Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Maui Gift Ideas!

Our gift guide features glorious local gift ideas for your family and friends, and exclusive offers for our readers only. But first, we offer a few gift-giving guidelines:

1. Never give practical items as gifts. Classic items are universally coveted. Everyone loves food, so you really can’t go wrong with a box of chocolates, basket of fruit, or bottle of wine. Buy local, because it benefits every one of us one way or another.

2. Shopping local supports Maui businesses, thus your friends can stay in business so you’ll have somewhere cool to shop again next year. So much Aloha.

3. Just about everyone who loves food also loves pampering. So WCM expanded our gift suggestions beyond Maui food and wine to include locally available spa indulgences.

So without further ado, enjoy these Valley Isle gift suggestions for every Maui lover on your list. Our gift guide features glorious local gift ideas for your family and friends, and exclusive offers for our readers only. But first, we offer a few gift-giving guidelines:

1. Never give practical items as gifts. Classic items are universally coveted. Everyone loves food, so you really can’t go wrong with a box of chocolates, basket of fruit, or bottle of wine. Buy local, because it benefits every one of us one way or another.

2. Shopping local supports Maui businesses, thus your friends can stay in business so you’ll have somewhere cool to shop again next year. So much Aloha.

3. Just about everyone who loves food also loves pampering. So WCM expanded our gift suggestions beyond Maui food and wine to include locally available spa indulgences.

So without further ado, enjoy these Valley Isle gift suggestions for every Maui lover on your list. READ THE LIST...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sheraton Kaanapali, Maui Hosts Heavenly Holiday Events

The holidays are a time for giving and celebration; the perfect time of year to share special moments with the people you care about the most. This year join the staff of the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa as they build houses from gingerbread, provide for those less fortunate, and celebrate the season with beautiful hula and fine dining.

Through December 31, 2009 – Dine at the Black Rock Steak & Seafood during December and Your Check Total Could be Donated to the Maui Food Bank
The holidays are a busy time for the Maui Food Bank, a time when they need a great deal of donations and support. That’s why Black Rock Steak & Seafood, located at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, has designated one table each evening as the Maui Food Bank Table. Guests seated at “the giving” table dine as usual, with the added benefit of knowing the total amount of their bill will be donated to the Maui Food Bank.

The server handling the designated table each evening surprises guests after being seated by sharing the news of their special location. So far, the largest single donation from one group is $148.50, and as of November 28 the overall donation was $1110.02. What a fun and awesome way to partner for Maui Food Bank!

December 11, 2009 – Chef Ashlock Creates Gingerbread Village with Students
Continuing a 16 year tradition, Chef Bryan Ashlock will team up with fifty students from Maui Preparatory School to create an oversize gingerbread village at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa.
Gingerbread Houses for MPA!

Gingerbread Houses for MPA!

The students will gather after school and create houses as tall as 2’ using over 2,000lbs of powdered sugar, cookies, colorful candies and more. Once the gingerbread houses are complete they will be put on display near the grand staircase of the Sheraton Maui for the remainder of 2009.

December 13, 2009 – Hula Kalikimaka at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa – A Hula Christmas Concert from Halau Nawaipunalei
Share a special evening with family and friends at Hula Kalikimaka, a Hula Christmas Concert, featuring arts and crafts, delicious food, and a Hawaiian Style Christmas concert filled with elegant Hula.
Christmas Hula

Christmas Hula

The event begins at 5:30pm in the Maui Ballroom Courtyard with a craft fair accompanied by food and beverage booths. Doors for the concert open at 6:30pm. All proceeds benefit Halau Nawaipunalei, the organizers and performers. Tickets are $15 per person and can be purchased at the door the evening of the event.

December 24, 2009 – Go Around the World with a Special All You Can Eat Christmas Eve Buffet at Black Rock Steak & Seafood
This Christmas Eve, enjoy international flavor at a very special buffet from the culinary team at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa. The “Around the World Christmas Eve Buffet” will feature action stations from China, Italy, the Pacific Rim, and more. Taste the flavors of the world without ever leaving the buffet line. Dinner is $63 for adults and $31.50 for children 6-14, kids 5 and under eat free. For reservations call (808) 662-8053.

