If you were not aware, these blog posts about Hawai'i have been thoroughly enjoyable for me, not only in the experiences had trying sandwiches in our 50th state, but in the memories brought up by reminiscing about them.
For example, this week's sandwich may not have been the best one I've ever tasted, but the memories of hiking prior to dinner made the day, and this memory all the better.
One of the main stops we wanted to make during our stay on The Big Island was to Volcanoes National Park. Situated at the southern end of the island, this massive park provides a ton of fantastic hikes, beautiful scenery, and the chance to see cooled lava flows and the devastation left behind.
It's really a fascinating experience, and one that we didn't think would take an entire day, but it did. We left the park around five in the evening to find a place to eat before we returned to see the lava glow at Kilauea at nightfall.
There are not many places to stop at in the areas around the park, but we did happen to find one spot that drew us in, not far from the park and off of the main road.
Situated in a densely tree-lined road, Lava Rock Cafe called out to us with its glowing neon in the fading sunlight. The inside was a cozy, cabin-like setting filled up with locals and other hikers from the park. Settling down with a menu, local flavors again caught my eye but in the end I ordered a burger solely because its added ingredients interested me.
The Magma Burger is a local grass-fed all-beef patty with taco seasoning mixed in, topped with salsa and Muenster cheese. With our mindblowing experience at Volcanoes all day, this burger had a lot to live up to, and sadly did not.
The patty was nothing substantial, which I had been looking forward to after a day of hiking. There was a mild flavor, but the taco seasoning definitely did not stand out. The Muenster cheese on top was melted well but only provided a little bit of its sharp flavor. The salsa added a cool contrast with a little bit of spice, but overall this burger did not live up to the high expectations I had hoped for.
Besides the food though, this was a great stop to rest after a day of touring, with a mostly quiet atmosphere and occasional evening music provided by local musicians. Service was excellent and they have quite a few local beers on tap, mainly Kona Brewing though. If there was a better meal or sandwich on this menu, it might have gotten a higher rating. As far as places in the area of Volcanoes National Park though, you could definitely do much worse than the Lava Rock.
Maybe next time I'm there, I'll give it another chance.
Next week, I wrap up my week long stay in Hawai'i with what could potentially be the best sandwich of the five.
Until then, Readers...
Lava Rock cafe
19-3972 Volcano Rd.
Volcano, HI 96785