Hike Kuilau Ridge Trail, Kauai

Kuilau Ridge Trail

Kuilau 3Often times, travel means eating out more than usual or consuming more calories than you would at home. The mindset of we are on vacation, it won’t hurt sets in. Then, a week or two goes by and your body starts to feel irritated and draggy. I have incorporated a Travel Fit section into this blog where you can find healthy food options such as local farmer’s markets and take part in activities with the entire family while on vacation. If healthy travel interest you, click on “travel fit” listed under topics on the right hand column of the blog.

The Kuilau Ridge Trail is an ideal trail for families of all ages and perfect for the novice hiker. Best of all- it is free! Kuilau Ridge Trail offers breathtaking, Kuilau 4panoramic views of the Makaleha Mountains!!!! As you can see from the picture above, the views are  multidimensional and are almost too much to take in. If visiting the island of Kauai, the trail would be a great place to snap a family photo. We had professional photographers visiting  the island and decided to take them on this trail due to the scenery. Revel in the beauty of the mountain range, explore the island and appreciate the inland views. When tourists come to Kauai, they always want that ocean view! The bright green, sweeping mountains is equally gorgeous and will leave you in awe. There is a reason that so many movies are filmed on Kauai.

The Kuilau Ridge Trail offers large trees which provide shade on the majority of the path. The trail is fun for kids, as they can pick up a walking stick along the way awhile observing the Ohia tree forest and birds. Kuilau Ridge Trail has a gradual incline as you make your way to the flat, open area at the top. Pack a picnic lunch for the family or wine & cheese for a romantic sunset hike. There are two picnic tables located one mile up the path,  for the perfect rest stop. If hiking a mile up and back isn’t for you, than turn around and make your way back at any time.

Picnic

Picnic

 

How to get there~

The Kuilau Ridge Trail is located in Wailua. Hikers must drive to the trail head which will take you through the rural neighborhoods of Wailua and up into the forested park area of Keahua. The trail begins just before the park area on the right. There is a small parking area on the right hand side of the road (about 3 cars) or continue to drive a little further, where the stream crosses the road and park there.

Take Hwy 56 towards Wailua, turn right on Kuuamoo Road and continue approximately 6.9 miles until you see the trail head. A small sign will indicate the beginning of the trail.

Views of Mount Waialeale (translates to rippling water/overflowing water), the wettest place on Earth, can be seen from the picnic area on a clear day from the top of the trail. Rising to 5,148 feet, Mount Waialeale receives approximately 452 inches of rain per year.

For those of you who prefer to continue on past the one mile picnic area, the Kuilau Trail connects to the Moalepe Trail for a total distance of 3.5 miles. Hikers can make a complete day of the trails or go up for lunch and come back down in approximately 2 hours.

Kuilau 6

Views from Kuilau Ridge Trail

 

Hiking tips: Wear comfortable shoes, socks and a hat. Don’t attempt to hike in flip flops, sandals or water shoes, as the trail can be muddy depending on weather. Carry a small backpack and be sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, snacks, small blanket for the grass and insect repellent if the bugs love you.  Kauai rains a lot and the weather is unpredictable, so bring a light rain coat or sweatshirt for the kids just in case. The large, open area at the top is a great place to lay down and watch the clouds or play family board games /cards. The cell range is intermittent on the path. The trail does not have facilities, please use the restroom before you hike.

 5wheelsto5star is featured monthly in Destinations Travel Magazine

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Papalani Gelato ~ Italian-style on Kauai

Papalani Gelato

Lava Flow, Strawberry & Sprinkles

IMG_1813Our family likes to consider themselves “gelato connoisseurs” after sampling gelato throughout the Mediterranean. In fact, this blog has a section dedicated specifically to gelato- listed under “topics” on the right hand side.

We are pleased to recommend a local spot, Papalani Gelato, right in our home town of Kauai. We have traveled half way around the world to eat some of the best gelato in Italy , sampling our way through Rome, Sorrento, Capri, Tuscany, and Florence. Spain has amazing gelato as well! Now, we can have it right here on Kauai. On that next hot, humid, day (that’s every day)~ grab a gelato!

