We were fortunate to be able to participate in an imu again this year. An imu is an underground oven, a traditional Hawaii style of cooking. For much more information and ‘how to’, check out this link. When you go to a luau, typically a whole pig is roasted in an imu and unearthed during a special ceremony. One of the schools built an imu as a fundraiser – a few parents, teachers and the kids did all the work, while I happy bought my tickets, dropped off my prepared turkey yesterday evening and then picked it up again this morning. Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy! It’s a really neat experience.
A few tickets? Well…. I thought we’d do a turkey and some pork (two wrapped containers) but as Sig pointed out – we had two turkeys in the freezer, so why not just cook them both? The good news is – our Christmas turkey is carved, packaged and in the freezer!
How is it?
The meat is deliciously moist. It has a bit of a unique smell – a bit smokey from the keawe wood fire, and a little different from the banana stalks/leaves. It is absolutely delicious. If you ever have the opportunity to participate in an imu, do! Also, word to the wise, choose a smaller turkey. Our friends’ 20 lb turkeys still needed to spend some time in the oven while the meat just fell off the bone on my 13 lb bird.
On the same day, Saturday September 22 from 9AM to 4PM St John’s Episcopalian Church hosts their 36th Annual Kula Festival. We went last year to cheer on a few musicians in the Chop Suey Jazz Orchestra. Not sure if they will be performing this year again, but it is a cute upcountry local festival to check out.
Maui Ukulele Festival
Sunday September 28th between 1-6PM come for a free Maui Ukulele Festival of concerts at the MACC. Bring a blanket/chairs to sit, ukuleles, a game or two and your wallet for some ono grinds (good food from the food trucks) and relax to the ukulele music. Note this festival usually takes place in October – this year it’s end of September instead.
Oktoberfest in paradise
Yes, Oktoberfest reaches even to Maui. There are several Oktoberfest happenings here.
On Friday September 28th the Rotary Club is hosting their 7th annual Oktoberfest at the Pioneer Inn in Lahaina (see here for tickets).
Brigit & Bernard’s, the Swiss/German restaurant in Kahului, always hosts Oktoberfest four weekends in October complete with German beer, good food and oompah-band. I am not finding their information off hand, but give them a call for details.
Maui Sunday Market
Sunday evenings in Kahului from 4-8pm check out the Maui Sunday Market. This is a new event, just started this July.
I’ve noticed a sign on my way to the Kalama Park hockey rink lately. Truth is, it may have been there for years, I’m not sure. But I have noticed it lately. It says Blue Door Bakery. Having grown up in Austria the word ‘bakery’ is quick to catch my eye. I love most baked goods and especially a good loaf of bread.
After a few weeks of seeing the sign, I stopped in one afternoon – but sadly the bakery was closed. So I went online and saw that the Blue Door Bakery is open Monday-Fridays 8am to 2pm (or until they sell out). I haven’t been able to make it there during those times, so I did the next best thing – I went to Hawaiian Moons, the Kihei organic food store, one of several local stores that sells Blue Door Bakery bread.
I picked up a loaf of sesame semolina – all they had left by the time I got there. It was delicious! According to their website this bread is all natural organic and uses old-fashioned natural-rise methods (instead of yeast). The semolina tasted like sourdough bread to me. I don’t know if sourdough is the correct term, but …. hey, I love EATING bread, I don’t know much about baking bread.
Today I needed more – so back to Hawaiian Moons I headed for another loaf. This time I picked up a loaf of Levain. This one doesn’t have the sourdough taste. Absolutely delicious. If you like bread and like me do not care for toast bread, give this local bakery a try.
Hawaiian Moons is a small organic grocery store on South Kihei Road across from Kamaole 1 beach (near Cafe o Lei). If you are staying at one of our condos, be sure to take the Pueo Premier Card which should be on the counter near the keys or by any restaurant menus. It gives you a 10% discount off anything in the store. Besides introducing you to organic/natural food loving locals and visitors, the store also has a good section of healthy (natural) take out foods. Please do RETURN the Pueo discount card to the condo so the next guest can use it.
