Craving A Bit of Hawaii in Utah? Head to Kaili’s!!!


My mouth is watering as I dream of a fresh Seasoned Cake Noodle. Best described as a sort of Asian style latke, only with noodles instead of potatoes, covered in tangy teriyaki sauce and moist chicken. I think of breaking the crispy pan-fried crust and diving into the soft middle. Surprisingly, this Hawaiian derived dish is not found in Oahu, but in a little Southwestern desert town that you have never heard of, Santa Clara, UT. Even more surprising is the building, a restored pioneer home from the 1870’s, complete with front porch and surrounded by a garden of herbs and flowers.

Owner Herb Basso, a native of Oahu, and his wife Wendy, opened the restaurant in 2013 based on a Pacific Rim theme. They knew Santa Clara was out of the way and that to succeed the restaurant needed to be special. It is. Freshness is a key component. The Bassos live down the street and have an extensive garden at their home. Some of the produce finds its way onto the plates of their guests. Much of the rest of the produce is bought at the produce stand across the street.  This means the dishes change seasonally and can include things not normally found at restaurants such as a long curling Asian string bean Herb grew in the garden, persimmons, roasted beets or chard. Even though it is not listed on the menu, you MUST ask for the melon ice cream, which is refreshing and not too sweet. All of this upscale freshness is reasonably priced. The only thing on the menu that didn’t thrill me was the mint infused lemonade. It was well-made, but the mint didn’t quite work. (That’s a matter of taste.  OraLynn loves mint lemonade)

The building itself adds to the charm. Refurbished wood floors, small rooms and white tablecloths make the atmosphere cozy. The original architectural features make it feel less like a business and more like a home. Despite the size they easily accommodated our group of seven, including a baby and children. If the weather is nice head outside to dine in the garden surrounded by rosemary bushes and hollyhocks. Either way find your way to this garden-to-table mom and pop gem. And if you are wondering about the name, ask Herb to tell you about his uncle, the first Hawaiian to win the Medal of Honor.

There is no children’s menu, but if you ask, they have children’s portioned bowls for $5. They include rice and your choice of meat and sauce.

By: Rae




Cove Fort,UT

Rae and her family recently took a trip to Washington, Utah and Idaho.  Here’s her review of one of the places her family enjoyed.

If you find yourself in Utah at the junction of interstates 15 and 70, you can do like the early pioneers and stop at Cove Fort for a rest in your journey. You will find a clean bathroom, nice gardens and an interesting detour into history led by friendly volunteer guides. Unlike the pioneers, you will not find a bed for the night, a hot meal or a blacksmith to repair your wagon. Although you can see where all those things happened as well as the telegraph office, barn, and cowboy bunk house.

In 1867 Brigham Young asked Ira Hinckley to move to the area and establish a fort as a waystation and safe refuge for travelers. Hinckley and his family then ran the fort for over twenty years. Nowadays you can see the bustling life the family led as Mrs. Hinckley and her seven daughters cooked for 30-40 people a day and lodged them. The family’s private rooms as well as the dining hall and lodger’s rooms are all decorated in period pieces. Don’t worry, all the antiques are behind waist high plexiglass so your kids can’t hurt anything.

(First picture is a cowboy mousetrap. Second picture is of a pioneer game)

Behind the fort is the blacksmith shop where Mr. Hinckley repaired wagons and shod horses. There is plenty to touch and climb on for modern boys as well. A prairie schooner is used for photo ops. The cowboy bunkhouse has a pioneer hoop game they can play and a cowboy mousetrap that enthralled my four-year-old. The boys were encouraged to move the 1,000lb fort doors, which they could. They also received a souvenir spool and yarn toy.

The volunteer guides are senior-citizens from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, many grandparents themselves. Our guide was knowledgeable, friendly and seemed to genuinely enjoy sharing history with my boys. She tried to bring to life the Old West adventure had by the Hinckley boys. We also learned the origin of such phrases as “pop goes the weasel” and “sleep tight”.

(Life in the Old West)

If you are in the area, this site is well worth an hour of your time. Schedule is 9am to dusk with free admission. Parking, restrooms. Large lawn for running.


ADHD rating:

H – Medium (all the antiques are behind a plexiglass partition so they can’t destroy anything valuable)

Interest – Partial The guide did tailor the tour to our interests and as a grandmother, was good at pulling the boy’s interest back.