Feedback on my plan for our 2nd Family trip to South Maui?
We went to Maui for the first time as a family last year and loved our time in Wailea. We also hit some great restaurants and had wonderful advice from CHs. See that thread here:
We're staying in the same complex again and want to hit up some new options. Plus, since my youngest is 5 now, I'm hoping she can stay up later so we might make it to a few real dinners. Last year, we stayed on California time (3 hours ahead) and stuck to Happy Hours for our "dinner" meals so we could get her in bed by 5 pm HST. I think we'll stay on PST again, but I want to try some new places since my 5 year old can stay up later now. Like last time, I think we'll just make breakfast in the condo, since we're up by 5 am HST and hungry then.
The only places we plan to repeat again from our last trip are Eskimo Candy (thanks again to kathryn for that amazing tip!), Ulalani's Shave Ice, and Monkey Pod (it's 5 minutes from our condo and had great Happy Hour specials).
This time around, we have 5 days, 4 nights and I'm hoping to hit:
- Alan Wong's Amasia for dinner
- Coconut's Fish for lunch on the weekend when Eskimo Candy is closed
- Mala/Migrant in Wailea -- is this any good? I saw that it's close by and Chef Sheldon is there now
- Surfing Goat cheese/dairy tour
I had hoped to try the O'o Farm tour, but we're only there Thurs-Mon and they only do it Mon-Thurs, so there's no time to do it and still make our flight. Ugh.
We will have a car, but I don't know that I want to drive all the way to Merriman's for dinner (and then have an hour's drive home). Sea House was good, but not worth the commute from Wailea, IMHO.
Any other suggestions?
We always make at least on stop to visit with Wendy the barmaid at Hali'imaile General Store. We always order the Sashimi Napoleon. She always insists we try a bowl of the daily soup. We never order much more. Although I wasn't impressed with her famous crab dip pizza there, the original is served with fresh tortillas is sinful at Joe's which is right by you. Gannons has a great view and does an extended happy hour menu that's really a bar menu. We will be heading to Wailea in Jan and will hit all three spots for a bite - not a full meal.
I loved our dinner at Hali'imaile years ago, but it's too far and too late for our 5 year old to stay up. Sadly, the lunch menu isn't as appealing so we'll have to wait another couple years before heading back for dinner there.
I know I saw the Joe's menu before our last trip but wasn't super excited about it. What else do you recommend besides the pizza? With the 2 kids tagging along on this trip, we spend most of the time on the beach with breaks for full meals.
Just thought it might be an idea while touring that area and you seem to like raw fish. I actually don't recommend the pizza but like Joe's version of crab dip for a guilty treat. Like I said, these are places we would go for shared plates. Our last trip, and perhaps our future trip, we stayed at Marriott and loved takeout from the bar while we did laundry and packed. The farmers salad was fantastic. But that was a few years ago - and takeout to our room.
- After arriving at the airport, hit up Tamura's Fine Wine & Liquor for wine and poke (takeout only). Their Maui locations aren't listed on the web site for some reason, but believe me, it's there! Also, they're open weekends and are a good stop before the airport on the way home
- Ululani's Shave Ice Stand is now also at 61 South Kihei Road and shares space with Sugar Beach Bake Shop so you don't need to drive to Lahaina or Kahului to get your fix
- Sugar Beach Bake Shop (run by the Ululani's folks). Famous for their Queen Emma layer cake, which is lilikoi, coconut, and guava layers. ALSO has fresh malasadas on weekend mornings last I checked (call ahead to reserve yours - they sell out FAST), plus pies, cakes, lemonades, cookies, spam musubi, etc. Because they share space w/ the shave ice stand, they can't make them once the shave ice gets going. There were regular, li hing mui, and cinnamon malasadas, when we went.
- Next door to Ululani's Shave Ice / Sugar Beach Bake Shop is an outdoor farmer's market (weekdays only) where you can pick up fruits and vegetables and other items -- it's more varied than a typical farmers market. They carry lilikoi butter, papaya jam, pineapple jam, mango jam, coconut syrup, in addition to to some prepared foods like fruit breads, trppical salsa, lilikoi cream cheese, bagels, etc. Good for snacks as well as breakfast at the condo. I like to make French toast in my condo with various local fruit jams and jellies. Or slather it with lilikoi butter and coconut syrup.
- I don't believe you made it to Kihei Caffe (don't forget it's cash only) last time? Delicious, great service, and so kid friendly!
- In the same shopping complex as Kihei Caffe is Da Local Banana, a fun treat, chocolate dipped local bananas... wonderful.
- Did you go to Yee's Orchards (also cash only, Tue-Thu, Sat-Sun 11 am - 5 pm) for Golden Glow mangoes last time?
