Archive for the ‘Kauai’ Tag

Velda’s Ahi Wraps   6 comments

The casual dining area of the Kilauea Fish Market.

The casual dining area of the Kilauea Fish Market.

When we found the Kilauea Fish Market, we also found the best lunch on Kauai (read about the other great restaurants we’ve found on Kauai, here).

Unfortunately, we live on the mainland.

When we returned home, Velda began her quest to create an Ahi Wrap as wonderful as the one we found on Kauai.  You can make her’s today … let us know how it stacks up against her inspiration when you get to Kauai!

Ahi Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 T light soy sauce
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 drop hot sauce, or to taste
  • 1-2 T sesame oil
  • mayo as needed for thickening

Ahi Sauce Instructions

Mix with immersion blender.  Refrigerate overnight for the flavors to develop.

Add mayo to taste in order to thicken the sauce before serving.

Ahi Wrap Ingredients

  • 2 large tortillas
  • 10 oz ahi tuna
  • sesame seeds
  • cabbage, shredded
  • cucumber, thin  sticks
  • carrot, thin sticks
  • green onion, thin strips
  • brown rice
  • salt, pepper
  • Ahi Sauce

Ahi Wrap Instructions

Season ahi with sesame seeds, salt and pepper. Sear for 1- 2 minutes on each side, depending on thickness. Let cool slightly and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.

Layer rice, veggies and  ahi on tortilla.  Drizzle sauce and roll up burrito style.


Posted February 11, 2013 by henrymowry in Recipes

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A Tunnel of Trees   1 comment

One of the notable things to go see on Kauai is the Tree Tunnel.  It’s very pretty … you drive right through it.  Loved seeing it.

And then I saw the tree tunnel that’s near Halnaker, England, and it made me want to go to England.  Right now.  Check out the wonderful picture on what’s proclaimed as the web’s # 1 photoblog. Very. Pretty. Picture.

After you’ve gone to England, don’t forget to go to Kauai.  There are some very pretty things there, as well!

Drive from Lihue to South Shore, and you'll go right through the tree tunnel.

Drive from Lihue to South Shore, and you’ll go right through the tree tunnel.

Posted December 9, 2012 by henrymowry in Hawaii, Photography

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Gorgeous Kauai   Leave a comment

When I wrote about the best botanical gardens, I should have mentioned the prettiest hotel on the island, the Grand Hyatt.

This south shore beauty is really a must see, if you’re not lucky enough to be staying there.  The grounds are just fabulous.  We did a quick walk-through, so I know I’ll have more pictures to take on our next visit.  Meanwhile, enjoy the beauty I did capture!



Kauai: Kilauea Lighthouse   1 comment

The Kilauea Lighthouse is set on a prominent point on the north shore of Kauai.  The view of the bay beside the lighthouse is the reason to go.

You’ll see the lighthouse, take the picture.  Maybe there will be some nene on the grounds to take a picture of.  Good.

Now, look at the coastline.  Look at the albatross gliding on the wind currents above the ocean currents of that wonderful sea green bay.

Bonus: make sure you visit the Kilauea Fish Market for an ahi wrap on your way to or from the Lighthouse.  It is the BEST wrap on the island.  It’s the best restaurant for the money on the island, and it’s our favorite restaurant on the island.

Posted November 27, 2012 by henrymowry in Hawaii, Photography

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Statues of Na ‘Aina Kai   Leave a comment

This is series of  pictures of just some of the statues on display at Kauai’s Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Gardens. I have said it before: this is the best Botanical Garden we have visited in Hawaii.  The incredible array of statues is just one reason why I hope to return to this beautiful place.

Hawaii’s Botanical Gardens   6 comments

The Na’Aina Kai Botanical Garden is what I wanted to see: exotic plants, manicured gardens, statuary and lovely vistas around every corner.

When we first went to Hawaii, I didn’t really know what to expect.  I mean, I had seen Hawaii Five-O (and played that wonderful theme song, like every high school band in the ’70s).  I’d even seen surfing contests on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, back when that was the only Saturday afternoon escape available for a nascent sports junkie.

But what was Hawaii really like?  I mean, a tropical paradise?  That’s what I saw when I watched South Pacific (and in spite of a spirited discussion we had one night with the family, that is a GREAT musical … but a dated & lousy film at this point!).

Given our love of photography and, uh, pretty things, Velda and I have visited several gardens in Hawaii.  Here is our ranking and recommendation for your visit to Hawaii:

1. Kauai – Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Gardens

This is what I think a wonderful botanical garden should be.  It’s probably too big:  we did a guided tour that was about 2 hours long, and I don’t think we saw 30%, and I know we didn’t enjoy fully most of what we did see.