December 25, 2009 – Celebrate Christmas at Black Rock Steak & Seafood with an elegant buffet inspired by Christmas on the Beach
Sheraton Kaanapali Maui Hawaii

Sheraton Kaanapali Maui Hawaii

This sounds like the best of both worlds! If you’d rather leave the cooking to someone else this Christmas, go to the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, where you can indulge in a special “Christmas on the Beach Buffet.” Featuring traditional favorites such as Turkey, Roast Beef, Honey Soy Glazed Opakapaka, and a wide variety of sides and salads, this is a buffet the whole family will enjoy…especially the family cook! Dinner is $73 for adults and $36.50 for children 6-14, kids 5 and under eat free. Reservations can be made by calling (808) 662-8053.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving on Maui: Food, Fun and More!!

Thanksgiving Dinner Cruise – Pacific Whale Foundation 5:30-7:30 p.m. Lahaina Harbor
Celebrate Thanksgiving
in unique Maui style aboard Pacific Whale Foundation’s Thanksgiving feast on the water. Enjoy a full holiday feast with all the fixings while watching the sunset on the ocean, listening to live music, and keeping watch for the first migrating humpback whales to arrive in Maui for the winter. Your Thanksgiving feast will include roasted turkey with giblet gravy, roast ham with guava jelly, plus stuffing, corn on the cob, salad, taro and wheat rolls, and delicious desserts. Three (count ‘em 3!) alcoholic beverages included per adult (beer, wine, Mai Tais, or other tropical well drinks), plus unlimited ice-cold sodas, juices, and filtered water. Drink options are premium wines, champagne, frozen cocktails and Maui microbrew beer for purchase. Adults $84.95, children ages 3-12 $49.95. Please call (808) 249-8811 ext. 1 or see this link.

Starwood Dining Options!
Westin Ono Bar and Grill – 5-9 p.m. The Westin is hosting a lavish buffet for $59/adults, $29/children 6-12 (under 5 no charge) to include all the traditional fixings plus island favorites such as smoked island catch, California rolls, ahi poke, pan roasted oyster stew and wok fried crab legs in chili garlic sauce. Choose from sesame noodle and chicken salad, crispy wontons sweet chili vinaigrette, orange macadamia salad with fennel, dried cranberries, and candied macadamia nuts. When you add the turkey, gravy, potatoes, stuffing, roast beef, pies, cakes and cheese spread, it’s more than you could ever whip up at home, no? For a lot less, yes? Reservations required so call 808-667-2525 to save your seat.

Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas’ Thanksgiving by the Pool was designed for you to
“relish life’s bliss and revelry.” The perfect opportunity to celebrate appreciation with a special buffet menu designed to “invigorate, revive, and recharge” will be offered poolside from 3-8 p.m. Buffet options similar to the Westin Ono Bar, including a vast selection of chilled pacific oysters, peel and eat shrimp, ginger mignonette, smoked island fish, ahi sashimi, California and spicy tuna sushi rolls, tropical fruits and international cheeses along with everything else you’d expect at Thanksgiving dinner. All this is a mere $42/pp, $21/kids 6-12, under 5 complimentary. For reservations, phone 808.667.3254.

The ever elegant Pulehu is featuring a pris fixe menu starting with roasted butternut squash soup with candied apples and pancetta, followed by maui grown, organic red and golden beets, upcountry field greens with candied walnuts, Maytag bleu cheese, toasted almonds, cranberry & maui onion vinaigrette. The entrée is traditional oven roasted young turkey with maui onion gravy, macadamia nut/Italian sausage stuffing, buttered beans and garlic mashed potatoes. Top it off with pumpkin crisp with Tahitian vanilla bean gelato and you’ll be ready to sit back and watch the game soul-satisfied. Cost is $45/pp. Pulehu’s regular menu will also be available if turkey’s just not your thing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More Maui Dining Deals

A pair of great deals and one special event!

