Eating habits in our communities have drastically changed. The most obvious evidence of this is the consistently bare shelves in the local supermarket.
Going out to do our weekly grocery shopping I wander the isles and make note of empty store shelves that were never empty before. There is a theme in those empty shelves, a pattern that reveals that how we eat has changed in substantial ways.
One of the first things to disappear from our local grocery were what I consider comfort foods… Boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese, tins of biscuit dough, and that Hawaiian favorite SPAM. In those early days of stay at home orders people bought foods that were familiar from childhood, offering a reassurance of normalcy, at least in the kitchen.
While the British may have originated the dish, they did not perfect it.
Before you go and tell me I have never experienced true British fish and chip, realize I lived for three years in England, with fish & chips available everywhere.
I tried little shops in fishing ports and beach-side resort towns, I had fish and chips in pubs and from London street vendors. I went out of my way for the proper dish, one of my favorites since I was very young.
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.
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
Our mango tree did not have a heavy crop this year, but has produced far more than we can use in the week or two they ripen. The food dehydrator has been in heavy use, three batches done and one underway. The end results are pretty good, better than some stuff I have bought at the farmers market. Perfect for snacking on in the middle of the night next to a telescope.
Between me and the birds, the tree is now picked out. I have enough mangoes on hand for at least one more go…
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.
We are attempting to deal with our banana surplus issue.
A bunch of bananas is too much fruit for us to use in the few days before they spoil. A single bunch can yield 50 to 60 bananas. We snack on bananas, we make smoothies, we slice bananas onto our morning cereal, it is still too many bananas. Our standard answer to avoid waste is to give away much of the fruit. Apple bananas are quite popular and quickly accepted when given away to neighbors an co-workers.
Still, it is a long time between bunches, feast and famine, and I would like to have bananas around more often. We have tried freezing, but are not entirely happy with the results, and our freezer space is limited.
This time we are trying dried bananas using a recently purchased food dehydrator. A bit of an experiment, I have never done this before. I dimly remember my mother drying bananas when I was a kid, I do remember the results being pretty good.