It’s true, there would be no point in installing air conditioning in this open-aired venue not far from the ocean. The problem is that it does not face the ocean trade winds and a thin coating of schmutz kicks up from Front Street traffic through the veranda instead. To endure all this, you must understand that the caterpillar roll is fantastic.
Gaby’s is essentially a pizza parlor but also serves sandwiches, salads and specialties that knock your socks off, brok da mouf, and become somewhat addictive. The caterpillar roll won first place as a novelty entry at the annual Taste of Lahaina fest a few years back. It begins with an exceedingly light and tasty pizza dough laden with sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, pesto sauce, artichoke hearts, which is then rolled and sliced like a giant overstuffed sushi roll. It is served with a remarkable sauce combo; a pale green mild pesto and cream sauce and a traditional Italian red dipping sauce. It is perfection as a lunch entree or an appetizer before dinner.
The specialty roll takes 20 minutes to bake. While I waited, Gaby offered me a free drink. It was a slow time of day between lunch and dinner. We talked story about his secret entry into the "Taste of Lahaina" this year, his expectations of winning - again. Soon, one of Maui’s top chefs came in and took his familiar seat at the bar two stools down from me. Then another arrived, making it obvious what chefs must long for before heading to their exquisite dining venues to begin a night of slicing, dicing, saucing and drizzling -- a caterpillar roll at Gaby’s.
The kitchen staff plopped the cardboard box on the counter before Gaby.
"My roll?" I asked expectantly.
"Why you take out? Eat here. Have a drink!" he insisted.
"Sorry, Gaby," I countered, "gotta run. I have kids waiting!"
"Next time," he agreed.
"Next time!" I assured him.
But in truth I was really looking forward to the breath of fresh air I’d find on the tradewinds side of the Lahaina beach where I intended to curl up under a palm tree and devour my caterpillar roll like a sly mongoose who’d just stolen a picnic basket.
by smmmarti guide
August 5, 2004
From journal Maui Local Favorites