Tropica Waterfall

Tropica Restaurant & Bar on Kaanapali Beachwalk is now offering a three-course meal deal at $33 per person and only $45/pp with wine pairings! Special includes choices of appetizers, entrees and desserts. Starting Nov. 11, Tropica will be open from Wednesdays to Sundays weekly. Located oceanfront at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Tropica’s bar opens at 4:30 p.m. for pau hana happy hour with discounted drink specials. 3 course tasting menu:


Tropica’s famous lobster chowder, Tabasco butter, chives, smoked bacon
Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay, 2007, Russian River Ranches, Sonoma Coast, California


Chilled cauliflower potage, Saffron poached prawns, parsley, white peppercorn
Charles Smith, “Eve” Chardonnay, 2007, Columbia Valley, Washington


Haiku baby green salad, Hamakua grape tomato, shaved fennel, jicama, carrot, strawberry, ali’i kula lavender vinaigrette
Mac Murray Ranch Pinot Gris, 2007, Sonoma Coast, California


Pohaku seared beef, Prime flatiron steak served on a hot cooking stone, ponzu, kula onion confit
Charles Smith, “The Velvet Devil” merlot, 2007, Columbia Valley, Washington


Ahi, charbroiled to medium rare, Roasted tomato cous cous, sea beans, mizuna, ali’i mushrooms, opal basil reduction
Willamette Valley Vineyards, “Whole Cluster” Pinot Noir, 2007, Willamette Valley, Oregon


Herb roasted Australian lamb loin, polenta, radicchio, green beans, roasted tomato, zinfandel reduction
Chappellet mountain cuvee, 2006, napa valley, California


Oriental mushroom linguini, Grilled tiger shrimp, hamakua hon shimeji mushrooms, anuhea farms asparagus, mushroom sake broth
chardonnay, 2007, Sonoma Coast, California


Green tea crème brulee, Grilled pineapple, berries, vanilla anglaise


Pineapple fritters, Fresh pineapple-apple banana donuts, raspberry, coconut


Ice cream, Gelato and Sorbet, Macadamia nut, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, coconut, mango or raspberry

Not available in conjunction with any other dining programs or discounts; available between 5:00-6:00 pm and 8:30-9:30pm ONLY.


Four Seasons Wailea – Great new promotion in Lobby Lounge – 50% off all bottles of wine past 8 PM – check it out here. Team the vino with a few terrific appetizers and you’ll have a magical night of it.


Tia Juana’s presents Donavon Frankenreiter, appearing live, Dec. 8, 9 & 10th! Donavon will perform with fellow band member/guitarist Matt Grundy, at Tia Juana’s Beach Cantina. Two acoustical dinner shows from 6-8 p.m. and 8-10 p.m. each night Dec. 8, 9, and 10.

Dinner reservations required for each show in the Main Dining Room. To reserve a table call 808/667-4080. (Lanai seating is on a first-come, first-served basis).

NO COVER CHARGE! Just buy dinner and you’ll be all set. Should be a great evening. Tia Juana’s Beach Cantina located at 2291 Ka’anapali Parkway, Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761 808/697-4080 (in the old Giovanni’s at the entrance of the Ka’anapali Resorts).

Friday, November 13, 2009

First Friday, Wailuku, November 6th, 2009

It’s that time again!

On the First Friday of every month, Wailuku throws a monster block party on Market Street between Main and Vineyard. The theme of this month’s First Friday in Wailuku is the Makahiki Celebration.

The Makahiki season was the ancient Hawaiian New Year Festival spanning four consecutive lunar months, from October or November through February or March held in honor of Lono, the Hawaiian fertility deity. You can take part in reviving the old tradition at the November 6th celebration, fit for a deity and replete with entertainment, food and vendors.

In the old days the high priest was blindfolded for the duration of the three day peace and sport fest while participants engaged in demonstrations of boxing, spear throwing, sled riding and other thrilling games and sports to the astonishment of onlookers. Best of all, work was forbidden during that period.

Wailuku’s modern day version allows everyone to gaze on with eyes wide open. Makahiki starts at 6 p.m. when the festivities kick off with live chanting and hula followed by the 1st annual Pa’i Ai (Taro Pounding) competition with prizes, live music and games like ulumaika, hukihuki (tug of war) and konanestationed in front of the Native Intelligence arts and crafts shop.
George Kahumoku

George Kahumoku

Maui OnStage will present a Hawaiian Film Festival at the Iao Theater starting at 6 p.m., including performances by Grammy Winner, George Kahumoku, who takes the stage at 7:45, and Mojomana appearing at 8:15. The theater showcase wraps up with screenings of a surf movie.

