On the waters on and around the Garden Island of Kauai

This is the second part of my journey on the island of Kauai where I did a couple of adventures. This post is about two adventures on the waters in and around the island.

Inland waters of Wailua river

I woke up early in Kapp’a as I had a 8 a.m. call to go kayaking up the Wailua River then hike to the secret falls. My day started at Java Kai for coffee, a breakfast burrito and catching up on the internet. I heard about Java Kai on a Youtube video and it sounded worth my visit. A good crowd followed me in at 6 a.m. as it was one of the earlier places to open around town.

Kai & Blake our kayak guides

I made my way to Ali’i Kayaks just of Kuhio Highway near where the Wailua River meets the Pacific. I met up with our local guides Kai & Blake and the other 11 kayakers going up river. After a brief kayaking lesson we headed up river two to a kayak avoiding a speed boat with a wakeboarder  in tow and other kayak groups. As we made our way up the river Kai & Blake pointed out interesting bits of information of the area and history.

We learned that as we passed several spots on the river many Hollywood films were made there including Outbreak and the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark where Indy is running to the plane being chased by natives. Cool to learn about on of my favorite movies.

Secret Falls

As we made our way up river over a mile we found our landing spot to pull off and start our hike to Uluwahi Falls (Secret Falls) which is only accessible by foot. We learned about native birds, flowers and plants along the way as we walked through a sometimes muddy trail. Crossing creeks as we passed other hikers making their way to and from the trail that was about 1.5 miles from our kayaks. Shortly before we reached the falls we came across a smaller waterfall called King Eoutu’s Bathtub, the king who kept Kauai’s independence from King Kamehameha’s Hawaii.

King Eoutu’s Bathtub

Arriving at the falls we spent about 45 minutes cooling of in the watering hole and taking pictures. We made our way back down the trail to our kayaks where we casually made our way down river to our meeting point. After loading up the kayaks on trailers we made our way across the river to the office where we met and went our separate ways. The $65 cost seemed pretty reasonable for our 5 hour adventure.

Off to Port Allen

After I left Ali’i Kayaks feeling sore in the upper body I drove about 45 minutes to the southside of the island to Port Allen where I was getting ready for my next days adventure. Not much going on in Port Allen I drove a few miles back to Po’ipu which is a resort community with condos and hotels.

I found the famous Puka Dog for dinner, a sausage in fully enclosed bun with a variety of fruit salsa and hot sauces injected for a spicy sweet flavor. After dinner and checking out Po’ipu I went back to Port Allen for the night but not before stopping in for a couple of local beers at Kauai Island Brewery and Grill.

Kauai Island was filled with local fishermen and those that work on the nearby Army base and is considered the World’s Westernmost Brewery. A couple of beers and chatting with locals and catching up on the day’s college football games I called it a night for my early wake up for my next day’s adventure.

Heading to the Napali Coast

6:00 a.m came pretty quickly and loud with the rooster waking up the town as we met at Holo Holo Charters at 6:30 for our day trip. After meeting Captain Drew and his crew we launched for a 7 hour trip out across the channel towards the Forbidden Island of Niihau and snorkeling off nearby Lehua Crater. Snorkeling in beautiful blue waters with fish and a lone seal made the snorkeling cool to see. Not cool was the choppy surf making it a little challenging. After an hour of snorkeling we pulled up anchor and circled the crater to see the full view of the now bird sanctuary.

Lehua Crater bird sanctuary

The choppy waters made for an exciting and wet return across the channel as we head toward the 16 mile Napli Coast. If there is a roller coaster on water this would be it. Hold on everybody! The 4 person crew was good at keeping us informed on the trip pointing out local birds, fish and the occasional dolphins.

We made it to the Napali Coast after an hour which is full of steep cliffs up 4,000 feet high. The lush green comes from all the rain this side of the island gets. Isolated beaches and caves are seen and many are only accessible from the water. Certain areas can be hiked to from Waimea Canyon.