- Outrigger Pizza is a mobile outdoor pizza vendor that is in Kihei usually Tuesdays and Fridays. Check the schedule / call ahead before you go. They usually park at 1279 South Kihei Road, Azeka Plaza, west side.
- Saturday for lunch you might want to try the Huli Huli Chicken at the Keolahou Hawaiian Church at 177 S Kihei Rd.
- Maui Thai Bistro might be good for eating in. It's not the best Thai food ever but it is surprisingly good for Maui.
- At Amasia, don't miss the desserts, like the lilikoi malasadas.
We are here now, on Day 3, and I thought I'd post an update.
We stopped at Tamura's on our way from the airport but found the poke bowls were only ok. I had the Tamura's special and DH ordered the Hawaiian mix. I'm sure it's better when one doesn't go in with very high expectations. We LOVED the poke bowls at Eskimo Candy (did you rec that to us, too, Kathryn?) when we went last year and had expected Tamura's to match that experience. If we stayed closer to Kahului and Eskimo Candy was closed/more than an hour away, I'd return but given how awesome EC is, we won't be returning to Tamura's.
We then went to Ulalani Shave Ice and Sugar Beach Bake Shop for shave ice, Iilikoi key lime pie (yummy!), and some spam musubi (my 5 year old is allergic to fish so we didn't have anything from Tamura's for her). This was the best dining experience of the day, Kathryn! Thank you SO MUCH for the rec.
Then, since we felt like we didn't satisfy our poke fix, we went to Eskimo Candy anyway and split a poke bowl. I was surprised how dramatically better it was: crisp, clean flavors: firm cool fish chunks (versus small soft warm pieces that may have been sitting too long); and there's some sort of mayo-based sauce and ocean salad on Eskimo Candy's version ties it all together. I honestly think it was better than we remembered!
Dinner was at Amasia and we were sorely disappointed. It all sounded so good on paper! DH and I ordered the tasting menu (two for the price of one during Happy Hour!) while we ordered the girls $20 kids' bento boxes which had rice, Kula corn, and 2 entrees (which was downright bad, except for the chicken satay, which was ok, and the tempura shrimp, which was the only item that could justify what otherwise should have been a $5 bento box). They also had the POG flavored sodas (or maybe it was just passion fruit?) but since they don't normally drink soda, they didn't like the carbonation and I ended up drinking them. For our tasting menu, the short rib was a bit stringy, the Maui beef satay was surprisingly dry and crumbly after being bit (reminded me of hamburger!), and the sushi wasn't mind-blowing (passion fruit ceviche with Kampachi sounds so much better than it tasted). We all opted for malasadas for dessert--lilikoi filled ones for the adults. Sadly, these weren't as mind-blowing as I hoped. My malasada fell apart on me as I removed it from the Chinese take out box, crumbled into pieces with lilikoi filling making a huge mess everywhere. The girls liked their plain malasadas, which were huge and far better than the malasadas we got from Home Maid bakery on our trip last year.
At the end of the day, I told DH that at least the eating could only get better!
We eat all breakfasts in our condo, as we stay on PST and the girls are awake by 4:30 am Hawaii time. Thus, DH prepared spam, eggs, linguica, and pan grilled Hawaiian rolls from Home Maid Bakery. Served with fresh POG and Maui coffee and everyone was happy. Yummy! One day when they're older, we will finally get to try Hawaiian breakfasts in a restaurant.
Later we went back to Eskimo Candy for lunch and each had our own poke bowl and split coconut shrimp. One daughter had fish and chips and the other had pasta (the girl with the fish allergy had a very plain in satisfying penne with butter and Parmesan). Kids' meals were disappointing but the coconut shrimp and poke bowls were delicious. Still, I remember thinking that the second day's poke wasn't as outstanding as the prior day. Interesting, huh?
On the way back, we stopped for shave ice and lilikoi key lime pie again from Ulalani and Sugar Beach. Plus my 5 year old wanted more spam musubi from Sugar Beach (we have spam here but no rice in the condo). We also ordered malasadas for Saturday per Kathryn's tip!
For dinner, we went to Migrant for the Happy hour specials. We ordered pancit (yummy), tocino (delicious), chow fun (only ok), ahi belly (well executed and moist), and KFC chicken wings (my favorite of the meal!). DH had a couple of cocktails and I tried one, too. We skipped dessert and headed back.
Another delicious homemade breakfast in our condo around 5 am Hawaii time, followed by another trek to Sugar Beach at 8:30 am for a dozen malasadas (1/2 cinnamon and 1/2 original sugar) and yet another lilikoi key lime pie. Yes, for those keeping track, that is THREE consecutive days of lilikoi lime pie. Delicious!
