Sunday, April 29, 2012

lotus cafe, Hawai'i...

Resort life is splendid, of course, but when on such vacations, I like to hunt around for experiences that are a little off the tourist trek, places like the Lotus Cafe. Fabulous Dan, tennis pro extraordinaire at the Mauna Kea recommended this place when I told him I was seeking lunch spot for a Wahine day with my daughter before our evening flight. 

He was worried I wouldn't like it because of the appearance, but, in fact I loved it. Once I crossed the strip mall parking lot and walked through the doors, my senses led to believe I could be in Northern Thailand, Burma, India or Indonesia... these are the flavors in which they specialize. 

While some of the furnishings I noticed when I first walked in captured my curiosity,

it was my fist sip of this chai tea, that made me realize I was also in for a unique culinary experience as well. You can choose to take it hot or cold, the level of sweetness, and whether or not to add coconut milk. I ordered it chilled, lightly sweetened, with a float of coconut milk, and let me tell you, the drink was a dream. The spice blend was fresh, distinctive, and unlike anything I've ever had before.

I'm sure this is due to the fact that they grind, mix and blend all of their own spices...these flavors were definitely more pronounced than anything that could have been shaken out of a bottle. The cafe features organic, fresh and local ingredients, many of which they grow. Beneath this bamboo framed red canopy, I tucked into our Lotus Thai Green Curry. 

Afterwards, I didn't want to eat anything else...I just wanted to continue relishing the flavors of that meal. Under this chunky mound of vegetables and Ono {they offer a choice of meats}, was a core of delicately steamed cabbage leaves. The sauce is a blend of green chili, galanga, keiffer lime leaf and coriander seeds. The vegetables and bits of Thai basil are beautifully complimented by this silky sauce.

The Lotus Cafe is located on the big island, across the street from the Costco store, in sort of the "design center" area. Maybe they are in that section because once you are in the restaurant you can cross into a store room filled with imported finds. If I were decorating a home on the island, I would definitely be browsing about to find gates, furniture, and an array of accent pieces that would give my abode a lush, exotic touch of the far east. Here is where you cross over to retail fantasy land.

Inviting, isn't it?

From the large to small, each of the pieces is unique and would add depth to any setting.

Wouldn't this gorgeous chest look amazing in an entryway?

This has little shelves and cubbies inside, maybe it was a picnic basket?

This carved wooden mirror would be stunning over a powder room sink.

I could imagine this pair of baskets on a mantle, hanging from tress, or as part of tablescape.
These pots would make a marvelous base for a coffee table.

These white lacquered baskets could add some wonderful reflective light to a dark corner.
Here's a random collection of tidbits, any one piece could add depth to a room or vignette.
I wish you could see the intricate patterns on this set of baskets.
I've always been attracted to alcove beds, to read how my friend Beverly Jackson converted one into a dining room, click here.

I was drooling over these beautiful, rustic wooden "trays" or tabletops. Wouldn't they be marvelous loaded with fruits, snacks, or your daily mail??

Considering that our bags were all packed and stacked in the jeep I couldn't really consider anything too bulky, so I settled for the 2 beautiful blue embroidered pieces on the right below.  They were just the right size {for my suitcase and bod}. Tied around my waist they'll serve as a splendid little skirt or cover-up.

Here is my most favorite piece, a beautiful woven bamboo suitcase painted pale blue, over an old layer of navy blue, it had the most gorgeous patina. Oh, if a suitcase could talk.... I would just love to hear the stories of it's travels.

 The story continues on the inside, a rich umber paint cracked and chipping away from the woven case.

Looking at it now, don't know why I left without this, I could have checked it! I may just need to take another trip to Hawai'i soon.

As you may have noticed already, somehow my focus always returns to the food. Back in the stalls and stacks of furniture and baskets, I came across these trays of ginger. I'm guessing they had harvested them from their gardens and were leaving them out to dry and use in the restaurant later.

Lotus Cafe
73-5617 Maiau Street
Kaikua-Kona, HI 96740

~you're in for a treat!


Karena said...

Emily what a treat! I agree I would have wanted several finds from the shop!!

You could have put your new scarves in the blue suitcase!

Art by Karena

Teresa at Splendid Sass said...

GORGEOUS post, Emily! I am in love with the red chest!
Obvious that you had a wonderful time.
Happy Monday.

I Dream Of said...

What a find, Emily! Both the Lotus restaurant and the imports. Don't you just love it when you stumble on hidden treasure in the most unexpected place! Such a fun way to wind up what looks like a wonderful trip!
Hope you have a lovely week! XO

The enchanted home said...

What a totally cool place filled with all kinds of intersting finds. Double whammy with the food and the goregous accessories!

Marina {Yummy Mummy) said...

Wow. Everything looks amazing. I am really itching for a Hawaii trip...