Not everything makes it into a post, I've deleted many photos for posts that never got started....that Mariscos place where I got ill, that very good fine meal with no lighting....though unless we're travelling, I usually don't even break out the camera for those type of meals. And the one's I just never got around to.... I've done these "Never Made the Cut" posts before. Here's another batch.....
Recently, "Kha" sent me an email for some Hawaii recommendations, which included some requests for the North Shore.......
One of the places was Mackey's Shrimp Truck.......I sent him a photo and realized I never posted on the place.
Which made me realize that I had photos from meals during our travels that I never posted on. Too much time had passed.....
Sometimes I even had a very good meal, but the lighting was just too bad......like this revisit to The Old Fashioned.
Pickled Pork Hock...pickled egg.....
Nice burger.....and cheese curds of course....
And an adorable Server.......
But that lighting....ick......
I just plumb forgot about our revisit to Fresh Catch....
We enjoyed the poke much more this time around....
The Missus loved the really aged poi.....which was a surprise.....it was really funky.
This last one is from Tunis. It was a surprisingly decent meal......
This was pretty inexpensive as well.... in the Airport in Tunis! Airport staff and flight crew were on the other tables....so I guess this is the place!
So that's it....another Clearing Out the Memory Card post! Have a great weekend!
On our last full day on the Big Island we decided to just relax. We took a walk down Ali'i Drive then back around Kuakini Highway.
It was a quiet day, so we just drove around a bit and talked about lunch.....yes, you know us. Teshima's"old school Japanese restaurant" charm had really gotten to the Missus. So with not much else to do, we drove back up to Kealakekua and stopped by Teshima for lunch.
The Missus was craving fish so She immediately went for the "Fresh Catch" Sashimi Tray ($17.50) which was ahi.
For some reason, the Missus really enjoys the old fashioned tsukemono and sunomono. Ditto the old school miso soup.
The fish was very, very fresh, and the Missus scarfed up all twelve pieces in no time.
I went with the "Monday Special" ($12.75). Now I've read some complaints about the prices and portion sizes at Teshima.....but take a look at this for $12.75........
Five slices ahi sashimi, the teri beef was very "local" a bit chewy. The fried fish here is quite good as well.
The makizushi and inari sushi take me back to "small kid" time...though combined with a chawan of rice....man, that's more carbs than I usually consume in a whole day, or two, nowadays.
The Missus got the fried fish, tsukemono, sunomono, and miso soup.
So I had an order of the famous shrimp tempura($7.25) as well.
If you like crunch, these will fill the bill. The tempura is surprisingly light and crisp.
We both thought that it tasted a bit of old oil that needed to be changed though. There seemed to be a bit of an off taste and even some greasiness to all the tempura.
So in the end a good meal, but not wow'd by the tempura.
Teshima Restaurant 79-7251 Mamalahoa Hwy Kealakekua, HI 96750
We spent the rest of the day "just cruisin' around". Went to various stores, including a couple of health food places and walked around a bit.
After a very typical afternoon nap, we went out and took another walk around......through Long's, Hilo Hattie looking for gifts for the Missus's relatives and friends.
As it was getting to late afternoon, we discovered we were still pretty full. So we thought we'd go for some poke and beer for dinner. We walked back to the KTA and the pre-packaged selection looked terrible, so we went across the street to Sack n' Save. The poke selection there was better. I eventually settled on some ahi limu with inamona and of course boiled peanuts (not pictured), which went well with the Mehana Humpback Blue, which was the best of the three we gried during this trip.
This was ok. Not the best quality fish, the ogo kind of tough and dry, but passable.
I'm not a big fan of seaweed salad, but the Missus likes it......
As evening settled we saw a good number of locals who seemed to know each other parking in the back of the King Kamehameha. It seemed like there was a big party going on. So after eating and a quick shower we headed downstairs and strolled over to Kailua Pier.
That's Ahuʻena Heiau in the foreground. I guess some company was having their Christmas Party....yes, it was that long ago.
