Entries Tagged as 'Restaurants and Food!'

Really, I Can Cook, Honest!

Things in the kitchen don’t always work in my favor, but it’s nice when it does. Some recipes work out nicely and I’m very happy to have a success story from the kitchen. I’ll be sure to share success stories here when they happen! Everybody knows that if you live in Hawaii, food is very important. We love to eat! Even CNN a few years back told the rest of the World all about why we’re overweight. They blamed it on Loco Moco, but the message still rings clear for several of our favorites — we like food way too much! It’s not always what we eat, but the quantity. My problem is both quantity and mayonnaise. Yeah, well, rice doesn’t help much either. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hubby won’t touch most of what I cook because he doesn’t like beef, unless it’s hamburger, or chicken, unless it’s from Zippy’s or Kentucky Fried Chicken. As much as I love Spam, it gets old after a while. I miss the old recipes that Mom used to make and that we used to enjoy growing up. I’m going through some of those oldies to see which ones still work for me after all these years. Hopefully some of those recipes will be greeted more enthusiastically by someone else at home besides me. Mom can’t cook them anymore so I’m on my own.

If you’re going to purchase cuts of beef, I have had wonderful cuts from Safeway and some to-die-for steaks from Times Supermarket. Since these two merchants have become the only places I shop, they will be the ones that receive my attention. That being said, I’ll send out a huge “Mahalo!” to Lawrence of Pali Safeway’s Meat Department for a very beautiful five pounds of decadent, fat-laden, USDA Choice beef ribs!

Beef ribs from Safeway!

An old recipe that Mom kept worked out nicely for those ribs. Trust me, you will not find this recipe anywhere else — it was the brainstorm of one of my sister’s old boyfriends. The recipe card reads “Gill’s Ribs” and that is what we have always called them. Gill had a gift for cooking and he had quite a green thumb too! We lost him to an unfortunate accident on the Big Island some years back but his memory lives on.

Gills Ribs

From: Gill Reeves, Serves: 4

Ingredients:

4/5 to 5 lbs of ribs

Sauce:

2 onions, chopped
1 tsp ea: paprika, chili powder
1/2 tsp ea: ground red pepper; pepper
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp ea: Worcestershire sauce; red wine vinegar
3/4 C. catsup
3/4 C. water

1. Prepare sauce my mixing all ingredients (except ribs) together and mis thoroughly.
2. Place in casserole: 1/3 of ribs, sauce, 1/3 ribs, sauce, 1/3 ribs, sauce
3. Cover. Cook at 350ยฐ for 2 hours and 40 minutes.
4. Remove cover and cook another 10 minutes.

My only error was not taking a photo of the finished product. But, it was as good as I remember and worth a try if you like beef ribs!

Grilling Italian Style

Last Sunday we were having a terrible time, both with the heat and with my own unfamiliarity with Kailua. We wanted to find a place to sit down and eat. We went around and around and finally stopped at Longs to get some cash. I was fortunate enough to find a couple at the ATM that recommended Formaggio Grill. Seeing my frustration and sweaty brow, the wife just laughed at me and suggested we just kind of move across the street and around the corner a little. So, we did!

outsidesign.jpg

We stepped in the door of this relatively new addition to the Windward side of the island and were met with the coolest air conditioning you can imagine and greeted by a very nice host and friendly atmosphere. Of course we were dying in the heat so anything cooler than outside would have been welcome! The nice young host was concerned about how crowded the restaurant was and that we might have to wait. As it worked out, we didn’t have to wait long at all and we were seated and given cold water, other beverages and menus.

Decor inside the restaurant

While looking at the menu and trying to figure out just what we had walked into, I noticed that the decor was interesting. There were paintings or sketches hung on warm, mustard-colored walls. The art work was interesting to look at and to try to figure them out. The most interesting one, I found, was the picture all the way on the right in the picture above. You can’t really tell but it’s of the Mona Lisa but it looks like a paint-by-number that was never completed. Was the artist still looking for Ms. Right? Maybe. He was obviously still trying to figure out how to color his ideal woman.

View of the dining room and the bar

It was pretty quiet as people started to leave after finishing their lunch. It was already close to 3:00 in the afternoon.

Facing the window into the kitchen

I’m pretty sure that what we see in the background of the picture above is the kitchen, or certainly a portion of it. Our waiter, Jason, was a great help to us as we asked about things on the menu. What a wonderful menu or yummy choices! Jason’s suggestions were good ones. The food actually worked out nicely — the available selections would make any palate happy.

