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Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

Quick update thus far—loved the ahi wrap at Kilauea Fish Market in Kapa'a...even convinced the family next to me on the plane to go thereand sure enough they showed up right after we finished lunch. Excellent poke there too.

Superb fish from Koloa Fish Market...monchong needs to be better known.

Plantation Gardens & Kauai Ono reservations set...they will join Beach House, Josselin's, and Roy's for dinners out.

Also tried Anahola Granola for the first time--we need that imported to CA! Also now a fan of Hanalei Poi Co but my family keeps calling me crazy.

Apr 12, 2014
pats38sox in Hawaii
1

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

This is wonderful—really looking forward to returning tomorrow morning (though it's actually warmer currently here at my home than in Lihue).

Thanks everyone for the updates and advice as always. Kathryn, I've looked thru some of the recent threads and I'll have a few final questions/tie-breakers below.

Locked In Places
Dinner: Roy's Poipu, Beach House (in this case I don't have veto power with the family, some of whom have eaten there since 1981), Josselin's

Lunch: Puka Dog (I'm going to try the vegetarian dog for the first time this year and ask for no mayo sauce, only lots of fruit relish). Brennecke's (not a food fan but family loves the atmosphere). Most of our lunches are at the beach or the condo with various delicious local jams, breads, Kauai Kookies (never been a fan of the shortbread style unless you can dunk in milk or coffee), Taro Ko's chips from Hanapepe, Koloa Fish Market poke, Maui Brewing...

Drinks: Definitely will do the Tiki Iniki/Roy's Tavern Mai Tai-off. Since when did Roy's have a tavern? Always have to visit the Waiohai Beach Bar- great Mai Tai with Grand Marnier added (it's their spruced up version).

Maybe Dinner: We'll have a few at the condo but maybe like between: Kauai Ono, Kauai Grill-Jean Georges, plantation Gardens

Maybe lunch: Sounds like I need to pay a visit to Ara's Sakana-ya for some poke. We will have a first-timer with us so that probably means a visit to Hamura's Saimin. Also never been to Mark's Place. Island Taco in Waimea sounds maybe worth a trip?

Final Questions—
For an off the plane lunch (landing at noon), how does Kilauea Fish Market in Kapa'a sound? Or Mark's Place?

Anybody been to the new Kauai Beer Co. in Lihue (different than Kauai Island Brewing). Is Kauai becoming the next Portland for craft beer? ;)

Any good spots for espresso? Has third wave coffee & latte art reached Kauai? Kauai Coffee Plantation tasting doesn't count.

Mahalo!

Apr 10, 2014
pats38sox in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

Thanks for the head's up on Kauai Ono—I've cleared my Thursday schedule and am determined to have dinner at this wonderful event. It's so Bay Area 2014 except...with even better produce and fish! Goodness that meal you had sounds great start to finish. Would love to try the taro 2 ways.

I was actually thinking about your tips on the mosquitoes while running today as I got bit several times...I'm a magnet for them. But I won't let that get in the way of going to Kauai Ono. And the byob part is great—always a perk to be your own cicerone/somm.

Thanks for pointing out Greenery Café and Rainbeau Jo's. Interesting that a breakfast/lunch place would be right across from Dani's. Anybody tried the ahi wrap at Greenery?

BTW, love the name Beantown Titletown :) Papi Power, In Belichick We Trust.

Apr 10, 2014
pats38sox in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

I've always thought about trying Tortilla Republic—I know it's always a terrible excuse to say coming from LA and SF why do I need to try Mexican food in Poipu. It's true that's always in the back of my mind but I really should give Tortilla Republic a try. Good Margaritas would be a nice switch-up from all the Mai Tais :)

Some of my family tried Dolphin Fish Market last April and had a terrible experience service and food-wise. Maybe I should give it a try myself though since I'm sure they worked out the early kinks. I've never been the biggest fan of Hanalei Dolphin, though ;(.

Apr 10, 2014
pats38sox in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

Aloha again Kauai!
So happy to see that this thread is still alive and well...with a little Lanai twist. One day I'll have the chance to go there!

