A May 2002 trip
to Maui by smmmarti guide
Quote: After dozens of visits to the island we still find new places to explore and new events to thrill us. This is my third Maui journal and tells of our adventures to the upcountry, Wailuku, and hiking the coast beyond Kapalua along with some old familiar activities in Kaanapali and stargazing through fabulous Maui nights.
Another day we took a daytime drive beyond the West Maui resort of Kapalua into the pristine rainforests. We hiked down the lunar landscape of Maui’s youngest lava flow to the Nakalele blowhole. On the way back we tried our luck getting past the locals who posted the "Do Not Enter" sign at the beach where surfers guard their hidden cove. As we were no threat, we got in. Across the street a roadside stand offered locally grown "herbals" that rumor has it puts the Wowie! in Maui. But we didn''t need no stinkin'' herbals after soaking in all that natural born beauty. There‘s Wow in the very air here so save your puka shells for a helicopter ride or the Feast at Lele.
Take in an upcountry sight or two in the cowboy town of Makawao, detailed in this journal, the hippie haven of Pa’ia, or the pristine forests of Ha’iku.
While you undertake all this browsing and hiking, don’t underestimate the elements. I usually don’t visit Maui in the summer months and typically have had little trouble with sun exposure, heat, and hydration. But on this visit in June, we were graced with spectacularly gorgeous, clear weather, which also brought a surprising intensity to the sun’s rays. Dehydration, especially during windy hikes, happens quickly. I also can’t emphasize enough the need to wear a good, strong, sunscreen, especially for hiking and beaching. Just in case you do damage your skin get your hands on the famed "Maui Babe" line of aftersun healing ointments. They are No ka oi.
If you take the drive north of Kapalua through the mountains, but make sure the most trusted and cool-headed driver in your party is behind the wheel. The road to Hana gets lots of attention and warnings galore, but there isn’t much mention of the treacherous twists and turns that this route throws at you, too.
Just in case you do find yourself more than walking distance from home following a happy hour, the island trolley and most resort shuttles are willing to pick you up and deliver you safely.
Plan ahead and then go for it! There’s so much living to do in Maui.
The location is excellent. Favorites such as the Gazebo on Napili Bay, are the perfect walking distance from the villa. An early morning walk guaranteed we'd have the appetite necessary to enjoy the hearty local fare and determinedly awesome views. We found the pristine Kapalua Bay the ideal spot to sit a spell after breakfast and digest the scenery prior to the inevitable trek back up the rather steep hill. Staying here and walking everywhere (the Ritz, Fleming beach) provided a perfect resort style fitness challenge. If you find yourself unwilling to make the hikes around the resort, however, you can simply hail the Kapalua Shuttle van to deliver you perspiration-free to any destination.
On most days, following the final burst of energy required to hoof up the hill, we took great advantage of the small but glorious pool located adjacent to our building nestled into a cozy, private garden. Back at the villa, the cool, air conditioned interiors and pale tropical decor provided a welcome oasis from the heat and sun. Two separate entries dispense with any concerns of waking a napping companion. Two bathrooms, one with soaking tub and another with shower and washer/dryer eliminates any disagreement over who showers first. (The water pressure in the showers was waterfall intense, though the hot water supply a bit short-lived.)
The spacious bedroom with king bed and wall of glass doors opens broadly onto the lanai with views of Molokai, making it inviting any time of day but providing the ultimate quiet and comfort for star filled nights. Outfitted with working desk, two closets and TV/VCR, anyone could feel at home here even for a longer stay. Since you won’t sleep any better than you will here or awaken more refreshed to the filtered sunlight on the lanai it‘s likely you might want to stay longer than originally planned. Like forever.
In the fully equipped kitchen we found everything we needed to prepare light meals; microwave, blender, rice cooker, coffeemaker, utensils and dishes. Phoning home was easy as local calls are free, including internet access if your provider has a local number. We appreciated the folding chairs and ice cooler we found in the large utility closet, items we used for sunset viewing rituals.
