Side Orders • Sept. 26, 2013

EMERALD ISLE . . . Just back from the brilliant land of leprechauns, where corned beef and cabbage doesn’t exist. But I did find incredible cuisine that exceeded every expectation.

From Gordon Ramsay in Powerscourt to Fade St. Social and The Cellar restaurants in Dublin, we dined fine on local, sustainable and farm-fresh ingredients. The pub fare also more than caught our fancies.

Even saw Mike O’Dwyer of Mulligans on the Blue at the Shelbourne Park greyhound track in Dublin, where his dog, Hawaii Kinsale, ran at a rapid clip. Hmm. . . wondering if his visit there is why his Fabiani’s Wailea still hasn’t opened? Bet on it! I’ll write more on Ireland’s cuisine in an upcoming issue of Sunday’s Currents soon.

So much has transpired on Maui since I’ve been gone, a lot in the hotel general manager arena. Tom Donovan has left the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua to be the managing director of Grand Wailea. Four Seasons Resort Maui now has Frenchman Jean Claude Wietzel at the helm. Wonder what their culinary teams will be cooking down the road?

Jim Powlan of Chambers & Chambers wine merchants has left to pursue a solo art career. Aaron Trujillo of Sansei fame is now with Ho’aloha Group, the parent company of Old Lahaina Lu’au, Star Noodle and Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop restaurants.

Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali just welcomed Raymond Nicasio as executive sous chef. Andaz Maui in Wailea opened in my absence. Chef Kyle Kawakami is now impressing diners with his new Maui Fresh Streatery food truck at Shell Gas Station in Kahului. Sadly, two Kihei restaurants, Serino’s and Juanita’s, have already closed just months after opening.


BITS AND PIECES . . . Mark your calendars now for Aloha Week in Hana, from Oct. 19 to 26, with a stellar lineup of culture, food and crafts booths, music and contests that span most days. The last day culminates with Ho’ike Night -a special evening of Hawaiian entertainment in Hana Ballpark with tons of food, hula, poke and pohole fern shoot contests, Kahanu Garden ulu (breadfruit) cook-off, and lei and floral contests. Concessions are available.

Of course, Travaasa Hana hotel will get in on the action with food and drink and ulu maika, a Hawaiian bowling game with coconuts as pins.

Coming up on Oct. 26 will be the 17th annual Noble Chef benefit for Maui Culinary Academy at Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui in Wailea. This year’s theme is “The World on a Plate.”

Maui Brewing Co.’s Kahana pub is scoring touchdowns with a Sunday Football brunch starting Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and running through Oct. 27.

“We’ll feature some limited offerings like beer-battered banana bread and a liquid brunch featuring our self-serve Bloody Mary bar and fresh-squeezed juice cocktails,” says the pub’s Tony Ren.

Rita’s Steak & Fish House at Kihei Kalama Village now boasts 19 TVs and screens the ESPN college package and the NFL Sunday ticket. It opens at 7 a.m., serving breakfast Saturdays and Sundays.

One of my favorite Paia restaurants is Cafe Mambo, which celebrates 10 years. Now through October, you may stop by for breakfast, lunch or dinner and leave your email address to enter a drawing for a three-night stay at Makena Beach & Golf Resort.

Speaking of that hotel, tonight it will uncork a wine and food tasting event with Cabernet Franc and three food items for $40 per person. Call 875-5888.

Bautista Filipino Kitchen of Oahu plans to open its first neighbor island restaurant at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center’s food court this October. President Maria Bautista-Marcus says the menu at the new location will feature Filipino foods with a Euro twist, including dishes such as Spanish paella and flaky meat-filled pastries.

Vineyard Food Co. in Wailuku will present prix-fixe dinners Friday and Saturday with seatings at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Partial proceeds will benefit Historic Iao Theater. You may BYO wine or beer. Call 243-3663.

Maui Arts & Cultural Center is jamming with events this week. For Leon Russell today, Three’s Bar & Grill will cater Hawaiian-style ribs with guava-chipotle glaze, and hoisin ground-turkey lettuce wraps. Three’s will also cater “Broadway’s Next H!t Musical” on Saturday, repeating the ribs and doing panko-crusted ahi rolls and Grecian salads. For the Hulaville Festiville and Augie T shows on Friday, Kalama’s will appeal to local palates with shoyu chicken and kalua pork and cabbage.

Do stick around each show for “AfterGlow,” in which you may linger for beverages, desserts and socializing in the Yokouchi Pavilion/Founders Courtyard, instead of rushing out to the parking lot.

Look for scores of other fun things in Side Orders coming up on the horizon. Ireland may be the “Emerald Isle,” but I say Maui is still, “no ka oi.”