September 1, 2004
Day 5, Wednesday
This morning I tried again to get us a reservation for dinner tonight at Pahu I'a and this time I was successful!
After breakfast on the lanai, we got a late start and headed south again to Kealakekua Bay and the Place of Refuge.
Kealakekua Bay and the Place of Refuge
First we checked out the bay, where in the distance you can see the white obelisk that marks the spot where Captain Cook was killed. Some of the best snorkeling is supposedly there, but only easily reached by kayak.
From there, we drove down a one lane road to the Place of Refuge where ancient Hawaiians could go to be absolved of all their kapu transgressions. It was also home to the king. At the entrance, the park ranger told us the best snorkeling was outside the park to the right so we drove over there first. Parking is scarce, but we found a place and headed out.
The entrance to the water is out over lava flow to a place the locals call "two step" because, you guessed it, there are two natural steps leading down into the water. The snorkeling is fantastic here. Tons of coral, lots of different fish and we even saw a black and white spotted eel hanging out with a yellow and black fish. We were out for at least an hour.
From there we went back to the Place of Refuge to check out the cultural and historical significance. It's an interesting place, but it was so hot and humid, it was hard to be enthusiastic while walking around. We saw walls built of lava rock, 17 feet thick and lots and lots of turtles in the shallows and on the beach.
Stopped at Big Jakes BBQ near the mile 106 marker on the way back. Not much more than a shack. Had 1/2 rack baby back ribs and a brisket sandwich. Slow service, but worth the wait. It was so good, the meat just fell off the ribs. We ate our lunch on a bench under a tarp in a fantastic downpour.
Pahu I'a Four Seasons Hualalai
The Four Seasons hotel sits on beautiful grounds, surrounded by a private golf course which is part black lava, part greens. It's an absolutely beautiful resort, lobby, and pool. The foyer of the restaurant has a massive aquarium in the center. We arrived early, at 6 PM and were seated right away on the patio, right on the edge of the ocean. There was a stunning sunset, and the trees were dropping tiny flowers on us in the light breeze. Below is a detail of our meal, including prices.
David began with his usual Bombay Sapphire martini, up with olives ($13.50). I ordered a glass of Girgch Hills Zinfandel ($17 and this was not the most expensive glass of wine). Fresh baked bread basket was served with butter, olive tapenade, and a kimchi aioli.
For my appetizer I had the "New Style Poke" with Ahi, Hamachi, and Salmon, Ponzu Sauce and Sizzling Oil. The hot oil had the effect of slight cooking the edges of the fish it touched. While the fish was fresh and well prepared, the overall effect was a bit bland and honestly, not quite as tasty as the poke we had at Huggos. David had the Pan Roasted Fois Gras with Caramelized Gingered Apple and Riesling Sauce ($18). With this, he ordered a glass of Far Niente Dolce Sauternes ($20)-he could have ordered a glass of Chateau Yaquim for $50! The Foie Gras was nicely done and the flavors all worked well together.
I ordered the macadamia Nut Crusted Lamb Rack for my entree ($39). This came with Roasted Shallot Mashed Potatoes, Spicy Asian Eggplant, Chinese Black Vinegar, and Fresh Berry Sauce. The lamb was cooked perfectly and was a generous portion. The spicy eggplant was excellent. David ordered the Pahu i'a Bento Box ($42), which is smaller portions of the night's three specials; Lobster, Scallop, and Shrimp Stir fry, Pan Seared Hamachi and Hibachi Lamb Chops. He enjoyed it all very much along with a glass of Pinot Noir ($22).
For dessert we ordered the warm Chocolate Cake with molten center ($10). This came with an amazing chocolate orange sorbet which I need to learn how to make.
In all, it was a great dining experience, albeit it a bit overpriced which is typical for a hotel restaurant. However, I do believe the wines by the glass prices are extortionist. In all, the service was excellent. Appetizers $12-$18. Entrees $35-$42. Many thanks to my Mother who helped subsidize this meal as an anniversary gift.
The trip home was uneventful and the flight was fine. We stopped at Safeway on our way out of town and bought sandwiches from the deli to go so even our meal on the plane was good.
Last updated on 01/22/05