We got a close up look cruising our catamaran close enough you could touch the rocks and get wet from a small waterfall dropping to the sea. A long day but well worth seeing the beauty of the sea and rugged coastline.

We sped back to port in calmer waters after an amazing adventure at sea and said our good byes. I look forward to seeing the rugged mountains from my visit to Waimea Canyon in coming days. Stay tuned.

***Breakfast, lunch, beer and wine(beer & wine after snorkeling) were provided and all snorkel equipment was supplied for the trip.***

Follow me on Instagram @SandyWass for pictures and see my post about my first couple of days exploring the island http://pullingcorksandforks.com/sandy-takes-kauai/

 

 

 

 

Sandy Takes on Kauai

I made my way for my first visit to the Hawaiian islands and chose The Garden Island of Kauai. Follow my escapades as I hope to include more travel posts to Pulling Corks and Forks.

Kauai Day 1

I tend to travel solo and on a budget so I found a great direct flight from Phoenix to Lihue for under $500. Lihue is a quiet town that’s used like the other towns on Kauai as people pass through to get around the island. The island isn’t very big so you can drive it in a couple of hours.

Kauai
Hanalei Bay

Landed about 3 p.m. island time and was starving after an 6 plus hour flight so I made my way to Kauai Beer Company for fish tacos and a cold Lihue Lager. Good food and the place was filed with locals for a lazy Thursday afternoon. After a quick bite I had time to kill before I could check in to my hotel so I went exploring in rented car. Just a couple of miles from town is Kilua Falls and spectacular view from above. A selfie and few other pictures and I continued to drive to get the lay of the land so my next day would be easier.

I decided to chill out at my hotel after exploring as I was still 3 hours ahead and getting sleepy. Not very fancy places to stay nearby so I wound up at a budget friendly hotel my first night. No bells and whistles, decent wi-fi and coffee in the morning. Good night and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Kauai Day 2

Kiluea Lighthouse
Kiluea Lighthouse

Still on Arizona time I woke up before the roosters who by the way rule the island, they’re in neighborhoods, beaches and on the mountain roads. No need to set the alarm as you’ll start to hear them about 4 a.m.

Walked Lihue waiting for a place to open for breakfast at 6:30, made it to Roland’s Mix Plate for Da Big Loco. Moco Loco is local breakfast bowl of beef patty with eggs your way and gravy over rice. Roland’s serves with crispy pork belly on top. Much needed fuel for the day exploring the island with left over rice and mushroom gravy.

Roosters rule Kauai

I left the hotel about 7:45 and made my way up towards Oloekao Falls and up the mountain road through neighborhoods to see what was a top the mountain. I pulled into the Scared Forest home to Rudraksha trees a.ka. Blue Marble Tree and shrine of Ganesha. Holy in the Hindu world. Continued my way up the mountain til the roads got a bit rough for my rental car.

Down at the bottom of the mountain I made plans to go kayaking and hiking the next day before I proceeded up the Kuhio Highway through the small towns including Kappa’a where I post this adventure. Stopping along the way to check out the surf I take pictures before I get to Kiluea National Monument and the lighthouse and continued past Jurassic Kahili Ranch where several scenes in Jurassic Park were filmed. Open fields, trees and mountains, if you’ve seen the films you should recognize the area.

I continued up the windy road through the hills pulling off at several Scenic Lookouts to view and photograph the mountains and the sea.

The road ends in Hanalei a small village situated between mountains and the Hanalei Bay. I had lunch at L & L BBQ, a Hawaiian chain serving good Hawaiian BBQ. Plenty of food trucks and other food offerings are available on the strip of less than a mile long. After lunch I went to JoJo’s Shaved Ice as shaved ice is big in Hawaii and I was told about JoJo’s from a friend in Phoenix. Hanalei is slightly touristy but nothing compared to the bigger islands and worth the drive and a visit.