But we're heading back to Kauai at the end of this week for 10 days. What's new in 2014? Should I make sure to visit Tiki Iniki and Kauai Grill from Jean Georges? After 2 very negative Merriman's visits, I will not return. I will make sure to pace the meal myself at Josselin's after 2 erratic visits with way too much food arriving at once. Should I return to Roy's, Plantation Gardens, and Beach House as we've done every year for over a decade and the only consistent thing is inconsistency?

No Maui this year. Just The Garden Isle, staying again in Poipu. Mahalo nui loa and very excited to return!

Apr 07, 2014
pats38sox in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

Thanks for the report! Big round of applause for ordering 4 dishes at a time! It's unfortunate that sometimes you just know you have to take pacing matters into your own hands, but that is far better than having 6 plates stacked on the table at one time.
At Roy's, did you stick with the classics (the ahi, the molten chocolate cake)? I'm always curious to see how their creations specific to Poipu fare.

Aug 27, 2013
pats38sox in Hawaii

In search of restaurant recs for relatives arriving - 3 nights in peninsula please...

I haven't been to MacArthur Park's in at least 4 years. But besides the spectacular Julia Morgan setting, what I remember is the ribs were actually pretty special (very sauce heavy, so you can't be a plain or spice rubbed ribs fan) and everything else was fine, though not noteworthy.
Rumors earlier this year were swirling that the restaurant was going to move and Theatreworks was going to turn the building into a permanent home for them. Not sure if that's still the case anymore.

Aug 21, 2013
pats38sox in San Francisco Bay Area

In search of restaurant recs for relatives arriving - 3 nights in peninsula please...

Yes, they're smoked pork ribs. I'm no expert on the variations of regional BBQ, but I was told this is St. Louis style-- sort of a hybrid of sauce and spice rub.

There's no brisket on the menu, only ribs and sausages are grilled. Then fried chicken and the usual sides and cornbread. It's not open Mondays, only 11-6 Tuesday-Sunday.

Aug 21, 2013
pats38sox in San Francisco Bay Area

Great food in San Mateo open until 9:30 or later on weeknights?

How about The Attic? Great food and cocktails, open until 10.

Aug 20, 2013
pats38sox in San Francisco Bay Area

In search of restaurant recs for relatives arriving - 3 nights in peninsula please...

I've had great large party dinners at Tamarine and Village Pub...to me Station One is a little more special than either, but probably hard to do with a party of 10.

How about Joya in Palo Alto for unique, not TOO pricey (it's far from cheap). It's miles ahead of Cascal. Or maybe reserve the private room at La Bodeguita del Medio, a Cuban spot on California Ave.?

BBQ-- hmm. Back a Yard for Jamaican bbq in Menlo Park? There's a great new bbq stand outside the J&G Liquor Store in Redwood City called Big Tharman's who does excellent spare ribs. They don't do dinner though...MacArthur Park's and Armadillo Willy's are the deafult bbq places around.

Aug 20, 2013
pats38sox in San Francisco Bay Area

Ambience Restaurant Los Altos

I can't agree more about restaurant websites. So many have the flashy music, video, and graphics that almost always freeze your computer.
My big issue is with trying to find hours of operation. Usually you have to hunt them down in "about us" or "contact info." Why it doesn't occur to web designers to include this front and center on home pages is beyond me.
Re: past Los Altos restaurants, definitely miss Jocco's. Z on First St. was another one with ambition that didn't make it, but the city's dining scene could really use.

Aug 14, 2013
pats38sox in San Francisco Bay Area

Ambience Restaurant Los Altos

Just talked with the restaurant. Their opening night is set for Thursday 8/15. It's $135 prix fixe (Baumé still takes the cake when it comes to tasting menu price locally). Maybe Ambience can be the restaurant to spur the Los Altos dining scene à la Manresa did for Los Gatos?

