Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Heavenly Hideaway on Secret Beach, Kauai

A Heavenly Hideaway on Secret Beach, Kauai

It’s true that the house Dahlia Haas bought and completely renovated on Kauai’s Secret Beach is breathtaking, but a house is just a house until it grows its personality, claims its character. Dali Hale is overflowing with personality, not in small part because of its effervescent owner, culinary wizard, Dahlia Haas. When she and her family are in residence in their Hawaii digs (they are based in Seattle) the kitchen, which Dahlia designed herself, is bustling. Traditional Hawaiian music fills the air along with the aromas of coconut, ginger and chili as the popular teacher/chef transforms vegetables from her organic garden into some surprising and inventive new recipe.

“I felt completely at home in Hawaii from the first moment I stepped off the plane twenty-three years ago,” she says. That might not sound unusual. Many people in southern California have an attachment to Hawaii. The islands are to Californians what Florida is to New Yorkers, a familiar escape to a lush tropical environment. But in Dahlia’s case the journey to Kauai and her sense of Hawaii being absolutely the “right” place is not so run of the mill. That’s because Kauai is exactly 8,696 miles from Alexandria, Egypt where she was born and then, along with her family, forced to flee a hostile political climate. The refugee family’s first stop on their search for a home was Paris. Though she was quite young at the time, Dahlia remembers shopping in the boulangeries and patisseries of Paris. “I am sure my love of food comes from there,” she says laughing. “I remember as a little girl having French bread, chocolate and café au lait.” But the Paris years were few before the family moved and finally settled in Seattle, a place they knew nothing about but had been told, Dahlia says laughing, that it would be a lot like Egypt.

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