A few nights ago we watched sunset and had a lovely catered dinner for the homeowners at our Kihei Surfside building. Dinner was provided by Bayside Catering – it was comfort food: pulled pork sandwiches, gourmet mac and cheese, smoked salmon and my very favorite – Costco’s mango cheese cake. Seriously – if you like cheese cake (and have a few people to help you eat it – it is Costco-sized, after all), pick it up next time you’re at Costco in Kahului.
It had been kind of a big day for me. I’ve spent the past four years volunteering on the Board of Directors at this condo complex, the Kihei Surfside. It’s been an interesting and definitely educational experience. The Board went from planning a major exterior remodel to this 42 year old building, to implementing it and seeing it through. In 2015 the Kihei Surfside went through a 6 month shut-down during which it underwent a major structural overhaul, repairing spalling (rusted rebar which cracks the concrete), in parts replacing rebar, strengthening the building, replacing windows and railings, replacing landscaping etc.
Sound like a big job? It was! The average owner assessment was $52,000 (plus or minus depending on the condo’s layout). That’s in addition to loss of rental income for the 6 months and the cost of additional projects due inside the unit – in our condo we replaced flooring, window covering, a sofa and the fridge in our condo.
Was the renovation worth the cost? Yes! It’s important to maintain a building, and this building is something special! Am I glad it’s over? Yes! It was a busy couple of years.
Last week was the last day of my four year stint as Director (the past two years as Board Secretary).
Have you seen the cool new 30 minute Hawaiian Food and Culture TV show? It’s called ‘Search Hawaii – Where Food Meets Culture.’ In it we follow the Grand Wailea Resort’s Chef Michael Lofaro and Hawaiian cultural practitioner Kainoa Horcajo as they travel to various Hawaiian islands to hunt, fish and pick local ingredients, and prepare unique meals based on the Hawaiian moon calendar. The meals are then prepared in someone’s home (no fancy chef’s kitchens) and then served to those who assist them.
Chef Michael Lofaro recently won Maui’s Chef of the Year Award (selected by his peers and published in the Maui No Ka Oi magazine). He is the Chef at the Grand Wailea’s ‘HumuHumu’ restaurant where the show’s own Mike and Kainoa also host Ka Malama dinners with foods inspired by, fished and gathered based on the Hawaiian moon calendar!
This is a great show to learn more about Hawaii, local traditions and see some great scenery from around the islands. Oh, and the chef and his cultural advisor are easy on the eyes, too!
I’ve watched the first four episodes now – my favorite has got to be episode 3 where they go wild boar hunting on Kauai! A little trivia from my friend Yvonne, who is the Executive Producer of the show: on filming day there were four teams looking for a wild boar, just to make sure they caught one for the show! I had to laugh when they showed Kainoa give the boar a piggy back ride out of Kauai’s rain forest! FYI, wild boars are not native to Hawaii and are considered a pest as they endanger native vegetation and animal species.
The Seabury Hall Craft Fair is arguably Maui’s premier craft fair. It is set on the beautiful private prep school campus high above Makawao with beautiful bi-coastal views. This time of year is particularly beautiful with upcountry’s signature purple-blooming jacaranda trees in full bloom! The best part is – it’s the day before Mother’s Day, so you can pick up something for mom, or even let her choose! It’s also a great place to pick up locally made souvenirs and thank you gifts!
It is held this Saturday, May 7th from 9am-4pm. Admission is $5/adults, children 12 and under are free. I believe parking is $5 (across the way at the Oskie Rice Arena) and $10 for premium (on campus) parking. Can’t make it this year – it is always the Saturday before Mother’s Day.
For the adults there are over 100 local crafters and artist booths (no made-in-China here), a silent auction, rummage sale, restaurant alley, bake shop, live music, and of course the beautiful views. This really is a special peaceful place.
The kids zone includes two giant slip and slides, bounce castles, face painting and many games.
How to get there? Take the Haleakala Highway upcountry to the Makawao turnoff. Turn left and follow the road to Makawao’s only four way stop (Makawao Ave/Baldwin Ave). Turn right (you will see Casanova’s and Poli’s Mexican at that corner). Continue driving up Haleakala, past pastures (check out the cows – this is farming country!) and great old trees. The school will be on the right side with additional parking on the left. Seabury Hall’s address is 480 Olinda Road, Makawao.
