Side Orders • Mar. 6, 2014

AROUND TOWN . . . As some of you know, Jennifer Nguyen was named a winner in the 2014 Mayor’s Small Business Awards last week at King Kamehameha Golf Club in Waikapu. She won in the category of exceptional business people with 11 to 35 employees.

“I was speechless,” says Nguyen, owner of A Saigon Cafe, who had just flown in hours before from a short Napa Valley vacation. “It was unexpected. So I didn’t prepare. Of course, I want to thank my customers for their loyalty over my 21 years in business.”

The three partners of Three’s Bar & Grill in Kihei were nominated in the category of Young Small Businessperson of the Year.

Spring Break is almost upon us, and DUO Steak & Seafood at Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea will keep catering to the whole ohana with its Family Time promo through April 19.

Featured daily from 5 to 6:30 p.m., Family Time offers keiki fun with balloon artists and face painting. Kid-friendly entrees include buttermilk fried chicken with gravy, whipped potatoes and Kula corn; and spaghetti Bolognese with garlic focaccia. As always, parking is complimentary at the resort. Call 874-2201.


UPCOUNTRY FUN . . . On Sunday, Maui’s newest pop-up food event, HappyOpu, invites you on an adventure to eat and zip your way through beautiful scenery at Piiholo Ranch Zipline.

Enjoy the creative cuisine of chef Kyle Kawakami from Maui Fresh Streatery, who will feature fresh Hamakua mushrooms as the theme.

You may also quench your thirst with various mixtures from Wow Wow Lemonade and receive a swag bag with special surprises inside.

“The goal is to make sure everyone leaves with a happy tummy,” says owner Daryl Fujiwara. “We want to make sure that your na’au, or gut (and metaphysically in Hawaiian language your “spiritual center”), is full from great food and an awesome experience.” Those who wish to refrain from zipping about may simply dine for less. For tickets, email

Ocean Vodka Organic Farm & Distillery is now in the mood for making music. Its Celebration of Spring event will feature Paula Fuga with opening acts Benny Uyetake and Kevin Brown from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 15. The event will be situated on The Point scenic area, food will be for purchase by Three’s Food Truck. You must be at least 21 and older to attend. Bring a blanket or chair, and leave the cooler at home.


BITS AND PIECES . . . Come and get your fill of authentic Hawaiian fare at the 22nd annual Makena Lu’au at Keawalai Church on Saturday. Historical exhibits on Kahoolawe along with songs, chants, hula, children’s tent, gift center and fresh lei will be featured.

As for food, you may savor kalua pig, chicken long rice, squid luau, poi, lomilomi salmon, poke, uala (sweet potato), and dessert of coconut cake.

Mardi Gras will be kicking up its heels at two different places on Saturday, including Maui AIDS Foundation’s Mardi Gras Maui in Waikapu (see Events on Page 12, for more details). Brigit & Bernards Garden Cafe in Kahului Industrial will party down from 6 p.m. to closing Saturday with food from around the world and live music by High Seas Dixieland Band. The all-you-can-eat buffet features curry Casimer, Louisiana gumbo, jambalaya, potatoes au gratin and sausages. Cost is $38.

Last month, Maui Ocean Treasure gift shop in Maalaea introduced its newest section in the store, aptly named, the Food Pantry!

Situated inside Maui Ocean Center, the pantry features Hawaii- and Maui-made edibles, and aquarium admission is not required; just check in at the front gate.

The million-dollar question readers keep asking me is: When will Rock & Brews open? Well, it just opened its doors on Wednesday in Paia! I checked it out Tuesday and found the Strawberry Fields salad to be epic and the Rockin’ hot wings crazy good.