July 4, 2012

A Foodie Goes to Maui

Summer Vacation....
I'M BACK!! Can you believe it? How long has it been? Too long! I'm so excited to get back to blogging my awesome foodie adventures because I have so much to share with you all. I know I have a terrible habit of putting my blog on hiatus while I'm in school but I have to prioritize my time... and be an adult and junk like that. Anyway let's focus on the fact that I'm back! I actually planned on blogging as soon as my summer vacation started at the end of May but I had a little vacation to go on.... a little place called Maui ;)

Pre-vacation Preparations....
As you could imagine planning a week-long trip to another state in the middle of the Pacific takes a lot of planning and a lot of extra hours at work. I decided to start my blog up again with a post-vacation post because how could a food blogger not take advantage of all that great Hawaiian food and other good eats you're allowed to indulge in on vacation? I think I made the right decision.

After a rough departure (something about a crappy engine on the side of the plane I was sitting on) and having to turn around back to San Francisco, we finally started our 5 hour plane ride. Our first night was rather uneventful as it was already dark when we arrived to our part of the island. We did pick a burger place to go  to which ended up being a good idea because our waiter gave us some great tips for our trip. The next morning we took a helicopter ride around the island. Along with the ocean and a billion beautiful waterfalls we saw beautiful fields of pineapple and sugarcane.
View from our helicopter
When that was over we headed over to a winery in Ulupalakua where we tried pineapple wine and had lunch at a the Ulupalakua Ranch Store where I was able to try my first plate of real Kalua pork and mac salad! I was so incredibly excited! The store sold local jams, sauces, candy, t-shirts and anything else you want. In the back of the store there was a counter where you could order from a select menu of local food. It's one of the coolest places I have ever seen. The area was full of coconut trees and trees with fruits I didn't even recognize. And the pork definitely lived up to the hype.
That evening, Mike and I went to Lahaina which is the area with all the restaurants, right on the ocean. It's one of the best places to see the sunset if you're ever there! We looked at all the shops, ate gelato, and enjoyed being in Maui. I tried my first macadamia nut and coconut candy that's also known as island crack to the locals. After tasting it I fully agree with the name. We had dinner at a resort that night and listened to a local Hawaiian band while enjoying more cocktails.
Where I fell in love with macadamia nuts!
Front Street
The real deal!
Dinner after our first full day

Our Anniversary....
This is actually the main reason we went to Maui. We wanted to celebrate our four years together while celebrating surviving another semester. The day started bright and early with a walk on the beach that was right behind our hotel (funny how I only get up early on vacations). We went to breakfast and I realized that Maui only has breath-taking views. Since it was our first breakfast on this vacation I was excited to go all out (Kona coffee anyone?) which basically means I started the day with a lot of food.
The beach that I could see from our lovely hotel room!
That night we went to a place called Kimo's on Front Street. We made reservations the previous day to have dinner during sunset. Good call. We got there early and got some Mai Tais and Pina Coladas at the bar and enjoyed the view.
 We got some sashimi as an appetizer then I ordered the cioppino and Mike got the prime rib.
Maui-rita and Mai Tai
Our Maui sunset
Hula Pie: A local piece of magic and the perfect dessert

Road to Hana....
If you don't know what and where Hana is all I can describe it as is an old Hawaiian gem of a town that can only be found by driving on the cliff of a mountain, through jungle and bamboo forests. It's like a concept from an India Jones movie. Jungles, cliffs, waterfalls, a turquoise ocean, falling fruit, a winding one-way road with locals zooming by in the opposite direction and some of the best damn banana bread I've ever had! Let me just say as beautiful as it was I'll probably never drive the whole length of the road - it's just too dangerous BUT I will go half way to Hana just for the banana bread that was sold in some small hut by the nicest locals of a town I've ever met.
Yeah there's a road on that tree-covered cliff and we were on it.

Aunty Sandy's Banana Bread stand

On the road there were some great places to stop to get more local fruits. Once we actually got to Hana we had burgers at one of the few places to eat. The beef was locally raised and really amazing.
As "free range" as you can get :)
Local Food....
We went off on our own one day to try some Loco Moco from a place that was down the street. If you're a foodie you probably know this but if not, Loco Moco is a wonderful dish that has a beef patty on top of a bed of either fried rice or white rice, that is topped with a fried egg and slathered (I love that word) with brown gravy. I could definitely see this dish being something that is accentuated at say two o'clock in the morning...
There are no words...
When got back from an all day road trip that practically took us around the entire left part of the island Mike and I went out for an anniversary 2.0 dinner. Sushi! We got sashimi and a really fresh "California roll" with fresh crab inside (something I'm not used to) that was topped with tuna, salmon, and avocado! Oh my.... For dessert we got a new favorite of ours. We tried creme brulee our last anniversary so we couldn't pass up the new tradition. Would you?

We moved our Luau time to the last night we were there as a sort of farewell to the island. I have never seen anything like it before and the food was, from what I understood, good and traditional. I loved it either way. There was chicken that I would have taken through an IV if I could, there was poi (tarot root), kalua pork, Hawaiian rolls, pineapple and a bunch of other really good things that I fell in love with.
Delicious! Yes I'm talking about the pig....
Another pina colada

Aloha and Maholo....
What better way to say farewell than a goodbye breakfast at one of the most popular breakfast places on Maui? The Gazebo is just that - a gazebo. The line gets long as people wait to grab a seat for probably the best Hawaiian breakfast ever. They are known for their "banana mac" pancakes and ginormous plates of fried rice. I opted for the pancakes. Another good choice.
It's right by the ocean
Banana and macadamia nut pancakes
Then there was fish tacos. Since our plane didn't leave until 9 pm, we had some time to kill. I promised Mike I would find him the best fish tacos, so I did just that. Ono Tacos is owned by a couple with a BBQ grill outside of an inn. They use Ono fish and put a chipotle sauce on top. Mmmmm! The fish isn't battered either, it's just grilled and left to be amazing.
Happy boy
Time was drawing closer to the end and we had time to grab one last island treat before we left. Shave ice is probably one of the best things I have ever tried. It's totally not like a snow cone and is so smooth. It really was a great way to end the trip.

I'm glad I got to start this blog up again with food that really has changed how I eat. As a foodie, there is no greater gift than trying something new - and loving it. I'm glad to be back and to share what I've been up to in my kitchen these last few months. Until next time, cheers!

And Happy 4th of July!


  1. My goodness, what a trip! I need some of this island crack, haha!

  2. Craig and I are going to Maui in February. I haven't been there in 25 years. Kimos is still there???!! OMG. I still talk about their Chi-Chi's...so good! I'm definitely going there. Yes, we are going to Hana. I MUST! I'll be taking along your recommendations, for sure. It's all about the food, right? Welcome back to blogging. You've been missed.
    Debby, "A Feast for the Eyes"

    1. Debby, we'll definitely have to talk at Foodbuzz about it because it's probably one of the most amazing places anywhere! Have you ever done Hana? I would call it a once in a lifetime experience haha :) Can't wait to talk in person!

  3. All is well but i like Banana and macadamia nut pancakes. Hawaiian restaurants