot dogs. Someday…

  4. Beautiful pics B! Plus- “hello gorgeous”. You look HOT (literally and figuratively)! 🙂

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