Showing posts with label Foodie Tuesday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Foodie Tuesday. Show all posts

Monday, September 22, 2014

Kaua'i: Where Memory Lane leads to Louise’s

She was as exotic as any I had person I’d ever seen back then.
(I’d spent my life in an agricultural community in Central Washington State). 

She was enormous.
(from my five-foot-almost-one-inch point-of-view)

And she had a smile that just wouldn’t quit. She made you feel warm and welcomed – prompting that  kind of ‘I-don’t-want-to-leave’ feeling and a desire to return soon when you finally did leave.

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Louise Hauata - Tahiti Nui, photo March 1983
That’s how I remember the woman, Louise Hauata, from the Austral Islands of French Polynesia, just south of Tahiti. We met her back in 1983  in Hanalei on Kauai’s North Shore. She was a single mother running the Tahitian style bar and restaurant that she and her American husband, Bruce Marston, a former Lt. Col in the U.S. Air Force, had opened in 1964. They had met and married in Tahiti then moved to Kauai. He had died in the mid 70’s.
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The Scout - reluctantly posing - Princeville, Kauai, March 1983

We were young back then – barely married three years -- and travel was doled out in brief 10-day-per-year-doses by our employers. Hawaii, a mere six-hour flight away from the Seattle airport, was  a favorite destination for us.  Kauai’s North Shore was of particular appeal; in part because of Louise’s Tahiti Nui.

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Tahiti Nui - March 1983
We’d sit in those cushioned rattan chairs on her front porch sipping Mai Tai’s and watch the occasional car go by on the two-lane road that gives way to hiking trails and the rugged NaPali coast a few miles beyond Hanalei.  The bar made such an impression that to this day we have an enlargement of this photo hanging in our den.

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Scenes from the Tahiti Nui luau - March 1983
It was at this little place we attended our first – and only – Hawaiian luau.  The dishes were prepared primarily on site, but we recall some dishes were brought by locals – think potluck style.  We paid some ridiculously small amount and dined on authentic Hawaiian dishes: roasted pork, poi, salads, lomi lomi, lau lau. . .the works.
Before we sat down to eat, Louise had us encircle our tables, join hands and she said grace. Then the feast and entertainment was on. The hula show provided by local talented young ladies.

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Hanalei Valley 1983 left, 2014 right
The Hanalei Valley really hasn’t changed much during the decades that have passed since those youthful visits of ours to paradise. The landscape is still carpeted with agricultural fields– with a fair share of golf courses and visitor accommodations in nearby Princeville, where we stayed. 

The town of Hanalei has a grocery store now, a small (tourist-oriented) shopping development and several restaurants and bars from which to choose. However, prior to our return, we were delighted to read in the Lonely Planet’s guidebook, “Kauai” that the Tahiti Nui is run by Louise’s son, Christian and her nephew, William Marsten.

Although Louise had died in 2003, we were eager to follow memory lane back to her Tahiti Nui.

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Tahiti Nui, Hanalei, 2014
I raced up the stairs after taking this photo to peek inside as it was early Sunday morning and the place -  now twice the size it had been -- was closed. Just as I got to the doorway, a woman inside snapped, “We open at 11!” and shut the door in my face. 

So much for that warm welcome I remembered. . .

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The "Nui" now - 2014

Oh well, not to be deterred, we were pleased to learn they still have a weekly luau. . .not so pleased to learn it was capped off at some hundred guests or so, each paying $75 a person.  Maybe a regular dinner there would work, we reasoned. . .

We stopped by the one evening we were in town and the place -- with its cross between funky Tahitian and dive décor -- didn’t look much different from how we remembered it. It was, however, crammed with diners and drinkers thus making its interior stifling hot and stuffy.

But no smiles like Louise’s greeted us from the bartender or the wait staff.

ManitoKauai2014 120There really seemed no room nor real reason to stay.

We took a final look around.

Then tucked those sweet memories away. . .

. . .and ate pub grub at Kalypso a bar/restaurant down the street where we were greeted with a warm welcome.

If You Go:

Tahiti Nui
5-5134 Kuhio Highway
Hanalei, Kaua'i

5-5156 Kuhio Highway
Hanalei, Kaua'i

Linking up:
Foodie Tuesday – Inside Journeys

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Kaua’i: Market Day

It turns out that on this Hawaiian island every day, but Sunday, is a Market Day somewhere. 

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Kaui Community College Saturday Market - Lihue
We generally seek out these temporary markets – often set up in parking lots, city streets or vacant fields - when we travel because they are some of our favorite places to meet growers and buy locally-sourced food. On this island we didn’t have to do any seeking; we were offered market schedules at check-in at both places we’ve stayed.