If you have not read our other post titled, For the Love of Gelato!, here is a brief background as to why gelato differs from ice cream. Gelato refers to varieties of ice cream made in a traditional Italian-style which is made with milk, cream, various sugars, and flavoring such as fresh fruit and nut purees. Just remember this equation:

Gelato= less fat + no air added = richer taste

Papalani specializes in handmade Hawaiian-style gelato. What exactly is Hawaiian-style gelato? Handmade each day in small batches, with unique Hawaiian flavors inspired by local fruits, nuts mixed with traditional gelato flavors. You will notice some of the flavors are named after local towns or popular spots on the island. The owner’s fell in love with gelato upon spending time in Italy. Their first gelato shop, Salt Spring Gelato, began on Salt Spring Island, Canada in 2003. Five years later, the first Papalani Gelato opened in the little, touristy town of Poipu on Kauai.

As you can see in the picture above, Papalani also offers locally made muffins, scones, cookies, and gluten-free coffee cakes. The pastries are made with organic, local ingredients and fruits.

IMG_1818

Peanut Butter Gelato

Gluten free & Sugar Free Options~

Papalani offers all types of dietary options such as: dairy-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free. After a long bike ride, an island run or just a day of surfing, look for the “Fit Freezes”, which are drinks that have  20g protein or more, 130 calories, and 2 grams of sugar or less.

Hawaii Flavors offered: Papalani Pie, Coconut MacNut Fudge, Chocolate Banana, Banana, Banana Split, Belgian Chocolate, Bubble Gum, Caramel MacNut, Cheesecake, Chocolate Coconut, Chocolate Hazelnut, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Coconut, Kalaheo Cookies, Oreoes and Cream, Cafe Espresso, Green Tea, Hazelnut, Honu Chocolate, Kauai Crunch, Pina Colada, Lava Flow, Macadamia Nut Butter, Milk Chocolate, Mint Chip, Pistachio, Stracciatella, Tiger Butter, Tiramisu, Madagascar Vanilla Bean, White Chocolate Raspberry, Mango Coconut and Salt Ponds.

Sugar Free Flavors include~ Chocolate, Hazelnut, Pistachio & Macadamia Nut Butter

My favorite flavor is the Kauai Crunch made with caramel, macnuts, chocolate cookie sauce, and coconut. Of course it is not gluten-free or sugar-free. My second favorite is the Honu (turtle) Chocolate made with dark chocolate gelato, caramel, and macnuts. Great part, it is gluten-free!

Papalani has gift cards available. This is actually how we discovered their existence! Our kids were given gift cards for Easter and off we went!!!

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Anchor Cove, Lihue, Kauai

Kauai Locations~

Anchor Cove Shopping Center
3366 Waapa Rd, Lihue, Kauai

Poipu Shopping Village
2360 Kiahuna Plantation Road, Poipu, Kauai

Florida Locations~

Telecom Park Shopping Center
13312 Telecom Drive, Temple Terrace, Florida

Brandon Mall
459 Brandon Town Center Dr, Brandon, Florida

Learn more about the history of gelato and view pictures of various types of gelato that we sampled throughout the Mediterranean on our post For the Love of Gelato!

 5wheelsto5star is featured monthly in Destinations Travel Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

Fork, Loyal to Local

Fork

Fork

photo 2It was my first time in Boise and now I can finally add another state to this blog. I highly recommend visiting in June, due to the pleasant weather around mid 80’s each day. Warning- the weather changes rapidly, as one day we were wearing shorts and froze.  During my short stay there, Boise seemed to be a rather small, quaint, laid back town. People were friendly and it felt very safe! I loved downtown Boise, with building after building made of red, brick with flower boxes hanging out of the windows from above and at street level. Downtown Boise is historic while modern at the same time, with bistros, cafes and cute shops. Family friendly, walking paths and just a vibe that felt good. Without time to research restaurants, we took to the streets of downtown in search of a place to eat. It is very simple to find your way away around, albeit there are a lot of one way streets. Parking garages are everywhere, many offering the first hour free. Parking fees are relative, but I thought it was extremely cheap – around $2.50 for 2 hours ($12 max per day).

