Hilo Escape (from Kauai)
by LHS contributor Cheryl F. from Kauai
Welcome to Hawai`i Island!
We head straight from the Kona airport to Manago Hotel, eager for nourishment made with love and grandma’s secret recipes, and what a delicious moment it was. The look and feel of Manago Hotel’s plantation house vibe sparked memories of the mom-and-pop diners that once decorated towns on Kaua`i many years ago. Sadly, authentic establishments like Manago are nonexistent on Kaua`i for many reasons: future generations have opted out of carrying the tradition, owners sold, or places have been modernized due to damages from Hurricane Iniki in 1992. It is truly admirable that the Manago family maintained their successful yet modest business and kept its authenticity and character amidst a changing world. Our experience at this unique place in its original state was humbling and nostalgic, and it was also a historic lesson for our teenage son. And then, as if to remind us that we are all connected, we find that three of the five occupied tables were friends from back home!
Next on our priority list was a trip to NELHA aquaculture farms to check out the farm-raised ocean delicacies. We stocked our coolers and went on our way, knowing we wouldn’t get it as fresh as this back home
After a quick stop at KTA (thanks, Derek Kurisu) for some fresh ahi poke, tender steak, cabernet, and ice-cold beer, we headed back to our Waikoloa condo, eager to start grilling our gourmet feast.
In Kona, we were always scouting for ideal fishing spots no matter where we went. Every location had great potential, but the easiest spot was right outside the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel lobby.
The funny thing about avid fishermen is that they see any patch of ocean as being a potential fishing spot. So imagine how quickly our itinerary changed when Bryson saw the thick swarm of fish in Hilo bay. Thanks to S. Tokunaga Store, he was ready for action with his new 10-foot Nitro graphite, Penn Pursuit 5000 reel filled with 30-pound test braided line, bamboo hand pole, net, and tabis. He befriended a few of the local fishermen who kindly divulged a few tips and even shared their damashi. They nicknamed him “the snagger.”Note from Cheryl: One of my many food obsessions is tripe stew. I ate it at two places in Hilo, and this lovely creation at Hawaiian Style Café was my ultimate favorite—melt in your mouth and so so ono!
Hilo is so lush with greenery and naturally cleansed with flowing mountain water just like Kauai. The fresh aroma at Rainbow Falls valley reminded us of Kokee when the white gingers permeate the landscape.This double rainbow beamed proudly over Hilo Bay during our early morning walk. We thought we would never come to love another island as much as we love Kauai, but Hawaii Island captured our hearts. Thank you for the wonderful memories, and mark our words—we will be back!