on the Big Island: Kealakekua and Captain Cook

the breakfast lanai

In our B&B on Mount Hualalai, we were woken by birdsong each morning at 6 am sharp. No roosters this time, but when we went out on the lanai to look over the garden we saw a number of kalij pheasants, a flock of wild turkeys and a number of small black pigs. Breakfasts were out on the main lanai, served with plenty of homegrown Kona coffee, and each of them was wonderful – macadamia nut pancakes, French toast with cinnamon apples, omelets, fresh papaya and bananas…good stuff.

Coffee Shack
view from the coffee shack

One day, after an exciting kayaking adventure in which one of our lame plastic tourist kayaks filled with water and nearly sank off the Captain Cook monument in Kealakekua Bay, we made our way south to the Coffee Shack for a much-needed lunch. It’s another one of those unlikely-looking spots, a small weathered building clinging to the side of a cliff. The tables on the open porch were all full, so we took a table in the enclosed porch in the back. If not for the vog, the view would have been stupendous – as it was, we could still look straight down the mountainside to the bay. Continue reading

noodles for good luck

Good Luck noodles for New Year's Eve

My family has a few traditions that we keep up pretty well. Some are new and just between J and myself, like having macaroni and cheese on my birthday, or pumpkin soup and Yorkshire pudding on Halloween. But the oldest and most sacrosanct tradition is the Good Luck noodle bowl on New Year’s Eve. There may have been a year when I have not eaten these noodles, but I’m not sure…even when I’ve spent the holiday with friends I’ve insisted that this dish get eaten. I just feel funny without it.

According to my father, our family has been eating noodles on New Year’s Eve since about 1950, when my grandparents became good friends with a Japanese family. The Fujitas introduced them to the idea that eating noodles with chicken, eggs, broth and scallions at the beginning of a new year brought good luck and health. When I was a kid, we always ate the noodles directly after midnight, after setting off fireworks in the snow and attempting to play each others’ instruments, loudly. These days, we tend to eat earlier in the evening and save some champagne for the midnight toast. It hasn’t seemed to hurt anything (knock on wood). J and I have also started buying a package of Chinese barbecued pork from the local deli counter and slivering it into the noodles, as being a little more festive than shredded chicken. And we sometimes use Japanese udon instead of the traditional Rose brand Chinese egg noodles (gasp!). But fortunately, it’s good no matter what. Continue reading