Monday, April 5, 2010

Food Field Trip Hawaii: Chapter 1 (Cocktails)

Aloha. After a few days back on the mainland, I figured the best place to start with any food field trip report is at the beginning of the menu--cocktails. And after my first day back in the office in two weeks I could really use a drink; if only I could enjoy one of these:

Kauai: St. Regis Princeville -- Pineapple Mojito

The view in the background is Hanalei Bay on the Kauai's Northshore; with the mountains, clouds, and gently setting sun, the setting was truly unreal and my cocktail--the first I drank upon arriving on the island-- was sublime. This take on the classic mojito mixed muddled pineapple, mint leaves, simple sugar, club soda and a splash of freshly squeezed pineapple juice. I was afraid that this combination might be cloyingly sweet, but it was indeed crisp and refreshing with just a hint of the tropical sugar. Just be ready for the $14 price tag, but remember the glass is large and the view is included!

Big Island: Merriman's -- Classic Mai Tai

What's a bigger Hawaiian cliche than Don Ho and leis... the mai tai. But this take on the Aloha's state's official cocktail includes freshly squeezed pineapple juice and Maui rum. Just as with the the food on Merriman's menu, it is locally sourced as well as tasty and potent. The one pictured above is a half portion. Yes, there is an umbrella, but the full portion is even better and is served in a giant tiki jar. This drink was an ideal finish to a day in the equatorial sun and a start to a memorable meal. A full review of Merriman's is forthcoming.

If beer is more your style, the Kona Brewing Company has got you covered. For between $5 - 7 pint, you can enjoy what has come to be one of my favorite craft beers. The beer is fresh, hoppy, and frankly delicious. As evidence of how much we love these beers, our first stop before heading to the hotel was to the Brewery for a pint and a growler to go, and our last stop before a red-eye was for the beers pictured above: the Black Sand Porter and Wailua Wheat. And I have spotted Kona Brewing Company's classics--though brewed on the mainland--at some area bars.

Kona Brewing Company (Kailua Kona) on Urbanspoon

Until the next chapter, Aloha!


  1. I remember the taste of those mai tai's... i would concur w/ your assessment as 'tasty and potent'! i am longing for one now!

  2. Kona Brewing company is AMAZING :)

  3. Thanks for all the great input. So excited for our upcoming trip. We are planning to visit St Regis for drinks and sunset our first full day there. This just makes me that much more excited. :)