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?
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…
Hawaiian Style Cafe
Red Water Cafe
The Fish and the Hog Market Cafe
Big Island Brewhaus
James Angelo’s Underground Pizza
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…
As it is my father’s favorite place to eat in Juneau, I expect to be having dinner at The Hanger this evening. Our usual stop after a day of checking the boat and shopping for supplies. It is just a few hops down the waterfront from the harbor where the Nordic Quest is docked, a great place to grab a bite after a busy day.
The Hanger really is built in a hanger, a seaplane hanger that once serviced the aircraft of Alaska Coastal Airlines from the 1940’s on. Coastal Airways was purchased by Alaska Airlines in 1968. The planes of Wings of Alaska use the dock below the old hanger as the starting point for their ice field scenic flights. Today the building looks out on the busy harbor in front of downtown Juneau. While just down the waterfront the huge steel walls of the cruise ships block most of the view, here it is unobstructed.
A long area with windows onto the harbor greet you after entering. About half the space is a regular dining area, with the other half set up in a bar format. You can choose to dine on an outside deck overlooking the harbor in good weather. There is also a loft with a couple pool tables upstairs. The kitchen sits to one side of the dining area, you can wander over and see the dishes being prepared. This is where you second guess your order as you see what is sitting on the counter waiting to be served.
As one would expect, seafood dishes are the specialty of the house. There is a good selection of non-seafood as well if you prefer a steak or burger. This is not diet food, most dishes are rich and tasty. Expect it to be busy during the summer months, we ended up sitting in the bar area last time.
Dinner in Juneau is a chance to sit and relax a bit. We can plan any remaining details that must be accomplished before we break dock, or consider the weather and the first day or two of cruising. The details involved in getting the boat ready seem endless, but at this point most of the list has been completed. It is a chance to sit and converse about the voyage ahead, a glimpse forward to a week spent with family.
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.
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.
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.