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Big Island honey at Costco now

June 7, 2015

Big Island Bees honeyI’m on Big Island Bees’ mailing list.  Last Wednesday they announced a small shipment of their raw organic Macadamia Nut Blossom honey to Kona’s Costco.

Last December I learned the small jars make excellent gifts.  I received heaps of thank you notes! My husband is a bread and butter guy.  He prefers the opaque Ohia Lehua Blossom variety.  I like it all!  Want to know why it’s time to give up the honey bear bottle? Learn that and how easy it is to become honey obsessed at

South Kona Big Island Bees honey is better tasting and more nutritious than the overly processed kind in the bear bottles. Get to Kona Costco before it’s all pau!


2014 Hale Aina Award Winners

January 9, 2014

HaleAina2014 logoHawaii’s best restaurant winners were announced in November 2013 at a Hawaii Magazine event.

GOLD — Merriman’s Waimea, 65-1227 Opelo Road, Kamuela
SILVER — Roy’s Waikoloa, 250 Waikoloa Beach Drive, Waikoloa
BRONZE — Beach Tree at Four Seasons, 72-100 Kaupulehu Drive, Kailua-Kona

FINALIST — Hilo Bay Cafe, 315 Makaala St., #109, Hilo
FINALIST — Holuakoa Gardens & Cafe, 76-5901 Mamalahoa Highway, Holualoa
TOP WRITE-IN VOTE — Kaleo’s Bar & Grill, 15-2662 Pahoa Village Road, #8512, Pahoa

The best of each island category is just the beginning. To see the entire list of category winners, from best breakfast to best cocktails and beyond, take a look at this Hawaii Magazine article, 2014 Hale Aina Award Winners


100 Best Dishes: Big Island Featured Dishes

August 20, 2013

Honolulu Magazine, August 2013

Reviews 100 Best Dishes around the State

Parker ranch entranceThere’s lots of nice things about calling our little cow town Waimea home, but one of the nicest things is the concentration of good eateries. Our restaurants are always well represented in Honolulu Magazine’s regular foodie articles. Not just venerable establishments like Merriman’s are mentioned, but the up and comers and newly established are frequently featured. No need to stay at the resorts for good food. Put on the warmest clothes you have — it could be raining sideways at 2,700 feet elevation — and make the trek up country to Kamuela/Waimea. On a clear day you’ll see cattle and horses in deeply grassy meadows. On rainy days just go straight to your favorite eatery and enjoy some of the best locally sourced food in the state.

Featured this month in Honolulu Magazine are:

This burger is my pick at Village Burger, as I prefer veggies to meat. But carnivores will not be disappointed with the menu.

I have yet to try this restaurant in Hawi town, but I have been hearing about it for months. If you take a drive to the north end of the island, stopping for a snack is a good plan.

Recently I meet a new friend for happy hour at one of Hawai’i Island’s best local breweries. I tried the “sampler,” five 3.5 oz tasters ($6). The critically acclaimed Overboard IPA was one of them. I did not like it: way to hoppy for me. But the White Mountain Porter was more to my liking. Dark but different. Tried as I might I couldn’t taste the chocolate and coconut but the coffee highlight was present. I’d order that one again!

Though I order fish when I visit this eatery, my husband orders the brisket. He agrees with this month’s review.

This pizza sounds great. I have to make a point to try it. Plan on an early dinner here on your way back from a shopping day in Kona town.

My pick of the month: a new pizzeria in Waimea town. So new I could only find a few Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews. This is my husband’s new favorite place:

James Angelos Underground Pizza
64-974 Mamalahoa Hwy
Kamuela, HI 96743-7334
(808) 885-7888


Sweet Apple Bananas – Grown on the Big Island of Hawaii

June 11, 2012

One of the many sweet and healthy treats grown in Hawaii, the Apple Banana, is a snack favorite with the keiki (children) of the area.

Here are a few things you may not have known about them!

Apple bananas are available year round.

Current Facts
The banana plant is often erroneously referred to as a tree, rather it is a large herb with edible fruits. The herb successively produces fruit indefinitely without discrimination to seasons.

Although short in length, apple bananas are fatter and chunkier than other small varieties and its flavor, once ripe, is both tangy and sweet displaying hints of apple and strawberry. Though they can be enjoyed when their skin is yellow apple bananas are at their sweetest when the peel has turned near black.

Nutritional Value
Apple bananas contain a significant amount of potassium and fiber and are higher in vitamins C and A than traditional bananas.

Once ripe, the apple banana can be enjoyed just like the common banana: fresh, baked, pureed, even fried. Keep at room temperature until ready to use, to ripen place in a plastic or paper bag overnight.

The apple banana is most commonly grown in subtropical and tropical regions, specifically the Hawaiian Islands, Honduras, Malaysia and Mexico. This banana takes a mere fifteen months from planting to harvest. A member of the Musa paradisiaca species and from the Musaceae family, new varieties of small bananas are being cultivated and are now available in American markets.