The chatter and laughter brought smiles to our faces as we just sat and took in the wonderful Kona evening. We had a great time in the Big Island. It had been too long since we were here last. We'll be back again soon......
After a nice lunch at The Manago Hotel, we noticed a "farmer's market" across the street.
It was the Sunday South Kona "Green Market".
There weren't too many produce stands, but lots of health food and "new age-y" type booths.
It was quite amusing. I turned to the Missus and told Her; "the sixties never ended, it just moved to South Kona". Seeing the all health products made me feel kind of guilty having eaten that nice pork chop across the street, but that didn't last very long.......
We jumped in the car heading toward Kona. But instead of stopping there we ended up all the way in Kawaihae and the Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company. The reason I remembered the place was because of the last photo in this post.
Part store, part factory, part tour, samples galore.
Like the sign says...."welcome to the nut house".........
After sampling just about everything they had out and chugging some samples of Kona coffee, I pretty much decided that the best items were plain nuts, the Spam flavored(more like bacon), and some of the glazed stuff.
All hail the shrine of Spam nuts......
There's a production line behind the window.......
you can even get your, ahem, nuts cracked.....
We had the whole place to ourselves and the nice ladies working here were a hoot!
As we paid for our stuff a minivan of tourists arrived and they were organizing a short "tour"....our que to hele on.
Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company 61-3251 Maluokalani St Kawaihae, HI 96743
After visits to places like Teshima's, Suisan, and Kawamoto's, you can see there's a kind of a running theme in our visit to the Big Island. With that in mind, I just had to stop at the Manago Hotel.
The hotel was built in 1917 and is still owned by the same family. There's a real "old-time" vibe to this place.
Walking down the hallways is like journey back in time.... You wonder what stories would be told if these walls could talk.
I hadn't stopped in here since the early 90's, but it looks the same to me. Especially the somewhat ramshackle, but charming "lunch room"......yes, they call it a restaurant, but it really reminds me of a plantation lunch room....mismatched furniture and all.
There's no menu handed to you when you are seated.....you read what's being served on the peg board and order. After placing your order, the server returns with your "side dishes", which you eat family style....you serve yourself.
Today, along with the big bowl of rice, there was long rice, macaroni-potato salad, which was well chilled, and blanched and marinated bean sprouts which was sort of like namul. The Missus pretty much whacked the bean sprouts and our server brought us another plate!
The one item I always have to get here are the pork chops. The big dilemma is; whether so get it pan-fried, or smothered in gravy. Seeing that there are kids now in college who weren't even born the last time I had the pork chops here, I went for the straight-up pan fried version.
I've been told that the cooks here use cast iron pans which are....well, older than I am. That's a well-seasoned pan. The bone in chops were a bit thinner than I remembered, but the wonderful crust and simple seasoning, salt, pepper, and maybe granulated garlic was just what I wanted. The chop isn't super-tender, but it has a pleasant chew, and was really moist. Sometimes I wonder if my food memories are a snapshot which has snowballed over time, creating its own reality. I'm glad to say, in terms of flavor, this was as I remembered.
The Missus had the pan fried ahi.
Which She said was simple, but well and honestly prepared.
There's something about a good meal which puts you in a nice frame of mind. There's also that great feeling you get when an old favorite still delivers....it makes everything seem right in the world for that moment. What the Manago hotel serves is good, simple, homey, honest, food, a snapshot of a different time. In this day and age of food fads, gimmicks, slow food - fast-food, farm to table, etc, etc, etc..... There's something almost refreshing about that.
Manago Hotel 82-6155 Mamalahoa Hwy Captain Cook, HI 96704
It seemed like the coqui frogs had a curfew of around 3am as I drifted in and out of sleep until then. Still, I got up at around 530 and we packed up and checked out of the Dolphin Bay Hotel. We had enjoyed our previous day in Hilo and we weren't quite done yet.
