Category: Restaurants

Kihei food truck court

I have a confession to make – I’m a bit of a food truck snob. Maybe snob isn’t the right word. Maybe it would be better to say I have a bit of a phobia of food trucks. On one hand they intrigue me, on the other…. I wonder about food safety and hygiene. After all, how big can their water tank really be? I like hand washing.

Regardless, Sig is away this week and I didn’t feel like cooking, so we went to check out the food truck court in Central Kihei. It’s a neat place. It’s set up on an empty lot behind Azeka mauka, near Fork and Salad, Roasted Chilies, Coconuts Fish Cafe etc. I figured, these food trucks have been here for at least a year or more, surely they’d have been shut down if there were a problem. Right?

I was pleasantly surprised. We picked up a few items from a few food trucks. I think the best part was the variety of choices. Fish, burgers, local food, vegetarian, shave ice and deserts, and of course coffee.

What did we order?

We ended up picking up pulled pork and a fish taco from Da Nani Pirates and hurricane fries from Vidad’s Local Kine Grindz. They were delicious. Okay, maybe that wasn’t so scary after all. And I did see a lot of other items I want to try.

Here’s a little video of the food truck court.

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Malasadas

Our family likes to celebrate special days with freshly made warm malasadas. One of us recently celebrated a birthday, so I got up early to pick up a dozen from a local diner.

My kid didn’t want a birthday cake, so I stuck a candle in one of the cream-filled malasadas. A good compromise, though I still would have liked chocolate cake.

What are malasadas?

Malasadas are a Portuguese donut – essentially they are large donut-holes: deep-fried yeast balls, coated with sugar, sometimes cinnamon, and sometimes filled with custard or guava jam.

In Kihei there are two places to pick up malasadas. Our go-to place is the Home Maid Cafe in Azeka Plaza. They open at 6AM and will make either ‘sugar’ or ‘cream-filled’ malasadas to order before 10AM. The Sugar Beach Bakery in North Kihei also sell them, but I believe they stop making them at 9AM.

Early morning malasadas pick up at the Home Maid Cafe in Kihei. There are always several roosters to entertain in the parking lot.

Our family always gets a dozen (for about $15), half and half (half cream-filled and half sugar). It used to be the kids preferred the sugar ones, now it seems they prefer the cream (custard really) malasadas. There’s motivation to come get them!

Note: best to eat these fresh and warm. Once they cool they just aren’t as good.

What’s the Portuguese connection?

Did you know, in the 1800s sugar cane plantations on Hawaii were in need of workers. Plantation owners started bringing immigrants from around the world to Hawaii to work. Some of these immigrants came from Portugal, while others came from China, Japan and the Philippines. Here is an interesting article about this sugar cane immigration. These immigrants brought many of their own cultural traditions, beliefs, foods to Maui.

On Maui, you can check out the Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens at the beginning of Iao Valley (before you get to the State Park). While the gardens themselves are in disrepair, the signs tell the interesting Maui-specific story.

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Treats from Komoda’s Bakery

Yesterday my son had another cross country race. This one was at an upcountry high school. As we drove up Haleakala Hwy, he asked – Mom, can you pick up Komoda’s for the team?

Komoda’s is a family run bakery in Makawao that celebrated its 100th anniversary a few years ago. Yes, it’s a hole in the wall. But it is one of our family’s favorite treat places. In particular the kids like the stick donuts. Five sugar glazed mini donuts on a stick. What’s not to love?

The thing with Komoda’s is – they open at 7AM. For best selection, you have to be there at 7AM or even earlier to get a parking spot and get in line. Mornings there is a line out the door and if you arrive much later, they won’t have much left. Komoda’s closes once they’re sold out (sometimes by 2pm). And they are closed Wednesdays and Sundays and sometimes in September when the family takes time off.

They are best known for their cream puffs and cocoa puffs. I however prefer their Coconut Danish.

Yes, I caved, I picked up 20 stick donuts for the team, a bag of dinner rolls for company we had last night. And a Coconut Danish for me.

Surprise

The best part was surprising my son with a shopping bag of stick donuts when he was only expecting a few for him and his friends. They ran 3 miles (plus their warm up miles). They worked for it.

upcountry
and they’re off – Maui’s high school boys’ track and field event

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My favorite restaurant

We recently went out for lunch for my birthday. I love celebrating birthdays. My favorite lunch restaurant is this wonderful place called Gannons.