Aug 13, 2013
pats38sox in San Francisco Bay Area

A Recent Visit to La Ciccia [Noe Valley, SF] - Report

Hey Dave MP,

Glad you enjoyed La Ciccia! I just went there for the 1st time (finally!) a few weeks ago and had a very similar experience-- absolutely loved the spaghetti w/ bottarga and spicy oil, and the octopus stew is truly a masterpiece (except why do they serve it with no spoon and they expect you to sop up the sauce with the terrible free house bread?).

We actually chose to focus on starters and pastas, skipping the mains altogether. The only misfire was the sea urchin fregola-- barely tastes of the sea urchin and is just very heavy and one note.

Next time for dessert, definitely try the saffron ricotta cake w/ honey & almonds!

http://trevsbistro.com/2013/05/13/res...

Jun 04, 2013
pats38sox in San Francisco Bay Area

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

They probably would and that definitely would help the pacing issues. We just selected everything at the start...never the best idea for this style of dining. The order of dishes brought out was strange too, with a pork belly large plate coming before fish.

Not sure if I'm a fan of the whole sangria cart concept...it seems a little pushy and you have to decide on sangria or not before even consulting a wine list or cocktail list.

Apr 08, 2013
pats38sox in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

All in all, another very special trip to the Islands! Mahalo nui loa for all of your recommendations! I can't wait to return.

Let's try and solve this cocktails issue though in the Islands...how can we keep Mai Tais and other drinks from the watered down, super sweet state they're in everywhere right now?

For those keeping score-- Red Salt and Honu Bar had the best Kauai cocktails. I'd say Honu in Lahaina the best for Maui.

By the way, I just made the "original" Trader Vic Bergeron Mai Tai recipe at home last night...was better and far less sweet than any on the trip.

1 oz. light rum, 1 oz. gold rum
1/2 oz. curaçao, 1/2 oz. orgeat syrup, 1/2 oz. lime juice
1 oz. dark rum float
Shake, strain into old-fashioned glass, garnish with maraschino cherry

Apr 07, 2013
pats38sox in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

The long book continues now to Maui!

Opened with a tasting at Maui Brewing Co.'s pub in Kahana-- a whole different league than Kauai Island Brewing. I'm still partial to the CoCoNut Porter and Big Swell IPA. It's fun to see they're really branching out, trying some Belgian styles and deep, dark stouts.

Originally, I had a reservation at Sansei...but this board changed my mind!

Opening dinner at Honu-- great, great place. Pizza actually is only fair here and the least impressive part of a very impressive new establishment. Unbeatable views, great service. Start with the Guava Pisco Sour (sweet, not TOO sweet, they've almost got it right...the biggest problem was the lack of egg white froth which must be from not dry shaking the drink for close to a minute). Love that they give free spiced chickpeas to each table. The pastry chef here is stellar-- spend the money on the bread. This is a great example of where it's better to pay for superior, fresh bread, than get free useless bread (a very Frank Bruni argument). Great dark chocolate beet torte for dessert by her as well.
Impressive touch by the kitchen with grilled spanish octopus, flax seed toast, and edamame hummus, along with the gado gado salad and the ahi bruschetta on edamame puree and flax seed toast.
The one problem? Almost every dish repeated ingredients-- edamame, flax seed toast, and chickpeas galore. The best dish of the night was a special kale "sprouts", just like Brussels sprouts marinated in a shochu soy sauce.

Lunch the next day at Flatbread Co after the nerve-racking drive in NW Maui to Julia's banana bread (as good as the hype says, the coconut candy is even better). The hour long wait was tough, got a bland espresso across the street at Anthony's. The flatbreads themselves are terrific, especially the pale pesto and the pork-pineapple one. Get the salad with Surfing Goat Dairy goat cheese.

Then to Maui's Winery...it's refreshing to visit a winery with free tastings and the staff doesn't constantly mention wine clubs. I'm used to Napa and Sonoma...and pineapple wine is, well, pineapple wine. Best was the raspberry dessert wine.

