Tag: made in Maui

Hula Cookies

Have you ever been to Hula Cookies? Their store is located at the Harbor Shops in Maalaea Harbor.

Friends used to own a small jewelry store next door, so we would stop in at Hula Cookies from time to time. After yesterday’s Maui Ocean Center visit, my youngest and I stopped at Hula Cookies for one of their gourmet icecream sandwiches. While we got there before their shop opened, we got lucky! They have an icecream sandwich vending machine just outside the store! Perfect! We still got our treats and got to support this awesome small business.

As the name implies they have a number of different gourmet cookies that they bake and sell. They also serve Roselani icecream. You can build your own icecream sandwich with your choice of cookies and icecream. How sweet is that! My son chose chocolate chip cookies and mint chip icecream (of course). But I had my eye set on the Hula’s Delight cookies These have dried mango, dried pineapple, coconut and mac nuts. We ran the credit card and got my son’s icecream sandwich out of the vending machine ($7), then ran it again for mine. In my haste it appears I punched in the wrong number, instead of an icecream sandwich I got a baggie of 4 Hula’s Delight for $5. In my opinion, a total win.

Icecream – I can take it or leave it, but give me something I can sink my teeth into (like four hula cookies), and I’m a happy girl! Now, keep in mind, the vending machine is a freezer, so they were all frozen (since the icecream needs to be kept frozen). The cookies softened up quickly enough. It worked for us, but I think next time we’ll try to time our visit better so we can have soft cookies with the icecream. Yum.

Roselani Icecream

Roselani Icecream is Maui’s very own icecream. Maui Soda Works started manufacturing it in 1932, since then it is sold at all grocery stores in Hawaii. We recently tried the Kona Mud Pie. Oh it’s delicious.

Maui Harbor Shops

Have you stopped at the Harbor Shops in Maalaea? You may recognize their two main tenants – the Maui Ocean Center and the Pacific Whale Foundation. Do take a moment to check out the other shops and restaurants – did you know there are two levels? Tante’s has a gorgeous harbor view, Beach Bums is popular and runs regular radio ads. There are a few gift shops, a tattoo parlor, and Maui’s newest live entertainment venue, Da Playground.

Comment »

Maui strawberries and lilikoi tarts

Maui has been warming up. This is of course hardly a surprise, it is officially summer. My problem is, I just don’t like the heat (I know, I live in the wrong part of the world). So last week I drove upcountry for a cool-er walk, some strawberries and lilikoi tarts.

It was closing in on 80F when I left Kihei around 7:30am and by the time I arrived at my favorite Thompson Road pull-out an hour later, it was a wonderful 68F. I had tried rather unsuccessfully to convince a few friends to go walking, so I was doing this solo. I grabbed my mask (just in case), sunglasses and phone and headed out on my 3 mile (roundtrip) walk. This is a narrow road with bicoastal views, lava rock walls, horses and just beautiful scenery. There isn’t much traffic, but as long as you stay to the side of the road, everyone is friendly and waves.

La Provence

Sig told me to be sure to check out the French bakery while upcountry. One of the tennis moms had been telling him how amazing it was. I have a bit of a reputation for having a sweet tooth, so of course I had to stop. Turns out La Provence was a little more difficult to find than I thought it would be. It’s on a road that runs parallel (just above) Kula Hwy. However, I forgot that that parallel road is not continuous due to all the gorges on Haleakala. On the fourth attempt I got it right. La Provence is a sit-down restaurant (I’ve never done that), but also has a little hole in the wall bakery section. The lilikoi meringue tart and fruit tart were calling my name. Who am I to resist? FYI, they only take cash/checks.

Along the way I saw Kula Country Farms had a BOGO (buy one get one free) on their locally grown strawberries. Lucky me! They actually also have a u-pick, but were watering/fertilizing, so the u-pick was closed. If you are upcountry, do stop at their farm stand. The lady who runs it is the sweetest and they have great produce.

What did I do with my four packs of strawberries? Welll….. I was inspired by La Provence’s fruit tart to make an Austrian Obstboden for Father’s Day. As you may know, I grew up in Austria and have a rather particular taste for dessert. An Obstboden is a fruit flan. However, where I grew up, you didn’t fill it with pudding/custard, but instead a layer of matching fruit jam (as a moisture barrier) and then topped it with a gelatin glaze. Here’s my Father’s day cake. We ate it for breakfast. It’s basically a fruit salad!

