Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Five Best Meals on Maui

Dear Foodies,

Don't get too excited about this list, because:

I'm a vegetarian. (I love animals. No, they are not delicious. Don't get me started. You'll regret it. I promise.)

I sometimes care just as much, or more, about the decor and ambiance of a restaurant as I care about the food. (Food trucks should have cute outdoor dining areas, or better yet, be a stepping stone to a cute brick & mortar restaurant. With air-conditioning. And comfortable seating.)

I eat food, but I'm not a Foodie. It's rare for me to rhapsodize about a dish, so when I do, it's a very special dish.

I'm allergic to peanuts. (I love peanuts, but not so much as to withstand the swollen lips and full-body rash that my peanut allergy induces.)

I am soy sensitive. (Tummy trouble: enough said.)

I hate wine. I'm real picky about mixed drinks and beer. I'm generally a light-weight about the alcohol beverages with a strong aversion to hangovers.

Even on vacation, Chad and I aren't gluttons. We're both just a little too body-conscious. I would love to be the kind of person who could enjoy more calories and flavors and alcohol, but I'm not.

You've been warned Foodies. Here are my top five favorite meals during my recent trip to Maui.


1. Monkeypod Kitchen (at Whalers Village, Ka'anapali)


The space at Monkeypod Kitchen is gorgeous. One wall features huge windows with views of the pretty beach. The seats and banquettes are upholstered in Schumacher's Chiang Mai Dragon fabric. The glass back wall of the bar encases antique glass fisherman's floats with light bouncing around beautifully. The vibe here is relaxed like, sure, wear your flip-flops and swimsuit cover-up, but also lush and lovely with attention to design.

Remember just now when I said, "It's rare for me to rhapsodize about a dish, so when I do, it's a very special dish."? Get ready, I'm about to rhapsodize about a dish! I had the most amazing gnocchi with mushrooms and kale dish at Monkeypod Kitchen. I ate all but one bite that I very grudgingly shared with Chad. Monkeypod Kitchen also serves lovely, delicious cocktails and pies. I loved this place so much! If you go to Maui, eat here often, and report back to me.


2. Choice Health Bar (at Whalers Village, Ka'anapali)


Chad and I were so beyond tired and hungry one evening in Maui after a rigorous day of hiking. Chad volunteered to scamper over to Whaler's Village and pick up dinner from the Choice Health Bar. We both loved our hearty kale salads and amazing vegan smoothies. Everything here is delicious and surprisingly satisfying. This place serves healthy food with an emphasis on yummy. I wish we had made the time to dine at sit-down restaurant down the road in Lahaina, but the Whaler's Village pickup location was super-convenient to our hotel.


3. Maui Brewing Company (Lahaina at Kahana Gateway Center)



Beer is "liquid sunshine" according to Ruby, our friendly Lyft driver who drove us to and from Maui Brewing Company's restaurant. Chad and I shared a sampler flight of four beers. My favorite beer was the Bikini Blonde Lager, closely followed by the Pineapple Mana Wheat. We shared an order of Tots Dynamite: tater tots with beer cheese sauce, jalapeno, green onion, kimchi aioli, caramelized onion and garlic crema.  We could have stopped there with the food due to the generous portions, but we had already foolishly ordered entrees. Oops. I had exactly three bites of a deliciously hefty Veggie Burger before boxing it to go. Maui Brewing Company gets philanthropy points for donating half the profits from veggie burger sales to the Maui Humane Society! Chad had the veggie Teriyaki rice bowl, sharing two bites with me. Packed with veggies, the rice bowl was tasty and filling.


4. Lahaina Pizza Company



This deep-dish pizza packs a well-prepared punch. Yum! Chad and I each ordered the lunch special of a small house salad and a personal size pizza. We were pleasantly full after our meal; versus lie on the floor and don't breathe too deeply full. Lahaina Pizza Company has many local beers on tap and serves tempting cocktails. We enjoyed the tropical iced tea, instead of a cocktail, because we're no fun. The tea was refreshing with fruity overtones. This was one of the best value meals on Maui, with the added super-bonus of a million dollar view from this second floor restaurant overlooking the beachfront.


5. Frida's Beach House



Frida's Mexican Beach House Restaurant Commercial from Sascha Bauml on Vimeo.

Again with the amazing views, Maui! And, yeah, we ate Mexican food in Maui. We're from Austin. We need fresh salsa, tortilla chips and beans at least once a week! I appreciated the Chile Relleno and a house margarita on the rocks mucho. This meal was on the expensive side, but worth it.

Check back for more from Maui soon.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Maui = Amazing, Part Three




About a year ago when I started planning our trip to the Hawaiian Islands, Chad and I weren't sure which island/islands to visit. I bought a copy of Fodor's Travel Essential Hawaii from Book People. I asked every friend who I knew had traveled to the Hawaiian Islands. I read tripadvisor reviews. I watched youtube travel videos. I also made an honest wishlist for our vacation. Chad and I didn't need nightlife. We didn't want a "city" experience. We don't golf or play tennis. We wanted hiking, rain forests, beaches with wade-in snorkeling and a relaxing vibe. I am a bit scared of active volcanoes, but totally comfortable with a dormant volcano. All of my interviews with friends, reading the guide book, watching youtube traveler videos, reading reviews on tripadvisor.com and reviewing our wish list helped me decide on Maui, and only Maui, for our week-long Hawaiian vacation. Chad and I were both really pleased with our choice. 




Tuesday = Snorkeling Day!

One of the reasons I chose the Westin Maui Resort was its proximity to Black Rock Kaanapali. Black Rock is a prominent rocky peninsula on the North end of Kaanapali Beach. The rock outcropping makes for calmer waves nearby. Chad and I rented snorkel gear from the beachfront towel shack at Westin Maui, easy-peasy. I am not a strong swimmer, so I rented a floaty belt. I looked ridiculous. Better safe than sorry! We strolled about seven minutes down the beach, found a spot to park our towels on the beach at Black Rock and waded into the crystal clear waters. No boat needed! (Fun fact: All of Hawaii's beaches are public, even those in front of exclusive resorts. Hawaii state law requires all resorts and hotels to offer public right-of-way access to the beach, along with public parking. Yay!)

The farther we got from the shore, the less crowded it was. That said, we were careful to pop our heads up every few minutes to stay aware of our surroundings and kept tabs on each other. We reveled in the clear water and the variety of tropical fish we could see. I saw lots of other snorkelers using GoPro waterproof cameras on selfie sticks or on headbands. For a second I envied the GoPro users, but then I remembered to just enjoy the snorkeling. Chad and I saw so many beautiful fish including: butterfly fish, needlefish, parrotfish, surgeonfish, boxfish, damselfish, Moorish idol, goatfish and big marine turtles. A big turtle swam right past me while snorkeling. I tried to be respectful of the turtle's space. These are endangered species. It is against the law to "pet" them, bother them, touch them or chase them. The turtle swam closer to me as an official looking person in a uniform on the shore yelled at everyone to stay at least ten feet away from the turtle. I backed away from the turtle as best as I could in my flippers. I hope the turtle wasn't offended. 

*Click each fish name for links that have photos.*


Here's a lovely GoPro video of snorkeling at Black Rock. Thanks to Jim Sheaffer for sharing!



More from Maui soon, including top 5 meals, hiking at Haleakala and exploring the resort.