Merriman's in Waimea is probably the most famous restaurant here on the Big Island of Hawaii.
We've eaten here almost every time we have visited this island. Today, we drove up for lunch -- it's around an hour from the condo we are renting. On the way there and back, we stopped at several breathtaking beaches which I'll post later.
I took photos of Merriman's kitchen and our desserts today. My choice was perfect Waimea strawberries in a tapioca pudding. Len had the chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and espresso sauce. We started with salad -- local red and yellow tomatoes, local goat cheese -- and soup, and both had fish for the main course, garnished with other local vegetables.
Lilikoi tastes of the day: I had lilikoi iced tea. Len's fish came with a lilikoi-flavored dipping sauce. As I recall, I had the lilikoi mousse last year, but it's still on the menu.
A little background: Peter Merriman, the restaurant's founder, was one of the inventors of Pacific Rim cuisine, and developed a whole local gourmet food-growing industry here. Since the climate is diverse, local food includes beef, lamb, herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, tropical fruit, goat cheese, mac nuts, and probably other items as well. Fresh ocean fish complements the farm offerings. The restaurant has been in business for over 20 years, and there are now additional Merriman's on other islands -- but this is the original, in the heart of the farm country where the produce grows. For more on Merriman's, see their website.