Sunday



If you cross Gilligan’s island with Robinson Caruso, somewhere in between lays Le Taha’a Private Island and Resort. Actually, it too is on a Motu, not the actual island of Le Taha’a, which means that it has sandy beaches and blue lagoons, with some of the best coral and fish snorkeling in the region, if not the world. The island of Taha’a is often referred to as “The Vanilla Island” as much of the world’s natural vanilla comes from here. It was also the center for fire walking ceremonies. If the main island is quiet, the Private island resort is even quieter. Tom and katie Cruise recently stayed here for ten days in villa #7, which has a peek-a-boo view of the peaks of Bora Bora and was our villa, as well (however, the best view bungalows are #3 – 6).



Le Taha’a Gastronomique Quelle Horror!

Although the food in the Gastronomique restaurant is excessively expensive and close to atrocious (and not even worth reviewing, albeit a beautiful and intimate setting), the breakfast buffet is conversely rumored to be the best in French Polynesia, and we had to agree.

Carafes and teak boats filled with myriad food selections surrounded the plethora of items available for consumption when breakfast calories are of no concern. Served in their “Vanille” restaurant, which is a sensational tree-house looking area on raised pontoons, one can choose a table under the shade of a local palm and consume fabulous French baked goods such as croissants, croissants aux chocolate, muffins and more. The French Toast is fabulous and so are the pancakes. The bacon is imported from New Zealand, and it’s thick and smokey. There’s also all variety of egg dishes, including omelettes, and various salads and concoctions. Add all of that to island fresh yogurts made with all sorts of tropical fruits, pallets of fresh pineapple, mango, papaya, guava, grapefruit, bananas and more, and the only thing missing is a bigger stomach. Le Taha’a Private Island and Resort lacks the sophistication of its newer competitors in the islands, but that said, it is a fabulous place to start your trip, and an even better way to start your day with their breakfast buffet.

TE HONU ITI – MOOREA

Cook’s Bay
Tel 79 29 98
www.restohonuiti.com
referenced in “1000 places to see before you die”
Poele D’or 1974

Straight across the twelve mile Sea of the Moon from Tahiti, at only twenty square miles, this luxuriant and fertile island is dominated by spires and peaks. It is an amazing blend of lagoon, mountain, jungle and sea, and it explodes with natural beauty beyond description. So much so, that it’s been used by many filmmakers as backdrops of their productions, including Mutiny on the Bounty (starring a young Mel Gibson). The dramatic jagged peak of Mouaroa was inspiration for Michener’s Bali Hai”, and we were inspired by a little local restaurant that cooked up a feast to match its island home.

“The Little Turtle” in Polynesian, this small, captivating restaurant on the sea on the enchanting, lush island of Moorea delivers a big bang for the buck. Owned and operated by Chef Roger who immigrated from France 31 years ago, and his native Chinese-Polynesian wife along with their two adult sons, the cuisine is typical French utilizing only the very freshest of ingredients, spices and elements. The breads are all homemade (actually made by our waiter), and are to die for; which is what you actually may do before you leave the restaurant, so don’t plan on rushing through this meal.

Just a short drive from the docks at Cook’s Bay (They will pick you up from there and drop you off, free of charge, and in fact Chef Roger gave us a ride), what looks like a little shack, greets you with an aroma of food smells that is a little bit of heaven. Made from local woods, the establishment has window (well, there’s no glass) tables with views of the lush tropical landscapes and dramatic unspoiled mountains beyond. The dining room is dotted with paintings the Chef made himself and which are of course, for sale; his wife often sets up a table with pearls and other collectibles, many of which are quite beautiful and reasonable (although bargaining is not the course in the islands, we noted that she had no problem with lowering her prices if asked).

After gorging ourselves on the breads, Michael enjoyed the Seafood Soup which was loaded with shrimp, mahi mahi, and other assorted sea foods, and was sensational. He followed this with the mahi mahi smothered in vanilla sauce, and although all the dishes were a bit heavy on the sauces a la typical French fare, it too was sensational. Scott more than thoroughly enjoyed the fresh lobster which was one of the most tender and juiciest lobsters he’s eaten. It too had a creamy sauce of vanilla and other assorted spices, making the dish unforgettable. The lunch was a bit pricey at about $130, but well worth it. Be careful to take a Visa or Mastercard as they do not accept Amex and you may wind up doing dishes, which is what the waiter suggested when all we had was our American Express card. We could have left home without it.

The Polynesian Legend of the Test of the Javelin

There was a princess in the Hawaiian Islands who wanted to marry a valiant hero. The news came to Tahiti and Ta-fa’i, made the journey to Hawaii with his five cousins to seek her hand in marriage, but the king put their courage to the test.

Tafa’i and his cousins armed themselves with javelins. They were to kill the famous pig named “Whole Swallower”, a monster who ate people. The first Tahitian threw his javelin, which bounced off the thick hide of the pig, and then he was immediately swallowed up. The same fate awaited all the others too.

When it was Tafa’i’s turn, he plunged his javelin into the pig’s throat and emerged victorious. He carved up the pig and his cousins came out and returned to life. Tafa’I was recognized unquestionably as the greatest hero Hawaii had ever seen. The king offered his daughter’s hand in marriage, but to his surprise, the Tahitian warrior refused, declaring, “And now farewell, we are returning to our country”.

The Hawaiians understood that they had gravely offended their guests by imposing this test on them. The Tahitians returned home and decided to choose their brides in Tahiti, where there lived young girls of incomparable beauty. They had celebrations of legendary proportions, including fresh pineapples, mangos, papayas, grapefruits, bananas, breadfruit, and of course, roasted pig.



The moral of this legend: Tahiti is indeed close to heaven, and the food they prepare is not far behind. Make your own legends and put Tahiti and her islands on your travel and culinary map.

Posted by The Dining Duo | 7:53 PM | , , , , , , , | 0 comments »

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