hawaii sunset

We’ve been staying at the Outrigger on the Kona Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. While there are rooms with kitchens, we’ve opted for a ‘family room’ with adjoining rooms between the kids and adults. It’s worked out well. The plan was to eat out and family dining became a big part of the day.

Our days have started with an inclusive breakfast that is served between 6:30 and 9:30 each morning. This is no continental bare bones repast. There’s a decent buffet featuring steamed rice for the Asian visitors, either hash brown or pan fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, pancakes or French toast and an assortment of cold cereals, juices, oatmeal and teas and coffees. One table is devoted to fruit – baskets of bananas, trays of sweet papaya with lime, pineapple wedges and an assortment of melons. It’s been more than adequate for our variety of diets from meat eaters, and vegetarian to gluten free.

Lunches have been easy with plentiful snacks. On Wednesdays the hotel lawn hosts  a small farmers market with all manner of crafts plus fresh fruit smoothies, macadamia nuts and fish tacos that kept our bellies full.

That night we used the Yelp online review site to locate Lemongrass Bistro, Asian inspired cuisine, just east of the main Kailua thoroughfare. We started with beer and their signature lemongrass ice tea – the absolute most unique, fresh ice tea I’ve ever had. Even the kids liked it.

Each entrée was creatively spiced from Oxtail over rice to my Green Papaya salad with crispy Cornish Game Hen. There were traditional Thai entrees like Basil and Eggplant and Tom Yum soup. Each was beautifully served and I highly recommend the appetizers. We had an Ono sushi and a crispy tofu – all that, a few cool drinks and we were set for the evening. Or so we thought until dessert was recommended. The purple Fried Taro Ice cream was covered in a light, sweet pastry shell and large enough for each of us to sample.

The next day after diving at Two Steps and visiting the Place of Refuge, we tried another Yelp recommendation and ended up at Annies Island Fresh Burgers. Before we left we’d feasted on a variety of fish, vegetarian and locally grown beef burgers. The beer batter onion rings were sinful and the one basket made guilt a table wide phenomenon. The bottomless ice tea was significantly Oolong, which is distinctive taste treat with lemon.

Our last dinner in Kona was at the Ichiban style, Sushi restaurant, Shiono. It’s tucked away just off the Alii Coast route in busy downtown Kona/Kailua. The staff went out of their way to make our large group feel comfortable even without reservations. Cheers rang out when they served our various rolls and sashimi on a boat platter. They serve a very good Nigori sake and our green tea cups were never empty.

The kids all had to try out the Japanese style electric toilet seats. I hadn’t seen one since visiting a friends home outside Tokyo and never have seen one in a commercial establishment. Nice touch. Domo Domo, Shiono.

Elaine Masters, 2011, Travel musings and travel wellness. Books, audio and more travel ease products at DrivetimeYoga.com