Bowl of very hot onion soup

Mom saw onion soup on the menu and decided that was for her! It smelled wonderful and looked even better! As she spooned through it like we all do with soup, the amount 0f cheese was amazing. That’s one soup that would give French onion soup a run for its money! You should have seen the amount of cheese. Woo hoo! I guess that was French onion soup with an Italian twist.

I was drooling over the steak choices on the menu but they were more for dinner and a little too pricey for lunch. The original location of Formaggio is actually on the other side of the hill from this one. It’s on the Honolulu side of the Koolaus, in the Market City shopping center on Kapiolani Blvd. That one is more focused on liquor. We were lucky enough to be in the location where the food was the focus.

Kobe Burger on Panini

Anyway, I opted for their signature burger, the Kobe Burger Panini, with a side of salad sprinkled with a to-die-for dressing. This burger actually made it on to the cover of Honolulu Magazine. I’m not much of a salad person, except for the occasional craving, but this one was one to talk about. I had to ask twice about the dressing because it sounded too simple to be so good. Thedressing was a combination of 18-year-old balsamic delizio, grey poupon, olive oil, salt and pepper — that’s it. So good!

Chocolate Bread Pudding ala mode

Mom got a piece of chocolate bread pudding with vanilla ice cream and chocolate and vanilla drizzles.

Blueberry Cheesecake

I just thought the blueberry cheesecake sounded good. It was.

This is a great restaurant with great atmosphere, great service, and great food. The only drawback is that the prices can add up very quickly. So, I think this is a great place for special-occasion eating. If you’re after just a casual meal, this might not be the best expenditure of your money. If you want really good food and you have something to celebrate, I give this place very high marks!

Formaggio Grill
305 Hahani Street
Kailua, Hawaii 96734
(808) 263-2633

Sampling the “Flavors of Honolulu”

Most people think of this kind of thing as the Taste of Honolulu — an event that provides support for Easter Seals. This year, we have one with a bit of a new twist. There’s a new charity and a few newer restaurants.

FlavorsSign

Flavors of Honolulu was presented this year on the grounds of the Frank Fasi Civic Center, which is not unusual, but this time, the beneficiary of the event was Abilities Unlimited, an organization that is actually a dba of Winners at Work and is designated for “helping people with disabilities lead productive lives.” I like the idea of supporting an organization like that! I wish I has known more about them before attending the event… I might have bought more scrip! ๐Ÿ™‚

Crowd of people moving around various tents

I don’t think they missed my extra $20 too much. Attendance was certainly not a problem! I passed by on the Saturday afternoon of that weekend and the place was packed. These photos were all taken on Sunday afternoon, the third and final day, and there were still people everywhere! I wonder how their bottom line came out. I guess I’ll have to investigate that!

Closer to the crowds

This photo gives a better feel for just how many people were spread across the grounds of this City & County municipal park. The organization and set-up of the event was really quite good. The colors were complimentary and I enjoyed the visual aspect of it all. The park was clean and the weather, albeit very warm, was great for an outdoor happening like this.

These pictures don’t really convey the degree of heat that attendees had to endure. The sun was blazing and even the tradewinds were very warm.

Entertainment Tent

While there was entertainment, of course, but my focus was on the food. That’s always my focus! Taste of Honolulu, Flavors of Honolulu, call it what you will — it’s all about the food! I can’t count the number of times I’ve used that phrase over recent years.

Chicken Tacos

There was a great mix of ethnic cuisines! There were Mexican dishes like these little chicken tacos from Senor Frog’s seen here on the left. Senor Frog’s is located on the third floor of the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. Good food! I like our local Mexican food restaurants. With so many Taco Bell locations vanishing on us, we really need to keep track of our Mexican food places.

There were thirteen or so tents of various types of cuisine, with little plates of this and little plates of that. The emphasis is on the word little.

This brings up the one thing that stuck out and that was probably the only real negative that could be listed for this event — the servings were pathetically small. I realize the purpose of this event is to have a “taste” or to sample the “flavors” of the foods. But, for what worked out to be the equivalent of approximately $5 a plate, from the viewpoint of someone with a “local” appetite, that was unacceptable.