If you aren’t staying at one of our condos, stop in at the Kamalii Elementary School office – they sell these Pueo Premier Card for $10 cash as a school fundraiser. Help the local elementary school out and get loads of restaurant and store discounts around the island.
I thought I’d post a short update on Hurricane Lane on our blog.
August 24 5 PM update. It turns out Hurricane Lane is no more. Thankfully the storm has been weakening and is now ‘just’ a Tropical Storm with maximum winds of 70 mph. Wow. What an incredible ride. We had 2 hours of steady rain this morning and word that the hurricane had stalled at speeds of 2 mph – more delays while it deteriorated. Don’t get me wrong – we are incredibly thankful. Just three days ago we were staring at a Category 5 hurricane headed straight at us. After days of preparation and stressing, today was quite anticlimactic in Kihei. I went for a nice walk in the rain this morning along South Kihei Road (about a third of stores/restaurants were open). Then we did some necessary de-cluttering in our home.
At noon neighbors who were also feeling stir-crazy asked us to join them for lunch. So we had a pre-hurricane lunch at Nalus. I had been snacking (on hurricane supplies), so I wasn’t terribly hungry. I had their fruit bowl while my son enjoyed the mac nut pancakes. Delicious and fun and a good distraction for us all.
August 24 7 AM update. It’s been a quiet peaceful night here in Kihei. We left the bamboo wind chimes hanging on our lanai as it would be sure to wake me if we got wind. Nothing. It’s overcast and dry with no wind. This has got to be the slowest moving hurricane ever. The good news is it’s now at Category 2 status – with winds at 110 mph.
In other news on island – last night a brush fire started up near Lahaina. It’s been windy up there with gusts up to 50 mph, and the fire has spread badly. Officials had to move the emergency shelter out of harms way and entire neighborhoods are being evacuated. The highways encircling West Maui have been closed which means there is no way for anyone to get to the hospital (in Wailuku) other than by helicopter.
August 23 9:30 PM update. It’s been a slow day here in Kihei. It’s been overcast and there’s been some drizzle. Upcountry there were about 2000 people out of power and apparently Kahului airport (OGG) lost power also. But so far we are still waiting. The hurricane’s speed has slowed some more. Moving at only 6 miles an hour, this means that even though the intensity has come down, the storm has even more time to unload moisture and rain. Parts of Big Island got doused today. Soon it will be our turn. In the mean time, here’s what sunset looked like in our part of Maui.
Currently in Kihei (it’s 3:50 AM HST on Thursday 8/23/18) it is calm and quiet. Yesterday afternoon we had some gusts up to 30 mph according to my husband’s weather station. We went for an evening walk down to the beach yesterday and were caught in rain shower.
Last night was girls’ night out with a few friends. The activity of choice was an art party at Kihei’s own Island Art Party. Confession – I haven’t painted since art class in high school with exception of a finger painting ‘mom and me’ event with our youngest child a few years ago. I used to be pretty decent in art class, and at the art party they give you step by step instructions, so how hard could it be?
It was the fourth Friday of the month, which means it’s Kihei’s monthly town party in central Kihei at the Azeka Shopping Plaza. I haven’t been to one of these in years. It was fun – a good number of local artisans selling t-shirts, soaps, jewelry, honey and even Maui-made candy. There were several musician areas with a variety of music being played and then of course a food-truck alley. We arrived early (around 5) to ensure good parking and enjoyed happy hour at Shearwater Tavern.
Island Art Party is located right in Azeka, so that worked out perfectly. With it being Fourth Friday, they had a special on – $45/person or $25 for kama’aina (with State of Hawaii or military ID). The class was full, so it was a good thing we had made reservations. If you go on their website, they have a monthly calendar and you see exactly what the class will be painting each evening (and some daytime slots). Honestly, I didn’t like the project selected for last night. It was called ‘mystic jellyfish’ and, in my opinion, looked pretty awful. But, it was a night out with friends, so my attitude became ‘modify as needed and toss it out when I get home’. Plus it was a sale night, so whatever!
We arrived, were ID’ed (for the kama’aina discount and to purchase a drink from the bar) and ushered to our reserved seat. Everything was ready, except we needed to get our paint from the paint station (the instructions told us how many squirts of each paint).