This garden has it all:  it’s got a huge variety of plants.  It’s got waterfalls.  It’s got statuary.  It’s a working hardwood plantation.  It’s pretty.  Gorgeous, really.  I recommend it without reservation — which you will need when you visit.

The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden has a dizzying array of exotics, such as these Rose Grapes from the Philippines.

2. Hawaii (Big Island) – Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

This garden is truly a tropical paradise.  You follow a creek through a meandering path with little grottoes liberally sprinkled around the path with exotic flowers and plants everywhere you look.  The path goes all the way to the ocean.  The views are gorgeous.  Do not miss this garden.

3. Maui – Garden of Eden Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Worth the price of admission, but not an essential part of going on the Road to Hana.  Pretty plants, wonderful paths to wander around.  See some pictures, below.

4. Hawaii (Big Island)World Botanical Garden & Waterfalls

This 3-tier waterfall is unusual for 2 reasons: it’s a 3-tier waterfall, and it can only be seen after you pay the admission to enter the World Botanical Garden.

I wrote about this garden previously, in 30: Hawaii.  As I said there, this is the least appealing garden we have visited.  Not all bad, but probably not worth the price of admission.

National Tropical Garden

5. Kauai – National Tropical Botanical Garden

There are 3 sites for the NTBG on Kauai:

South Shore – McBryde Garden
South Shore – Alerton Garden
North Shore – Limahuli Garden and Preserve

We visited the office on the South Shore without knowing what we were walking into, and decided that we didn’t have the time to spend on what seemed like an expensive guided tour.  We passed, and haven’t found time to go back.  I’m sure we will … but for now, I’ll simply state that their tours seemed expensive and their marketing hasn’t been persuasive.  We did spend an hour or so in their free access public area around the office, and that was, uh, worth what we paid for it.

The paths through the Garden of Eden are cinder-lined, which means they are not treacherous when wet; it does rain frequently here!

Norfolk Island Pine trees were planted by sailing ship captains who prized them for their long, straight trunks, and needed a ready supply of replacement masts when they stopped at the Sandwich Islands, as Hawaii was known in the 19th century.

Variegated Ginger

Rainbow Eucalyptus tree

Kauai’s Best Restaurants   5 comments

These are the best places we have found to eat on Kauai.  Three of the four are extremely affordable — you can easily eat for less than $15 each.

In Hawaii, that’s no small thing.  Enjoy!

Love the color of the ocean seen from Kilauea Lighthouse!

Buy some fish to grill for dinner while you enjoy lunch.

Kilauea Fish Market

Best ahi wrap we’ve found.  The reviews are great, too.  Very difficult to find this little place; its entrance is in the back of the building, facing away from the road.  Keep looking; this will be worth your time.

Have lunch there on the way to or from the Kilauea Lighthouse.  The Lighthouse is described as picture postcard perfect (and that’s about all it is, in my opinion).  Take that picture, and then have fun looking at the coastline laid out below you.  The inlet that it overlooks is gorgeous, and the many albatross nesting on the cliffs and riding the wind currents are more than worth the trip.

Mermaids Cafe

This hole in the wall delight is in Kapaa.  Don’t let the outer trappings dissuade you, however.  This has clearly outgrown this old kitchen; check out the menu on the website!  You’ll find that this little restaurant serves some of the best fresh food around.

The Ahi Nori wrap is a delight and recommended.  Seating is limited; there are counters running down the alley towards the ocean with stools when they’re available.  Call it rustic.  Call it charming.  And enjoy the food!

TCs is the best part of the Coconut MarketPlace.

Wander around the shops of Kapaa while you’re there.

Coconut MarketPlace, TC’s Island Grill

We wandered into the MarketPlace on our first visit to Kauai, and we’ve returned on every visit.  The location is between Lihue and Princeville, so you’ll find it’s convenient no matter where you are and where you are going when you’re on the east shore.

The shopping center has a very typical range of shops for Hawaii, from t-shirts to luggage, from jewelry to souvenirs.  After you’ve done a quick lap to see the sights, then settle in for a very informal lunch or dinner at TCs.   Whether you have fish and chips or a catch of the day grilled platter, you’ll enjoy this shack that would be a diner if it was located on the mainland.  Here, it’s an Island Grill!

Luau Kalamaku at the Kilohana Plantation

This is the best luau we have found.  It’s currently showing on Tuesdays and Fridays, so plan accordingly.

Arrive early to tour the grounds and see the wares offered by the craftsmen. Velda needed this nose flute, though her playing hasn’t advanced much since she stopped drinking the rum punch.

The cost is currently $65 for the all-you-can-eat buffet and show.  In my opinion, you don’t go to a luau for the food, you go for the show.  For the ohana.  You’ll eat, of course, and the food here is fine for a buffet.  Try the poi (it’s required) and expect a macaroni salad.  But this show was worth the price of admission.

