Pesto Cafe

August 5th, 2015

[Photo Coming Soon]

For a great meal in Kawaihae, on the Big Island, Cafe Pesto is a great choice. The atmosphere is very nice with lots of beautiful paintings. The menus has many options including appetizers, pastas, fish, and salads. We decided to start off with the Shrimp Half Moon Nachos. It came with six crispy Asian style chips with a shrimp on each, and a pile of salsa, and cilantro sour cream in the middle. The crispy chips with the shrimp, cilantro cream, and slightly spicy salsa created a wonderful combination of different flavors and textures. The also brought bread to the table and it was served with pesto butter. It was delicious.

I am a big fan of shrimp and a fan of pasta, so the Shrimp Scampi looked very appealing. The small portion was the perfect size for this dish. (Many dishes here offer a smaller or larger portion). The sauce was buttery and had just the right amount of garlic. It went very well with the several large pieces of shrimp and the penne pasta. I tasted my mom’s Mahimahi fish special. I was in love with the fish, which sat on a little bed of jasmine rice and fresh veggies. It was cooked perfectly and seemed to melt in my mouth. I would love to taste it again soon! Of course my brother had to get his favorite, the cheese pizza. He loved the pizza and its light, crispy crust. My dad also got a pizza, the Chili Grilled Shrimp Pizza. It had a piece of shrimp on each piece over cilantro crème fraîche, shiitake mushrooms and green onions. He also asked for a side of garlic mashed potatoes (one of his favorite things) and they had a wonderful rosemary flavor with whole pieces of roasted garlic.

For dessert I had the Ganâche which was a chocolate torte with a raspberry purée. The torte was like a sliced like a cake and the raspberry purée was drizzled on top and on the plate. The size was not too large, but the flavor was rich and very delicious. The slightly tart raspberry went perfectly with the sweet and silky chocolate. My brother had the Cookies and Cream Cheesecake which had a macadamia nut crust and white and milk chocolate shavings on top. My mom tasted it and said it was “among the best cheesecakes I’ve had”. My dad got a Hot Keanakolu Apple Crisp. He thought it was excellent and said it was “large so you may want to share, but it was very yummy.”

I would recommend getting a reservation. Over all the restaurant was wonderful and the food was fantastic! This is a must go to place for dinner on the Big Island.

Scandinavian Shave Ice

August 4th, 2015

[Photo Coming Soon]

Best shave ice on the Big Island in my opinion is Scandinavian Shave Ice on Ali’i Dr. in Kona. We have tried other shave ice places and none are as good as Scandinavian. There’s a huge amount of different flavors, ranging anywhere from the classic Blue Hawaii to Wedding Cake. A few other flavors include Rootbeer, Cherry Coke, Dreamsicle, Red Velvet Cake, and Butterscotch.

There are also quite a few topping choices like Mini Mochi and Boba pearls or Popping pearls. You can also have ice cream in the middle. And you can’t have a Hawaiian shave ice without the famous Snow Cap, which is made from condensed milk. The Snow Cap was poured in pretty designs around the whole dome of shave ice. The shave ice itself is flawless and creamy, no chunky ice at all.  But they don’t have just shave ice, you can also get ice cream, smoothies, and even a little brownie sundae.

The service was super friendly and it’s fun to chat with them about favorite beaches. I would definitely recommend Scandinavian Shave Ice to anyone on the Big Island. It’s the best on the island.

Buns in the Sun

August 4th, 2015

[Photo Coming Soon]

Buns in the Sun is a great casual place to eat on the Big Island. They offer breakfast all day including smoothies, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes with things like Mac nuts, bananas and chocolate chips, cinnamon swirl French toast, quiche, omelets and a tempting case of baked goods. They also have other options such as salads, sandwiches and an aloha bowl which is half a papaya filled with yogurt and homemade granola. You can buy bread by the loaf too.

My brother loved the pancakes and my parents loved the croissant breakfast sandwich with egg and cheese (they were out of avocado both times we went). I decided to try the cinnamon roll from the array of treats in the case. It was large and was made from a light bread with, what tastes like, a cream cheese frosting on top. It wasn’t a gooey, moist cinnamon roll, but more like a lighter bread roll and a nice treat. I also decided to get a half order of the cinnamon swirl French toast. It came with two thin slices of French toast made from cinnamon swirl bread. The bread had a good amount of cinnamon and needs very little syrup as it was already sweet. We bought banana bread to go both times we visited and enjoyed it later. It was very good–moist and fresh.

The service is pretty quick and the location, the corner end of a strip mall, was actually pretty nice. There is seating both inside and outside, although most of the seating is outside. It looks like a lot of locals enjoy this place. I recommend it for a nice variety of well prepared food at decent prices. Aloha!