Best of all, though we noticed plenty of cars in the designated spaces and occasionally shared the pool with other guests, we never saw or heard a soul once inside our villa or while sitting on the lanai. With absolutely no complaints and nothing lacking, we deemed the villa a perfect way to manage the rigors of paradise.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 1, 2002
Kapalua Golf Villas
500 Office Road
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii 96761
Restaurant | "Haliimaile"
A quick investigation revealed the location of her restaurant in upcountry down a little traveled, appropriately named road, Haliimaile, just outside of Makawao. A strange place for a celebrated chef to position her signature location, I thought. But
after paying a visit to Makawao, I was not really so surprised to find the Haliimaile General Store Restaurant tucked neatly into the ranch land and farms of the area. The idea of a restaurant housed in an old plantation style warehouse with a sophisticated menu might seem out of place if you didn’t realize the artistic sophistication lurking here.
We had arrived twenty minutes prior to opening. As there were no cars in the gravel parking lot adjacent to the building, which does bear distinct resemblance to an island style General Store, we didn’t really expect admittance. However, the staff was already in full bloom inside and welcomed us to sit at the airy bar decorated with whimsical fish sculptures and mobiles while they finished preparations for the evening. The casual Aloha atmosphere was evident immediately. If simplicity is the greatest luxury, as its been said, then this is indeed really living.
A quick look around the spacious back room revealed walls bedecked with poster sized write-ups from every major food and tourist industry publication known substantially raising the bar for our anticipated meal.
A mango margarita shortened the wait. A thick, blended concoction of fresh mangos and tequila went down easy as the innocent looking fruit smoothie that it wasn’t. We’d have lingered longer at the bar, but diners were pouring in, nabbing prime tables. Feeling the effects of unseen ingredients, I wisely pushed the remainder of the mango madness toward my husband who’d been eyeing the drink enviously.
Though the menu offered a dozen tempting choices, I started with a fresh salad of red and yellow roasted beets with a fruity glaze that was excellent. The seafood boullabaisse, not typically offered in Hawaii, presented as a huge bowl of various local seafood swimming in a delicate sauce. My husband followed his sushi sampler (ono!) with the prime rib special, perfectly roasted rib meat served with a giant house salad. We finished with desserts of homemade tropical fruit and coconut sorbets.
Haliimaile is destination dining that lives up to all those framed awards and a must to cap off a visit to Maui’s upcountry.
Hali'imaile General Store
900 Hali'imaile Road
Maui, Hawaii 96768
Restaurant | "Plantation House Restaurant"
Those looking for a more sedate and relaxed environment for the tropical island ritual would be wise to head for the hills instead. Independent reviewers gave Plantation House consistent mention as Maui’s (and perhaps Hawaii’s) most glorious place to watch the sunset. Perched four hundred feet above the sea, diners have open plantation window makai views of lani as the sun sinks into moana. Time your visit just right and you’ll catch this memorable day’s end with the sun drifting into the ocean between Lanai and Molokai, both spectacularly visible from this vantage point.
Plantation House is a sort of "last chance" destination in West Maui before the road rounds the bend past Honolua Bay and continues precariously through the mountains. So special is the view that owner Mike Hooks, manager Chris Kiawe, and chef Alex Stanislaw could probably get away with serving poi on a ti leaf. But considering the out of the way destination, they take no chances and up the ante by providing a sumptuous menu to match the vistas.
The signature dishes are appropriately from the sea. Fresh catch of the day, usually a choice of two or three, is offered prepared Sweet Island Breeze, Taste of the Rich Forest or Mediterranean style. I’ve tried all three and though each has a way of enhancing the flavors of the ultra fresh catch, my favorite remains the Island Breeze with sweet Thai sticky rice. My husband recently tried the pork tenderloin and found that pork done Hawaiian style is every bit as unique and tasty as the fish preparations. A superb wine list and a number of wines by the glass will surely satisfy wine lovers of all types.
Plantation House is also a favorite for breakfast offering eggs benedict with island touches like ahi or crabcakes. One of Plantation House’s premiere treats is French Press coffee. Rumor has it that this powerful brew will not keep you up after your dinner due to the unique processing of the finely ground beans, but will give you what you need to get going on the links in the morning.
It‘s cooler and breezier on the mountain so after the sun goes Aloha and the lights of the distant Kapalua resort shine, Plantation‘s huge fireplace may be lit to take the chill from the open-aired dining room . In the cozy and romantic setting, linger a bit by ordering the Banana Foster, or da kine Brownie.
Living up to the view is the greatest nightly challenge of Plantation House. We haven’t been disappointed yet by their efforts.