While walking around downtown looking for a place to eat lunch, we stumbled upon cafe after cafe.

Cheese Quesadilla

Cheese Quesadilla

Having a difficult time choosing a place for lunch, we peeked in some of the cafes and kept on walking until we saw Fork. The building, one of  Boise’s oldest downtown landmarks and formally Boise City National Bank, is made of tan brick on the outside with vibrant red umbrellas, lattice siding and hanging plants on the patio. Located at 199 N. 8th Street, just steps from Idaho’s Capital Building and Capital City Market. We smelled the restaurant before we saw it. We stopped and read the menu and instantly noticed gluten-free and vegetarian options displayed. We also had a stroller in our party and needed to have a spacious area to sit while dining. I am a “foodie” and appreciate sidewalk cafes and the farm-to-table concept. Fork has developed a “Loyal to Local” theme with a commitment to using local produce and cheeses for their main ingredients.

If you love local beers, you will be pleased to know that 75% of the beer is from the great Northwest region. I ordered a draft, light beer which was quite refreshing. Notice the sawed off, recycled wine bottles which are used for water glasses .  The tables are also made of recycled materials and they have a vault located on the bottom floor.

 

Pacific Coast Fish Tacos

Pacific Coast Fish Tacos

Let’s Talk Food~

First off, the Urban Burger & Fried Asparagus looked amazing! The Urban Burger seems to be the fan favorite at just $8.95 made of brisket & ground sirloin and topped with Fork’s special burger sauce. Add-ons include spiced maple bacon, Tillamook Cheddar or onion ring.

Dark Roast Coffee

Dark Roast Coffee

Unfortunately, we did not order either of them, but turned heads each time the server walked past our table carrying these dishes. If you are in the mood for coffee, they have a great dark roast, served in a mug with a metal cream mini carton. Gotta love the presentation. At $3, you are allowed one refill, a pretty good deal. Other lunch items offered are the Grilled Wild Salmon Fillet, Roast BBQ Chicken (free-range), BAM Sammy (bacon, avocado, mozzarella, tomato, basil), Prime Rib French Dip, and the Snake River Farms Kurobuta Pork Cuban.

We ordered the Pacific Coast Fish Tacos (pictured above). They were made with catfish, which can taste like dirt if not prepared properly. The catfish was flavorful, using a blackened seasoning and not fishy tasting at all. Light and crisp, served on a white, corn tortilla with shredded cabbage and a lime wedge.

 

Grown Up Grilled Cheese

Grown Up Grilled Cheese

Tomato Basil Bisque

Tomato Basil Bisque

The Grown Up Grilled Cheese sandwich hit the spot for me. I really can’t say enough about it! The yummy, grilled sourdough bread, thick ham slices, balsamic-braised onions, with Ballard Farms Cheddar and tomato jam! It was the first time I had every had tomato jam, much less heard of tomato jam. It was really sweet and tangy. What more could you ask for? The ultimate comfort food. Here’s what you could ask for- tomato soup for dipping! Order the tomato soup if you order the Grown Up Grilled Cheese, just saying. You can’t have a grilled cheese, no matter how fancy it is, without a bowl of tomato soup. Just bring the kid in you back out while dining at Fork. Why not? The best part- it’s only $7.95! The chili lime potato chips are made in house.

For dinner the entrees include Apple-Barrel’ Chicken , Cast Iron Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Cheddar Waffle (another fan favorite), Wild Mushroom & Local Herb Pesto Ravioli, Idaho Rainbow Trout (Hagerman Farms trout), Alaskan Sockeye Pan-Seared Salmon, Napoleon Vegan Plate, Local Ale-Braised Short Ribs (Northwest beef), Braised Snake River Farms Kurobuta Pork Shank, Filet 7oz, Grilled Northwest Flat Iron Steak 8oz,Herbed Rack of Lamb, and Prime Rib 14oz.

