Chef Lila Ruzicka served three meals a day (and snacks) that looked, smelled, and tasted beautiful. She made butternut squash and roasted apple soup with fruit we intrepid explorers collected in an old orchard on Portland Island. (By we I mean the captain, first mate and deckhand, not actually moi.) She served Chinook salmon and fresh-caught (again, not by me) prawns on quinoa with broccoli and spinach. And poached pears with vanilla-bean ice cream and Belgian chocolate sauce…. Every meal was a revelation, four courses of good reasons to step lively on our shore expeditions.
Then I came home to a chef-less kitchen and exhausted my cooking skills with local beets and potatoes, free-range eggs and herbes de Provence for a week before I headed to Hawaii for a family vacation.
Kauai is called the Garden Isle and it certainly is an eruption of green – sugar cane, coffee, palm trees of all descriptions, cactus gardens on the dry side, taro fields on the wet….
We scored a bagful of starfruit, papaya, limes, and avocado at a farmer’s market in Kapa’a on the east coast. We picked up locally baked sourdough bread and fantastic island honey in Sueoka’s market in Koloa in the south, and coffee on the plantation a little further west.
I had a slice of coconut pie in the central mountains that makes me salivate still. The pre-foodie me would have wangled an entire pie to go, and devoured it all, too. Instead, after I enjoyed my slice I put down my fork; that’s when I figured this foodie thing might be more than a flash in the pan.
Now that I’m home, though, I want to make sure. I’m on the hunt for coconut pie.