2000 Plantation Club Drive
Maui, Hawaii 96761
The absolutely dreamy vistas of the sun setting beyond distant Lanai escorted by sailboats and canoe paddlers would be enough eye candy for diners, but i’o also serves up an award winning, dazzling interior design as well. Etched glass aquariums, hip lighting, a bar just begging for an enchantress to take a seat and challenge its sensuous curves, and a "must peak" exhibition kitchen all compete with the views from the plantation shutters. To catch it all, choose a perfect window table rather than the more typical al fresco tables on the front lanai that also serve as the entrance to the Feast at Lele. (The food presented at "The Feast" is prepared in I‘o’s kitchen. After dinner take a walk next door and catch the Lele performers between sets gossiping and flirting near the kitchen).
Settle yourself in for the sunset show and note that Martinis, not mai tais, are heavy on the menu here. Too bad I don’t drink the potent devils, because the Dreamsicle and Lemon Drop versions sounded mighty tasty served with ocean breezes wrapped around them. Regardless, the Chenin Blanc, VOUVRAY, Marc Bredif, France, 1999, offered by the glass, proved to be the perfect accompaniment to the recommended entree, the fois gras topped ono served on "wilted Hana vegetable salad, tropical fruit coulis and balsamic reduction" ($28.00).
Be sure to take advantage of some of the best appetizers on the island. This visit I was disappointed to find the seafood cocktail, served in a martini glass, had been taken from the menu, but happy that the "silken purse" (deliciously steamed stuffed wontons) and Kalua Tostados, (a decidedly Hawaiian version of the Mexican favorite), were still being offered. The Arugula Salad was as good as ever with its combination of oranges, feta cheese, candied walnuts and Maui onions ($8.00). Another delectable option is the Crispy Ahi, which is fresh sashimi tuna rolled in nori and panko crust and green papaya salad, ($27.00), which the restaurant claims inspired a cult following.
Views are one thing but i’o goes it one better on many counts. Chef James McDonald, has won a slew of awards since opening his trio of restaurants including Maui’s "Best Chef." The photogenic McDonald, a graduate of Maui’s Community College’s own culinary arts program, seems determined to provide Maui diners with outstanding alternatives to typical island selections. There’s no doubt he has the perfect setting in which to do so.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 30, 2002
505 Front St
Lahaina, Hawaii 96761
+1 808 661 8422
After watching the astounding sunset from the beach in Kaanapali, we took the little side road that leads to Basil Tomato’s, only a few minutes removed from the beach. Although still a bit apprehensive we were delighted to find a calm, cozy, subtly lit restaurant that promised a romantic setting at the very least.
We were seated immediately in an overstuffed booth in the veranda dining room. Candlelight glowed in conjunction with the torches outside and the cool breezes from the ocean drifted in through the open plantation shutters with just enough force to cause flickers in the light.
Within moments, just long enough to adjust our eyes to the scene, our waiter, friendly and attentive, presented menu and an adequate wine list. Since my husband wanted red and I preferred white, we were happy to find half bottles offered of both in decent vintages. We started with a carpaccio of thinly sliced beef which arrived perfectly arranged in five little mounds amid toasted bruschetta, rugula and capers drizzled with oil and bits of garlic. Next we shared the crisp and generous house salad which made good use of the local kula tomatoes, cucumbers and maui onions.
The nightly fish special, opakapaka, and its specialty preparation had been described thoroughly, but we were here for Italian food for a change of pace from Maui’s standard fish and sushi. My husband ordered the mixed grill (small fillet, pork chop and Italian sausage) to get a sense of the chef’s overall talents while I chose the veal chop served with a side of pasta. The veal chop was tender and expertly grilled, but it was the penne and meat sauce that really convinced me this place was worth another visit. It’s rare that I find restaurant pasta sauce that is up to my homemade standards!
There are a few other reasons I know we’ll return to Basil Tomato when the hankering for Italian food strikes. For one thing, the prices are quite reasonable by Maui standards with appetizers in the $7-$11 range and entrees mostly well under $25. Add to that the front door parking, easy going breezy ambiance and attentive but unobtrusive service and a return visit is nearly assured.