Comment »

Reopening of the Maui Tropical Plantation

We were so sad to see the Maui Tropical Plantation close and unfortunately lay off most of its employees last June (2020) due to Covid. It has been wonderful to see the restart/rebirth of this wonderful facility this spring.

Kumu Farms, a farm stand selling their own produce did stay open for the duration of the shut-down. Cafe o Lei took over the Mill House restaurant and opened their fourth location on island (the others are Cafe o Lei in Kihei, Ami Ami in Kihei, and Cafe o Lei at the Dunes golf course in Kahului). I have yet to eat at their Mill House location, but judging from the food at their other locations, I’m sure it’s fantastic. It definitely scores high for atmosphere!

Kumu Farms had an exciting announcement recently – together with Maui ‘Oma Coffee Company they took over the closed Maui Tropical Plantation gift shop and transformed it into a farm market (vs the higher end ‘ABC-type store’ it had become pre-pandemic). I’m supposed to check it out with my neighbor on the weekend, but I couldn’t resist and stopped in this morning. Oh my.

Once again we can stroll around the beautiful property, enjoying the beautiful landscaping, duck pond and funky sugar plantation factory ‘lawn ornaments’. Love this place.

The zipline has reopened, and, yes, you can once again book and go on tram tours, learning about Hawaii’s fruits, vegetables and plants.

Unfortunately the other little shops in the courtyard next to the pond have not reopened at this time.

Maui ‘Oma Coffee

You learn something new every day. I have always loved the name Maui ‘Oma Coffee. Oma in German means grandma. But today I learned that ‘Oma (don’t forget the ‘okina’ at the before the O) means ‘to roast’ in Hawaiian. They supply some of Maui’s restaurants with custom roasted coffee – such as Merriman’s, Mamas Fish House, Duke’s etc.

What is an ‘okina, you ask?

An ‘okina is considered a formal consonant in the Hawaiian language. It is a glotol stop, like when you say uh-oh. For example, you write and say Hawai’i (not Hawaii – be sure pronounce the extra I).I will not pretend to know much about ‘okinas, but my friend Google has much more information.

Comment »

How to make a plumeria lei

When we first started coming to Hawaii in 2002, I fell in love with plumeria blooms and their scent. Did you know, the actual tree is rather odd-looking, usually knobby and with long large leaves. Plumeria come in many colors and yes, they can be strung together to make amazingly scented plumeria lei. Unfortunately for me, I have hay fever, and plumeria do set me off. However, thanks to Covid, my filter mask and nasal spray kept my nose ok.

One of our sons is graduating highschool this year – Class of 2021! – and so for the past 6 weeks I’ve been attending hula lessons in preparation for the traditional moms hula dance. Have you ever danced a hula? In 11 years of living here, I have not. In addition to learning the hula, someone had a brilliant suggestion – we should all make flower lei to present to our children after the dance. Oh sure…. I will admit to a little panic.

Fortunately one of my friends (fellow mom of senior) knows how to make lei. We have several white plumeria trees in our yard, and my friend had the needles and the know-how. What could go wrong? We got together for a practice session this past weekend, and then this morning was lei-making time. I went out at 6:30AM to pick the blooms, as my google search had instructed me to do. When you pick the blooms, the sticky white sap drips both from the tree and blooms – be careful as it is hard to get off. Plumeria don’t seem that fragile, but the more you touch them, the quicker they will bruise and wilt.

My friend arrived shortly after and we set to work. We measured a 4 1/2 feet of thread (we used double thread) and threaded our needles. She had a 4 inch crafting needle, I just used a regular needle. Then we pulled the needle through the center of the flower down through the stem and strung our lei. My next door neighbor has beautiful multi-hued (pink and yellow) plumeria, so we made a bit of a pattern – five white, one colored. Once completed, we tied the strand together. Because of my big hair, I kept my lei long, my friend shortened hers a bit. See my candy lei post for lei giving/receiving etiquette. You want the lei to hang down your front but also your back (not around the neck per se).

We are so pleased with how our plumeria lei turned out. We put them in ‘contraband’ plastic bags and flicked a little water over them before loosely tying the bags and placing them in the fridge. Don’t squeeze the air out of the bag.

Contraband plastic bags?

