Living (Somewhat) Like A Local

We are here on this little island for a total of seven and one half weeks.  Just long enough to get a feel for what it might be like to live here.  Three weeks in and we have developed a nice routine. Most days include a walk into town to pick up groceries, a walk on the beach, and a swim in the pool in addition to cooking and cleaning up after 2 or 3 meals. On some days I will whip up a fruity blended drink- no recipe, just fresh fruit, ice, coconut milk , a little orange juice, a squeeze of lime, and a jigger of rum. Papaya-colada, anyone?

Food Talk

Food  is expensive here.   We expected that, it is an island in the middle of a very large ocean.   Foods that are not grown here have to be brought in from far away places.  My plan was to eat mostly locally grown foods. Shouldn’t be a problem. My research showed that Molokai has at least 2 organic farms, a coffee plantation,  a macadamia farm and a ranch that produces quality grass-fed beef.

The problem is that the stores in Kaunakakai don’t seem to carry much of the local products.  Eggs, cheese, milk, and most of the dry goods and produce are brought in from the mainland.  The stores in Kaunakakai carry Maunaloa brand macadamia products (grown in Hawaii, but not on Molokai) at prices that are very close to what they sell for on the mainland. To buy Purdy’s  macadamia products, you have to drive out to the farm or order them online.  most of the meats and produce items are from the mainland, but a few locally grown items are available. The stores do have a delightful line of jellies , and a selection of pancake mixes that are produced in Hawaii.  I really like the passion fruit jelly and the pineapple coconut pancakes. Trog likes the chocolate macadamia pancakes.

I always try to eat locally. Buying locally produced items is a good way to give back to the community that is hosting you.  Local produce is generally fresher, which means that it usually has better flavor and texture and is more nutritious than fruits and vegetables that have traveled long distances.  Being a locavore  is also a good way to reduce one’s carbon footprint.

The tree that gives us free mangoes
The tree that gives us free mangoes

Kaunakakai does have a lovely Farmers Market every Saturday morning. A great place to buy tropical fruits, fresh greens, and delicious cinnamon rolls and home-baked cookies. Some of the prices are refreshingly low and some are shockingly high.  Not all of what’s on offer is locally produced, at least one vendor is reselling commercial produce, but I buy my pineapples from her and she has given me papayas from the tree in her parent’s yard.

To save money on food, it is important to check prices, shop around, and eat like the locals. Foods that are staples of the islanders (like noodles, bean sprouts, teriyaki sauce) are priced very reasonably.

It’s Aloha Friday! Let the Battle of the Bands Begin!

As mentioned in a previous post, the Hotel Molokai does an event on Friday (the ONLY day they DON’T have a “Happy Hour,” by the way), that features Hawaiian music.

It's ALOHA FRIDAY at the Hotel Molokai
It’s ALOHA FRIDAY at the Hotel Molokai

Turns-out that Paddler’s Inn (a review on that place another time – we’re giving them an opportunity to impress us a little better) does one as well — and they HAVE a “Happy Hour” on Friday (actually it’s a little closer to “most hours” Monday through Friday, 11:30 am — when they open — to 6pm).

Pony chooses Hotel Molokai as the winner for Aloha Friday — as previously mentioned, there are local craft people with displays in the hotel “hallway” (it’s open-air, so one imagines this might be “weather permitting” and I wouldn’t count on this if it’s raining) area outside the bar.   Continue reading “It’s Aloha Friday! Let the Battle of the Bands Begin!”

Molokai Dining 101

Some things that would be handy to keep in mind about eating on Molokai:

It’s an island. EVERYTHING is expensive in Hawaii (if you notice the small-print in a lot of ads, you might have seen the “prices slightly higher in Alaska and Hawaii) and probably even more so on Molokai as they don’t produce a lot here (and even what they DO produce is not done so in any great quantity).  So nearly everything is IMPORTED to the island.

Molokai is one of the smaller of the Hawaiian islands and has a relatively-small population. They don’t have a lot of tourists like the other islands. So this is to say that they don’t even get to enjoy some of the cost-savings that might come with having Walmart, Costco or Smart-and-Final bulk prices. Continue reading “Molokai Dining 101”

After hours in Kaunakakai

From our position on the main street we could see the shadowy figures slipping quietly into the dark alleyway. We decided to follow. There was no traffic at this time of night so we quickly dashed across the street and headed into the alley. About halfway down a passageway opened off to the left. We veered into it and were warmly greeted by the strangers cued up at the open window. They recommended the strawberry and cream cheese version, but assured us that it was all good.
To those who have visited Molokai, this may be a familiar ritual. After the others stores have closed up for the night Kanemitsu’s bakery sells hot-from-the-oven loaves of their soft white bread, cut in half and slathered with the buyers choice of cinnamon or jam, and butter or cream cheese (or both). A fun outing, and a delicious indulgence.

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Kamoi Snack-n-Go

Great little convenience store (28 Kamoi St) with friendly service that probably is better-known locally for Dave’s Ice Cream (free samples of a good selection of different flavors). Which is a good reason for stopping, although they do have Icees and the convenience store stuff (candies, snack, drinks) as well and are open late (10a-9p M-F, 9a-9p Sat, 12noon-9p Sun). Air-conditioned, which is nice on humid days.

The Hotel Molokai

Happy Trog and Pony in a picture taken by friendly waitress
Happy Trog and Pony in a picture taken by friendly waitress

The Hotel Molokai is a Polynesian-themed located almost two miles east of Kaunakakai. We didn’t stay there, of course, but visited a number of times, mostly because they do things there (and have a bar and some food service – more about those in a moment). Despite the fact we weren’t staying there, we were still well-received and made to feel welcome there.

I’m Getting Ready to Grump, So I Had Better Say Something Nice FIRST: The bar staff is very good.  We were recognized on our second visit; by the third, we were being greeted in other areas of the hotel as if we were local regulars.  As the song says, sometimes you DO want to go where everybody knows your name.  And here, they are ALWAYS glad you came. Continue reading “The Hotel Molokai”