Again, the emphasis was on the “taste” or “flavors” of Honolulu, not “join us for a meal.” I was just too hungry, what can I say? I’m always hungry. I just like food — too much! ๐Ÿ™‚ Just so you guys don’t think I’m a horrible person, there was even one location that offered one meatball on a plate. That was it — one meatball. That was with the same cost — approximately $5. We walked away from that vendor just because it was too ridiculous to even talk about.

Now, I will go back to my previous statement that the supported organization was, in itself, well worth supporting. If I had known more about that organization at the time, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. Okay, I may have thought twice about it but I would have gotten that meatball anyway! If you think about it, it wasn’t cheap to make one — it had three different meats and mozarella cheese.

See what my attitude got me? Nothing. That’s what I get! Sorry, Mangea!, it really did look good!ย  My bad.ย  Another restaurant to patronize gang! It smelled wonderful and looked great.ย ย  Mangea! is located at 300 Wai Nani Way, Phone: 808-923-1628.

For the most part, the food was definitely worth it. There were even a couple of vendors with steak! One of them was Koi, a restaurant located at 2028 Dillingham Blvd. The line was way too long for us to stand there and endure the heat but there were many others who had no problem waiting for what they must have known a lot about. Of course it said, “grilled steak with ginger sesame sauce” — so I guess I have to find out more about that place, huh? I’ll keep you guys posted!

steak.jpg

In order to avoid the heat, we opted instead to try the steak from the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Village Steak & Seafood restaurant and we were not disappointed.

To adjust my mood and to battle the heat I stopped at one of the wine vendors and sampled, at their recommendation, a very nice white wine that the vendor promised to be refreshing. She was right. I felt much better after drinking the 3/4 of a Dixie cup. Yeah, I had to throw that size part in.

Hawaiian Plate

All was not lost. Laverne’s was the one tent, serving Hawaiian cuisine, that had a grasp on knowing where they were. They knew how to please the local (okay, my) appetite. Laverne’s Catering & Restaurant is located at 99-866 Moloalo Street in Waipahu and can be reached at 808-678-1678. In the photo above you can see their sampling of rice, kalua pig, lomi salmon, chicken long rice, and haupia. Word has it that it was all good!ย  It looked great, smelled wonderful and was definitely much more reasonable from a serving size point of view.

Li Hing PineappleIn spite of it all, I wasn’t going to turn down a little sampling of li hing pineapple! I did get some of that from Laverne’s.

Pineapple is good with a little bit of li hing powder! This one was made from canned pineapple but I still liked it. It was, consequently, a little sweeter than normal.

All in all, I think it was a great event. I will go again, I will be better prepared, I will know what to expect and I will try as many of the food samplings as I can! If you plan to attend the next one, you might want to be sure you have a good breakfast that day!ย  I just wanted more.ย  Piggy.ย  After all, it’s all about the food!

Visual Confirmation of Dairy’s Demise

I knew it. You knew it. It’s been in the news. We’ve known about it for quite some time (since 2004 or so). But, to see it dissolve right before your eyes is not the easiest thing to witness. As an ardent fan of the dairy industry, that orange circle with the “f” in it didn’t simply mean “Foremost” to me, it meant milk!

Foremost Truck

I still remember, when I was little, how excited I was to see the cow on the lawn at Foremost. The cow was fake but I kept looking for real ones. It’s a dairy! I used to think, “They must be milking the cows somewhere!” They’ve removed the cow from the lawn. It’s gone. They were milking the cows… in Waianae and elsewhere. From what I understand, a lot of our dairy farmers are gone too. Things were no longer profitable.

Front of old Foremost location on Dillingham Blvd.

I don’t know if it’s the statue being gone from the lawn or the site of the building deserted that has the most impact on me but I just needed to talk about it. I guess that maybe it’s an end of an era — a reminder of how old I am?

Dismantling of Foremost  building

The removal of the equipment is pretty troubling. I can’t help it. I’m a dairy freak and milk is important to me! Yes, this is an old story but in no time at all, when someone says Foremost, the kids are going to say, “Who?”

Don’t worry, all is not lost — it’s Lani Moo to the rescue! Their logo also means more to me than just “Meadow Gold,” it means milk! Meadow Gold continues to come to the rescue for us cheese-loving, milk-drinking fanatics.