The annual Maui Onion Festival had been announced to be on for this May, but I am not seeing any information on it at this time. Whalers Village in Kaanapali has been undergoing a renovation, so it could be the venue isn’t ready on time.
Also, remember the Maui Swap Meet takes places every Saturday 7am-2pm at the University of Hawaii Maui Campus (across from the MACC).
Did you know there are two official languages in Hawaii? English and Hawaiian. Just a few decades ago, the Hawaiian language was a dying language. In 1978 Hawaiian became the second official language in Hawaii (the only State to have two official languages) and there has since been a renewed push to revive Olelo Hawai’i (the Hawaiian language). There are Hawaiian language immersion schools, children in public schools have Hawaiian culture/language classes… Even so, there aren’t that many people who can speak it fluently.
This Saturday, March 19th, go to the Maui Botanical Gardens in Kahului to get steeped in Hawaiian culture and support Hawaiian language education on Maui!
Maui’s only Hawaiian language preschool (Punana Leo o Maui) is hosting the 29th annual Ho’omau – an event which features Hawaiian music, crafts and demonstrations. There will be a live and silent auction, ono (good) Hawaiian food, keiki (kids) games etc.
You may have heard… Kihei’s Denny’s restaurant closed down a while ago. My friend Bonnie’s kids loved eating at Denny’s when they come to Maui. No worry, I told Bonnie – we can find you much better places to eat!
So where to eat breakfast in Kihei? Here are a few suggestions, in no particular order.
If you are looking for plentiful and cheap eats – check out the Kihei Caffe across from Kalama Park. They open daily at 5am and serve huge delicious portions at very reasonable prices which explains the at times long-line-ups. However, if you are up early and considering hitting the beach at 6AM because the kids are wide awake, you will likely avoid line-ups at that time. Cash only.
808 Bistro – tucked in behind Fred’s Mexican Cafe (2511 S Kihei Road) this place has been around for several years, serving breakfast and dinner (closed for lunch).
Chez Meme – in Kihei’s industrial area, just down the road from Eskimo Candy, is a cute little French restaurant, known for their breakfast! I’m told they have great lunch also!
For breakfast with a view check out the Five Palms restaurant, on the main floor of the Mana Kai building. Their banana mac nut pancakes are wonderful. If you are staying in one of our condos, grab the Pueo discount card for an additional 20% off the bill.
Nalu’s Southshore Grill – a new breakfast/lunch place in Central Kihei behind the post office and next to Ace Hardware. I have heard rave reviews of their breakfast items, in particular their Acai bowl.
D’Lite – a healthy fast-food place in the old KFC location across from Kalama Park. I have not tried this, but it keeps popping up in my Yelp and Tripadvisor searches. Check it out, it has good reviews!
If you must have Denny’s, I believe the Kahului Denny’s near the airport is still there.
Where do I eat breakfast? Personally, all I want for breakfast is a good cup of coffee, a piece of whole grain bread with peanut butter and jam and maybe some fruit. I personally prefer to eat breakfast at home – staying at a condo gives you this option as you have a full kitchen! I love to go out for lunch instead!
There is a new restaurant in Kihei – Nalu’s South Shore Grill! It is in the old Ihop location in Azeka Marketplace, next to Ace Hardware and behind the Kihei post office. Actually, it’s been more than a decade since there was an Ihop in Kihei, but if you describe it that way, it seems all locals and many repeat tourists know what you are talking about. In the past ten years there has been a steady procession of other restaurants at this location. Sadly they have come and gone. The restaurant business is tough.
Nalu’s South Shore Grill is popular with both locals and tourists – a key to making it here on Maui. Nalu’s is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You order your food at the till, pay, then choose a seat indoors or outside. The food is brought to you. Nalu’s serves breakfast all day (bonus especially with kids!) and also has a bar with several screens to watch your favorite game! Nalu’s is an open-air restaurant, I am told they are dog-friendly.
We tried out Nalu’s for lunch. Our friends had previously checked out the menu and reviews online and had plenty of suggestions. Sig ordered the burger, our friends and I all had the Ahi Club. Both were served on unique cutting boards and came with homemade chips and a tasty side salad. The Ahi Club was so good – the flavor just amazing! Sig enjoyed his burger too.
