While vacationing in Hawai'i, we split our time between the islands of Oahu and Hawai'i. Two very different locations despite being a short flight between each other.
Oahu is much more populated and has a much bigger allure for tourists. The Big Island though can be much more rural in spots, especially in a town on the windward side of the island called Hilo.
Hilo is the type of town where everyone knows each other, all the shops close around 8PM and there's a breathtaking view of the ocean and a volcano no matter where you look.
Walking through downtown Hilo one afternoon, we stopped at a little place called Cafe Pesto. The menu looked fantastic, and I almost ordered something not on the sandwich menu, and then I almost ordered a burger since it was so well reviewed. On considering my lunch options though, I realized that I should pick something more pertinent to my trip to the islands: seafood.
Kalua pork is a staple, and Spam is also a huge hit, but with so much ocean around them, it hadn't occurred to me until I was in Hilo that seafood would be an excellent choice. As long as I could find a good sandwich with it as the showcase item.
Keeping this idea in mind, I noticed a sandwich called Miloli'i, an open-faced sandwich topped with garlic basted shrimp, Pacific crab meat, sliced mushrooms and a blend of cheeses on French Bread. The blend of cheeses weren't listed but definitely included Mozzarella and Parmesan, along with another one I couldn't quite place. The combination led to a very umami flavor of the sandwich, smoky, smooth and all delicious.
The garlic shrimp cut through the smooth flavors of the cheese with just enough kick to stand out. The shrimp were tender, plentiful and cooked long enough to bring out their flavor but still allow for a pop in your mouth with each bite. The crab meat was mixed in between each of the shrimp and provided a smooth, slightly seafood flavor.
The sliced mushrooms, while not adding much flavor compared to the other ingredients, were cooked just right.
The French bread was toasted to a crisp outside while still having a soft inside, providing a great contrast to the rest of the sandwich. Overall, this was an excellent example of a seafood sandwich from a great location.
The third stop on my trip to Hawai'i was a resounding success, and if you ever find yourself on The Big Island, specifically Hilo, I'd highly recommend you stop by Cafe Pesto and take in the much more relaxing pace of the town.
Until next week, Readers...
308 Kamehameha Ave, Ste. 1
Hilo, HI 96720