Like two beached whales, Chris and I lie on the bed, watching cooking shows on network television. Since we live off the grid, with no cable or satellite TV, it’s a treat to see the latest food trends, and even whatever crazed, stress-induced cooking competitions the medium serves up. Where better to be entertained than in the lap of luxury, and for my birthday, no less?
By 8 o’clock, dressed, primped, and primed for eating, we eagerly return to Duo, which now wears its steakhouse identity. Servers dash by with shiny sword-like skewers of grilled chunks of beef, lamb chops, and bacon-wrapped chicken. Our server, Brendan, advises us not to overdo on the salad bar, but to save room, instead, for the grill’s bounty. We try to heed his warning, but somehow end up with plates brimming with salads, the choices too good to pass up: hearts of palm with orange and shrimp, cauliflower “couscous tabouleh” tossed with a lemon vinaigrette, and roasted-herb-marinated veggies with goat cheese and pine nuts.
Wailea Caipirinha, Duo’s signature Brazilian cocktail, is a worthy match for our meal, with its bright notes of cachaça, Maui limes and mint. Chris is in carnivore la-la land as skewers of Brazilian barbecue, food of the gauchos (nomadic horsemen) of southern Brazil, arrive at our table throughout the evening: bacon-wrapped chicken glazed in jalapeño jam, Uli’s Seattle artisan sausage flown in special for the grill, lavender-scented lamb chops, rotisserie picanha (chunks of flavorful sirloin cap) with Duo’s special spice rub, and spit-roasted pineapple with black pepper, cinnamon and brown sugar. Brendan assures us that the meal wouldn’t be complete without a sweet ending, and since it is my birthday, we manage, between the pair of us, to devour three slices of tarts: lemon meringue, vanilla crème brûlée, and milk chocolate macadamia, my favorite. As we wobble out, satiated and happy, I’m already plotting my birthday breakfast.
The next morning comes too quickly. It’s 7:30 when Chris slowly peels open the curtains. The sunny patio—the size of my first apartment in college—is so inviting that I declare, “This is where we’ll eat our final meal of the weekend!” (Twenty-two hours and counting!)
I call in the order and within the hour, a spiffily dressed room-service attendant wheels in a cart laden with house-made bagels, lox and dill cream cheese, quinoa, pumpkin-seed and cranberry cereal, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and a silver carafe of hot coffee. And the croissant. Tender. Buttery. As we savor our breakfast on the lānai of our beautiful room, I think to myself, “The big 6-0 is not so bad after all, if you can spend it being pampered by the staff at the Four Seasons Maui. In fact, I may have to come back in a year and do it all over again.”
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