Unless you are a golfer, it is possible that Gannons is off your radar. It is located in the club house of the Emerald and Gold Golf Courses in Wailea. You come up their long private driveway, past two of the nicer golf courses on Maui to an impressive white stucco building. There is ample parking (though sometimes you have to walk a little). Then you come in the doors, across a large courtyard and the restaurant is on the left (across from the pro shop).

Gannons

Gannons is one of two restaurants belonging to Bev Gannon – the other being the Hali’imaile General Store (also worth checking out).

Why is this place my favorite restaurant? Three reasons really:

  • the amazing restaurant space
  • the wonderful food
  • the beautiful view across the golf course at the ocean and Molokini

You just can’t beat it.

Gannons is open for lunch, happy hour and dinner. Brunch/lunch items range from $15 to $28 or so. Happy hour is also great with 20+ entree items, priced from $13-18 (they are smaller portions, so you may want to share a couple depending on your appetite). You do need to specify that you are here for happy hour at the Red Bar. Basically you want to sit at any table with an orange candle (otherwise you order from the dinner menu which is much pricier). I’m sure dinner is lovely – but quite pricey. And really, part of the attraction is the view, so come and eat during the day!

I do recommend making reservations, particularly for happy hour.

Gannons
Sig and I waiting for my birthday lunch at Gannons

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Tin Roof take-out lunch

What is your favorite take-out food? Are you a fast-food kind of person, or do you prefer better quality? Sometimes our lives are so busy, we don’t have time to sit down and eat a decent meal. Maui’s own Top Chef Sheldon Simeon’s Tin Roof restaurant is the answer to that problem when on Maui.

Sheldon Simeon had already had a few other restaurants going on Maui – Star Noodle in Lahaina, and then a restaurant at the Andaz -when he started his own mom and pop shop, Tin Roof, over 2 years ago. It’s simple good quality take-out food at affordable prices.

Tin Roof is located in a Kahului strip mall along Dairy Road. They are open only between 10AM and 2PM. There are several restaurants in this strip mall, so know that parking is difficult to find. It’s probably easiest to send one person in to grab the food while the others stay in the car and circle around the block.

To reiterate, the Tin Roof is a take-out place with only a few seats should you need to wait for your food. It’s tight and crowded inside. Again, it’s easiest when only one person runs in to grab the food. But trust me, the food is amazing.

Here is how best to order lunch. Go on their website (super easy on your phone) and check out their menu. There are a 4-5 entrees and a chefs special, a few add-ons, and some ‘other grinds’ (grinds being food). Select what you want, additional options (such as rice, add-ons etc), add to cart, select the time you want to pick up and pay right on your phone. Then at your designated time, go to their restaurant and pick it up from the counter. Yum!

Yesterday I picked up an order of mochiko chicken on hapa (half white half brown) rice with an add-on of pickled onions. My $10.42 meal was ready to pick up when I got there.

By the way, this summer Sheldon Simeon opened another restaurant at the Shops at Wailea ~ Lineage. It’s located at the top of the shops, next to the grocery store, close to Lulu Lemon and Louis Vuitton.

Rachel Ray’s U’i Gallery

While in the neighborhood I stopped at my acquaintance Rachel’s art gallery – the U’i Gallery – which is right next door to Tin Roof. I needed a few more of her beautiful calendars and mugs! If you’re shopping for souvenirs or gifts, do check it out! Rachel’s younger daughter Kahalau was diagnosed with cancer a year ago. Since then they have been fighting for her life. They have been working on a reduced schedule, but I believe are open daily from 11-2 or so. 

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Random foods

Recently I was sorting through pictures on my phone and found various random food photos. Pictures I’d taken with intention of blogging about them. Life has been busy and as you may have noticed, my blogging has slowed down. So, instead of four blog entries, I thought I’d just post them all together.

Fabianis

Fabiani’s is a cute little Italian restaurant with two locations – the main one (which includes an amazing bakery) in Kihei, the second in Wailea Gateway Plaza (same shopping center as Monkey Pod). I can’t remember anymore which pizza this was, perhaps the Kula Fields? Vegetarian nonetheless, and so good.

