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Book Buzz – DARK SURF news & goings-on
My first novel, DARK SURF, has been optioned for a movie! Super exciting!!!
What does that mean? It means that a company has optioned the novel manuscript and reserved the right to make DARK SURF into a feature film.
And we’ve moved beyond that… A professional screenwriter was hired to turn the book into a screenplay. This is not an easy feat, by the way—taking a 400+ page book and squeezing it into a 100-page story. The screenplay is now complete! So, the next step is for the team to enter the marketplace for financing and distribution.
There are still many steps that need to happen before DARK SURF will be on the big screen but that’s the goal!
DARK SURF is the first book in the DARK SURF series. A publication date will be announced in 2014.
Crave – food & drink
During my stay in Kauai, we embarked on a quest to find the area’s best fish tacos. We didn’t have time to sample them all but we gave it our best shot, stopping at several destinations from Poipu Beach to Port Allen.
The biggest difference between Baja-style and Hawaiian-style fish tacos is that Baja tacos feature a mild white fish (e.g. pollock) fried in beer batter, while most Hawaiian tacos use a fresh local fish (e.g. ahi, hebi) that’s grilled.
- Kauai Island Brewery & Grill, Port Allen - We tried a daily special of 3 ahi tacos with fries for $14.95. The ahi had a fishier, saltier flavor than the mild fish generally used in Baja-style tacos. The fish was served in hard corn tortilla shells, which is a departure from the soft tortillas used in most fish tacos. It was topped with fresh cabbage, chopped tomatoes, grated cheddar and Jack cheeses, and a delicious spicy crema. The fresh flavor of the ahi and the spicy crema were the standouts in these tacos. They were served with a side of shredded cabbage and flavorful fries that were toasted golden brown on the outside and warm & soft inside. Condiments included small bowls of ketchup, mild red salsa, and sour cream. We also sampled several house beers that paired well with the tacos.
Kauai Island Brewery & Grill fish tacos
- Chalupa’s food truck, Koloa - We ordered 2 fish tacos for $10.50 and dined outside. The tacos featured grilled local fish, served on a soft corn tortilla with shredded cabbage, guacamole, crema, tomato and cilantro. It was the guacamole that made these tacos “especial.” Tortilla chips were served on the side.
Chapula’s fish tacos
- Merriman’s Fish House (downstairs bar), The Shops at Kukui’ula, Poipu - We tried the happy hour special of 1 fish taco for $7. This was the priciest taco we sampled but it was also the most “gourmet.” It had chunks of grilled fresh local fish, served on two soft corn tortillas that were lightly fried. The fish was topped with toasted cabbage, avocado-lime crema, and fire roasted tomatoes. It was garnished with a lime wedge and cilantro sprig. The toasted cabbage was a unique and tasty touch, and the avocado-lime crema was flavorful.
Merriman’s Fish House fish taco
- Kalapaki Joe’s, Poipu - We sampled the happy hour special: a fish taco for $3. The taco featured grilled hebi in a soft flour tortilla, with shredded green and purple cabbage, crema, salsa, and chopped green onion. It was garnished with 2 lime wedges. The fish was mild and the taco was tasty. As a Baja taco fan, I would’ve preferred it in a soft corn tortilla. But for $3 (cheap by island standards), you can’t beat the price.
Kalapaki Joe’s fish taco
- Keoki’s Paradise, Poipu Shopping Village, Poipu Beach - We ordered the fish tacos entree for $13.95. This dish had 2 beer-battered mahi mahi tacos. Each taco was served in a grilled flour tortilla with shredded cabbage, roasted tomatillo sauce, and avocado salsa, alongside tortilla chips and habanero salsa. In a twist on the Baja style, this taco was garnished with a lemon wedge rather than lime. Again, I would have preferred a corn tortilla, which is less chewy than a flour tortilla.
All in all, there was not a bad taco in the bunch. The fresh locally caught fish was the star of the Hawaiian tacos. Whether you’re looking for a gourmet taco, a sit-down meal or a happy hour a-la-carte special, Kauai fish tacos have something for everyone.
Crave – food & drink
I generally like my beer on the darker side of the spectrum. West Coast style red ales are my all-time favorite. I also like a hoppy brown ale or a roasty porter.
Kauai Island Brewery & Grill, the world’s westernmost brewery, serves a spectrum of beer, from light to dark. I sampled 6 of the 10 house beers.
- Leilani Light is a light golden ale, brewed with a touch of crystal malt and lightly hopped for a mellow character. For a light beer, it has a sophisticated taste with a rich flavor. 4.3% ABV (alcohol by volume), 27 IBUs (International Bitterness Units).
- Na Pali Pale Ale is a generously dry hopped American pale ale. The flavor is hop dominant, with a bitter, clean finish. It’s not quite heading into IPA territory but it’s approaching the border. This is one of the best pale ales I’ve ever had! Really. This beer is most definitely growler-worthy! 5.4% ABV, 54 IBUs.
