Side Orders • Nov. 14, 2013

OUT AND ABOUT . . . It sure was fun to be one of the judges at Saturday’s Life is Sweet benefit for Best Buddies Hawaii. The desserts were fabulous, and the company was enjoyable.

Fellow judge Jennifer Nguyen, owner of A Saigon Cafe in Wailuku, says she recently returned from South Korea, where she ran the Seoul Marathon. The veteran runner also pounded the pavement in the Paris Marathon awhile back. She says to look out for some new menu additions at her Vietnamese restaurant soon.

Another judge, Steven Horn of Ka’anapali Beach Club, the pink pyramid of a hotel in West Maui, says his weekly seafood buffet is luring in diners hook, line and fresh catch on Wednesdays. But it will be closed Nov. 27, due to the staff gearing up for a Thanksgiving feast.

The winner of the annual Life is Sweet dessert contest was Executive Pastry Chef Ricky DeBoer of Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui. DeBoer and his pastry team won first place for their colorful Nani Hopena, meaning “beautiful ending” in Hawaiian.

It consisted of Keanae lilikoi made into mousse, layered with Maui vanilla-bean brulee, soy-sauce pineapple gelee and coconut dacquoise, topped with Kula pumpkin and Kula strawberry semi freddo and coconut tuille, with garnishes of mini French macrons and pineapple-basil essence spritzer. Congrats!

You may find Keanae lilikoi butter by Jamie’s Jams at Fairmont’s Caffe Ciao.

Entrant Mike O’Dwyer says that actress and Grammy Award-winning singer Tia Carrere came into his Fabiani’s Wailea restaurant for her father’s 70th birthday and ended up waiting tables. “We were so busy as we had just opened, and so she took her own table’s order and then started taking orders around the dining room,” says O’Dwyer. “We gave her a tip, of course!”

I also met Life is Sweet’s cosponsor, John C. Tolbert. He is the new Cluster General Manager of Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa and its sister property in Waikoloa on the Big Island. He takes over from Bill Countryman, who has moved to Kauai. Tolbert gave away a lot of hotel rooms for the auction.


BITS AND PIECES . . . Former Mulligan’s on the Blue in Wailea partner, Kevin O’Kennedy, owns Clancy’s Bar & Pizza in Chicago. If you head to the Windy City, look him up. His motto is: “Come for the pizza, stay for the pint.”

Seats are still available for Kokua for the Philippines from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday at the Binhi At Ani Filipino community center in Kahului. It started out to aid victims of the 7.2 earthquake that struck, and now that the destructive typhoon also devastated the country, there is more reason than ever to help out.

Attendees will enjoy finely crafted food from chef action stations, desserts and entertainment. Participants are Jojo Vasquez of Plantation House, Joey Macadangdang of Roy’s Kaanapali, Gevin Utrillo of Japengo, Isaac Bancaco of Ka’ana Kitchen, James Simpliciano of Simplifresh, Jake Belmonte of Maui Culinary Academy, Larry Badua of Badua’s Catering, Riko Bartolome of Slow Food Maui, and Sheldon Simeon of Mala Wailea.

Two other chefs have come onboard as well, including Christopher Galicinao of Four Seasons Resort Maui and Tante Urban of Tante’s Island Cuisine. Cost is $50, but you may donate more. For tickets, call 359-1616 or email

Buzz’s Wharf in Maalaea will host its first Pop-Up meal at 6 p.m. Saturday. The four surf ‘n’ turf themed courses were created by Buzz’s Catering Chef Lyndon Honda. With wine pairings, it costs $80 per person.

The Montessori School of Maui’s dinner project, called Farm to Table, will be presented from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday in a garden in Makawao. Executive Chef Justin Pardo of Market Fresh Bistro will prepare the meal. For tickets, call 573-1046 or visit

Speaking of things down on the farm, the quarterly Grown on Maui Farmers’ Market will be held from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Whalers Village Fine Shops & Restaurants. Farmers, chefs and food producers will be demonstrating their goods. Chocolatier Melanie Boudar will talk about how she’ll turn her Haiku cacao farm into an agrotourism hot spot sometime next year. Hula Grill chefs will also make farm-fresh breakfast burritos.