That, and the fact that I overheard the waiter tell the customers at the next booth that bananas foster (my favorite!) was one of Basil’s specialty desserts. Since I heard this only after we’d paid our bill, I shall just have to come back again to try it, cartoon tomato or not.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 9, 2002
Lahaina, Hawaii 96761
+1 808 662 3210
A few locals might be talking story on the front patio, a honeymoon couple dodging the sun on the side lanai. Inside, where there is no seating at all, a smiling man with a distinctly Portuguese accent would be standing behind the glass window of the pocket kitchen and nod toward you. Minutes later, wiping his hands on his apron, he’d cheerfully recite your order back to you with a charming precision and invite you sit, sit, anywhere! You would take a place in the open air and listen as waves lapped the shore mere steps from your table. Trade winds would blow through the coconut trees shading the adjacent park. The Carthaginian would idly bob in the harbor tempting you to sit here all day, lulled into the rhythms of the island.
Maui time is fine, as long as you aren’t hungry. Then, it would be advantageous to find your meal delivered sooner than expected for made-to-order fare. When your order arrives artfully decorated with freshly sliced fruit garnishes and toppings, you might check the menu prices again. A mistake?
No mistake; it was simply good fortune that fate brought you to the best breakfast bargain in Lahaina. Start off with an authentic Kona coffee creation and move on to one of the five daily specials, from Breakfast Burrito to Salmon Benedict. Or try one of the standard menu items; perhaps the pineapple boat laden with fresh island fruit. Yogurt/granola/fruit mix is another favored early morning choice as is the hearty Portuguese breakfast with eggs, potatoes and sausage. Naturally, there is also an assortment of tropical fruit-topped pancakes and croissant breakfast sandwiches on the menu.
What impressed me during a recent visit was the lox and bagel plate. Bedecked as impressive as room service at the Four Seasons, it was half the price, and included a green salad mixture, Kula tomatoes, Maui onions and ample salty capers. For lunch, choices range from classic tuna or Rueben sandwiches to roast chicken or kalua pig platters. There are tempting selections such as the unusual "Hawaiian Salad" which includes the kalua (roast) pork, cabbage and island vegetables and the unique Mango Barbeque Beef. Vegetairans aren't overlooked at this surfer-favored spot, either, and are treated to cleverly prepared tofu dishes and vegetarian burritos.
Even should you want only a nibble of one of the handsome bakery items (also available to go), or a simple cup of coffee, the Sunrise Café allows you to slip in inconspicuously and become as comfortable as the locals. Or take the keikis and relax; there’s Aloha for everyone here.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 13, 2002
693A Front Street
Attraction | "Hiking to the Nakalele Blowhole - Part One"
Here, the narrow road with its many switch-backs and sharp turns challenges drivers to keep their eyes on the road while being tempted by stunning ocean views from every direction. We’d driven this road before all the way to the valley. There were times when I had to clutch the armrest and close my eyes (no, I wasn‘t driving!), especially when we came upon blind hairpin turns with single lane passage. Meeting another car round the bend meant that the downhill car was obligated to back up...unto what? The sheer drops were sometimes over 1,200 feet down into a churning brine.
We were promised the hike would not be a difficult as the drive beyond the blowhole. Luckily, we arrived at the designated point past the 38 mile marker where a small (and on this day empty) parking lot signaled the start of the hike. The most hair-raising portion of the road lies beyond this point, should you be so adventurous to attempt a drive. (If you do, by the way, the pay off is some of the most outstanding views you’ll encounter this side of Hana.)
Our informants had advised we follow the "jeep trail" left in the red dirt that meandered across the light beacon point and stopped just shy of the rocky climb down to the shore and the Nakalele Blowhole. We sighted the light beacon and headed in that direction. "I think the jeep trail’s over there," I called to my husband as he made his way toward the precarious rock cliffs lining the water’s edge. He motioned me toward the path less traveled.
I wore walking shoes but soon wished I’d had on mountain boots when a stone that appeared to be secure slipped from under foot and bounced merrily off lava rocks on its way far below me and into the waves. The loose gravel beneath my feet also started to give way and I grabbed for a root, that prompted released as easily as the stone from the ground. "This can’t be right!" I protested and shimmied my way across the narrow ledge.
Find out the results of the cliff hanger in Part Two!!
from Napili to Kapalua along the Ocean
Attraction | "Nakalele Blowhole Shoreline Hike - Part Two"
Soon enough hubby realized he’d met a dead end as no one but an expert climber or fool would make their way past the next outcropping. We headed up and over the ridge to find the jeep trail; a nearly flat and compacted dirt road where another set of hikers tramped merrily along. By then my knees were noodley, as much from the intense winds that threatened my balance, as by the frightful vision of that stone that might have been me splashing into the waters below.
