The “Bird in Hand” is made from beer-braised chicken, hand breaded using house-made Founder’s beer batter, real mayo, crisp lettuce ribbons, & served on a buttery, caramelized bun that’s been branded with a “67” on the top.Alan and I tried their Bird in Hand just two nights ago, and it definitely has class, so I want you to know as I launch into a post on great places to eat in Hawaii’s Big Island that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush…i.e., as I describe the great food we ate, please consider that if you’re not in Hawaii, you can use these creative ideas to make very similar dishes in your own kitchen just by experimenting (and possibly consulting with allrecipes.com).
For breakfast, the Punalu’u Bakery on the Hilo (eastern) side is famous not only for being America’s “southernmost bakery,” but also for their pastries. In Hawaii, “malasadas” (Portugese-heritage doughnuts…I think the best are custard-filled) are to-die-for (not really) delicious!The closest thing I can think of in Michigan are the Polish “paczkis.”
(Fat Tuesday is coming up next week…you can get some of the best at Sandy’s Donuts or Marge’s Donut Den…or make your own!) In Waimea (west coast), we discovered that for $1.29 you can get one of the world’s best malasadas (warm at 7 am) at the Island Gourmet Market! If you want a big (huge) breakfast, everybody agrees that the Hawaiian Style Cafe is best, but they close at noon on Sunday, so don’t try to go after church! 😦 Merriman’s is rated as #2. in Waimea, and their fish tacos are awesome.
(I am still trying to work out a recipe…cold slaw, parsley, and Tahitian lime…) My argula and onion salad adorned by tomatoes topped with guacamole and lobster with a light, sweet vinaigrette dressing was also something I’ll work on! If you’re looking for fast and fun, the Queen’s Market food court has some pretty classic fun stuff, like Hawaii’s famous “Kahlua Pig” (pulled pork) and Ippy’s Maui burgers (dripping with cheese). Our helicopter pilot (20+ year resident) said his favorite place to eat is the Tommy Bahama restaurant in Waimea,and my cousin Jim, who’s wintered in Hawaii for years with his wife,
listed the Four Seasons (Hualalai), Sam Choy’s near Kailua-Kona,
and the Bamboo at Hawi as personal favorites. One of the most unique (but also wonderful) meals Alan and I had
was at the Local Dish in Hawi. I will definitely try to reproduce their grilled mahi mahi atop a salad garnished liberally with papaya and macadamia-nut encrusted goat cheese. Well, I could go on and on, but I’d better wrap this up! We have a Macaroni Grill in GR (which we like),
but we didn’t particularly want to visit in Hawaii so we could try more new items. However, their lobster ravioli is great both places, their spaghetti good, and their prices excellent (relative to Hawaiian prices, which are unfortunately very high). Sometimes tried and true is a good thing. One place that I didn’t find in the guides for “best restaurants” is the Volcano House, but I want to especially highlight this classic 170-year-old restaurant. Those who know go, although you have to make reservations ahead. The dining room has a view of Kilauea Volcano’s smoldering caldera, which becomes a glowing inferno when night falls. We considered that dinner our 43rd anniversary celebration. The atmosphere was casual classic, but the fire-light setting
was absolutely unforgettable…if not a bit eerie. I was very glad that I had reservations at the hotel
and was not out wandering along “Desolation Trail” in the dark,
or worse yet, trying to escape the heat of a volcanic surface. Frankly, it made me think of hell, and the fact that the world’s guidebooks don’t really tell us about how to get to heaven. Those in the know go, but only by reservation. Have you made your reservation yet?
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:9-10)
(The 3 pictures of Punalu’u Bakery and the photo from the Four Seasons’ Restaurant belong to my cousin, Jim H., and are used by his permission. Thanks!)