- Pakala Porter is a full-bodied porter with a rich chocolate, roasted flavor. It’s named after an aggressive surf break. Kauai Island Brewery says, “this beer is not for the light-hearted beer drinker, but is a sure delight for any dark beer fan.” I can agree with that. This porter is the color of a moonless night. It has a velvety soft mouthfeel. The smooth, mildly bitter roasted flavor reminds me of my trip to Kauai Coffee and the delicious Poipu Estate Espresso Roast I sampled there. 4.9% ABV, 29 IBUs.
- Cane Fire Red has a malty character provided by a blend of Crystal malts, balanced by assorted fresh hops. I found this red ale to be lighter in flavor and color than San Diego red ales like Railslide Red or Sharkbite Red. It looked and tasted more like an amber ale to me—perhaps because it’s a bit maltier than the hoppy reds I typically drink. 5.8% ABV, 62 IBUs.
- South Pacific Brown has a mild roasted character that’s enhanced with a hint of smoked malt. Funnily enough, although the brown ale is only 42 IBUs compared to 62 for the red ale, I thought it tasted more bitter due to its roasted flavor. The brown ale’s color is also a deeper red hue than the Cane Fire Red. So, although the South Pacific Brown isn’t technically a red ale, I enjoyed it as if it was. 4.8% ABV, 42 IBUs.
- Captain Cook’s IPA was created as tribute to the hoppy ales brewed in the 1700s for the lengthy journey from England to Hawaii. Kauai Island Brewery says IPAs are their favorite beer style and this is evident in this beer, which boasts 15 pounds of hops for 155 gallons of beer. It has a delicious nose and opens with flavors of piney, citrus hops. The hop flavors then evolve on the palate and linger. This beer is a hefty 80 IBUs and you can taste each and every unit of bitterness. It’s just like putting a fresh hop cone in your mouth. My buddy, an IPA aficionado, was going to take a growler of this to go but the keg ran dry while we were there. At least we got to try it! 6.2% ABV, 80 IBUs.
Kauai Island Brewery & Grill
- 6 oz. sampler $2.25
- 16 oz. pint of house beer $5.25
- 64 oz. growler $22; refills $16
- During happy hour from 3:30-5:30 p.m., house draughts are $4.
The pub-fare menu includes pupus, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, fresh fish and entrees. We sampled the daily special of 3 Ahi Tacos & Fries for $14.95. We also tried the Parmesan Crusted Calamari Strips for $10.95, which included a half-pound of panko-breaded calamari, lightly seasoned, and served with a furikake ranch sauce (tastes like a blend of ranch dressing and wasabi). Light, crispy, delicious!
The facility has high ceilings for an airy feel, and a wooden bar, tables and chairs for a more earthy feel. In addition to house and guest beers, the full bar serves wine, mixed drinks and cocktails. There are 5 flat screen HDTVs to watch games. The brewpub also has an array of logo t-shirts on the wall; I took home a longsleeve navy blue shirt.
Kauai Island Brewery & Grill is located in the Port Allen Marina Center at 4350 Waialo Rd. in Port Allen, Hawaii. It’s open 7 days a week from 11 a.m.
As the westernmost brewery, it’s the “last beer before tomorrow.” No matter which way you’re headed, this brewpub is definitely worth a stop!
Note: Kauai Chocolate Company is across the street at 4341 Waialo Rd. The Peanut Butter Brick is so big and rich, it can take a couple days to eat.
Crave – food & drink
Kauai Beer Company opened its new tasting room in Lihue, Hawaii a little over a month ago. (You can tell it’s a brand new facility by the clean white walls and ceiling!) It’s currently open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 12-6 p.m. I visited on Saturday and found the wooden bar and barstools populated with true beer aficionados, including more than one homebrewer.
Kauai Beer Company, in fact, grew from a passion for homebrewed beer and a hobby that started 35 years ago in a garage in Poipu. Today, the small craft brewery features German-style beers, perfect for hot, humid Hawaiian days.
I sampled the 4 house beers on tap:
- Helles Swells helles lager – I found this to be a very light beer and slightly sweet—nice for when you want something really light. 5.1% ABV (alcohol by volume), 17 IBUs (International Bitterness Units—a measure of the bitterness of beer).
- Lihue Lager helles lager – Kauai Beer Company describes this as a session beer—crisp and refreshing, with a medium body and pale straw color. I found it to have a fuller flavor than the Helles Swells—definitely a great session beer. 4.4% ABV, 18 IBUs.
- A Hoppy Accident pale lager – This beer, too, was refreshing and had a very unique, tasty flavor. I detected a hint of soft fruit flavor like dried mango, perhaps from the hops or caramel malt. 5.5% ABV, 40 IBUs.
- Black Limousine schwarzbier dark lager – The name Black Limousine implies a smooth, stylish ride and this beer delivers. It’s dark in color but light in body. It has notes of coffee and toffee up front, a fine porter-like flavor, and a roasty finish. This was my favorite beer of the day and definitely growler-worthy! 4.5% ABV, 28 IBUs.
- 4 oz. sample $2
- 12 oz. glass $4
- 16 oz. pint $5
They also sell growlers for $20 and refills for $15, for a total of $35 your first time. What’s really smart is that the growler is stainless steel—ideal for a destination frequented by tourists. It’s much easier to get a metal growler home than glass.