This time I took the road less traveled and veered up another rock cropping assuming a vantage point that was safely not on the water’s direct edge. I wanted to see whether or not the Blowhole was spouting before I began the long climb down the cliff. Gazing mauka from my vantage point, I noticed what hikers do not like to see, especially after something’s made their legs noodly...a car. Pulling right up to the point was another place to park.
But since the fun was in this journey, I meandered down to where determination had taken me from the start. I sat near the ocean’s edge but from another cliff while my husband took the camera to the very opening of the blowhole. That way, when it spouted I would catch the action from this more distant point of reference. Unfortunately, there was nothing blowing but the wind this day.
Training my left eye on the blowhole and my right on a pair of gorgeous seabirds, I battled the wind and tried to steady the camera to capture the amazing antics of the birds. They sailed and stalled, effortlessly using the wind to their advantage, making a game of their gift of flight, their long split tail feathers fluttering in the wind, their bodies resembling paper airplanes. They would fly over the ocean then turn abruptly toward the rocky ledge and their nests, coming in with such speed that you’d surely think they’d crash into the rocks. Instead, they somehow - miraculously - put on bird versions of reverse thrusters and lighted ever so gracefully like butterflies onto a flower.
My fascination with the birds was broken when my left eye caught a vision. Water! A six foot spout, emerging from the blowhole just as my husband had abandoned his watch and turned his back on the action. The wind absorbed my calls for my husband's attention. It was gone.
We decided to follow the jeep trail back to the car discovering it was a rather easy walk after all. We met another couple at the parking lot who asked us what to expect. It’s like anything else, we told them, it all depends on how you approach it.
Northernmost Section of Island
Attraction | "I`oa Valley and Wailuku Town"
Driving through the downtown you will notice some distinctive municipal and historical buildings, the land trust, the library, and the Bailey museum. But the grand verdant mountain tops that frame the little town will likely beckon you beyond the town limits, down the winding two lane road that leads to the I`oa Needle state park.
Within minutes you will enter the pristine and peaceful valley that was the location of many a meaningful battle during the age of warring between the former Hawaiian kings. It was here that King Kamahameha overthrew the Maui king by hauling a cannon (stolen from a western ship) up the valley and annihalating the surprised Maui warriors. It is also here that ancient royals are buried in a cave, the exact location of which has been long since lost to history.
Regardless of the historical significance of the I`oa Valley, visitors will find a feast for the eyes; the I`oa Needle, the waterfalls that surge from the stream, the lush tropical foliage of this rain forest wonderland. There is also a little hiking trail here and an example of Hawaiian style taro gardens.
On your way back from the I`oa Needle, you may want to stop at the turnoff marked, "Museum." Japanese gardens and pagodas are set in a lovely park as a tribute to the culture and influence of the Japanese and Asian cultures that contributed so much to Hawaii‘s development.
Down the road toward town, a second museum sign points you toward the Bailey Museum. It was here that Edward Bailey and his family, teachers from Boston, lived and established a woman‘s Seminary. Recognizing the importance of education for native Hawaiians, governor of Maui, Hoapi’ili authorized the building of this seminary where young women were boarded and taught meaningful life skills. The small museum houses important artifacts and insights into the Hawaiian culture and has some of Maui’s most amazing examples of ancient crafts such as outrageously beautiful feather and shell leis and calabash bowls. One of the only intact wood carvings of the half man-half pig of Hawaiian mythology is on display here.
Strolling around town I happened upon the lovely old theater where a performance of "Hot L Baltimore" was currently being stage by the Maui Theater company. Across the street, a farmer’s market was in full swing. Pineapples the size of pumpkins ($2), brilliant tomatoes (3/$1), long beans, organic lettuces, perfect yellow/green papaya (2/$1) , were hawked by little Asian ladies who used hand signals to communicate. For a moment I became so absorbed in the scene that I forgot I was still in America!
It really is amazing what you encounter in Maui when you wander just a wee bit off the beaten path.
Iao Valley State Park
Iao Valley Road
Wailuku, Hawaii 96793
No phone available
Attraction | "Nightly Ceremonies at Black Rock"
I suppose that might have been how the cliffdiving pros of the Sheraton's nightly torch lighting and dive ceremony started many years ago. Yet, it is hard to imagine they ever wavered when you watch them now so skilled, strong and graceful at their task.