Had decent cocktails at the Ritz Kapalua's lobby lounge. I actually insisted on my Canton ginger powered "French Mai Tai" to be served up, tired of the bland, watered down drinks I kept being served elsewhere.

Dinner at the Pineapple Grill. The new chef shows great potential with his kobe beef & brie raviolis, the excellent pistachio & wasabi pea crusted ahi, and a showstopping tender short ribs dish with a miso-mustard broth, and a green apple marmalade. The pineapple upside down cake is a knockout dessert. Great service, a little bit of a sterile, corporate ambiance (it is owned by a sterile, corporate group...).

Next day, was going to have lunch at Star Noodle. Unfortunately, unforeseen golf tee time issues and poor planning forced me to eat a to go $17 grilled vegetables sandwich from the Sheraton Ka'anapali's Black Rock Bar that was one of the most embarrassing moments of my dining career. Disappointed in myself how I missed out on Star Noodle and was stuck with this...maybe a sandwich worth $5? (It was to go because they forgot my order and I had to hurry away).

The last night-- I had heard the one possible "oasis" for craft cocktails could be at the Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Villas's Ocean Pool Bar, where a SF mixologist supposedly consulted on the menu and training the bartenders.
Well, that didn't work out. It's far from a special menu to begin with. I didn't get to try any of his creations since all of the ingredients were used for Easter brunches earlier in the day. So, tired of Mai Tais, I asked for a Negroni. They didn't have Campari at the bar. What bar doesn't have Campari??
They did hunt down Campari and made a very decent Negroni...the regular Mai Tai was better than the not impressive competition elsewhere. Still, very sweet and fruity.

Dinner at Lahaina Grill...the closest setting I've ever found to Galatoire's in New Orleans. Great experience, the most refined meal of the trip, very crisp. The waitress was particularly sharp...dead on with pacing and knowing the minute details of dishes.
Yes, everything is expensive...$10 more than anywhere else. A meal here easily is equal to Chez Panisse on a Saturday night. Just keep that in mind. But, it is a special dining experience. Not Alan Wong's or Chef Mavro's, but still very special. Started with prawns and scallops stuffed chile relleno. As good as it sounds, skip the ahi and foie gras starter...the latter overwhelms the poor fish and you end up eating both on their own. Great ingredients, not a great dish.
The chef knows his way with fish-- best was a special opakapaka with a rare to find excellent panko crust, on a terrific al dente smoked mozzarella risotto and lobster champagne sauce. Pacific rim cuisine? No, but still great.
Great ahi too with fragrant vanilla bean jasmine rice and an apple cider-soy butter vinaigrette.
Desserts are no let-down-- I still remember vividly the "Road to Hana," the sunken chocolate cake (even better than at Roy's in that category), and the triple berry pie (I wish they didn't put in a 2 foot high bed of whipped cream).

Lastly, with a 4 hour layover at HNL Airport, there is officially nothing to eat at the airport. Shame on me for being lazy and not taking the taxi to Alan Wong's Pineapple Room, Town, or elsewhere. I probably would've been convinced to go to Helena's Hawaiian Food since it's closer, but it was a Monday...so they were closed.

Apr 07, 2013
pats38sox in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

Haha, the suspense is over! I'll split the post into 2 parts-- the 7 days on Kauai, then the 3 days on Maui.

Beginning with the beautiful Garden Isle of Kauai, we decided to give Merriman's another chance after 2 years of poor dinner performances upstairs. This time, we had lunch downstairs. I wouldn't call the pizza, burgers, or salads "special," but they are a much, much better deal than the small, overpriced dinner portions with underwhelming preparations. Service was smoother too. I'd recommend the Kalua pork pizza. The crust is a bit strange-- almost like a cracker crust.
Dinner at the Beach House-- better than last year, but we also made sure to arrive earlier. Last year with our 8pm reservation, their only focus was to expedite the dinner timing. Everything was fine-- none of the fish really stood out or the ahi sashimi. The chocolate cake is actually better than most. Still, the place seems like it's run by the mob. It could be so much better, Jean Marie come back! And, the Mai Tai at the Beach House was an embarrassment of way too much dark rum, way too much ice, and I can't even tell you what else they put in it because they probably don't even know. Avoid at all costs.

