Hilo Coffee Mill and a visit to the Seaside Restaurant

After our crazy morning with Isabel falling we still managed to have some fun.  This goes to show how beautiful and resilient those little ones are.

Hilo Coffee Mill

We went to visit a local coffee plantation called Hilo Coffee Mill.  Great little place.  Folks were real nice.  It started to drizzle rain a bit when we showed up.  We got onto the last tour of where they roast and package the beans.

Here are a couple of facts:

  • They have about a 1,000 trees on their property.
  • Some of the trees are known to be as old as 150 years.
  • If you take care of your trees, pruning, feeding, watering (not an issue in Hilo), then your trees will reward you for generations.
  • One tree will produce about a 1lb of coffee (no wonder coffee on the Big Island is so expensive)
  • They had pick their cherries only when red.  No mechanization involved.
  • Cherries on the trees ripen at different rates.  You can have a twig of cherries and half can be ruby red, the others still green.  This makes a difference in your coffee.
  • They press the cherries through a special machine that pushes the pit out (the coffee bean) and they save the pulp.
  • The flesh of the cherry as more caffeine than the bean!  The workers usually chew on the cherries while working so they can keep going strong.  Very funny to hear that.
Afterwards we enjoyed an expensive cup of joe and went outside, watching Isabel run around after the chickens that roamed the grounds.

Rough day, but we made the best of it.

We got up early this morning, with the usual routine except we headed to the ocean this morning right outside our house.  Went for a warm morning dip.  I did some snorkeling and Tammy chatted with a fellow Mom wading in the water.

Afterwards, we went back to our condo and I wanted to take a shower.  Isabel needed a wash too so I grabbed her into the shower and from this point on changed our whole day.  Isabel slipped on the tub and knocked her mouth on the side.  She cried and we looked at her teeth chipped and 2 of them were intruded, but luckily they were followed sideways vs pushing onto her permanent teeth.  The ped dentist told us to give them a chance to come down again.  If so, then we’re lucky.  If not, then Isabel will look to have her two teeth pulled.

This morning involved calling around to find a dentist that takes Blue Cross.  We realized that we could have just gone to any dentist and have them classify the visit as an emergency, then instead of dental coverage, where only a certain amount of payment is covered, the visit is covered by your medical, 100%!

Amazing how happy Isabel recovered from it.  A little tired from all the crying, but happy and smiling.

What’s for dinner tonight in Hilo? Chops, Tomatoes, and Taro!

I’ve been day dreaming the moment of having my first home cooked meal in Hilo ever since Tammy and I committed on traveling to Hawaii back last year.  And here we are…  Farm Fresh Pork Chops, with a Taro Root Mash and Tomato Cucumber Salad.  The Chops recipes is embarrassingly simple.  The Taro and Tomato recipes were all made up on the spot.

I decided to write the recipes as I did the work in the kitchen.  Enjoy!

First Dish – Taro Mash… Yum!

Tammy and I ate some taro mash as a bedding to our tenderloin that was served at the Aha ‘Aina, A Royal Celebration show.  It was delicious.  From that I was really curious… taro is a root and like all roots it can be boiled and flavored with just about anything.  I wanted to make a mash like we ate.


But what you are really wondering is how to prep Taro.  I did a little research online, and all of them say to cut the stem off, scrub the outside (if you just pulled the root out of the ground, or you bought it looking hairy) and then use a vegtable peeler.  But be careful about any skin sensitivity to the slimy taro during peeling.  I simply peeled it under running water, cradled in a paper towel.

Then you will want to lay the taro root sideways and make one inch slices.  You come out with it looking like what is on the left.  Then you will want to dice it into bite size pieces, on the right.


Make sure you don’t fill your pot too full.  Just enough to cover the cut pieces.  Also, you will want to adjust the temperature from high (when it first starts boiling) to about medium.  Otherwise, the water and starches will cause the pot to boil over.  You’ll be spending lots of time cleaning up the slimy water.  I boiled it for 40 mins.


  1. Dice up 1 maui onion along with 4-5 garlic cloves.
  2. Pre-heat your pan with some sizzling agent (I chose the rendered juices from my baked chops).

Time to do the mash…  First things first, I will be using some of the rendered juices from the baked chops I made to sub for the butter or oil I’d use.  Also, these chops have a nice thick skin of fat on them that I chopped off and will be dicing and sauteing.  I can’t let anything go to waste.  So, if you make some pork chops, or have a stick of butter nearby, simply put it in a pan and turn it on medium.  If you use butter, I always like to add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil with it.  This will prevent the butter from browning and smoking.