Fabianis

Monkey Pod

The Monkey Pod is a very popular Wailea restaurant. Personally, I’m not that taken by it, but have heard about their lilikoi foam mai tais from several people. Naturally I had to try it. It was good. Yum. By the way – lilikoi is a passion fruit!

lilikoi foam mai tai

 

Eskimo Candy

Poke is popular in Hawaii – raw marinated fish (often ahi). A poke bowl is poke served over hot rice. Eskimo Candy is a small take-out place tucked into industrial Kihei, across from NAPA Auto Parts. Their poke bowl is one of the best – I love that there are four different varieties plus a scoop of seaweed salad over rice. It is truly yummy and with the rice quite filling.

Eskimo Candy’s poke bowl

 

Bistro Molokini

We’ve eaten pupu (appetizer) and dinner here a few times. Slightly more casual restaurant at the Grand Wailea, right next to one of their pools. We’ve had several items on their menu, the poke nachos, the steak (so good), scallops and this is the ahi. Delicious.

Togarashi Seared Ahi

Brigit and Bernard’s

Maui’s only German/Swiss restaurant, this favorite is located in industrial Kahului. Brigit and Bernard’s lanai (patio) is loud with local traffic, but if you must have German food, you go anyway. Service is friendly and the food is good. I had the Wednesday chicken special – it was so good! Every week day they have 3-4 specials – go and check their board, they don’t update their website or facebook regularly. Oh, and they throw Oktoberfest parties all October!

Wednesday chicken special with roesti

Mystery slider

I wish I could remember where we had this – just looking at the picture, my mouth is watering. If you’ve ordered this, let me know. I’m guessing maybe Gannons Red Bar or Manoli’s, but…. I honestly don’t remember.

pork slider – sadly I can’t remember where we had this

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Sushi and Poke

Maui is of course known for its fish – both raw and cooked. I will not pretend that I know much about sushi and poke at all. Let’s just say – I just enjoy eating it.

Sushi you’ve heard of, but what is poke? Poke is raw marinated fish (usually ahi). If you don’t mind the texture of raw fish or have shellfish allergies, do try it. It is absolutely amazing.

Here are some of my favorite places for raw fish…

sushi and poke
Koiso sushi platter

Koiso Sushi Bar

Our neighbors invited me to join them at Koiso Sushi Bar a few weeks ago. This is a tiny restaurant that seats less than 20 people in Kihei’s Dolphin Plaza (same building as Pizza Hut). You must make reservations usually several weeks ahead of time.

I could not tell you what this platter is called – but I loved the selection and it was really good. Thank you to our neighbors for a lovely dinner treat!

sushi and poke
The Miso Phat sushi bar has a cool vibe

Miso Phat Sushi

This is a new sushi bar in Central Kihei that according to social media is very good. I wasn’t sure what to order and got the poke bowl (poke and rice). While not my favorite poke (I prefer more sauce), the ahi was incredibly fresh. Wow.

My poke bowl at Miso Phat sushi – incredibly fresh ahi

sushi and poke
The deli section at Makawao’s Rodeo General Store

Rodeo General Store (Makawao)

This is a take-out deli on Baldwin Avenue. While I’ve had sandwiches there before (which are great), this was my second time trying their poke bowl. They only have a few kinds (on my day they had two), but it is truly great! Your choice of brown or white rice. Very reasonably priced.

Curious to try poke but not ready to commit? Go to Foodland. This is my favorite grocery store place to get poke. They will let you sample a few of their selections (and they have lots).

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Gannon’s Happy Hour

Gannon's Happy Hour

After yesterday’s Junior PGA golf game, we decided we needed to reward ourselves with Gannon’s Happy Hour.

Gannon’s is one of our favorite lunch spots in Wailea. It is located on the beautiful Wailea Emerald and Gold golf courses with a stunning view of the ocean and Molokini.

On Maui lunch is typically the more reasonable time to eat out and that definitely applies at Gannon’s – lunch is significantly cheaper than dinner. However, Gannon’s Happy Hour is even more reasonable than lunch. The caveat is that you need to sit in their Red Bar area.

They have significantly increased the Gannon’s Happy Hour menu since the last time I went. There were 8 makai (to the sea) and 10 mauka (to the mountain) choices.

I ordered the poke bowl. This is a bowl of raw marinated chunks of ahi (tuna), onions and avocado on a bed of rice. It is honestly delicious.

