Side Orders • Apr. 17, 2014

WEST SIDE STORIES. . . The management of the Wharf Cinema Center in Lahaina is pleased to announce that two new restaurants have joined the stellar lineup at the popular shopping plaza.

Downstairs in the cool courtyard with waterfalls and ponds is the new Makani Kai Island Grill & Bar. The owner, Stewart Bahl, grew up on Kauai. His wife, Jaime Bahl, fell in love with Maui on vacation here. Fans of Jimmy Buffet, the couple serves lunch and dinner with kalua pork, loco moco, fish and chips and mahimahi tacos, using catch right out of Lahaina Harbor.

Shaka Vibe Bubble Tea & Treats just opened across the courtyard from Makani Kai. It offers cool, tropical slushy drinks in flavors of honeydew, mango, taro, papaya, coconut and passionfruit – all with pearls of sweet tapioca thrown into the cups.

Owned and operated by Ramil and his brother, Rowel Basco, Shaka Vibe also sells Tornado Taters. Move over, hurricane fries! The brothers spiral cut fresh, whole Idaho potatoes and fry on skewers in flavors of cheesey cheddar, salt and vinegar, barbecue and more. Come check out their grand opening this week and get $1 off any large drink. For more details, call 662-3000.


EDUCATE YOURSELF. . . Go with the flow to gain a liquid understanding of handcrafted lagers and ales at Beer School, tapping into West Maui at 11:30 a.m. today for $15 per person at Maui Brewing Company’s Brewpub in Kahana.

“There will be light food pairings along with tastings, and together we will explore how food and beer can synchronize for the ultimate experience,” says owner Garrett Morrero. Space is limited. Call 669-3474.

Coronado Brewing Co. is launching Frog’s Breath IPA this month in Hawaii. But it’s not what you think. The two brewers were Navy frogmen. Their beers will be featured at Maui Brewers Festival May 17 outdoors at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului.

Maui Culinary Academy will host the “Flashback” gala from 5 to 7 this evening at Leis Family Class Act restaurant upstairs at University of Hawaii Maui College’s Paina Building in Kahului

“Come enjoy a tasting of dishes selected from different time periods from exotic parts of the world,” says external program coordinator Chris Speere. “Sample modern and traditional dishes from countries such as Greece, Japan, Vietnam, France and Italy.” Cost is $50 general seating and $70 for VIP seats. Call 984-3367.

BITS AND PIECES. . . The Oregonian newspaper in metropolitan Portland just had its 2014 readers poll, and in the write-in heavy race, its readers voted 808 Grinds Hawaiian-style food truck as No. 1.

The owner chefs are Jensen Yip and his good friend, Kevin Schofield, both Maui boys and King Kekaulike High School grads!

Saltimbocca in Maalaea is enticing diners with Italian specialties for dinner. Now, kamaaina get 20 percent off food in the dining room and 40 percent off when dining at the bar with valid Hawaii ID.

More than 350 people in Maui’s restaurant world were spotted Sunday at the 2014 ‘Aipono Gala at Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. Proceeds benefited Maui Culinary Academy, and its students spent the day of the gala working side by side with Maui’s professional chefs in a restaurant environment.

Executive Chef Tylun Pang of Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. We also hear Eric Faivre, executive chef of Grand Wailea, won the Friend of Agriculture Award for supporting farmers and buying local. Isaac Bancaco of Andaz Maui in Wailea got Chef of the Year, and his Ka’ana Kitchen won as Best New Restaurant.

Of course, The Maui News will publish its own contest, the Best of Maui, in September. It’s great that so many hard working individuals and establishments get recognized by several island publications.

Tortugas Restaurant just opened its first Hawaii outlet in the Maui Mall in Kahului. It specializes in tortas, or hot Mexican sandwiches, with fillings such as beef milanesa, grilled pork and chorizo, along with cream, cheese, avocado and refried beans.