Sacred Forest and Ganesha Shrine

I was told of the Okolehao hiking trail(about 1.5 miles) outside of town by a couple of locals and I went to check it out as it would lead up the mountain with a beautiful views. After hiking a 100 or so yards I realized with a muddy trail and no water I wasn’t ready so I put the hike on hold til I came back prepared. The highway used to continued on to Ha’ena until earlier this year for about 6 miles but is now closed from landslides and flooding in April.

I took a leisurely ride back the way I came and pulled off a Kapa’a and hung out for the night. This is where you’ll find most of the activity on the island along with neighboring Wailua. Hotel, resorts, beaches, shopping and restaurants in this 3 mile stretch that hugs the beach at times. I visited some of the resorts to check them out and most were filled with families vacationing. Kapa’a and Wailua also has a good mix of local transplants and natives here for the surf and laid back lifestyle.

So as you can see a busy first couple of days getting my way about the island. Days ahead will have activities I’ve scheduled so check back to see if I survived them. Follow me on Instagram @SandyWass for up to date food finds and scenery from each day.

Arizona Restaurant Week at Artizen and Hearth ’61

Arizona Restaurant Week makes its return September 21st-30th and it would be a full-time job to list all participating restaurants. I’ve decided to post about 2 restaurants that are of interest Artizen, American Crafted Kitchen & Bar at The Camby Hotel and Hearth ’61 at Mountain Shadows Resort.

Artizen

Artizen, Crafted American Kitchen & Bar offers 4 courses for $44++ where guests will choose 1 dish from each course. Executive Chef Dushyant Singh’s menu offers gluten-free and vegetarian dishes on each course and is inspired by unique Arizona flavors.

First Course-
Griddled Halloumi gf/vegetarian
Grilled Shishitos, Black Garlic, Cilantro Pesto, Mint

Crispy Pork Cheeks gf
Popcorn Grits, Pickled Beets, Wood Sorrel

Pickled Rock Shrimp Tartine
Baby Peppers, Shallots, Tarragon, EVOO, Grilled Ciabatta

Second Course
Shaved Brussels Sprout salad gf/vegetarian

Sun Dried Apple, Shaft’s Blue, AZ Pomegranate, Ginger Serrano Vinaigrette

Third Course
Pan Seared Corvina
Glazed Turnips, Pea sprouts, Garlic Dashi, Beech Mushrooms

Braised Hudson Valley Duck
Duck Terrine, Crispy Leg, Charred Broccolini, Dried Blueberries, Hazelnuts, Smoked Duck Cream

Vegetable Sheppard’s Pie gf/vegetarian
Eggplant, Fava beans, Corn, Mirepoix, Thyme, Tomato Gravy, Whipped Potatoes

Fourth Course
Caramelized Banana Budino gf/vegetarian
Dulce de Leche, Peanut Meringue, Chocolate Twigs

Chocolate Panna Cotta vegetarian
Berry Compote, Vanilla Bean Gelato, Salt Shortbread Cookie

Artizen is inside The Camby Hotel at 2401 E. Camelback Rd. Phoenix 85016 and reservations can be made by going to their website.

Hearth ’61

Hearth ’61 Roasted Beet Salad. Photos courtesy of Jack Busch at J Public Relations.

Guests at Hearth ’61 will enjoy 3 courses for $44++ from Chef Charles Wiley using the highest quality ingredients.

To Begin (choice of)
Roasted Beet Salad | celeriac | arugula | candied pecans | brown butter vinaigrette

Wood Roasted Hawaiian Prawns and Polenta | smoked cheddar | andouille sausage |mushroom broth | scallions

Berkshire Pork Croquette | watercress & fennel salad | arizona dates | farro | glazed carrots

Entrées (choice of)
Pan-Roasted Ora King Salmon* | mushroom gremolata | melted leeks | parsley salad

Sweet Corn Agnolotti | smoked red onion | charred kale | walnuts | basil beurre blanc

Niman Ranch Prime Tenderloin of Beef* | red wine demi-glace | horseradish cream |smoked sweet potato mash

Dessert (choice of)
Warm Flourless Chocolate Cake | java chip bavarian cream | raspberry gastrique

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Bar | banana brulee | salted caramel ice cream

Peach & Sun-Dried Cranberry Bread Pudding | cinnamon ice cream | blackberry coulis

Reservations can be made by calling 855-485-1417 or by going to their website. Mountain Shadows Resort and Hearth ’61 is at 5445 Lincoln Dr. Paradise Valley 85253.

