I'm kinda taking thing out of sequence for this one.......after a night's rest in Kona, we headed out to Hilo. We did stop at the Keauhou Saturday's Farmer's Market, but I'll include that in a future post (you'll see why), where I managed to grab some breakfast. We rolled into one of my favorite little towns on the Big Island, Waimea....which my friends and I always call Kamuela. It a farming community with a lot of heart. I almost took a job there in the mid-nineties....I wonder how things would be if I did? Anyway, my good friend's family had a plot in the town...aka an empty lot that needed upkeep from time to time. So we'd escape to Kamuela....have beers at the Parker Ranch Broiler, which is now in a new location.....
I'd been looking forward to checking out the town and we arrived at a shade after 10am. It seemed like a busy Saturday, malls on each side of the street had major Craft Fairs going on. The Missus really enjoyed the farming village vibe....... Parker Ranch, founded in 1847, years before most of the cattle ranches were established in the Southwest, and once upon a time, the largest family owned ranch in the United States (it's now run by a trust), calls the area home. So it's major cattle country. You can literally walk into Foodland and see grass fed beef sold cheaper then the usual corn fed stuff!
Like I said, the Missus was taken by the town.......
I'm thinking the Missus will want to spend at least a night here next time we're around.....
As for lunch....well I had one place in mind. Ever since I read this post on James Rubio's Big Island Grinds, I've been wanting to check out Village Burger.
Located in the Parker Ranch Center, Village Burger features pasture raised beef and locallysourced ingredients.....they actually even told us where they got the very delicious and ripe tomatoes we had on our burgers. I was a bit surprised when I heard the owner is Edwin Goto; not a household name, but if you ever watched the old series Great Chefs of Hawaii, you might recognize the name.... So now it's burgers eh?
The little shop is attached to the food court in the shopping center, perhaps a bit odd, but kind of neat in a way. The process was very much standard fast-foodish.
I just wanted ot taste the local beef, so I went with the straight-forward "Hawaii Rancher's Beef" Burger ($7.50). No mayo........
First off....the burger was done just as ordered....no "shibai" about "we only serve our burgers yada...yada..." only to get a over cooked hockey puck. It was super moist and tender, though I expected a bit more beefiness. I ended up getting some whole grain mustard from the condiment counter which really brought the flavor up. The brioche was up to the task, with just a hint of sweetness....loved the flavor of the ripe tomato. This was just a nice burger......
The Missus went with the Hamakua Mushroom Burger; not cheap at nine bucks. It came on a yeasty roll.
They didn't mess with this too much, as the earthy flavors of the mushroom came through. It was well seasoned as well. There really wasn't much obvious binder in this, as it really looked like the previously cooked mushrooms, and there was quite a bit of it, was loosely bound, then placed in a burger ring and dusted with flour, corn/potato starch to create a crust...adding to things by providing a textural counter-point.
67-1185 Mamalahoa Hwy
Kamuela, HI 96743
Mon-Sat 1030am - 8pm
Sun 1030am - 6pm