Maui, Maui

We were in Maui the other week. Just two quick nights, enough to satisfy my cravings.

I didn’t experience much of the neighbor islands growing up, so it’s fun to spend more time on other islands as an adult. We landed in time for lunch (I like to time Maui arrivals for lunch) because…

Tin Roof is just two minutes away from the airport. One order of the tako poke (daily special) and one order of the mochiko chicken (a classic!) It’s no light lunch (wear a dress) and satisfies good. You see that small container in the middle. That’s ‘ulu (breadfruit) mac salad. A must, must, must.

Then a short drive to the Pono Pies warehouse. They sell Pono Pies all around the island (I usually get it from Tin Roof when I have lunch, or a local Whole Foods), but I’ve been curious about the warehouse. Figured it couldn’t hurt to drive and take a peek inside…

…it turns out they share a space with other companies that make food from ‘ulu. So cool. It’s not a formal retail outlet but the owner was really sweet and had a bunch of pies ready for sale.

We picked up this pumpkin Pono Pie for the road. It comes frozen and I love best 10-15 minutes out of the freezer when it’s at that not quite soft but not quite frozen stage.

The pies are made primarily of ‘ulu (with a mac nut base), neat ingredient list.

From there, what should have been a one hour drive to Lahaina turned out to be a five hour drive. Wind and rain and flooding was crazy that day. At one point we were stuck at a standstill on Olowalu Village Road for over two hours. Bored out of my mind, I looked out the window and realized we were right in front of Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop!

My first thought: should I run out, get pie and bring it back in the car? But what if the pie line is too long and the car will be gone by the time I’m done? We can’t pull into the pie shop parking because there is no way the other cars will let us back in later. The traffic was insane. It’s also pouring! And we don’t have umbrellas!

I hemmed and hawwed for a good five minutes, then made a runnnn for it. I ran super fast, into the pie shop and came out with the little gem. Local key lime pie!

And guess what. The car hadn’t moved an inch. (The car didn’t move for another half hour after we finished eating the pie.)

By the time we made it to Lahaina it was dinner time. Star Noodle for a hot plate of fried saimin (so satisfying after a five hour ride) …

…taro dumplings with sesame-tofu and chili vinegar…

…and ika mazemen with blue crab, yuzu koshi, and taro-bacon puree. Hit the spot. Off to bed.

Up early the next morning…

…quick stop at Mauigrown for coffee.

And then to Alchemy Maui. I love kombucha. And my favorite kombucha brand is Valley Isle Kombucha Co. A bunch of stores in Honolulu sell it (Down to Earth Kaka’ako has the most reliable stock/variety). The owners of Valley Isle Kombucha Co. own Alchemy Maui where they serve kombucha by tap! I consume so much of this kombucha…it was bliss to see all the taps lined up. Most of the tap flavors are test flavors. If they do well with customers, then they move the flavors over to a bottle product. Overjoyed! My fantasy would be to have a row of these kombucha taps in our home kitchen. I’d never leave the house again.

I think the woman behind the counter could tell how excited we were because she went in back to talk the owner real quick and then they offered to show us around the bottling facility (which was next door).

We got to check out the whole process and taste the kombucha during a few different stages of fermentation. I can’t decide which flavor I love best, they are all so good.

Here’s the sampler set we ordered. Super cute…


We finally sat down for lunch. I’ve been hearing about this pastrami sandwich for months and it lived up to all my dreams. It was better than any pastrami sandwich I’ve had during my 13 years in NYC. It was sliced thin (as I prefer), crisp, and frilly at the edges and fatty just right. So savory. And the bread! Made upstairs by the owner’s brother (who has a bread company called Maui Artisan Sourdough). Too cool. I love this place so much.

Island Watermelon and Blue Hawaii for the ride.

Next stop, Tamura’s for a poke snack.

Got the classic, Hawaiian-style.

I always forget that Tamura’s also has a killer gummy and li hing mui snack section.

Then to Ululani’s

…for shave ice! Half li hing mui, half lilikoi.

Don’t forget to check out the giant banyan tree if you’re at the Lahaina town location.

And also stop by Ono Gelato

…so many flavors, I never repeat. One day I will try them all.

That day we had “Sandy Beach” which was peanut butter with crushed graham crackers. The vegan coconut is also very good.

The banana bread here is pretty great. One day I will do a Maui banana bread round-up. There is SO MUCH banana bread on Maui.

Cute hidden seating area in the back/outside of the shop.

Ok, then off to the wedding party (the main reason for this trip). But also, another stop at Leoda’s…

…this time for banana cream pie. I could live off pie.

Breakfast the next morning at ‘A’a Roots…

…probably the prettiest pitaya bowl I’ve ever had. AND it was delicious. Would do this again 100%.

Wish we could have spent longer in Maui, but we’ll be back soon.

Then to Wailuku for Mill House. I’ve been meaning to come here on the last two Maui trips. Pleased we finally made it.

Mortadella musubis

Swiss chard fritters

Chicken liver mousse

Taro leaf risotto with bone marrow. Mill House wasn’t as wonderful as I anticipated (it’s also super touristy). But I’ll give it another shot for the chef’s table on our next trip.

Mango and banana bread from Four Sister’s Bakery. Told you there was a lot of good banana bread.

Mama’s Fish House for afternoon mai tais…

…and one of my all-time favorite coconut cakes. The flurry of fresh grated coconut makes all the difference. You’ll have to come taste this for yourself.

We stopped at Paia Fish Market (they just opened a Honolulu location) for mahi tacos before the airport. Till next time ^-^

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