Archive for the 'American' Category

Village Burger, Waimea

Friday, July 9th, 2010

New gourmet burger joint in the Parker Ranch Center food court.

“Hawaii Rancher” and “Hawaiian Red Veal” with fries.

“Hawaii Rancher” burger ($7.50) with local cuts of chuck and brisket. Excellent! The beef almost melts in your mouth… so tender and juicy. We saw them form our patties on the spot and they grind their own meat fresh. That extra effort really shows. I preferred this one over the veal (probably since it was more fatty!). The bun was soft and sweet… and veggies were fresh… tomatoes ripe and red.

These fries were yummy. Crisp, light and potatoes had a nice sweetness. ($3.50)

Close-up :)

Great place if you are looking for a mean local beef burger and don’t mind spending a little more.

Village Burger, Waimea
67-1185 Mamalahoa Highway, Kamuela, HI 96743-7304
(808) 885-7319‎

Uncle Don’s Ohana Grill (formerly Restaurant Kaikodo)

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

Last time I’ve been to the Kaikodo building was about 5 years ago when Restaurant Kaikodo was still open. The food was great and the ambiance super nice. Sadly, they ended up closing and it’s been empty for awhile, until Uncle Don’s Ohana Grill opened up just a few months ago.

Don’s Ohana Grill is taking a different approach: local, casual, affordable. So the important part… How’s the food?

First up we were given some fresh baked bread with lilikoi butter. It was dense, with an almost biscuit-like flavor… not yeasty but more like a soda bread. Not a big fan of the bread and the lilikoi butter didn’t really help either.

Humongous portion of deep fried butterfish with a sweet miso sauce (~$16). The fish itself didn’t have much flavor and the sauce was not anything special. Rice was overcooked. Veggies were cooked well, though.

This was their special: 8oz rib eye with shrimp tempura (~$24). Figured how can you mess up a ribeye steak? Easy! Serve it lukewarm, thin, and with an overly sweet bbq sauce over it. Shrimp tempura was very doughy and oily.

I was really trying to like this place since it caters more for the locals with reasonable prices but they really need to step up the quality of their food. To be fair, I’ve heard good things about this place from others, so maybe we went on a bad day. They also serve breakfast and lunch.

Would love to hear any other reviews of this new place. I wish them the best!

Uncle Don’s Ohana Grill
60 Keawe St., Hilo HI
(808) 961-5551

Dahlia Lounge, Seattle

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

My wife and I visited Seattle for the past New Years. It’s such a lovely city. Amazing fresh food. Friendly locals. So much happening! What a culture shock from Hilo Town. We have so much food adventures to share from there! I figured I’ll post one place at a time or else I won’t ever get anything up.

So, I’ll start with one of Tom Douglas’ wonderful restaurants which is also attached to a bakery.

Dahlia Lounge Outside

Dahlia Lounge Inside

I started with a tomato soup.

Tomato Soup

This was simply the best tomato soup I’ve ever had by far. It was thick, fresh, bright and very rich. It went so good with the buttery croutons and bread served. I won’t look at tomato soup the same again.

Next, an order of Tom Douglas’ famous crab cakes.

Crab Cakes

Man, these crab cakes rock. The crab meat is so sweet with huge chunks of leg meat. While it’s mostly crab, it still has a nicely seasoned breading with green onions. Served with grilled romaine and crispy potatoes.

Desert time! Coconut cream pie.

Coconut Cream Pie

So deliciously light and not too sweet. The crust was great texture.

Fresh Pear Tart

Pear Tart

Outstanding! Seattle has the best pears I’ve had, and combining that with a fresh flaky tart pastry, this was just delicious.

I’m so spoiled now. Seattle I will return! :)

Hilo’s KWXX Ho’olaulea 2007

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

It wasn’t sleepy Hilo Town this past Saturday.



The rain was on schedule…



John Cruz…

Donna’s Smokin BBQ Shack…
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Baby Back Ribs, 5-Meat Chili, Mac Salad, Rice ($10)

Juicy juicy, tasty and slightly tangy. Great ribs! Chili was really good too — very thick and hearty with a slight kick. I need to check Donna’s Smokin BBQ Shack later. It is located in the Keaau Village Market.

