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Kauai, Paradise on Earth: Day 6

Tunnels Beach and one Fat Mama.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42427255@N00/sets/72157626506929545/with/5678382264/

The day started off with our usual beachcombing, breakfast on the lanai, and down time at the villa. When we felt sufficiently lazy, we grabbed our beach stuff and headed north.

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Our first stop was Lumahai, just because I love Lumahai. It's where Mitzi Gaynor "washed that man right out of her hair" and it's a deliciously gorgeous beach.

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It's a bit of a haul to walk down to and it's not very swimmable due to strong currents, so we chose only to stroll and leave our beach stuff in the car, opting to head to Tunnels afterward. Despite being one of the more crowded beaches on Kauai, Tunnels doesn't fail to please. The dramatic beauty of it makes the crowds tolerable. The beach is also quite large, so everyone can carve out their own private slice of paradise.

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Framed by the jagged peak of Mount Makena, the beach is dramatic, with water that fades into varying shades of cobalt and turquoise and waves that appear backlit by the sun as they leap into the air and crash onto the sand.

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When the hunger monster began to take over, we packed it in and headed back the way we came, stopping at Red Hot Mama's in Haena for a quick post-beach bite. A "blink and you'd miss it" kind of place, Red Hot Mamas is nothing more than an open window hidden next to the old Wainiha General Store. However, if you drive on by, you miss out on one of the best burritos of your life.

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We went to the window to place our order, and realized quickly that flexibility is sometimes necessary when your lunch destination isn't exactly conveniently located relative to supplies.

"I have everything. But no shrimp and no chicken today," she said.

"No problem," I say, "I'll have the Lip Smacker. A Fat Mama." (that's Red-Hot-Mama-Speak for supersize it.)

"Okay. Good. One Big Mama Lip Smacker. Oh. Wait. I have no ground beef. You want pork? I have pork."

"Pork's good," I say, knowing that after catching a whiff of the wonderful smells coming out of that place, I'd have agreed to grilled shoe leather if she had said that's all they had.

While we waited, we stepped next door to the general store to grab some soft drinks and browse around while our food was prepared.

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This burrito was seriously HUGE. My eyes may have been bigger than my stomach, but man, oh, man, was it good. Is it just me, or does everything taste better after the beach, when your hair is still a little damp and salty and you have sand crusted all around the edges of your feet? I washed that big mama down with an orange cream soda and it couldn't have been better.

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As we neared Hanalei, headed back toward the house, I noticed a brightly painted sign, proudly proclaiming, "FARMER'S MARKET TODAY!"

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"Ooo.... stop, stop!" I said, hopping in my seat, as excited as a kid outside a Toys-R-Us with a dollar in her pocket.

We stopped and I noticed about 50 people were lined up at the entrance listening to someone. "There must be music or something," I thought to myself as I got out of the vehicle.

As I walked toward the entrance, I heard the man saying, "Everyone be civil, take your turn, and have a great time."

"What time is it?" I asked Matt.

"It's 2:00," he replied.

That's when I realized that I was about to get the opportunity to witness a Kauai event I had only read about and thought couldn't possibly be true. The entry rush at the opening of a Farmer's Market.

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Apparently, the goods are so fresh, so wonderful, and so limited, that folks literally line up and wait for the gate to open. They then rush in buy up whatever they can as quickly as they can. This was great fun!! It was like a race, only the finish line was a pineapple.

As they opened the market, people did, indeed, rush inside, but it was a gentle and happy affair, with everyone driven more by excitement than greed. There was plenty to go around and there was nothing about it that screamed "Macy's After Thanksgiving Sale." Everyone took their time and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine and fresh offerings.

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It was truly a delight just to walk around and look, but there were so many wonderful things, we couldn't help but buy.

"Ice Cold Coconuts - $3" the sign said.

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I had to try one, now didn't I?

"One coconut," I told the petite young girl beside the truck.

As I got out my $3, she whipped out a machete, hacked off the top, and stuck a straw in it.

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I love Hawaii.

We bought flowers and pineapple, sipped on our coconut, and then we saw the pie lady, so we had to go grab a slice of blueberry pina colada.

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We headed back to Anahola with an armload of treasure. After a restful afternoon at the house, we drove to Kapa'a for dinner at Hukilau Lanai. With a name like that, the food doesn't even have to be good. Just saying the name makes you feel happy. Come on, say it with me. Hukilau Lanai, Hukilau Lanai, Hukilau Lanai. Don't you feel good?

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We opted for their tasting menu, which came with 5 tasting courses each paired with a wine selection. The first was a sweet potato ravioli with feta cheese and a lemongrass cream sauce; second was a mixed green salad with fresh beets, corn off the cob, cherry tomatoes and a basil vinaigrette; the third course was our favorite and was a fresh grilled mahi mahi with wasabi and local mushrooms; the fourth was island raised beef meatloaf with red skinned smashed potatoes, brown butter sauce, and a corn fennel relish; and finally, an artisan cheese plate with local cheeses, honeycomb, macadamia nuts, and baguette.

What a perfect way to say good night.

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Posted by vicki_h 11:27 Archived in USA

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