I’ve read reviews that prefer other luaus, which is always understandable.  Opinions will vary.

This luau has:

Comfortable seating in and around the performance area.  The principal stage is in the middle; the main performance is in the round.  A few ancillary stages bring the action even closer to the audience.

The show tells a story (loosely!) and takes the audience on a journey.  It’s more than just a variety show, as some luaus tend to be.  This gets big points in my book.

Nice performances from dancing to fire juggling.  Very visual, very colorful, very theatrical.  For me, that’s a win, win, win.

Other Options

We had our 30th Anniversary dinner at Gaylord’s at Kilohana, which is also located on the Kilohana Plantation. Nice event meal.  Pricey, and nice.  Our problem, unfortunately, was that we ate at the restaurant on our anniversary, and that was a Tuesday evening … when the luau was happening 100 yards away.  We enjoyed the meal but the drums were a bit annoying.  Wish we would have known to avoid the restaurant on luau nights!

We’ve explored many other restaurants OF COURSE but none have risen to the level that I would recommend them.  One of the nicest restaurants on the island is Roy’s on south shore, and we’ve yet to try it, honestly.  We haven’t tried the one in LA, either.  Or the one in Honolulu.  Or the one in Las Vegas.  Maybe someday.

Luaus are about family. Ohana.

30: Kauai   1 comment

Opaeka’a Falls is a short drive from Lihue … we saw a flock of Nene grazing nearby.

Wailua Falls is also near Lihue. Make a day of it; see them both!

We had this vision of Kauai as a rustic tropical paradise — the least developed of the major islands.  It sounded like the perfect place to celebrate our 30th Anniversary.

In previous posts, you learned about our 30th Anniversary plan, which started in Honolulu and then continued onto Kauai.  We spent 5 days there … again, not nearly enough time, but it was enough for us to find what we were looking for.

We’d never been there, of course, so we were relying on the recommendations of friends and guide books.   We made a few mistakes:  we didn’t go to any of the paid gardens (who knew that they were really, really pretty?).  We didn’t go to the best luau on the island.  And we didn’t find 3 of our 4 favorite restaurants (more on that later).

What did we do?  We celebrated our 30 years of marriage in grand style, and found our new favorite getaway.  We have since returned 3 times in 4 years.  Get the picture … for people that didn’t go on vacations, we discovered a reason to do so!

So what’s on Kauai?

Waimea Canyon is gorgeous. Maybe someday I’ll shoot a picture as nice as this one! There are plenty of hiking trails and lookouts around the Canyon; explore to your heart’s content.

Waimea Canyon:  The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.  That’s what Mark Twain called it … and it is without question one of the best sights in the islands.  On the other hand, I’ve never been able to take spectacular photos of it … so the photos shown here are from a Hawaii tourist website.  The view is spectacular, but we didn’t hit the weather right to get spectacular photographs.

This sea urchin hotel is one of my favorite pictures from the south shore, on Maha’ulepu Beach.

Beaches, of course!  There are all manner of beaches, but we most enjoyed visiting Poi’pu Beach on the south shore.  We found a secluded spot, with no other humans visible … anywhere.  We found beaches for sunsets, beaches for surfing (well, for watching surfing), and beaches for relaxing.

Good news: they will ship your purchases home, so you can freeze and then savor Kauai Coffee for many months following your visit.

Exotic foods are grown … in exotic places, naturally.  We enjoyed all manner of tropical delicacies, and especially enjoyed touring the Kauai Coffee plantation.  It’s a great couple of hours for a coffee connoisseur like Velda.  And I tolerated it, too.

If you haven’t tried Shave Ice, then you don’t know what you’re missing. Try it with some sweet cream and tropical flavors, just sayin’.

Unique foods were also tried.   After days of searching, we finally did find some malasadas to taste.  And we ate shave ice for the first time in a place called Hanalei.

Love this bush growing in red dirt near a creek on the way to Waimea Canyon. I take a picture of it every visit!

You need an icy beverage and a flower in your hair while on Kauai. Check! 

A rare photograph shot by Velda, at Maha’ulepu Beach. We lost our car in the 20′ tall bushes separating the beach from the sugar cane field. We still made our flight, though!

I still haven’t taken the perfect sunset photo, but I am not going to stop until I do.

To paraphrase my good friend Dennis, “Married 30 years, and those have been 25 of the best years of my life.” You can see me winking, right? Right???

Posted September 28, 2012 by henrymowry in Hawaii, Photography

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Baby Albatross   Leave a comment

A baby albatross, hanging out in a public garden in Kauai. Taken near the north shore, 2011.

Posted September 20, 2012 by henrymowry in Hawaii, Photography

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