Archive for the ‘Hawaii, the Big Island’ Category

Despite growing up on Hawaii island (a.k.a. the Big Island), I’m continually amazed and inspired by its rawness and awesomeness. It is not only home to that famous national park with its erupting volcano, but also two national historical parks, a national historic site and a national historic trail, all featuring dazzling natural and cultural riches that share Hawaii’s story like nothing else.

This video feature above produced for Hawaiian Airlines Hawaiian Skies inflight entertainment provides some “chicken skin” stories about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park, Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site, and Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park. It does a great job highlighting what makes each place so special and worthy of a visit.

I hope you enjoy this piece as much as I do. I’m already planning to visit all five parks and trails again the next time I visit my parents on Hawaii island.



So many incredible bays and beaches along Kona’s Alii Drive. Life is short. Take a moment to stop and enjoy the scenery.



Should you happen to find yourself in Hilo on Hawaii, the Big Island, do yourself a favor and stop at Nori’s Saimin and Snacks. Yes, for the delicious food that has become legendary there, but also for this incredibly ono Chocolate Mochi Cake.

Not too sweet, rich and decadent, soft, and always a joy to eat. For just $5, it makes a great gift for family and friends if you’re looking for something really fun and satisfying.


Nori’s Saimin & Snacks
688 Kinoole Street, #124
Hilo, HI 96720
Phone: 808-935-9133
Monday – Thursday: 10:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Sunday: 10:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.


Growing up on Hawaii, the Big Island, I’m a little shame to admit it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I found out about these Ugly Cookies from Petroglyphs in Paradise. Now I can’t stop eating them!

My brother-in-law Jon asked me to bring some back from Kona when he found out I was heading there on business. Mission accomplished thanks to some help from my mom and a trip to Long’s KTA.

While they are ugly looking, they taste incredible. Light and crisp, packed with chocolate, oatmeal, rice cereal, and Kona Chips. They remind me of Momofuku Milk Bar’s Compost Cookie, but better. Brilliant! And I bet you can’t eat just one.

So the next time you’re on Hawaii Island and looking for a tasty omiyage (gifts) to take home to family and friends, consider some Ugly Cookies. They aren’t cheap with a price tag around $17 for a 18 oz. container.

But as the label suggests, “It’s what’s inside that counts!” And what’s inside is pretty darn good.


My mom sent me some cool photos this morning of a Hawaiian monk seal that was found hanging out at her work place yesterday. I couldn’t help but share the pictures. It’s not everyday you encounter a monk seal and a friendly reminder that if you do, to keep your distance. They are an endangered species. Here’s the story:

While cleaning Papawai Beach yesterday morning, one of our grounds crew discovered this teenage monk seal lounging at the main campsite.  I heard it gave him quite a scare.   According to DLNR, this monk seal has been spotted at various beaches on the West Hawaii coast, most recently Honokohau Beach, and is becoming a problem.  “Jr.” was observed going back in the water late yesterday afternoon.

Please note that Papawai Beach is located on private Queen Liliuokalani Trust land in Kona.





[Photos courtesy of Lyle Gomes.]
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Filming the opening sequence at Kualoa Ranch. Stunning!

What happens when you take one of MOJO’s most popular shows Pressure Cook with Ralph Pagano and shoot an episode in Hawaii? “Everyone here thinks its the best episode (of season two),” according to the show’s Executive Producer Sandy Green in a recent comment on my Facebook wall. 🙂

The Hawaii episode airs October 6 at 3 p.m., 6 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. HST (according to and I can hardly wait. Sandy’s comments only make me more anxious to see the show.

It feels like it’s been so long since the completion of production on Oahu and Hawaii’s Big Island back in May. For those following my blog back then, you may have read about my experiences working with the production team here, here, and here.

It sounds like Hawaii will be well represented to a national audience of foodies and travelers. As you watch the show, be on the look out for the following industry partners who supported HVCB in this endeavor. Without these folks, none of this would have been possible: Outrigger Reef on the Beach, Hilton Waikoloa Village, The Shack Waikiki, Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar, Dave Miyamoto Photography, Pualani Hawaii, Makani Kai Helicopters, Kualoa Ranch, and Wailea Ag Group.


I’m interested in hearing from those who watched the episode, so if you want to weigh in with a comment, please do so here. Hope you enjoy the show.


Our final day on the Big Island was a leisurely one spent mostly cruising around Kailua-Kona town looking for omiyage (gifts) to take back to family and friends on Oahu. From the photo above, it’s obvious we were successful. KTA Superstore is a great place to load up on “made on the Big Island” goodies and we pumped every last dollar we had into deep sea salt, cookies, brittle, manju, sweetbread, chocolate covered mochi crunch, and a cool fish scaler (that stick with the bottle caps in the front).

But once we returned home from our shopping adventure, it was pure quality time with Kona Grandpa and Grandma. We found some old Fisher Price toys in my sisters closet that Ensen enjoyed playing with. Talk about quality, these toys are just like I remember them over two decades ago.

Even though it was getting late and we had to get ready for our late night flight, Ensen and Kona Grandpa were having too much fun playing in the box to stop now. But as you can see in the photo below, they had so much fun, the little fella actually fell asleep in the box while being carried around. Adorable!

But as Ensen slept, it enabled us to pack up at the last minute, including the 15 Kulana brand blood pork sausages Kelly’s dad requested. We whiped out KTA’s supply. Shhhhhhh!

So that’s what our family does when we visit the Big Island. Pretty chill all the way around. It was just good to get away, relax, and recharge the batteries. And of course, spend time with the family. Can’t wait to do it again, hopefully soon.