Side Orders • May 1, 2014

SOUTH MAUI NEWS. . .The late, great Jerry Garcia might have said, “What a long, strange trip it’s been,” about the closing of Stella Blues Cafe earlier this week, which has saddened so many.

Not only was the casual restaurant named after a Grateful Dead song, it was a fabulous hangout for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It also was a supper club hot spot featuring top bands, it delivered lunches to South Maui, and it served as a caterer at numerous island events.

On the other end of the spectrum, Ko at The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui is celebrating its recent win in the Ai Pono Awards for Best Hawaii Regional Cuisine, and its Silver for Best Healthy Choices.

The resort’s Executive Chef Tylun Pang also garnered a Lifetime Achievement Award, so in celebration, kamaaina are invited to try Pang’s pupu party special.

When Maui residents buy any Ko pupu, they receive the second one free, including the famed Oishi sushi, the crispy calamari and the Filipino lumpia. Pang’s pupu party runs through June 21. A diner tells me he spotted Natalie Cole enjoying pupu there recently.

You may also enjoy the kamaaina “buy one entree, get the second one free,” as well as get 25 percent off drinks in Ko’s bar and lounge area.

‘ami ‘ami Bar & Grill at Maui Coast Hotel will present Doug MacDonald with the Benoit Jazz Works on May 9, and there is no cover charge. Named after the sexy hula movement of the hips, ‘ami ‘ami boasts a dance floor, two bars, a cushy lounge, Plumeria Room for private parties and beautiful courtyard dining.

“For breakfast, we have corned beef eggs Benedict, kalua pork hash, feta cheese and artichoke omelets and bananas Foster pancakes,” says owner Dana Pastula.

Veteran restaurateur Marc Dehandschutter is the new night manager; and the food products are all high end, yet the prices are right.

The dungeness crab and avocado trifle is a masterpiece of the senses, lamb chops are from Colorado, top sirloin steak is Kobe beef, and scallops are plump and juicy. Mother’s Day specials will abound.


BITS AND PIECES. . . At East Maui Taro Festival on Saturday outdoors at the Hana Ballpark, you may get to the root of the matter with all things kalo.

The only commercial vendor that will be there, Hawai’i Taro, will sell Maui Taro Burgers made with 100-percent, Hawaii-grown kalo, utilizing the whole plant from root to stock to leaves.

Owner Robert Mitnick will grill meatless, wheatless, soyless, vegan, additive-free, gluten-free and non-GMO taro burgers, and 19 local families will sell their taro dishes. If you can’t make the trek it to Hana, his taro burgers are also available in freezers at Mana Foods and Down to Earth, among other stores.

Whole Foods Market will partner with University of Hawaii Maui College from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 8, for Rootstock Meetup Maui.

To be presented in the Laulima Building Room 105, the informal meeting will host those in the local food production community to talk about claims and certifications, including for organic, non-GMO and gluten-free products that they want to get to market.

Maui Brewing Company will team with Dazoo in Paia for a beer pairing dinner at 6 p.m. May 14. The five-course meal will offer limited edition and flagship brews with dishes created for the event.