In 2011 Maui banned single use plastic shopping bags. You can still get small style bags in the produce and meat department, but at the til everything is paper or recyclable bags.

Hula?

Yes – we danced our hula at the graduation luau today. Usually this would be an evening event and we’d have danced outdoors on the lawn, however, due to Covid the hula and slideshow were done indoors (where they could control the lighting).

Here is Sig’s hula video. I am wearing a blue/white flowy shirt from Blue Ginger (Shops at Wailea – love this store) and black capris. And yes, I’m wearing my plumeria lei. We all wore our masks (this definitely helped with the hay fever from the plumeria scent). At the end of the dance, we presented our lei to our kids. It was lovely.

Comment »

How to make a candy lei

With graduation season upon us, I decided to make candy lei. As you know, lei-giving is a huge tradition here in Hawaii. For kids it seems the most popular lei are definitely candy and money lei.

Did you know – the plural of lei is lei. You don’t add an ‘S’ at the end of the word.

Candy lei – rather than flowers, you include candy. Money lei – it involves intricate folding of dollar bills and tucking/tying them into the lei.

I did some online research for my lei. There are many ways to do this, here is how I made mine.

My candy lei step by step

  1. Cut 4 1/2 feet of 2 inch poly tubing. Remember, as you fill/tie your lei, it shortens. It needs to be long enough to comfortably slide over the recipient’s head. The poly tubing was an order error – I thought I had purchased net tubing, apparently not). The poly tubing worked just fine.
  2. Cut ribbon in 5-6 inch pieces
  3. Organize your candy bags in front of you. Pro tip – in Hawaii chocolate melts very easily, even when in the shade. I purchased Skittles, Dumdums, Jolly Ranchers, Starbursts and as a nod to those who prefer ‘healthier’ options, Welch’s fruit gummies (you know, the Costco box).
  4. Slide the first candy into the tubing and tie it into place on both sides with double knotted ribbon. Then add the next candy and repeat. I ended up using approximately 13-14 candies per lei. I did not end up being able to use the Welch’s as the little packets had too much air in them. I did briefly consider poking a hole in the packets so they’d compress and fit, but…. I remember telling kids to carefully inspect their Halloween candy, so I didn’t tamper with them.
  5. Tying the two ends together to finish off the lei was a little trickier – the ribbon slid right off. I ended up holepunching both ends of poly tube twice and stringing ribbon through.
  6. I attached a little 2021 graduate tag and and curled all the ribbons

What do you think? I made 38 of these lei. Can’t wait to hand them to the graduates this weekend!

Lei giving and receiving etiquette

  1. When giving a lei, it is customary to kiss the recipient on both cheeks. Alternatively you can bow while presenting the lei to the recipient for them to place it themselves (this seems more appropriate during Covid times)
  2. Always accept a lei with a smile when it is given
  3. Wear the lei on your shoulders, with half of it hanging down your front, the other half down your back
  4. It is considered bad luck to re-gift a lei that you have received
  5. Should you be unable to wear it (too fragrant, interferes with what you are doing etc), place the lei in a place of honor.
  6. To keep a floral lei fresh, place it in a plastic bag with a sprinkling of water and some air, and place it in the fridge
  7. Some will return a lei to where it came from, such as hanging a plumeria lei on a plumeria tree. Do keep in mind that the string/fish line will cause problems for animals
Comment »

Maui Chocolate Factory

Do you love chocolate? I love sweets and chocolate is one of my go-to treats. Did you know Maui has several cocoa growers?

This weekend’s Maui News has an article on Ku’ia Estate Chocolate. In fact, last summer someone gave me some Ku’ia individual chocolate pieces. The pieces I got were dark and absolutely delicious. For much more information on Ku’ia Estate Chocolate, how the owner got started 10+ years ago, do read the very interesting article in the Maui News! They work hard to give back to the community – in fact, last summer’s gift was from a fundraiser for a local charity. Ku’ia Chocolate offer tours and tastings. The factory/store is located at 78 Ulupono St in Lahaina.

A picture of my Ku’ia gift I posted on our Instagram last summer. Do you follow us on Instagram or Facebook?

Other cocoa growers on Maui

Doing a quick cocoa farm search on google, I’m coming across two other cocoa farms. Kupa’a Organic Farm is located upcountry in Kula and offers coffee and chocolate tours. Hana Gold Plantation is located in Hana. I’m not seeing tours offered, however have seen their chocolate in stores. I’m pretty sure there are more – send me a note if you know of any others and I’ll add them!

