Day 9 on Celebrity Millennium Hawaiian Islands cruise from Ensenada, Mexico—in Hilo, Hawaii. The behemoth ship pulled into Hilo, the largest city on Hawaii’s Big Island. The notoriously rainy area was true to form with a few ‘blessings” (how Hawaiians call the rain) here and there. Gratefully for haoles the ship provides umbrellas in staterooms (locals never use them).
So what do seasoned Hawaii visitors do while other passengers embark on organized tours of , Volcano National Park, ZipLine, botanical gardens, Wal-Mart ’s and Hilo Hattie (free bus service) etc. we went to our favorite lunch spot, Hilo Bay Café. Once housed in a shopping mall across the street from Wal-Mart, the restaurant moved into a striking building at 123 Lihiwai Street, about a five-minute drive from where the ship docked.
We didn’t have reservations which was a big mistake as the restaurant was packed with locals all who obviously planned ahead (808-935-4939). The 20-minute wait was worth it. My Mahi Mahi salad was fantastic. Richard’s ahi poke and Hamakua mushroom poke were mouthwatering. Our island friend Ross (who picked us up at the pier for our off-course meal) chose an amazing dish called ‘chirashizushi’ (sushi rice, seafood, nori, egg and lots of tasty spices).
Dessert was off the charts deconstructed cheesecake and Meyer lemon meringue; my taste buds are still dancing as I write this. And, even aware of the hassles ahead of filing this story at Celebrity’s balky, inept, frustratingly slow Internet Café, I’m still so in the afterglow of lunch that nothing can rattle me now (wine helped, too).