Other First Friday Wailuku entertainment includes an Aloha Slam at Gallerie Ha Ha and the always delightful Keiki Hula Show at 6:30 p.m., while Kama’aina Properties presents Mika and Friends Band plus basket weaving demonstrations.

Various street vendors will provide a hearty selection of casually presented local style food but if you’d like a sit-down dining experience, sidle into Café Marc Aurel and listen to the Electric Haiku Hillbillies twang their thang. Tom Conway pops on vocals and lead guitar, Bob Harrison digs on the electric bass, Kerry Sofaly bangs the drums & Randall Rospond pulls it all together with lead vocals and guitar.
Electric Haiku Hillibillies

Electric Haiku Hillibillies

“This unique combination of musicians will be improvising music ranging from folk, blues, country, reggae, psychedelia and rock with jazzy flavorings, most of which will be original compositions written by Randall and the occasional eclectic cover!” according to Café Marc’s website description. While there, enjoy delicious vittles, aka Tapas, Salads, Sammies or Marc’s signature the Landjäger Pie, organic spinach pizza topped with smoked, cured Landjäger sausage.
Main Street Bistro Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii

Main Street Bistro Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii

Another great option for sit-down dining and Live Jazz can be found at Main Street Bistro, on Market Street. In fact, every Friday night patrons decompress from the work week between 5-8 p.m. in this soul-soothing oasis while downing any number of truly delicious Tapas choices.

All the activities honoring Hawaiian Makahiki at the Wailuku First Friday event are sponsored by the Hawaiian Tourism Authority, Wailuku Community Association, the County of Maui, Native Intelligence, Kama‘āina Properties, Sae Design and Maui Thing.

For more information about the Wailuku First Friday Makahiki, contact Yuki Lei Sugimura at 878-1888 or email yukilei@hawaii.rr.com. For sidewalk vendor information, contact 429-6319 or 1stFridayWailuku@gmail.com.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Restaurant Week Wailea – November 8-14th

Has it been awhile since you enjoyed Veal Marsala at Longhi’s Wailea, or Casseruola Di Mare from Ferraro’s? How long since you indulged in the Joe-so-comforting Braised Beef Short Ribs over Creamy Mushroom Polena at Joe’s Wailea? Ever tried the Herb Crust Mahimahi & Stir Fry Veggies at Mala’s? Now’s your chance! And you won’t break the budget to do it.

Following the success of the promotion last May, Wailea Resort again presents “Restaurant Week Wailea” a celebration of Wailea’s finest cuisine at 15 participating restaurants starting Sunday, November 8th, through Saturday, November 14th.

New on the roster this year is Sea Watch by Bev Gannon, where the menu includes Grilled Pineapple, Red and Yellow Pear Tomato salad with curried chicken wontons and citrus chili dressing; Filet of Beef with shitake mushroom ragout and Crab Stuffed Jumbo Prawns with lemon ginger cream sauce on a wasabi potato cake; finished with Coconut Dream Cake. Welcome to the party, Chef Gannon!!!
Sea Watch Cuisine

Sea Watch Cuisine

Wailea Resort boasts a vast array of award winning chefs, both upscale and down home restaurants, and exciting dining venues. During Restaurant Week Wailea, fifteen participants are presenting sumptuous three course, pre-fixe menus for a mere $29*/$39* per person (*depending on the restaurant – beverages, tax and gratuity not included). Some restaurants have enhanced this promotion by creating wine pairings to enjoy with your meal, also at a special price.

“Based on the success of our inaugural Restaurant Week Wailea in May this year, and on the requests from numerous residents and visitors alike, we chose to bring it back this fall ”, said Bud Pikrone, General Manager, Wailea Community Association. “Our participating restaurants raised over $4,100 for the Maui Food Bank earlier this year as a result of this successful dinner promotion. We felt that bringing it back this fall would be a great opportunity, before the holidays, to raise much needed money for the Maui Food Bank” said Pikrone. Restaurants have heartily endorsed sharing the bounty with the Maui Food Bank by donating back during the promotion. Here are the fifteen restaurants to chose from and contact information. Make reservation directly with individual establishments.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Werewolf Wine Tasting – Merriman’s, Kapalua, Nov. 2nd

In honor of the full moon each month Merriman’s celebrates our lust for wine. On the oceanfront point at Merriman’s Kapalua, with the moon shining down, we are invited to indulge our most primitive instinct… drinking fabulous wine.

