Side Orders • Apr. 24, 2014

IT’S PAR-TAY TIME . . . Loosen your belts, as the season of food festivals is here. The first weekend of May, we’ll not only have the East Maui Taro Festival in Hana (see story in Dining), but the Maui Onion Festival in Kaanapali.

A signature event at Whalers Village since 1990, the 25th annual Maui Onion Festival offers free admission and free parking from 9:45 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, May 3, with celebrity chefs, live entertainment, beer garden, games and prizes, special retail offers and, of course, world-famous Maui onion rings. Hot, crunchy, sweet and satisfying, the rings are a top seller each year.

Want a sit-down meal experience? Bite into the Maui Onion Pairing Dinner on May 2 at Hula Grill in Kaanapali. For reservations, 661-4567.

The Front Street Jazz & Blues Walk will get you in the mood for food and music May 2 and 3 at various venues in Lahaina and Kaanapali. We hear that the historic Pioneer Inn will present Melveen Leed, as well as a special tapas menu at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 2.

Tickets go on sale today for the Maui Film Festival at Wailea and its culinary parties.

The Opening Night Twilight Reception is Wednesday, June 4, at Capische? in Hotel Wailea; the second event is Taste of Chocolate from 8 to 10 p.m Friday, June 6, at Four Seasons Resort Maui; the popular Filmmakers Brunch is open to certain passholders Saturday, June 7 at Longhi’s in The Shops at Wailea; Taste of Wailea will be held later that day from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on the Molokini Vista Lookout; and the VIP Soiree at Spago will be that evening. Of course, the new Seaside Cinema will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. each evening outdoors and oceanfront at Grand Wailea with food and wine (open to those 21 and older). These star-studded parties are discounted through May 27. Call 579-9244 or visit

Speaking of Capische? the owners just opened Market by Capische? on Monday at Wailea Gateway, offering quick and healthful lunches as well as European breakfasts, such as coddled eggs, waffles and paninis.

Owner Brian Etheredge offers sustainable packaging, local farm produce, fresh-made pasta, jam made by Wailea Organics (his other company) and chef knives.

“It’s pretty much a chef’s pantry,” he says. “We have just about everything to make a gourmet meal at home. We also have a barista and make coffee drinks. It’s a sandwich shop with artisan breads, salads, smoothies, and we have about six tables outside in the courtyard.”

BITS AND PIECES. . . Let’s hope a hard rain’s not a gonna fall at the outdoor Bob Dylan concert Saturday at Maui Arts & Cultural Center. The good news is, the recent weather report says there’s only a 10 percent chance. So come early and dine.

Gates open at 5:30 p.m., and the show starts a 7:30 p.m. in the A&B Amphitheater. You may sink your teeth into beefy hamburgers and cheeseburgers by Teddy’s Bigger Burgers of Lahaina; rootbeer-glazed brisket sandwiches, kalua-pork quesadillas, hoisin-turkey wraps and coconut crusted shrimp with peanut-ginger slaw by Three’s Bar & Grill of Kihei; lamb vindaloo, Madras vegetarian curry and Bombay chicken curry by Star Anise Indian cuisine; mac nuts and almonds by ‘Ono Nuts; and desserts by Maui Macaroons and Donut Dynamite. Nothing else will be blowing in the wind that night.

Speaking of Star Anise, owner Uma Dugied is wowing Upcountry clientele with her Indian as well as Malaysian cuisine from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hibiscus Cafe in Kula. Situated at mile-marker 10 on the Lower Kula Highway at the Enchanted Floral Gardens, a spectacular eight acres of beauty with outdoor seating.

Dugied is knowledgeable and impresses diners with her native cuisine. Do try it.

Renowned teacher Lou Cooperhouse will offer courses on Food Industry Fundamentals at UH Maui College on Tuesday and Wednesday. Sign up for just one or all four, and get certificates of completion.

Three hours each, these noncredited classes include Food Trends and Food Marketplace Overview; Food Technology and Product Development; Quality Assurance and Food Safety Principles; and Good Manufacturing Practices For Food Producers. Register at 984-3231.