One of my rules of travel is to never eat at a place where I can eat at home. So, last week, I found myself at Home Maid Bakery within 15 minutes of landing at OGG—Kahului Airport on Maui.
I’ve found some favorite eateries throughout my years of traveling the Hawaiian Islands. Here’s a list of those haunts I managed to frequent on Maui last week.
Home Maid Bakery: As the name implies, this is a bakery. Not one of those new-fangled places specializing in, say, cupcakes but a real honest-to-goodness bakery. This one is known for its hot malasadas, but I arrived too late in the morning for those. Instead, I got sweet potato manju and peanut butter mochi. There’s a second location on Dairy Road. Don’t go there. Seek out the original in Wailuku. Alternatively, you might want to give Sam Sato’s, also in Wailuku, a try. My girlfriend Malia, who grew up on Maui, says it’s even better than Home Maid.
Down to Earth: Technically, this is a vegetarian grocery store. But there’s a made-to-order smoothie and juice counter, and I found myself inexplicably drawn there three consecutive afternoons for a fresh juice concoction. My favorite: Fresh-n-Fabulous. It’s made with organic apples, mint, organic kale, organic parsley, basil, organic spinach, organic celery, and coconut water.
Iron Imu: Admittedly, this isn’t a place I would normally go. I eat a vegan/vegetarian diet. I’ve never liked meat. However, the location right on the property of Outrigger Napili Shores was just too good to ignore. I walked the few hundred feet from my condo to the restaurant, and “Wheels,” the owner of this southern-style BBQ joint was just too interesting, as it turned out. I ordered the Lobster Roll with sides of cornbread, macaroni and cheese, and a sweet pepper cole slaw. It was all good. And Wheels told me the whole story—how he started with a custom-made trailer and now has two. How he incorporated long-time family recipes into his menu. How he’d just catered a private function for 1,500 the night before and 2,000 the night before that. How he’d signed a 10-year lease for the location at Outrigger Napili Shores and re-decorated with a light, western motif—like hanging lights with cowboy hats as shades and a wall of the obligatory belt buckles. (Kids, however, will go nuts in the room with walls made entirely of chalk board.) He serves all the usual BBQ suspects—smoked brisket, smoked chicken, ribs—and combo versions of it all, along with sandwiches and various fish and seafood offerings.
Flat-Bread Pizza: At my house, we enjoy made-from-scratch pizza every Friday night, and we get creative with the toppings, too, like plums, pears, potato, kale and, even, a fried egg. So, when I saw the vegetarian special at Flat-Bread Pizza in Paia, I knew I was right at home. I’ll be trying to recreate this one tonight, in fact, with roasted beets, arugula and a balsamic reduction sauce. Next, I’ll be trying to convince my husband to build our own stone pizza oven like the one found here.
Maui Brewing Co. I’ve heard one of the owners is vegetarian and that would explain the variety of vegetarian options. Thank you, Melanie. I like the hand-made veggie patty here with a multi-grain bun and a side order of beer battered onion rings. Oh, and the beers. Nearly two dozen on tap. Watch for my forthcoming blog post dedicated exclusively to Maui Brewing Co.
Slappy Cakes: This was actually a new venture for me—and new to Maui, too. The concept here is cook-your-own pancakes—using a griddle built into the tabletops. But before you get to the fun part, the challenge is ordering. First, you choose your batter—buttermilk, whole grain, vegan/gluten-free, peanut butter, sweet potato or chocolate. Next, you pick from a long list of fixings--either sweet like chocolate chips and bananas or savory like bacon or roasted mushrooms. Finally, it’s time to add some toppings, say, lavender honey, peanut butter, lemon curd, organic yogurt, or apple sauce. The combinations here are ridiculous. You could come every day of the year and have a different kind of pancake.
Of course, you can opt for a traditional breakfast made by a short-order cook in the kitchen, if you’d like.
The story behind Slappy Cakes is the restaurant got its start in Portland in 2009, scoring national publicity almost immediately on The Cooking Channel, Rachael Ray and elsewhere. What I like about the place is it practices sustainability, sourcing ingredients locally, reducing waste, and conserving energy.
I'm calling this a "Sides" Trip Report, because these places deserve mention, but, for whatever reason, did not receive their own full-sized entree of a blog post;-)
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