Kauai Beer Company’s tasting room is located at 4265 Rice Street in Lihue, Hawaii. Their ultimate goal is to open a restaurant in front of the brewery that creates simple, high-flavor dishes that pair well with beer.
Kauai Beer Company
Crave – food & drink
Kauai Coffee’s Koloa Estate is the largest coffee farm in the United States. The 3,100-acre coffee plantation is home to 4 million coffee trees—and it’s GMO-free. The coffee is grown in volcanic soil, where it’s touched by mountain rain, warm Pacific sunshine and gentle Hawaiian trade winds. And every coffee bean is roasted right there.
Coffee trees at Kauai Coffee
With anything in Hawaii (which can be pricey), free is good. And the Kauai Coffee Visitor Center offers free tastings of their entire line of 100% Hawaiian, estate-grown coffees. There’s also a free walking tour.
My favorite among the Kauai Estate Reserve Dark Roast coffee samples was Kauai Blue Mountain—smooth with a bright finish. My fave among the Medium Roast samples was the Peaberry Medium—dry and smoky. Runner-up Medium Roast coffees were Big Braddah, Poipu Estate Medium, and the Visitor Center Roast. And, finally, my pick among the Flavored Coffees was the Coconut Caramel Crunch, with the Chocolate Macadamia Nut a close second.
The Visitor Center is located at 870 Halewili Road in Kalaheo. You can sample coffees, stroll through the coffee orchard, browse in the gift shop, or order a coffee beverage or food.
Tip: If you’re staying in Poipu Beach, it’s a great place to stop on the way to Kauai Island Brewing Co., which will be featured in a future blog post. More tasting is needed there…
Book Buzz – DARK SURF news & goings-on
There are lots of fun things about being an author. One is location scouting.
I like to think of the location as a character in my book. It not only gives the characters a place to interact with each other, it influences what they do and how they do it. The location can dictate things like how they dress, what foods and beverages they’ll eat and drink, what they’ll do for work or play, and the overall vibe of the story.
For me, there are many different facets to location scouting. One, obviously, is to identify real-life locations where my fictional characters will go. Another is to figure out what they will experience while there. When they move from one location to another, is it uphill or downhill? How does the air feel? What is the look and texture of the sand beneath their feet? What is the color and temperature of the ocean? What does the sky look like at sunset? How does the food taste? Where can they get tasty, local craft beers and what are they? What do they see out the car window?
In the sequel to DARK SURF, which I’m in the midst editing/rewriting, some characters head to Maui to hunt down some other characters. So, last summer, I spent time in Maui to identify locations and gather experiential information that I can use for my characters.
They also spend time in the Monterey Bay, which I know well. Still, I actually drove and walked through the resort where my characters will stay, and strolled the sand dunes and beach—several times—to gather all the details I need to make their experiences realistic and entertaining.
A couple characters also go to Kauai for some R&R. So I’m getting ready to head to the island to figure out how they’ll be spending their time. I can’t wait to see what I find. Aloha!
Crave – food & drink
San Diego is my favorite craft beer destination.
San Diego Beer Week kicks off today and runs thru Nov. 10. I wish I could go! A 2-day beer tasting festival takes place Nov. 1-2. And over the next 10 days, breweries and restaurants will host more than 600 craft beer events.
Later this month is the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival. Held Nov. 18 to 24, the event features cooking classes, tasting panels, celebrity chef dinners, and tasting events.
The SDBW+F event I most want to attend is The San Diego Classics: Fish Tacos & Craft Beers Featuring the Fish Taco TKO Competition. After all, what is more classic San Diego than fish tacos and beer? Hosted at the new Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens location in Liberty Station, attendees will sample craft beers on draft while weighing in on the chefs’ fish taco creations. This event is Nov. 19 from 6-9 p.m. and tickets are $45. I can’t go because I’ll be in the middle of the Pacific Ocean that evening. But if you attend, let me know how it is!
Vampire Bites – musings & news
What’s your VAMPIRE NAME? Let me know at Facebook.com/TCZmak or Twitter @TCZmak!
Pulse – events & entertainment
The right music can totally make a TV show or movie. Take the most recent episode of Coven, for example. Sara by Fleetwood Mac provided just the right tone for the scene with the necromancer, undead boy and black widow.
The right band or song can also make for a festive Halloween. What’s your all-time favorite Halloween music? Is it a band or artist? Or maybe a particular song like Everyday is Halloween by Ministry, Thriller by Michael Jackson, or Highway to Hell by AC/DC? Let me know at Facebook.com/TCZmak.
My personal Halloween fave? Oingo Boingo. One of the greatest live bands ever. And super-fun for Halloween—or any night of the year.
Pulse – events & entertainment
The countdown begins! Halloween is 1 week away. What are you dressing as this year?
Something supernatural like a witch, a vampire, or a zombie from The Walking Dead? Or maybe Walter White from Breaking Bad, or a Red Wedding guest (corpse) from Game of Thrones? A superhero? A sexy (fill in the blank)? Or a pop culture icon/joke (twerk at your own risk).
Let me know your costume of choice at Facebook.com/TCZmak.