Over 1,000 Folks Turn Out for the 16th Annual Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Friday night was the 16th Annual Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and this was the first time that I had been invited to this event.

A Taste of the Hawaiian Range

I had no idea how huge this event was, until I walked into the Grand Ballroom earlier in the day and saw folks starting to set up for the event.

A Taste of the Hawaiian Range

This was just part of the inside floor room and there was more stuff set up outside.

While folks lined up outside of the ballroom entrance near the grand staircase…

Folks line up to get the first chance at some of the food booths

…At 5:00 they had a Pre-Taste for the VIP’s

Mayor Kenoi and his ohana

Mayor Kenoi and his wife and daughter

…and a media blessing of the foods and chefs.

Student Chefs from Hawaii Community College

Wholesale buyers and media had a pre-taste opportunity to meet the people growing and producing Hawai‘i’s food.

Big Island Food Guru Sonia Martinez was there to "Pig Out" as well. (I told you I would get you back Sonia! LOL)

Vendors represented a wide range of products….

Grown on the Big Island

Grown on the Big Island

Agricultural enterprise such as coffee, tea, honey, goat cheese, meat, produce, herbs and specialty items.

Goat cheese samples

Also at the expo were representatives of various agriculture-related associations and projects.

Poi Producer Jim Cain

At 6:00, Senator Hanohano, House Representative Mazie Hirono, Mayor Billy Kenoi opened the entrance…

Dan Akaka Jr. talks to Rep. Mazie Hirono before the maile cutting ceremony begins

While Dan Akaka Jr. blew the conch shell announcing the official opening of the Taste of the Range.

Mayor Kenoi and Senator Hanohano look on as Dan Akaka Jr. blows the conch opening the 2011 Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Hailing from Honolulu to Hilo and beyond to LA, nine new restaurants and their chefs participated joining together for a total of 35 culinary stations.

Eddie Aikau Restaurant and Surf Museum

The Eddie Aikau Restaurant and Surf Museum was present for their first year at the Taste of the Hawaiian Range.

They offered lots of forage-fed meats prepared with fresh fruit and vegetables.

Sheep

I wonder if eating sheep helps you get to sleep if you count how much you eat?

Meats on the menu included a variety of dry-aged, grass-fed beef cuts-everything from tongue to tail… and well in between… Mountain Oyster Pateles!

Mountain Oyster Pateles

Mountain Oyster Pateles (No... I didn't try them)

Of course there was a whole mixture of other types of meat such as lamb, mutton, goat, pork and a wild boar.

Porky Pig

Porky Pig

New restaurants participating in this years Big Isle’s dining scenei included. Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai of Keauhou-Kona, and Kohala Burger & Taco in Kawaihae.

Kohala Burger & Taco in Kawaihae

The folks from Kohala Burger & Taco in Kawaihae

The day before I got to eat at Eddie Aikau Restaurant & Museum in Waikoloa and they were also there at the taste the next day.

Eddie Aikau Restaurant and Surf Museum Chefs

Eddie Aikau Restaurant and Surf Museum Chefs

Red Water Café in Waimea was also a new restaurant participating this year and I really enjoyed their samples of the sandwiches they made.

Roast Beef sandwiches by Red Water Inn

Roast Beef sandwiches by Red Water Cafe

The owner of Honolulu Burger Company on O’ahu was assigned grass-fed ground beef and he made Hamburger Lollipops.

Honolulu Burger Joint

Honolulu Burger Company

Other O’ahu eating establishments making their debut include the Pagoda Restaurant in Honolulu and ‘Umeke Market in Kahala.

Kim Chee Meatloaf from Umeke Market on Oahu

Kim Chee Meatloaf from 'Umeke Market on Oahu

I really had a great time there and I thank the folks that sponsored me to be able to go there and fill my opu (stomach) up!

Mealani A Taste of the Hawaiian Range provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The premiere ag tourism event is a partnership between CTAHR,, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Hawaii County Research and Development, Big Island Resource Conservation & Development and KTA SuperStores.

5 Responses

  1. Great post, Damon – glad you were there! Of course I loved Chef Scott’s Kalua Beef (clods) from Eddie Aikau Restaurant, but 2nd fave was the taro chip with kalua pork and lu’au sauce from Cy Yamamoto.

  2. Great coverage…just like being there….mahalo! Hope U enjoyed yourself too….aloha, Fern

  3. I had the opportunity to go!! I loved it!!! I don’t eat oysters or patele but it was delicious!!! I wish I got my own. What was your favorite?

    • My favorites were the smoked roast beef by Chef David Abraham of the Red Water Cafe and the wild boar by Chef George Gomes at the Mauna Kea Beach Resort. Great fun!

    • I was overwhelmed and really didn’t keep track of favorites. I do know the places I avoided included the Mountain Oysters and the Tongue but I heard comments from folks eating them that it was actually pretty good. I’m just a weak eater I guess and afraid of trying things at times.

      I liked this Pot Roast dish that was mixed with a creamy combination of potatoes and gravy… I actually stopped by there a couple times!

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