The Hawaiian Islands are one of our favorite vacation spots; Maui is one of those spots in the world where you feel different as soon as you step off the plane. The warm flower scented breezes caress you skin and make you feel relaxed and dreamy. What better place in the world than to enjoy the food that has been created in the Hawaiian Islands. While locally caught fish is the protein mainstay of the Islands other meats are delicious as well. Pork is one of those proteins that are done beautifully in the Hawaiian Islands. Today’s Hawaiian Cuisine is a blend of the tropical with Asian flavors, two of my favorite flavor profiles.
One of the restaurants in Kihei is ‘Café O’Lei’, a restaurant which specializes in locally caught fish and however incongruently, steak. That being said, when we ate there on Friday Night neither one of us had fish or steak. My choice was the Asian style Shortribs and Ev had the Macadamia Nut roasted Pork which of course is an Hawaiian favorite. Both dishes were served with Rice and Vegetables along with a delicious first course salad. For dessert we shared the Pineapple Upside Down Cake. When we go back to Maui I would like to go back to this restaurant and try the raw fish or Sashimi Stacks that are one of their signature dishes.
One of the Items I purchased at the Tropical Plantation that we went to on Monday was a package of Gourmet Pancake Mix made in Hawaii. Since there was a waffle iron in the Condo, I decided to make Waffles for Breakfast on Saturday Morning. Even though the mix had dried Eggs and Buttermilk in it, I added fresh Eggs and Milk along with melted Butter to the mix to make a richer waffle. We had Coconut Syrup (made in Hawaii) on the Waffles and Bacon and Coffee on the side.
After Breakfast we drove to Kaanapali to go to the 25th Annual Maui Onion Festival. Many Chefs from around the Island were participating in a recipe contest. We were able to view the demonstration by Chef Chris Coulis in which he made an Hawaiian Onion Gnocchi with a Onion/Tomato Confit. It was quite delicious as we did get to taste it. The participating chefs had their wares displayed on tables set up near the stage. And of course right near the stage and in full visibility were 50 lb. bags of Maui Onions. Maui Onions are just like the Yellow Onions found here in California except that the soil that they grow makes a difference in the taste. The Volcanic soil of the Hawaiian Islands somehow yields a sweeter, less pungent onion than California and other States produce. They are so sweet that you can just about eat them out of hand! Of course you can’t to an Onion Festival and not have Onion Rings. These were being cooked right on the spot by about 12 different people to keep up with the demand. And they were very good! You had your choice of Caramelized Onion Ketchup or a spicier type dip. We opted for the Caramelized Onion Ketchup. What else would you eat your Maui Onion Rings with?
In addition to tasting the Gnocchi I purchased some Shortbread Cookies from the Honolulu Cookie Company. They have many different varieties and when you go into the shop you can sample as many types as you wish. Since Ev likes Chocolate and I like everything else, I bought a pack (my choices) of both Chocolate and Macadamia Nut/Pineapple Cookies. Needless to say, they did not last us very long. They were quite delicious.
For dinner this night we went to Rita’s Steak House where Ev had the Sirloin Burger and I had the Mussells Molokini which were just stamed Mussels in a White Wine Butter Sauce, but were very tasty. Along with this I had a Salad and Rolls and Butter.
The next day was Sunday and for dinner we went back to Coconuts Fish House. Ev again had the Fish and Chips and I had a Seafood Salad. Usually when you go to a restaurant and order a Seafood Salad there will be small pieces of Fish or small Shrimp in it. Not so the case here. There were two or three large pieces of fish including Mahi and Ahi along with 2 large Shrimp.
Needless to say Fish in the Hawaiian Islands is outstanding – fresh and delicious.