There's still a sleepiness to Hilo Town and many places are closed on Sundays. Still, I couldn't help but stop by Kawamoto Store, which holds typical Okazuya hours, opening at 6am and closing around noon....and they were open on Sunday to boot! Places like Kawamoto's holds a special place in my heart.....I basically grew up eating the most common and traditional Okazuya fare.
You basically say how many "bento" you like and then choose your items. All the classics were present and accounted for, shoyu chicken, maki sushi, "cone sushi" (what we call inari sushi back home), stuff like that. We put together a small bento to snack on later.......
There's something about places like this that are timeless......
Kawamoto Store 784 Kilauea Ave Hilo, HI 96720 Hours: Tues-Sat 600am - 1230pm Sun 600am - 1200pm
We then headed off to our breakfast destination; Kuhio Grille.
Located to the side of Prince Kuhio Plaza, this place has been around since the 90's and is probably most well known for the 1pound laulau, which I don't remember being that great, but that was a while ago. Since it was about 615 in the morning, no laulau for us, we were here for breakfast.
Not much going on this early in the morning, just us and a couple of tables of older folks......who else gets up so early on a Sunday, right?
This was just passable, the egg was nice and runny, but the fish was rather dry, and the miso soup was on the weak side.
Not wanting to fall back into a food coma; I went with the Loco Bowl ($6.99):
This was not bad, the egg was done right, though I could have done with a bit more crisp edges. The rice was decent, perhaps slightly on the dry side. The gravy was average, mainly salty. About that burger....well, it had that nice, old school char, seems like this griddle has some seasoning to it. The flavor was decent, the texture was very old school.......something I appreciated. The Missus had a taste and agreed.
Kuhio Grille 111 E Puainako St Hilo, HI 96720 Hours: Sat-Thurs 600am - 10pm Fri 600am - 11pm
After breakfast we headed over to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. We've been here many times and we love coming here. We actually had a late honeymoon at Volcano House all those years ago. There's basically one place we head to, which I'll get into later. A portion of Crater Rim Drive was closed because of fumes, so the Missus was a bit disappointed.
But the steam vents were going strong.
Halema'uma'u Crater, which is located in the larger Kilauea Crater wasn't nearly this active the last time we visited. No wonder there were all the sulfur dioxide gas warnings!
We saw several offerings to Pele as we walked around the crater..
It was quite a sight.....
There are many things to see here, the Thurston Lava Tube, great hiking trails (when they are open). The Iliahi (Sandalwood) Trail is one we've enjoyed several times. Or you can just drive down Chain of Craters Road and marvel at all the old lava flows. Each one is different.
With all due respect ot the wonders of Volcanoes National Park, the Missus and I have one tradition whenever we visit. And even the passing rain showers didn't stop us. We always drive to the end of Chain of Craters Road, park, it used to be that you'd park just a couple of yards from the flow, but now you walk about a half mile or so. I always take a photo of the Missus at the point where the lava is covering the road.
When we look back at the older photos, we've noticed that the flow has moved and even though things might seem the same when the picture is taken; looking at the photos all lined up reveals that nature never stays still. For us, this is a nice timeline of sorts....the Missus on the lava flow, moving, maybe at an imperceptible speed, but nevertheless, still slowly moving.
Mission accomplished, we headed back up the road and the back way to Kona. After a short "bento break" of course.
In the past, it always seemed that the Missus enjoyed Kona more. But like that lava slowly creeping forward, it seems that Hilo had won Her over after all these years. We'll spend more time in Hilo next time.
Our little road trip took us from the Keauhou Farmer's Market, through Kamuela, with a stop at Village Burger. Just outside Hilo, we made a stop at one of those "old familiar places", Akaka Falls State Park....which actually has two waterfalls; the smaller Kahuna Falls....and the "Big Kahuna", Akaka Falls.
The trail here is really easy, about a half mile total and was a good opportunity for the Missus and I to get out and stretch our legs.
Not much has changed here....except there's now a $5 parking fee.