Meadow Gold delivery truck

These trucks, much like the Matson, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi trucks, are ones I try not to get run over by while cutting through the grocery store parking lot. I will admit that I am hoping those trucks are carrying my pineapple cottage cheese! Did I mention that I’m a dairy freak? ๐Ÿ™‚

I have to add here that Meadow Gold has always had a significantly larger name-recognition thing going during my lifetime. Their community involvement is tremendous and they have been known to work with other companies to support community events. I’ve seen it. That could be a huge part of it! I’ll talk about them later, I promise. For now, suffice it to say that I’m just glad they’re here!

I didn’t make this cow story up. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin covered the story back in 2004 when it first happened and one of their photographers got a great picture of the cow of my childhood, before it was removed. I wonder where that cow is now. Hmmm…

art

by CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL
Honolulu Star-Bulletin photo

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Oysters: The Other White Meat

oysters

Oysters are the culinary pearls of the sea,
A prized ocean delicacy for you and me
Dining on raw oysters? Check your fork…
Think twice my friend — you’re eating sea pork!

Photo compliments of Jon Aslund on Flickr

I made that up. What would make me say something like that? Well, while reading about them I couldn’t help but remember the stories I’ve heard about people getting sick from eating raw oysters. I usually hear people say they got sick because they ate too many of them. Well, apparently it may be more than that.

Let’s see… they are found in brackish water (water that is salty but not as salty as the open ocean). Now, I can’t help but see that description as a definition of our own coastal waters — where the fresh-water streams meet the ocean. The oysters feed off of what they filter through their gills. Anything floating in the water might end up stuck in their flesh. Hmmm… warning signs for streams talk about how the water may be contaminated. Need I say more?

To be fair, the dangers of raw oyster consumption are primarily aimed more at the Gulf oysters because there are a lot of laws and restrictions about harvesting the oysters from that region. But, I’m paranoid about the handling of food products as it is and I say it couldn’t hurt to be safe about it around here too. This site goes to great lengths to share information about the the health issues raw oysters may cause.

If you love oysters and you’re feeling offended, relax, nobody’s trying to ruin your favorite food. These guys are obviously serious about protecting people from eating this stuff raw. To make oyster lovers happy, they have even provided some mouth-watering recipes. Those recipes sound so good I was actually trying to figure out which ingredients I already have and which ones I’m missing.

Cook them! That’s the message. Remember, you’re eating sea swine. Come on, someone has got to have come up with that analogy already! ๐Ÿ™‚

Greek Marina at Koko Marina

We were in the mood for Greek food the other day so we decided to go to the place with the easiest access. The Greek Marina in Hawaii Kai is easy to find, easy to park, easy to get into and comfortably unpretentious.

Restaurant

I have a passion for moussaka and my mind focuses on it as soon as Greek food is the topic of conversation.ย  So, since I was focused there, that’s what was for lunch!
Moussaka

Moussaka is a dish of eggplant and hamburger that is to-die-for delicious. This one was not the best they’ve ever made but it was still good. It was… missing something but we couldn’t quite figure out what. Oh well. The salad as good as always but it can always have more feta cheese!

I do love those Kalamata olives! They are an acquired taste but they’re almost a necessary condiment when eating Mediterranean foods. I don’t know, they’re just a culinary must-have!

Cheese, or the lack thereof, is always the problem with spanakopita (spinach with feta cheese baked in dough), which is another thing that I should have ordered. I’ll just have to order some next time. There’s a good reason to go back!

The Kitchen

There’s a little window into the kitchen where the waiters and waitresses pick up the plates of food to be served to their patrons. I couldn’t resist that photo opportunity!

Grape Leaves

These are grape leaves that the chef has separated with slices of tomato and cucumber. I like grape leaves very much but I haven’t tried theirs yet. There’s reason number two to go back!

Hummus

Hummus is also something I like but I’m not too worried about not having tried any. What I am irritated with myself about is my failure to try their baba ghanouj — a roasted eggplant dip that I absolutely love! There’s a restaurant in downtown Honolulu that makes some really awesome baba ghanouj and I really wanted to compare the Greek Marina’s to theirs. There’s reason number three to go back!

Since we’re talking about Greek food, I guess I should mention that they also have souvlaki. I have very little interest in souvlaki because it’s not exotic enough, or not definitively Greek enough, for me! What is it? Well, to me, it’s nothing more than your choice of meat (usually lamb or chicken) on a shish kabob. It is well marinated, but I always look for things that I cannot get elsewhere!

Baklava

Now for dessert! Most people are familiar with baklava and this one looks like it was loaded with pistachios! I didn’t try it, but Mom, who is the biggest critic of bad baklava, says it was delicious.