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This week we are in a condo on the island’s south side where there are any number of markets taking place. The photos in this post were taken at the Saturday morning market held weekly on the Kaua’i Community College campus. We arrived minutes after its 9:30 opening to find shoppers were already lined up to make purchases.

ManitoKauai2014 231Coming from the Pacific Northwest where a tropic flower stem can cost more than $10, you can probably understand our delight at finding entire bouquets for $7!

(A similar market earlier in the week in Hanalei on the island’s North Shore had them for $15 which we had thought had also been a terrific price.)

We’ll enjoy this $7 beauty for the rest of our stay. . .

In addition to flowers we came home with a bag of just-husked corn on the cob ($5), a bag of six heads of Manoa lettuce ($2.50), and a bunch of just-picked yellow bananas ($1) . The temptations were to over-buy. . .great prices and great products.

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Generally, one of our favorite travel tips is to shop at these markets because they are a great places to save money as well as to get  fresh foods.

That wasn’t the case at all the Kauai markets.

The farmer’s market at Waipa Ahupua’a Field in Hanalei on the North Shore had growers offering pineapples for $8 each and some with papayas at $2.50 each.  One couple, however, offered papayas  for $1 each with a “buy 2 and get 1 free” deal. . .and that’s where we bought our week’s supply. (Food prices at grocery stores there were also high.)

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Back on the South Shore, we did shop for groceries and adult beverages at Costco, the big box store in Lihue, where the price of a Hawaiian pineapple, was $3.50 and a box of five papayas $5.50. I can tell you the place was packed with locals and tourists during our Friday morning visit.

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Red ginger stems
There’s a two-hours-only “Gourmet Farmers Market” taking place on Wednesday at nearby Kukui’ula Shopping Village.  We were told there would be wine tasting and food available for purchase. So far wine prices at bars and restaurants have ranged from $14 – $35 a glass so we can hardly wait to see what the prices will be at the ‘Gourmet Farmer’s Market’ . . .

If You Go. . .

Kauai is the furthest north of the major islands in the Hawaiian Island chain.  There are direct flights from several U.S. West Coast cities, including Seattle. The North Shore is famous for the amount of rain that falls there; it’s south shore is far more sun drenched. Farmer's Market schedules are readily available.

Map picture

Linking up:
Foodie Tuesday @ Inside Journeys

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Where Kalamata is More than an Olive

“The olive? . . . Isn’t that the name of an olive?” we’ve been asked when we start singing the praises of Kalamata.

DSCF2262Correct! It is an olive to be sure.

But it is also the name of the second largest city in Greece’s Peloponnese; a place that won our hearts this summer.
And Kalamata lends its name to this plump, blackish-purple olive sold in deli’s worldwide. The leaves, like the olives are larger than other varieties.  Kalamata olives can’t be picked green. They ripen in late November and must be hand-picked to avoid bruising.

Early morning in Kalamata, Greece

Kalamata, with more than 50,000 residents, is a vibrant city offering festivals and musical events in the summer when tourists flock to its beaches and fill the dozens of hotels along the waterfront. It is a market town with a variety of stores, hospitals and medical centers. Its airport – with an increasing number of flights this year – is a gateway to this area of the Peloponnese.

DSCF0009 It is just a bit more than a three hour drive from the Athens Airport on a modern-freeway with toll booths and rest stops (with gasoline stations and restaurants) at regular intervals along the way. The freeway circumvents Athens so it is an easy-drive even for those on a first-time road trip.

You can't get lost on this road trip: the freeway from Athens ends at Kalamata. From here travels in The Mani are on two-lane roadways.

Sidewalk cafes line the pedestrian-friendly city center
DSCF0216On the Greek “cute-o-meter” the buildings in Kalamata can’t compete with the likes of postcard perfect Santorini and Mykonos.

On the other hand those two islands weren’t leveled by an earthquake as was Kalamata in 1986. Of such a magnitude, it killed 20 people and destroyed 10,000 homes. Evidence of the damage is still visible on buildings in the downtown.

Amazingly its 13th Century Ayii Apostoli (Holy Apostles) church in the heart of the city’s historical district required repair but remained standing. It is said, that in 1821 The Greek War of Independence from Turkey was declared at this church.

Ayii Apostoli Church
The town is built on the site of ancient Pharai - so old a place that it is described by Homer as subject to the kingdom of Agamemnon. There’s a long story surrounding Kalamata, its modern name, but the short version is that its from a miracle working icon of the Virgin Mary known as ‘kalo mata’ (good eye).

