We woke up bright and early on our 2nd day of our week-long Kauai vacation and decided to have a nice breakfast at Red Salt, located in the boutique Koa Kea resort about five minutes away. The resort is really pretty and decorated in a modern but classic vibe. I noticed it our first time to Kauai a few years ago because we stayed next door at the Sheraton. We were one of the few people in the dining room that early in the morning but soon groups of people began to stroll in. The view from their pool area is lovely. You could see a bit of it from the restaurant but it isn’t really a “dinner with a view” type place.
I ordered the mac nut pancakes and Steve got the eggs benedict. You also have the option to add the continental buffet for about 12 dollars more, but it consisted mainly of toast, breakfast pastries, yogurts and cereals, and we thought that would just be too many carbs, especially since they give you complimentary mini corn muffins with breakfast as well. I also ordered a side of Portugese sausage to counteract the sweetness of the pancakes. We enjoyed everything and thought it was a really nice restaurant. It’s standard hotel breakfast pricing, while being more expensive for dinner. Note, valet is included and is free for guests dining at the restaurant (not sure it’s free for guests staying at the resort?).
We had packed our beach gear in the car so after breakfast we headed straight to Poipu Beach! We got the chairs out and laid out on the golden sand and had a swell time that morning, laying out in the sun, and playing in the water. We knew we would only have a week of warmth before we had to head back to the cold and we were enjoying every minute of it. The water was a bit choppy but probably not as bad as the day before. I felt Poipu beach was less rocky than the neighboring Brenneke’s beach but both are great beaches.
Around lunch time we headed to the Sueoka Store in Koloa town to pick up some lunch at the Snack shop window they have on the side of their store. They were out of the chicken long rice which is what I really wanted, so I got a chili over rice and Steve got a combo plate of hamburger steak and mahi mahi, served with mac salad and rice. Yummy, satisfying food at great prices! We took a look in the Sueoka Store and bought some fruit – finally some ripe papayas and limes! We brought everything back to the house to eat.
After we ate and got ready for the day, we headed to the western part of the island, to Waimea Canyon! It seemed like a beautiful clear day so the view from the top would be promising. Our last trip we went here it was cloudy and misty (although still incredible) and we always planned on returning.
Along the way we made a few stops! Kauai Kookie is a favorite for some yummy treats. There is a storefront with a cafe or the factory store, and we went to the factory store. The chocolate chip mac nut samples they give you are heated in a toaster oven so you get a hot sample when you walk inside. In addition, you can sample almost every other cookie they make. Something unusual they have there are their Banzai cookies made with furikake (Japanese seaweed seasoning) and sake! It actually had a really good flavor and had an interesting salty/sweet taste. If you like your sweet treats, Kauai Kookie is a great place to stop!
Next door to Kauai Kookie is the Salty Wahine storefront, which is a company that sells locally made salts and seasonings, kind of like Aloha Spice Company but a little smaller and less pricey. It’s pretty neat to smell the different salts and seasonings. I got some different salts and rubs, and since I bought 4 seasonings I got a free packet of lillkoi sugar.
Speaking of lillikoi, I don’t think we can pass through Waimea without a stop at Aunty Lillikoi’s factory store. We really adored their dressings and jams we bought one year so now we’re back for more! I got a few bottles of their Wasabi Lillokoi dressing, some lillkoi mango chutney, and a bunch of their different sample sizes to give as gifts. I had it all shipped back to us in New Jersey since they were rather heavy and I didn’t want to have to deal with packing the glass bottles carefully. They arrived back home before we did, LOL!
Along the way we stopped at JoJo’s Anuenue in Waimea for some shave ice. Their shave ice was supposed to be good. Years ago we went to the original JoJo’s and we thought it was ok at best…maybe this JoJo’s would be better. I veered from my usual “triple L” (lychee, li hing, and lillikoi, since I as all lillikoi’ed out) and this time got lychee, li hing , and green tea with mac nut ice cream on the bottom. I thought it was decent. The ice was not packed enough and melted too quickly and there was too much syrup. I’ve now been to both Jojo’s in Waimea and think they were both not as good as people say they are, but I’m having a shave ice in Hawaii…so there is little to complain about.
We sat outside Jojo’s eating the shave ice and looking at the statue of Captain cook. All the while, this one old man was ranting at the statue saying how he killed Hawaiians and now there’s a statue of him on every island…hmm, the things you see on vacation…
On to Waimea canyon we go! We made the windy drive up to the first lookout…it was a lot more windy and twisty than I remember it to be, but it is certainly not as crazy as the Road to Hana or Haleakala on Maui. I love how the scenery changes to almost a forest-y environment at times, almost as if we were in Upstate New York instead of Hawaii.
The view from the first lookout was much clearer than what we saw last time. We got to see every detail in the layers of rock, and even waterfalls. It was magnificent!
We went further to all the other lookouts beyond the first Waimea Canyon Lookout – we even saw the island of Ni’ihau too! It was just a faint outline as it was really bright that day, but we did manage to see it!
The following pic were taken at the Pu’u O Kila Lookout. It is far better than the Kalalau Lookout which is where everyone heads to. It was amazing! We realized how far up we were when I could see clouds BELOW us. That is a feeling you don’t get very often on land.
Right before sunset we headed back down so we wouldn’t have to drive down in the dark. Even the views driving down were so breathtaking. We took a different route on the way down so this road was more open and looked like scenic pasture.
By the time we made it to Hanapepe, it had gotten dark so we decided to stop for dinner. I had read some good reviews on MCS Grill so that’s where we stopped. It’s a local place designed to serve “healthier” options of traditional favorites such as a tofu loco moco, and green salads and brown rice instead of mac salad and white rice. I don’t know how we managed to do it but we ordered the most unhealthy things on the menu. They were really good though! Steve got the kalua pork nachos which were made with freshly fried flour tortilla chips…mmm so tasty with the kalua pork and melting cheese. I got a combo plate with deep fried chilli pepper chicken, fried saimin, brown rice, and salad.
The food was really good and prepared very well. The chicken was crunchy and had a nice kick. The fried saimin was delicious! I will definitely think about going back there again maybe just to get a large fried saimin…it was that good.
We headed back after dinner…we had a long day but it was so much fun to revisit all these places and discover new ones as well. I absolutely love exploring all the Hawaiian islands! Back in the condo I baked the Holy Bakerys pie. It was crusty, flakey, and buttery, definitely very rich!
Eat this pie with Lappert’s ice cream, and there is nothing more decadent. There is so much butter in the pie that it spilled over in the oven and I almost set off the smoke alarm! Luckily for us, it didn’t go off and we got a peaceful sleep. Stay tuned for Day 3…
Read more about our Kauai 2015 Trip!