Pele’s Kitchen

I do prefer a pre-dawn run to see the lava. Beside the many advantages of a morning run, there is a problem. After hiking, boating, or biking all morning you are hungry, and there are not many places available to eat in Puna that are open for breakfast.

Pele's Kitchen
Pele’s Kitchen restaurant in Pahoa
Our usual solution is to drive all the way back into Hilo and have breakfast at Ken’s House of Pancakes. But this takes a fairly long drive, and we are hungry now! Fortunately our tour guide last time out, Andrew of Kalapana Cultural Tours offered another solution. He suggested we try Pele’s Kitchen in Pahoa. Hmmm? Recommended and only fifteen minutes away. Why not?

Pele’s Kitchen is located directly in the middle of Pahoa, along Old Government Road. You need to turn into town from the bypass to find the business district. Parking is found along the main street, not usually much of a problem first thing in the morning.

While Andrew had recommended the mango blintzes I was not feeling like something quite so sweet, ordering a breakfast burrito instead. Just as well as they had sold all of the blintzes for the morning. Also available was a selection of vegan and vegetarian offereings, no surprise in Puna.

The burrito was great, filled with eggs, a couple different types of sausage, and seasoned rice. Deb had the apple french toast, also excellent. Each breakfast was served with a side garnish of fresh tropical fruit. The meals were satisfyingly filling and ran up a tab of about $30 for the two of us.

It seems completely appropriate to eat at a place called Pele’s Kitchen after spending the morning out on the lava flows. It should not have been a surprise that there were other folks eating with us that had been out to the lava. Given the convenience of the location and the quality of the food I may just have to stop here the next time I am returning from visiting Pele in the morning

Best Restaurants in Waimea?

The annual 100 best places to eat in the US list for 2015 was published by Yelp this week. A number of Hawaiʻi restaurants make the list, but only one on the Big Island. You will find Da Poke Shack in spot 51, holder of last year’s top spot on the list. Not being a raw fish fan and not getting into Kona very often I can not offer an opinion on that selection. I did wonder what restaurants are best rated for Waimea. Is the list very good?

Hawaiian Style Cafe
The remains of the meal litters a table at Hawaiian Style Cafe.
Yelp’s reviews are reader generated, and as such are subject to a great deal of personal bias. But with a lot of reviews from a large reader base you would hope that the result averages out to something reasonably accurate. Thus I did a quick search on Kamuela, as Waimea is known to the post office to avoid confusion with the other towns of the same name elsewhere in the state.

The top ten does not look that bad…

  1. Hawaiian Style Cafe
  2. Merriman’s
  3. Village Burger
  4. Red Water Cafe
  5. The Fish and the Hog Market Cafe
  6. Big Island Brewhaus
  7. Yong’s Kalbi
  8. Pau
  9. James Angelo’s Underground Pizza
  10. Aka Sushi Bar

The restaurants any local resident would expect to see are there. I would quibble with the placement of some of these establishments on the list, but there are no surprises here. If you really want to read further I will add my own opinions and comments in the remainder of this post…

Continue reading “Best Restaurants in Waimea?”

Killer Tacos

Killer Tacos is not a tourist place. Hidden back in one of the little business strips in the old industrial park it is not likely to be found by wandering visitors.

Killer Tacos
The service counter at Killer Tacos, Kona
We often find ourselves looking for lunch in North Kona. Target, Pet Smart, and more, this is where the stores are, this is where we go shopping. There are a number of eating places in the Kona Commons shopping center, where we have often eaten in the past. This time Deb remembered another option, why not give it a try?

You can find Killer Tacos a couple blocks behind Target on Luhia, just past the four way stop at Kaiwi. Look makai for a busy little place in the middle of a strip mall of other, more industrial, businesses.

Killer Tacos
The storefront of Killer Tacos, Kona
The shop is a little reminiscent of mainland chains like Chipoltle Grill, with much the same basic concept. Bins and tubs of ingredients served in either tortillas or tacos, assembled in front of you the way you like it. It is a good formula, it works. As long as the ingredients are good the end product is good. No problems at Killer Taco.

When asked what meat I wanted my burro filled with I said “carnitas”. This received a funny look. Pork? Oh! I found it fun that staff serving Mexican food did not know the Spanish names of the items they were selling. Years past I often enjoyed eating Mexican meals in south Tucson, sometimes at places where you could not order without ordering in Spanish. This is however Hawai‘i after all. I continued to order in Spanish, it became a game, the gals behind the counter having fun trying to remember what each of the items was. Mexican food not made by Mexicans? It didn’t matter, it was still good food.

The food was a nice surprise, the prices were also a pleasant surprise. I suspect that not having to pay rent in a fancy neighborhood is an advantage. A meal for two cost us about what I would have expected to pay for myself alone. Fourteen dollars for two lunches and drinks. Good food, decent prices, and substantial portions… I may just be back here if I need a meal in North Kona.