As we pulled into the harbor at Nawiliwili, it was warm out and the sun was shinning. We had to make a decision regarding whether to head North towards towards the Napali Coast or West towards Waimea Canyon "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific".
As the oldest island in the Hawaii Archipelago Kauai's features are very dramatic, and with the possibility of rain we headed out to try to maximize the great weather.
Our first order of the day after picking up the car was to head out to the Waimea Canyon the shot above was from a scenic point along the highway on the road out. Absolutely stunning.
The one big advantage of doing the drive yourself or booking your own tour was that you would get out to the sights much earlier than the tour buses. When we arrived there were maybe 10 cars in the parking lot and the lack of a crowd allowed us to take our time and get some amazing pictures.
Panorama of the Waimea Canyon from the lookout. What you don't see is the bottom of the canyon, I wonder if you could hike down there.
Going up to the Waimea Canyon there are two routes to the top, the older road that the buses use or the newer road that is maybe only a couple of years old. We went up with the new road and you will miss shots from the pullouts like the one above and below but taking the "old" road down we stopped and got some great photos.
On the way to Waimea Canyon we passed a number of small shops one of which was the Kauai Kookie, a fairly small building tucked away in the back of a parking lot, the store front itself was rather small but the cookies were made onsite for distribution at various other retailers. As a bonus the pricing was much more reasonable than either the Honolulu Cookie Company or Big Island Candies. We did find the cookies from Kauai Kookie at Costco on Kauai with approximately the same pricing but the variety at the factory store was better. (Did I mention the free samples??)
Another stop on our way back to town was the Kauai Coffee Company, we intended to go to a coffee plantation on Honolulu but we never had the chance. A short 30 minute self-guided tour and lots of samples was great way to build up an appetite for lunch. As we were specifically looking for 100% Kona coffees we passed on buying the blends that were available for sale here.
Our next stop for lunch was Old Koloa Town to eat at the Koloa Fish Market as recommended by friends. Old Koloa Town is located in the South of Kauai and on our drive over we encountered some light showers which cleared up as we neared town.
The Koloa Fish Market was recommended to us by a friend as they had great "Poke", now silly me who is not a seafood fan to go to a place called a Fish Market
We ordered the two meat Hawaiian plate and a Chicken and Tuna Combo along with some Tako Poke. "Poke" in blunt Charlie terms was "Marinated Sashimi", the variety of items in the deli cooler were amazing Poke in all kinds of flavours and lots of choices. The counter staff were exceptional in answering any questions and not rushing you in making a decision.
Chicken Adobo and Teiryaki Sauteed Ahi, served with rice, tossed greens & macaroni salad - The chicken Adobo was a large bone on thigh that although tasty was difficult to eat in the container without making a mess. The Sauteed Ahi was overcooked and Charlie barely touched it. I ate the salad and the macaroni and both were super tasty, the salad in particular had a spicy dressing of some sort. In hindsight we should have only ordered one of these as it was too much food for the two of us for lunch. 5/10 for the Tuna 8/10 for the rest of the plate.
Hawaiian Plate Lau Lau and Kalua Pork served with Chicken long rice Lomi Salmon and the Poke of the day which happened to be Korean flavored, along with a generous serving of rice. The Kalua Pig is the whole pig cooked in an imu (burred underground in traditional Hawaiian fashion), super tender juicy and was absolutely amazing, think super moist and juicy pulled pork no sauce required! Lau Lau is pork Wrapped in taro leaves and cooked in ti leaves in the imu. Super moist and also juicy with all the rendered fats it was salty and went well with the rice. Hard to pick one or the other, on it's own the Kalua pork would be superior but on rice the Lau Lau was great! Chicken long rice is a translucent type of noodle cooked in a chicken broth, super flavorful. The Korean inspired Poke Charlie said had good flavor and would rate an 8/10. I spilled the lomi salmon juices onto myself as the box as you can see is stuffed full, Overall I would rate the Hawaiian plate as a whole a resounding 10/10 would definitely recommend the Koloa Fish Market if you can make it.
Peruvian Scallop Ceviche with Avocado Fan - I suppose that in the interest of food safety serving raw scallops on a mass scale is a no-no, the scallops in this ceviche were cooked and as such was not very memorable. 6/10
Asian-Spiced Duck Breast with honey-Garlic Glaze - Tender, nice flavors easy to eat as it was thinly sliced. 7.5/10
Skirt Steak Fajitas with Flour Tortillas - Yes it is skirt steak so it will be a little tougher but the largest annoyance was that the Fajitas were rolled which was an interesting presentation but caused them to stick together and tear as they cooled down. This is an appetizer sized order, the flavors were a little mild and when I heard fajitas I was expecting the hot plate :) 6/10
Olde English Lamb & Barley Soup - Much too salty not much in the way of lamb taste. 4/10
Tempura of Seasonal Vegetables - This is also an appetizer sized entree and it was still rather large, first time having cauliflower tempura but overall everything was light and very flavorful. Very well executed. 8/10
Oven-Roasted Prime Rib with Natural Pan Juice - Cooked nicely, not very flavorful and not as good as the one served on the first night. 7/10
Black Forest Cake with Sour Cherries and Kirchwaser - Very light, not overly sweet lots of cherry flavor. 9/10
Orange Grand Marnier Souffle - Light and fluffy, was very very nice. Lots of flavor. 9/10
All in all a wonderful day on Kauai, great sights and great food. Would definitely recommend visiting and likely we will be back !