Hilo getting noticed

Wow! Hilo is a city to watch because of our high rankings of food, shopping and restaurant scores.

In the latest issue of “Conde’ Naste Traveler,” November 2013, Page 28, the “most comprehensive survey ever, based on a record-breaking number of responses (79,268 to be exact)” under Cities:

“Ten Years Ago:

Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Singapore held the top three spots in Asia and also earned the top rankings in most criteria. San Francisco was your favorite city in the United States.

What’s Happening Now: Your intrepid travels have catapulted cities like Paraty, in Brazil, and Mexico’s San Cristobal de las Cases onto our top cities lists in just their second year on the survey. Charleston wins top honors domestically.

What To Expect:

Ann Arbor, Asheville, Hilo, and Portland, Ore., in the United States, will continue to rise in the ranks, mirroring the upswing in their food, shopping, and restaurant scores.”

If we keep our standards up for food and shopping, we might make the top 10 cities in the United States in the near future. This year, the top 10 are:

1. Charleston S.C.

2. Santa Fe, N.M.

3. San Francisco, Calif.

4. Honolulu

5. Chicago, Ill.

6. Carmel, Calif.

7. New Orleans, La.

8. New York City

9. Savannah, Ga.

10. Napa, Calif.

If we look at what we have now: Seaside Restaurant, Big Island Candies, Two Ladies Kitchen, Kuhio Grille, Hilo Bay Café, Café Pesto, Café 100, Kilauea Lodge, Hilo Yacht Club and Big Island Delights, just to name a few of our popular foodie spots, we could very easily make the top 10 cities in the U.S. soon.

One of Hilo’s downfalls is not having enough hotel rooms to accommodate tourists coming to Hilo, but with renowned artist Robert Wyland, Tower Development Inc. and Wyland Hilo Hotel LLC coming in with $20 million in renovations for the former Naniloa Hotel, we will be able to sell ourselves as the food destination.

I was researching that very spot for a novel I am writing (on my bucket list) and found out Hilo Yacht Club had a clubhouse there since 1913 and in 1938, when the lease was up for renewal, a “hui” lead by Sen. Doc Hill obtained the lease to build the Naniloa Hotel. The Hilo Yacht Club, in 1939, relocated to the Keaukaha home of Frank Harlocker, on 2.84 acres, renovating the house for $30,000.

Up and coming restaurants in Hilo help us get there and each year there are about three to four new restaurants opening (however, there are also as many closings). I recently wrote about Kenichi opening at the former Kay’s LC location, and have often written about some of my favorite places to eat.

Full Moon Café is under new ownership and seems to be the talk of the town. Mark and Tedd Pomaski were living in New York City with Mark working for Nobu’s. When on Oahu, Mark worked for Roy’s Restaurants and traveled to the various Roy’s Restaurants to train the kitchen staff. The menu changes every day with the freshest farmers market produce and fresh fish from the market. One a given day, the menu could include Sashimi Salad, using Rainbow Acres Lettuce (love their variety of hydroponic lettuce and our catering company gets an order weekly), with Hilo caught ahi, or mahimahi ceviche with Kapoho papaya, or ulu in season made into poi or hash. Full Moon Café is located at 51 Kalakaua Street. If you have been in Hilo for awhile, it is the former Kalakaua Kleaners location. Tedd and Mark plan to eventually change the name to Moon and Turtle Café.

Foodie Bites:

Last week’s column brought totally different reactions from my readers. Raquel “could not believe you compared waiawi to pineapple” and Blake wrote waiawi is damaging our forests and “It’s the axis deer of fruits.” Shelley Hanaoka wrote me that “no one encourages the spread of waiawi — just the opposite!” Mrs. Katayama enjoyed my column, has the yellow waiawi and will use Shelley’s recipes. Thank you so much for the comments, but please don’t shoot the messenger.

Thanksgiving on Thursday:

To prepare for Thursday, you should have already ordered your fresh turkey (figure 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person) and will pick it up sometime today. If you are purchasing a frozen turkey, you should have picked it up last week because you need a day of thawing in the refrigerator for every 4 pounds of turkey.

On Wednesday, if you are going to brine your turkey, this is the day you should do it. Taste your brine water. It should be as salty as you want your turkey to be, no saltier. Do not pay attention to the recipes that say to put 3/4 to 1 cup of salt. That is way too much salt and will make your turkey too salty and not edible!

Wednesday is also the day you can bake and dry out your bread for your dressing and start your pie crusts.

Thursday morning, the turkey goes in the oven, allowing 12 minutes per pound of unstuffed turkey. I prefer to make the stuffing separately and not stuff the turkey because of the size of a turkey and length of time in the oven.

The pie filling gets made and placed in the oven, the potatoes peeled and boiled to make mashed potatoes, and the vegetables cooked just before the meal is served.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite meals and I thoroughly enjoy preparing the meal for all the family and friends. Email me if you have any questions or problems. I will be happy to walk you through preparation of your special meal.

Remember, everyone screws up ... my very first Thanksgiving turkey was quite raw inside because I placed my turkey in the oven too late before our one guest, my brother-in-law Wayne, came for dinner. So, no question is a dumb one.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Please feel free to e-mail me at wilson.audrey@hawaiiantel.net if you have a question. Bon appetit until next week.


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