The other day we watched the show once again under the glow of a sudden burst of sundown breakthrough light that followed a long day of overcast skies.
The Melemele, that stupendous golden, honey rich light that drapes itself over Hawaii with almost unreasonable regularity
drove us once again to witness the ritual. Always a thrill, the sun setting over the Pacific beyond Lanai from Kaanapali captivates everyone with an unceasing array of colors and patterns across the sky. On nights of the melemele the vast kaleidoscope whirls all shades of gold, fuchsia, crimson, violet against brilliant blue patches of sky and sea.
But that's not the only WoW! of sundown at the Sheraton. When the sun gives out, leaving behind only dim silhouettes, distant sails and a beach littered with newly inspired souls, a distant sound of chanting and the wail from a conchshell turns all eyes mauka.
As if from out of nowhere, a sarong clad torch-bearing runner thunders toward the beach. With swift and sure footed leaps, steady as a gazelle, he gracefully bounds up the craggy lava rocks. With great flourish and uncanny accuracy he lights the torches lining the path in a ceremonious gesture to honor all the souls that had reentered the great beyond from this point. (Legend states that at Black Rock the souls of the departed pass from the land of man into the hands of God.)
Once the final torch is lit, the bare chested warrior silhouetted at the top of Black Rock by the only remaining light the sun would cast that day, raises his arms high in salute to the earth, the sky, the sea, the souls...and then plunges into the waves below.
I would guess this is how those young tourists envision themselves when they climb Black Rock, all bold and confident and powerful. It is a wonderful image that would inspire just about anyone to do anything.
The Black Rock torchlighting and dive is a nightly event at Kaanapali. Sundowners at the Sheraton offers the best views, but you can also bring your own libation, nab a lounger in the sand and enjoy all this for free. Daily.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 7, 2002
Ka'anapali, Western Shore Of Maui
Maui, Hawaii 96761
This awareness, that true darkness is something we rarely witness in our neon mercury vapor world, struck me squarely the night we attended "An Evening of Star Gazing" presented by the Kapalua Ritz Carlton as one of their many cultural enrichment and educational programs.
The Beach House, usually closed in the evening, was the private dining site for this special event. The evening had started before sundown with a lavish buffet consisting of delectable shrimp ceviche, fresh fish skewers, salads, grilled to order hotdogs and hamburgers, and fresh fruit. A freezer case of ice cream specialties were a special treat to kids of all ages.
A twelve foot telescope was set up on the adjacent lawns. A peak through the lens revealed Venus as the most prompt and brightest planet, her shape at first appearing as a crescent. As we waited for the arrival of the other stars clouds rolled over the sky threatening to block our examination of the extensive Hawaiian firmaments. But even with the limited conditions the stars shone more evidently and brightly here than we are used to seeing. The vastness of the Pacific, the remote location as the most isolated island chain in the world, and a relative lack of development on this part of island, provided what star gazers rely on most for their observations: darkness.
The Hawaiian sky is unique. In September the Big Dipper scroops into the ocean and only the two or three stars of the handle remain above the horizon until the whales return in December. Hawaiian legend is also revealed in the constellations. We learned stories of mortals and demi-gods, lovers and revenge, suffering and hope told through the imaginative figures locked eternally in the stars. We also learned general star facts while myths and fiction were debunked. Are we viewing stars that have since burned out? Ridiculous. Stars don’t just burn out; they simply dim. To the question of alien life in the distant galaxies, the astronomer pronounced an unequivocal "of course there are" but added they are never likely to cross our path since the universe is simply too vast, and our time here too fleeting. If you watch the Hawaiian sky for more than a few minutes, you will see satellites.
We were encouraged to take advantage of our "ownership" of the universe, to make it our job to learn more about the night skies which helps us realize our relationship to the universe. It was also emphasized how equisitely unique our earth's atmosphere is in the cosmos.
The event, enjoyable, relaxing, educational, informative and inspiring, was overall a first rate evening of fun and a sure way to remind us that Hawaii is as beautiful and interesting by starlight as it is by sunshine.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 8, 2002
Kapalua/Ritz Specialty Tours
Ritz Carlton Hotel
Attraction | "The Feast at Lele"
So it was that we booked an evening at the Feast of Lele, another luau type option developed by the owners of I’O restaurant and the Old Lahaina gang. The main difference between this event and the average luau is that the Feast at Lele is an intimate gourmet level multi-course sit-down extravaganza served by gracious hosts and waitresses. You won’t find buffet lines or large crowds here. Instead, you will book a private table and be treated to an assortment of dishes representing the major Polynesian island groups.