There's something about bamboo that cools me and gives me that relaxed "aaaahhh" feeling.
Before heading to our hotel, we drove into Hilo, near the airport and hit up Big Island Candies.
I've often recommended visiting Big Island Candies when in Hilo, but always add on...."make sure to bring money." They'll start serving you samples from the time you walk in the door, don't be surprised if you've done the ol' credit card damage before leaving. I was surprised not to see a tour bus or two in the parking lot while we were there.
Instead of staying around Banyan Drive, we opted for the Dolphin Bay Hotel, in a semi-residential area, right across the Wailuku River from downtown Hilo. The place reminded me of those 60's-70's apartments I grew up in. No A/C, but there was a kitchenette....so we decided, as we often do, to self cater.
I'm lucky enough to remember the fish auction at Suisan, long gone now. Suisan is still the major food and seafood distributor on the island and of course the shop on Lihiwai Street is still open for business.
The Missus was shocked when She asked for samples they'd give Her a couple of pieces of fish to try. I was surprised at the quality of fish for the price.
We ended up buying some "stuffs" for dinner.
If you're staying on Banyan Drive, Lihiwai street is close by.
It also seems that if you buy fish from Suisan, you can take it to the shop next door and they'll fry it up for you.
Suisan Company Limited 93 Lihiwai St Hilo, HI 96720
We were happy to arrive on Saturday, because Suisan, like most of the other shops in Hilo is closed on Sunday.......we often joke that everyday feels like Sunday in Hilo, so Sunday feels like Christmas Day without the festivities!
We wanted to hit up one of our favorite places in Hilo, the Hilo Farmer's Market. We'd be leaving early the next morning, so even though the place was winding down, we wanted to see if things were as we remembered.
Even though the Farmer's Market runs 7 days a week, Wednesdays and Saturdays are the busiest, with the most vendors. You can get everything from rambutan to musubis here. The Missus loves the papaya from the market.
Located on the corner of Kamehameha Avenue and Mamo Street, you really shouldn't miss it if you're in Hilo.
Mon, Tues, Thurs, Sunday 7am - 4pm
Wed and Sat 6am - 4pm
It really seemed like Hilo hadn't changed much....... After driving back to the hotel, the Missus decided on going for a walk....a loooong walk. We'd pretty much seen most of Hilo during our previous visits, so I thought why not.? We walked from the hotel right off of Puueo Street onto Kamehameha Avenue, drifting in and out of businesses, finally stopping on Bishop Street....here you can see a bridge over the Wailoa River.
It hard to believe that this area was once Shinmachi "New Town", a "thriving community" which was wiped out in the tsunamis of 1946 and 1960. If you ever have the chance, check out the small, but interesting Pacific Tsunami Museum in Hilo.
It was getting a bit sticky out and we headed back....stopping at KTA to refresh ourselves in the A/C and pick up some liquid refreshment. Dinner itself was quite satisfying, all the great veggies and the saussicon we bought at the Keauhou Farmer;s Market.
Because we had samples of the poke from Suisan, we knew we'd enjoy it. Though there seemed to be a lot of "sauce", the two poke we had weren't salty. The Missus preferred the wasabi poke.
There was just enough wasabi in this with a touch of sweetness.
The furikake poke was also good, though not quite as good as the wasabi version.
We both really took to something they called "Hawaiian Candy" at Suisan. It's very crisp, dried fish....crunchy like candy, salty like dried fish, it has an addictive quality that we both enjoyed.
Since this doesn't need refrigeration it lasts and we snacked on it during the rest of our trip. Good stuff!
We had tried the Mehana Red Ale earlier in the trip, so we opted for the Pale Ale, which turned out to be a bit too "hoppy" for the Missus. I still enjoyed it though. I would have enjoyed visiting the brewery, but we were in Hilo outside of their hours.....we'll get that in next time.
Of course, we had to have some boiled peanuts which the Missus just couldn't get enough of. I think She would be perfectly happy if all we ate was poke and boiled peanuts the entire time we were home.