The Partista (party artist) gave us step by step instructions on what to do. I did modify mine a bit and honestly, ended up pleasantly surprised.
It was fun! We’ve already checked out next month’s calendar. I think we’ll try a sunset painting next time around.
This past weekend the Maui Roping Club hosted Maui’s 63rd annual rodeo in Makawao. Typically this rodeo is held in and around the Fourth of July, this year just a few days later. The two day event kicked off with a parade down Baldwin Avenue in Makawao. Rodeo festivities themselves started at 4pm on Saturday and again at 1pm on Sunday.
Maui has an interesting ranching history. In fact Captain George Vancouver, who had accompanied Captain Cook on his third expedition which is when they ‘discovered’ Hawaii, gifted several long-horn cattle to King Kamehameha in the late 1700s. At the time the king placed a kapu (ban) on killing/eating the cattle. As a result by the 1830s herds of cows apparently destructively roaming the island(s). This prompted King Kamehameha III to bring in Mexican cowboys to help contain the herds. These cowboys spoke Spanish (Espanol) and became known as paniolos – which is what cowboys on Maui are known as to this day.
Ranches were developed in the late 1800s. On Maui the Haleakala Cattle Company was formed in 1885 and what is now the Ulupalakua Ranch also started a ranching operation around that time. Both these ranches are still in existence today. You can go visit the Ulupalakua Ranch – their general store and winery (Maui Wine) are one of our family’s favorite upcountry lunch destinations. The Maui Wine tasting room has a room dedicated to the Ulupalakua Ranch history with plaques and photographs.
For a time ranching was the 3rd largest contributor to Hawaii’s economy. Raising cattle in Hawaii is trickier than on the mainland, due in large part to the shipping factor. Bringing in feed is very expensive, as is the cost of exporting the meat back to the US mainland. Maui beef is therefore mainly grass-fed. The droughts in recent years caused Maui ranches to drastically reduce the size of their herds. However, do look for Maui beef in local stores and restaurants – it is delicious!
But back to the rodeo… it was a fun small-town event where everyone seems to know everyone. Unfortunately it had been raining off and on, so it was a bit mucky. However drizzle does make for the most beautiful rainbows.
It was another beautiful day today. After a day at the office I headed over to our Kihei Surfside condo to prepare it for tomorrow’s guests’ check-in. It was much too beautiful a day to go home, so I headed over to the Island Market at the Shops at Wailea to pick up some dinner.
I sampled some of the poke and picked up two types of poke and an ocean salad. Poke is raw marinated fish – often ahi (tuna). Ocean salad is strips of kelp and sea weed with a slightly sweet salad dressing. This may not be your idea of a picnic dinner – but if not, they have a great deli section with many take-out options.
I then headed back to our Kihei Surfside condo and had an ocean-front picnic.
Hawaii used to be known for its pineapple plantations. These days they are now mostly gone – replaced by cheaper imports from other places. However, there are still fields to be found on Maui and it seems more fields have been planted recently. Drive upcountry to Hailemaile and if you look carefully, you will see some pineapple fields. Plants are close together, creating a dense pineapple plant field. Note, please do not trespass on these fields, even if just to take pictures.
From my experience growing pineapples from pineapple tops in my flower bed, it takes roughly 1 1/2 years to grow one fruit per plant – if you’re lucky.
My favorite growing stage is when they bloom. Each of those little notches on the hard skin represents where a tiny purple flower bloomed. Soooo beautiful.
Costco stopped selling Maui Gold Pineapples this past year – replaced by fruit that is supposedly grown on Oahu (though I’m suspicious). However, there are a few local businesses that still grow and use Maui pineapples.
The Hailemaile Distilling Company produces Pau Vodka. Check them out in Hailemaile, go for a tour and see their tasting room. They also offer tours of their fields.
The Maui Winery also uses local pineapple for their three pineapple wines ~ Splash, Maui Blanc and Hula. These are available at your Maui grocery stores or for sampling at the Maui Winery at the Ulupalakua Ranch.
If on Maui, look to buy a Maui Gold pineapple. Farmer’s markets should still have them available, even if Costco does not. They are unbelievably sweet and juicy.