Greek Isle Wall

This mural covers most of one of the walls in the restaurant. It is a very representative mural of the Greek Isle of Santorini. What a beautiful place — so fresh looking in its blue and white buildings and surrounded by the beautiful blue ocean! Picture perfect for sure.

Ring

The service was great and our waitress was very sweet and patient. The staff were all very good about humoring me with my picture taking.

Greek Marina
7192 Kalanianaole Hwy. E-126
Honolulu, Hawaii 96825
Phone: (808) 396-8441

You can find out more about Koko Marina here and, after you eat, you can walk around a bit and look at some of the other shops and businesses. Koko Marina calls itself, “The last stop on the way to Hanauma Bay.” I had to think about that statement for a bit and, you know, I think they’re right. I’ll talk about Hanauma Bay in the not-too-distant future, I promise! ๐Ÿ™‚

Remember Mulligan Stew?

Maybe I’m dating myself with this but I thought of it when I saw “Four Foods on Friday.”  Mulligan Stew was a kids’ show many years ago that talked about the four food groups in an attempt to get kids to eat right.  It stuck, for some reason.  They didn’t do a very good job, however, of putting any emphasis on moderation.  If they did, that part didn’t stick!

Suddenly I seem to be obsessed with food!  I found out about this blogger and her meme when I was reading about what Skeet did with green beans.  The worst part was that I subscribed to this blog via email and I have started paying attention to stuff I like and keeping some of those emails and flagging them. 

Val gives food-related questions for people to answer and participate in this little food networking thing. Here is the current list of questions and my responses: 

1. Brownies. From a box or from scratch?

Let’s see, from the box because I don’t trust myself to make it better than the experts.  Besides, it’s faster that way and a nice half gallon of milk is a nice companion! 

2. Chicken noodle soup. Does it cure everything? Do you make it from scratch, from a can or from a package?

I’m gonna get slapped for this one but, I think chicken noodle soup is a terrible waste of calories.  If I think someone really needs it for health reasons, I’ll give them Campbell’s but I myself will go for vegetable soup or something with a beef broth base. So, from the can ’cause I don’t care for the stuff and I would rather not eat it… never mind make it.  ๐Ÿ™‚   I guess it just doesn’t have enough taste to excite my taste buds.  Sorry.

 3. Red skin potato salad. Do you think the red skin provides flavor or color?

You know, I think it actually does both.  I never thought about it but there is a nice, quiet flavor added and the color… makes it taste better.  ๐Ÿ™‚  Obviously I’m thinking that it’s a bit of a psychological thing!  But, having the skin left on with regular potatoes wouldn’t present half the visual attraction and it would have a decided flavor that might be more than most people would like in a salad.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of those people that will eat the skin of that baked potato — I just don’t think it fits the whole salad thing.  The red potatoes are different that way. 

4. French toast. How do you make yours?

The problem with French toast is that you don’t usually think of it far enough ahead.  The bread, so I have been told, should be left out of the bag for a while to get a little stale so that it holds together but in my house it’s usually a spur of the moment thing.  So, when I make it I take the bread out and let it sit while I mix the eggs with a little milk, sugar and cinnamon (hubby like cinnamon).  I soak the bread in the mixture, put it in a frying pan with margarine and brown it.  Hubby likes the egg mixture to be overflowing and have a bit of an omelet thing going off the sides of the bread.  That’s it!  It’s a bread omelet!  Add syrup.  I’m not usually the one who eats it.  ๐Ÿ™‚    

Gee, I didn’t make a very good impression with those answers.  That’s okay, I was really wanting to share the blog and this recipe with you guys!  Pork chops!  I’m thinking I’ll try that one and replace the orange wedges with pineapple!  Yum!

When are Diet Plans and Weight Loss Healthy?

And if so, which one works? I have tried ones that work, BUT, they require a heck of a lot of physical dedication. Not that this is bad, I actually like doing physical stuff. But, sometimes it’s just not practical. I know, I know… I’m supposed to “make time!” The problem is, making that time is getting harder and harder all the time! Okay, forget about the food versus exercise thing for now. We all know we need to do both. My concern is which ones really work?

My husband is aiming to get involved with one of them that he has seen repeatedly on the infomercials. I would just hate to see such a large outlay of cash go to waste.ย  Let’s put it this way, I know that I would be a lot better off financially if I had avoided some of the fads seen on the infomercials in the middle of the night. Insomnia and/or quirky sleeping habits are expensive!ย  Fortunately, there are sites out there that talk about how these weight-loss programs compare. They also deal with the issue of healthy diets and the ever-dreaded need for exercise.