Diana Woods specializes in the Kohala Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii.  She knows and understands all the communities in and around the area and provides her buyers and sellers with a careful attention to detail, follow-up, an upfront communication style, and a competent interpretation of the Hawaii Island real estate market.  Don’t navigate the real estate market without the information, resources, and negotiation support she provides.  For more information about Diana and the area, including newsletters, video and a blog, visit:



Hawaii Regional Cuisine

May 24, 2010

Recently in my blog, I mentioned Hawaii Regional Cuisine.  Those of us who “live Hawaii” happily patronize our local  chefs when the opportunity to dine out presents itself.  My family eats a lot of fish, so I own several celebrity Hawaii chef cookbooks, and they are dog-earred and coconut milk splattered.  But the cuisine is certainly not limited to Hawaii wide variety of seafood. 

Those who vacation in resort neighborhoods of the Kohala Coast may not know they are eating Hawaii Regional Cuisine when they visit Roy’s and Merriman’s restaurants, but they are.  Chefs Peter Merriman and Roy Yamaguchi are two of the 12 (some say 19) gifted chefs who, in the late 1980s, established a culinary movement that blends Hawaii’s diverse ethnic, cross-cultural flavors.  Honolulu Magazine has named Merriman’s in Waimea (Kamuela) the best Big Island Restaurant for 13 consecutive years. Roy Yamaguchi is a James Beard Award winner based in Oahu, but there’s also a Roy’s in Waikoloa Beach Resort.

The main idea of Hawaii Regional Cuisine is to take advantage of fresh local island ingredients and incorporate them into creative and beautifully presented dishes.   The cuisine focuses on grass fed cattle raised upcountry on deep, lush pastures, tropical fruits and vegetables grown in rich volcanic soil, and large deep sea fish. If you are a red meat fan, I highly recommend a night at Kahua Ranch, or a tour of Parker Ranch to learn about Hawaii Island’s paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) past.

Previously, Hawaii’s food scene was sliced pineapple on a pizza.  Pricey Honolulu restaurants served meals made from frozen, picked-before-it’s-ripe food from distant lands.  Traditional Hawaiian cooking was distorted to meet mainland tastes.  When my parents think about dining in Hawaii, they think of poi, laulau, kalua pig and lomi salmon. This traditional Waikiki lu’au fare was soon followed by the “tiki” cooking style, which was mostly Cantonese with a fruity Hawaiian twist. Then came Hawaii Regional Cuisine which put the Aloha State on the international fine dining map.

Menus may include items such as seared albacore tuna with coconut ginger sauce; panko oysters with spicy, vine-ripened yomato relish; grilled mahimahi with poha, mango and papaya relish; furikake crusted salmon; Chinese pasta with sesame crusted opah and baked coconut taro.  Thank you to Sam Choy and my Choy of Seafood cookbook.

If you are visiting Hawaii in June, the state’s largest “foodie” festival happens on Oahu. Flavors of Honolulu is a three-day event showcasing dishes from more than 25 of the island’s best restaurants. There’s live musical entertainment, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, a beer garden and exhibits.  The event takes place at the Honolulu Hale on South King Street. For more information call (808) 532-2115.


Raising healthy Ahi, Hawaii Island style

May 26, 2009

Living the tropical, luxury lifestyle along the Big Island’s Kohala Coast means relatively easy access to very fresh fish.  You can visit the fishmongers near the Kona and Kawaihae harbors and you’ll almost always find big beautiful fish caught the same day.  Yes you will pay market price ($13+ per pound) but whatever you select will be worth every penny.  Whip up a pineapple mango salsa, and when your fish comes off the grill your taste buds will be ecstatic.

Preference for Ahi or Bigeye Tuna is growing rapidly around the world, and Hawaii is no exception.  Ahi is second only to Bluefin Tuna in popularity, especially among sushi and sashimi fans.  The Blue Ocean Institute currently classifies Ahi as a species heavy fished and its global stock low and falling.  The eastern pacific fishers are catching them faster than they can reproduce. 

Enter Hawaii Oceanic Technology (HOT).  Last month the company received community support to build a 247 acre, 12 cage Ahi farm about three miles off Malae Point in North Kohala.    The company hopes to raise 6,000 annual tons of Bigeye and Yellowfin Tuna.   About ten percent will be sold locally under the King Ahi brand.   HOT will limit availability of King Ahi in local stores to protect the livelihood of local fishers.

The fish will be bred in tanks on land where they will stay until they weigh about five pounds.  Then they will be moved to very large submerged, self-powered “oceanspheres.”  The pens will travel with the ocean current untethered, using geostatic positioning technology.

Aquaculture is an appealing way to halt fish stock decline, but traditional methods have caused environmental and wild stock problems.  Some farms are disease prone, marine life has suffocated below farms, and farm escapees have harmed wild stock.  HOT’s novel approach should avoid these problems.  The secure kevlar net spheres will be 1,300 feet below the surface in open ocean where strong currents will keep the pens clean and the fish will have plenty of space.  The diameter of each sphere will be about 56 yards, creating 82,500 cubic meter pens.  Construction is expected to begin in 2010. 

Kona Blue farm currently produces open ocean Ahi near the airport, using pens tethered to the sea floor.  Their Ahi show no significant traces of mercury or contaminates, which cannot be said about wild stock.  HOT’s new roaming pen technology is yet another step in the right direction for fish lovers on Hawaii Island and around the world.