Kona Brewing Company

July 27th, 2015

My family visited the big island of Hawaii and the first night we went to Kona Brewing Company, and we were not disappointed. When we pulled in it seemed industrial, but we were in for a pleasant surprise. We walked back and found nice outdoor seating in a tropical atmosphere with shaded tables. (There is indoor seating too.) There are a lot of lush tropical plants and palm trees. You may even spot a small gecko or two on the trees!

While looking through The many menu options, the Kona Crab Cakes caught my eye. The two small cakes are full of crab and have a small spice to them. They came with an aioli and mango slaw. I would order them again. My mother ordered the Fish Tacos. They were three good sized tacos that were stuffed with large pieces of fish with a little bit of spice, black beans, corn, avocado aioli, and tomato. They were “spot on good fish tacos” according to my mom. I tasted them and I agree. My dad ordered the catch of the day which was Ahi served with rice and steamed vegetables. There was a sweet chili and lemongrass on the fish and it was delicious. My brother as per usual had the cheese pizza. The small was a good sized pizza with a fresh tomato sauce and tons of cheese. The crust was light and very good.

For dessert we shared the Kilauea Lava Flow. It is a chocolate fudge brownie topped with macadamia nuts and locally made vanilla bean ice cream with whipped cream and a cute little cherry on top.

Service was great.. Our drinks were refilled before they were half empty and everything was brought out quickly. Overall, the atmosphere and food made for a great evening.


August 8th, 2013

The morning after a Painted Turtle event in Hollywood, we decided to go to breakfast at a place called Eat.  It was a nice small little place with indoor and outdoor seating.  We were seated right away even though it was crowded, which was nice.  There were so many good-sounding options that it was hard to decide what to get. My brother and I decided to try the buttermilk pancakes. There were many styles of pancakes, we went with powdered sugar and syrup.  They came as three large pancakes, they were thin and still really soft.  They weren’t too fluffy.  My parents shared the Ned’s Benedict, they were perfectly poached eggs on an English muffin with tomatoes and avocado.  it came with potatoes.  The potatoes were great, especially the crispy parts.  They said the hollandaise was great and the presentation was very nice.  They also shared the breakfast burrito.  It came with thinly sliced potatoes, eggs, green onion, and cheese with salsa on the side.    My parents asked for no meat since we are pescetarians, and they offered avocado.   I thought that was really nice of them. The burrito also came with Zucchini hash, which my parents loved.  They were like hash browns but with zucchini.  The service was great and was very friendly, we didn’t feel rushed at all. They serve breakfast all day. My mom noticed some dog bowls in the back patio.  I thought that was really cool. Overall this is a great place to have breakfast or lunch with your family.  I really want to go back there sometime. :)


July 28th, 2013

As you may have heard, our beloved camp, The Painted Turtle Camp, in Lake Hughes, CA was severely affected by the Powerhouse wildfire last June.  Thankfully not major buildings were burned but because of the smoke and landscape damage, The Painted Turtle could not hold camp sessions this summer.  So The Painted Turtle created  “Camp On the Move” so that campers could still have a little camp fun this summer.  My family attended a “Camp On the Move” in Atherton, CA.  It was a great day with crafts, food, dancing and fun!  After the event, my family and  many camp friends decided to go to Piacere for dinner.  The chef of the restaurant is a good friend of ours and we have been wanting to try the restaurant for a long time.  The front of the restaurant was a nice little bar and outdoor seating.  We were seated in a large private room because of our large group.  The service was very nice and attentive even though we had a large number of people.  First they brought out some bruschetta.  They were small slices of sourdough bread with tomato slices and balsamic drizzled on them.  I’m not a very big fan of tomatoes so I let my dad have them.  I love the flavor of tomatoes but I’m still learning to like the texture.  The sourdough bread with the flavors of the tomato and balsamic was delicious.  Everyone at the table enjoyed the bruschetta.  Then they brought out some bread and dipping oil that was delicious!  They also brought some seasoned, roasted garbanzo beans in their pod, that everyone loved. They were very unique and fun to try.  I shared a Caesar salad with my mom.  It had shaved parmesan and garlic croutons.  The croutons were very flavorful and you could definitely taste the garlic.  The shaved parmesan was rich and delicious and the dressing was light and perfect.  I wished I had ordered my own. :-) There were so many things on the menu that I wanted to try but I finally decided to try the cheese pizza, knowing my parents would let me try their entrees.  The pizza was wonderful with a slightly sweet sauce and great crust.  The mozzarella was delicious on the pizza.  My brother said that it was “perfectly crispy”.  We ordered a side of corn cakes.  They were so good that I wish I could go back and have them right now.  They were whole kernels of sweet and juicy corn in a light cake that was just the right amount of crispy.  My family and friends enjoyed them very much. My mom loved her entrée which was the day boat scallops with a pea risotto. My dad loved his entrée too, which was a salmon with corn cakes and vegetables.  From what I could gather, everyone at our table enjoyed their meals—everything from spaghetti and meatballs or gnocchi to mushroom pizza or burgers.  At the end of our meal, after we’d said our goodbyes to our friends and went to thank the chef for our wonderful meal, she invited my brother and I to taste some of the house made ice cream. My brother’s favorite was the buttermilk.  I couldn’t decide between chocolate or banana chocolate chip,  both were wonderful.  The chocolate was very rich and the banana chocolate chip reminded me of a banana chocolate chip muffin.  The vanilla was very nice, it was like vanilla bean.  All of the flavors were great.  Overall, Piacere is a wonderful place to eat out.  Their service is great and their food is amazing!  Piacere is a great place to go with family and friends and the kids would love it.

