Under the Kona Sun…

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If I don’t click my Louboutin’s across a tarmac once a month, I get antsy, so thank god for husband’s corporate event each summer. You know the kind, where the big dawgs fly everyone to an exotic location for a week to reward their success. This years destination took us to The Big Island Of Hawaii where the sound of the breakers mingling with the whispers of the palm leaves made that first Mai Thai taste even sweeter. (I’ll leave the cute cabana boy image to you). Let’s get one thing straight, I’ve never been a corporate kind of girl, but love my corporate man, especially when my surroundings are cloaked in fresh ocean air and brilliant warm sunshine. It was a huge sacrifice to attend, I know, but after a full day of technology talk I was ready to run off with the parakeets but found myself at the car rental counter instead.  Behind the wheel, with Jimmy Buffett blaring in the background, the road south led to Kona Coffee Plantations but I’ll save that for the next post coffee lovers…

Within minutes of my arrival to The Fairmont Orchid I was off to Napua Restaurant and Beach Club. Warm tropical breezes led me straight to the bar for a cocktail. Before I could say Huli-Huli Chicken, I was laughing with new foodie friends from Chicago sharing recipes and travels. Before leaving they graciously invited husband and I back East for a dinner party. Chef Arthur from The Fairmont Orchid visits their home each year to prepare cuisine for fifty or so hungry guests. When he isn’t scouring the jungles and that lap blue sea, working with locals to provide the finest cuisine on the island, he’s jet-setting to private homes. My kinda Chef and yes, I’d love to stalk you in Chicago!

Was there a plan to meet Chef Arthur you ask? But of course Dahlink! The next morning, I hightailed it to the kitchen at The Fairmont Orchid where I ambushed Chef Arthur acting as a cranky customer, demanding a brand new pan stating my eggs could not touch any other foods. Oh Lordy, not another gluten-free, wheat free, yolk free, germ free freak! With my sneak attack revealed, Chef shared his passion for the region bringing out a gorgeous gleaming tuna that shimmered like diamonds in the sky with a red hue so saturated it could be framed and put in a museum…and the taste? Sublime!

Want some local flair? The next time you visit, hop in that convertible hungry, take that fork in the road and head to The Blue Dragon . Tell em’ The Food Stalker sent you! Hot wired for flavor, you’ll be glad you did. This open air restaurant offers fresh local coastal cuisine sourced from Blue Dragon Farm and includes live music. While shooting pictures outside the Manager appeared and asked what we were doing since they were closed. Closed? Not a problem! After sharing my enthusiasm for sushi we were escorted inside to meet Chef Noah Hester (From Austin, Texas – raised on the Big Island)  who at 31 years young has earned quite a reputation. Noah frequently goes night diving and recently caught the one of largest Hawaiian lobster’s ever recorded at 5.6 lbs! He shared fresh pineapple mango sorbet, cold melon soup and his recipe for crawfish while the driver waited outside with peeps from the zip-lining adventure. (You guys should have come inside with Murray and I instead of eating the turkey on burnt croissant I tell you. Stick with The Food Stalker kids, I’m a professional). Oh, and don’t miss Sushi Rock. Owner Peter Pomeranze‘s philosophy is that every plate is prepared with care and pride so that you can taste the love they put into it. Mango/Avocado/Japanese cucumber inside out in brown or white rice topped with Ono Sashimi or seared local grass-fed taenderloin had my name all over it (and a Rasberry Lilikoi martini)!

I love how Hawaiians are the original ‘locavore’s’. They indulge in the fruits of the island and the result is healthy local cuisine. Personal memories of Hawaii always involve their delicious food: fresh guavas picked right off the trees, sweet juicy pineapple, tiny bananas from a roadside stand or those amazing pancakes with guava syrup. Hmmm…

Do you have any phobias? Well I sure do – a fear of heights! Only one way to overcome that, enter the fabulous team at Kohala Zipline. My knees were knocking and my neck was as tight as a pair of control top panty hose I tell you. Before I knew it I was repelling down 100 foot trees (pirouette style full of style and grace) shrieking like a monkey, bouncing on suspension bridges hitting 40 miles per hour on the final thousand foot zip line. (Try THAT with a frozen shoulder!) High Five for The Food Stalker! A final highlight included snorkeling off the coast revealing colorful coral, tropical fish and turtles under dreamy blue waters. Not too shabby for a Thursday, eh?

For Hawaiian people, Aloha isn’t just a tourist slogan you can buy and sell, they truly live it. There’s the all purpose Shaka, middle three fingers curled, thumb and pinkie extended, hand rotating at the wrist to greet one another. You return the greeting without thinking and succumb to island time. It’s larger than all the other Hawaiian Islands combined and it’s the only one still volcanically active with a rich native culture. From Jurassic Park to Raiders of the Lost Ark, Blue Hawaii and South Pacific, Hollywood has captured breathtaking beauty at every turn.

Gidget has grown up and it’s a whole new wave baby! Depending on how many of those tropical Mango-Vodka numbers you have (more than two of these and you’ll have some splainin’ to do) you might find yourself romping through the sprinkler in your muumuu or better yet, splashing in the water fountain at The Fairmont Orchid lobby in your Valentino skirt (killer heels to the side ladies).

I hate when that happens…

Mahalo!

Special thanks and appreciation to MITEL for a fabulous trip and congrats to all the lucky winners! Murray, we must stalk together again soon – a perfect match!

 

 

1 Comment

  1. Murray

    August 20, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    Sandie, it was a joy to Stalk with you. Just magical to see how the doors fly open in front of your enthusiasm and curiosity!
    We will definitely have to Stalk again!


With an Italian background, she cites her Mother and grandmother ( Mamie ) as the major influence of her love for food.  Yes, homemade pasta hung from the clothesline in the kitchen and rolling 100 meat balls for a holiday dinner was the norm.  Raised in Pennsylvania. she spent time in Atlanta, Georgia and ultimately settled along the stunning coast of Laguna Beach, Ca. Self taught in everything, she learned to appreciate the amazing flavors, scents and uses for exotic herbs and spices and applies her knowledge to cooking today. Despite enjoying other creative endeavors like painting, photography and clothing design, she realized she would never love another career the way she loves all the stories surrounding food.  And it's capturing those stories that has not only become her greatest passion but a culinary drug worth passing around!  After all, food is a shared experience and no one better to share it with than the entire world. And thus the Food Stalker was born, utilizing all that passion and her fearlessness to capture even the most impossible stories. It's one thing to write about food, but far more exciting to actually capture it and all those stories that make every scent come to life.  And once she sets out, there's no stopping her, because no one follows that scent better than her---and no telling where she'll end up next.  

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