Only 10 days! It's not enough!
For the first time (this was our 6th time to be on Maui) it rained everyday - to our surprise. So what do you do? You go right ahead with your day - I could have been at work! It just gave us more time to plan our lunches and dinners. We tried some new-to-us places and some old favorites.
Here are my notes:
Hali'imaile General Store: After taking an hour and a half to get from Kapalua to almost Costco - we were starving and decided Costco could wait until after lunch. This was my first time there and we took the scenic route... more scenic than usual because J couldn't remember which road to turn onto... :-) Such a small parking lot for such a well known place and what a cute place too. They are having their 20th anniversary this year and the place was full of local artwork commemorating that event - I loved the Scrabble painting. We started with the Brie & grape quesadilla; brie and red grapes in a flour tortilla with cilantro and macadamia nut pesto. A sweet pea guacamole was on the side - I loved this stuff, I think I could have eaten it with everything. This made us decide we had to have the cookbook (hello Costco?). I had the Grilled Wild Salmon 'BLT' and I'm so glad I did. It was a large piece of grilled salmon on a toasted tortilla with spinach salad between along with some marvelous bacon and roasted garlic. I had originally opted for a boring Cesar salad, but I thought to myself ,'I can have that anywhere, catch our waitress, I've changed my mind!'.
Hula Grill: Well they redeemed themselves. I hadn't really wanted to go - I didn't think it was that good when we were there last year. This time though things were much better. I had the Baja Fish Taco - a nice chunck of mahi mahi lightly battered with a bit of cabbage and dressing, chips and salsa. We also ordered a side of their Mac-nut slaw - D loves this stuff. We asked our waitress if we could get the recipe, but she said we couldn't - so the 3 of us disected the ingredients ourselves, decided what we thought was in it, wrote it in my Palm and went to the grocery store. And I'm very pleased to say that when we made it, it was excellent.
Merriman's: I really can't say too much about dinner here - we were part of a Member Guest tournament and this is where they held the final dinner and awarded the prizes. I'm certain we were the noisy party that night, that many people make a lot of noise. We could see it was a lovely place, even though we were stuck on the side and since it was quite chilly no one went out to the lower level. I didn't feel that we probably got the best feel of the place due to the size of the group but none the less our dinners were good. My fish was very good - I think it was mahi mahi.
Lahaina Grill: Well... they fell down a bit. I received a confirmation call earlier in the afternoon and at that time they confirmed my request for a specific waiter, they said they would seat us in his area. When we got there we noticed several people entering wearing name tags - like a tour group sort of thing. We were seated right away, in the bar. In the bar? Yes, where 4 of us were repeatedly bumped into by the bustling service staff ordering drinks, getting drinks, taking orders, bringing orders, pouring wine and water - you know, everyone. The waiter I had requested was not who waited our table - why didn't they say anything when we were seated? I didn't see him so I don't think it was that they just decided to give us someone else, but mentioning that would have been appreciated. I started with what was the best Cosmo I've ever had. My first course was the Eggplant Napolean which I thought would have been better if it were a bit warmer instead of cold and the Wild Salmon grilled with spinach, tomatoes and vanilla jasmine rice. Several members of our party had the special which I didn't pay much attention to since it had shellfish. I think it was opaka paka - every one really liked it. I apologize if this sounds like I'm pouting - I don't mean it to. Our food was very good and I don't think anyone was disappointed but some little service things just kind of put a damper on things.
MALA Ocean Tavern: Right on the ocean, a small casual place. We ordered a couple of drinks - I had a margarita after being told they make it from fresh limes and it was very good! I had noticed what the gentleman infront of me had a whole fish and he seemed to be enjoying it. It was Moi - the royal fish - whole & wok fried with black bean sauce, mushrooms, sugar snap peas & green edamame - so I hadda have it. My friends were a bit agog (a whole fish, eyes, ewww) and told me I was the only person they knew that would eat something like that. I said it was my pleasure and then gave them each a bit to try. It was a big hit. I really liked this place, service was good and he had a sense of humor which I always appreciate.