While this is sizzling, filling your kitchen with some home cooking aromas, start mashing the potatoes that you will need to drain in a colander and let it cool.  Take your pot and put it on low to keep it warm, then put back the taro root in the pot.  Let it sit for 15-20 mins to dry out.  Beware of your mashing skills.  Too eager to mash and you will prevent the starches from swelling.  This will cause them to get gooey vs creamy.  Cool them enough and the starch will not be able to dissolve in any water, preventing the gooey.

Back to your sizzling pan, add in the onion.  Let it caramelize a bit.  Add the garlic, but do not brown it.  Browning garlic in this case will just rid of that tang.  You’ll want to just at the minced garlic and then a mins later sauteed party of goodness to the Taro root you had started mashing.

Salt and pepper to taste.  You are done, stop reading this and go plate up those chops and taro mash.

Da Salty Lady’s Hawaiian Pork Chops

I couldn’t resist… I was originally going to do panko crusted pork chops with taro mash and a tomato cumcumber salad, but I saw this bag of fry/bake mix called Da Salty Lady’s.

It looked good enough for me to get it and use it for my island fresh pork chops I’ll be baking tonight.   (more…)

Simple Tomato and Cucumber Salad

We got these Japanese cucumbers from the Hilo Farmers Market today.  They are about a 12-14 inches long and kind of have a sweet juicy taste.  Not sweet sweet, but definitely not watery bland taste.  So, I decided to make a tomato and cucumber salad. (more…)

Hilo Market – Produce Paradise.

Today was our first trip down to the Hilo Market.  I have to say, this market blows away anything I’ve seen stateside.  I picked up a huge 4-5 lbs taro root.  I also managed to pick up a bunch of other produce:  1 Taro Root, 1 Breadfruit, 4 Maui Onions,  2 Meyers Limes,  1 Watermelon, 5 Papaya, 8 Japanese Purple Sweet potatoes, 5 Tomatoes, 2 Cucumbers, 2 Avacados, lots of garlic, and a bunch of Longan Fruit.

All of this produce was very inexpensive when compared to getting it back in Austin, TX or even in Seattle, WA.

Got those phantom Windows Phone update blues?

Nothing can be more exciting than seeing that message pop-up on your HTC HD7 phone saying you have an update available.  With everyone waiting for Mango to be released, it’s no wonder I hear from my friends, “I got an update, but it didn’t do anything.”  Well, I got the same update notice, and I too was let down.

But not all is lost… I did happen to capture all the other revision, bootloader, and version info before my update.  It turns out that they did an update on the Radio software version and the Bootloader.  I did hear a story about the wireless radio software needing a serious tweak (e.g. every lose your wireless connection, does your internet and 3G seem to compete when using Netflix?)  Maybe this is it?

Anyways, since I am sitting the beach, sipping Liquid Fuel (reminds me of my friend Jazzy Jeff’s site http://liquidchill.org) made up of
cruzan raspberry rum, guava puree, cranberry juice, fresh limes, red bull energy drink, I decided to keep track of my versions and list them here:

  Before After
OS Version 7.0.7392.0 SAME
Firmware revision number 2250.09.12001.531 SAME
Hardware revision number 0002 SAME
Radio software version
Radio hardware version A.12.0.D4 SAME
Bootloader version 1.20.2250.0(111584) 3.1.2250.0(119314)
Chip SOC version SAME

Poolside, what would life be as a pool attendant.

Waking up this morning was a challenge. I was hearing the waves crash and it just made me want to sleep more. So hypnotic. But that was soon dashed with Isabel playing taps, literally, on my back, coupled with her cute sinister giggle.

We managed to make it out to the Leahi lounge on the 30th floor, reserved for Platinum members and Leahi club purchasers. Free continental breakfast and a much needed espresso machine. The iCup on steroids… Latte, espresso, cappuccino, you name it….

Down to the salt water lagoon, filled with lots of kids and a spiraling slide. Isabel warmed up pretty quickly. She was asking to go into the pool everytime we took her out to rest. Not quite swimming yet, but she likes hanging on Daddy’s back and bubbling around.

We are now sitting down for some food before Isabels nap. Then off to the beach with Isabel, her first!

Rest time…

What a long day. Up at 6am. Off the plane in Hawaii at 9pm CDT. 9 hours of flying and we are enjoying our view of Diamond Head and the ocean.

I’m pretty tired as I write this… 2:35am CDT. And can’t wait to be beach-side tomorrow.