Because we'd be getting an early start the next morning, we crashed early....but man, those coqui frogs, an invasive species of tiny, quarter sized frogs from Puerto Rico which make a very loud "KOOO-KEEE" sound kept me awake. I don't recall it being this bad before. Yikes! Oh well, we were on vacation, so what a couple of million frogs mating outside our window, right? Perhaps things had changed in Hilo since our last visit after all.......
We left for Hilo on a Saturday morning, so we decided to drive back to the Keauhou Shopping Center on our way out of Kona. We had read a banner about the Keauhou Farmer's Market on Saturdays and had decided that maybe doing a bit of self catering might be the way to go for dinner. Of course there's still the Hilo's Farmer's Market, but the Missus was really enjoying the local produce...so why not? Also, I thought I'd grab something for breakfast as well.
The market is located in the "Long's side" of the shopping center and didn't seem very large.....but we enjoyed the range of merchants.
The stand that seemed to be getting the most attention was this one.
And with good reason. We bought a bag of tomatoes and a couple of cucumbers...they would be the best we would have on the trip.
Most of the folks here seemed to be regulars....the vendors knew a lot of them by name.
In the end, the Missus and I split up....She went to find some kale and other stuff, while I decided to get something to eat from here.
We didn't have anything in the way of a cooler or anything, but the weather wasn't particularly hot. I decided to buy a saussicon, a cured sausage which would hold up for dinner.
This shop made a nice variety of charcuterie, so I thought why not grab something for breakfast? The had an Asian influenced sausage and made something called a Banh Mi Royale.....I know, I'm not a fan of sticking anything in a roll and calling it a banh mi, but thought why not.
So while th Missus had cucumber, tomatoes, and other stuff, I had the banh mi royale.
The sausage itself was pretty tasty as was the chili mayo, but there was just too much of it slathered all over the rather routine roll. Way too much cilantro as well. The saucisson, however was delicious and would be a nice part of our dinner.
The Missus had found a stand selling this.
It's called a tamarillo, also known as tree tomato. And is also from the nightshade family. It has a very thick skin, which is slightly bitter, the pulp is very much tomato like, nice acid and a bit sweet. We would see this fruit several more times while on the island, so I guess it's being grown here now. Apparently, the fruit, native to South America, is now being grown, harvested, and exported from New Zealand as well. We may start seeing these more in the near future.
We really enjoyed the short time we spent here and will return when in the area in the future. We were eating, sitting on the parking lot wall, and admiring this view........
Talk about a nice morning......
Keauhou Farmer's Market in the Keauhou Shopping Center Saturday 8am - 12pm 78-6831 Alii Drive Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
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.....
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.
I thought the basic burger was well priced, perhaps the mushroom burger was on the pricey side, but to the Missus it was well worth it.
Even though we'd eaten and done the coffee tour thing, it was still pretty early. So I decided to head over to what I'd recommend for a quick first stop in Kona....it's close to the airport, you can stock up on water if you're staying for more than 3-4 days....Costco....yep, Costco. My friends know how much I dread going to Costco, the crowds, the insanity....but here I was going of my own accord. This being the Big Island, meant that Costco might have some interesting items.....
Rambutan seems to be much more popular than I recall......though I hadn't been to the Big Island in almost a decade. They even sell it at Costco.
It was great to see local products being sold at Costco. You can even get local poi!
Or even Hamakua Mushrooms......
And what other Costco has its own Guard-Rooster??? Pretty aggressive little fella'. Make sure you don't take his "reserved space"!
We then headed off back to Kona and was able to check in at the King Kamehameha....which was a good choice for us. Nothing fancy but the location, at the top of Ali'i Drive worked for us. The interior of the hotel is much nicer than the exterior which looked a bit dated. The staff was also very nice, especially the parking lot ladies who always smiled and waved us and in and out.
That taken care of.....means it was time for lunch, right? We headed up Palani Drive to Kuakini Highway, then back down to Ali'i Drive and a small shop called Da' Poke Shack.
