I forgot how hungry I get when I’m pregnant. I’m not just talking about a growing hunger that crawls in and takes up residence. I mean a hunger that strikes like a tiger and has to be satisfied immediately or very bad things will happen (fainting, crying, yelling, stomach upheaval. You get the picture.)
After we took a stroll through the Kailua-Kona Farmers Market, Baby Walkingon let me know with a vengeance that it was time to eat again or else. We had passed Island Lava Java earlier in the day. It had some nice tables outside for diners to look out at the water (and a giant cruise ship) while scarfing down an island hearty breakfast.
The restaurant was already hopping by the time we arrive at 10am and this was on a weekday. Tables were packed outside, but there were a few empty tables in the cool interior. Dek was sweating up a storm as his winter body adjusted to the summer temps on the Big Island. We happily took an inside table.
Although the restaurant looks like a bistro on the outside, it’s actually fun and island funky on the inside. You can dine in or take out. The menu was not huge, but it was worthy of attention. Mike got the Luau Omelet, his first taste of roast pig on his quest for all things pig throughout our trip. I was tempted by the Banana Macadamia Nut waffles, but stuck with the basic eggs, applewood bacon and waffles. I’m still not convinced that was the best choice, but with my stomach still settling after a long flight and very little sleep, I thought I would play it safe.
There was a Keiki Menu for Dek. On this first visit he just ate off our plates. He still has not convinced me that he needs his own order most of the time. He just doesn’t commit enough to food yet. It saves us money, so I’m not complaining.
The food that day was good, but my chai latte was amazing. The perfect blend of sweet and spicy. I later found out that they did a Sunday brunch. This is where they pulled out the big guns. The menu took a dramatic shift towards my heart’s desire- French toast. Not just any French toast, but a Guava Bread Pudding French Toast. Needless to say we headed back down to give it a try.
We were not disappointed. Mike grabbed the Banana Macadamia Nut pancakes with coconut syrup and portuguese sausage on the side. I didn’t even need a menu to know that I would be having; another chai latte and my French toast. Our waitress smiled and said it was the best thing on the menu and by far her favorite.
Let’s just say that this French toast was perfection. When you start adding ingredients into French toast beyond the usual bread, eggs and milk, you walk a fine line between just right and way too sweet. The bread had just enough sweetness in it that you didn’t even need syrup. The flavors were rich but not overwhelmning. You didn’t feel like you had a bowl of sugar sitting in your stomach after three bites. The bread looked dense but was surprisingly light, yet filling. When our waitress came to check on us she took one look at my face and didn’t even bother to ask how it was. I was having an existential moment with my breakfast. Words could not describe it.
What made this French toast even better was that it made fantastic leftovers. This is not easy to do. The bread could get too soggy or the tastes could go off. After 30 seconds in the microwave Dek and I were happily munching away on my leftovers the next morning.
Mike’s plate was cleared, so I assume his pancakes were also good. The Portuguese sausage, which he had never had before, was slightly sweet and a little spicy. It didn’t blow his mind, but it wasn’t bad. Dek kept stealing it off his plate, so we know he liked it.
Above all the service was fantastic. Our waitress was friendly, efficient and bent over backwards to help us. We got to see her three times during our stay in Kona. By our third visit, she stopped to chat a little more. She asked where we were from. I told her Seattle and she replied, “I knew it! The nicest people are always from up there.” We both laughed and agreed it was because we were so desperate for sun that we couldn’t help but smile and be happy whenever on the island.
When we had a major water spill (Mike’s fault, not Dek’s for once) another waitress rushed over with some newspaper to help us clean it up, even though they were all slammed with other customers. When I couldn’t figure out where the bathroom was, a waitress didn’t even bat an eye or give a “you dumb tourist” look at me and Dek. She just explained that yes, you have to walk through part of the kitchen to get there.
To top it all off, when our soon-to-be-favorite waitress was grabbing our dirty dishes after our first visit, she complimented me on my dress. Now some people would say this was a last play for tips, but to me it sounded genuine. As my stomach expands, I will always take any compliment someone wants to give me. If this baby is going to demand I eat all the time, I might as well look and feel good doing it.
- Guava Bread Pudding French Toast served with triple berry compote, vanilla bean anglaise and toasted macadamia nuts (only available at Sunday Brunch)
- Luau Omelette – whole-egg omelette filled with slow roasted kalua pork, grilled pineapple, onion, cheddar and jack cheese. Served with rustic potatoes and apple-smoked bacon or Portuguese sausage.
- Chai latte (hot or iced)
Know Before You Go
- Open daily 6:30am to 9:30pm
- Located in downtown Kona on the water at 75-5799 Alii Dr., Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
- Reservations are available, but not really necessary for breakfast or an early brunch
- Register on the Island Lava Java web site before you leave on vacation and receive a $5 gift certificate and other savings
- Even the locals we met love this place for breakfast, which is always a good sign