Each year one of the biggest and best fine wine distributers in Hawaii, Grand Crew Wine Merchants of Better Brands, conducts its Holiday Showcase Wine Tasting. At this event, sommeliers and wine professionals across the Islands have the opportunity to taste the crème de la crème of the portfolio. Wines from every corner of the globe are showcased, representing dozens of grape varieties and styles. Rather than go through the arduous (yet somewhat rewarding) process of tasting through hundreds of wines, Werewolf Wine Club wants to provide a similar experience with less effort. On Monday, November 2, 2009, Anthony Moore of Grand Crew Wine Merchants rejoins the tasting group to give the best cross section of this fantastic tasting. Putting his head together with Merriman’s sommelier Cass, Anthony has selected the best of the bunch to feature at their monthly meeting.

Think of it as the ultimate cheat sheet to the ultimate tasting. Pound for pound, the best wines of this year’s portfolio.

Reservations: Required. Attendance is limited. Credit card required for reservation.

Cost: $40 per person all inclusive.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Trick AND Treats at Warren and Annabelle’s Dinner Show

At Warren and Annabelle’s, Lahaina, Maui, the stage is set for trickery the moment you arrive. After checking in, you and friends will be escorted into a “waiting room.” There you find yourself befuddled by a riddle that must be solved before you go any further – which only makes your entry into the haute saloon parlor, chamber of resident ghost Annabelle, all the more appealing!

While Annabelle plays your favorite tunes and song requests, guests are invited to relax with pupus and drinks from Warren and Annabelle’s carefully selected menu. Show-goers can order ala carte from the menu or dine as part of a dinner show package known as the Royal Flush.

In addition to show admission, the Royal Flush package includes a combination platter of Gourmet Appetizers served to each guest including: Spicy Crab Cake with sweet chili plum sauce, Coconut Battered Shrimps with a ponzu dipping sauce, Polynesian Chicken Satay with tropical plum sauce, and a Savory Kalua Pork Wrap with Maui pineapple salsa. Guests also receive dessert, either Crème Brulee, White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, Key Lime Pie, Hot Apple Pie A La Mode, Classic New York-Style Cheesecake or Chocolate Pots de Crème (see the recipe below!) Additionally, the Royal Flush includes two premium cocktails, specialty drinks, blended drinks, imported and domestic beers, house wines, well drinks, and/or Soft Drinks (gratuity included). It’s a great deal at $94.50, cnosidering show admission is $56.00 per person.

The great food and drinks served at Warren and Annabelle’s are appropriate preparation for the belly laughs you’ll enjoy once summoned into the cozy theater where Warren performs sleight of hand with flawless precision, immense wit, and perfect comedic timing. At each performance four couples are chosen to sit in the coveted “hot seats,” assuring each show proffers a different dynamic and off the cuff humor.

The magic tricks are astounding; but it is Warren’s showmanship and personality that keeps the house packed week after week, year after year. If you’ve never experienced this show, one of Maui’s true entertainment jewels, you owe it to yourself to attend. If you’ve seen Warren time and again, you already realize that great comedy never gets old, and watching Warren in action is always a new delight.

Monday, October 12, 2009

This Week’s Hand Selected Deals 10/12-10/19

Sands of Kahana

If you are a regular reader you know one of WCM’s favorite easy going hang loose restaurants with good food, prices and service is Sands of Kahana. They have always featured terrific Happy Hour incentives for both locals and visitors and now they boast a $3.99 Breakfast Special that makes us forget there ever was a Denny’s in West Maui. The $3.99 special bests the Grand Slam with your choice of two eggs, hash or roasted potatoes, bacon or sausage. The only catch is you have to order between 7:30-8:30, very respectable breakfast hours if you ask us. Add a $2.50 Bloody Mary and spend the rest of the morning on the beach adjacent to the restaurant.

