Backpack Buddies benefit at Merriman’s

One in five Maui County kids may go to bed hungry tonight. Coming to their rescue is the Maui Food Bank’s Backpack Buddies program.

“The food bank provides these children with a special backpack filled with six meals for them to take home over the weekend to assure that they do not go hungry,” says Development Director Marlene Rice.

Those who wish to support this noble cause may book tickets to attend Blue Hawaii at 6 p.m. Sept. 13 at Merriman’s Kapalua. Cosponsored by Ocean Vodka, Blue Hawaii will include dinner, drinks, a silent auction and live entertainment, featuring Darren Lee of “Burn’n Love,” voted the No. 1 thing to do on Maui by TripAdvisor. All event proceeds benefit the program.

“Darren Lee has got great energy,” says Richard Yust, executive director of Maui Food Bank. “Peter and Vickie Merriman have generously donated their restaurant, fine cuisine and valet parking for this benefit event.”

The theme is a Maui Farm & Fish Dinner and the evening will begin with a selection of chef-prepared pupu passed at Merriman’s oceanfront Point Deck. Then sit down to Maui-grown salad fare.

Entree choices include mac-nut roasted monchong with spicy garlic broccoli in a roasted-mushroom sake reduction; or filet mignon with Kula cauliflower puree, carrots braised in bourbon, slow-roasted Maui Onion, wilted Hirabara Swiss chard and marinated Tamimi cherry tomatoes, the talk of the town.

Dessert will be a signature Maui Gold pineapple and toasted mac-nut brioche pain perdu with butter, Old Lahaina Rum sauce and haupia ice cream.

Also, Merriman’s bartender Krystle Park invented the winning Ocean Vodka cocktail called the Basil Pom Swell, which will be served at the event.

For tickets or more details, call the Maui Food Bank at 243-9500, or visit its website at