Malasada Monday

IMG_6069For nearly a decade, we drove by TEX Drive In during our visits to the Big Island without stopping. We had no idea what we were missing until a friend told us that we must stop. We were missing malasadas.

Malasadas are Portuguese sweet bread and fried donuts. You may order them up with or without a filling. With a filling, they are about $1.50. When we arrived mid-morning, they had a sign on the counter with the flavors available that day. They were served warm and fresh, sprinkled with sugar.

IMG_6070Located in Honoka’a, TEX Drive In opened in 1969 and specializes in “ono Kine grindz,” or local Hawaiian food. Along with the world-famous malasadas, they have a menu of breakfast items, burgers, wraps, stews, soups, sandwiches and salads.

No, the malasadas are not health food. Yes, you should have one and then plan an extra long hike later that day in paradise. Order one up with your filling of choice and grab one of the outside tables for a view of the Pacific in the distance.IMG_6073

TEX Drive In is located at 45-690 Pakalana Street, Hwy. 19 in Honoka’a. It’s a great place to stop on a drive between Waimea and Hilo. They are open every day, except for Christmas, from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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Holuakoa Gardens and Café

IMG_0261This restaurant is well worth the drive off the beaten path to Holualoa on the Big Island. We have only been there twice, but we will be back, most likely for dinner. We had the same waitress two years in a row and the service, even though it extremely busy, was terrific.

The restaurant is part of the Slow Food movement, an organization with supporters in 150 countries around the world who are linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community, sustainability and the environment. A section of the restaurant’s website describes the local farmers they work with to provide organic fruits, vegetables and other ingredients.

There is a coffee shop indoors and nearby you will find the gardens with outdoor tables, nicely shaded and with a fishpond and a somewhat eclectic vibe.

The food here is the star. We each had a fresh local fish sandwich off the brunch menu and it was delicious. The wine list is respectable and I had a glass of red with my lunch.IMG_0258 2

There was a group of four women at the table next to us and they all ordered the baked thick cut french toast with fresh island fruit, whipped cream and pure maple syrup. They giggled when the waitress brought their brunch; it was so ridiculously generous of a portion and looked so yummy. The waitress smiled and replied, “I don’t know why, but people always laugh when we serve the french toast.”

Holuakoa Gardens & Café is located at 76-5900 Old Government Road in Holualoa, across from the bright pink-colored Inaba’s Kona Hotel.