David Paul’s is bustin’ a move with their new $35 three course dinner offer. WCM has set a challenge – to assess once and for all (this month anyway) where Maui residents can eat the best for the least. This was our first stop.

I`o’s Restaurant, Lahaina, has extended their Kama`aina special through October – ½ off entrees, all night, every night. I`o’s definitely ranks high in our search for the best for the least.

Diamond’s Ice Bar and Grill in Kihei, formerly known as Tip-Ups, has revamped their interior and menu to create a more upscale environment for sports, parties, and dining. They are currently running some enticing specials including:
Buy One; Get One Free Entrée between 5-9 p.m. daily.
Buy One: Get One Appetizer Free between 3 p.m.- 7 p.m. daily.
Diamond’s opens at 7 a.m. during Football Season with a $10 Omelets and Mimosa bar until 1:30. They promise it’s kid friendly inside and to prove it are offering 50% discounts on keiki orders.

Sea House Restaurant, one of WCM’s faves, offers 25% kama`aina discounts breakfast, lunch and dinner thru December 19, 2009. Sundays and Mondays take 50% off the second entrée per party of two. Located at the Napili Kai on beautiful Napili Bay, the Zagat rated Sea House is open 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily with Happy Hour and $5 pupus from 2-5:30 daily. Mention this article to receive discounts.

Lahaina Coolers continues their Sunday down home dinner specials for $15. Plus, through October it’s Buy One Get One ½ Off for entrees. Open from 8 a.m. – midnight daily, Lahaina Coolers is located at 180 Dickenson Street, Lahaina, Maui.

Mulligan’s on the Blue, where most great Maui musicians eventually take stage, is offering Hawaiian Happy Hour through October. From 4-6 p.m. it’s half price pupus and Hawaiian Beer – and isn’t that the best kind? Don’t forget Industry Night is Wednesday and for all those of you working in the only other real industry on Maui besides real estate, you’ll net 50% drinks and pupus with your hotel or restaurant employee I.D.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rusty Harpoon, Kaanapali, Maui

Chef Suzzette Metcalfe was scurrying even more than usual last Saturday. A customer had just popped for the live football feed of Sunday’s game as a birthday gift to her husband and Chef wanted to share the news via email with Rusty Harpoon’s faithful football clientele. It was also a good opportunity to share the news of enticing game day specials like discount drinks and pupus.

It was a stunning Kaanapali afternoon with summer breezes wafting through the sizable open-aired dining room overlooking the lush greens of the Kaanapali Golf Course. The sights and scents from our table were as refreshing as the brewskis a gang of golfers enjoyed at Kaanapali’s nineteenth hole, aka Rusty Harpoon.

The restaurant is open early morning to late night and morphs character depending on the time of day. Late nights are jamming with revelers happy to have found something open in this neck of the woods past “Maui midnight;” mornings you’ll run into clean cut golfers or hearty tradesman stopping in for breakfast; early afternoons attract just about everyone; happy hour packs in service industry workers; sports fans rock the house on weekends. Rusty Harpoon’s menu manages to appeal to all modes of its changing personality.

Breakfast, served from 8-11 a.m., boasts a famous Waffle Bar that affords diners the chance to pile on the toppings, whipped cream and nuts to their liking. If that’s too much for your sweet tooth in the morning try a breakfast burrito or Junior’s Famous Fried Rice.
rusty harpoon shrimp

Rusty Harpoon Coconut Shrimp

Lunch, served from 11-5, offers a mix of the familiar and unexpected. Club, Tuna, Burger, Rueben Sandwiches being the former, Louisiana Style “Bouya” (ham, shrimp, chicken, clams, and smoked sausage simmered in spicy New Orleans style red sauce Topped with rice pilaf) being an example of the latter. The Seared Ahi Rollup (fresh Hawaiian Ahi, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and spicy mayo in soft tortilla) and Avo Rolls (recipe in this edition!) bridge the common and surprising with novel use of local flavors.
rusty harpoon brulee

Pineapple Creme Brulee

The dinner menu is extensive and, like lunch, covers the bases by offering tempting selections appealing to the broad variety of people who come here to enjoy themselves. There’s a delicate Ahi Parfait (ahi Tartar layered with guacamole and sour cream garnished with mixed greens and wasabi vinaigrette) and in contrast, the rough and tumble Rusty Harpoon’s Ribs and Wings. Refined palates love the awesome Oyster Suzzette (baked with Parmesan cheese, spinach, crispy bacon with a hint of anise) and everyone seems to have fun with Make Your Own Lettuce Wraps. From Parmesan Meatballs and Linguini to Hawaiian Brochettes to Slow Roasted Prime Rib, dining at the Rusty Harpoon is a little like going to your favorite relative’s for dinner – the one who has keyed in what every member of the family loves best.

