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Saturday, September 28, 2013

CHAINE AT HUALALAI

I've belonged to two eating clubs in my life, El Capitan while a student at Stanford University, and Chaine des Rotisseurs.  Eating clubs began forming at Stanford in 1892, making them the oldest student organizations on campus, while CdR is said to be traceable back to 1248 at the time of King Louis IX.  I guess, though, that calling Chaine an eating club does not quite describe the epicurean nature of that organization.

The flight from Honolulu to Kona on Hawaiian Airlines was hazy.  Maui above, and at landing, Mount Hualalai, to the right.  Why?  Thirty years ago I was golfing at the Volcano Golf Course.  The ground shook, and no more than a few hundred yards away, we saw fountains of lava.  That eruption continues today, and the noxious emissions are causing a huge concern for this region of the Big Island.  This natural air pollution even gets to Honolulu during Kona wind days.  Anyway, there was a hula greeting:


We are spending the weekend at the Four Seasons Hualalai, ranked by TripAdvisor as the #1 hotel in the Hawaii.  I arrived yesterday and my room was not ready, so I went golfing.  It is possible that I might have been the only one playing that day, as I never saw anyone else on the Jack Nicklaus designed course (signature 17th to the left).  Part of the problem is that the greens and some fairways are being aerated, and this was just awful, considering the prices they charge.

My room is wonderful, with a good view of the ocean, where you can hear the breaking waves and pounding surf.  The bathtub comes with bath salts and a candle.  The first Chaine event was a champagne reception and assorted hors d'oeuvres.

Here are the three highest officials of Chaine:  Bruce Liebert (Bailli Provincial, or #1 in Hawaii),  Keoki (#1 nationally, who spent part of his childhood in Hawaii) and Hal (#2 nationally):


Or, more officially:

George H. Brown, Jr.
Bailli Délégué des Etats-Unis

Chancelier Général, Académie de Gastronomie Brillat-Savarin

Consul Général, Société Mondiale du Vin
Harold S. Small
Chancelier des Etats-Unis

Kimi (Bailli, or #1 for the Big Island) organized the events this weekend:


Champagne-infused, dinner followed at Ulu, where we ordered whatever we wanted and eight of us shared 5 or 6 bottles of wine.  On our table were Judith (Chargee de Presse Provinciale) and Bruce, Dominick and Marie (right),

Tim and Carol (left), while I sat next to Adele (right, who is the Bailli of Maui).  The others ordered conventionally, but Adele and I chose to share appetizers and sides.  Just one combo, Kona Kampachi sashimi and tempura octopus, followed by my wines:


The amazing part to the feast was that the whole meal per person, with wines, tax and tip, was $91.25.  An appetizer at Robuchons's could cost this much.  Tomorrow, the highlight black tie with ribbons event.  They really dress up, and here is a typical photo:


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