From Hawaii are kalua pig, pohole ferns and hearts of palm; Tongo offers lobster and ogo salad and Pulehu beef; Tahiti presents fafa steamed chicken in coconut milk and poisson cru; Samoa is represented by coconut cream shrimp and avocado with lilikoi. These are simply examples of the many dishes which during the course of the evening seem to keep rolling in like so many waves on the beach.
It would be impossible to consider tasting all that is presented under normal circumstances in a normal dinner hour, but Feast at Lele guests are entertained between courses by performances that correspond with the cuisine. Eat a little Tongan, watch a little hula, eat a bit of Tahiti, hear a little drumming. Between each set you somehow manage to have another bite or two of what is being brought to the table next.
The show starts out dramatically at sundown as performers arrive from the sea in authentic outrigger canoes. Chants, singing, hula, drumming, dancing and storytelling follow on land and offer ample opportunity for the talented cast to strut their stuff as they take you on a journey through Polynesia. The long-awaited fire twirling finale really blows the cork off the evening to leave everyone utterly satisfied both visually and gastronomically.
Feast at Lele is adjacent to the I’O restaurant in a private grove directly on the ocean with the island of Lanai in the distance, tiki torches dancing with the moon and palm trees swaying in the breezes. The setting really couldn’t be more perfect for establishing a backdrop for south sea theatrics and the romance they are sure to provoke. The renowned chefs of I’O and Pacifica don’t hold back one bit in terms of quality, presentation and creativity in the dishes offered. It really is a perfect way to experience the wide variety of flavors as well as the more subtle differences between cultures and cuisine of the islands of the Pacific.
All-inclusive dinner/show with drinks is priced around $90 for adults, $50 for keikis (children)
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 9, 2002
Feast At Lele
505 Front St
Lahaina, Hawaii 96761
+1 808 667 5353
Sure, the winery has won awards and even produces a Brut Champagne, but unless you like your wine made from pineapples instead of grapes, it might be best to stick with other vineyards and vintages. Nevertheless, the trip to the 150 year old ranch and its much more recent vineyards is sure to be a memorable experience.
Especially if you are interested in seeing bicoastal views of Maui from 2-3,000 ft elevations, to experience the cool clear air that spills from higher altitude cloud forests and to witness dozens of ecosystems in your short one hour drive from any of the island’s coastal areas. Here on the 23,000 acre ranch, seeing cows lowing in the pastures and horses tended by the cowboys (paniolos) you’ll be tempted to imagine this might be Wyoming. But then you encounter a incongruous patch of lava rock poking through the pasture lands and you know you aren’t in Kansas -- or anywhere else you‘ve ever been -- any more.
Besides the magnificent beauty of the trip to this bountiful upcountry locale at Ulupalakua Ranch you will have the opportunity to embrace a historical record of the island which is kept in the little museum room adjacent to the wine tasting cottage. You’ll learn that it was here that the last king of Hawaii came to be quieted during turbulent times. In fact, this cottage was built specifically to host the monarch and the grove of trees planted in the front yard are named the "hula grove" because they were carefully arranged to serve as a hula stage during his visits.
The Makee family created the ranch in 1849 and the enterprising Captain James Makee, his wife and five daughters transformed the ranch into "one of the grandest and most serene spots the state would ever know." Planting 150,000 trees imported from around the world along with expansive rose gardens, they were obviously hosts with the most and the stories recorded at the museum tell of the details of their life. One of the most moving pieces you‘ll ever read is written by one of the Makee women and recounts the events of a child’s burial. It tells of the beautiful ceremony and a more gorgeous attitude toward life and death as officiated by the native Hawaiians.
Stop at the Ranch store for delightful picnic supplies and have a seat under the magnificent grove of trees. Looking into the distant vistas it’s easy to imagine what life must have been like to those early white settlers. Mainly because it really hasn’t changed all that much.
That is, if you discount those grape vines and ATV and jeep tours they take through the ranch these days...
Ulupalakua Ranch and Winery
P.O. Box 953, Hwy. 37