Big Island Food
Since there was a lot of the same food being eaten on the Big Island and also since I got a bit too into vacation lazy mode with the picture taking, this post won’t be nearly as extensive as the Oahu one–but there were a few unforgettable meals that I need to mention. First, there was Merriman’s, which is basically any foodie’s heaven. Peter Merriman is well known in Hawaii for being one of the founders of Hawaii Regional Cuisine and was partnering with local farmers and ranchers long before it became the cool thing to do. What I loved about this place was the level of detail given to every aspect of the dining experience–the ambiance, the food, the service–everything worked together seamlessly and just had a very real and natural feel to it. And of course the food itself was superb.
I started out with what they called a Mobeeto–a mojito that had beets in it! I couldn’t really taste the beets at all so I’m guessing they just added the pretty color to the drink. This drink was soo refreshing and just the right way to unwind after a day of beach hopping.
I also got the bbq grilled shrimp and asparagus with garlic-macadmia nut rice. This was the most delicious combination and the garlic-macadamia nut was genius and gave the rice just the right amount of the tropical touch.
Next up was more fish–the fresh island fish served with a local vegetable stir fry and Ponzu sauce. This was also nicely done and in my opinion was the perfect balanced meal.
While I ate my fair share of chocolate coconut macadamia ice cream while on vacation, this was my other favorite dessert. This coconut creme brulee was by far the creamiest smoothest most amazing creme brulee I’ve ever had. I might be biased towards coconut, but this rocked and I need to get over my fear of those creme brulee blowtorches and make this at home. Overall, this is the must do when on the Big Island.
On the drive over from Volcano we stopped in Hilo on the east coast of the island, toured the little town and grabbed some Japanese for lunch at Miyo’s. The food was amazing and such great value for the price. I got the sesame chicken and sashimi combo which I loved! The sesame chicken is supposed to be a must get here and it was delicious but the deep fried crust would have destroyed my stomach if I got the full serving. The combo with the lighter sashimi was just the right balance and was served on a bed of fresh veggies.
We also tried a fried scallop dish served on top of some veggies and rice. Both of these tasted very authentic and the place had a very down to earth and welcoming feel.
Finally, while I thought it would be impossible to ever get sick of poke and sashimi and other varieties of raw fish, towards the end of the two weeks we found ourselves craving some more typically American food. We ate at the Kona Brewing company a few times and just loved their Hawaiian inspired pizzas and beer. They’re known for their Captain Cook pizza, which is topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan sausage, Canadian bacon, pepperoni, tomatoes, mushrooms and black olives. This pizza was ridiculously amazing and I wasn’t surprised it was such a big hit of theirs. We also tried their Ka’u Pesto made with macadamia nut pesto (brilliant idea! I can’t wait to make my own version of this too), pesto chicken, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives and mozzarella. I can’t ever pass up the combination of pesto, artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes and I couldn’t get over how fantastic this macadamia pesto was. The wild mushroom was very very mushroomy so naturally it was another favorite. The one flop was the Thai shrimp pizza which was a little bland and flavorless compared to the others.
We also tried a few of their beers. My favorite was the seasonal Wailua Wheat that was brewed with tropical passion fruit and was light, smooth and had a slight citrusy and fruity flavor. Definitely a girly beer and tasted amazing. The other light beer was their Big Wave golden ale, which was your standard pale ale. While this place is super touristy but it’s got a fun vibrant feel and worth a stop at for some pizza and beers.