Keeler Hospitality Group lets Liberty Station take over sister restaurant

Paul Keeler, President & Chief Operating Officer of Keeler Hospitality Group announced that Liberty Station will take the space of Market Street Kitchen. Both restaurants are owned by Keeler Hospitality Group and this will be the 2nd location of the popular smokehouse and tavern. The original Liberty Station is in north Scottsdale in Terravita Marketplace just south of Carefree. The new location is at Market Street at DC Ranch and will open on October 1st.

.“We are delighted to bring this level of traditional BBQ favorites combined with American comfort style dishes to DC Ranch diners,” says Keeler.

The new location will keep popular dishes from Market Street Kitchen and the beverage program. Liberty Station will offer smoked meats and regional dishes from Keller’s travels in the hospitality industry. Guest will enjoy Pan Seared Crab Cakes, Shrimp Po’ Boy, house made meatloaf and more.

The specialty of Liberty Station is smoked meats from the 500 custom-made Camelback Smoker. BBQ fans will enjoy Texas style brisket, St. Louis spare ribs and Carolina pork shoulder. Customers can order  traditional side dishes of Boston baked beans, cole slaw and green chile mac n cheese to accompany entree’s.

Guest won’t notice much difference inside as the interior will stay the same.

Guests can celebrate the transition the new location will offer Buy 1 Get 1 Free lunch entree’s from October 1st-7th. During opening week guests can also get penny draft beers or house wine with a purchase of a BBQ entrée.

October 11th brings a Hawaiian BBQ and Tiki night starting at 5 p.m. Members of the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce will be on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony on October 15th at 11:30 a.m.

Liberty Station in DC Ranch is be at 20825 N. Pima Rd. Scottsdale 85255. http://libertystationtavern.com/

 

The Maggiore Group to open a 2nd location of The Sicilian Butcher

One the heels of the successful opening of The Sicilian Butcher, chef Joey Maggiore and wife Cristina of The Maggiore Group have announced a 2nd location in Chandler. The new location is scheduled to open in December and will be at Primegate at Fashion Center. The Maggiore’s were impressed with modern architecture of Primegate that fits with their classic Italian and modern concept.

“In addition to the incredible location, what really drew me to PRIMEGATE over other possibilities was that the architecture and setting was unlike anything else we’d seen. I thought about how positively that would reflect our brand too,” Maggiore said. “This is a rare project where we have the chance to create a banner location that will generate buzz in the community. We will be able to provide a top-notch neighborhood experience for our customers, whether they are lunching out, dining in or taking out, all in a high-end, high exposure destination.”

The Sicilian Butcher decor

The 4,600 square foot restaurant features roll-up doors that leads to a large outdoor patio for dining and lounge area. Water features and art create a lively and energetic atmosphere for guests stopping in for a drink or staying for a meal.

A signature Build-Your-Cannoli Bar

The Sicilian Butcher in Chandler will be the first to feature a build-your-own cannoli bar in the market. The line forms behind me because cannoli is one of my favorite desserts.

Similarly the northeast Phoenix restaurant is known for its fresh made in-house pastas and charcuterie boards along with craft meatballs. The food at The Sicilian Kitchen combines a modern twist with old world traditions. Guests can expect the same when the new restaurant opens in Chandler.

The restaurant will offer to-go meals and a marketplace and will serve classic Italian wines.

The Sicilian Kitchen is the fourth concept of the family owned Maggiore Group with restaurants in Phoenix & San Diego.  The others are Hash Kitchen, Tomaso’s When in Rome and the Phoenix classic Tomaso’s which opened in 1977.