Gannon's Happy Hour

My son claimed the burger (naturally). He said it was great – though the double kobe burger on the lunch menu is a bit better (the Gannon’s Happy Hour burger is cheaper).Gannon's Happy Hour

Before seeing the size of our pupu (appetizers), we also ordered the volcano fries. These are amazing – roasted garlic and seaweed crumbles topped with sriracha mayo.

Gannon's Happy Hour

While the volcano fries were delicious, the size of our poke bowl and burger would have filled us just fine. The cookies and ice cream desert was definitely over the top. But the cookies were delicious.

Did you say Junior PGA?

Why yes. Maui has several junior PGA teams. The teams have been formed and are currently practicing for their tournament starting later this month. Check out this blog post on kids golf lessons.

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Dinner at a resort restaurant – the Bistro Molokini

 

Recently Sig surprised me with reservations at one of the Grand Wailea resort restaurant, the Bistro Molokini.

Molokini bistro
Caesar salad with grilled opa

I enjoy trying out new-to-me restaurants. There’s always a dual purpose to that – I get to try a new place, and if it’s good, I blog about it (and can write off a portion of the meal). Now there’s a win-win.

He had seen it a while back when we were at the Grand Wailea for their luau and thought it looked good.

Molokini Bistro
scallops

I wasn’t sure what to expect. The resort restaurant is located right next to the hotel’s adult pool, however when we arrived around 7PM there was noone in the pool that we could see. The restaurant seems casual, though there were signs about needing to cover up and wear shoes.

 

The food and service were good. I had the Caesar salad with a tasty grilled white fish (Opa), Sig enjoyed the scallops. Our friends had the shrimp flat bread and the Brie burger, all very good.

molokini bistroThe Grand Wailea is one of several ocean-front Wailea resorts. There is no free parking, although if you eat at one of their restaurants, you can get your valet ticket validated (do tip the parking staff though). It’s a large resort, and thankfully they have maps and signs around the property. You walk through the large and beautiful lobby, take the stairs or elevator outside and walk direction ocean.

The pools and valet parking

If you were wondering…. the only way to get access to the Grand’s pools and water slides is to rent a room. Even then, the registered guests are wrist-banded. You absolutely need a wrist-band to use the pools.

Interesting side-note. When the valet returned our vehicle, we noticed for the second time (we are at the luau recently also) that the radio was set to one of the Hawaiian stations. Nice touch.

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The new Coconuts restaurant in Kihei

Coconuts
one of the amazing fish tacos at Coconuts

If you’ve been to Maui before, you may have been to the small (but good) Coconuts Fish Cafe in Azeka plaza. They have the best fish tacos – at least in my humble opinion. I think what really makes it is the mango on top. Yum.

A few months ago they opened a second location in South Kihei’s Kamaole Plaza. This is a strip mall across from Kamaole II beach. The old Denny’s used to be in here. This shopping plaza also has a Whaler’s Village, the Cinnamon bun place (yum), Maui Ocean Arts (a really neat artisan souvenir shop), the Nail Bar, an ice cream store etc. etc. This strip mall is next to Rainbow Plaza (home of Cafe o Lei).

Coconuts
Inside the new restaurant

Yesterday we had two condo check-ins. After doing some land-lordy things at our Palms at Wailea condo (involving a screw driver and the shower drain – I’ll leave it at that), I treated my son to lunch at Coconuts. He’s not much of a fish lover and had the burger (meh). I of course had the fish tacos which were fabulous (you get two).

Unlike the Azeka location, this new Coconuts is huge with lots of its cool surfboard tables. While Azeka is usually packed and you have to wait for and share a table, this location was half empty. So if you’re craving Coconuts fish flavors, come here! They are also open for breakfast (with a separate breakfast menu).

After lunch we stopped at the Cinnamon bun fair (downstairs) for desert straight out of the oven (cash only store)!

Coconuts
cinnamon buns fresh out of the oven

Recognize this guy?

Then over to our Kihei Surfside condo to change out some towels and prep it for our arriving guests. Guests at Kihei Surfside will recognize the turtle statue next to the oceanfront pool. He’s prepped and ready for the St Patty’s Day party on the 17th. Tickets and signups are at the Kihei Surfside office. By the way – this isn’t the only turtle at Kihei Surfside. You can often see turtles swimming just off the rocks at this location (access the water at Keawakapu beach in front of the Mana Kai if you want to go snorkeling).

Coconuts
the turtle at Kihei Surfside is dressed for St Patty’s day

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