Hawaii Eats 2016 Edition

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Hi there! Brett and I spent the last week in Maui, returning home on Monday to 2 feet of snow..and work…and winter. We took the same trip during the same week last year, and if this becomes our January “thing” I won’t complain : )

It was a perfect vacation – we came back well-rested and sun-kissed. Once again, we basically ate our way through Maui – planning meals first, activities second. The food there is just so good. A recap of our trip according to what we ate is below, hope you’re not hungry! ; )

Makawao Steak House: The night we arrived, we celebrated Brett’s birthday at Makawao Steakhouse with some family of his that lives on Maui (#dreamlife). We stayed with one of his cousins that lives in Makawao, aka “up-country”, a small town that has an old Western/cowboy feel. The small main street in the center of town is one of our favorites for shopping. Brett celebrated with a T-Bone steak, which he said was great.

The Mill House: This restaurant opened just a few months ago on Maui’s Tropical Plantation, and the meal we had here was one of our favorites. They use only local ingredients from Maui and the neighboring islands, so the menu changes depending on what’s available. We shared Sage and Brown Butter Gnocchi (so rich, and so good), Kauai Shrimp, Harissa Pizzetta (yummy, but could have skipped this), and Pork Belly (would eat this every day for the rest of my life if I could). They also offer a “Chef’s Table” experience, which is expensive but probably worth it.

Paia Fish Market: Our first repeat visit of the trip! Last year, the Mahi and Ono sandwiches were one of our favorite meals of the trip, and they were just as good this year. Paired with fries and Maui Bikini Blonde Beer, of course.

PAIA

Nuka Sushi: Our waitress at The Mill House recommended this sushi spot to us, and it was delicious. The rolls were enormous and we were stuffed. We had the Hawaii Roll, the Nuka Roll and one of their specials.

Komoda Bakery: This 100 year old bakery is on Makawao’s main street and is famous for their donuts. We especially loved the “stick donuts.”

KOMODA (2)

Eskimo Candy: Another recommendation from our waitress at The Mill House — it’s a Seafood Market and Cafe where we shared a Poke Bowl and Shrimp Tacos. Everyone around us was eating Fish & Chips, so safe to assume those are great too. I consider myself to be quite the texture snob, so I’m weird about raw fish texture sometimes, but this poke was amazing. This place is sort of in a weird location, but is much better than it looks.

ESKIMO CANDY

Mala Ocean Tavern: My friend Yarden specifically recommended the Ahi Bruschetta here, so we had to give it a try. We sat outside right on the water and shared the Bruschetta (incredible) and the Balinese Stir Fry (also great).

MALA

Star Noodle: Our second repeat visit of the trip, and again one of our favorite meals last year. This place is just so good. We repeated two dishes from last year – Filipino “Bacon and Eggs” and Singapore Noodles – and tried two new things as well – Kim Chee Wings and Kalbi Steak. The wings were INSANE. On of my favorite things I ate the whole trip.

The Fish Market: Similar to Eskimo Candy, this place was a fish market as well as cafe. We had the most incredible Ahi Sandwich here — perfectly seared, basically tasteless (in a good way), and just. so. good. The kind of thing it would be hard to find anywhere else. We also shared a Fish Taco, which was also good, but the sandwich was the star.

TUNA SANDWICH

Kimo’s: The only meal we had in “downtown” Lahaina! Felt very vacation-y and the food was pretty good. Their ribs were particularly good, which was a nice change after lots of fish.

Ono Tacos: If I learned one thing about eating in Maui this trip, it’s that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Some of the best food comes out of strip malls or parking lots. We stopped at this food truck for a midday snack and shared nachos and tacos, which really hit the spot. The two guys working were super friendly.

ONO TACOS

Japengo Sushi: We were planning on returning to Sansei for sushi, but our valet told us we 100% had to go to Japengo instead, which was just up the road in the Hyatt. We were a little skeptical (because Sansei was so good, and hotel restaurants aren’t always great), but we trusted him and he was right. The fish was really fresh tasting, and the setting was really pretty — we sat outside, right on the water. Our waiter was also really nice and sent us two glasses of champagne on the house – can’t say no to that!

