Sunday, September 19, 2010

Smoke Free

Sunrise in Kapaa

It's been a crazy 8 months since we landed in paradise. We arrived on chantix and slowly, one cigarette at a time, we resumed our smoking habit. Today, with the help of Quit Now Hawaii, we are wrapping up our first smoke free day.

Last Saturday we went to a luau where the King and Queen of Atooi were being honored. Atooi means the light of god and is the ancient name for the island of Kauai. Sunday, we became citizens of the Kingdom of Atooi, talked story with the king and had our first restaurant review.

I'm hoping someday soon I can write about the King and his acceptance by the United Nations and the Kings and Queens of the Polynesian Triangle. We are planning to meet with him again to record more of his interesting story. This is a rich story that will take time to unfold.

I mentioned that it was "our" first restaurant review. That's because Dan is my photographer. Still a team; I write the story, he takes the pictures. He was frustrated by our camera and it's inability to take pictures in low light. The food pictures we took weren't that great. So, he did some research - even chatted with a staff photographer from the Garden Island newspaper - and got a Nikon D90. Our next review is Wednesday and we are sure to get some excellent, mouth watering shots!

On the work front, I have been offered 2 more monthly postings for the Hawaii vacation travel blog, making 6 a month and am negotiating with Blair Estate for some writing jobs. Blair Estate Coffee is a local, organic coffee farm. It's funny because the farm less than 5 minutes from our treehouse. The owner, Les, comes into Papaya's a lot (he sells Dan fruit and corn) and he and Dan got to talkin story and one thing lead to another! His partner, Tai, is who I am talking with. We'll see, he just left for vacation so it may be a while before I know.

A week from today my folks are coming. Having been in close proximity all of my 44 years, the distance has replaced anger for affection and I look forward to seeing their happy faces.

Tonight, the owner of Papaya's wants to take the managers and their spouses to dinner at the new Indian restaurant Chutney's. We are due there in 75 minutes so I'll post some pictures real quick.

I am sending lots of love, light and prayers to my friend Deb who is in intensive care at a hospital in Denver. She is recovering, but with a punctured lung and 12 broken ribs it will be slow. 

Cherimoya cousin to Soursop, is sweet and delicious and available at Papaya's =)

Beautiful Starfruit also now available at Papaya's. =)

Beautiful artwork at Na Keiki O Ka Aina, next to Papaya's. A fantastic foundation that preserves Polynesian traditions. I will write more on it soon.

More art work available at Na Keiki

Puppy love!

Taaadaaa!! our neighbors Phil and Simone. It was Simone's birthday last night. We had a great time hanging out with her and her friends. She is one loved woman!

Carla is the grill master! She made perfect steaks with a zesty salsa, shrimp (in a special sauce), moist and creamy salmon and chicken wings. Dan made guacamole from local avos, I made her a yellow birthday cake with chocolate frosting and the traditional mac salad. There were crispy wontons, baked beans, baked potatoes and fresh pineapple. 

A shot of one of our boxes from the farm, PUMPIN with delicious goodness!

I have a byline now!!! So...I need a picture. My friend Christina took this one but it didn't make the cut. It has to have a white background and after Dan cut me out, my hair looked really weird!

Puamana dancing the hula.

This young lady is from Tahiti, man can she make that grass skirt flip. She is one of the young adults receiving support and education from Na Keiki O Ka Aina.

Phil, the Director of Na Keiki, teaches kids to make and play Tahitian drums among other things.

Dan does the hula!

Paul, another student of Na Keiki, has a traditional Polynesian tattoo on his back. He is about to perform the Fire Knife Dance.

And he's serious!

Sunset over Ni'ihau

Towering Coco Palms greet the royal leaders.

Puamana and I wait for the King.

Another shot to hit the cutting room floor.

Casablanca, mom get ready! They have the best lamb chops!!

This appetizer is awesome! House made mozzarella wrapped in Prosciutto, baked and drizzled with a port, fig and cinnamon reduction. O...M...Gawd!! So good.

Local arugula, oranges and goat cheese with toasted almonds with a lemon vinaigrette. YUM!

Spanish stew. Mussels, shrimp, scallop, slipper lobster, calamari in a rich tomato broth. Not my favorite. The tomato broth was excellent though.

Greek Pasta with orzo, feta, kalamata olives, zucchini, and roasted red peppers. Yummy but not yummy enough to order again.

This was fantastic! Ribeye rubbed with ground porcini, sugar and salt. Grilled perfectly and garnished with black lava salt. 

Good pictures of perfectly cooked meat are hard to get. But, if you like lamb chops, these are the best ever! I love lamb chops, my mom is from Spain, we have a lot of lamb chops. These are simply perfection!

Desert! Yum!

Chef Sarah and owner Elizabeth

Mike Young played music that night. He was perfect for the mod. He gave us a CD "In the Islands" and we are loving his jazzy, Hawaiian style surf music. Proceeds go to his foundation W.R.A.D Wave Riders Against Drugs.

The bar at Casablanca where locals go for pau hana (done working)

The winning shot for now. Now that we have a better camera and a title time, it's gonna have to be redone! I look a little craaazy!!

We are official and proud citizens of the Kingdom of Atooi. The back side is pretty cool too!

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