I forgot to order my desert malasadas (research for this blog, of course), by the time I was ready for desert, there was a line-up at the till. I guess I will have to go back and try those. Would anyone want to join me for a morning treat?
I’ve heard from a number of people that pineapples bought here on Maui are better than the ones bought ‘back home’. Why is that? I always thought it was just because they’re harvested ripe here, but didn’t realize that, as with other fruit, there are different varieties of pineapples. I guess this shouldn’t have been a surprise.
On Maui we are lucky to have the Maui Gold pineapple variety. If you haven’t tried it yet, do! It is less acidic and somewhat sweeter. It is grown right here on Maui by the Maui Gold Pineapple Company. No, they don’t hold the exclusive right to this type pineapple, but they grow a lot of it. The Hawaii Business magazine has an interesting article about Maui Gold Pineapple Company, and how it has come back from the brink, scaled back and revived itself.
Where can you find Maui Gold? The easiest place is the local grocery store – Safeway, Times, Foodland and Costco, they all carry Maui Gold pineapples. So do many farmer’s markets.
How do pineapples grow? A few years ago I experimented and planted a Maui Gold pineapple top. It grew to about 4 feet in height, 2 feet in diameter and looked like a giant pineapple top! At about the 12 month mark, the plant developed a pineapple bud in its center, which then grew into a full-fledged pineapple. Four months later we harvested our large Maui Gold pineapple – that’s right, 16 months to grow one pineapple! Ours had a crooked crown which I suppose it would have been considered ‘flawed’. The next year the plant grew two more baby pineapples (they were roughly a third the size of the original pineapple).
For blog entries and interesting pictures of our pineapple-growing progress click the ‘Cara’s pineapple’ tag on the right side of this blog.
How to choose the perfect pineapple? I look for fruit that is yellow and smells like ripe pineapple. How about you? What is your trick to finding the perfect pineapple?
Have you seen lilikoi at a local farmer’s market? They come in different colors, yellow, red and purple, and are a type of passion fruit. They grow on a vine.
You want to select lilikoi that look shriveled and have some give when you squeeze them. In fact, the more shriveled they are, the sweeter they will be. The lilikoi in this picture look beautiful, but are very sour. Ideally they should sit out on the counter for a few days to shrivel. With this fruit the uglier the better! But beware, leaving fruit on the counter can attract ants.
How do you eat them?
slice them in half and scoop out the seeds and juice with a spoon. The seeds are edible, just a little crunchy.
strain the seeds out and drink the juice – there isn’t much juice to be had, you’ll need a lot of lilikoi.
cut a papaya lengthwise, scoop out the papaya seeds, then fill the cavity with lilikoi seeds/juice. It gives your papaya some extra zip!
enjoy it in gelato (one of my favorites), cheese cake, alcoholic drinks, lilikoi butter etc.
One of my neighbors introduced me to pineapple lilikoi fruit salad. This really zips up your pineapple… It’s really easy, cut up your pineapple and then add the seeds/juice of a lilikoi or two. You may need to hide the seeds to get the kids to eat it. But the result is amazing. You would think tart lilikoi and tangy pineapple would result in more tartness, but the two flavors kind of mellow each other out. It really is a great flavor!
To my surprise, the same paragraph with the meal worms said some predict 2016 will be the Year of the Poke! Now that is something I can get behind! I love poke.
No, I am not talking about poking someone! Poke is a Hawaiian dish of raw pieces of marinated fish. Our neighbors introduced me to this delicious dish a number of years ago.
Poke is easy to find on Maui. The grocery stores all carry it (in their meat department), Costco has some, many restaurants will have a poke dish in their pupu (appetizers) section. Eskimo Candy in central Kihei (across from Napa Autoparts) has a great poke bowl (four different varieties and a seaweed salad). A number of Maui people have told me that Tamura’s on Dairy Road in Kahului has great poke – kind of an odd location, you walk through the specialty liquor store to the back where they have a fish counter. I have tried it – it was good, though a little salty for my taste.
In my opinion, the best poke is to be found at the Foodland grocery store. Wait a minute, Foodland? The Kihei Foodland is located on South Kihei Road across from Kalama Park. When you walk in, go all the way to the right back corner. There you can ask to taste a couple different kinds, then get your favorite either on its own or ask for a poke bowl with rice.
Word to the wise: you eat poke fresh. Plan to finish it that day. It is raw (though marinated) fish. I would not save it for the next day.