Last year, I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to a blogger dinner at Kona Kai Resort. The meal and company were stupendous, and remarkably, I received an invitation to this year's dinner, showcasing the beautiful renovations to the resort, as well as a great new menu of food and drinks prepared by the new chef, Roy Hendrickson.
The first thing to greet us was this beautiful bunch of plumerias outside the resort. Aren't they perfect?
Vessel has been recently remodeled, and the results are astounding. The beautiful dangling lights and blue tones are gorgeous, and definitely fit the seaside vibe of the resort.
Check out the beautiful views from the back deck!
It was quite nice to sip cocktails from the punch bowls provided while taking in the spectacular view. On the menu -- virgin mojitos (my favorite), a lemony cucumber gin punch, and a mai tai.
On to dinner! The blue, calming theme was present at our lovely table.
If you follow my Instagram, you probably saw some of the wonderful food that was served to us during the evening. Everything was delicious, and paired expertly with good wines.
We started with beef carpaccio with popcorn shoots, preserved lemon, and crispy capers. I've never had beef carpaccio before, as it is rarely served in a lot of restaurants, and I'm nowhere near skilled enough to serve it in my kitchen. Paired with a Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon, this was an excellent beginning. My favorite part was the crispy capers, another new taste for me. They were light, salty, and perfect with the raw beef.
The salad course was my favorite of the night! I've come to appreciate great salads, and this salad was unreal, featuring three varieties of apples: granny smith, braeburn, and honey crisp. The salad was created with butter lettuce, humboldt fog cheese, granola, lemon olive oil, and petite celery. The humboldt fog cheese was incredible with the sweet and sour apples, and the dressing was just enough of a zing to create drama. Paired with a Dunham Cellars reisling, this course was wonderful.
The main course was a porcini-dusted sea bass, paired with a Trione pinot noir. I've never had fish paired with a red, but the pinot's mild flavor worked well with the fish. The sea bass was very tender, and served with roasted Peruvian potatoes.
The final course for the evening was dessert. Dessert was a gourmet take on a simple snack: nutella on toast. The chef paired Tobin James Ballistic zinfandel with chocolate ganache on grilled sourdough with olive oil and fleur de sel. The chocolate was very rich, and paired so well with the zinfandel. Dark chocolate with zinfandel is one of my favorite pairings, so I was pretty happy with this end to the meal!