The $10,000 Mai Tai, + S. American Wine Sippin'

The $10,000 Mai Tai, + S. American Wine Sippin'

Times are, well, what they are. Which is why we feel obligated to pass along any stories that might lead to the fattening of your wallet, instead lieu of lightening it. The kind and charitable folks
at the Royal Kona Resort on The Big Island of Hawai`i are hosting the festive (and first) "Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival" on August 22. The day-long event will feature a number of intoxicating (for the senses and liver) activities, topped off with a $10,000 "World's Best Mai Tai" contest and a concert by the legendary group, Hapa.

There won't be a lack of edible eats at this festival: A "Battle of the BBQ" contest pits top Big Island chefs against one another for the coveted "People's Choice" award. Patrons to the festival will have many opportunities to sample the wares of these chefs, who will transform local produce, fish and meats using their culinary prowess. Additionally, a Big Island Marketplace will offer people a chance to purchase said produce directly from locale farmers and growers.

Participating bar tenders (who are arriving from various watering holes in Hawaii, the Caribbean, California, Florida and beyond) will concoct their tastiest 'tai and present it to a panel of judges, chosen by the event sponsors, Bacardi Rum, and Beachbum Berry, who will also give a seminar on the history of the Mai Tai. This open contest will whittle down to 24 selected bartenders, who will square off on August 22nd, and be scored on factors that include flavor, presentation and so on. The winner will walk away with $10,000, in addition to being featured in Bacardi promotional materials ongoing.

The Royal Kona is offering special Mai Tai Festival rates for the weekend, which can be found at www.HawaiianHotels.com, by calling (800) 22-ALOHA or speaking with your travel professional.

Sip + Swirl Malbec at Mauna Kea

Down the road a bit from Kailua-Kona, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is hoping enophiles looking to get a taste of South America will join their "Argentine Summer BBQ" event this Wednesday, August 19, at 6:30 p.m. on the hotel's North Lawn. Chefs George Gomes Jr. and Matt Zubrod (of Monettes Restaurant) will whip up their favorite South American-inspired BBQ delights, while patrons sip on wines hailing from the same region. They include: Malbec's Crios Rose, BenMarco and Susan Balbo; another Crios from Torrontes a Luca Chardonnay, Tikal's "Patriota" Bonarda-Malbec blend, and others.

Tickets are a respectable $95 for wines and food, and the setting couldn't be more apropos. The resort is also offering a $50 credit on any room packages, which can be used for golf, dining, spa and other amenities throughout the property.

For more information visit www.MaunaKeaBeachHotel.com or call (808) 882-5810.

Festival-goers will have the opportunity to sample the wares of these top chefs, who will transform local produce, fish and meats using their culinary prowess.