Let the Good Times Roll

Miz G gets her Mardis Gras fix at the Saint Anthony Bazaar on Maui.

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Story by Gossip Gourmet | Illustration by Guy Junker

mardi-gras

Remember when 10,000 people poured into the War Memorial Stadium to hear the Dalai Lama’s message of peace? Well, on March 1st, Mauians might stampede Kahului for sweetness of another sort: strawberry syrup over short stacks. The International House of Pancakes will celebrate National Pancake Day with free flapjacks for the masses. The annual hotcake giveaway supports charity . . . how’s that for enlightenment? Last year, IHOPs nationwide served 4 million free pancakes, raising over $2 million in donations for children’s hospitals.

National Pancake Day is actually a derivative of Fat Tuesday—or Mardi Gras, in French. Practicing Catholics celebrate by gorging on sinful foods, prior to surrendering them for Lent’s forty-day fast. This year, the free-for-all falls on March 8th. In Hawai‘i, Portuguese families will be busy deep-frying the hot, sugary essence of temptation: malasadas.

Satisfy your malasada lust at Home Maid Bakery (1005 Lower Main St., Wailuku, 808-244-4150), where they box up hot, doughy goodness ‘round the clock. Or head to Star Noodle (286 Kupuohi St., Lahaina, 808-667-5400) for a gourmet version on a stick with chopped macadamias and dipping sauces. Ah, blessed indeed are those who knead!

Miz G is still mourning Simply Sweets, the bygone bakery that served broke-da-mouth malasadas filled with mocha cream. Sob. Those were sooo ono! But the second best we’ve ever swooned over can be purchased—piping hot in a brown paper bag—at the St. Anthony Bazaar. The Catholic school hosts an annual all-day bonanza of local grinds, live music, games, and a treasure-filled rummage sale. Save your pennies for chow fun, mochiko chicken, fresh flowers, and the “dunk the teacher” booth. Gossip, a Saint’s alumna, wouldn’t dream of missing it. April 9th, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Free admission. 1618 Lower Main St., Wailuku, (808) 244-4976.

Let Your Gardening Angel wash your gluttony away with salad greens. Owner Jeanne Council harvests plants from O‘o Farm, repots them in a pretty wooden box, and delivers the living salad garden to your doorstep. Collect what you need for ultra-fresh dinner fixings. The 6”x 21” box costs fifty dollars and comes with three heads of gourmet lettuce, mustard greens, onions, and kale. (808) 280-3761.

Maui Prep Academy students are getting some “prep” time in the kitchen, earning credit for growing and cooking their own food. Cilantro and Pizza Paradiso owner Paris Nabavi is lending his green thumb to the project. Goodbye, chicken fingers; hello, pesto tagliatelli!

Meanwhile, home on the range, Nabavi is building an outdoor demonstration kitchen, where he’ll offer Persian cooking classes. Hurrah! If, like Gossip, you’re just mad about saffron . . . sign up at (808) 667-5444. We can hardly wait to try our hand at stews and soufflés cooked with rosewater, pomegranates and pistachios. Proceeds will benefit the Maui Food Bank and West Maui school lunch fund. Double delicious!

Slow Food Maui has been presenting taste tests at the Ali‘i Kula Lavender Farm, where they compare locally grown fruits and vegetables to similar samples flown in from the mainland. Tough choice, eh? These tastings will culminate in the Grand Taste Education at this year’s Maui Ag Fest, April 2nd at the Maui Tropical Plantation. Top island chefs will team up with farmers to present a cornucopia of locally grown delights. Festival organizer Charlene Ka‘uhane says, “This year’s theme is value, featuring everyday crops like bok choy, broccoli, Kula cabbage, tomatoes, and corn. Maui’s ranchers, fishermen, hog farmers, and fruit-and-vegetable growers are the stars.” For tickets, visit www.mauicountyfarmbureau.com or call 243-2290.

As the Mardi Gras celebrants say, let the good times roll!

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