Story by Gossip Gourmet
Can it be true? Is that warm naan bread I smell in the tandoor oven? Your Gossip’s prayers for an Indian restaurant on Maui may have finally been answered. Shangri-la by the Sea has moved into the Menehune Shores. Who knows, maybe menehunes are busy in the kitchen, cooking up veggie korma and chicken vindaloo this very minute. Before this delightful mirage vanishes, we must rally the hungry troops. The new restaurant’s sparkling oceanfront locale is just a tad too far off South Kihei Road’s beaten path—many a restaurant has died a slow death here. I ask you to join me in keeping a twenty-four-hour vigil in support of this one, provided that the naan, chutneys, and curry are worthy of our devotion.
If they aren’t, we can hightail it over to the spanking new digs at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. At last, the Banyan Tree restaurant has reopened after renovations. Chef Jojo Vasquez is back in action with a multicultural menu sporting lamb tandoori with mango-mint lassi and crispy tai snapper escabeche (a lovely, ancient dish marinated overnight and served cold.) Vegetarian diners can feast on Chef Vasquez’s heart of palm bruschetta and curry hot pot simmering with winter vegetables.
Still praying for a decent Chinese restaurant: Last fall, at the Noble Grape, Chinese lanterns swung above the crowd at the Fairmont Kea Lani. Guests enjoyed Far East-themed fare by local chefs. Chef Joey Macadangdang of Roy’s stole the show, dishing up braised Kobe beef cheeks with broccoli—a light, melt-in-your-mouth rendition of the standard take-out dish. San Francisco celebrity chef/food writer Shirley Fong Torres graced the event with her spicy, superanimated presence. Back in SF, she hosts popular tours of Chinatown’s alley markets and dim sum teahouses. Here on Maui, the Wok Wiz headed a team of fresh-faced Maui Culinary Academy students. Together, they prepared sumptuous potstickers for the charity event. Apparently this “Woman Who Ate Chinatown” inquired after the students’ favorite Chinese dish and was met with blank stares. Auwe! Don’t be surprised if you see one or two of these chastised students haunting Front Street during Chinese New Year. They’d do well to study up and learn the finer points of making the mooncakes and manapua that should be common fare in the islands, given our cultural heritage.
Maui’s very own celebrity chef, Bev Gannon, appeared live on the Today Show in November. She cooked up a televised storm, touting the glory of extra-sweet Maui Gold pineapple. A publicist for the Maui Pineapple Company called the free national press “the equivalent of having a commercial during the Super Bowl.”
Meanwhile, back in Wailea, we’re still waiting to book seats for dinner at Bin 69 in the Wailea Town Center and Mala Wailea at the Marriott. Let’s cross our fingers and hope it will be a shorter wait than it has been for Zippy’s. The hungry hordes waiting to sink their teeth into one of Zippy’s famous chilidogs have been waiting since 2003, when the Dairy Road restaurant was first announced. Hmmm . . . maybe a name change is in order?
Until our next dish, adieu!