Illustration by Guy Junker
Which Maui restaurants won your heart this year? Declare your love on the ‘Aipono ballot in this issue, or vote online. Just for ‘fessing up, you’ll be entered to win $100 cash or a $200 certificate to an ‘Aipono Award-winning restaurant.
Maui Culinary Academy’s Class Act Restaurant, the business lunch of champions, will open for one night only, December 8, for the 2010 ‘Aipono Wine Dinner Series, which supports the school year-round. Students will serve charcuterie and cheese, followed by a five-course feast paired with wines from California’s celebrated Carneros region. Call the Academy to reserve your seat (808-984-3578). Circle the wagons! Lunch wagons, that is. Fend off the slings and arrows of outrageous hunger with plates of cheap, fabulous roadside food. At Kahului Harbor, take your pick of meals on wheels: sautéed shrimp, chicken hekka, or chow fun.
Head Upcountry to Rumbold’s Sausage King, parked Monday through Saturday alongside Kula Ace Hardware (3100 Lower Kula Rd., 808-264-7330). Load your piping hot Polish kielbasa, German bockwurst, or spicy Louisiana hotlinks with free fixin’s—sauerkraut, onions, and hot peppers. Yowza! With grinds like these, shouldn’t grills be standard issue on trucks?
Too danged mobile, Kiwi Crossing in Pa‘ia packed up its perfect New Zealander meat pies and hit the trail after only a week in business. Sob! Luckily, the delectable pastries stuffed with steak and oysters, Thai chicken, or spiced vegetables can still be procured at Kiwi Roadhouse (95 Lipoa St., Kïhei, 808-874-1250). Mmmm. . . .
Make that “ommm. . . .” Pull up a stool and order some instant enlightenment at Café Prana Nui (808-463-8307), a rainbow-colored, reincarnated school bus in the Ha‘iku Marketplace (corner of Kokomo and Ha‘iku Roads). Heaping bowls of rice or quinoa come with veggies and spices selected according to Ayurvedic principles. Quench your spiritual thirst with fresh-squeezed Jamaican lilikoi or pineapple juice. This may be the island’s most nutritious, delicious fast food, with walafels running a close second. What the heck is a walafel? Falafel in a waffle, of course! Try this Middle East-inspired marvel at the Walafel shack behind Hawaiian Island Surf in Kahului.
Expect style to rule at Japengo, the Hyatt Regency Maui’s new Japanese fusion restaurant. The Ka‘anapali hotel dropped eighty grand on handmade Heath pottery—a perfect table setting for Chef Jay Ledee’s adorable Ping Pong-ball-shaped nigiri sushi and colorful mame (soy-paper) rolls. But forget fancy dishware; Miz G can’t wait to set her nose hairs on fire with the fresh wasabi root!
On the South Side, Chef Peter Merriman opted to let Facebook fans decide which thirty-six microbrews to serve on tap at his new Wailea pub, Monkeypod Kitchen. Care for a frosty Fat Tire? How ‘bout a Tricerahops Double IPA? Yes, please! Miz G can’t imagine a better match for the menu’s kombucha pumpkin ravioli and sous vide Haleakala lamb shank with couscous.
Is your garden going bananas? Have bushels of basil? Donate extra fruit and veggies to Waste Not Want Not (808-874-8038). Volunteers have harvested more than seventy-eight tons of produce from Maui backyards, which they distribute for free to the Maui Food Bank, senior citizens, and low-income communities. St. Theresea’s Hale Kau Kau (808-875-8754) uses the windfall to cook hot meals for 100-plus needy folk nightly. If you’d like to spread some cheer this holiday season, volunteer to serve Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner at the church cafeteria. You’ll leave nourished in a whole new way.
Until we eat again!