For dessert~ You must try Fork’s Signature Warm Butter Cake, topped with vanilla ice cream and Oregon berry coulis for just $9.95. It is large enough to share with friends.

On Sundays enjoy brunch from 10:00am-2pm

Experience Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar on Saturdays & Sundays  from 10:00am-3:00pm.

Downtown Boise

Downtown Boise

Where to Park~

The first hour is free, $2.50 per hour following with a daily max of $12. Weekends are even more affordable! Daily rate max of $5 per day. The nearby garages include:

Eastman Garage – 9th & Main
Capitol Terrace Garage – Main & Capitol Blvd
Boulevard Garage – under the Grove Hotel
Myrtle Street Garage – the Hampton Inn Hotel
City Centre Garage – 9th & Front Streets
Grove Street Garage – beside Hotel 43

 5wheelsto5star is featured monthly in Destinations Travel Magazine

 

Tege Tege Shave Ice

Tege Tege Shave Ice

Tege Tege Shave Ice

Strawberry

Strawberry

Eitaro, owner of Tege Tege Shave Ice, moved to Kauai from Amami, a southern island in Japan.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

When he moved to Kauai and realized mango, passion fruit and pineapple were available, he decided to make shave ice.  Look for the little, light blue food truck in Kilauea on the corner of Hookui Rd & Kolo Road. The counter shelf has a holes drilled in it to hold a flower pots. It’s so cute! The food truck itself was made from an old mail delivery truck.

Everyone loves shave ice on a hot, humid day after the beach but the sugary syrup leaves you with a massive sugar high. Not too mention, parents aren’t big fans of loading our kids up with sugary, unhealthy treats. Tege Tege Shave Ice is a Japanese-style shave ice which is 100% organic. The word Tege Tege translated to “just right” and that’s exactly what it is- just right. Not too sweet, not dull as all of the flavors used are made with 100% real fruit, herbs, flowers, Azuki beans and teas. Organic evaporated cane juice is used as a sweetener in some of the shave ice.

Tege Tege is open daily from 11:30 am-4:30 pm, although they only commit to 100 servings per day. Be aware that if they reach 100 shave ice prior to 4:30 p.m. than you are outta luck! My advise, go early. We visited about 3 p.m. and the owner just shouted out to the line from his little window, “4 more and we are closing”. The people in line turned away and left.

Be prepared to wait!!! Due to the process of making this deliciously, healthy shave ice, plan to wait about 5-10 minutes per shave ice. Eitaro uses a hand crank called an Hatsuyuki (first snow) to shave the ice. We waited close to an hour to receive our shave ice and you can’t gauge the wait time by the line, as customers were ordering 4-5 shave ice each!!! Patience, patience, patience. My expectations were extremely high after an hour-long wait. I was pleasantly surprised, not only the refreshing, intense burst of natural flavor, but the intricate process to make each shave ice.

Lemon Honey

Lemon Honey

The menu changes based on fruits in season.

Blueberry

Blueberry

Flavors include hibiscus, lemon-honey, lime, coconut, raspberry, strawberry, mango, mango-honey, passion fruit, passion fruit-honey, blackberry, blueberry, Jamaican lilikoi, pineapple, brown sugar, and Japanese green tea with azuki bean. Most of the shave ice are served with a fresh, mint leaf on top. I highly recommend the coconut as there are shaved pieces of coconut layered into the shave ice. I watched Eitaro as he made each shave ice. First he shaves a little ice, then adds flavor, then shaved coconut pieces, over and over again. He shaves about an inch of ice, then stops to add flavoring. This is why it takes so long to make each shave ice. It is definitely a process and there is only one person there. Be sure to drop a tip in the tip jar on the little counter. The price is just $6.00!!! Now- go get yours.

One Happy Boy!

One Happy Boy!

 5wheelsto5star is featured monthly in Destinations Travel Magazine