The Gazebo: Oh pancakes! Glorious pancakes! I split the combo with Mr CF - bananas, pineapple and macadamia nuts - oh my! So good, so fluffy. I said "Here's to Bill Hunt" and throughly enjoyed them. So I wouldn't promptly go into sugar shock, I also ordered the Popeye omelette - a huge omelette stuffed with spinach, pepper jack cheese and mushrooms. Mr CF ordered the Fried Rice which caused us all to just about fall out of our chairs because of the hilarious size of this plate of rice. Fred Flintstone would have loved it.
The Plantation: I had never been here, I could see that on an ordinary day that the view must be gorgeous. This golf course is where Mr CF had his under par round last year - just before he blew his knee out. We started with cocktails and then ordered a very nice 2004 Rocholi Pinot Noir. I started with the Panko Crusted Goat Cheese Salad - organic Kula greens, Kapalua Farms tomatoes, Greek olives & passion fruit vinaigrette - very nice. and I had the Upcountry Maui style preparation ofPapio (Pompano) on a sauté of zucchini, Maui onions, pole beans and seasonal mushrooms with garlic mashed potatoes. Delicious. Mr CF and I finished with the Pot de Crème au Chocolat.
We cooked quite a bit at the house, yay Costco! We also found the Hali'imaile cookbook - I'll be making some pea guacamole at my house soon.... mmmmm...
Mahalo for your reviews. Sounds like a great time, albeit with the rain. We had similar, but got very lucky. We made tee-times from the Mainland, and just kinda' "winged it." Every day that we played was clear. Every other day was heavy rain. We NEVER have such luck, but did on out trip. Still, the weather did not deter us from eating a lot.
I'm wondering about the FOH at the Lahaina Grill. Our experience was similar, though in slightly different ways. Maybe this is something that the new management needs to address, and in a better fashion. I am not keen on having to wait at a bar, when our reservations are for X:XXPM. A wait of 40 mins. is a bit of a streach for me. OK, there was a big party, and they were slow in leaving, but hey, we have lives too, and tip well.
We hated to miss the Gazebo, and also Bev Gannon's. You made it up for me, so from a vicarious standpoint, it was almost like being there - next time!
Did not get to the Hula Grill, but have heard rather mixed reviews on it.
Just recently I got a bit of info on Mala's appetizers. They offer half-portions, but we did not know this. Maybe we missed it, or it's been added, since our visit. The quantity of the same tastes and textures, was the biggest hangup for us. The mains were good, and adequately proportioned.
Sub-par on Kapalua Plantation Course? Whoa, I am not worthy of corresponding with you guys! I broke 100, and was close to a sub-90 round, until I fell apart on 17. At least I saw a few of the pros do similar, a week, or so, later. If I play my game, and do not loose concentration, I can shoot low 90's on most courses in the world. However, I have been known to blow it horribly and shoot 110, even when I had a great round going.
Sounds like you guys had fun, and I appreciate seeing some other reviews of places that we hit, plus some others.
re: Bill Hunt
Was just in Oahu/Maui for 10 days for our honeymoon. On the tail end in Maui, we went to the Plantation for breakfast and left underwhelmed. The view from the corner of the restaurant was pretty good, but my sashimi benedict and the wife's blackened benedict were acceptable and not too memorable.
Also on Maui, the Cool Cat Cafe was so good the first time (we had fish burgers) we went back for a second - we had a coupon so we ordered the Fish Catch of the Day. It was pretty good.
We also had a great time at Sansei. On our last night in Maui, we tried to get in to Mama's, but the earliest time they had open was too close to our outbound flight so we never made it. Went to Eskimo Candy instead.
I'm sorry your meal at The Plantation didn't meet your expectations - in truth, Mr CF didn't think his dinner was all that marvelous, but I really liked mine.
I'd like to try Sansei - we're staying just up the hill from it - but our friends aren't fond of sushi and so I've not really pushed them to try it.
Tell us about Cool Cat Cafe and Eskimo Candy!
re: Bill Hunt
You're totally worth corresponding with us!
First of all, you play golf and so understand the agonies and glories of the game, and trust me, Mr CF didn't have a sub-par game this time around (though I think everyone thinks his partner in the Member-Guest brought in a ringer), secondly, you like the same type of places we do and thirdly, you're into wine! :-)
I don't know what's up with Lahaina Grill - I hope things improve...