Heading back to your hometown at this time of year can seem a bit risky if you’ve watched Home for the Holidays, Just Friends and The Family Stone . Mortal danger? No. Humiliation, judgment and a whole town who knows your true dork potential is the kind of risk I’m talking about. For me, coming home to Maui when I lived in Honolulu felt anything but risky, it was comforting, a sure thing. The minute the plane touched down at the Kahului airport, I uttered a big sigh of relief. I was home and instantly relaxed.
Having lived away for years meant I really didn’t know the island that well any more. A year and a half after moving home, I’m still getting my “Maui legs” back. One of my friends, Joni, is returning next week with her family and she requested a post of ono food and good fun activities during their stay. She’s been away as long as I have and now lives near Chicago. So, this one’s for you Joni…
#1 – Make sure fo eat plenty local kine grindz cause you no can get em li dat on da mainland…
No trip home is complete without a trip to Sam Sato’s for cheeseburger deluxe, ridged fries with the mayo/mustard mix and fried noodles. Some folks like the manju but I save some room for….
Home Maid Bakery’s flakey apple and sweet potato manju. Peanut butter mochi too…yum.
Or there is always room for Tasaka Guri Guri.
Head to Tiffany’s Bar and Grill for a reunion with your high school classmates, beer and pupus… pork chops, honey walnut shrimp and kim chee fried rice (with an egg of top of course).
Pick up some poke at Foodland. Spicy poke bowl is one of my favorites. Rice, furikake, topped with the ono red stuff.
Maui Specialty Chocolates in Kahului has beautiful chocolates but my favorite is the mochi with chocolate inside. A few blocks away is Broke Da Mouth for the delicious Queen Emma Cake (guava, lilikoi and haupia!) or their yummy cookies.
There’s a Genki Sushi in Maui Mall now for some quick and affordable sushi. Chawanmushi, all those cool Japanese drinks and cupcakes too.
Zippy’s chili with rice, don’t forget to add the cheese and onions and throw some Tabasco on top.
#2 – Not fancy enough fo you? Try dis den…
Sansei Kihei is the best, yes they have a Sansei in Honolulu but I’ve always liked the Kihei location (the original & the current by Foodland). Shrimp dynamite and panko crusted ahi gets my vote.
Longhi’s has got a Wailea location now too and yup, they have the famous pizza bread, the perfect complement to their delicious pastas. Also a great place to enjoy a leisurely breakfast.
Gannon’s overlooks the golf course in Wailea and you sit out on a patio. It’s real chill, my friend Shelbie and I like to go there on our girls’ day out. Breakfast or dinner is good.
Market Fresh Bistro in Makawao is on my to do list. Chef uses fresh local ingredients, I had their healthy eating cooking demo sample at an event and it was a Seinfeld risotto moment.
Mama’s Fish House before Hookipa serves up fresh caught island fish daily. High-end food in a casual atmosphere.
Alive & Well on Hana Highway has a few tables but most take out. It’s a health food store with a great deli. The trio of salads, enchilada pie and marlin dip are my favorites.
#3 – You wen wake up first thing in da morning and your tummy stay grumbling already…
I love the benedict and the Mexican inspired breakfast entrees at Stella Blues in Kihei.
I haven’t been to North Shore Cafe in Haiku and La Provence in Kula but both are on my Maui bucket list because I hear from everyone how great the first meal of the day is.
#4 – What’s dat? Only bored you stay? No worries, try da kine…
Visit Alii Kula Lavender Farm to walk in the beautiful gardens and pick up some omiyage like the lavender honey, meat rub or a variety of spa and bath/body products.
Take one of the daily tours at the Surfing Goat Dairy Farm. Home of the best goat cheese and I’ve heard their truffles are pretty awesome too.
Walk, shop and eat in Paia town. Nuage Bleu and Biasa Rose will satisfy the urge for contemporary women’s clothing while Indigo will help you nest with their unique home accessories and fabrics. Luxury locally designed lines like Tamara Catz and Le Tarte have their flagships there and many of the boutiques carry local handmade jewelry. Eat some Flatbread Pizza followed by dessert at Ono Gelato, both take advantage of local grown produce and fruit. Take out some healthy addictive fresh kale chips from Mana Foods deli section or pick up some locally grown fruit from their produce section.
Be sure to check out the MACC’s website for the First Light Film Festival schedule (including flicks kids would enjoy!), See a good event the same day? Don’t fret there may still be available tickets. After all, this ain’t the mainland or even Honolulu.
#5 – You betta go beach, cause later on no can…
Kamole 3 has still got the great areas for a family get together and bbq but for a lesiurely day at the beach I prefer Keawekapu and Wailea Beach. The first half of the day is usually better, sometimes the wind picks up mid day.
Big Beach is as beautiful as ever, it’s one of my favorite sunset watching locations. But watch out for the kiawe and strong currents!
Wailea now has sidewalks running between the resorts and the beach. You can get in a pretty long walk or run and look at the beautiful ocean too. I’ve seen turtles and humpbacks too.
My fellow Mauians, please feel free to make your own recommendations in the comments below. Like I said, I’m still getting my Maui legs back. Especially for Lahaina which I am sadly lacking in this list…