Have you ever been to a cocoa farm? I haven’t here on Maui, but a few years ago we visited a small cocoa farm while on a cruise off Honduras and Mexico. Their bars were definitely calling to me (and calls to me still).

My very favorite

While I definitely appreciate the dark variety – particularly the fact that it’s something I savor and enjoy slowly, my favorite is milk chocolate. Having grown up in Austria, the land of amazing deserts and coffee, my favorite is Milka. It’s so smooth, I can eat that whole bar in a matter of minutes. That’s why it’s best to not open it until I have a couple kids nearby. Ha!

On a related note, have you tried Maui’s coffees? Which is your favorite?

Comment »

Reef safe sunscreens and sunburn remedies

This weekend I got the worst sunburn. It has been a long time since I last burned this badly. Yes I was wearing sunscreen. I just forgot to re-apply. This is ironic since I worked for a dermatologist for a number of years. Ugh.

Did you know, as of 2021 by law stores in Hawaii are not allowed to sell sunscreens containing reef-damaging oxybenzone and octinoxate. Of course, you may still bring these sunscreens into Hawaii, though in the interest of protecting our reefs, we would prefer you didn’t. Here is an article by the Star Advertiser with much more information about the new law.

Sunscreen options

Which sunscreens to use? My dermatologist friend’s favorites were Blue Lizard, EltaMD and Vanicream. Another great way to avoid sunburns is to wear UV protectant clothing and hats. There is also a product called Sun Guard which claims to add UV protection when used in the wash (not sure how long it lasts, I think you need to re-use it from time to time).

I don’t know about you – but I really don’t like wearing sunscreen. My preferred way to avoid sunburns is to stay inside until 4pm and then venture out. Yes, I realize I am missing out of beautiful days in the sun and I guess you should still wear sunscreen even after 4pm… but I’m not much of a beach body anyway, so I’m usually ok with that.

A few of my favorite products – no Advil doesn’t protect you from sunburns. But it helps with the post-sunburn pain. Ugh.

Sunburn remedies

The best way not to get a sunburn is to protect your skin. But when it’s too late….. hydrate, use aloe or aloe products, pop a few Advil for the pain, stay out of the sun and then moisturize to minimize large scale skin flaking. One product I came across a few years ago and love is Mauivera. On Maui you can find it at ABC stores, grocery and drug stores. Yes, Amazon carries it too. Do avoid after-sun products containing alcohol.

As for me – my sunburn is slowly calming down. Yes, I’ve learned my lesson. I will be covering up or staying in the shade for the foreseeable future.

Comment »

Upcountry Christmas Shopping

Last weekend my neighbor and I headed upcountry to a pop-up Christmas market at Kula Farms. In days of Covid we weren’t sure what to expect, but we both had some shopping to do, wanted to support local and needed some girl-time. We had a great day!

Kula Country Farms and the pop-up Christmas Market

the flower stand

We started off at Kula Country Farms. There is some road parking, but you could also park in the pumpkin patch field if you trust your vehicle’s off-roading capabilities. There were 25+ vendors on property. Everyone (business owners and customers) wore masks, hand sanitizers everywhere, everyone making the best of the new normal. I picked up some hand-made soaps, locally made masks, some veggies at the farm stand and the best coffee – one with honey and coconut syrup. I’m normally a ‘black coffee gal’, but this was a worth-while exception!

Kula Botanical Gardens

Kula Botanical Gardens coffee
Coffee grown at the US’ highest elevation (3600 ft above sea level)

We headed back to our car, sanitized, and headed to our second stop – the Kula Botanical Gardens. Originally the plan had been to buy freshly cut Maui Christmas trees, however we knew they had completely sold out the weekend before (their first weekend open).

We checked out their gift shop and I picked up a pack of their home grown/roasted coffee. A few years ago the owner of Kula Botanical Gardens told me their coffee was grown at the highest elevation within the US. I remember from last time, it is great coffee!

We will save a walk through the 10 acre gardens for another day.

Kula Market Place

Next on the agenda, we drove up to Kula Market Place (located at the Kula Lodge). This is a neat gift shop featuring local artisans. Art, crafts, clothing, jewelry, quilts, food etc. If you’re upcountry, do check it out! My neighbor found the missing items on her Christmas shopping list and then it was time for lunch…

Kula Bistro

my mahi mahi sandwich! So delicious!

