While it feels good to be home, I’d be crazy to say that Hawaii was not the most incredible experience and trip of my life. Despite the ridiculous delays, hours of travel (even more so for my husband), not to mention we do not have our luggage– I could certainly grow accustomed to the sound of the ocean and tranquility of Hawaii. There was a peaceful but powerful energy.
We traveled to Maui, Lanai’i, and the “big island”, Kona. Each island was unique in it’s beauty. There were many highlights– We met some incredible couples and families along the way, and experienced some of the touristy, and non-touristy sides of Hawaii. No doubt will I need to up my quota for number of rainbows, dolphins, and breathtaking waterfalls I expected to see in a lifetime.
For me, the delights were only escalated by the quality and freshness of the food (produce). It was amazing how the body digested and assimilated the local foods. Despite our indulgences, I awoke every morning feeling very much alive, relaxed, and energized.
Here are a few of the highlights!
Red Sand Beach, on the Road to Hana in Maui.
One of my absolute favorite meals of the trip was at Ferraro’s at the Four Seasons- Maui– not for it’s elegance, or prestige, but for it’s simplicity, adaptability, freshness, and color.
The chef presented me with exactly what I requested, and then some. Behold– the Lauren Salad: local greens, arugula, butter lettuce, Maui onion, thinly sliced beets, local hearts of palm, fresh garlic, and Hawaii pink sea salt. The salad hit the spot. The greens tasted so fresh they melted in my mouth. The Maui onions were finely sliced and sweeter, and less pungent than any onion I have tasted. The beets added a crisp crunch, and the fresh hearts of palm would put any canned, or jarred imposter to shame. The plump tomatoes were bursting with flavor, and the fresh slivers of garlic were the perfect compliment to all of the flavors, adding in that pungent, but delicate bite. The salad was served with a delicious blend of sweet lemon and olive oil (which I could not help but to generously drizzle over my salad (and side dishes to come).
End result. Incredible.
Next, my husband and I shared the vegan Fire Roasted Tomato and Fennel Soup. Although the fire roasted tomatoes were not fresh, this soup was divine. It was presented with a kalamata olive drizzle and freshly chopped scallion. It was the perfect texture and blend– smooth and delicate, but also rich with simple flavor. I could taste every ingredient when I closed my eyes. I savored every spoonful.
In addition to my steamed vegetables, of which I ordered a few (not pictured), I also ordered an assortment of their house marinated eggplant, and artichoke. Although the artichoke was not fresh, I enjoyed how they arrived to my table in clever but unsophisticated jars. It was rustic and romantic, and complimented our wine choice beautifully.
The island of Lanaii was inspiring, and we were in relaxation mode from the moment we set foot on the island. We did little but soak in the brilliance of the sun’s energy, and the pristine air.
The food on Lanaii was much more simple than Maui.
Although our dinner reservations were earlier than 7:00pm, our table was enveloped in darkness. It was romantic evening and the food presentation was fun and unique.
The chef prepared a special vegetable medley for me. You will notice that the beets were cooked with their “tails” still on. I loved this! The vegetables were crisp, and perfectly steamed. I particularly liked the roasted orange pepper puree, that was served to the side on the platter. It offered a richness and color complimentary to the unseasoned vegetables. We dined on other platters also, and we finished with coconut sorbet (something my husband ordered and I ate).
We were surprised with these beautiful juices on our last day in Lanai’i. I loved the cucumber mint and green juice. It was fresh and light. All of the colors and the presentation were absolutely divine! I was particularly fond of this island for some reason. Perhaps for the wonderful and “healthy” conversation we enjoyed with other guests, and the sincere tranquility we experienced watching the dolphins.
Lanai’i has two resorts. The one on top of the mountain is cooler in temperature and the decor: a blend of Colonial Williamsburg, meets, hunting lodge, all inspired by a local and Asian presence. I do not know how else to describe it except to say– mysterious, romantic, and breathtaking. Charmed by the greens I enjoyed, and the warming fireplaces, I loved dining at the lodge but we are happy we stayed by the ocean.
The island of Kona was unlike anything I have every seen. We did not travel from the resort, but we had no reason to. The volcanic rock beaches were majestic– black volcanic rock striking against whiter sands and baby blue oceans. The Hawaiian creatures were out and about (lizards, birds, sea turtles basking in the sun), and one could feel the life of the island.
We shared great meals in Kona at the resort. One of our chefs took the vegan challenge (at a seafood buffet) and prepared a salad of local greens, fiddlehead ferns, gourmet juicy tomatoes, sweet onion, local flowers, and bamboo shoots. It was beautifully arranged and tasted marvelously fresh. I was particularly intrigued by the delicate fiddlehead ferns– something I had never seen or tasted before.
The accompanying beet side was colorful and delicious.
But another salad I shamelessly enjoyed underneath the stars and planets. I love eggplant!
It was a miraculous experience and we delighted in the prolonged time together without technologies, responsibility and work.
If ever we should return, we would be perfectly happy buying from the local farmers and preparing our own foods. I hope one day we have the opportunity to do just that (and perhaps grow our own as well).
Hope you enjoyed!