Logan got up really early, since he had to start working, and went out to grab us a giant breakfast from the Hilo Lunch Shop. It's one of the okazuyas (here's an interesting article on the ones on O'ahu), or Japanese/Hawaiian style snack or deli shops, you can find all over the state. I actually never made it to this one, because Logan kept going at 6:30 in the morning, and that is a time I refuse to acknowledge without VERY good reason on vacation.
He brought back a really nice variety of food. It was enough for both of our breakfasts and my lunch!
Lots of this was really tasty. The spam musubi wasn't as good as Tanioka's, but whatever. Logan is a big fan of the cone sushi, which is rice wrapped in an inari skin, on the right. I liked the sushi rolls with the mustard green wrapper, though the tofu patties and fried chicken were good as well.
This is obviously not health food, but oh well! If you go to the Hilo Lunch Shop, or any okazuya for that matter, be sure to get there early. Though they are lunch places, they open ridiculously early in the morning, and by lunchtime many of them will be out of their most popular items. Logan had to stand in line at 7 AM. Be forewarned, but definitely try one of these places out!
Hilo Lunch Shop is at 421 Kalanikoa Street in Hilo. 808.935.8273.
After Logan and I shared our healthy breakfast, he headed out to work. A few minutes later, I heard people exclaiming outside and poked my head through the curtans to be confronted by a double rainbow!
I couldn't believe it - a double rainbow, RIGHT outside my window! I could see it end to end, and it was stunning. The bay-facing balconies filled with grinning people.
Logan was very disappointed to learn that I didn't go stand in the light at the end of the rainbow. Yeah, what the bleep was I thinking?
After lunch, I went to hang out by the very nice pool for a little while with my book and an umbrella drink. The Hilo side of the Big Island isn't really known for its beaches, and I always appreciate proximity to a bar in my swimming.
When Logan got home from work, we booked it up to the Hawaiian Vanilla Company before they closed. The vanilla orchids only bloom for a few hours once a year, so obviously they weren't in bloom when we were there. And you can only tour the "vanillery" as part of a tour or the "Vanilla Experience Luncheon". And their beans cost $12 each. So... we didn't buy any, or get to see much, but the drive up there was pretty and the people were nice and informative. And I bought some lip gloss. A qualified success.
Then we drove to the small town of Honoka'a, mostly to get some gas. But since we were getting hungry, Logan picked up a gas station manapua, or steam bun. This one was made out of poi (taro) and had a mashed taro filling. Deliciously starchy.
And we picked up other snack foods - dried ahi jerky, seaweed, and li hing mui (sour plum) gummy bears. Why not?
And then we headed back to Hilo, because it was dinnertime! I had gotten all excited about this place called Seaside, which raises its own fish and is apparently one of the fancier restaurants in town. I suppose it is, because Hilo's pretty casual.
It also has a long history, being open in one incarnation or other since 1921. They had a historical display in the entryway with some of their plates from the '40s. And a strange fish skeleton, some bottles, and a few reviews. Odd, but I liked it.
We were seated on the patio, with a view of the fishponds. At least, there would have been a view of the fishponds, if it hadn't been pitch black outside. The very kind waiter insisted we come back during the daytime to see the aquaculture ponds, but I never had the chance to. Maybe Logan will while he's there and I can get him to report back. (Actually, funnily enough, he's there for dinner right now with a few of the movie peoples who are there on a scout.)
We were really disappointed to learn that the Seaside doesn't actually have any of its own fish on the menu right now. Apparently there was a bit of a fish breakout a while back, and the stocks are still depleted. But our waiter assured us that they buy fresh-off-the-boat fish daily.
I was really happy to receive a couple of lovely, warm, crusty rolls. Yum. The accompanying whipped butter had a definite flavor of coconut, but the waiter insisted that it was just regular butter (stored in a coconut? Eh?). Anyway, isn't it great when the bread in a restaurant is warm?
We also got a couple of green salads and each ordered the papaya seed dressing, which tasted like salad dressing. Seriously, I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between this and poppy-seed dressing if I were blindfolded. Maybe. The greens were nice and fresh, and the tomatoes had good tomato flavor.
For dinner, Logan and I ordered the moi (threadfish) and the aholehole (flagfish), both pan-fried. They were both really good, perfectly fried, and came with a side starch of your choice, some 1950's mixed vegetables, and a little dish of grated daikon that you could mix with soy sauce to create a dip, if you wanted.
The moi was a delicate fish, rich yet mild. We both really liked it.
We were given two aholehole, which were still pretty mild, but stronger in flavor than the moi. It's such a treat to be given a whole fish to break down, even if I'm not the most able hand at it!
Really good meal. A big happy yes to the Seaside Restaurant - it's a fun place. A little expensive, but in Austin, it's really hard to find whole fish like this, so it was worth it for the treat! And maybe when you go, they'll be selling their own fish again.
Seaside Restaurant and Aqua Farm, 1790 Kalanianaole Avenue, Hilo. 808.935.8825
Next! I actually leave the hotel on my own, so yay for rental cars! Black sand beaches! Scenic drives! Mochi, and Hilo Bay Cafe! And I learn to ration my exclamation points!11!!!!