So you think you can dance? Good news! Dance on Kauai is alive and well. Whether it is ballroom, swing, Latin, tango, zouk or dancing with your partner on the sand, we have you covered. But, before I tell you what is happening on the Garden Island, check out this video that was created by one of the Oahu dance groups last year. The basic moves are West Coast Swing.
I have been involved with the swing dance community on Kauai for about 15 years. Our passion is west coast swing but that does not keep us from moving our hips to other forms of dance (cha cha, hustle, east coast swing, country 2-Step, nite club 2-Step, salsa). Every Tuesday evening a small group of us meet up at Rob’s Good Times Grill in Lihue for some companionship and dancing. Our leaders are really considerate about dancing with all the followers so no one gets left out. For years the owner of the grill has graciously allowed us to play our music through his sound system from 7:30 to 10:00. Many come early to eat in order to support our host. The food is yummy and relatively inexpensive. Visitors occasionally find us online and join in on the fun. Everyone is welcome.
You have arrived on Kauai and, if you are like most people, you can not wait to barbecue some fresh island fish. Depending on the time of year, you will have a choice of Pacific Blue Marlin, Ahi (yellow fin tuna), Aku (skip jack tuna), Ono (Wahoo), Opah, Sea Bass or, my favorite, Mahi Mahi (dolphin fish or dorado). Most restaurants will offer two, generally Ahi and Mahi Mahi or Ono. But, if you want to buy some to bring home to cook, here are your best options to buy fresh fish between Lihue and Hanalei.
Where to buy fresh fish on Kauai:
Start with Costco. Just about every day you will have a selection of several kinds of raw fish at the best price on the island. As with most things at Costco, however, the fish is packaged in fairly large quantities. If you are looking to feed four or more – no problem. For two people, you might consider buying a slab of fish, cutting it in half, and freezing one half for another night later in your trip. It will be just as tasty the second night you cook it. Or, cook up the whole piece and use the leftovers for fish tacos or wraps the next night.
Just recently, our Costco set up a sushi chef preparation area where you may also purchase fresh sushi daily.
Address: 4300 Nuhou St, Lihue, HI 96766
Phone: (808) 241-4000
The Fish Express
While still in Lihue, check out The Fish Express. Located right across the street from Walmart, this busy place has a small variety of raw fish, as well as a large variety of poke, shrimp and other items from the sea. In addition to seafood, they offer cuts of meat. Daily prepared specials are listed on a placard.
Address: 3-3343 Kuhio Hwy, Lihue, Hawaii 96766
Phone: (808) 245-9918
Hours: Monday through Saturday: 10:00 to 5:00, Sundays, starting March 1, 2020: 10:00 to 2:30 but grill will be closed.
Most grocery stores on the island will also carry fresh fish. Foodland, in Princeville, generally has quite a good selection (depending on how well the fish are biting). When I am not going to be in Lihue, this is where I buy my fish. They almost always have ahi and marlin. I prefer white fish so I am always on the lookout for Mahi Mahi, Ono, or occasionally Sea Bass. Here one can buy smaller portions to barbecue, fry, or bake. Try coating each serving of fish with olive oil and a combination of panko flakes and finely chopped up macadamia nuts. Then bake at 450 degrees until brown on top. It does not take long to bake and it is so delicious (ono)!
Foodland also features sushi chefs making a variety of fresh sushi for take-out.
The Kilauea Fish Market
Although most people go to this small fish market for prepared food (their fish tacos are the BEST), they do offer a few pieces of high quality fish for you to take home and cook. Located behind the stone building on the left side of Kilauea Road (road to the lighthouse), this popular spot can be quite crowded around lunch time with long wait times. There are a few tables on the covered patio and a couple of picnic tables on the grass where you may “dine in” or wait for your order.
Address: 4270 Kilauea Rd, Kilauea, HI 96754
Phone: (808) 828-6244
Hours: Monday through Saturday 11:00 – 8:00, closed on Sunday.
Just down the hill from Princeville, on the way to Hanalei Town, you will first see the Dophin Restaurant on your right, next to the Hanalei River. Around back is the small Dolphin Fish Market where you will find one of the best selections of raw fish on the north shore.
“If ‘Take out’ or ‘cook-your-own’ is where you’re at tonight, then there is no better place to start your meal preparation than the Dolphin Fish Market in Hanalei. Cleaned and cut by master fish cutters you are guaranteed to receive the finest cuts in fish or beef, not to mention specialties like Teriyaki Shrimp, Beef Stix, sushi rolls and fresh sashimi, poke salad, ceviche, seafood chowder, organic salad mixes, squaw bread garlic croutons (a delicious snack themselves) and The Dolphin’s homemade salad dressings.”