Since we had a big snack of malasadas, we ate a late lunch (for us) at 1 pm: takeout from Coconuts Fish House. Fish tacos and coconut shrimp for the adults, Mac and cheese and spaghetti with marinara for the girls. Fish tacos were the best I've ever had! DH and I were both astounded how good they were: delicate, flaky fish, delicious mango salsa, sweet crunchy slaw, and 2 hearty corn tortillas. I think these coconut shrimp may also be better than Eskimo Candy's version. Needless to say, we didn't expect them to be this good, especially given how huge the portions were and how the operation looked like a fast food chain (you order and then sit down versus typical table service). The girls also had huge portions: twice the size of a normal kid's portion (heck, bigger than a typical adult portion!). Yet the Mac and cheese was bland and a bit too creamy so the girls split the spaghetti.
We ended up eating leftovers around 4:30 pm instead of going out, since we weren't hungry earlier and my 5 year old is usually in bed by 5 pm Hawaii time.
Two more days to go, so I'll be back to update. In the meantime, since we are here, please let me know if anyone has other suggestions for lunch/dinner or any questions. We still plan to try Longhi's and we know we already like Monkey Pod. I'm also guessing we will be going back to Sugar Beach Bake Shop yet again before we fly out!
You're welcome for the recs!
Sorry you didn't have a great Tamura's experience. I prefer the "regular" poke at Eskimo Candy more vs. Tamura's but they're closed weekends and my husband is SO addicted to poke that we must have it every day. And at Tamura's I do like the sunrise, ninja, hot shoyu with sea asparagus, wasabi poke, spicy poke, etc.
Eskimo Candy is excellent with a high turnover so they're making lots of poke all of the time. Some do say that poke gets better the more it sits...could be an off day or the fish they got that morning or something like that? I do like the Eskimo Candy poke bowls since they have seaweed salad and their wasabi aioli but from what I have had elsewhere, that is a non-standard way of serving it.
Amasia can be rather hit or miss. Sorry your lilikoi malasadas were a fail, we usually enjoy them a lot. My husband likes Amasia a lot, so we go on each trip, but typically only order the "signature" dishes like the soup and sandwich, duck bao, potstickers, plus some vegetable dishes, etc. The menu is long and definitely has weak spots (like the lilikoi ceviche and sushi). Too bad you didn't get to try the "coconut" dessert or pineapple "shave ice."
Maybe you can swing by Da Local Banana for a treat? Did you ever make it to Yee's Orchards?
Thanks, Kathryn! I think we're just too enamored with Eskimo Candy to appreciate other poke. :)
We didn't make it to Da Local Banana or Yee's as my husband and I aren't fruit fans (he hates bananas, actually!). But we did get 2 more days of decent meals.
We headed to Longhi's right at 11:30 am, right as lunch was starting to be served. Service was a bit off: the hostess told us it would be a little longer as they transitioned to lunch. Told us the table was ready and walked us back 3/4 of the way and then turned around and told us it wasn't ready yet. So we sat another 5 minutes until she called us back again. Anyhow, the food was pretty good. We liked the ahi carpaccio (delicious!), DH had the Monchong Longhi Style (which he really liked), I had the Scallops Longhi because they were out of Salmon (which was only okay, as the scallops weren't seared at all), and the girls each had penne (one with marinara and one with a cheese sauce). We also had pretty delicious cocktails, which we always appreciate. DH would definitely return, whereas I'm more hesitant.
We had an early dinner/Happy Hour meal at Monkeypod, which we had enjoyed on our last trip to Maui. We ordered a few appetizers (50% off except for the Raw Bar Mixed Plate) including chicken wings, fries, and the raw bar mixed plate, Margherita pizza (also 50% off), and a few cocktails (their signature Mai Tai is delicious!). DH says it's not worth returning. I think the Raw Bar Mixed Plate was good, but I agree that I'd rather go to Eskimo Candy or Coconuts Fish Cafe instead.
We had a 3:45 flight so we needed lunch and then food for the airport. We ended up eating all the leftover food in our kitchen (mac and cheese, pizza, fruit, spam and eggs, linguica, etc.). Since our flight didn't include a meal, we decided to pack up and head to Star Noodle in Lahaina for some food to go.
I was nervous, as Chef Sheldon was still there when we went last year and I wasn't sure if it would still be just as good. In short, the food really shined, especially when eating in an airport waiting room, where ambience is terrible, service is nonexistent, and one is self-conscious of strong smells. We ordered garlic noodles (a simple dish of very garlicky and chewy noodles), steamed pork buns (just as good as we remembered), ahi avo (outstanding--a true star and superbly seasoned), yakitori chicken (the girls INHALED this so I didn't even get a bite!), and tempura shrimp (soggy by the time we ate it 45 minutes later, which wasn't the restaurant's fault). It really isn't convenient to go there when based in Wailea, but I think it was worth the drive, especially if I could include other Lahaina activities. At least it was a pretty drive!
All in all, we had a wonderful time and thank you all for your suggestions!