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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hidden Gem: Short N Sweet Bakery & Café in Hilo, Hawaii

The menu items in this post were provided by Short N Sweet Bakery & Cafe but the opinions expressed here are my own.

One of the most globally known sweet breads, King’s Hawaiian, was born right here in Hilo, HI. Robert Taira was born in Hilo and owned Robert’s Bakery. This is where he developed the King’s Hawaiian Sweet Bread recipe. My mom remembers when her mom would buy their Dream Cake, chocolate spongy chiffon cake with whipped cream frosting and tons of chocolate curls. When my mom was of driving age, she would go and pickup her own Dream Cake and Long Johns (donuts filled with a custard cream) and sneak chocolate curls from the cake on her way home (so many chocolate curls, no one noticed). She also remembers that the bakery was so busy, cars always going in and out. This building continues to make baking memories with Short N Sweet Bakery & Café.

Maria Sweet, and her husband, Dien, are the owners of Short N Sweet Bakery & Café. Maria has had a fascination with baking since she was little. Her love of the craft led her to the Baltimore International Culinary College and then onto graduate with honors from L’Academie de Cuisine’s Pastry Arts program. She began her culinary career as a pastry chef, working in restaurants, catering companies, and patisseries. She also worked as a pastry instructor, teaching Merchant Marines how to bake. This is where Maria met Dien, who was a merchant marine working as a chief steward. Dien was raised in Hawaii, but after high school, his merchant marine career took him all over the world – Asia, Polynesia, South and Central America, Europe, and Africa. After 20 years, it was time to return to home to Hawaii.

In 2006, they opened Short N Sweet Bakery & Café in Hawi, blending their love of baking while utilizing the local, fresh bounty that the Big Island offers. In 2011, the old Robert’s Bakery location was available with a larger facility, enabling them to expand their menu and offerings by adding artisan breads, croissants, and bagels. In 2010, Short N Sweet Bakery & Café was featured in BRIDES Magazine’s “America’s Most Beautiful Cakes”. In 2016, they received 1st Place for Best Desserts in Tribune Herald’s Best of Hawaii East.

Let’s look at some of the menu:

Eggs Benedict ($10.95, available on Sundays for brunch) starts with a house-made English muffin topped with Canadian bacon, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, and served with breakfast potatoes and fresh papaya. This was the first time I ever had a house-made English muffin and absolutely loved it. It was thick and held up well to the runny yolk and hollandaise. The poached eggs were perfect with yolk flowing like lava. The hollandaise was silky like it should be and very light on the lemon juice just how I like it. The breakfast potatoes were much different than what I see on the mainland which are usually underdone/overdone and bland, but these potatoes had a baked potato flavor with a smashed potato texture and simple seasoning. Rating: 5/5

Herb Roasted Chicken Panini Sandwich ($9.75) is made with thinly sliced herb roasted chicken, house-made basil pesto, mozzarella cheese, roasted red bell peppers, and organic local greens atop house-made focaccia bread. This was a beautiful panini with grill lines from the press, contrasting colors from the bread, and the green from the pesto and greens. It was a refreshing sandwich right down to the fresh local produce. The pesto was just strong enough in flavor yet lets the herb roasted chicken shine through. The focaccia bread had a perfectly formed crust on the outside yet is spongy on the inside. Rating: 5/5

Portuguese Sweet Bread ($6) gave my mom the chills when she tried it. It took her back to her childhood when her mom brought back sweet bread from Buck’s Bakery in Honolulu. This was a bread that was sold as a fundraiser and folks would rapidly buy them up. It had a different look and taste from King’s Hawaiian, yellow interior probably from more yolks and a spice that gave it a special flavor and aroma. Maria did a lot of research on old Portuguese sweet breads and came up with a recipe that is so onolicious. It had a beautiful golden-brown exterior with light yellow, fluffy interior. Next time, I’m going to buy a bunch of these so I can take them home with me. Rating: 5/5

Lilikoi Bar ($3.25) reminded me of a lemon bar, sweet and tart, but with a lilikoi (passion fruit) curd on top. It was just so Hawaii and so ono! Rating: 5/5

Kohala Crunch Bar ($4.95) is a creative dessert combining chocolate mousse and candy bar into one. It had sweet, rich, chocolate flavor and a nice contrast of silky mousse on top and crispy, candy-like texture on the bottom. Perfect for the chocoholic! Rating: 5/5

Hilo Bar ($2.75) is another creative dessert combining oatmeal cookie crust with chess pie like filling with macadamia nuts. It tasted like something your grandma would make. So good! Rating: 5/5

Short N Sweet Bakery & Café, in a nutshell, carries on the baking legacy of our small-town Hilo.

Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars

For more information:
Short N Sweet Bakery & Cafe
374 Kinoole St.
Hilo, HI 96720
Hours: Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Parking: Free parking in lot or street parking
Seating: Interior and exterior

If you enjoyed this blog post, check out these:

Short N Sweet Bakery & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Childhood Memories at Café 100 in Hilo, Hawaii

The menu items in this post were provided by Café 100 but the opinions expressed here are my own.

When I think back to my childhood memories in Hilo, the first thing I think of is my grandpa. In retirement, he kept busy by being a pin-machine mechanic at the Hilo Lanes (no longer there) and filling up cigarette and candy machines all over town. My brother, my cousin, and I would ride around in his station wagon for the early part of the day on his stops. As a reward for guarding the boxes while he filled up the vending machines, we got to choose a candy at the last stop. On the weekends, he took us to Onekahakaha Beach Park to play/swim in the tranquil waters, stop for ice shave (or known as shave ice on the other islands) at Itsu’s (no longer there), and get a loco moco from Café 100. Over the last 40 years, Hilo has changed with new restaurants and shopping centers, and even a drive-thru coffee house. But one thing has stayed the same, Café 100.

Richard and Evelyn Miyashiro opened the first Café 100 in 1946 (on the corner of Kamehameha Avenue and Manono Street) and three months later the 1946 tsunami hit Hilo. The restaurant sustained significant damage, but was rebuilt and the family expanded with three daughters. In 1960, they moved to a larger, modern building on Manono Street. Ironically, three weeks later another tsunami hit and from their house, the Miyashiros watched their restaurant explode. Their house was also carried away with a powerful wave until it was lodged into a tree. Third times the charm, Richard built the third and present-day location on Kilauea Avenue. This is where my story actually begins as my mom and dad used to go here while they were young, dating, and then married. The loco moco was invented in Hilo and I think I have loco moco in my DNA. Since 1982, Gail Miyashiro, one of Richard’s daughter, has held the reigns of this historic restaurant – “Home of the Loco Moco®”.

Korean Fried Chicken Plate ($7.80) is served with 1 scoop mac salad and 2 scoops rice. This KFC has a good flavor. The chicken is crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside. The sauce on the outside has a nice balance of sweet and savory like a light teriyaki sauce. I am very picky about my mac salad, growing up with my dad’s recipe. Café 100’s mac salad has a very good flavor. Rating: 4.5/5

Beef Stew Plate ($7.75, Saturday Daily Special) is an original Miyashiro family recipe served with 1 scoop mac salad and 2 scoops rice. The beef stew has a good homemade base with lots of flavor. You can taste the rich beef and slow cooked tomatoes. The beef chunks are large and so tender. The carrots and potatoes are tender but not mushy. Eat your rice with the leftover sauce! Rating: 4.5/5

Super Loco ($6.99) is loco moco to da max! It is rice stacked with 1 hamburger patty, Portuguese sausage, Spam, and 2 eggs. The meats are juicy with caramelized edges from the flat-top grill, adding another layer of flavor of fatty, porky goodness. The gravy has just the right consistency, not too thick and not too thin, and enrobes the rice and meats with ease. Break those yolks and the richness of the egg adds yet another layer of flavor. Rating: 5/5

Turnovers ($2.75) are something that my mom has a craving for every time she comes back home. I had not tried them before, but I have to say, I now know why she loves them so much. The turnovers are handmade and they sometimes run out, so go early. These were filled with apple pie filling encased in a homemade crust, deep-fried to a crispy, golden brown exterior, and topped off with powdered sugar. The baked aroma and sweet apple filling will transport you to a time where you are back in the kitchen as a child with your mom and/or grandma baking. Rating: 5/5

Whether you live in or are visiting Hilo and want to stop for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and/or order pupu platters for a party, historic Café 100 has what you are craving! 
Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 stars
Décor: 3 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars

For more information:
Cafe 100
969 Kilauea Ave.
Hilo, HI 96720
+1.808.935.8683 (Menu hotline: +1.808.935.6368)
Hours: Monday through Friday from 6:45 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Saturday from 6:45 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Closed Sunday
Parking: Free parking
Seating: Exterior

If you enjoyed this blog post, check out these:

Cafe 100 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato