Category: Made in Maui

Maui’s Pau Vodka and Beach Bar Rum

pau vodkaThis morning we checked out the Hali’imaile Distilling Company in Hali’imaile, upcountry Maui. They are the makers of several great products – Pau Vodka, Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, Paniolo Whiskey and Maui Moon (flavored) Vodka. When driving up Haleakala Hwy, this is the first town on the left hand side, also famous for the Hali’imaile General Store (a Bev Gannon restaurant).

Believe it or not – Maui is home to some great alcohol… We have several distillers (Ocean Vodka, Hali’imaile Distilling Co, Haleakala Distillers), brewers (Maui Brewing Company, Kohola Brewery) and even a winery (Maui Wine at Ulupalakua Ranch). That’s right – Maui is not just known for its beaches 🙂

pau vodka
Some of these oak barrels are filled with their Paniolo Whiskey, some with just water to keep the oak barrels in good shape. The mustache is the whiskey’s logo.

Hali’imaile Distilling Company is set right between Maui sugar cane fields and 1300 acres of Maui Gold pineapple fields. Unfortunately the pineapple fields are somewhat hidden – further behind the Hali’imaile General Store (across the road and back a ways).


The tour

pau vodkaWe booked the tour online, showed up at our time and paid the entry fee of $10/person (which includes three samples at a tasting). The distillery tour was about 30 minutes long, the tour guide enthusiastic. This is a small-kine operation. They were just in the process of bottling some Pau Vodka on a small-scale bottling line. But hey – small batches are often best! The Vodka is made from Maui-grown sugar infused with additional molasses. The rum is made from Maui Gold pineapples (grown in Hali’imaile, and juiced for them by the Ulupalakua winery).

pau vodkaAt the end of the short tour we had fun checking out the merchandise and sampling our favorite product. It was still morning – but it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?

Which was my favorite? I bought a bottle of cognac infused Pau Vodka. Yum.

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Another fun Maui artist – Beth Cooper!

Have you ever bumped into someone you know in a completely different setting? I tend to compartmentalize my friends and acquaintances – then I when see them in a different place, it honestly confuses me, often I don’t recognize them…. how embarrassing! (If I’ve done this to you, I am so sorry).

Beth Cooper art
Beth Cooper with my new acrylic painting of Kamaole III beach park!

This afternoon we were browsing the Lahaina Art Society Fine Art Fair under the Banyan tree, when all of a sudden – boom! There was someone from the ‘condo compartment’ of my brain selling her beautiful paintings in front of the Old Lahaina Courthouse under the Banyan tree. Fortunately my brain made the connection and I recognized her – Beth!

We checked out Beth Cooper‘s table and I bought a beautiful acrylic painting of Kamaole III beach park with Kaho’olawe in the background. I love it! I have just the spot picked out for it in one of the condos…. but…. we’ll see, it may stay at our house.

Beth is a local artist (and outrigger canoe paddler/surfer/art teacher) and specializes in oil paintings. There is something for every budget – from originals to prints to note cards to shower curtains (!!). Check out her website!

The Lahaina Arts Society is an organization that showcases and trains local (Maui) artists. They have two galleries in the Old Lahaina Courthouse, and several times of month host Fine Art Fairs (featuring their artists) under the Banyan Tree! The next fair is Sunday Dec 27th – yes, Beth will be there!

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Maui Rum and Ocean Vodka

Tonight I picked up a few groceries at our local grocery store, Safeway. Maui Rum (one of my favorites) is currently on sale for $18.99/bottle. Their dark rum is very good, as is the gold, but tonight I found a new to me Maui rum – a Pineapple Flavored Rum. Normally I don’t like flavored liquors, the ones I’ve tried have tasted fake. But this bottle proclaimed it to be flavored with Maui Gold Pineapple…. so I had to try it! It is really quite nice.

At the end of the aisle was a display of Ocean Vodka, locally produced vodka made from organic sugar cane and deep ocean mineral water. If you haven’t toured their farm and facility, do. It is really quite interesting.

Now check out this lei! Rather than a traditional flower, kukui nut or shell lei, you could buy an Ocean Vodka lei 🙂 It has two mini bottles of vodka and two shot glasses, together with some plastic orchids. I can think of several of our friends who would prefer this to a flower lei 🙂 I couldn’t find a price-tag on it. I suspect the ABC store or Whaler’s Village probably have these in stock too.

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New book in Toby Neal’s Lei Crime series

Bone HookMaui author (and therapist) Toby Neal has just published her latest book in her Lei Crime series. I really enjoy this crime series, set right here in the Hawaiian islands, talking about life in the islands, writing about local problems. If you enjoy mysteries, check out this series!

Her latest book, #10 in the series, is Bone Hook. This book picks up five years after the previous one (Rip Tides), and sadly Lei’s marriage is in trouble. I was so disappointed about that, I’ve been routing for Lei and Michael, and while they’ve had their problems, I was so hoping they would work it out.

Disappointment about the fictional characters’ relationship aside (really Cara!), this is one of Toby’s best yet! And don’t worry about that cliff-hanger ending…. the next book, Red Rain, is scheduled for release just after Christmas! I can’t wait!

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Curtis Wilson Cost gallery and lunch at the Kula Lodge

It’s been a long hot summer. We’ve broken at least 50 daytime high records here on Maui with weather in Kihei averaging in the low to mid 90s and I am seriously jealous of all you mainlanders celebrating the first week of fall and crispness in the air. Yes, I guess I am missing the change in seasons.

So yesterday Sig and I took an upcountry drive (up Haleakala) to cool down a little and went to the Kula Lodge for lunch. In all these years we’ve never stopped there. They have beautiful bi-coastal views, lunch was okay, the wait staff friendly. But the best part was the Curtis Wilson Cost gallery downstairs.

Looking out the open door at the Curtis Wilson Cost Gallery with the Kula Lodge pizza oven to the right.

If you haven’t been, go! The Upcountry Maui magazine always prints one or two of his paintings. He specializes in realism and capturing the light. He has some beach scenes, but a lot of upcountry scenes, some with upcountry’s famous purple jacaranda trees. They are just stunning! I picked up a small print of his latest painting (Keokea Picnic) for our house and a set of greeting cards.

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Pono Pies

A friend was telling me about one of his clients, the baker of Pono Pies. As he was talking, a few other friends walked in and all said – oh, Pono Pies, sooo good.

Seriously? What have I been missing?

Pono Pies are locally made by a guy in Wailuku (the County seat of Maui). This is a small bakery, the main ingredient of his pies being – wait for it – breadfruit! Breadfruit? What is that? Let’s just say a large weird-looking starchy fruit that grows commonly in the South Pacific.

Here’s what his website says about his pies:

In Hawaiian pono means ‘correct, beneficial, done in the right way.’ My pies are made from Breadfruit from Kahanu Gardens in Hana, Macadamia nuts from Waiehu, and tropical blossom honey from Haiku. They contain no dairy, processed sugar, wheat, or any GMO ingredients. This makes for a healthy, satisfying dessert that helps to address the issues of sustainability and food security one bite at a time.

Intrigued? I was…. So I went to Hawaiian Moons (a natural food store in Kihei) and sure enough, they had two types of Pono Pies in their fridge. So I bought both – for the blog, of course! According to my friend, these pies are NOT baked, but set in the fridge. The consistency is creamy like cheese cake, but they contain no dairy.

Of the two, the lilikoi was my definite favorite. It was lemony-tart (lilikoi is tart) and just all-round wonderful. I would love to know what the calorie count on this is, because with the cheese cake consistency it seems really rich and decadent, though reading the ingredients, it’s probably not (after all, it’s healthy, right?)

Here is the ingredient list from the lilikoi pie:
Lilikoi filling: Maui grown breadfruit, lilikoi puree, Maui macadamia nuts, Maui honey, cashews, coconut oil, lemon juice, non GMO soy lecithin, salt and vanilla.
Crust: dried coconut, macadamia nuts, cashews, Maui honey, salt.
Most of these ingredients are indicated to be organic. And they are gluten free.

The coffee & chocolate one was good too, but having grown up in Austria, I am quite particular about my chocolate cake.

Looking at their website, I would really like to try the mojito pono pie! Here’s where to find them. And if you go to Hawaiian Moons in Kihei, be sure to bring the Pueo discount card from our condo (if you are staying at one of our condos, that is) for a 10% discount off your entire purchase.

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Another Dale Zarella statue in the making

There’s a south swell in right now, with the weather man saying the waves are 10-14 ft high on south facing shores today. My favorite beach Kamaole I is technically west facing, but since we’re considering a beach day, I thought I’d go for an early morning walk to see what the waves were doing. Of course, walking at 6:30am is a bit deceptive, as the waves will definitely change between 6:30 and say 10am. If you are hitting the beach today, watch the water for a while before getting in, be aware of the conditions and head life guard warnings.

early morning walk

I do love early morning walks. I went to Southern end of Kamaole I beach, then walked down to the sand, kicking off my slippahs and walking where the sand is packed down from the waves. Yes, my feet (and legs and a few times my shorts) got wet, but you just can’t beat walking on the beach. I walked all the way to the other end of the beach (North side) which is actually Charlie Young beach, I guess. As I approached the lava outcropping, I saw Dale Zarella‘s latest project on the lawn above. Last time I walked there (maybe a month ago), his work station was empty. Today there was a beautiful statue starting to take shape.

Who is Dale Zarella? He’s a famous Maui sculptor and painter. There are numerous statues of his around Maui, check them out at the Grand Wailea, King Kamehameha golf course (private). One of his most famous statues is his bronze statue of Father Damien on Molokai. This statue was blessed by Pope Benedict XVI.

Here are a few cell phone pictures of his current amazing project.

Dale Zarella‘s work station

his current lady surrounded by turtles

I absolutely love the two turtles swimming in her hair
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Locally made jewelry

Local meteorologist Malika Dudley is a woman of all trades. I follow her on facebook, she has done some excellent reporting during the past near hurricanes/tropical storms. Currently she is the chief meteorologist for MauiNow and BigIslandNow, local newspapers with a strong online presence. If you ever want to know what’s going on on Maui, check out MauiNow (and/or MauiWatch where Malika formerly volunteered). Additionally, she is a new mom, former beauty pageant winner, Miss Hawaii and Miss Congeniality at the Miss America Pageant. Recently I’ve had a look at the jewelry she makes.

Just before Mother’s Day I saw a post that Malika’s jewelry was on sale. What a great opportunity to check out her Etsy shop and fall in love with a beautiful set of earrings. I know, it’s such a hardship to do research for this blog!

The earrings themselves are beautiful. I love the color blue, and they happened to match a necklace I already own. The sterling silver is nicely crafted, it is nice quality jewelry. So, if you are looking for a little something ‘Maui’, check out her Surfergirl Etsy store.

the earrings arrived in this cute little box
aren’t they pretty? I think so! 
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Another Maui author for you!

The first book of JoAnn Bassett’s
Island of Aloha mystery series!

Much to the chagrin of my house-keeping skills, the old bookworm in me has been revived. After reading all of Maui author/therapist Toby Neal’s books, I promised I’d find you (and me) another local author. Amazon recommended I check out author JoAnn Bassett‘s books, and well, it sounded a lot better than tidying and dusting the house, so I did.

I’m currently reading my way through the Island of Aloha mystery series by Joann Bassett. Ms Bassett bought a home on Maui in 1996 and splits her time between Maui and Oregon. And yes, this series is also free to read as part of the KindleUnlimited package.

How do they compare to Toby Neal’s books? It’s still mystery and the stories take place in Hawaii, but that’s about where the comparison ends. Both are great, the Bassett books a little less intense or graphic, but fun!

You’ll have to check them out!! Great reading and insight into life in Hawaii.

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Yesterday I got to meet Maui author Toby Neal – I am such a fan!

Maui author and counselor Toby Neal

I had the opportunity to meet Maui’s own author and counselor Toby Neal yesterday. I stumbled across Toby’s books last summer at the Kihei library, starting with Twisted Vine and then Unsound. This winter I found her books on Kindle Unlimited and have since read them all in order.

I’ve met artists who have created jewelry and art I own, but never an author whose books I love!

Toby was so friendly and down-to-earth. We chatted for a while about the drawing classes she’s taking (she’s blogging about them, and quite frankly her posts are hilarious), her youth novel Island Fire and the latest project she’s working on – a memoir.

No, I didn’t get a selfie with Toby and I. I didn’t want her to think I was a complete nut!

If you enjoy mystery, suspense and good ole’ romance, pick up her books. They are great!

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