The Sicilian Kitchen at Primegate will be at 3151 W. Frye Rd. Chandler 85226. For more information visit their website.

 

J & G Steakhouse re-opens with a refreshing new look and menus.

The Phoenician’s award-winning J & G Steakhouse re-opened this week with a refreshing new look and menu. The 3 month re-model is inspired by the desert landscape and coincides with the re-model of the resorts lobby, spa, lounge and pool.

The restaurant has an all new interior that include wall to ceiling windows offering guests a beautiful south-facing view. Neutral earth tone colors are visible in the main dining room and lounge along with new stylish decor. Shiny metals, new mid-century modern booths and chandeliers were added to offer guests  new look and ambiance.

J & G Wagyu Tomahawk Ribeye. All photos courtesy of J & G Steakhouse at The Phoenician

The new interior was designed by Parker Torres Designs who also designed the resorts luxurious recent re-model.

The outdoor dining patio includes new fire pits, seating for more guests and ceiling fans for year round outdoor dining.

New seasonal menu at in the steakhouse

Serving dinner daily from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. guests will enjoy an exciting new seasonal menu from Executive Chef Jacques Qualin. The new menu offers a 30 ounce Wagyu Tomahawk Ribeye, Roasted Red Snapper with baby leeks & mushroom vinaigrette and an impressive Alaskan King Crab Legs entrée. Additional new menu items include Roasted Porcini & Chestnut Risotto, Grilled Beef Tenderloin and Rack of Lamb.

steakhouse
Roasted Porcini & Chestnut Risotto

Head mixologist Robert Porter has created a new handcrafted cocktail menu including the jalapeno spiced Fiery Mandarin and a classic with a Mexican twist, the Mezcal Negroni. J & G Steakhouse was awarded the prestigious “Best of Excellence Award” for 2018 from Wine Spectator magazine for its worldly wine list.

Fiery Mandarin

J&G Steakhouse at The Phoenician is at 6000 E. Camelback Rd. in Scottsdale. For reservations call 480-214-8000 or visit https://www.jgsteakhousescottsdale.com/

Learn and lunch cooking class returns to Marcellino Ristorante

Class is back in session at Marcellino Ristorante with new themes and recipes for his monthly cooking class. Limited seating is available at the Chef’s Island where Marcellino will share his secrets to making his hand-crafted Italian cuisine.

Class participants will enjoy lunch following class that includes the main dish from the cooking demonstration along with a salad and dessert.

Classes are from 1 p.m. – 3p.m. with the first class starting in 2 weeks. Reservations can be made by calling 480-990-9500.Cooking class

Saturday, September 22

Cost: $35/per person

Menu: Chef’s fresh pasta and sauce featuring Italian Brocoli di Rape and Salsiccia (sausage)

Saturday, October 20

Cost: $40+/per person

Menu: Ravioli filled with fresh spinach and creamy ricotta cheese

Saturday, November 17

Cost: $40/per person

Menu: Pollo Saporito — humanely raised chicken breast sautéed with pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms and tomato

Saturday, December 15

Cost: $35/per person

Menu: “Christmas Eve in Italy” featuring Scialatielli alle Vongolle — handcrafted pasta sautéed with Manila clams, olive oil, garlic, white wine and red pepper flakes.

Marcellino Ristorante is at 7114 E. Stetson Dr. Scottsdale 85251. http://marcellinoristorante.com/

TEXAZ Grill serves up its annual Texas State Fair Fare

TEXAZ Grill owner Steve Freidkin has been serving food in Arizona for over 30 years but he’s loyal to his home state of Texas. So much so he serves up Lone Star State favorites year round at his restaurant known for Chicken Fried Steak. Once a year he adds to the menu dishes made famous at the Texas State Fair. Guests can enjoy this years Texas State Fair Fare menu daily from September 28- October 21st.

