found! not lost blog

“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver

Dining in paradise: a review of Maui eats

Hard to believe we were in Hawaii just a little over a week ago. We’ve adjusted back to life on the mainland, even after a wicked bout of jet lag for our youngest daughter — can you say “sleep deprivation”?  But, even with her three day reign of terror, it was still TOTALLY worth the price of re-entry.

You might think that finding awesome food in Maui would be easy. Well, it was, and it wasn’t. What I mean by this is that for a foodie, excellent fine dining in paradise is actually not so easily had – at least not on the level you’d expect from a bigger city on the mainland.  What you do find in Maui, if you’re to believe me and many Yelp reviewers, are a lot of overpriced “special occasion” restaurants that deliver fair to good food with less than stellar service, but great ocean side ambiance.  Once you accept this fact, then you can appreciate the real foodie finds — there is no shortage of great local cuisine and fun spots to grab a bite. Here’s a little photo log of what we found, tried, and liked!

{Aloha Mixed Plate on Front St. in Lahaina – order the kalbi ribs, coconut prawns, Shoyu chicken or chow fun noodles… skip the ono and beef teriyaki}

{Even the kids loved it – that’s mom’s pina colada though, if you wondered}

{Our first Hawaiian shave ice stop of many during the week}

I love Hawaiian shave ice, and no, it is not a sno-cone. It’s like the sno-cone’s tastier, bigger, more exotic cousin. If you wondered, the key is the very fine, hence “shave”, ice which results in a fluffy cold treat versus the large, ice chunks which make up a sno-cone. Also, there are usually no fewer than a dozen syrup flavors available (oftentimes twice that!), and some people put either a small scoop of ice cream in the cup under the shave ice or pour a small amount of sweet cream on top of the shave ice cone for an indulgent treat.

{Ululani’s in Lahaina is one of the most well-known and best shave ices in Maui – no lie, very fine shave with great tasting, flavorful syrups}

{the shave ice machine at Ululani’s, powerful with a very sharp blade}

Also paid a visit to Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop on our way back from a Pacific Whale Foundation whale watching tour in Ma’alaea, near the Maui Ocean Center. The most amazing pies with homemade, flaky, buttery crusts just like grandma used to make. Tried corn pie, chicken pot pie, and the savory carnitas — cannot go wrong with any of these, but seriously, the crust on the chicken pot pie has just the right amount of cheese baked into it — GENIUS!

{my corn pie was awesome!}

{but the coconut cream pie was even awesomer!}

{and the place could not be cuter, just the right mix of island and cottage}

Speaking of cute places, with a very old-time island feel, you have to check out the town of Paia. It has a casual surfer town vibe but with a high-end twist. My sister, mom and I enjoyed browsing a bit in the unique clothing and gift boutiques with some great finds from local Maui fashion and jewelry designers. I even created a one-of-a-kind necklace at Sophie Grace Maui.

{a main street in the small town of Paia}

But, the real find was a tasty pizza joint with locally sourced ingredients, a serious pizza oven, gourmet pies, and relaxed, but top notch service. I only learned after returning home that this Flatbread Company is the same one I’d heard of in New England, part of a pizza restaurant chain. Who knew? I guess good food travels!

{their massive pizza oven}

{Def recommend the Pele Pesto, the goat cheese made this a hit with our family!}

{Then again, Mopsy’s Kalua Pork pizza was also delicious. Smoked pork shoulder, mango BBQ sauce, goat cheese and pineapple even caused my mom to reverse her previous judgement of pineapple on pizzas}

One of the best dinners we probably had out in Maui was at Star Noodle. It was a modern noodle shop with some of the traditional favorites (ramen, Singapore noodles) and some with a twist (pan roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon and kim chee). Also, a great drink menu, try the refreshing cucumber miki for something crisp and not-to-sweet). We ate like pigs… I think my six-year-old daughter had four chicken yakitoris and three steamed pork buns!

{If you go, get the garlic noodles, they are simple, velvety, garlicky heaven — just the right amount of garlic, an roasted without crossing over to bitter}

{pork buns, sprouts, and my cucumber miki}

And to end on a sweet note, one other option if you burn out on Hawaiian shave ice: gelato from local Maui creamery, Ono Gelato Company. We stopped at the one in Paia and the one in Lahaina – great in both spots, loved the thai ginger lime flavor and the Lilikoi Quark (lilikoi passionfruit and local Surfing Goat Dairy goat milk) tangy, creamy, and sweet.

{just looking at this case of deliciousness takes me back to Maui… I can almost feel the warm breezes and smell the beach air}

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2 comments on “Dining in paradise: a review of Maui eats

  1. janereichert
    April 3, 2012

    You are making my mouth water!! YUM! And bringing back such good memories of my trip there with Chris. I thought Paia was very cute too and we enjoyed strolling around. And those Hawaiian shaved ices…nothing better! Now you have me plotting when we can round up our girls and go!! Maybe my 40th with a travel nanny as a present to myself 😉

  2. found not lost
    April 4, 2012

    Jane – thanks! A great idea for your 40th! The trip was really not that hard, the girls were old enough to manage the long flight and we all had so much fun!

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This entry was posted on April 3, 2012 by in adventures, restaurants and tagged , , , , .
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