It’s not surprising; Chef Metcalfe hails from the Midwest and exudes down to earth charm legion from that region, something she learned from her father who was at the helm of the old Rusty Harpoon. He has since passed on but his daughter is firmly committed to carrying on the tradition of relaxed hospitality. Everyone is welcome and there’s something everyone will enjoy at this table.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bistro Casanova, Kahului

Bistro Casanova has exploded on the scene as the shining star in the central valley dining firmament. Although they opened softly for lunch just this past week, The Bistro was already packed and bustling last Thursday when I stopped in unannounced.

The former Manana Garage space is barely recognizable, having been transformed into a swank urban-style eatery replete with gorgeous paintings by Maui’s top Italian artists, Alessio and Marcello Bugagiar, Piero Resta (who also did the signature piece at the upcountry Casanova), and Dario Campanile. The sensuous colors of Tuscany, blown glass pendant lights, street vendor fresh flowers, and cool granite bar set the stage for loving this place, which is what I predict Maui will do.

The newest addition to the well-established dining kingdom headed by Giovanni Cappelli will not be a carbon copy of the successful Makawao Casanova, Italian eatery supreme by day and headquarters for Maui’s dating scene by night. First of all, the food is Mediterranean, encompassing anything delicious you might find along that renown stretch of coast from Spain to Greece, which of course includes Italy.

The lunch menu currently features salads, pasta, sandwiches, Panini and crepes. Dinner, which will be offered in a few weeks, will focus on tapas, pastas, steaks and seafood. So picture sitting in a sidewalk café in France; seaside in Spain eating mussels tapas; on the beach of St. Tropez picking at a luscious nicoise salad; or mange bene Pizza in Napoli. There’s no limit to the fantasies that can be conjured while dining here.
bistro cool one

Iced Teas So Satisfying You'll Never Miss the Booze

Because the liquor license won’t arrive until mid-October, Bistro Casanova’s head bartender, Brandi, has come up with a clever, wholesome antidote to keeping her bar in full-swing regardless. She single-handedly whips up fresh mint teas and lemonades concocted with fresh squeezed lemons and pureed fruit so good you’ll never miss the booze. I watched as she muddled non-stop through the lunch hour – never breaking her stride, never breaking her smile. Can’t imagine how happy she’ll make people once she can add a shot of hootch to those refreshing concoctions. Yes, I had one –and yes, it was fabulous.

I also tried the Paia Salad, a grilled Portobello mushroom set on salad with quinoa, cucumbers, fresh mint, tomatoes and an extremely light lemon dressing. After that washed down with the mint ice tea, I felt not only refreshed after lunch, I felt downright cleansed. Brandi tells me the intention is to grow a giant herb garden right alongside the restaurant to keep up with the demand for those minty drinks.

As to what you can expect late nights at Bistro Casanova, I’m told there won’t be a big dance floor, but will be small kine music acts like jazz and other mellow tunage to match the upscale fine dining vibe. The intention is to set the stage for passion (as they do in Makawao for the hipsters) aimed at a more professional, mature set that up until now have had to rely on their own imaginations or long drives to Kapalua and Wailea to experience such upscale ambiance. Maui diners will fall in love with Bistro Casanova’s prices, too. Crepes are $7-9; sandwiches $9-14; $7-16; pastas $12-15. Dinner menu promises to be of equal value.

I believe we have a winner here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What's Cooking Maui Online!!

What's Cooking Maui is a local's guide to everything happening on the island of Maui! Updated frequently, there are dining reviews and recommendations, upcoming events and much, much more. Head over to the site right now for the best information on our Hawaiian paradise.