This year’s dishes include a cocktail and 2 fair favorites both with a little history lesson of their origins.

“Fletcher’s Original State Fair Corny Dog” ($6)

As perfected by vaudevillians Neil and Carl Fletcher of Dallas, TX, “Fletcher’s Original State Fair Corny Dog” has been a State Fair of Texas staple since 1942. Two Corny Dogs served with a bag of Frito’s.

Frito Pie ($5.50)

Said to be invented in the 1930’s by Daisy Dean Doolin, mother of the founder of the Frito-Lay Company, this dish is a Texas original. TEXAZ Grill’s version features its homemade chili presented in a small bag of Fritos corn chips, topped with onions, cheese and served with a plastic spoon-now that’s authentic!

Cotton Candy Lemonade ($7)

Everyone’s favorite spun sugar in liquid form! The cocktail is made with cotton candy vodka, lemonade, Blue Curacao and garnished with a lemon slice. For the adults who are kids at heart!

TEXAZ Grill is at 6003 N. 16th St. Phoenix AZ. 85016. 602-248-7287. http://www.texazgrill.com/

 

 

Trapp Haus BBQ offers new specials for it’s 6 month anniversary

Trapp Haus BBQ owner Phil Johnson celebrates his 6th month anniversary with a party tonight and is offering new specials. Johnson who is also the pitmaster throws a party tonight as the popular First Friday Artwalk happens. Guests celebrate with an all-you-can-eat whole hog roast for $10/adults & $5 for kids. The party with live music starts at 5 p.m. and goes until 10 or when there is no more hog to eat.Trapp Haus

Johnson will be taking his recipes on the road later this month when he heads to Kansas City to compete in the American Royal World Series of Barbecue. From there he heads to Milwaukee show what he knows about BBQ with a cooking demonstration and class at the Journal Sentinel Wine & Food Experience.

New specials and offerings are now available until further notice.

Slab Saturday’s– Every Saturday $25 St. Louis Ribs all day long.

Free local Delivery– On-line orders in the downtown Phoenix area from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tuesday Friday.

Weekday Sammitch Specials-$2.00 off any Sammaitch Tuesday – Friday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Beats, Beer & Q- On Fridays

Trapp Haus BBQ is at 511 E. Roosevelt Phoenix 85004. 602-466-5462. For more information check their website.

 

KOVO Modern Mediterranean to open in northeast Phoenix

Long time restaurateur Yianni Ioannou opens his new restaurant KOVO Modern Mediterranean in mid-September on the northeast corner of Shea & Tatum. Growing up in Cyprus he came to the United States and operated Greek restaurants learning all aspects of the restaurant industry.

According to Ioannou, “We are excited to bring to the Valley the simple, delicious flavors and bright spices of the Mediterranean. This area of the globe is a melting pot of cultures and culinary influences. This diversity of cuisine will be showcased at KOVO in a modern, approachable way.”

Traditional dishes at KOVO Modern Mediterranean

KOVO Modern Mediterranean will highlight traditional dishes from family recipes, Yianni’s travels throughout the region and his time in the Greek restaurants. A wood fired oven will cook pizzas and other specialties including lamb, beef and organic chicken. KOVO is Greek for “to carve” and the meats will be cooked vertically in a rotisserie style in the open kitchen.

Shared plates such as hummus, tzatziki, grilled eggplant, grilled octopus and Hallumi will be served along with cheese boards and bruschetta. Savory and sweet pastries including Spanokapita and Baklava will also be served and available for take-out.

Signature cocktails, craft beers and old and new world wines will be served.

The 4,000 square foot restaurant will have an open feel and modern design. Mediterranean tiles and ocean blue accents will highlight design features. The dining room, bar and patio has room for more than 140 guests.

Kovo Modern Mediterranean will be open 7 days a week with lunch and dinner Monday – Friday and brunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday. The restaurant is at 10625 N. Tatum Boulevard, Phoenix, Ariz., 85028. For updates and information check out http://www.kovomedi.com/