Dining at 22ºNorth in the Kilohana Plantation on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai
Those who are interested in eating food that is locally produced, not moved long distances to market, are called “locavores.”
As we have been roaming about, we have noticed that locavore has become a movement in the United States, with its proponents very interested in sustainability and eco-consciousness.
22ºNorth is a true locavore restaurant as they feature Kauai-grown meats, fish and produce, including items from its own 1-1/2 acre garden and the 60 acre Kilohana orchard and agricultural park!
As they say at 22ºNorth, “your dinner is grown on the farm, and eaten there too“!
Leading the culinary team is Chef de Cuisine Aaron Leikam. Aaron studied under such notable chefs as Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill and Cafe? Topolobambo, and Chef Melissa Kelly, the James Beard Award-winning chef and owner of Primo in Rockland Maine. Aaron’s soulful treatment of estate-grown, up-to-the-minute seasonal ingredients, served in a warm, comfortable setting are not to be missed.
When we arrived at 22ºNorth, we were seated in a romantic outdoor table where we could watch the sun set over the mountains, and further enjoy the never ending show from the farm cats playing with the island chickens in front of the distant 22ºNorth gardens.
Our waiter was one who loved to put on a show, and kept us in stitches as he brought out our first entree: Fried Green Tomatoes (local green tomatoes, cornmeal crust, field greens and cherry tomatoes, red onions, buttermilk-chive dressing). YUM!
Our next “little bite” had Carol smilin’: Olive Poppers (kauai kunana chevre olives, house smoked bacon-tomato vinaigrette). Carol loves food with “poppers” in their name.
Our third appetizer taste was ‘Quick’ Opakapaka Ceviche (cara cara orange, avocado, alae salt and olive oil). Wowza! Most excellent!
Fourth, on our appetizer tasting journey was Spiced Pork and Cabbage Bundles (rice, ground pork, cinnamon, raisins, fresh tomato sauce). It’s lunch-time as I’m writing this. This appetizer would make a wonderful lunch. I wonder if they deliver from Kauai to Arizona? Probably not, but healthy and wonderful, it was!
Now, it’s time for our entrees. Carol is a raving fan of beef shortribs, and by golly, A’akukui Ranch Braised Beef Shortib (oregano soft polenta, crispy onions, petite greens) was next. Holy jump-up-and-down Batman! That was good! Perfectly prepared with the most wonderful creamy polenta. Mr. Roaming Boomer LOVES polenta.
For my entree, I selected Pan-Roasted Snapper (green papaya remoulade, garden parsley, fennel, meyer lemon and crimson quinoa). A fresh fish is always first on my agenda when we dine at a gourmet restaurant, and this was absolutely delightful in every way. In fact, I kinda wish Arizona bordered an ocean so that we always had fresh day-caught fish at our disposal.
Ah, but that’s why we should frequent the island of Kauai. Right?
Just look at that. Don’t YOU want some?
Well, the sun had set. The distant cats and chickens had finished their dance and retired, and it was time for just a little taste of dessert chased by a wonderfully bitter double-espresso. Such a wonderful thing: sweet and bitter.
For that, 22ºNorth brought us these wonderful French Beignets. Wow!
We like to let our photographs do the heavy lifting when we are describing our dining experiences. A great imagination is a wonderful thing, but how would you possibly imagine these perfectly crafted farm-to-table dishes?
22ºNorth is a fabulous example of what a gourmet, farm-to-table dining experience can be like. We highly recommend them, and further feel a little jealous of the folks who live on the island of Kauai.