|The open kitchen at Merriman's was an innovation, though now open kitchens are seen frequently.|
As we do just about every trip to Kona, we ate dinner tonight at Merriman's Restaurant in Waimea, around an hour's drive from where we're staying. The owner, Peter Merriman, founded the restaurant in 1988. He was one of several innovators who developed the Pacific Rim style of cuisine and various other innovations that have now become almost standard. Fortunately the restaurant has stayed true to its origins and is still wonderful, despite many imitators.
Merriman encouraged a number of farmers in the area to grow excellent produce and special meat for his restaurant. The results of his efforts and those of his cohort are still available in the restaurant as well as at farmers' markets and even supermarkets throughout the island. He worked with small-scale fishermen and created a number of dishes to use the local fish in the most delicious possible ways. He was an early promotor of small-scale local produce along with Alice Waters and several others in Hawaii and California. I've written about this restaurant before, and still love to eat there.
|Dinner begins with in-house bread and butter from a local dairy.|
Among the six of us, we tried several fish dishes. The special (top) included local farm-raised prawns, polenta, and broccoli. Manchong (lower left) and ahi tuna (right) were also on the menu.
|My dessert: lilikoi mousse with macadamia nut shortbread.|
|Of course we don't spend all day eating -- though we did have lunch at the most highly recommended hamburger place|
in Hilo. We spent the afternoon at the Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Garden, which is in a beautiful seaside setting.
|Light and shadow in the garden today were stunning.|
|The waves were very high and breaking up on the rocky shore.|