They are proud of their offerings as is suggested by their prices, but some people swear you will not find a better piece of fish.
Addriess: Hanalei Dolphin Center, 5-5016 Kuhio Highway, Hanalei
Phone: (808) 826-6113
Of course, the best way to ensure that you have fresh fish is to catch it yourself. Check out two fishing charters in the “Sports” category of my blog list. If you happen to see someone along the side of the road selling fresh fish, that is a great way to get yummy fish at a more reasonable price. Wherever you buy your fish and however you cook it, a trip to Kauai is not complete until you have tasted our local fish. Enjoy!
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Have you ever thought about adding a Kauai spa experience to your time on the Garden Island? There are a few spas on the island, but how about if the spa came to you? Recently I was introduced to Robin Sheldon, owner and operator of Mobile Spa Kauai. Once a month a friend of mine invites Robin to her home for an hour and a half massage/facial treatment. She schedules herself and two other friends (a spa party!). I was lucky enough to be one of the “others” last month, and I can tell you first hand that it is a heavenly experience.
The first hour is a massage from head to toe. Following that is a wonderful facial, complete with warm scented towels, essential oils, a facial steamer, calming music and more. I can just imagine having this experience with the sound of the ocean in the background! Don’t plan on getting much accomplished after these 90 minutes, however, because your body and mind will be in complete relaxation mode.
Anaina Hou, home of the Kilauea Mini Golf and Porter Pavilion, continues to host Kauai events for residents and travelers alike. We are lucky to have this venue on the north shore. Following are the events scheduled for February 2020. Come join the fun!
Every Wednesday (Except Christmas) – Ahi Lele Luau Fire Show
Fire Dancing, Storytelling, and the Exhilarating Beat of Polynesian Drumming. Every Wednesday at Anaina Hou Porter Pavilion. Doors open at 6:00 pm. Arrive early to reserve your seats. Seating is limited and the show does sell out, so book your tickets in advance.
Trivia Night! Generally the first Friday of the month is Trivia Night at Anaina Hou. Get in the game just for fun, or get competitive and bring your trivia expert friends and family to win the ultimate bragging rights! Visitors and residents join up at tables to answer 40 questions. Doors open at 5:00; Gaming starts at 6:00 and runs for two hours. Tables may be reserved here, or just drop in and join a team. Snacks and drinks available for purchase. Food truck(s) on site. It’s free!
Friday, February 14th
Live music by Melvin Seals & JGB, featuring John Kadlecik. From their website:
“Melvin Seals has been a powerful presence in the music industry for over 30 years with a long-established reputation as a performer, recording artist and producer. Melvin is most revered for his powerful, high-spirited, Hammond B-3 organ, and keyboards in the Jerry Garcia Band. Melvin spun his B-3 magic with the Jerry Garcia Band for 18 years and in doing so helped pioneer and define what has now become “Jam Band Music”. From blues to funk to rock to jazz, Melvin Seals serves up a tasty mix with a little R&B and gospel thrown in to spice things up.
Melvin and JGB brings an intuitive, expressive style, soul, spontaneity and remarkable chops to the table. With acoustic and electric ingredients and unique combinations of Dave Hebert’s guitar and vocals, Pete Lavezzoli’s hearty drums and, of course, a heapin’ helpin’ of the wizard’s magic on Hammond B-3 Organ and keyboards. Along with backing vocals, the result is a most satisfying blend of natural organic grooves that challenges genre boundaries. Their chemistry is the focus from which they create a spontaneous and high art where the sky is the limit musically. They offer an exciting, often psychedelic musical journey that changes nightly and keeps the audience dancing and smiling (and some staring in amazement) for hours.
In addition to the often played staples, the band has recently been exploring the back catalog and performing a ton of super rare tunes, some of which The Jerry Garcia Band played only a few times over all those years.
Adding his rock-gospel-soul-rhythm and blues touch with his funky style of playing, no wonder Jerry nicknamed him “Master of the Universe”. Melvin continues to treat music lovers to his unique brand of melodic flavor with JGB. Come see and hear for yourself!”
Doors open at 6:00, Music starts at 7:00. Food trucks available.
Tickets are $39 for the first 100 sold; then $45. Buy tickets here.
