Dining around the islands

PETA picks Kauai
restaurant for honors

Dining without violence is the aim of Blossoming Lotus restaurant in Kapaa, Kauai.

"Our goal is essentially to bring peace to the planet through nonviolent eating," says Jessica Murray, one of the "worker-owners" who as a collective run the 2-year-old restaurant.

Vegan sushi rolls are on the Living Foods menu at Blossoming Lotus on Kauai.

That philosophy -- and the menu -- has won the restaurant recognition from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals as Restaurant of the Month nationwide.

Blossoming Lotus is featured this month on the Web site

"This vibrant restaurant, decorated with colorful artwork from local Kauai artists and awash in the sounds of upbeat world music, continues to win new converts -- and is converting more than a few carnivores in the process," is PETA's assessment.

The restaurant's chef, Mark Reinfeld, has a master's degree in holistic nutrition. His menu marries local ingredients with international sensibilities -- "vegan world fusion cuisine" is his term.

PETA cited such dishes as Govinda's Curry, vegetables and tofu flavored with coconut and served over brown rice; and Tropical Paradise Salad, Okinawan sweet potato prepared with coconut milk and served with organic greens.

PETA also singled out the Living Foods menu -- raw dishes that include nori rolls, pts, dips, pastas and fruit pies.

Murray says the restaurant does a "raw day" on Fridays "to draw in the population of raw-foodists we know are here but don't have anywhere to eat out."

Every week, a different country's cuisine is featured, with dishes adapted so that no ingredient is prepared at higher than 116 degrees. The technique, she says, keeps enzymes in the foods and makes them easier to digest.

Response to the restaurant has been good, Murray says, and plans are to expand from the small, 30-seat space to a larger location across the street.

The original space will be kept for the restaurant's bakery and growing catering service.

Eventually, the co-owners hope to expand to other islands and the mainland.

More information on the restaurant and vegan recipes can be found at

Winemaker dinners

California winemaker Greg Graziano will host two dinners featuring Italian varietals:

Baci Bistro: 6:30 p.m. Aug. 19. A five-course meal with seven wines costs $85. Call 262-7555.

The Willows: 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 20. KHVH radio's Rick Hamada hosts. Cost is $40, including eight wines. Call 952-9200.

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