Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dinner on the Lanai

The restaurants in Kona and vicinity are good, but we also enjoyed eating on the lanai of our condo while watching the setting sun across the Pacific.

Monday, August 13, 2007

More of Merriman's Beautiful Food

We had lamb, veal, and steak dinners, all fantastically prepared. For children they make plain pasta. Besides the ice cream and mousse, Evelyn tried the "chocolate purse" which is filo dough around a brownie-type center, and Tom had the creme brulee selection.

Merriman's First Courses

Alice is especially fond of caesar salad, so she and Tom shared one; Miriam had a small one of her own. Lenny had the famous local tomatoes. I had the local avocado, bacon, and lettuce salad. Evelyn had the beet and mixed vegetable salad with blue cheese.

Ready for Dessert

This evening we ate dinner at the legendary Merriman's Restaurant in Waimea, famous for its innovations in Hawaiian cuisine and for its interactions with local farmers, using local ingredients and encouraging the farmers to try new crops. Unlike many chefs who became famous and then expanded into an empire of restaurants or a personality cult on TV, Peter Merriman is still pretty much involved with running his three modest-sized restaurants and contining to work with local agriculture.

We were on the way back from a long day at the waterfall, botanical garden, and overlook of the Waipio Valley, along with lots of sightseeing from the car. We also had a delightful lunch at a little cafe near the waterfall park. Later I'll try to post the photos of the rest of dinner, but here we are all ready to eat our great desserts: Strawberry Ice Cream and Passion Fruit Mousse.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Kona Inn Terrace

The view from the Kona Inn restaurant is indeed beautiful. The old kings of Hawaii really knew a good location!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Kona Inn

The Kona Inn was the only hotel in Kona in the 1920s. Downtown Kona is now very touristy in a retro sort of way -- but it was once the location of the summer palaces of the kings, queens, and other royals, and the landing place for the few determined tourists who then took the long donkey ride to see the volcano. Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jack London, Somerset Maugham -- many famous writers described the older hotels and homes once at this location.

The old hotel rooms are now small shops but the dining room, overlooking the beautiful Kona harbor, still serves lunch and dinner. The old system of belt-driven ceiling fans still brings the sea breeze into the dining area. A lawn goes down to the old lava-rock wall, where even small waves cause a bit of foam to crash upward -- today is calm, but if hurricane Flossie gets here next week the waves will be breaking over the wall.

We have had the fish sandwiches and calamari sandwiches here every time we come to Kona, and have always enjoyed the view.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Brew Pub in the Middle of the Pacific

We have now had lunch at the Kona Brewing Company twice. They have a really nice pub menu, and are also quite kid-friendly with widely-spaced outdoor tables and a "gecko" menu including kid-portions of mac and cheese served with potato chips. Also crayons.

All our fellow-divers on Monday recommended it, especially mentioning the hummous platter and the salads, which we tried immediately. Warm herb-flavored pita triangles and sliced raw vegetables go with the hummous.

Thursday we tried fresh fish sandwiches (surpassing any fish in a mainland brewpub), pork quesadilla (local style pork, remember pork is Poynesian), and ice cream with porter fudge sauce. Evelyn and Tom tried the "Beer-i-misu" also made with porter.

ADDENDUM: One More Lunch

For Evelyn's birthday we ate once more at the brewpub. Still very nice.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Big Island Lunch at the Keei Cafe

On the way back from snorkeling this morning we stopped for lunch at the Keei Cafe. The Lilikoi iced tea was really delicious. Lilikoi is Hawaiian for passion fruit. I had a fresh fish taco, and Lenny had an eggplant sandwich. It's a really pleasant restaurant with a nice sea breeze, even though it faces the busy highway 11.

The bus boy who brought us our mango cobbler for dessert explained the sauces surrounding it: lilikoi is yellow, strawberry is pink, and on top a few ohelo berries which grow only on the volcano side of the island. The NeNe geese like to eat them. I liked them myself! [Later addition: the ohelo berries turn out to be sacred to Pele, and the ancient Hawaiians only ate them after making a special incantation to her.]

The busboy -- a young man with peroxided hair -- told us about his trip to Wichita, Kansas. He tried going outside without a coat in 20 degree weather, just to see what it felt like. He was really shocked at how "rude" the flight attendants were on his very long flights -- that doesn't surprise me, as the Hawaiians are incredibly polite and helpful people. As soon as we ever get off the plane in Honolulu, we can tell the difference!