Loco Moco is the Hawaiian equivalent of bacon and eggs for breakfast. We set out for Ken's House of Pancakes, an institution on the Big Island. No Denney's, No Shari's. Ken's is the only twenty-four restaurant on Hawaii. I wanted to try this Hawaiian staple.
All seven us packed into our Dodge SUV and headed to Ken's. I ordered Loco Moco with Spam. I also ordered a side of Portuguese sausage and a bowl of ox tail soup. I wasn't that hungry, but I do like to sample. Peg ordered the Keike (child's) Macadamia Nut pancakes with bacon and one egg. Loco Moco is generally a bowl of white rice covered with brown gravy and a sausage patty or slice of Spam, topped off with a fried egg. I think it's an acquired taste. The gravy seemed pretty bland and the slice of Spam wasn't fried as I like. The egg was perfect.
The ox tail soup paled in comparison to Peg's. It was basically pho with big chunks of beef, but no noodles. I really enjoyed the Portuguese sausage and Peg's pancakes were perfect along with her egg and bacon. What made my day, however was seeing loaves of Roman Meal bread being stored away.
The Roman Meal Company has their headquarters in Tacoma, Washington. They are a client of mine. Both the chairman of the board and the president are my friends. I always keep an eye out for my clients . . . and my friends.
After dining at Ken's we continued to the Hilo market, where we all went shopping for bargains. I bought two Hawaiian shirts and a Peruvian tamale and then sat down and enjoyed Gone Country perform. I saw a number of performers on the Big Island and all were very talented. Performers never make enough, so I always tip well. Gone Country did an excellent job on the songs I listened to. They will work a three hour gig for $300. Now, that's a bargain.
I lost Peg for awhile. I think we all did. She eventually called my cell phone and I picked her up at a near-by shop, Hilo Guitars and Ukuleles. She was strumming a $1500 uke with Brian Padilla. Brian is a ukulele player and teacher with many years of experience in the retail music business in California and Hawaii. He was friendly and a joy to talk to.
Peg wanted her photo taken with a ukulele to show her friend Susan from Westgate Physical Therapy. I love the photo. She looked so happy. If we lived in Hilo, I think Peg would take up ukulele.
After we left the Hilo market we drove around Banyan Drive. Banyan Drive is a tree-lined street along the shoreline of Hilo. It's also known as the "Hilo Walk of Fame."
Many of the banyan trees were planted by celebrities like Cecil B. DeMille (1933) and Richard Nixon (1952). This one was planted by Babe Ruth in 1933, when he was in Hawaii playing a series of exhibition games.
Although a few trees have been lost to tsunamis, most are still standing and thriving. They provide shade for people and habitat for birds.
From Banyan Drive we went to 93 Lihiwai Street and the Suisan Company, fresh fish division. Peg and I love fish and we were anxious to try some of the fresh fish around Hawaii. I went wild in their store, but I passed on the ahi bellies. When we got back home I regretted it. For only $5.99 a pound I should have tried them out. I love salmon bellies. They are rich in healthy oils and have plenty of taste. I throw them on the grill for less than a minute for each side.
What I did buy was ahi poke, marinated ahi (ceviche), which is eaten raw. I also bought some popcorn baby lobster kim chee, dried salmon, and smoked ahi. For the night's dinner main course, I bought fresh ono and ahi. Both were $15.99 a pound and incredibly fresh.
Not all members of our group like fish, but I think everyone still had a bite or two of the different offerings from the fish store.
The ono and ahi were grilled on a gas barbecue, while the poke, kim chee, dried salmon and smoked ahi were served cold. My favorites? I love seared ahi. The kim chee was too much work for me (you had to peel the baby lobsters). The poke was tasty. The salmon was like candy and excellent added to our fried rice. The smoked ahi was like beef jerky. I could snack on that everyday.
I think I had one bite of the ono, which was excellent; we had ahi and ono left over. I think I had the ahi for breakfast the next morning and ate a piece of ono every now and then for the next two days.
For the rest of our trip we managed to eat ono and ahi on a regular basis. Also, on a regular basis, we had lilikoe Marguaritas before dinner, wine with dinner and something for dessert. On vacation doesn't mean starving yourself.