The little shop with a couple of parking spots and tables outside has about a dozen varieties of poke...which you can get a la carte as a bowl or as a plate (with two sides).....though the plate seemed a bit steep at $20, we decided that it was something we could share as a rather light lunch.
I ordered the "Shack Special" which was a mildly sweet furikake poke and the "Wet Hawaiian" which was some kind of award winning version of poke....brown rice with kimchi and seaweed salad as our sides.
The portion sizes of the fish seemed to hover around 4-5 ounces. They told me, this was ahi......it seemed like tombo ahi - albacore, or even A'u as the fish seemed a bit mushy. Regardless, it was fresh, the flavors not too bad, maybe a bit on the salty side.
We shared our table with this momona (chubby) dove, who has obviously been eating well.
Not the best poke I've had, kind of pricey, but probably the best in the area.
Da Poke Shack 76-6246 Alii Dr Kailua, HI 96740
Open Daily: 10am - 6pm
We then attended to the next task at hand.....trying to figure out what was for dinner! Since the room had a decent mini-fridge, we decided to check out KTA in Keauhou, which we recalled as being pretty decent. We did make a couple of purchases and headed back to our room with a self-catered meal on hand.
After freshening up, we took a nice stroll up Ali'i Drive a bit....which basically looked the same, except for the lack of tourists. We watched the sunset from the back of the Kona Inn.......which never, ever, gets old.
We then walked up a bit further, cut over to Kuakini Highway and made our way back to our room........and dinner, which was pretty simple. The Missus loves boiled peanuts.
And smoked ahi.......
I really enjoyed the local grass fed pipikaula poke, which I thought was really tasty....didn't like the look of the poke on sale, and frankly, if you don't have a fish counter, I ain't going to buy it.
The pipikaula had a nice chew and the flavor was nice and beefy; this wasn't too salty and was really enjoyable. Totally dinner on the hotel lanai food....and just like old times.......
We enjoyed the pupus with some Mehana Beer, which even the Missus enjoyed. We had decided to boycott Kona Brewing Company. The brewery and restaurant were mere yards from our hotel. However, when we walked over just to find out about the tours, the Hostess/Server was really very rude and condescending......so was another Server I asked. So no more Kona Brewing Company for us......
We got to sleep early....we'd be heading out to Hilo side in the morning.
Much like FOY (Friend of Yoso) Kyle, for some reason I have a problem calling the Big Island, "Hawai'i Island". Don't quite know why.....I just do. So it'll just have to be the "Big Island of Hawai'i" I guess.
Our flight took us just under an hour and we got to our rental car in minutes. It was early, but we were a bit hungry (so what else is new). We hadn't been to the Big Island in quite a few years. We stopped at KTA in Kona, but man, the place looked really dreary. There was a time where we could almost live out of KTA, the hot food, the poke, you name it. For some things, it looked like times had changed. And of course, the prices had gone up quite a bit. Hard to believe I bought the exact same sized bottle of Sriracha at Thuan Phat for $1.79 just 72 hours ago! Yikes, $5.69, and that's on sale!
Kona looked a bit depressed and the Missus wasn't a big fan of a good portion of super touristy Ali'i Drive...heck, She was acting almost like a local! We decided to head to Kealakekua, less then 10 miles out of Kona, where the "highway" was just a single lane going each way. Kealakekua actually looks a bit busy......the Missus made sure to stop in almost every "health food" store She saw, just to check it out.
I've always been charmed by the town of Kealakekua, population somewhere around 1,700. The population belies how busy Mamalahoa "Highway" always seems to be. Kealakekua and Captain Cook still have some of that old "plantation/farm town" feel.
You'd miss our stop for a late breakfast if you blinked. On the side of the road is the simple sign for Teshima Restaurant.
There are two parts to the restaurant....well possibly more if you consider the knick-knacks and snacks they sell. The main dining room is located on one side and a bar with even more seating on the other.