Café Pesto

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

cafe_pesto_outside.jpg cafe_pesto_inside.jpg

What? This place is one of the most popular restaurants in Hilo and I never even covered it yet! I have a backlog of photos of various places so I better start posting more.

Cafe Pesto has always had good food and has a great location in the Historic S. Hata building near the Farmer’s Market in Downtown Hilo. I love how it’s casual yet still fancy… good for a nice dinner date, party or a quick lunch. Ambiance is warm, open, and comfortable. Sounds fill the room with kitchen noises and neighboring conversations.

My three favorite things here are (and they do them very well): Beer, Pizza, and Salad. Yes, I’m a simple guy.

Kona Coffee Beer

There’s a nice variety of beers on tap from local breweries and this is a Pipeline Porter from Kona Brewing Company which has 100% Kona Coffee in it. You really can taste the sweet coffee flavor. I loved it! Very smooth, dark and frothy.


Chicken Lolla Rosa ($10.95) – Grilled free-range chicken tossed with organic baby greens, local sweet onions, vine-ripened organic tomatoes, dressed with a cilantro-caesar dressing. Wonderful combination of flavors. The chicken was flavorful and perfectly grilled. The cilantro-caesar dressing was the highlight of this dish and had a really refreshing dominant cilantro kick.

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Ahhh, the pizzas… the first one is the basic Pizza Margherite with just cheese (12″ for $10.95) and it is a great to have with a salad. The second one is the Pizza Luau, which has kalua pork, local sweet onions and pineapples (9″ for $10.95). Both are excellent. The crust is what makes the pizzas here so good; very bubbly, crusty and chewy. One of my favorite pizzas in Hilo.

Reid from Ono Kine Grindz also went here recently. Service has generally been good the past times I’ve been here, but unfortunately he had a different experience. :(

Café Pesto
S Hata Building
308 Kamehameha Avenue
Hilo, Hawaii
Telephone: 808.969.6640

Volcano House Lunch Buffet (and camping)

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

Bev and I went camping recently at Volcano National park to celebrate her birthday. At 4000′ elevation, campground Namakanipaio is so beautiful and peaceful, not to mention super duper cold! There are tall eucalyptus and ohi’a trees on this large, grassy campground.


One night of camping is pretty much the max we can do, and afterwards, all we want is a good shower and a nice hot sit-down meal. We went to check out the Volcano House, where they had a lunch buffet which looked and smelled yummy. They also have a regular sit-down and order menu for dinner time.

Here’s their menu for the day:


Generally, I try to stay away from buffets since quality usually suffers (like the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel Buffet), and there was a huge line of tourists getting into the restaurant. Make sure not to go right after a tour bus arrives. We both felt like we were the only “locals”, and I think we were. No matters, anything hot sounds great right now, and their menu didn’t look too bad.

After paying, you split into two lines and go directly to the food.


We were sandwiched by two groups: Japanese and Canadians. It was easy to tell which group their from just by looking at their plates… the Canadians didn’t have rice. :P Both groups seem to pick up a lot of pineapple from their fresh fruit platter.

Here’s my plate:


Yes, we just spent one night freezing in a tent and skipped breakfast, so anything may have tasted good, but this food was delicious! The pot roast beef was amazingly tender, juicy, perfectly seasoned and had nice pieces of fat. The fried chicken had a great crunchy crust with really juicy tasty meat. The mahi was not bad at all and was not overcooked. Mac salad was winnas, and the green salad was fresh. This really didn’t taste like mass produced buffet food — I was truly impressed.

I went for seconds and totally got my $16.50 worth. Even comes with drinks, coffee, and dessert (tasted like haupia cake – was just ok).


This was a great deal if you already payed park admission (10 bucks), and what makes it even better is the view you get, overlooking the Kilauea Caldera. After eating, we went for a very slow walk along one of the crater trails.


Volcano House
Crater Rim Drive
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Hawaii, HI 96718