Category Archives: Hawai’i

Kaua’i Great Eight- Restaurants

The Great Eight: ‘cuz Top-Ten lists are tacky

Let’s face it, I love food. Particularly when someone does something special with it. Here’s a list of Great Eight restaurants that have repeatedly made me happy. The things I look for to qualify a restaurant for this list include: consistency across visits, diverse menu, fair value, deliciosity (yup, that’s a made up word for how delicious something is), atmosphere and service.

Great Eight listology of food:

1. Kountry Kitchen – Kapa’a

There are two things I do really well: breakfast and ice cream. That being said, Kountry Kitchen might very well be the best breakfast place OF ALL TIME. There’s usually a line out the door for this tiny little gem, and I will wait hours to get my hands on some Hawaiian sweet bread french toast. I am so in awe of the breakfast genius in the kitchen that I can totally ignore the decorator’s rooster problem.

2. Brenecke’s Beach Broiler – Poipu Beach

Happy Hour with a pitcher of mango guava coladas with a beautiful view and a great staff. FRESHEST FISH. We love Brennecke’s!

3. Java Kai – Hanalei

Great local spot for lunch-delicious Panini sandwiches, magnificent smoothies and an extensive coffee menu. It’s extra yummy because you’re supporting a quaint local business!

4. Olympic Cafe – Kapa’a

One of the biggest menus I have ever unfolded. Almost too many choices. Then I realize, there’s no such thing as too many choices! Go here for beers, laughter and appetizers. Dinner’s great too, if you have room after the awesome Pupus (appetizers).

6. Scotty’s BBQ – Kapa’a

Love the setting, a beach-facing second story building with awesome roll-up garage doors. The BBQ’s excellent, but be prepared to pay a little more than you might be comfortable with if you’re on a tight budget. The portions are huge though, so splitting a meal is definitely do-able. We do Scotty’s as a splurge and eat our faces off.

7. Duke’s Canoe Club – Lihue

No trip to the Hawaiian islands is complete until you’ve made it to Duke’s: the quintessential aloha eatery. Located in the Marriott, Kauai Duke’s is gorgeous. They host a salad bar -such a rarity in restaurants these days- and I always encourage ordering fish for the main course. Don’t forget dessert: Kimo’s Hula Pie is a mile high, and legendary.

8. Lappert’s Ice Cream – Princeville

Anyone who knows my Mom and sister and I are aware of our status as ice cream professionals. We don’t mess around. Really good ice cream is hard to come by on these islands, and Lappert’s does it right. Sometimes I get such a craving for Tutu’s Anniversary that I dream I’m eating it in my sleep. It’s a dream-worthy combination of coconut ice cream with swirls of raspberry and lilikoi (passion fruit) sherbet. “Heaven, I’m in ice cream heaven!”

Kaua’i Great Eight- Adventures

The Great Eight: ‘cuz Top-Ten lists are tacky

It’s where Hawaiians go to retreat from Waikiki; great for honeymooners who aren’t looking for social ‘over-action’; movie buffs go here to tremble at the thought of a raptor lurking on the opposite side of the palm fronds. Kaua’i was my first island explored in the Hawaiian chain, and as such holds a special place in my heart. Kaua’i=the Hawai’i your imagination conjures.

Great Eight listology

for the Garden Isle:

1. See the Nāpali Coast by boat or by air.

By air: Jack Harter Helicopters – do the chopper with NO doors (it’s worth any and all terror that might ensue)

By boat: Holo Holo Boat Tours – Nāpali and Niʻihau Super Tour

2. Hanalei Bay

The best of both worlds; where the mountains meet the beach in a magical way.

The most beautiful bay in the world
Sunset, anyone?

3. Kalalau Trail (if you can’t do the whole shebang, at least make it to Hanakāpīʻai Beach)

11 miles each way. Treacherous terrain. Hawaiian history. Hippies, body aches and a beach at the end worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears. Bring it on! Be sure to get a permit to camp if you’re going the distance (Hawaii Camping Permits). For those that can’t do the complete holy grail of Hawaiian hikes, be sure to do the first two miles, do-able for most skill levels. There you’ll uncover Hanakāpīʻai beach, complete with sea caves, boulder hopping and a freshwater stream. Here you’ll feel a connection to the ancients as you stand agape at the majesty of the landscape.

4. Kipu Falls

Cowabunga! If you’ve ever dreamed of waterfall cliff jumping, this is the spot. Plenty of depth and cheering supporters to witness your ultimate leap. There’s even a ladder to make your way back to the top. There’s a rope swing, but be aware and make sure your halter top string isn’t tangled up with the rope… it will come off at the same time you do. Trust me, it may have happened to someone I know. Or me. I won’t confirm nor deny it. Just go jump off the falls, will ya?

5. Queen’s Bath

Volcanic cliffs form a fantastic landscape for climbing around the coastline in Princeville. A tough spot to find (the hike down originates in a residential neighborhood), Queen’s Bath is a swimming hole fit for royalty. A must see!

6. Waimea Canyon

Mark Twain called it the Pacific Grand Canyon. The landscape is so unique you might have to check yourself that you didn’t travel to some other planet. Don’t forget to keep going past the Canyon however… you’ve got to make it all the way to the end of the road to get the view atop the northwest mountains of the Napali Coast. Breathtaking.

7. Wailua Falls

A quick view from the top is stunning enough, but if you’ve got the gall, climb the slippery slope trail down to the base of this powerful waterfall for the real experience. The water’s cold and the trail is muddy but it’s an experience that will leave you feeling like a true explorer. For an added thrill, climb ’round the backside to feel the ultimate rush. You won’t be able to get all the way behind the falls (too dangerous), but close enough to feel the sting of the spray and remind you how water always wins.

8. Polihale Beach.

The beach at the edge of the world. It takes work to get here, but the scarcity of others and the uniqueness of this beach makes it a must-do for a true adventurer. Don’t forget your slippers though; we didn’t nickname it ‘hot foot beach’ for nothing.

Hey Go Kaua’i!