It felt like I was going back in time and eating at one of those "old time" places of my youth.
Growing up, places like this were for special occasions. Nothing fancy, but solid, respectable food. My mom's favorite place for her birthday was the now almost decade closed Wisteria Restaurant. As I got older, a better job, with better money, places like Wisteria became a several time a week place. I thought it would be great for the Missus to eat in these old school shops. Reid, of Ono Kine Grindz states that Teshima's opened as general store in 1929 and kept expanding, becoming a restaurant in 1940......old school enough for you?
We were a bit early for the lunch menu, so the Missus ordered the "special".
Two onigiri with a local kine tamago(egg omelet), Spam, teri beef, and a lightly fried fish. For some reason the Missus really liked the miso soup, which was pretty plain and straight-forward. She also loved the tsukemono and sunomono. I got the Spam and the teri beef which was on the sweeter and tough side. The Missus had Her doubts about the fried fish, which I told Her was going to be decent....it wasn't oily, nor fishy at all. She enjoyed it the most.
She enjoyed the fish so much that She poached mine from the "Japanese breakfast" I ordered.
This came with tsukemono and sunomono, I ordered my egg easy over....miso soup, which I gave to the Missus in exchange for the Spam, some fishcake which had been browned, and the fish which looked pretty plain but was quite nice.
Of course the egg went on my rice......
I can't resist the drippy egg photo I guess........
The food isn't fancy, nor particularly amazing, but is honest "old school local Japanese" fare, and has probably been served the same way for the majority of the last 70 years. We've done the Waikoloa Resort thing in the past, we decided to go fairly "old school" on this trip and this, now fourth generation restaurant was a great way to start. One amazing story is that Shizuko Teshima, "Grandma" is still around! She's 105 years old and I heard she still comes by! Man, if these walls could talk!
Teshima Restaurant 79-7251 Mamalahoa Hwy Kealakekua, HI 96750
One of the things we'd never done while in Kona was to check out a Coffee Farm. Since we were in Kealakekua, where most of the Kona coffee is grown, we thought we'd check out Greenwell Farms and I'm glad we did. There's a tasting stand, where we tried some of the best coffee from an airpot I'd ever had. Established by Henry Greenwell from England and his wife Elizabeth in the 1870's, we found out that Greenwell Farm processes 80% of the Kona coffee in the world. The reason you don't hear about them is two-fold. First, they only roast a small amount of coffee for mail order and sale on the premises. Second, they dry the rest of the coffee to the "green bean" stage and it's shipped out for final roasting.......some of the names thrown out to us, Peet's, Caribou, Starbucks......
We found all of this out on the short 20 minute tour which took us to the weigh and processing station.
Where we first got to see and taste "cherry", the red, ripe coffee bean, then take a look at the "green bean", the dried coffee.
The coffee is laid out to dry......at this point it can't get wet. We were told that a Japanese engineer designed the solution to protecting the drying beans from the rain. It's amazingly simple. You can see it in this photo. The simply have a roof on a slide that you can move to protect the beans.
As we returned to the stand and our car, we were shown this patch of rather scraggly looking coffee plants, which looked like had been pruned many times.
These were some of the original coffee plants brought here from Guatemala.
We learned so much during this short tour....the consistent 4pm rains, the volcanic soil, the perfect rainfall and sunlight, basically, the much over-used Terroir is what makes Kona Coffee what it is.
Greenwell Farms 81-6581 Mamalahoa Hwy Kealakekua, HI 96750
Stand open daily from 0800 - 1700
Oh, and one more thing I found out. Much like if a local "Bruddah" in the area asks you "eh, you like smoke" he ain't talking about cigarettes. When you see signs in the area that say "Buying Cherries", they're not referring to Bing or Rainier's..... it's coffee they are after. They call the fruit cherries...... We'd been wondering about that as we drove up Mamalahoa Highway. We had a great time and the Missus is still enjoying the coffee we bought here every morning.....