Maui Food Diary | Spam, Pineapples, and Banana Bread

Friday, September 9, 2016

Sharing every bite of my Maui food diary, down to the very last morsel.

9am: We're taking a morning flight to Maui and since I typically don't feel hunger until lunchtime, I munch on some Cheerios in the Virgin America Lounge. The food selection at the lounge is always so paltry and amounts to nothing more than a scattering of fruit, boxed cereal, and salty nuts. Such a shame as their Asian and European counterparts serve full blown buffets with open bar breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 
1pm: After touching down in Maui, M is starving and goes on Yelp looking for food. There's a highly rated Thai food truck a mile from the airport so we stop there for some pad thai. It's good but the heat is unbearable so it's hard to enjoy the noodles when sweat is trickling into the plate. I've only been to Hawaii during the winter months so I definitely wasn't prepared for the summer weather. 
5pm: After checking into the Andaz Maui, we spend a few hours unwinding before heading to Tea Au Moana, our first luau of the trip. The Marriott Hotel is undergoing major construction so they moved the luau into one of their ballrooms which feels a little awkward at first-like we're uninvited guests that showed up at a luau themed wedding. But the food makes up for it. I have the best kalua pork, shozu chicken, and macaroni salad of my life and M downs five pieces of banana bread. The chillaxing island performance ends with fiery fire show.
8pm: We take the beach path back to the hotel and I'm officially in vacation mode.

10am: I'm craving spam musubi so we walk to the supermarket near our hotel and pick up some Acai smoothies and my favorite luncheon meat on rice sandwich, the first of many I'll be ingesting on the trip.
1pm: M is hungry so we Yelp and find Outriggers, a pizza truck in Wailea. There are tons of food trucks on the island which is convenient but so great when the weather is scorching. We eat outdoors again and I give up on chewing after minutes as I'm already drenched in sweat. 
3pm: We have a fruit snack courtesy of Andaz and discover that the pineapples here are the best in the world. 
7pm: We meet up with friends for dinner at Stews Burgers. Still full from breakfast and lunch, I pick a Chinese chicken salad next door at Foodland (footnote, the supermarket has the best spam musubi on the island).  

11am: After an amazing couples' massage at Olavine Spa, an oasis tucked away in a strip mall in Wailea, we stop by the market and pick up some salads and spam musubi and eat in our hotel while getting ready for a very special afternoon.
8pm: We dine at Mama's Fish House-unanimously voted as the best restaurant on the island by all our friends. It truly is the best we have foodgasms (at least I did) after every single dish. The white fish ceviche is tender, fresh, and perfectly marinated with a coconut lime sauce. My yellowtail collar is juicy and humongous. The mahi mahi stuffed with lobster is yummy and addicting until the last bite. And I'm usually impartial to fish!

12pm: We have a long lazy lunch at inside Ko at the Fairmont Maui overlooking the pool. I love view, the deep fried sushi roll, the Chinese chicken salad, and shrimp atop soba noodles. For dessert, we have our first shaved ice of the trip and it's a bowl of all my favorites-red bean, mochi, fruit, and condensed milk.  We spend a few hours by the pool alternating between pretending to work and napping.

5pm: We almost miss our sunset cruise with Pride of Maui but get there right as they're pulling away. There's a lavish buffet aboard the ship and an open bar but I'm feeling a little queasy (not a boat person) and instead focus on the horizon, the amazing sunset at sea, and the dolphins swimming alongside us. It's mushy romance and I'm as mushy as they come so I'm loving every second of it. As we're about to dock, my stomach makes amends so I sample a piece of the homemade mixed berry cobbler and as soon as I take a bite, I regret not trying it earlier. It's light, fluffy, and taste like a slice of Maui sunset in my mouth.
8pm: We stop at our third food truck of the trip-Ono Tacos in Lahaina with the best chicken quesadillas. It's thick and the cheese is leveled with flavor. M, the quesadilla expert, says they must use a blend of cotija and jack cheese. I nod in agreement although all I can think about is how to distract him from eating the last piece. So I can steal it.

12pm: On our way to Hana, we stop by Hana Ranch Provisions, a farm to table concept in Paia for lunch. I get the papaya salad while M gets one of their burgers. The salad is nothing to blog home about but the burger is delicious.
3:15pm: We arrive at Aunt Sandy's Banana Bread only to discover that it closed at 3! We're utterly disappointed as we pretty much drove halfway to Hana for Aunt Sandy's. So we turn back and desperately look for any stands, shops, food trucks, or stores that sell banana bread. We fail miserably.
7pm: We have dinner back at Down the Hatch in Lahaina, and I get the grilled cheese sandwich. I don't like it as it's layered with fancy gruyere and other artisan cheeses. Maybe even some truffle oil. I like my grilled cheese simple and patriotic-layers of American cheese sandwiched between oily bread. 
9pm: I reluctantly get a shaved ice from Ululani's. The syrups are too sweet and afterwards I feel sick. Honestly, I think I'm still bitter about Aunt Sandy.

12pm: The search for traditional island breakfast becomes a Goldilocks saga. We first stop at a cafe nearby only to find that they stopped serving breakfast at 10am. In a panic, I yelp other places and drive to our second location-but they've stopped serving at 11 and it was already 11:10am. Maui doesn't do brunch on weekends? So we go to Sunrise Cafe in Downtown Lahaina but they don't have fried rice or macadamia nut pancakes. We pay and thank them for the iced tea and walk to 808 Grindz Cafe. There's a 30 minute wait and I'm about to pass out from hunger pangs by the time we sit down. They have the pancakes, the fried rice, but are all out of spam. I swallow my tears and try  to eat away my pain.

7pm: We arrive at the Old Lahaina Luau and immediately get excited as the vibe is so festive. There are workshops taking place inside the beautiful beachside compound and as the sun slowly sets over the horizon, we watch the roasted pig come out of the ground. The food is traditional luau fare and halfway through dinner, it starts raining. But nobody cares as we all put on our ponchos and happily eat our raindrop infused banana bread while being entertained by the performers.

1pm: We stop at yet another food truck in Lahaina for smoothies before heading over to Local Foods. I get the spam musubi and a side of fried rice. 
7pm: We have our last dinner in Maui at Japengo inside the Hyatt Resort. The meal is light, romantic, and delicious. I love the spicy edamame, the roasted kabocha squash, the curry veggies, and the salmon roll. We take our desserts to go and eat the shortcake and macadamia nut pie in bed while catching up on MasterChef.

11am: Before heading to the airport, we have one last Maui meal. I get a smoothie at Choice Health Bar and M and I split a chicken quesadilla from Ono Tacos. And as I take the last bite of my quesadilla, a wave of melancholy rushes in. Paradise is over.

live fabulously