Unlike our visit here last spring when the streets were empty and the town seemed dead, the place was simply hopping with beach- and sun-loving tourists this summer:

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Sun-bonnets and hats are displayed for sale throughout the town
While we spent our time in town working on tasks related to the failed home purchase, we still could enjoy the beach and marina before and after trips to the bank, government offices and other such destinations.

Pharae Palace Hotel on Kalamata's waterfront
In fact, we stayed twice this summer at a hotel called Pharae Palace, where for 70-euros a night, we had an ocean-side balcony room and the price included free wi-fi (that worked!) and a lavish buffet breakfast – one of the best we’ve had in Europe served in its rooftop bar and restaurant, The Loft, a place that offered 180-degree views.

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Views from The Loft
History buffs will want to visit its three museums: The Archaeological Museum of Messenia – where displays are divided into provincial regions; a Historical and Folklore Museum of Kalamata that highlights the town’s bygone days; and a free Military Museum (where all the signage is in Greek).

If You Go:

For more information:

As always we appreciate the time you spend with us! And thank you so much for recommending TravelnWrite to others and sharing links to the blog on Facebook!! Hope your travels continue to be good ones whether actual or armchair.  See you back here again later this week.

Linking with:
Mosaic Monday
Foodie Tuesday

Sunday, August 3, 2014

WAWeekend: A Taste of the Ol’ West

Prior to heading off for Greece this summer we took a quick road trip to the Yakima Valley, a part Central Washington’s wine country, and had a taste of the ol’ West at a new eatery in an ol’ building in the heart of downtown Prosser.

So join us for lunch at the Horse Heaven Saloon. The Scout will even hold the door for you:

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The doors by the way are made of Brazilian Purple Heart wood, a wood used in area hop kilns which are the processing plants where hops are prepared to use as flavorings in beer.  For you gun enthusiasts out there: The photo on the left shows the door handles which are replicas of the Old West Cavalry single revolver with seven inch barrels. The two inside handles are models of an 1897 25 –32 caliber Winchester and a 1970’s model 32 caliber.

PicMonkey Collage 
The bar has been made from repurposed old growth Douglas Fir and old combine wheels.  (Combines with wheels like these were used in the harvest of hay and grain in the Yakima Valley and are the precursors to the modern-day mammoth versions).  Here those wheels separate the bar seating from the restaurant seating, making the place family-friendly. . .kids can eat in the restaurant which is separated from the bar per Washington State’s rather goofy law on the subject.


The walls are covered with murals that pay tribute to the Saloon’s name, Horse Heaven Hills. The name, by the way, is attributed to a Valley pioneer, James Gordon Kinney who in 1857 is said to have noted the knee-high grasses covering the rolling hills in the area and the large herds of feral horses grazing there.  “Excellent forage and comparative isolation. . .This is surely a horse heaven!” he is credited with pronouncing.

This one pays homage to the old beer truck deliveries.


Being a cat lover I had to include this one.

If the décor wasn’t enough reason to head here, the food is.  And the menu describes it as a Western-themed gastro pub. The chef, Laurie Kennedy creates a variety of dishes that could include seared ahi to specially prepared chicken gizzards.  While the full bar provides any type of adult beverage, you might want to try a Horse Heaven Hills Brewery beer handcrafted by Gary Vegar.

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We were there at noon and decided to share a sandwich and each have ‘just’ a cup of soup. . .both were so large that we could have skipped one or the other but the food was so good we managed to eat it all without a bit of hesitation!

If you are in Central Washington, this eatery – now open for just under a year – is worth a visit.

Prosser is about a 3.5 hour drive from Seattle. The nearest airports are in the TriCities and Yakima.

Horse Heaven Hills Saloon
615 6th St. (Main Street in this small town)
Check their web site for hours and menu and some fun photos or find them on FB.
Linking up:
Inside Journeys – Foodie Tuesday

Monday, July 28, 2014

An Enchanted Evening in Kardamyli

Our trip back to Greece’s Mani region this summer spanned a time period that included both our wedding anniversary and my birthday. . . what better place on earth to celebrate such occasions, right?

While our days were busy with ‘chores’ related to purchasing a house there (see last week’s post) we did give ourselves our anniversary evening ‘off’ and spent it dining at a hotel restaurant that came recommended highly on TripAdvisor and had also been included in as a Top Choice in Lonely Planet’s guidebook.

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This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill hotel restaurant. The setting was one of the most magical we’ve seen in Greece ~ in the midst of an olive grove at the side of the sea. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

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Restaurant Elies is part of a small bungalow-style hotel complex  of the same name one mile north of Kardamyli (also Kardamili) town.  The setting and the décor – from the blue and white cushions in the bar’s open air lounge to the yellow and olive green colored tables and chairs -- couldn’t have been more Mediterranean. We’d want to incorporate both of these ideas when decorating that new house, we’d decided. . .
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As night approached, the restaurant transformed from its daytime casual to nighttime elegance with white table cloths and candles.

