Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Island of Lana’i ~ For a Flavor of Old Hawaii

We took a step back in time and place when we arrived two weeks ago on the small island of Lana’i.

Here -- unlike its neighbor island Maui where traffic jams and shopping malls have become the norm and from where we had just spent a hustle-bustled week – we found the Hawaii we’d been seeking.

Take the Plantation Store for example. It is the only place selling gasoline on the island. The island’s only car rental agency is located at the back of  the store.

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On this island an afternoon stroll could lead to the horse stables and corrals; a place where the island’s paniolos (cowboys) hone their calf roping skills.

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But the real flavor of old Hawaii was strongest when it came time to dining. 

Because that’s when we’d join locals at some of the many restaurants, housed in the small wooden buildings built during  yesteryear’s pineapple heydays.

They are the kind of places you must remember to hold the screen door or it will slap shut announcing to all that you’ve arrived.  

One of our favorite eateries, 565, (pictured to the left and below), exemplifies that old time charm.

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Why, 565? Well, because the name is easy to remember.  It is the prefix for telephones on the island!  We learned that the day we stopped in for lunch, lured in by the banner reading: Korean Katsu Chicken.

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Served as a traditional ‘ plate lunch’, it came with two scoops of rice, and that Hawaiian trademark, macaroni salad. We’ve eaten a lot of Katsu chicken in our day but this was by far the best ever! Moist white meat in a crunchy honey and sesame crust. . .oh my mouth waters just writing those words. . .

So good was lunch that we asked about dinner.  Yes, it was served. No, they didn’t serve alcohol but that was no problem, said the owner, just go to the store and buy a bottle and bring it with you.

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So it was off to Richard’s Market  that evening where the chilled wine was kept in the back – all four bottles of it.  Joel chose our bottle, paid for it and then. . . .

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. . .served it as any good wine steward would do! 

We had the outside seating to ourselves as we sipped the wine waiting for our blackened mahi-mahi with fresh pineapple salsa to be served. 

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If You Go:

* We had several restaurant choices in Lana’i City – far more than could be visited during our four-night visit here. 

* The win-win in Maui County, of which Lana’i is a part, is that if a place doesn’t have its own liquor license you are free to bring a bottle with you – which you must open and serve yourself.  And at $19 for the bottle, compared to the $14 a glass and more, at the Four Seasons Resort where we stayed, it also kept the travel budget in the black.

*The meals pictured were less than $20 and one serving was plenty for two people.

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If your idea of ‘perfect Hawaii’ is the hustle and bustle of Waikiki Beach on O’ahu or Ka’anapali Beach on Maui, this wonderful laid-back place may not be for you. For us, this was the Hawaii we’ve been seeking. We will be back – and we will be coming hungry!

Thanks for the time you spent with us today and we hope you’ll come along as we continue our Tales from the Pacific

Linking up today:
Foodie Tuesday at Inside Journeys
Sweet Shot Tuesday


  1. I had this up on my screen at work (shhhh!!!...that's between us) and a girlfriend of mine at work saw it. She was really interested as she's headed over to Hawaii in a couple of months. Was the Mahi-Mahi really spicy? I had some blackended fish a couple of years ago (and I most fish) and it literally choked me. I had to order a different entree. And I was on a date to boot! Noticed the other dish up there. But, the Loco Moco....OMG, Jackie, I could eat every day. They serve it not only in restaurant right by my house but in our work cafeteria! Good post :)

    1. Oh thanks Mike for such a nice comment! No, this was a mild blackening coating and the salsa was almost sweet (so goes life with ripe pineapples, right?) Okay, that is so funny about Loco Moco, because I am writing soon about the other BYOB place where we had another great plate lunch meal -- but I am still regretting not ordering the Loco Moco instead. You've got my mouth watering again, Mike! (Tell your work friend to become a Google friend/follower or subscriber as I have more Hawaii coming!) Have a great week.

  2. I love the down home feel of these places. :-) The food looks really delicious. :-)

    1. It is the most welcoming of lifestyles. . .the sound of roosters crowing to greet the day, petting horses as you walk in to town. . .yep, my kind of lifestayle! Thanks for visiting~

  3. Sounds perfect, Jackie! I love places that have a slow-down-don't-rush pace. Your description of the door slam took me back to times when I've walked into places and all eyes turned to look.
    Just thinking of that blackened mahi mahi is making my mouth water. Yummy!!
    Thanks for linking up this week, Jackie, and sharing this idyllic slice of Hawaii.

    1. We had a screen on our back door that slammed shut when I was a kid. I always had a dream of being married (if I got married) in the back yard and making my entry from the house. I remember my best friend and playmate saying, "Well, don't let the screen slam if you do!"

  4. Thanks for clarifying why 565 is an easy number to remember. If you have to open your own bottles, do you also have to bring your own bottle opener? The food looks so yummy. Both the Katsu Chicken and the Blackened Mahi-Mahi are exactly the types of foods I go for.

    1. No, they all had bottle openers and this place even had stemmed wine glasses that we could use. We drank out of plastic tumblers at another restaurant where we had BYOB'ed for dinner.

  5. Looks like you've gotten a taste of authentic Hawaii!

    1. Since coming home I've seen two published articles in traditional travel magazines and they had a 'traditional Hawaiian food' focus - all of which were the latest up coming whizz-bang chefs. . .I thought to myself, "No . . .that's not 'real' Hawaiian food, I've just eaten the real stuff! Thanks for the visit today, Irene, it is always appreciated!

  6. Hi Jackie and Stan,

    The best eateries are always the simplest, both in design, and food, I believe! Your meals looks scrumptious, indeed, especially that chicken/rice/mac salad dish! I'm sure you've eaten at the many roadside souvlaki stands here in Greece and have delighted in the charcoal broiled specialties, simple and satisfying!

    Have a lovely day!

    PS: It's too bad I will not be here to meet you when you arrive this year!:(( I leave for Toronto next week and will return end of May! Hopefully next year our paths will cross!

  7. While I am sad that we won't get to meet, I am so excited that you do get to go visit loved ones in Canada! And you are so right, Poppy, some of the best meals we've eaten -- and are already dreaming about -- are those simply souvlaki stands or having an overstuffed gyro. . .oh, I am getting hungry just thinking about it!


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