Maui Edition: Finding My Athlete, DK’s Luncheon, & the Port to My Heartfeatured

Maui_KWFF_Kapalua Spa Maui_KWFF_Kapalua Spa
Maui_KWFF_Kapalua Spa Yoga Maui_KWFF_Kapalua Spa massage

I’m usually a spa girl myself. A little sunbathing by the infinity pool? Some sea salt to exfoliate while steaming in the sauna? Maybe a morning yoga class overlooking the ocean, or better yet, a spa treatment in a private hale (bungalow). Oh yes, that sounds like heaven to me.

On this particular day though, I decided to take myself out of my comfort zone for a few hours and signed up for a Golf Clinic at the Kapalua Golf Academy.

Kapalua Golf Academy

Kapalua Golf Academy

After all, we were in one of the most enviably gorgeous places to golf, were we not? And it would help work up an appetite for DK’s Secrets: Sansei-Style Luncheon.

A small but mighty group of 7 of us joined PGA teaching pro, Jerry King, out on the practice green, and boy did we have fun. It was my very first time golfing, and I had a blast! Jerry was the epitome of encouragement and enthusiasm, showing us the basics and cleaning up our form, but mostly, just urging us to “find our inner athlete” and have fun.

We got athletic out there and swung away.

Over and over and over.

I wasn’t going to mention this, but just have to because I was so impressed…at one point, Jerry called us over to show us something, it was only for a few moments, but when I got back to my spot, my balls had been magically restocked into a perfect, neat, little pyramid! Jerry, do you have magic gnomes working on the green? Spritely elves? Whoever they are, kudos on the flawless, ninja-like service.


If anyone ever has the chance to have a lesson with Jerry, do it! Hua swears that his game is forever changed. I am now convinced that golf isn’t boring and is something I can do (it’s not the spa…but it is a good time!). And, our little golfing crew totally bonded over the shared experience of golf revelation. Learning something new. Hitting that sweet spot. What a thrill 🙂


Jerry’s Kids

We headed over to DK’s Luncheon ready to chow.

Maui_KWFF_DK Luncheon

Chef DK

Chef Dave Kodama, or just “DK” as everyone knows him by, is one of the most highly regarded chefs in Hawaii. Third generation Japanese American, born and raised on Oahu, DK’s innovative cuisine is part Japanese, part Pacific Rim, part Hawaiian Regional Cuisine…all flavor.

Maui_KWFF_DK Luncheon Maui_KWFF_DK Luncheon

The luncheon demo featured 4 courses paired with 5 wines. DK is at the forefront of leading the locavore movement on Hawaii, and almost all of the ingredients showcased were sourced from local farms and producers.

Maui_KWFF_DK Luncheon-Hawaiian Ono Sashimi

Hawaiian Ono Sashimi

We started off with a refreshing New Wave Ono Sashimi served with micro purple shiso, hearts of palm, cherry tomatoes, sea asparagus, soy sauce and a spicy cilantro-ginger oil. The dish was paired with Navarro Estate Bottled Gewurztraminer (Anderson Valley, Mendocino).

Maui_KWFF_DK Luncheon-Kona Cold Sous Vide Lobster

Kona Cold Sous Vide Lobster

Next came the Kona Cold Sous Vide Lobster “Farm to Table” Salad. The lobster was cooked sous vide with butter, white wine, garlic, and tarragon, until just done, and then chilled. The generous chunks of meat were then served on top of baby romaine lettuce from Waipoli Hydroponic Greens, Big Island hearts of palm, and a crispy wonton chip. On top were halved grape tomatoes, an orange gelee, and sherry-shallot vinaigrette. The Gunderloch Riesling Kabinett “Jean Baptiste” (Rheinhessen, Germany) paired with this really brought out the sweet citrus notes from the gelee.

Maui_KWFF_DK Luncheon-Asian Spice Crusted Angus New York Steak

Asian Spice Crusted Angus New York Steak

Ah, and now my favorite dish, quite possibly of the whole festival! The Asian Spice Crusted Meyer Natural Angus New York Steak served with Hamakua Alii Mushroom & Spinach Potato “Risotto” and Ho Farms Tomato Umeboshi Lomi. Let me break this baby down for you.

We start off with tender, rich, New York strip steak from Maui Cattle Company, encrusted with an Asian spice mix comprised of Shichimi Togarashi, Furikake, cracked black pepper, thyme, sugar, and Hawaiian sea salt, and seared rare to perfection. So ono! (That means delicious in Hawaiian). This meat was seriously good, like buttah. As they say in Hawaiian pidgin, “Brah, it broke da mouth.”

The steak was served over a creamy hash of Hamakua Alii mushrooms and diced potatoes, sauteed spinach, and garnished with a tomato-chive “salsa” of sorts made with an umeboshi dressing.

Complex, multi-layered, utterly delicious. I object to the potatoes being called risotto, but with steak that good on top, I can get over it.

The course was served with two different Napa cabs: Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 (Napa Valley) and Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). I’m usually not a big fan of cabernet sauvignon, the tannins are too much for me, but I did enjoy the Ramey. Master Sommelier Fred Dame recounted a story of how someone once called it a “skinny cab” because you could drink it alone, without food. Interestingly, paired with this dish in particular, I noticed that an incredible amount of heat came through. Master Sommelier Jay Fletcher explained that the high tannins in the wines accentuate pepper. It was too much heat for me, so I guess the skinny route would be the way to go on this one…or rather, just give me the steak.

Maui_KWFF_DK Luncheon-dessert

Sweet Spoonfuls

Our wonderful meal ended with a trio of sweet spoonfuls: Upcountry Fresh Fruit and Caramelized Puffed Rice and Coconut Cream. We had Kula Strawberry, Banana-Pineapple, and Mango Thai Basil, which were all tasty, but the real treat was the dessert wine.

Maui_KWFF_DK-Luncheon-Penfolds Grandfather Tawny Port

Liquid Dessert

Penfolds Grandfather Old Liqueur Tawny Shiraz (Mourvedre, Barossa Valley, Australia), I love you.

Again, I usually don’t like port, but this, this was more than a port. This was luxury. This was amber seduction in a glass.

Special thanks to Fred Dame for bringing this beauty to Kapalua. It was something special. Fragrant and intense, with a heady nose and a luscious flavor that is downright sexy. Sun-soaked raisins, almond brittle, roasted peaches, dark cherries, caramel toffee…

It’s a multi-vintage blend and Dame says he can’t get a straight answer from anyone on how old it really is.

If I have any secret admirers out there, here is a link to where you can procure a few bottles…just sayin.

Maui_KWFF_DK Luncheon-Fred Dame

29th Annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival
June 24-27, 2010
Kapalua Resort, Maui, Hawaii

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