Next day, can only report back on the fact that Lapperts' gelato flavors (salted caramel, banana) need work compared to the classics I adore (Kauai Pie, passion fruit sorbet). Also, I've got a weak spot for the "sneaky tikis" on Captain Andy's. They won't win any cocktail competitions, but with the atmosphere of the ocean and Poipu coastline, any cocktail would taste great.
For our dinners in, had some terrific opah, ono, ahi, and monchong from the Koloa Fish Market and Living Foods...hard to say which has the superior fish. Koloa Fish Market has some terrific marinades and pokes for sides.
Next dinner out was at Josselin's. Jean Marie continues to make the most exciting food on the menu. It's about a 75% success rate, not everything wows. Sangrias are great, as are the shrimp and duck tacos, the 62 degree farm egg with kiawe roasted asparagus, and the real highlights are his work with fish-- spectacular butterfish in a soy mirin reduction and mahi mahi with a nori vinaigrette.

The problem at Jean Marie is the service details. Since it's a tapas restaurant, they've got to get the pacing down. There were always too many plates on the table. They should limit at 2 plates at a time, no matter the size of a party (I think we ended up having 10 or so dishes).

Puka Dog for a lunch-- still fine, but overhyped. It's too bad the fruit relishes get drowned in mustard. You can't hardly tell the mango relish from the papaya relish, let alone even notice they're on the hot dogs. Fortunately, the sausages are superb, beautifully plump and robust. Wait time? 40 minutes.

Should note-- the Honu Bar at the Waiohai continues to make a decent Ultimate Mai Tai, using both Amaretto and Grand Marnier. As always, I picked up some taro chips and li hing mui covered potato chips from Taro Ko in Hanapepe. And returning from a sand blasted day at Polihale, tasted all the beers at Kauai Island Brewing. None really left a mark on me. The taro beer was disappointing. IPA and porter were the best of the bunch. We need to give them some more time I think.

Last 2 dinners-- Red Salt and Roy's. Red Salt makes a respectable Mai Tai, the best I had on Kauai. I enjoyed Red Salt's cuisine-- especially the Kalua pork luau with excellent taro gnocchi and the amuse bouche of a chilled cucumber-coconut-pepper soup. Yes, an amuse bouche!
The signature 7 spiced ahi was polarizing. The ahi itself was magnificent-- rare and radiant. The edamame cilantro risotto was undercooked and the serrano ham brown better was a salt bomb. For dessert, ask for the warm chocolate macadamia nut cookie!

Roy's continues to be the most reliable restaurant in Poipu, though it is showing signs of fatigue and resting on its laurels. Service is still hands down the best. The misoyaki butterfish, the classic ahi with spicy soy mustard, the chocolate souffle, and the jade pesto monchong were as good as ever. The age old macadamia nut crusted mahi in lobster butter sauce though fell into every anti-Roy's cliché: a tired 90's type dish, banal garnishes of red potatoes and sad asparagus, and the almost always useless mac nut crust.
Most disappointing at Roy's was how they usually have several new fish preparations to show the creativity of the chef...it seems like they're dialing back since there was just 1 fish preparation you wouldn't be able to get at a Roy's in SF or Baltimore.

A Kukuiula Wednesday Farmers Market note-- don't know who makes the pesto and hummus, but wow do they make the sauces/ dips well! I sampled some obscure fruits like ice cream bananas...didn't make me swoon. Such a great community event.

Apr 07, 2013
pats38sox in Hawaii

First Time Visit to Guatemala in February!!! SF Chowhound Would Love Excellent Finds in Antigua, GC, and Tikal!

