Thursday, June 25, 2015

Whatever the opposite of hungry is

Hello dear readers, we have reached the end of day three here on Kaua'i and it has been another fabulous day in paradise. Sam had researched and booked a tour called Tasting Kauai, and so our schedule for today needed to leave the whole afternoon free for that.
Sweaty and warm at 9 in the morn'

Our day of adventures up in the canyon had left us with sore muscles, and so after a leisurely breakfast, we decided that a local run around the neighborhood might help loosen the legs. We heard that Puu road was a quiet and scenic route, and it lived up to its reputation. Many other groups were out enjoying the late morning along the road, making us feel confident that we discovered where the locals go.

After the run, there was enough time for me to sneak over to a hair salon down in town to get a hair cut, and Sam went looking for coffee and browsing through an art gallery. I had meant to get the haircut in Uppsala before we left, but midsommar weekend is not a great time to schedule a last minute appointment. Hopefully the shorter hair will keep me cool in both senses of the term :)

By this time it was noon and we were getting a little bit hungry. The tasting tour started in an hour, but we were anxious that maybe we wouldn't be eating enough food while on the tour and that we would be hungry. (Spoiler, we needn't have worried). We spied a handpainted sign advertising fish tacos and followed the arrow to a cute little food truck, where we bought a very good lunch. Afterward we walked around the tourist area before meeting up with the tour group.
Ross protecting the fish tacos from opportunistic flies

Our guide, Melissa, was charming and knowledgeable and the rest of our tour group was a family of six from Iowa and a couple from Phoenix celebrating their wedding anniversary. They were excited to hear that we came from Sweden, though I think they were hoping for real Swedes. The next section describing the food tour will maybe work best as a photo montage.
Açaí is surprisingly hard to pronounce, but easy to devour

First stop was a smoothie bar, were we got to try the house specialty, an Acai smoothie bowl. Acai berries, we learned, come from Brazil and are very popular in beach towns with a surfing culture. The berries come in little frozen packets from Brazil but then get blended in with other delicious stuff like coconut water and apple bananas, which are a small sweet variety of banana. On top of the berry blend was more cut fruit, coconut, granola, and honey. They were pretty amazing.
Oh so delicious

Just a few meters away, we visited a Sushi bar where the owner talked to us about how he started the company and how he makes the different dishes. He was an amazing storyteller with the gift of Gab for sure, and he charmed the pants off of the whole crowd. His favorite dish they make is a mixture of Ahi, Ono, and Salmon with lots of sesame seeds, wasabi aioli and seaweed salad served on a bed of sushi rice. I am currently voting that we go back there for lunch tomorrow if not every single day that we have left on Kaua'i.

The next stop was a local market that sold goods from all over the island and around Hawaii. We got to hear about how a lot of the businesses are growing and thriving by selling to local restaurants and by making things when they are in season.
So many choices!

Just next to the market was the gelato shop where we got a tour from the owner. He told us about the differences between ice cream and gelato and then let us into the store where we got to sample his flavors and see how a batch of gelato gets made. It was really hard to choose what flavors to get from the dozens on display. Sam settled on pineapple and cheesecake, where I was very satisfied with a tart frozen yogurt and a coconut chocolate chip.

It was about this time that we were already starting to feel full and we had several stops to go!

The rest of the tour was in and around a shopping plaza that has a farmer's market every Wednesday. We ate kobe beef sliders with cheese and slaw topping served on a homemade brioche bun and then wandered around the inside of the food market shop which was a lot like a Wegman's but filled with mostly Hawaiian things. We got to sample some freshly delivered Lychee fruits, which were delicious and fun to peel and eat.
Dragon fruit are in season. We are curious.

Across the plaza was a stand selling croissants and other pastries that were made using the same flaky buttery dough. Sam has saved her dark chocolate one for tomorrow but I selected a spinach goat cheese sundried tomato version which was very quickly dispatched. It was highlighted that at this particular farmer's market, everything needs to made with things that come from the island, which is really special because most food gets imported from the mainland.
Out in the sun all day, both Ross and the slider are grilled to perfection

We stopped by a lot of small stalls just for a taste, and sampled white pineapple, fantastic jellies and jams, and some really great honey. The beekeeper did a great job describing how the honey is made and how it takes 10,000 bee trips to collect nectar to make an ounce of honey. And also, how a normal worker bee can maybe only make 10,000 trips in her life. They have a lot of wild bees on the island too, and many different kinds of crops and plants so that the bees always have something to eat and so the hives don't need to be moved.

The last stop on the official tour was at a fancy restaurant owned by celebrity chef Peter Merriman. We were treated to a glass of passionfruit lemonade and a small dish of spanish omelet (made with eggs and potatoes from the executive chef, Mark's, yard) topped with a grilled shrimp and some yogurt sauce. In keeping with the rest of the tour, it was delicious and tastes so much better when the head chef comes out to describe all the ingredients and how it is prepared!
Sam was a little creeped out by the eyes on the shrimp

At this point we said goodbye to our tour group and had some time to wander around the market by ourselves. We purchased a mango (they are in season, and the season this year is very good according to what we heard all day) some amazing heirloomy cherry tomatoes as well as a cool looking dragonfruit. Sam also got a coconut with a straw so that she could drink the coconut water. We'll eat the meat of the coconut later as well. The food market also featured a little demonstration from another restaurant on how to make nori rolls. These are tuna filled nori packets dipped in tempura and fried very quickly and served with a sesame/soy/mirin sauce. The demonstration ended with food for everyone!
Seriously, there are chickens everywhere

Bonus food!

Shopping success

To work off some of the calories from our extended peripatetic feast we headed off to see the Spouting Horn, a geyser formation in the rocks along the coast. A cool breeze and a lovely view out across the ocean were beautiful enough but whenever a big wave came in, a towering jet of foam would spurt up from the spouting horn and the water droplets would drift and catch the light to make bright rainbows and double rainbows appear before fading away again.

Spouting horn, post spout with a bright rainbow

Our last stop of the evening was another spot along the coast where an arch of lava bridges over the crashing surf on the rocky shoreline. The arch was surprisingly hard to find, and without Sam's guidebook we would not have even known to look for it. The arch itself can really only be seen from one small area though the rocks are perfect for scrambling on and so you can stand out on top of the arch for photos.
Looking cool, in both senses of the term

It has been a long day, and bedtime beckons. More adventures await tomorrow.

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