Reader favorite cafe: Java Kai in Kapa`a Town.

Reader favorite cafe: Java Kai in Kapa`a Town.

Have a few must-sees on Kaua`i? Share them here in “Local Favorites.” We invite kama`aina to submit a list. It’s an anonymous column so that the writer can share candidly a few favorite things. This is a chance to plug a talented massage therapist, stylist, clothing designer or restaurateur. It can include an irresistible dessert, pupu or hike. You name it.

Here is what you do: Send a list of five to seven items, with a sentence for each, describing what you love about it. Provide good photos, even better. If chosen, you’ll receive a $25 restaurant gift certificate. Email

1.  Favorite sacred site: The Rudraksha Forest in Wailua. A Ganesh statue, the bright blue berries covering the forest floor and a network of roots connecting all the trees, makes this place feel otherworldly. Bring lunch and enjoy the picnic tables. This forest is part of the Hindu Monastery but not on the same property. Pass the turn off for the monastery by about a mile. It’s on the left. To get there, drive up Kuamoo Road (first light after Wailua Bridge). It’s roughly five miles into Wailua Homesteads.

2. Favorite restaurant: Huikilau Lanai in Kapa`a is hidden behind the Coconut Market Place at the Kaua`i Coast Resort. “It’s impossible to choose a favorite. I love the pork tenderloin; and the meatloaf is unbelievable, as is the Wally’s Crown Royal beef medallions. I don’t eat meat much, but when I do it’s at Hukilau. Everything is great.” Reservations are strongly recommended. Closed Mondays. Visit or call 822-0600.

3. Favorite hobby: “Gardening is my favorite pastime since moving here.”

4. Favorite café: Java Kai in Kapa`a is in the heart of Kapa`a. “It has great homemade pastry and feels very small town and local; there’s local art hanging on the walls and products are locally made. I just like the energy of the place.” Java Kai is open daily: 6 a.m. to 5p.m. Monday to Saturday and 7 am. to 1 p.m. Sundays.

5. Favorite town: Hanalei. “The remoteness makes it have this old time Hawaiian feel. And it’s beautiful and charming.”

6. Favorite politician: Councilman Gary Hooser. “I met him at a fundraiser and like how down-to-earth he is. He’s practical and grounded.”

7. Favorite local custom: Talk story.

8. Favorite mountain: Mt. Wai’ale’ale

9. Favorite benefit of living on Kaua`i: Friends and family look forward to visiting

10. Favorite radio station: Kaua`i community radio station KKCR is an eclectic mix of shows run primarily by volunteer disc jockeys. “I listen mostly to their Hawaiian music show in the morning but I enjoy all the programming.” KKCR can be found at 91.9 island-wide. Visit for a list of all their shows, to volunteer or become a member.

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