Friday, July 3, 2009

Hawai'i Day Twenty-One: One Last Lei in Paradise

Twenty-one days here in Hawai`i have come to an end. All that's left to do now is get up, head to the airport, and then enjoy a long layover in Honolulu (which we'll undoubtedly spend at the Kona Brewing Company, which took over the former Stinger Ray's space).

Today we did a lot of lounging around this house, that's become a home to us, enjoying the many, many amenities. I read a book written by a local author about living off the grid in East Hawai`i, and took some time to make some ti leaf and plumeria leis for Dan & I to wear tomorrow, as we head out of town. Besides cooking and snorkeling, the traditional crafts of Hawai`i have really captured my interest - from coconut frond weaving (the hard part is getting the damn fronds), to gourd carving, to lei making.

And speaking of snorkeling, I decided to take the advice given to me yesterday by both my parents, and get back on the horse, safely. This afternoon, at high tide, Dan and I grabbed some floaties, reef shoes, and snorkel gear and walked back to the tide pools. We had a great time, and Dan realized that he enjoys it more while floating on a boogie board - which allows him to pick his head up whenever he wants, and helps with any feeling of claustrophobia from breathing through a tube. It felt good to not let the drowning be my last memory of Kapoho tide pools. It's way too special a place for me to think of it negatively.

Lunch today was less culinary and more about tidying up. I made a plate lunch of leftover stuff from the fridge, including a hot dog, kalua pork, pineapple, grilled onions and peppers, cheese, and some avocado.

In contrast to the frugal lunch of leftovers, we decided to get on our aloha shirts (it's Friday!) and head into Pahoa to check out Kaleo's.

Featuring Italian inspired food with lots of fresh island ingredients, Kaleo's is an elegant spot in the midst of sleepy, laid-back, casual Pahoa Village. Unlike our last experience in town Wednesday, we had no problem getting served drinks. Dan had a glass of Pinot Noir, while I went for a Pomegranate Margarita.

Since we were indulging for our last night in Hawai`i, we ordered a starter of tempura ahi rolls, which were perfectly cooked - crispy and flaky on the outside, but with a raw ahi tuna center (accented by some tomato, carrot, and green onion). It came with a duo of sauces, both of which were great.

For our main dishes, Dan ordered the Lemon Caper Chicken, and I had the Seafood Pasta.

Dan LOVED the caper sauce that coated his chicken and spinach, which came with a grain (quinoa?) and some veggies.

My seafood pasta was significant. It was a huge portion, loaded with mahi mahi (the fresh catch), shrimp, and scallops, plus cooked tomatoes and mushrooms.

The sauce was a slighly creamy marinara, which was delicious. There was no way for me to finish it, but I made a dent.

We both did our best to save a little room, and shared a dessert of banana lumpia with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream drizzled in honey. The lumpia were hot and cinnamony, flaky and Dan noted they were reminiscent of baklava.

The experience was a perfectly romantic way to end our trip, thanks to the great staff and wonderful food, live music, and upscale yet comfortable atmosphere. We'll definitely go again the next time we're in town.

(Dan's writing all about our trip over at our other blog, The Dans In Hawai`i, so I'll just stick to writing what I know: food.)

Kaleo's Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

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