Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Best Food of East Hawaii 2012

Rather than simply disagree with other best of lists, I thought I would publish my own. I am going to expand my list to all of East Hawaii, from Waimea to Volcano. That way I can include restaurants I feel are of note. I want to say that I have not eaten in every single restaurant but almost. I am going to also mention a runner-up in some cases:

Best Restaurant
Merriman's, Waimea
Kaleo's Bar & Grill, Pahoa, runner up

Best Burger
Village Burger, Waimea
Cronies, runner up

Best Mexican Food
Lucy's Taqueria
Luquin's, runner up

Best Fish
Seaside Restaurant

Best Steak
Kilauea Lodge, runner up

Best Pizza
Pizza Hawaii & Deli

Best Thai Food
Ning's, Pahoa
Thai Thai, Volcano, runner up

Best Breakfast
Hawaii Style Cafe, Waimea

Best Family Restaurant
Cafe Pesto

Best Vegetarian Food
Puka Puka Kitchen

Best Smoothie
Short N Sweet Bakery & Cafe

Best Sushi
Ocean Sushi
Miyo's, runner up

Best Italian Food
Cafe Concerto
Cafe Pesto

Best Value
Hilo Bay Cafe

Best Shave Ice
Wilson's by the Bay

Best Chinese
Sky Garden Restaurant (Imiloa Astronomy Center)

Best Local Food
101 Cafe, runner up

Pescatore, Hilo, HI

Recently the Hilo Tribune Herald Newspaper released it's "Best of" for 2012 and the number one rated Italian food in Hilo was listed as Pescatore, downtown Hilo. We had not been there in a long time and decided to give it a try. The familiar 1970's decor hadn't changed a bit. The waitress was very nice. There weren't many choices on the menu but the kitchen was very accomodating with our changes to the standard menu items. I had the special veal parmigiana, not normally on the menu and my friend had an angel hair pasta with a creamy pesto sauce and vegetables.

At first I said to myself, this is not veal, it's cube steak or something, but not wanting to think they were not serving what they were advertising, I just left it as veal that was tough as shoe leather. The tomato sauce was insipid and uninspired. My friend's vegetable pasta creation rated an "I am never eating here again." rating.

When asked how I liked the food I grunted and the response came back, "So glad you liked it." Dinner was overpriced and there were no redeeming qualities to make up for the less-than-stellar food.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Village Burger, Waimea, HI

Before I get into telling you about Village Burger, let me digress a moment to explain something I've wondered about. One of the northern towns on the Big Island of Hawaii is called Waimea (meaning: red water), but the post office, and various signs and businesses call it Kamuela (meaning: Samuel after Samuel Parker). When eating at Village Burger I asked about this confusing name and was told that there was so many towns in Hawaii called Waimea that they named the post office Kamuela, but that locals (and apparently the highway department) calls it Waimea.

So, in the large shopping center you'll find Village Burger, the best on the island, probably best in the state, and perhaps one of the best in the World. These aren't just burgers, they are true works of art, starting with the finest meats (or vegetables) money can buy. The featured burger is made from a Big Island variety of Kobe beef. It's almost too tender. I like my burgers with a bit of a bite to them, but, honestly, a true eating orgasm. They have lamb burgers, vegetarian mushroom burgers and taro burgers, among other styles of straight beef burger.

The wasabi french fries are a nice touch, and the service is amazingly friendly and fun. I like to go into the food court and get a smoothie from the Dairy Queen as a very nice addition to the meal. By the way, Dairy Queen's new fruit smoothies, particularly the ones made with Splenda (if you go for that kind of thing) are very nice.

We plan our trips around the island in such a way that we can stop and get burgers here. You should too.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lava Lava Beach Club, Waikoloa, HI

We ate at the newest beach bar restaurant along the Kohala Coast. It is beautifully situated with a fantastic sunset view. The menu includes the usual set of custom tropical drinks. We started with the artfully flavored edamame beans (plenty for two). Next course was gaspacho (of course). The soup was not a traditional gaspacho and had more of a Mexican flavoring and thick tomato soup. But it was nice.

The big cheesy rigatoni meal was as hit and the Hawaii Nei Filet was nicely prepared. A 6.5 ounce Big Island grass fed beef filet. This is the most expensive thing on the menu bit the cost is in the quality not the portion size. If you are used to eating in steak houses be prepared to savor rather than feast. I will be eating here again. Make sure to make reservations on their website to assure quick seating

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Best Las Vegas Buffets

There are two buffets that I feel are equal in quality, and belong at the top of the list of buffets in Las Vegas. The one with the bragging rights of being the best according to local sources is the buffet at the M Casino. It has a very wide selection of excellently prepared foods. In particular, if you like Thai and Asian dishes this is the place for you. I thought the Mexican food dishes here, particularly the tamales were very nicely done. My friends like some of the side dishes such as the sweet potatoes, creamed spinach and creamed corn. They had an ok selection of sushi and sea food. The desserts were wonderful and big bonus, beer and wine are included in the price of the buffet. The buffet restaurant has a very open feeling with a large video display that was very attractive. The M Casino is a little off the beaten track.

I think my favorite is the buffet at the Rio Hotel and Casino. It has foods the M doesn't have, like crab, and prime rib. While the both have excellent selections, for me the selection of foods at the Rio were just more to my taste. They have a very wide selection of deserts, a nice selection of sushi and fish, and the slab of prime rib you get looks like it should be served in one of those Renaissance restaurants. The lines can be a bit long to get into this buffet unless you are a VIP or Diamond Club member, where you have your own small semi-private dining room.

Both buffets are excellent, and if you have the chance you should try them both. Leave some comments about which one you like best and why.