We headed back down Haleakala and back-tracked a bit to Kula Bistro. They are known especially for their desert case. The restaurant had indoor and outdoor seating, all subject to the social distancing guidelines. Maui County has new restaurant rules. Even when seated you have to keep your mask on until you eat or drink, replacing it when finished.

On a side note, bars are currently closed through December 26 to help contain the increase in positive case numbers on Maui.

Comment »

Changes at Ocean Vodka

The other day I went for a drive to Ocean Vodka (Hawaii Sea Spirits – Organic Farm and Distillery) to see what’s new. Truthfully I’ve been wanting a bottle of their Fy gin which we discovered a year ago. I haven’t seen it at any of my usual liquor shopping places (Safeway, Longs, Costco). From what I could tell online, they were open, so I headed on up.

Note, many stores and restaurants are on limited hours these days – if they are open at all. So don’t rely on what used to be but rather sleuth for up-to-date opening hours and times.

What a difference a year makes – the first thing I noticed was that they have relocated the parking lot. The former gift shop has been repurposed. Instead they have built a brand new cluster of buildings on the far end of the new parking lot overlooking the beautiful lawn and bicoastal views.

The gift shop has its own building (the two friendly employees got me situated with my Fy gin). Excitingly there is a new restaurant/bar building with a large lanai for outdoor dining. It didn’t look quite open yet, but I think what a wonderful addition to the property! I know they’ve hosted events on their lawn before, this gives them more options.

Curious about Hawaii Sea Spirits?

This is a local company that started out a few years ago with Ocean Vodka which comes in a very distinctive blue round bottle. Since then they’ve branched out to three varieties of organic Kula Rum – clear, dark and toasted coconut. About a year ago we discovered their latest product, Fy Gin. For much more information, do take one of their informative tours. All their drinks are produced from local organic sugar cane. You know – organic. So it must be good for you, right? 🙂

Comment »

Saying goodbye to the Maui Tropical Plantation

This weekend we saw the sad announcement on social media – the Maui Tropical Plantation is closing indefinitely. While I understand given the current economic realities, it is so sad to say goodbye to this place.

We’ve been coming to the Maui Tropical Plantation since early 2004, back before we lived here, when we fled rainy West Coast Januaries and came to Maui on vacation. Besides the gift shop and restaurant, they have a beautiful lake, ducks to feed and a trolley you can take to see and learn about plants that grow here on Maui. Back then they even had a monkey enclosure (those were moved to a new home a few years later).

A few years ago the Maui Tropical Plantation was revitalized, given new life with funky Sugar Cane Factory equipment incorporated into the landscape. It is to date one of my favorite places to go, enjoy the landscape, have a coffee, shop the gift shop and grab some fresh veggies at the Kumu Farm stand. I always intended to try their beginner zipline with the kids. Their Mill House Restaurant had stunning reviews, and though I never ate there, I did eat at the train bar once (yes, it had a full size sugar cane locomotive right there in the bar). This is on the ‘must do’ list for all boy moms, after all!

What happened?

Well…. Covid happened. The island all but shut down with mandatory quarantine imposed on all arrivals and with that tourism died – temporarily at least. As with many businesses, the Maui Tropical Plantation closed temporarily, only to reopen a few weeks ago. However, I imagine there was just not enough traffic to keep it viable and so now they are closing indefinitely.

This week they are having a closing sale at the gift shop, daily 10-4 (in person only, not on the website). I arrived shortly after 10 and…. the lineup went around the building, all the way to the shops in the back. While in line I chatted with those around me (all wearing our masks, sometimes in the shade, sometimes in the bright hot sun). We are all so sad to see this special place go.

What did I get?

Unfortunately I didn’t make it into the store today. The line was moving, but too slow for me to make it in and out on time to pick up my son from Kanaha Beach Park. I’ll try again tomorrow. It’s not so much that I wanted to buy something, it was more about going for one last visit. But yes, I know I would have found things I ‘need’. Like HI Spice hotsauce.

Tourism will return one day and with it, I hope, this beautiful place will be revived. For now, we say aloha and a hui hou (goodbye and until we meet again).

goodbye
Comment »
1 2 3 4