Maybe these guys will help us find the right solution so we can lose weight and save money while trying. In addition to the comparisons, they are offering coupons for some of the programs. Before we sink more money into this kind of thing, I would love to hear if anyone has tried one of these and had success with them. For the record, and for those who are concerned about fad diets the way I am, there are also articles about health, and tips, if you’re looking for them.

I don’t want to hear about Atkins or the Shintani Diet!ย  The latter was Zippy’s biggest mistake in my opinion! I am curious to hear if anyone has tried any of the other, more-controlled diets that seem more balanced from a health standpoint. Maybe I’m being too fussy but along with obesity, there is also diabetes and heart trouble on both sides of our families so healthy diets are getting more and more important to me. I would say us but I seem to be the only one sensitive to this staff. I guess that means I’m the one who’s getting old! ๐Ÿ™‚

Kona Brewing

Li Hing MargaritaLet’s see, what do you do on a Sunday afternoon, in Hawaii Kai, when there’s a marathon going on and the streets are pretty well blocked off? You find a place to have some lunch! When all else fails, eat!

There are several places we could have gone but being that travel was a little… less than convenient, we decided to try something different to make the afternoon just a little more interesting.

So, we opted to visit the Kona Brewing Co. in Koko Marina Center. We had eaten there before but it was a long time ago, so we were due for another visit. It was kind of nice because, it was pretty empty. Most of Hawaii Kai had either gotten out of town or decided to stay safely ensconced in their homes.

Outside the front of Kona Brewing Co.

Even though the day started out rainy and gloomy, the skies continued to clear up and it was actually turning out to be a nice afternoon.

Overlooking Koko Marina

It was still overcast but not like it had been in the early morning hours when the runners all started out drenched.

Inside the Kona Brewing Co.

It was actually kind of nice to be in a restaurant on a slow day. It was quiet and the staff were helpful and moving at a more comfortable and relaxed speed but still getting us fed. I was hungry!

Greek Pizza

They had a lot of interesting looking things on the menu, like this Greek pizza.

Guava grilled fish

I opted for this grilled fish… not sure what kind of fish it was but it talked about grilled and guava in the description and it was accompanied with steamed vegetable that I happen to like a lot, so it wasn’t hard to choose! ๐Ÿ™‚

Mango sorbet

Sometimes it’s fun to eat at places that seem to cater to tourists because they have fun things to eat… like this mango sorbet. It was a nice, smooth dessert that was good tasting and not too sweet. It was just enough to top off the fish and kill any sugar craving without be too overbearing.

Big Island Steak House that used to be in Aloha Tower Market Place downtown had a mango sorbet that was excellent! I’m not sure what happened to them but they closed their doors some time back. There was another restaurant that opened in that same location but they’re gone now too. It was on the second floor so that may be a bad location with a lot less foot traffic than the eateries downstairs at Aloha Tower.

Duck swimming by

Anyway, at Koko Marina Center in Hawaii Kai, the Kona Brewing Co. provided us with a very nice lunch. The restaurant is clean and inviting, and even the ducks like to swim by for a visit. The atmosphere was warm with their Christmas tree up by the front entrance and their little stockings hung across the walkway. Simone was our waitress and she was very patient with us as we kept asking questions while we were trying to figure out what to eat. Thanks Simone!

It suddenly dawned on me that “Kona Brewing” sounds like we’re talking about coffee. Not exactly… the Kona Brewing Co. brews ales, i.e. beer. Those are hand crafted ales, according to the little coaster under our drinks, and they’ve been doing this since 1994. I almost forgot that I wanted to include their little statement on that coaster. This gives you a feeling for the personality of the company:

The Powerful Volcanoes, the inviting waters of the Pacific Ocean and the free spirit of Island Surfing inspire us to brew our Liquid Aloha.

How can you go wrong with that?

Found Me a Sweet Honey to Bee with Me!

Busy HoneyBee

This was one of those great moments when an irresistible picture presents itself. All else must stop when you see it happen and you have a camera to capture the moment! I took this picture a few months ago and figured I would eventually find a way to use it. It never occurred to me that there would be something so very appropriate for this simple “Kodak moment!” Has this little guy got his head in the sand? Oh no, on the contrary, this is one very industrious and hard-at-work little insect!