Mike’s Pastry shop

May 15th, 2013

I went to Boston with my history class.  One of the many places to eat was Mike’s Pastry Shop.  They had a huge glass case with everything from cookies to brownies, but their most famous item was their cannoli.  They had many different kinds of cannoli like cookies and cream, Limón cello, and Espresso.  I’ve never had a Cannoli before, and there were so many that it was hard to decide which one to try.  I finally decided to try the chocolate covered cannoli.  It had a chocolate covered crisp shell with sweet, thick cream.  On the sides where the cream showed, there were mini chocolate chips.  My mom let me taste hers, the Peanut Butter cannoli. It had a thin and crisp shell.  It was filled with a thick cream that tasted just like peanut butter.  I really enjoyed it.  I think the rest of my class enjoyed theirs too. The cannoli were large and the shells were crispy and fresh. My brother is looking foward to trying the Peanut Butter cannoli when he goes to Boston.  Overall, the shop is friendly and has a large variety of tempting treats.  This is a really nice place to grab a treat with your family and friends.

Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm

July 3rd, 2012

Our family visited the Alii Kula Lavender farm in Kula, Maui.  It was beautiful.  We walked around and saw the many different types of lavender and other native plants.  The weather was cool and refreshing.  The lavender flowers were alive with honey bees.  There was a small gift shop and café near the lavender fields.  Everything in the gift shop was made with lavender from lavender soaps to lavender seasoning.  They offered a sample of lavender tea and I decided to try it.  It was so good and soothing.  In the café, we tried the lavender scone and lavender lemonade.  The scone was large and soft with a a delicious hint of lavender flavor.  It was served with lilikoi jam.  I loved the jam!  The lemonade was refreshing.  We also tried a lavender chocolate brownie.  It was so good!  Also, because we completed the scavenger hunt, where we look for different types of plants and areas on the farm, we received a free treat.  It was a lavender cookie. We all enjoyed it very much.  We bought a lavender chocolate bar, but it didn’t last the whole way home.  We shared it in the car and it was delicious!  I think the Alii Kula Lavender farm is a great place to spend time with family, friends, or just to relax.  It’s a part of Maui that is up in the hills and you might not visit but I recommend a visit!

Julia’s Banana Bread

June 26th, 2012

Our family went in search of some banana bread we had heard was good.  We drove from Kaanapali up highway 30 to Kahakuloa.  The road was windy with beautiful views but very narrow in places and parts were kinda scary to my grandma because there were places where only one car could fit on the road and there was a steep drop down to the water.  When we finally got to Julia’s, it was a little green treehouse that was over a small creek.  They had samples of dried mango, coconut candy, passion fruit butter and banana bread.  I really liked the mango and the bread so we decided to get some.  The bread was very very moist and delicious.  It was worth the drive to get it.  On the way back, there were some beautiful sites such as a blow hole and places to get out and look over the cliffs at the ocean.  If you find yourself in Maui, and you are a brave driver,  treat yourself to a nice drive up to Julia’s Banana Bread.

Ululani’s Shave Ice

June 25th, 2012

Want to know the best place to get shave ice on Maui?  Ululanis!  My friends, April, who is from Maui, told me to try it.  Other shave ice places claim to be the best but don’t be fooled.  Ululani’s is, in my opinion, the best.  There are 3 locations, 2 in Lahaina and 1 in Kahului .  Their shave ice is the best because it is very smooth, almost creamy.  They have a lot of great flavors like, cola, watermelon, vanilla, passionfruit, guava, pink bubblegum, and many combination suggestions.  Also, you can put ice cream—macadamia nut, vanilla or coconut– or azuki beans or other treats on the bottom.  The best thing is the sno cap!  After they shave the ice (and the portions are big) they poke holes in the ice and pour generous amounts of juice on top.  Then, if you order a sno camp, they pour a little sweet cream on top of that.  This makes it even more creamy but just as refreshing.  The people are really friendly and its fun to try different combinations.  If you are in Maui, don’t miss it!

Abby's Dining Adventures © 2008