The food in Maui was soooo good (as my scale can attest, but that's another post) - the nice thing about visiting the island is that the food is local, and many restaurants would write on a chalkboard where the food was from (i.e. which local farm, etc.). It was a nice change to eat such fresh-tasting restaurant meals!
On our first night in Maui, we ate at the hotel's Tiki Terrace restaurant - outside, near the stage, where we could watch the nightly Hula show along with listening to the local Hawaiian musicians, which was a charming way to begin our Hawaiian vacation! We opted for the "Native Hawaiian" meal - the picture above is the first course - local greens and veggies in a very light dressing and half a papaya - this one was a strawberry papaya and yes, it did have a hint of strawberry flavor...plus the color was so pretty!
The next course was a boneless, skinless chicken breast and herbs wrapped in some sort of leaf that was tied closed and then steamed - the waitress brought a pair of scissors to our table to cut open the packet. Traditional poi, a slice of taro root (which is what poi is made from) and a slice of a purple potato completed the plate. You were supposed to dip pieces of the chicken into the poi - I did for a couple of bites, but ended up eating the rest of the chicken sans poi. It's an interesting and I'm sure, acquired taste - poi - I'm glad I sampled some, but didn't feel like I had to finish it (unlike my dining companion, lol!).
Slices of fresh pineapple that had been grilled and topped with toasted coconut completed the meal - wow was this good! I don't like coconut and will avoid any food that has it as an ingredient (macaroons are safe from me, as is German chocolate cake) but this toasted coconut was really tasty and apparently opened up my world to the goodness of coconut, as you will see later in this post.
Every morning we ate at the hotel's breakfast buffet - this was part of our vacation package. While the food was good, and I enjoyed having fresh pineapple AND a variety of fresh juices like mango, guava, papaya and of course, pineapple (yes, I drank my calories...hard to pass up the fresh juice), both Jeff and I felt like we overate every morning. Apparently we were not the best at portion control when it came to a buffet...and every morning, we would try and eat a bit less, but pretty much rode the fail boat on this one. The good news was that we really didn't have lunch - mostly we wanted something salty, so I bought a big bag of pretzels, and we snacked on those, plus a some cheese...and later in the week, some chips and salsa that we inherited from another couple who was going home (thanks Nick and Anne!).
Looks like a reasonable amount, no? Sadly, this wasn't his only plate (And what's with getting the yellow plate? They had blue, green and orange, and the pineapple just disappears on this color! Yes I am strange like that...you should see me choose plate colors from my Fiestaware collection based on what we are having for dinner!)
Other memorable meals include a vegetarian pizza made with pesto, eggplant, maui onion and other yummy veggies from the Tiki Grill, a hamburger (split) from the Front St. Grill, a hamburger (split) from the Cool Cat Cafe (voted Maui's best - Jeff had to try it), banana bread, which you could buy all along the way on the drive to Hana - and yes, everyone's was "the best" - it was too funny, seeing all the handmade signs proclaiming it so! Have I mentioned the fresh pineapple that I managed to eat every day? I have? Well, take a look at this picture:
No wonder fresh pineapple is so abundant...it grows on the side of the road in Maui! We drove by this on the way from Hana to 'Ohe'o Gulch and of course I had Jeff stop the car so I could take a picture (or five) of it!
One place where we did not split our meal was the Aloha Mixed Plate, which came highly recommended by my friend Russell, who lived down the street from me when we were kids AND who was a hotel chef on Maui for a number of years - he said to get the Kalbi ribs - we did, and yum, yum, yum...they were wonderful! I kind of wish we had gone to this restaurant earlier in the week, so we could have gone back a second time - they had a lot of great-sounding things on their menu!
The ribs were served with two scoops of white rice and a scoop of macaroni salad - apparently a tradition in Hawaii - and a little container of sort-of a kimchee-type of spicy zucchini, which was great with the rice.
That restaurant is in Lahaina Town, which was about five miles south of our hotel. We also discovered Ono Gelato, which was so good we went there four times! Well, to be fair, one time was in the town of Paia, where we also had some excellent flatbread pizza at the Flatbread Company (where else?). But getting back to the gelato, I have to say that this stuff is amazingly delicious. It's actually not bad for your diet, per se...although I think having it four times in a week *might* be stretching that concept - but hey, we were on vacation! I meant to take a picture of it, but lost sight of that goal once the gelato was in hand. So anyway, I had mango and coconut, pineapple and coconut, coconut, and coconut. And I don't like coconut...but apparently I do when it's made into gelato. Or a virgin pina-colada. Or into a coconut shortbread cookie, complete with toasted coconut on top. But that's it!
Now, onto the flatbread pizza - a local in Paia recommended this place, and wow - another fabulous meal! We had half a Greek vegetarian, half something else with pesto, Maui onions, homegrown tomatoes, and more good stuff - everything was organic and local. It was so good and I enjoyed every bite!
As we had heard that everything in Hawaii was super-spendy, and we didn't have a ton of money to spend on the trip, we were pretty cautious with what and where we ate. Now that I'm home and can see what we spent, it wasn't all that much, and I wish we had splurged a bit more on the food and gotten some more of the gorgeous salads that I saw on many menus - which were priced at around $10 each (we would have gotten one each) - instead of having the hamburgers (which were good, and at $10 made for a very cheap meal since we split them). But better safe than sorry for the old bank account - and we had a great time anyway. Now we know for our next visit...and yes, we are already planning a return trip, we had that great of a time!