I’ve been meaning to check out the upcountry farmer’s market for a while now. It’s a Saturday morning event, I’m not sure what time it starts, but do know that it ends around 11AM. My mission – to replenish my stock of HI Spice hot sauce.
Yes, HI (the abbreviation for Hawaii) Spice hot sauce is locally made small batch hot sauce. The owners live in Kihei, their commercial kitchen is in Wailuku (as a side note – I’ve picked up from their kitchen before – it smells divine). You can buy their sauce online and at a few local stores – the Maui Tropical Plantation has it, as does 808 Bistro in Kihei, and I’m told someone at the Shops at Wailea carries it too… but it’s cheaper when you can buy direct ($10 vs $15 at the stores).
Upcountry Farmer’s Market
From Kihei the drive will take about 40 minutes. When you come up the Haleakala Hwy, continue on the highway until the Long’s Drugs intersection (just past Carden and King Kekaulike high school). Turn right, then take your first left and find parking. The farmer’s market takes place in a parking lot past and to the right of Long’s. There is some street parking, an empty field. Please don’t park in the store parking lot.
This upcountry farmer’s market is different from the ones in Kihei. Yesterday there were 40+ vendors, many claiming to sell organic or no-spray fruits and veggies. You can buy orchids, hot foods, kombucha and many other foods and drinks I’ve never heard of. You will also find more eclectic vendors – a few years ago there was a ‘Gothic’ veggie stand, yesterday two younger men had a Temple foods stand. I still wonder how one raises Gothic vegetables, but maybe I don’t want to know.
Yesterday I was a woman on a mission, with little time to spare. I found the HI Spice stand and bought five bottles of my favorite hot sauce. They have various kinds but my favorite is their Smoke Scorpion hot sauce. If you like hot sauce, you’ve got to give it a try! Yum.
Thanksgiving really snuck up on us this year. Last week I realized Thanksgiving was just around the corner and thought – the last thing I want to do is babysit a turkey in the oven. Then a friend posted about her school’s Hawaiian studies fundraiser – an opportunity to have imu-roasted turkey!
What is an imu? An imu is a temporary underground oven where you cook meat underground. The students dug a large pit by hand in one corner of the school property. Then they built a fire with local kiawe wood, surrounded by (porous) lava rock. Once the rocks are red hot and the fire burned down, they spread spread out the rocks, lay banana tree stalks and leaves on it. They placed the foil-wrapped meat packs on top of that, covered them with banana leaves, wet guinea-sacks, and finally with a tarp. Then the tarp was weighed down along the edges with dirt to help keep the heat in and other things out.
Here are the instructions we received:
Please deliver pans between 400 -700 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon. The imu is located near the upper soccer field. We have a staging area behind the backstop. We plan to close the imu at 8:00pm on Wednesday night and open Thursday morning 8:30-9:00 a.m. Here are some instructions for preparing the turkey.
1. Thaw Turkeys. You can put the turkeys in the fridge on Sunday night. If not, you may thaw turkey in a cooler on Monday and leave in there until the turkey thaws and prepare turkey on Wednesday afternoon.
2. Put turkeys in a heavy-duty disposable aluminum pan (the ones with handles makes it easier to handle).
3. Season turkey to your liking. For example, rub Hawaiian salt all over the bird including the inside. Next, rub oyster sauce all over the bird including the inside. Again, seasoning is up to your taste. There are many ways to prepare the turkey. Hawaiian salt is the most common. Last year we attempted a vinha dʻalhos turkey. We donʻt recommend this type of turkey for the imu.
4. Double wrap the whole pan in aluminum foil.
5. Bring pan to the imu. Weʻll tie string and identify the pans with a name tag.
6. Arrive Thursday morning 9:00-1030 a.m. to pick up turkeys at same location.
It was pouring rain on the drive upcountry yesterday, but I was rewarded by beautiful rainbows. I dropped off my turkey, then this morning I drove up and arrived just in time for the imu to be unearthed. I sure enjoyed it.
How is our turkey? It is amazing! The turkey is a little smokey and has a slightly different flavor – I imagine from the banana leaves. The meat just falls right off the bones. Yum!