That's too bad about the Panza Verde! In Manhattan terms, sounds like the old Tavern on the Green-- all about the spectacular atmosphere! What got me about the dinner menu was how all over the place it was-- no real theme or unifying idea, classic hotel style.
The cocktails certainly need work-- it's just so hard to launch an accomplished cocktail program it seems! Maybe Jim Meehan can do some consulting work?
I'm glad to 39 Azul gave a much better performance. Would you still pick Hector's over 39 Azul? That was the question I had to decide when I was visiting, eventually missing out on Hector's.

Mar 30, 2013
pats38sox in Latin America & Caribbean

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

Been to Portland a few times-- Clyde Common's barrel aged Negroni is my favorite cocktail in the country! Big fan of Hair of the Dog and Kask too...wish I could find those now in Maui!

Mar 29, 2013
pats38sox in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

In addition to the tourists having low/no demand/just being happy to be in Hawaii, it's also all about the atmosphere/ view of the bar.

It's a great question, say if a local bartender started making his or her own syrups, juices, and bitters, and opened a stellar bar (maybe a speakeasy like so many of the bars today on the mainland) that didn't have an ocean view, would it be able to be a major hit?

I've tried making the classic Mai Tai recipes from Trader Vic's and Don's before at home. They are indeed completely different, relying heavily on the lime juice, the rum used, and the orgeat syrup. My guests always complain they aren't sweet enough...well yes, because there is no sugar component supposed to be involved!

Mar 29, 2013
pats38sox in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

Cobpdx-- I'm guessing you're from PDX? Why can't Jeffrey Morgenthaler open a place on Kauai...

At Red Salt a few nights ago, I asked for a "Penicillin," and got a blank stare from the bartender. Then again, I was getting ambitious thinking they might already have honey syrup on hand and ginger for muddling.

I would love to try Amasia or Mama's Fish House...but we're trying to stick with Kapalua-Lahaina area for dinners to limit post dinner driving. After visiting the winery, we'll be driving to the south shore to see some of the beaches and resorts. It sounds like Monkeypod Kitchen would be the spot for cocktails.

I'm going to try to swap Sansei for Merriman's...now running into the reservations issue since they're showing few openings on Opentable.

Does anyone have thoughts on Pacific 'O? I went to I'O over 10 years ago...Would you pick one or the other, or prefer Honu or Mala Tavern?

It looks like our only Lahaina lunch will be at Star Noodle. The other lunch will be up country. Bev's General Store is unfortunately closed Saturday lunch, so I'm considering Paia's Flatbread, or Colleen's at the Cannery? Or is there a place in Kula? We'll be heading to the winery.

Mar 29, 2013
pats38sox in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

Now, any quick last minute advice on Maui? I hear a resounding "no" on Sansei, though the menu looks intriguing and reviews years ago rave about it.

2 lunch-- Honu and Star Noodle (any favorite dishes at either?)

3 dinners-- only for sure is Lahaina Grill for last night. Currently reservations at Sansei and Pacific 'O the other nights. I'm always willing to change-- we want places between Lahaina and Kapalua. Any thoughts on the new chefs at Pineapple Grill and Hula Grill, or trying Plantation House for dinner, or the new Chef's Terrace at the Ritz Carlton? Should I get past my bad Merriman's Kauai experiences and try that instead in Kapalua?

Definitely also banana bread at Julia's, coffee at Anthony's and Maui Coffee Co in Lahaiana, shaved ice at Ululani , drinks at the Ritz, Grand Wailea, and tiki bar at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel, pineapple wine tasting, and Maui Brewing Co.

Mahalo nui loa!!!

Mar 29, 2013
pats38sox in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

Aloha everyone,

After a week on Kauai, heading to Maui for 3 nights in the morning. I'll report back on everything when I get home next week-- so far, very good for the most part. Really enjoyed Red Salt. Beach House was not perfect, but improved. Josselin's is most consistent. Roy's was less exciting than usual with very few inventive plates compared to the past, but when they were on for their signature dishes, it beat any of the others.