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And the menu offered such a foodie feast it was difficult to decide what to eat:

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We finally made our selections – fried giant white beans starter, sea bass on a bed of wild greens and rigatoni with a fresh basil pesto sauce.

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Wish I’d photographed dessert but by then I was in such a state of (foodie) bliss the camera was long forgotten.  If you get to the area, we’d highly recommend this place as a ‘must visit’.

We’ll continue the story of our house buying trip to Greece on Thursday. . .hope to see you then!
For restaurant or hotel information:
Linking this post up with Mosaic Monday and Foodie Tuesday

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Taking (Another) Bite Out of Greece

I told you that we’d eaten so many wonderful foods while in Greece that I had to tell you about them in a two-part post. Having given you the sampler plate earlier, pull up a chair and prepare for another Greek feast. . .

Salt and Sugar - Poulithro, Greece
Coming from the United State’s Pacific Northwest where seafood is plentiful and relatively inexpensive, we’ve not eaten much fish in Greece. We’ve found it to be extremely expensive in comparison to other dishes (the waters, they say, have been somewhat ‘fished out’).

On occasion something comes along that we can’t resist, like this warm octopus salad served to us at a delightful place named, Salt and Sugar, in Poulithro, a small town on the east coast of the Peloponnese:

Octopus Salad
The chunks of octopus were tender and mixed with onion, capers and sundried tomatoes – and served with a wonderful olive oil and lemon sauce.

DSCF3074On the west coast of the Peloponnese, we sampled a variety of dishes at this delightful restaurant (pictured on the left) in the harbor town of Agios Nikolaos, (St. Nicholas) where outside tables overlook the harbor.

Among our favorites here were some of the more traditional Greek dishes – many of which are made in such large batches that they aren’t made until tourist season is in full-swing -- dishes like the labor-intensive pasta dish called Patitssio


A layered dish a bit like macaroni and and a bit like lasagna, the macaroni-shaped pasta is layered with a red meat sauce and topped with Béchamel sauce. One serving is easily shared between two people.

You might be surprised at how much pasta is served in Greece and how good those dishes are ~ some sources say these Italian-like recipes have been handed down through the generations; having originated here way back while the Venetians occupied so much of this country.


We are in agreement that we each have a ‘peasant palate’ – sometimes the simpler and least expensive the ingredients, the better. Such is the case with slow-cooked flat beans. Simmered for hours in a tomato sauce flavored with fresh herbs this dish is inexpensive and filling enough to be shared by two.


We’ve lucked out on our last two visits and arrived at just about the time the first artichoke harvest of the season. One of our favorite dishes – pictured above -  is artichokes, served in a lemon sauce with peas, potatoes and carrot chunks.  I am happy to report that among our Greek words – good morning, good afternoon and good night – I can now say, “ah-gee-nar-rus” the word for artichoke and if I say it with the right inflection the server knows I am inquiring about the availability of this dish.


And of course we can’t sing the praises of Greek food and not mention the iconic, moussaka.  This lovely layered dish of aubergines (a much lovelier name used throughout Europe than ‘eggplants’ as we call them in the U.S), potatoes and meat sauce, also topped with a thick Béchamel.  This tasty bit of heaven also came with those lemon/olive oil roasted potatoes on the side.

DSCF1108This dish and the one pictured below were eaten at a table with a picture perfect view of the crescent-shaped beach in another small town, Stoupa, in the The Mani area of the Peloponnese.

Stoupa, is just a a few minutes by car from Ag. Nikolaos. With such good eateries in both towns it is difficult to choose where to eat.


We couldn’t resist trying a traditional egg dish served scrambled with feta cheese, fresh tomatoes and ham.

Salt and Sugar interior
One of the things we like most about Greek food and the restaurants in which they are served is the pace.  The food is served slowly, it is to be eaten slowly and there is never a rush to get you up and out of the place. 

You’ll not receive a bill until you ask for one and then – in the smaller cities – you’ll have some treat, a drink, or fruit, or pastry – delivered before that bill as a gesture of thanks for your business.

If You Go:
Map picture
The pin on the right marks Poulithro and the left denotes Ag. Nikolaos and Stoupa.

That’s it for this week’s Foodie Tuesday. Bon appetit to you where ever you are dining this week!
What foods have you eaten in your travels that have left a lasting impression? Tell us about them in the comments below.

Linking up:
Foodie Tuesday at Inside Journeys


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