Monday, December 13, 2010
A Food Tour of Maui
Shown: Pina Colada at the South Shore Tiki Lounge in honor of my Birthday. We'll visit them again later.
Mele Kalikimaka and Hello!
I recently turned THIRTY (30) and was taken to Hawaii as a giant gift from friends, family & my sweetheart, "Jeb".
I have many beach photos, but wanted to share with you my food diary !
We were able to eat like kings ( or like Oprah, if you will ) whilst there.
Try not to turn off your computer in a jealous rage, but I also went to Hawaii in June on vacation.
I was totally blindsided by the food costs my first trip, and so offer you this advice from my second:
1. BUY WHAT GROWS IN HAWAII
Nevermind if you eat kale every day in the Northwest. Once you're on the Island and you see $5 imported bunches of kale, you'll understand the need to look local.
Also, consider how much gas it takes to jet all your produce over there from the mainland. Forget it! There are so many things growing on the Island on groovy sustainable farms, it's worth it.
2. BRING SOME STAPLES WITH YOU
Have I been accused of food hoarding by tour mates in the past? Perhaps.
BUT, the money you save on buying something stupid, imported & and overpriced like granola in Maui can be spent on awesome fresh local foods like avocados or PINEAPPLES! Pack some brown rice, peanut butter & granola in your luggage and get ready to party!
3. BUY SAUCES TO CART AROUND WITH YOU
I got a small bottle of Braggs, some garlic chili sauce, and oil at the beginning of our trip and did not regret it for a second as we traveled from place to place whipping up salad dressings and peanut sauce wherever we went.
If you want to get miserly (like myself), get some Ziploc bags at the end of your trip and bring the sauces home with you in your checked luggage (insert Michelle Tea calling me crazy here). Leave the oil in Hawaii, though.
4. WHERE TO SHOP
Mana Foods in Paia : The best natural food store on the Island, in my opinion. Giant selection, amazing hot bar and live food deli, fresh squeezed juices and groovy baked goods.
Longs Drugs: Not food, per se, but a great place to get cheap macadamia nuts for your family before you split town. Seriously half the price of Safeway's nuts. Beware the slippery slope of purchasing too much from their giant selection of Made-In-China souveniers. There's a whole Island full of souveniers that directly benefit the island, local shops, or artisans, so please don't waste all of your money here on plastic leis.
Whole Foods in Kahalui: If you're so hungry after getting off the plane and you can't make it until you get to Mana Foods, totally stop here and keep your eyes alert for LOCAL produce. Hana Farms lettuce, avocados, local pineapple and apple bananas. I like getting staples at Whole Foods, because their store brand beans and milks are organic and inexpensive.
People's Front Yards - Hana
Don't blow your avocado wad in the city, because once you get out into the country you will find many front yards with wood boxes of avocados for 50 cents, limes for 25 cents, and tiny coffee cans in which to put your money. You will also find roadside leis handmade by families for a billion dollars less than the stupid ones at Safeway.
Safeway - I did get sauces and some weird staples here.
Controversial: I was NOT a huge fan of Down To Earth, the other natural grocery store here. They have a decent hot bar, but in general if you're looking for groceries, get out your scalpel and bathtub of ice, because you're going to have to trade some vital organs in order to afford their groceries.
On to the food!
As luck may have it, we ate mostly raw and gluten free whilst on this vacation. This was sort of unintentional, as we are neither raw nor gluten free at home. It just happened that the most delicious options were usually one or the other.
First off- Joy's Place Live Nut Burger.
$10.50 , a blend of nuts and other mysterious live ingredients wrapped in a leaf.
This was moist, delicious and deceptively filling.
I got something called the Indo Crunch Wrap here, also, which was pan fried tempeh with sprouts and raw veggies smothered in peanut sauce and wrapped in a rice paper skin. This was delicious, filling, and totally portable.
We went to Joy's Place not once, not twice, but THREE times, and maybe I spent my future children's college tuition on the food, but it was worth it as I had several once-in-a-lifetime meals, in addition to their Chaifee (pronounce Chai-Fay, even though the root words are chai and coffee... go figure), which is an iced drink with cold pressed coffee and chai.
P.S. If you enjoy people watching and want to see The Most uptight, anal retentive and possibly eating disordered raw, soy free, gluten free, etc etc people, sit at the bar at Joy's Place and just cast an ear as well tanned ladies come in and harangle the friendly counter staff for up to twenty minutes at a sitting inquiring about the garlic/soy/live content of any given food item before either giving up entirely and going outside to eat paper towels, OR ordering sauce free pieces of chicken wrapped in leaves for twenty dollars. Yum!
P.P.S. The staff here are knowledgeable, friendly, kind and endlessly patient.
P.P.S.S. For these reasons, I could never work there.
Next Up: Day to day eating!
We got a pomegranite, Jeb brought some granola from Portland (what can I say, we're thrifty), and we jammed on granola & fresh fruit (with soy milk) every single morning before attacking the ocean with snorkels in hand.
BEST FOODS TO MAKE WHILST VACATIONING IN HAWAII:
1. SALAD ROLLS -
These are great to eat on the beach, in the car, in the hotel room. Many of the ingredients are interchangeable for other recipes. Toss the lettuce around, use peanut sauce as a dressing for future salads, whatever. You'll also feel somehow superior when you see people pay $8 for their own single salad rolls as you freely chomp on a dozen.
2. TACOS / BURRITOS
Portable ingredients that need only some local fresh avocados , salsa & limes to blow your mind. Avocados & limes can be found for 50 cents / 4 for a dollar (respectively) in front of people's homes in Hana. The avocados here are giant, often green with thin skins, and amazingly buttery.
We brought brown rice over in our suit case both times, like the hoarders we are, and had awesome salads with beans or nuts, brown rice, pomegranite seeds, and dressing made from fresh limes, pineapple juice, local garlic and some Braggs. Kazam. Again, Highly Portable,and a great way to jam as many local produce items into one bowl at the same time as possible.
With my excellent luck at talking trash, I'm sure he'll find this, but I have to tell you about our night at the hostel in Hana.
We were totally prepared and making this giant feast of salad & tacos, when a weary bike traveler who'd just bicycled from Wailuku to Hana (a full day trip, like 20 miles of winding roads and hills with traffic over a cliff!) rolled in with the weirdest groceries ever, including frozen vegetables and dried mung beans procured at Hana's mini- mart. Never having mung beans, we oohed and ahhed, wondering how one would prepare them. He was starving the ride (or so I imagine), and cooked them only a little while before adding them to his dinner of warmed frozen vegetables, which he bravely ate in their entirety.
We offered him some guacamole, a good deed which didn't go unpunished as he forced on us tasted of the mysterious mung beans.
"Have a bite"
I took a bite.
"Take a bigger bite than that!"
he commanded, and then to Jeb-
"TAKE A MOUTHFUL".
Our previously mellow Canadian friend became aggressive as he encouraged us to join in his culinary misery. The mung beans were terrible, hard and undercooked, and we got out of there as soon as possible, retreating to the living room to watch National Lampoon's Summer Vacation after our long day of hiking, swimming and cooking.
Now, Friends, you get to enjoy photos of the Coffee Stand I was crowing about in issue 17 of Invincible Summer!
Here are some quotes from theThe Laulima Farm Fruit Stand Yelp Page :Trippiest GMO-FREE ZONE on the Planet
Just dig the vibe and soak up the mana. This is the real fantasy island with a critical spooky core.
Granted, this is one reviewer's take, but these two sentences are pretty accurate.
The Laulima Farm is an organic farm off the Hana Highway (but past Hana), and they operate a little fruit and coffee stand with a deep hippie vibe. If you want to work here, you just show up and see if they need anybody, then see if you fit in. That's it.
This is the home of the amazing and delicious Chiller, the drink made of coffee, cane juice, and coconut milk all grown within a mile of the stand and blended together with a bicycle powered blender! Yum!
I had the second most delicious beverage of my life here (the first being The Chiller), which was a Ginger Blast made of ginger, cane juice, and coconut milk.
It was a real WTF moment. Something that sounds so weird but was so delicious and warmed my actual, physical (grinch sized) heart.
We met many trippy people at this fruit stand as I encouraged Jeb to visit it three times (that's THRICE to you) on our journey.
We met hippie guys and gals, pasty tourists like ourselves, and laid back Maui-dwelling millionaires who were just chilling out and having some freshly cut salads at their bar.
Another Quote from Yelp:
This place is very calm, peaceful, beautiful and defines the word "Zen". You can walk along the paths in the garden to see where your food is coming from.
If you are the egg-eating sort, you will be happy to know that though many of their baked goods are vegan, the ones that do include eggs are "from Happy Chickens". This may be one of the only places in the world where I'd actually believe it.
Lastly, back in Kihei the tourist area, we began re-acclimating ourselves to the foods we know best- those processed and fried with the evil friends wheat and soy.
This brings us to the previously mentioned Tiki Bar,
which boasts a powerful vegan menu!
(Well, powerful considering you are at a tourist bar in the middle of a strip mall).
Check out this little piece of their manifesto (not included: info about their free range cows and freshly caught Maui fish) :
Our oil “Whole Harvest Smart Fry” is 100% cold expeller pressed soybean oil used only for cooking our French fries. It contains no harsh chemicals, no solvents, no trans fatty acids, no hydrogenation and no cholesterol. Our veggie dogs and burgers are made from soybean and wheat protein. They are low carb, low calorie and low fat. Our vegan chili is made with 3 types of beans, 3 types of chili, 3 types of onions, corn, tomatoes, herbs and generous portions of our veggie burger patty.
Shown here: Veggie Dog , fully loaded from the self service garnish bar, and french fries with the addition of veggie chili (which harkens back to the days of Ottos Malt Shop in Kansas City, where I lived off of free Veggie Chili Fries as a teen vegan ages 16-19).
And with that as our final meal, Shaka Santa and I bid you farewell, and Mele Kalikimaka. Take Care!