Story by Gossip Gourmet | Illustration by Guy Junker
Talk about starting business off with a bang—Mala Wailea’s grand opening was hosted by drummer Mick Fleetwood and shock-rocker Alice Cooper. After feasting on reserve vintages and gourmet snacks, Wailea socialites kicked their heels up to Dr. Nat and Rio Ritmo. Apparently Cooper’s hit “Welcome to my Nightmare” was not the theme of this genteel gala. . . .
The Mala team may be a tough act to follow, but the West Side’s new culinary kid, Merriman’s Kapalua (1 Bay Dr., Kapalua, 669-6400) can handle the heat. Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine founder Chef Peter Merriman is resurrecting the glory of the former Kapalua Bay Club. You can’t ask for a more romantic location; the food promises to win hearts as well. Merriman wooed Chef George Gomes away from the Tri-Star Restaurant group to assist with the enterprise.
Geno Sarmiento of Son’z and Joey Macadangdang of Roy’s recently hightailed it Upcountry to check out Maui Cattle Company’s new sheep herd. The verdict? Delicious—and local! Alan Wong was trying to scoop up as much of the herd as he could. Eh, O‘ahu, grow your own! Nah, just kidding!
Need to power up in Kahului? Stop by Abundant Aina Café (333 Dairy Rd., Kahului, 893-2462) for a “Mean Green Machine” smoothie or quinoa nori wrap. The chefs at this closet-sized café harvest their awesome organic ingredients from the café’s own farm—including fresh coconut water available by the gallon. They’ve opened a second location, Vibrant Presence, at Studio Maui. Judging by the café’s motto, “Where organic, wild harvested foods and drinks are an expression of infinite possibility,” they’ll feel right at home in the Ha‘iku yoga center.
In other organic news, John Paul Fine Foods (81 Makawao Ave., Pukalani, 572-7100) started hosting a farmer’s market the first and third Tuesdays of each month. Buy bright, sun-ripened produce from Hana Health’s farm partners; all proceeds benefit the East Maui organization.
Booze news: On the South Shore, Gossip Gourmet suspects Larry Flint might enjoy fraternizing at Beach Bums (300 Ma‘alaea Road, Ma‘alaea, 244-8844), the new harborside bar and grill. True to its name, Beach Bums’ martini menu sports the “Thong Tini” and “Brazilian Wax Tini”—with, I kid you not, Watermelon Pucker as a primary ingredient. Eeww. This discovery prompted Miz Gossip to concoct her own round of drinks: the “Susan B. Antho-tini,” a liberal libation served up with a voter’s registration card, and the “Margaret Sanger-ia,” a fruity cocktail for the morning after.
Despite huge picture windows overlooking a stunning view of . . . Kukui Mall’s parking lot, the new Oceans Bar and Grill (1819 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, 891-2414) is a surprisingly comfy hangout. With happy hour beers for $2.50 and Black Butte Porter, Big Wave, and Primo on tap (das right!), how could you go wrong? Well, you could hit the Jagermeister on tap. Yikes! You’ve been warned.
Finally, as this magazine hits the stands, the 2008 Kapalua Wine & Food festivalgoers will be sipping their last syrahs. . . . Look for our rundown of the fest’s wicked wines, simpering sommeliers, and chock-a-block celebrity chefs in the next issue.
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