Friday morning at 7 am, we meet James and Beverly Rubio in the lobby of our hotel. They’re going to lead us to one of James’s favorite breakfast spots for loco moco on the Big Island: the Hawaiian style cafe called Hawaiian Style Cafe in Waimea which is up in the north central part of the island, about 60 miles from here. We follow them through Hilo and north along Hawaii Route 19 (also known as the Hawaii Belt Road or better yet as the Mamalahoa Highway.)
A few miles north of Hilo, they pull off at a roadside bakery (!) to get some malasadas to fortify us on this breakfast journey.
Malasadas are Portuguese donuts, usually rolled in sugar, big fried balls of eggy-yellow dough, brought to Hawaii by Portuguese people who came here to work.
These breakfast sweets are widely available in the islands, but we pulled in at Baker Tom’s roadside place in what’s apparently Papaikou, HI. I went up and met Baker Tom, explained what we are doing, asked if we could shoot James and Beverly here as they get some malasadas. Tom said he was OK with it.
So Bob and Glenn shift into work mode and start shooting the scene. At some point, I taste one of the malasadas, and I’m dumbstruck. They look as if they might be heavy, doughy treats, but they are instead airy light, hot and amazing. James ordered a variety, some traditional (just the incredible dough) and other filled with fruit. My first is an apple-filled. I am in doughnut heaven.
Baker Tom also makes savory malasadas. He tells me the Canadian-bacon-and-cheddar is the one that got his business started. His nephew (who is working in the kitchen) said that the pizza-pepperoni ones (popular with surfers and other young people says Tom) are the best, and Tom says he’s sorry that his Jalapeno malasadas (a variation on jalapeno poppers) aren’t ready yet. James testifies that they are maybe his favorites.
These are world-class breakfast treats, but you have to get to Baker Tom’s early because when he’s sold out every morning, there are no more. It’s not yet 8 o’clock but already he’s sold out of his biggest sellers: the peanut-butter-and-jelly ones. They are just reasons to try and get back here one day.