Sea House: We went here for Happy Hour, which is from 2-5pm, and sat at the bar. It is right on Napili Bay, and the bar is open so you have a full view of the bay and the beach. I had Whiskey Lemonade(s) and we shared Calimari and Pork Tacos. The food was pretty good and the drinks were great.

SEA HOUSE

Hula Grill: This place was walking distance from our hotel, and our third repeat visit of the trip. We weren’t overwhelmed by it last year, but were feeling lazy so decided to try it again. Happy we did, because it was so much better this year! We shared Ahi Katsu (panko crusted Ahi that reminded us of our favorite Sansei sushi roll) and Firecracker Fish, and both were really, really good. They also have live music at their outdoor bar (where we sat), which is always fun.

Flatbread Pizza: Our final repeat visit of the trip, for pizza before our flight. Nothing wrong with good pizza : )

And, because Brett is a coffee snob, we also tried a few different coffee spots:
Paia Bay Coffee: Right in Paia, so we grabbed coffee and breakfast here before the Road to Hana. Their bacon bagel was delicious (obviously).

Mauigrown Coffee: We grabbed coffee here a few days we were at the hotel, since we passed by it most days.

Memphis Belle Coffee: A cute cafe we stopped into on our way to beaches in Wailea. We didn’t try them, but their crepes looked great.

Sip Me: A cute spot on the main street of Makawao. Coffee paired perfectly with Komoda donuts ; )

And, last but not least, two must-stops, plus a winery:
Surfing Goat Dairy: We did the “Grand Dairy Tour” at this farm and it may have been my favorite part of the trip. We milked goats, herded them, and played with the babies before a massive cheese tasting took place. We probably tried 20 different cheeses and were so full by the end.

SURFING GOAT

Leoda’s: We got sandwiches here last year, but didn’t try their pies. We were driving by on our way back to our hotel, and I made Brett make a bat-turn into the parking lot. I ran in and got a small Banana Cream Pie, which we promptly ate half of in the car.

LEODAS

 

Maui Winery: We stopped in here on our way back from the Road to Hana for a quick tasting and ended up loving the wines. A lot of them have a pineapple flavor without being too sweet. We ended up buying their Upcountry Gold (a white blend), Lokelani (sparkling rose), and Hula O Maui (pineapple champagne). Cheers!

MAUI WINERY

Top 3 of Two Thousand Fifteen!

Happy New Year! 2015 was a good one, and I’m a little sad to see it go. Brett and I rang in the new year by bar-hopping in our neighborhood with friends and playing New Years Eve bingo with homemade bingo cards. I lost bingo, but it was a really fun night. I had the past week off work and spent it cooking and relaxing. Before I officially kiss 2015 goodbye and return to work tomorrow, the top three for 2015 below 🙂

  1. TRAVEL! The first half of 2015 was filled with travel. I took some unforgettable trips this year. My favorites were Hawaii in January, Nashville and Vail in March, and Dubai in May.

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  1. BIRTHDAYS! I was lucky enough to celebrate three 90th birthdays in 2015 – three!! My grandma turned 90 in January, Brett’s grandma in February, and my gram in September. I really treasure my grandmas, so it was really special to celebrate such an amazing milestone with them!

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  1. MOOSE! The real highlight of the year is, of course, Miss Moose. Brett and I adopted her on my birthday (August 20) and she has been the perfect pup for us. She is goofy, sweet and cuddly, and always makes us smile.

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My New Years Resolutions last year were to (1) shop at the farmer’s market more (which I didn’t exactly do, but I joined a CSA and loved it), (2) drink less Diet coke (which I feel like I did… maybe), and (3) blog more (which didn’t happen, obv.) This year I want to (1) actually blog more, (2) volunteer, and (3) learn how to cook meat (Brett still does this part of every meal – eep!) Wish me luck!