Did you know that the Garden Island has more sand beaches per mile of shoreline than any other major Hawaiian island? Kauai north shore beaches are so plentiful that you could be on the “Beach a Day” program for over a week and never leave the area. Some of these gems take effort to get to, but others are footsteps from where you park. Some offer a reef bottom environment for fabulous snorkeling, while others are best for swimming and/or catching waves. Starting with the far north end of the island, here are my top ten picks.
If you are on Kaua’i October 18th and 19th, do not miss the fourth annual Kauai Chocolate & Coffee Festival in Hanapepe, Kaua’i. Yes, it is a bit of a drive from Honu Point (about 90 minutes), but it will give you a chance to see our Historic Hanapepe Town and indulge in two of my favorite treats. This is a celebration of all things chocolate and coffee featuring a variety of these products from around the state.
The Kaua’i Chocolate & Coffee Festival spans over two days beginning on Friday with tours and workshops continuing into the evening. Then it picks up again on Saturday morning in order to highlight all the attributes of these two favorite local crops. The street festival takes place in Historic Hanapepe Town and includes farm tours, informative classes, workshops/demonstrations, live entertainment, a chocolate & coffee pampering station, a silent auction, keiki activities, sampling and much more.
Who says there is no nightlife or culture on Kauai? Kauai theater is alive and well! This month Women in Theatre are presenting, “A Tuna Christmas,” a play which the New York Post claims, “It’s far too good for just Christmas.” I have been to several productions by the Women in Theatre group and I can not wait for this one. Three of my girlfriends and I have already bought our tickets. It sounds like a night of good fun.
Organized by the Kauai North Shore Community Foundation, in partnership with Anaina Hou Community Park, the Ohana Fit Fest will be held on Saturday, October 5th, 2019, at 7:30 AM. The Ohana Fit Fest is truly a community event that’s all about fun, family and friends. The Community Expo is at the Anaina Hou Porter Pavilion; the obstacle trail run/walk is on the beautiful Wai Koa Loop Trail.
Run the 5K or the 10K. Obstacles along the way will excite residents and guests to the island. You may climb and crawl, testing your coordination and balance. For those that would like a real challenge, the 10K run will have tougher obstacles. Walk the 5K and you can skip the obstacles. Sunny or rainy (fun in the mud), the race is a go on the Wai Koa Loop trail.
For the 5K and 10K Run, medals go to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers in each age division by gender. Challenge yourself and/or just enjoy the experience. Proceeds of the 2019 Ohana Fit Fest will fund the Fit Fund.
The 2019 Kauai Folk Festival is a weekend full of music, dance, food, drink, craft and good times for Kauai residents and visitors to the Garden Island. This year more than 34 performers (multiple Grammy-winning artists and more than twelve international acts) will be playing continuously on five music stages. The Kauai Folk Festival blends traditional music and dance from all over the world with its Hawaiian counterpart. And, for the first time, this event will be held at the Historic Grove Farm Museum in Lihue.
The Kauai Folk Festival showcases Old Time, Americana, Tropical, and Hawaiian music. Former Kauai resident, and Grammy winner, Taj Mahal, will be one of the more than 34 musical acts filling the air from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM on September 28th and 29th, 2019 (rain or shine).
2019 Kauai Folk Festival Musical Line-Up (from the website):
Taj Mahal – Blues legend Taj Mahal has a long history in Hawaii. As a historian, he has studied the nuances of Hawaiian history and culture. As a resident performer, he has come to know, play with, and record with countless Hawaiian artists. His Hula Blues Band is a rotating cast of Hawaiian musicians fusing blues, folk, and Hawaiian music in the inimitable Taj Mahal style!
It was almost a year prior to my brother-in-law’s retirement celebration and he was already calling me about going on a sport fishing trip with his three adult sons (my nephews). I suggested he might want to wait until a couple of months before their scheduled arrival to start contacting companies on the island. When that time arrived, I checked with a few of my fishing friends and they suggested Captain Don’s Kauai Sport Fishing. I knew this was super important to my brother-in-law, so I hoped my friends were not leading me astray.
Captain Don, and his boat the Happy Ryder, leave out of the Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor in Lihue. The company offers specialty sportfishing charters and whale-watching expeditions. On their website they claim you can catch mahi mahi, dorado ahi, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, ono, marlin, sharks, amber jacks, barracuda, giant travalie and much more.
My family arrived on Saturday in July and the guys were checking the weather hourly in the hopes that Monday would bring clear skies and calm waters. Leaving the north shore in the wee hours of the morning, they headed to Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor. By sunrise they were motoring four to five miles away from the Kauai coast to look for ahi. It wasn’t long before the wives started receiving photos like this on their phones: