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Fun stories and local experiences about Kauai restaurants, where to eat on Kauai, local flavors and more..

Outstanding in the Field Returns To Kauai

Outstanding in the Field Brings Its Long Table to Kauai

Roving “restaurant without walls” to visit farms on Kauai and Oahu

Thursday, January 24
Olana Organic Farm – Kilauea, Kauai with host farmer Tim O’Connor
Guest chef: Ron Miller – Hukilau Lanai, Kapaa

This will be Outstanding in the Field’s second visit to Olana Farm, a fantastic dinner site on the stunningly beautiful North Shore of Kauai. “Farmer Tim is a wonderful host and we’re really looking forward to seeing him again,” said OITF founding chef and artist Jim Denevan. “The incredible variety of fruits and vegetables he grows are the healthiest looking plants you’ll ever see.”  Some or many of them will go into the outdoor feast prepared by Chef Ron Miller of Hukilau Lanai. Everything comes full circle in Chef Ron’s kitchen. The restaurant’s food scraps are picked up nightly by a local pig farmer, and one of those well-fed hogs may well be on the menu for this event. $190 pp all inclusive.

Since 2003, OITF founding chef and artist Jim Denevan and his culinary caravan have traveled around North America to create outdoor dining events at country farms and ranches, in urban gardens and sea caves, on mountaintops and sandy beaches. Wherever they go, OITF’s mission is the same: To re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food and introduce them to the local farmers and food artisans whose good work brings nourishment to the table. Ingredients for OITF meals are often sourced within inches of diners’ seats. After a tour of the host site, everyone settles in: farmers, ranchers, fishermen, culinary artisans and guests serving each other at the communal table.

Denevan did his first farm dinner in his hometown of Santa Cruz, Calif. in 1999. Since then, Outstanding in the Field  has staged more than 400 farm dinners, welcoming nearly 50,000 diners in all but five U.S. states, three Canadian provinces and nine countries in Europe and South America. An avid surfer and artist whose large-scale drawings on earth, sand and ice have earned worldwide acclaim, Jim will no doubt find time to visit Hawaii’s famous beaches with his board, rakes and driftwood sticks.

Outstanding in the Field events start with a glass of wine and welcome hors d’oeuvres, followed by a tour of the host farm and a four-course meal paired with wines. Both January events start at 3pm.

For more information and to reserve a seat at the Outstanding table, visit www.outstandinginthefield.com

*I personally had the pleasure of experiencing an Outstanding Experience last year and would recommend this to anyone visiting or that lives on Kauai. This is very unique experience with fabulous food with an amazing backdrop. An epicureans delight!


Kathy’s Kauai Tropical French Toast

Are you having company this holiday season? Here is a favorite recipe from Kauai’s own Fruitcake Chef Services. This is a delicious way to introduce family and friends to the Tropics.  Enjoy!!


Hawaiian Style bread cut into 8 1 inch slices
Three eggs
2 tbsp half and half or coconut milk
¼ tsp orange zest
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp powdered sugar
¼ cup toasted shredded coconut


In a large skillet or a griddle, melt one tbsp butter on med heat. If using pans, use two pans in order to serve two at a time
Whisk all ingredients well in a 8 or 9inch pie pan.
Dip each slice Hawaiian bread, insuring coconut is applied to each slice…add to bubbling butter and letcook on one side for 3 or4 minutes without moving around.
Flip toast and add 1 tbsp butter to griddle or each pan.
Let egg in toast cook, by letting it go for 3 more
minutes. French toast should be browned and not mushy to the touch.
Heat 1 cup coconut syrup in microwave for about 45 seconds or til warm.
Plate 2 pieces French toast, add a little butter to melt, and shredded, toasted coconut to garnish. Sprinkle with powdered sugar from a small sifter on plate.

Serve with warm coconut syrup and Crisp Bacon or Portuguese Sausage.

A Culinary Romp Through Paradise

Cacao Pod Photo by Daniel Lane

Cacao Pod Photo by Daniel Lane

On the east side of island is Ein Rogel Farm. A 26-acre sustainable exotic fruit farm nestled in Kauai’s Kahuna Valley. There are 80 varieties of tropical fruit on the estate and the five-million-year-old Makaleha Mountain range provides the trees with pristine
spring water.

A fresh morning dawns as a couple from Colorado eagerly wait for the farm tour to begin. It rained through the night and into early morning, and the group that was to be ten is now three. The birds don’t care. As the clouds break, they sing with the emerging sun.

Kauai is known as the Garden Island because of the abundant rainfall due to Mount
Waialeale. An east facing peak grabs warm, moist trade winds and turns them into
tropical showers. Plants thrive in the graceful dance provided by water and sun, and
somehow being in their midst draws out the life in you.

Under a covered awning in the warm morning air, we chew sticky-sweet sugarcane and
learn it’s called the Hawaiian toothbrush. “I always tell people to have a light breakfast
because when you come on the tour, you’ll be eating a lot!” says our guide, Jesse

As water spills from Makaleha Falls into one of two streams on the property, we cross a
bridge festooned with bright tropical flowers and shaded by towering camphor trees.

Jesse coaxes a succulent prize from the center of a purple fruit with plump, white
flesh. “Mangosteen is known as the Queen of Fruits,” he says as we slip a piece into our
mouths. “The inside is so sweet that the Queen of England, when Captain Cook was
exploring this area, paid $125 in today’s currency for one of these.”

Pineapple plants and 12 types of citrus thrive with hundreds of colorful flowers. Trees
such as ylang ylang perfume the air. Chickens and turkeys roam freely while bees are
busy in their hives making tropical honey.

Whack! Jesse breaks open a coconut with his machete. We take an ambrosial sip and
learn it is not milk but water that we are drinking. Redheaded Brazilian cardinals spy the
cracked nut and wait for our departure so they can free the husks of whatever sweet
meat we overlook.

Shaded by the canopy of a cacao tree, Jesse compares chocolate to wine. Pumpkin-
orange, crimson-red and chestnut-brown pods dangle from the tree’s branches like sun kissed jewels. “You’ll notice a difference in taste between Kauai chocolate and
chocolate from Ghana or the Dominican Republic,” he explains.

An emerging trend is classifying chocolate. Single estate means it comes from one
farm, and single origin means it comes from one country. Rarely will there be a single
varietal, a common practice with wine. There are ten edible cacao species or varietals,
and Ein Rogel Farm cultivates three.

Nature’s kinetic energy transfers to us as we romp along the orchard. Childhood
memories blossom from the recesses of our minds. We recall our first taste of an
orange, or our mother, cutting a star fruit, and wondering at its shape.

As a freelance farm and food writer based on Kauai, I have met artisans who create
with aloha: Farmers that delight in nourishing bodies with organically grown produce,
and chefs who are deeply gratified when one bite makes a person close their eyes, let
out a deep breath, and sigh in pleasure: Mmmmmm!

A Kauai Culinary Tour

I wanted to spread these seeds of aloha, so decided to create a day-long, farm to fork
culinary adventure. We start the day with a two-hour tour at Ein Rogel Farm, of which I
was inspired to write the story above.

After the farm tour, we’ll meet at the Kauai Marriott Resort. While we sit at the outdoor
courtyard lanai, executive chef Guy Higa will serve a four-course lunch made with Kauai
grown ingredients. He’ll also do a cooking demonstration, so you can ask questions and
learn how the professionals cook.

For Reservations or inquiries call 808-635-0257. Deadline to register is Wednesday July 11

Something for Everyone at the Kauai Culinary Market

As I approach the Kauai Culinary market, the first thing I notice is the sound of live music. I find myself asking, is this a festival or a farmers market? Well, it is touted as a gourmet farmers market and now I know why.

As we enter, I see a man wielding a machete. He is skillfully husking coconuts wile his partner spears them with a straw and hands them out to passersby. My son and I enjoy the show. I sample a chocolate dipped dried apple banana an then buy some amazing lettuce and fresh herbs from the organic farmers table. I taste some fruit I’ve never heard of; it tastes like cinnamon and brown sugar. I then score the last half dozen of multicolored eggs from a local farmer.Apple Bananas on Kauai

I’m now closer to the music and stop to enjoy it for a while. The musicians finish the set and announce the chef demonstration will be beginning shortly. I notice that the area where the chef demonstration is taking place is cordoned off and then the see that they are serving wine. This is my kind of farmers market! My four-year-old spots a large glass jar with pink liquid that turns out to be homemade strawberry, lemongrass, lemonade with mint. It disappears before I can pay for it.

Chef Helen of the Hanapepe Café is demonstrating how to make Carrot, Coconut, Lemongrass Bisque Recipe. She passes around a Kefir lime leaf to familiarize the audience with its unique aroma, before describing how to make the base for the soup. Of course she also passes around samples of this amazingly fresh concoction and wows the audience with its unusual bouquet of flavors.

The audience is asking where they can get all of the ingredients so they can attempt to recreate it at home. Turns out all of the ingredients can be purchased from the vendors and at market and Living Foods Market located at the other end of the mall.

Meanwhile, my son is tugging at my leg, he wants to see what else is available. We return to the market and sample vanilla lilikoi jam on a cracker and pass by the most amazing assortment of pies I’ve ever seen.

Then my son spies the homemade pasta, a perfect match for the pesto I was planning to make with my fresh herbs. He wants the squid ink pasta because it is black but we settle on a mix of kale and tomato curls.

We are delighted to see all the locally made foods, spices, coffees, jams and even fresh baked goods. The music, the chef demonstration, and the samples made the event relaxing and enjoyable, quite a contrast from the sunshine markets where you must arrive promptly before the bell rings and are strictly there to purchase your fruits and veggies.

I would highly recommend attending the Kauai Culinary Market. It happens every Wednesday from 4pm-6pm in Poipu at The Shops at Kukui’ula. Check out other Kauai Farmers Markets island-wide

Kauai Farm to Table Dining

I head north along Kuhio Hwy toward Kilauea and catch the splash of a breaching whale out of the corner of my eye. Winter is here. I reflect on how amazing these creatures are and how the ocean is their lifeblood. I don’t pull over to watch, I am on my way to dinner with Outstanding in the Field.  I am excited about the evenings event. Dinner on a farm, “Restaurant Without Walls”, where local chefs pair up with a local farm to create a meal.  The concept seems novel, the idea romantic and the opportunity unique.

I arrive early to meet the guest farmer chef and staff.  I am greeted by Tim O’Connor Host farmer. He politely asks me to park at the top of the freshly mowed pasture. I park, grab my camera and head over to introduce myself. Tim welcomes me to Olana Farm and gives me a little background on his vision and history of the farm. He has had the property for twelve years and has lived on it full time for the past seven.

The farm is beautiful. The house sits at the top of a gentle sloping hill, manicured and flourishing with life. Off in the distance the views of the Pacific. Tim tells me that he sells his produce at two of the weekly local farmers markets as well as to local restaurants. I am impressed by the pure organization of his garden beds of produce, herbs and fruit.

From the top of the farm nestled between the neatly planted rows of greens and citrus fruit sits a long table set with white linens and wine glasses. So simple and elegant is the contrast of green and white. An outdoor covered work area has been been transformed into a kitchen. The Kiawe wood burning grill, the crisp January air, and the natural surroundings make this a comfortable working space. Chef Aaron Leikam and Todd Oldham are busy prepping for the meal. I ask Aaron how he ended up on Kauai, he simply replies “It was serendipitous!”

I meet Leah and the crew, who In the past year alone have created over 87 farm to table dinners across the United States, Europe and now Hawaii. The team is busy making signs, putting the final touches on the table and setting up the service tables for the evening events.

I love the behind the scenes of what undoubtedly will be a spectacular event.  A band of dark clouds is slowly moving in from the west. This is not the usual weather pattern, and a drastic change to the past two weeks of cloudless skies and light air. This is a brave time of year to hold an outdoor event on the North Shore of Kauai. There is no back up plan.

Casual and relaxed, Jim Denevan, founder and visionary of Outstanding in the Field, arrives on the farm just before the first guests start to arrive. He has been surfing. He had to catch just one wave and what surfer can resist the call of a Hawaiian surf session.

The evening starts off with a glass of Kava, not the ceremonial root found throughout the South Pacific, but in the form of a sparkling wine. Glass in hand we are given a tour of the farm, a history of its beginnings and future vision. Our pleasant and educational stroll ends at the beautifully set table in the field.

The night is a gracefully choreographed work of art. The creative vision, a farmers endeavor and a skilled passion for creating a meal that not only nourishes and is visually exquisite,but also tells a story.  A simple story. Outstanding in the Feild Kauai

Outstanding in the Field will be hosting two more events in the Hawaiian Island this month. tickets are available through their website.

Banana Joe’s Local Kauai Fruits

Banana Joes Kilauea Fruit Stand A bright yellow Hawaiian hale sits off the highway to your left as you are heading up the road towards Princeville or Hanalei.  An unassuming sign heralding “Banana Joe’s” is visible on the side of the driveway.  It is a classic, old-fashioned fruit stand you don’t want to miss! Ten years ago was the first time we went inside Banana Joe’s to find a perfect white pineapple.  It is a special dessert pineapple that only grows in the summer—usually.  We found so many fun things in the little market we almost forgot the pineapple!Kauai Jack Fruit
They have local produce with strange sounding name like rambutan, lychee, and jack fruit plus many others.  They also carry multiple types of bananas—well, it is Banana Joe’s!  There are also jams, syrups and fresh made smoothies.  You’ll find local citrus from lemons to pomelo. The fun thing is that they never mind explaining all the different things they carry.  “This tastes sort of like….”  or “That might be a little tart.”

There was one farmer who had some of the white pineapple in November.   They knew.  They know quite a bit about Kauai and keep on top of things growing around the island.  After 25 years in business they have made a place for themselves among local people and visitors alike.
Kauai Jackfruit TreeLook around outside.  You might see some of those exotic treats growing on the trees!
One of our first stops when we arrived ‘on island’ was Banana Joe’s to stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables.   Now that we are living here, we make sure we take guests to the little yellow fruit stand for local color and island specialties.