Cobpdx, your question about cocktails on the island really got me thinking all week. I 100% agree with you, what is the deal with cocktails on Kauai? Why are they usually not close to worth getting? To me, it comes down to three things:

1. In general, many tourist diners here on Kauai (and all of Hawaii probably) just let down their standards for eating and drinking...so a mai tai or ahi sashimi will taste good to them...because they're in Hawaii. They don't care as much perhaps, so if they're given something 50% of what they ordered, they're fine with that. This is really the case with cocktails...the special restaurants don't think about this food-wise.

Even where I live in SF, you won't get good cocktails on Pier 39 or the Cliff House...because the tourists don't care. So why bother? It's a different story at the "mixologist" joints.

2. It's the ice. I always forbid bartenders from giving me drinks with crushed ice because it will dilute the drink within seconds, if not five minutes. Great bartenders today are figuring out ways to make ice to get around this fact that ice melts. The various places I've been on Kauai the past week, all of the ice melts in single digit minutes.

3. The juices are meh. Specifically with Mai Tais. The Beach House's version of a Mai Tai was a crime. Ridiculous. I should've been paid to drink it. At least Red Salt and Honu at the Waiohai make drinkable Mai Tais. But they're still only decent. The problem is everyone just uses weak passion fruit and guava juices, probably from the Aloha Maid cans. Mediocre juice....mediocre cocktails. I'm sure Tiki Iniki will change the cocktail culture on Kauai...

Mar 29, 2013
pats38sox in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

Just called Tiki Iniki...said they're not opening until May

Mar 21, 2013
pats38sox in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

Beautiful, I hope they're still making that pizza! Looks like grapes with the ahi?

Mar 20, 2013
pats38sox in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

Thoughts on the banana bread places mentioned in this article I just saw?
Julia's, Four Sisters, Grandma's, and Aunty Sandy's
http://www.bonappetit.com/blogsandfor...

Mar 20, 2013
pats38sox in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

Manomin, was it a special ahi pizza? I only see an ahi bruschetta on their menu...everything looks great there!

Mar 20, 2013
pats38sox in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

Mahala nui loa everyone for your very quick and thoughtful responses!!! I really appreciate it! You're faster and more comprehensive than any post I've started before, even major food cities like New Orleans and Seattle!

Sounds like the 4 dinners are pretty set now on Kauai-- Red Salt added in. I really wish Tiki Iniki would open now so I could visit! Has anybody visited the new Port Allen Brewery yet?

I never asked-- are there any great barista driven cafes on Kauai? Living Foods has decent coffee...but a great place for espresso or macchiatos?

Maui-- sounds like Sansei is not a favorite here. Thoughts on Pacific 'O or I'O? Looks like the only things settled for now are a lunch at Star Noodle and a dinner at Lahaina Grill.

Any thoughts on Mala Tavern vs Honu?

Mar 20, 2013
pats38sox in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

Ululani's will be a must. Not sure still on Mama's...it would be for lunch if we go. I love Alan Wong's flagship in Honolulu...so Amasia does intrigue me.

It certainly sounds like Sansei isn't as special as the hype surrounding it...too bad since it's right near us in Kapalua!

Mar 20, 2013
pats38sox in Hawaii

Aloha Hawaii! Please Critique SF Chowhounds' Visit to Kauai and Maui for Next Week!

Actually speaking of Kauai Kunana goat cheese-- has anybody visited their dairy? Is it a tour worth doing? Loved their cheeses at a farmers market last year.

Bellachef, I am completely with you about the "old trifecta" days. They were the golden years with Josselin's at Pacific Cafe and Beach House, and Roy's. Roy's is more or less the same to me still. Josselin's food and service are fine, but not as polished as A Pacific Cafe. Beach House...not even close now. Nothing beat the duo of the Beach House atmosphere with Josselin's cooking, the rare masterful view restaurant with food to match.

Yet we still go to the Beach House each year out of tradition (been going since 1981)...not sure what it will take to get them to get my family to surrender, but they sure seem to try. Last year was a mess. Almost as poor as Merriman's...
http://trevsbistro.com/2012/04/10/mer...

Mar 20, 2013
pats38sox in Hawaii