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May 4, 2010 02:31 PM

Kauai, Maui and Hawaii food report

Aloha, just realized I never posted a report from my journey. We did a lot of home cooking too.
Hamurai Saiman - our first time and loved it, and loved the frozen pie we bought to safely
thaw on the way home.
Pono Market - true Aloha spirit, had to stop in and pick up a small container of chicken to try
Keoki's - a great shared fish and chips at the bar
Mediteranian Gourmet - best mai tai
Bouchon - a pathetic shadow of what it once was
Hanalei Dolphin - fantastic fish market, great takeout rolls and ono salad for back at the ranch.
never interested in what seemed a tired restaurant but the new sushi bar with some of the old
staff from Sushi Blues/Bouchon certainly delivers.
Oly Cafe - excellent special request order of ban/blue/mac pancakes with dismal bacon and
Baracuda - great meal and service - a fish, a shortrib and a special request dessert which was
gelato escorted by fresh berries was very gracious and delicious and I'm afraid may have
inspired other diners to request the same.
Foodland - really great spicy ahi poke!

Farmers Markets in Hanalei - oh the pines, the meyer lemons, the greens, the chocolate
dipped bananas, the lilikoi goat cheese!!! Only disappointment was the new chocolate
farm. Way overpriced for a mediocre bar of chili chocolate. I respect what they're trying to
do. I got to do the Tuesday market twice and think I prefer it to the Saturday one.

Tropical Dreams - yup, he's a character and the ice cream delivers.
but no way am I shelling out that extortian price for a pedestrian bar.

Regrets; we really felt nothing at the St.Regis to call us there. We were hoping to have a couple of meals there, but were not thrilled with the changes. Tahiti Nui - the food looks better then in the past and the place is still rocking and worth a visit, be it Hawaiian music early or alternative music later on. The daughter opened a tapas wine bar next door and I regret running out of time before patronizing and supporting her endeavors. I still mourn the loss of jean marie J and regret we hadn't time our trip to his new place. Hope it meets the memories of his original place in Kapaa

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  1. MAUI

    I will be honest and say the real reason to return for a few nights was Bev Gannon
    Hali'imaile General Store : We love this place and always head their upon landing, for lunch. We always get 2 sashimi neopoleans and Wendy always talks us into the soup of the day which has never dissappointed. She has a new jalapeno cilantro infused margarita which is really nice with a great depth of flavor.

    Nicks. We have had many a fine meal here. We sat at the bar and shared the special thai soup and the excellent scallops with gnocchi. That and the bread basket were plenty for a satisfying meal. The bartendar forgot a round of drinks on our tab and comped them to thank us for our honesty.

    Gannons - great room great renovation great barstaff, almost great food. Had venison with a horrible side of rissotto. At the end of the meal I let the kitchen know, but a smarter girl would have asked for a new side. But I didn't really need the calories of more food. Leftover meat and extra bread made for a nice picnic at the pool the next day.

    Joe's. Well I never 'got' Bev's crabdip as I had it on Boboli pizza. The real thing can be had here and it is wonderfully rich and yummy. Great staff, she does seem to endear her staff as part of her family and success. Now I know why she holds this recipe in complete secrecy and I have my own theories of why.

    Mala - we pricelined and won this great Marriott property. We ignored the restaurants and laughed at the celebrity endorsements. Oh how foolish. When we went in for a cocktail we were informed that those celebrities are actually partners. Well back at the room, chilling and doing laundry we ordered spicy wings and farmers salad. This was no ordinary takeout of either standard. The salad was exceptional and the wings persuaded me to buy Mark Elffmans book on line for the wing recipe.

    West End Drive Road Food - well the banana bread is ok, not the best in the world, but that and the little pineapple another stand sold made wonderful breakfast snacking.

    2 Replies
    1. re: gyppielou

      Oh those wings from Mala

      Spicy Pomegranate Chicken Wings

      1/4 c pomegranate syrup
      1/4 c kecap manis
      2Tgrain mustard
      1/8c fresh mint
      1/4c tamarind paste
      2t ras el hanout

      Mix all ingredients and set aside. Bake wings in oo salt and pepper.

      Toss wings and fry in marinade until crispy

      Finish with scallions and toasted sesame seeds.


      1. re: gyppielou

        I just got back from Maui.........Gannons had the best Mai Tai I have ever had on the islands, kid you not! They use fresh juices and lilikoi syrup as a secret ingredient that makes it stand out against the rest. Lunch there was really good. Hula Grill in Kaanapali has a decent Mai Tai also, I cant stand the Mai Tais that are not made from fresh juices.
        I ate at I'O and it was pretty good. My boyfriend had the trio, fish, steak and lamb. The lamb stood out for sure. I had steak (to change up having fish every night) and it was a very tasty steak, great flavor from upcountry cattle.
        The standout was the cheese from the Surfing Goat Farm, one of the best goat cheeses I have tasted. We went to the farm and tasted it. And they had baby goats that were 2 days old you could pet. many places serve this cheese on their salads, etc. Worth trying!
        Hula Grill was great too for being close to our hotel. They do a great job.
        If you drive to Hana (just past the town), there are a couple of fruit stands that have these awesome bananas called "Ice Cream Bananas", wow, better than apple bananas. So creamy and good!

      2. Big Island - again lots of eating in here. We stayed in Hawi and VV.
        Bamboo - loved two wonderful meals here with the true spirit of aloha and really wonderful food and drinks.
        Sushi Rocks - some really great sushi, amazing goat cheese salad and a lovely pumpkin cheesecake - oh and a nice sakatini.

        Thai Thai in Volcano Village was excepional and authentic. I adored the curry and the hot pad thai so much we ordered in a second night.

        Four Seasons ocean/poolside restaurant. Loved it, people watching and enjoying the sunset two nights. Good drinks. Loved the red sangria. meatballs app was like home!!! the wild boar gnocchi was dissappointing. Service was perhaps too casual at the bar and some food served looked like mediocre bar food for a 4S venture. Oh but the overall atmosphere and exploring the grounds twice were wonderful... i think next trip we will try the owners seaside bar instead.

        For some reason, grocery shopping on BI was not as good as Kauai. Maybe it was the farmers markets and fish mongers and people I know on kauai. I just never found that connection of buying local products that I did on Kauai, but oh how we loved all of our dining experiences on Hawaii!

        Hope this offers someone some good thoughts.


        1 Reply
        1. re: gyppielou

          oops, when I commented on a pedestrian bar it was the chocolate bar - nothing to do with Tropical Dreams

        2. Mahalo for the report...sounds like you had a good time..
          No matter where you go, I think it's the food that keeps the memories of that visit alive.

          1. Mahalo for the report and we greatly appreciate you time to prepare it.

            I have not dined at most, but enjoyed the feeling of having been there.

            Greatly appreciated,


            2 Replies
            1. re: Bill Hunt

              Thanks Hunt

              I think you were the reason I was hoping return to lunch at Mama's at a much slower pace and treat it like a dinner. Alas with only 3 nights and savouring some pool/hotel/beach time before we head for the hills of the Big Island, it just didn't happen.

              oh and thanks fly too

              1. re: gyppielou

                I understand completely.

                Have to say that finally doing the Inn at Mama's was one of our best decisions. We hated to leave a monster, two-bedroom condo at the Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua, but would not trade our choice for a three-bedroom and dining passes to all restaurants. Being able to do leisurely diners there, and stumble to our cottage, was more than worth the effort. Next trip to Maui WILL include a stay there, and of course, dining at Mama's. I did request that they add landscape lighting to the cottage for old, drunk patrons, but that was my only complaint. I almost slept in a palm tree one night! At least we had a hammock in the yard, so all was not lost.

                Yes, Mama's is not inexpensive, and I would not want to feed a family of 6, but I do not have to. We have had excellent meals there, and diner was a continuation of lunches.

                Going back, we had never dined there, as we were always in Kapalua, until this board threw down the gauntlet, with the polarized reviews. I took up the challenge and have never looked back.



            2. gyppielou,
              are the lukewarm feelings about the st. regis limited to restaurant options or generally to the resort. I'm taking my first trip to Kaua'i in July and I was scouring boards for restaurant reports. I saw your comment and wondered if it extended to the resort in general. Am i wasting my starpoints spending part of my trip as a guest at that hotel?

              Thanks for posting the report!