As promised, I am back today with some more Hawaiian stories, recommendations, and of course, some DELICIOUS eye candy from my trip to Maui with my mom!
As I mentioned yesterday, I had been to Maui many times before, but never as an adult. You all know I'm a big foodie, so I did my research for weeks before the trip - I wanted to make sure we were eating and drinking the best of what Hawaii has to offer! I asked different friends who had been recently which restaurants they loved and would recommend, and slowly made reservations for every night.
Many people recommended Mama's Fish House to us, and it didn't disappoint - it was by far our favorite restaurant of the trip! It took a while to get there but it was totally worth it - we loved every single thing we ate and the ambiance was fantastic!
My mom LOVED her meal - a coconut milk/green curry soup with three different kinds of fish and a variety of delicious Thai toppings - peanuts, chutney, and more:
I had mahi mahi stuffed with crab and lobster in a macadamia nut crust with pineapple beurre blanc... and a teeny tiny lobster tail on top!
And we shared an amazing chocolate coconut pie for dessert. Delicious!
So Mama's was our favorite restaurant, but we agreed the single best dish we had the whole week was at Spago in the Four Seasons next door. Wolfgang Puck elevated the typical Hawaiian dish of loco moco to something that I'll probably never forget. You're looking at jasmine rice topped with miso butterfish, marinated cucumbers, and sliced avocado, with spicy mayo and a tiny fried quail egg on top. OMFG. Pardon the picture, I think my hands were shaking :)
More Spago deliciousness: their signature spicy tuna tartare with spicy tobiko caviar in little sesame cones. As tasty as they are adorable!
No trip to Hawaii is complete without some shaved ice! We shared half guava, half mango, and ate it so fast we both got ice headaches - but it was okay because it was a billion degrees outside!
One night we headed to Lahaina to go shopping, and ate at the original Longhi's - I needed a little Italian food to break up all the fish I was eating. I had the Shrimp Longhi's over pasta and it was fabulous:
Another night we stayed in our hotel and headed to Humuhumunukunukuapua'a - say that five times fast! We ate in the huge floating restaurant (which looks like an enormous tiki hut) and I had a great piece of ahi tuna with a foi gras dumpling in a pho broth:
Besides the restaurants mentioned above, we also ate at Ferraro's in the Four Seasons and Sansei Seafood & Sushi Bar for dinner, and had a fantastic lunch at a new place called Monkeypod Kitchen. All were good, but I'd definitely recommend checking out Monkeypod - great atmosphere!
Here are a few of my tips if you're planning a trip to Hawaii:
1. Make your reservations on the early side: Normally when I'm on vacation with my mom, we like to eat dinner late - it's not unusual for us to have a 9:00 or 9:15 restaurant reservation. When I was booking restaurants in advance, I made most of our reservations on the later side - about 8:30pm - completely forgetting that we would be CRAZY jetlagged and completely exhausted! I ended up having to change most of our reservations - instead we ate at 7:15 or 7:30 every night... so we could go to bed by 9:45! Note: if you're coming from the East Coast, this is a MUST: a 7pm reservation Hawaii time means you're eating dinner at 1:00am your time!
2. Rent a car: More than half the restaurants that we went to were not walkable. I'd highly recommend renting a car, especially if you're planning on doing any shopping or hiking! A few of the restaurants were about 45 minutes away - taking a cab would have been obscenely expensive. Just beware: valet parking at resorts can cost up to $30 a day! Self-parking is always available if you do want to rent a car but don't mind parking it yourself.
3. Talk to the locals: No matter how many amazing recommendations I got from friends before we went, some of the best places we ate were places that saleswomen in shops or hotel employees told us about. For example, we never would have known about that little Saturday morning flea market if we hadn't been chatting it up with a woman who worked at the Shops of Wailea! Another example: on our very first day there, we woke up crazy early due to jetlag and decided to head out to Kihei to find breakfast. While driving, we noticed a tiny cafe with the line out the door filled with surfers! We knew it had to be good because of the local presence - and sure enough, Kihei Caffe was delicious. So chat it up with all the natives!
Want more suggestions or recommendations? Email me! I'm happy to help!