While looking for a collection of Hawaii-related stories in a little shop the other day, I found something that peaked my curiosity. On a different shelf of unrelated items, some little jars caught my attention. The label said, “rare, Hawaiian, organic, white honey.” Huh? All kinds of questions popped into my head. Why is it white? Another industry to replace sugar cane? Why isn’t this in the grocery store?

Bottles of Hawaiian Honey

When faced with all of these questions and an industry that I never even thought about, I had to be niele (that means nosy in Hawaiian) and find out more about it, of course! I had to have a jar of this stuff! So, I left the little shop with my new book and a jar of honey. What a combo!

When I got home to my computer I wasted quite a bit of time looking for stuff.ย  Then it dawned on me to go directly to the source. Duh! (I did that once with Norbest turkeys. Do you guys know that those turkeys are white too?!?) Anyway, on just one of those little 8 oz jars of honey there is an abundance of information, not the least of which is a web address!

Volcano Island Honey Company is located on the Big Island of Hawaii and their website has an abundance of information about our tropical honey for all of you little niele honeys out there. While we’re building our Hawaiian vocabulary, how do we say “honey” in Hawaiian? “Wai meli.”ย  What’s the literal meaning? Bee liquor. I love that!

Once I was able to drag myself away from the computer, I had to try the little delicacy I purchased, so I did. I can’t even begin to describe it and all of theHoney with tea and creme crackers! thoughts that went through my mind. The biggest thought? “What have they done to the honey we buy in the store?” Seriously, that’s the first thing that went through my mind! (Apparently I’m not the only one to have had difficulty describing the taste! Scroll down until you see the paragraph on “Taste.”)

The honey in the regular grocery stores is different. It’s sticky, it’s processed, it’s messy, it’s… it’s just not right! The honey from Volcano Island Honey Company is smooth, it doesn’t run, it tastes like sugar (without the aftertaste), it’s spreadable, it dissolves, it’s just, well, it’s just good! It actually becomes part of what you put it in — it enhances the flavor without taking it over. The list of ingredients says, “Pure Raw Organic Hawaiian Honey.” Hmmm…

Raw is not usually a word that most of us like to see when associated with a food product. Until now. If the honey is left too long in the comb it crystallizes and has to be heated to extract the honey. What happens? The taste, the color and the texture of the honey are altered! So, raw honey is actually something a real honey connoisseur will be seeking, if they know what they’re doing!

Did you know that honey will taste different if the bees harvest nectar from different flowers? Who would have thought? I didn’t see all of those different honeys offered by Volcano Island Honey while I was in the store where I bought mine. Some of them are seasonal. I have my eye on one of them and I will talk about that, and why, in a later post… once I get my hands on some!ย  I promise.

Then I wondered if there was more to learn or see. Oh boy, was there more! Certainly more than I can even begin to cover here! Check out the process for making the honey!ย  And all of this wonderful stuff is the result of, and nested in, keawe trees? These are the trees that supply the wood we use to barbecue food over! They’re certainly nothing to look at, but, I guess now we know why it’s the wood of choice for making food taste good! Apparently the bees agree with us.

Okay, we’ve got all of this knowledge but the website wasn’t finished there. We’re going for more than just a treat for Thanksgiving; we’re going for some Christmas giving as well! Here’s a rather different treasure trove of Hawaiian gifts for us to contemplate. Talk about “Made in Hawaii!”

I have to share this one little story.ย  For the record, I did try to find out if the moon has anything to do with honey harvesting or its production.ย  I couldn’t find anything directly related to the bees but, in the process of looking for any lunar impact, I did stumble on something interesting.

In 1984 honeybees became little astronauts aboard the space shuttle! Seriously! As part of an experiment, the bees actually managed to build a honeycomb in space… and with no gravity! That was all I was able to find in the way of any direct celestial involvement, but I thought it was pretty cool.

The only question now is to figure out which item holds more fascination for me — the jar of honey made by the bees or their website? Our Big Island residents get to go see these honeybees at work! I’m so jealous! I’m telling you, all of this makes a person look at bees in a whole different light! Yeah, yeah, I know, buy a ticket. An airline ticket. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Until then, I’ve got my honey to bee with me!

Volcano Island Honey Company, LLC
46-4013 Puano Road
Honokaa, HI 96727
Phone: 808-775-1000
Toll Free: 1-888-663-6639