Side Dish: Pirates of the Cuisine

Miz G gets gourmet booty at the Maui Chefs Present affair...Butternut curry nage and Filipino rice congee served with parrots.

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pirateAhoy there, mates! As the holidays swoop down upon us, Miz Gossip is still reeling from all the delicious fun had at this year’s Maui Chefs Present “Pirates of the Cuisine.” The Hyatt Ka‘anapali was decked out in seafaring gear—everything from skulls with forks for crossbones to wandering wenches with real live parrots! By far, the best gourmet booty was found at the Roy’s and Pineapple Grill booths. With Captain Joey Macadangdang at the helm, the Roy’s crew hoisted plates of braised pork belly topped with fried oysters, and scallops aswim in sumptuous butternut curry nage, served with a spoonful of lugaw (Filipino rice congee). A crisp curry leaf served as the scallop’s delicate tricorn . . . mmm. . . . Nearby, Pineapple Grill Chef Ryan Luckey, in dashing pirate hat and sword, set sail with belly-warming crab gumbo. Chef James McDonald sashayed by, dressed up like Johnny Depp . . . no wonder all the ladies swarmed his booth for “wench’s purse” potstickers. The Hyatt’s own kitchen buccaneers surrendered a sweet bounty for dessert: Surfing Goat fruit quark on an almond cake with fresh berries and figs. Don’t miss this delicious charity event next year; watching local chefs cavorting in costume is an experience worth a pirate’s ransom!

Attention double dippers: The Melting Pot—a fondue concept restaurant brought to us by the Cohn Group—will open any day now in the new Lahaina Gateway Center. Miz Gossip strongly advises against dipping your once-bitten morsel of top sirloin, lobster, or wild mushroom ravioli back into the piping hot fondue broth. Don’t do it! Sweethearts, however, are permitted to discreetly share forkfuls in “Lovers’ Lane,” the restaurant’s aisle of two-seater booths.

If you build it, they will come. It’s true: Café O Lei has returned to Wailuku! The Pastulas celebrated the grand opening of their snazzy new digs beside ‘Iao Theater this October. Hungry theatergoers will now have to draw straws among Café O Lei, Unisan, and Saigon Café.

Desperately seeking dinner entertainment on the North Shore? Check out movie night at Café Mambo in Pa‘ia. Dig into duck fajitas before watching retro films such as Casablanca or Rear Window on the restaurant’s new big screen. Movies are shown Saturday nights at 9 p.m. (And a slice of Mambo’s chocolate pecan cake is considerably better snack food than M&Ms and artificially flavored popcorn.)

And now, for Gossip Gourmet’s Holiday Gift Guide. Still debating what to get your favorite foodie? Here are some stocking (and belly) stuffers for those Food Network addicts on your list:

Gift card from Marc Aurel’s Wine Bar & Café. Educational wine-tastings, daily salad and sandwich specials, art openings with live music, biodynamic wine served in Riedel stemware . . . sigh. Get it all with a Marc Aurel gift card! Bonus: $100 buys $120 worth of mouth-watering treats!

Divine preserves. You’ll find them at the holiday rummage sale at Saint Joseph’s Church in Makawao. Forge past the secondhand Monopoly games to the homemade foodstuffs by the cashier. Jackpot! A cache of jams, jellies, and pickled veggies donated by the seriously skilled aunties of the congregation. Poha-berry jam is Gossip’s personal fave—great with goat cheese on crackers.

Kitchen headliner. Does your chef have the latest scoop? Reward him or her with a flashy apron sewn from “re-purposed” Vietnamese billboards. Stash extra treats in a bright reusable grocery tote made of the same. Available at www.bazurashop.com.

Wrapper wristlet. While we’re on the fashion tip—guess what happens to the metallic wrappers of discontinued candy bars? They’re reborn as colorful woven wristlets, now dangling from the arms of celebrities. Get yours at www.ecoist.com. Bonus: when you buy one of these eco-friendly creations, a tree is planted in your honor.

May your holiday season be both savory and sweet!

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