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Special Edition

Blue Dragon Restaurant on Hawaii Island

Blue Dragon Restaurant on Hawaii Island. Daniel Lane photo
The Living Salad at Blue Dragon Restaurant is as close to live food as you can get. Daniel Lane photo

The Living Salad at Blue Dragon Restaurant is as close to live food as you can get. Daniel Lane photo

The Living Salad at Blue Dragon Restaurant is served in a mini wood planter. Green and purple baby lettuces spill from the top along with a few wispy fennel fronds. Gilded gold scissors with ornate scrollwork are placed alongside. On a separate plate, wedges of roasted beets grown at Blue Dragon Farm are fanned in a circle and topped with cubes of perfectly ripe mango, crunchy pea shoots and intensely flavored strawberries. I am instructed to cut the lettuce along the edge of the planter box, so as not to get potting soil on my greens, roll the leaves around the vegetables and dip the lot into a jaboticaba honey vinaigrette, which is piped in circles around the plate. The salad is a blast to eat and the strawberries will forever haunt my memory.

Touring Sustainable Farms on Hawaii Island

Tasting fresh cacao during a Kohala Grown Farm Tour. Daniel Lane photo.
(From left) Noah Hester, Nate Hayward and Leo Woods. Daniel Lane photo

(From left) Noah Hester, Nate Hayward and Leo Woods. Daniel Lane photo

Nate Hayward navigates a 15 passenger van along a rutted farm road in North Kohala. A steady drizzle of warm rain splats across the windshield. Eight foodies

Big Island Chocolate Festival

Chocolate comes from cacao pods. Daniel Lane photo

Beans in the cacao pod are soft, sweet, and a little tart. Daniel Lane photo

Beans in the cacao pod are soft, sweet, and a little tart. Daniel Lane photo


The Big Island Chocolate Festival is in its fifth year, and the gala’s theme is Lavalicious-A Chocolate Salute to the 100th Birthday of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Indulge in both savory and sweet temptations prepared by top chefs and chocolatiers while watching award-winning Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company, sculpt one of the largest volcanoes ever created in fine chocolate. Culinary stations will be judged on their depiction of the popular park, plus a host of “best” culinary categories such as savory, plated dessert, bon bon, bean-to-bar, Hawaiian cacao and People’s Choice.

Big Island Brewhaus

Award winning craft beer and locally sourced pupus at Big Island Brewhaus. Daniel Lane photo

Award winning craft beer and locally sourced pupus at Big Island Brewhaus. Daniel Lane photo

Award winning craft beer and locally sourced pupus at Big Island Brewhaus. Daniel Lane photo


Tom Kerns, owner of Big Island Brewhaus, sits across from me at a picnic table on the bar’s lanai. His wife, Jayne, and their cook, Dan Leishman, sit on either side of him. Inside, boisterous conversation punctuated by laughter pour from customers who drink Tom’s award-winning craft beer and nibble on a large variety of pupus, some made with

Copper Bar at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

Copper Bar's panoramic views of Kaunaoa Bay. Daniel Lane photo
Copper Bar's panoramic views of Kaunaoa Bay. Daniel Lane photo

Copper Bar’s panoramic views of Kaunaoa Bay. Daniel Lane photo

We stopped by Copper Bar at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the way back from Kailua-Kona. It was a picturesque day: balmy, breezy and beautiful. Our car was full of gifts, including chocolate from the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, as well as chocolate covered coffee beans from Kona Coffee & Tea. I expressed concern to the valet about my precious chocolate melting on such a hot day, and they kindly stored it in an air-conditioned room while we ate.

Coast Grille at Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Coast Grille Nicoise ($17 with a deep-fried egg, Molokai black salt, seared ahi, Molokai sweet potatoes, cucumber, green beans, Kalamata olives. Daniel Lane photo
Coast Grille Nicoise ($17 with a deep-fried egg, Molokai black salt, seared ahi, Molokai sweet potatoes, cucumber, green beans, Kalamata olives. Daniel Lane photo

Coast Grille Nicoise ($17) with a one-minute fried egg, garden arugula, Big Island tomatoes, Molokai black salt, seared ahi, Molokai sweet potatoes, cucumber, haricot vert, Kalamata olives and wild lilikoi vinaigrette. Daniel Lane photo

Coast Grille, Westin Hapuna Beach Resort’s signature restaurant, offers a view of Mount Hualalai and Hapuna Beach along the Kohala Coast on Hawaii Island. The restaurant is only open for dinner and if you get there in time, you’ll be guaranteed a sunset. An on-site garden supplies some ingredients and its tranquil atmosphere is relaxing after a busy day playing in the water.

Big Island Bounty Tour

Big Island Scenics-004-web
Kaunaoa Bay at Mauna Kea Resort. Daniel Lane photo

Kaunaoa Bay at Mauna Kea Resort. Daniel Lane photo

After more than six years with our nose to the tropical grindstone, Dan and I were graced with travel for fun! But it’s hard for me to separate work and play, so I’m starting Special Edition blog posts. Every Saturday, I’ll let you know about our exploits on Neighbor Islands, starting with seven posts from Hawaii Island.