Side Orders • March 31, 2016

BREWING INTEREST . . . The Caribbean country of cigars, mojitos and antique automobiles is smokin’ hot in the news since President Barrack Obama visited recently. Now a new food cart is rolling into Kahului Harbor’s lineup. Alba’s Cuban Coladas sells strong espresso and authentic foods of Spanish persuasion.

“I named it after my grandmother,” says owner Christina Sarasola, of Cuban heritage from Miami. “Before she got Alzheimer’s, I worked with her on all of her recipes and I use these today. The logo is her signature that I pulled off an old postcard from 1950s Cuba.”

Sarasola wows with arroz con pollo, chicken and rice cooked paella style with onions and garlic, peppers, peas and saffron served with a side of sweet fried plantains. She also makes empanadas, or dough discs, stuffed with picadillo (seasoned ground beef) in a tomato-ey sofrito, the sauce base of all things Cubano.

Guava-and-cheese empanadas are served for breakfast and so is her best-selling Cortadito, two shots of espresso with sweetened-condensed milk. And the bocaditos are “to Cuba what Spam musubi is to Hawaii.”

“At the moment, I’m a server at the Fairmont Kea Lani, so Alba’s is open three days a week (this coming Saturday, Tuesday and Wednesday) from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Beach Road.” For other dates, you may email info@albascubancoladas.com.”

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BITS AND PIECES . . .Reader Pamela Kantarova has emailed me that she felt the story I did on Surfing Goat Dairy implied the farm is a “purveyor of organic cheeses” as I mentioned “organic cheese cultures” and such. I apologize to those who may have been misled. The farm is Certified Humane – and I did not write that it was Certified Organic.

The brand-new Taverna: Urban Drinks + Italian Eats in Kapalua just got its liquor license last weekend and a sea of Maui restaurateurs were there, sipping craft cocktails and dining on carpaccio, lasagne and more.

All with spouses, spotted were Mike Hooks, formerly of Plantation House in Kapalua, now of the Beach House on Kauai; Stephan Bel Robert of Pacific’o and Feast at Lele at 505 Front Street in Lahaina; and George Watson of Fred’s Mexican Cantina in Kihei.

Montessori School will host its next Dinner Project from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 8, featuring chef-partner Gary King of the new Oceanside Restaurant in Maalaea Harbor Shops. The event will be held in the garden of the school at 2933 Baldwin Ave. in Makawao.

Sip wines, enjoy gourmet fare and know that 100 percent of your ticket directly supports the school. Cost is $175 per person. Email alisong@momi.org. By the way, Montessori School of Maui will present the Taste of Upcountry this fall. Stay tuned.

The Wooden Crate Cabaret Series gets in the groove again from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday with a live performance by Hawaiian folk, rock and blues band Kanekoa featuring Vince Esquire at Lumeria Maui in Makawao with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Paia Youth & Cultural Center. The music melds with a unique, local meal by the resort’s executive chef, Ben Diamond. Cost is $65.

Kick off the 24th annual Taro Festival with a fundraiser Poi Supper held the night before on Friday, April 29, at Hana Ranch in East Maui, in conjunction with Travaasa Hana chef Jay Johnson, Hana Ranch chef Jon Watson and edible Hawaiian Islands. “Poi Supper celebrates our cultural tradition of having a bowl of poi on your dinner table and sharing food and knowledge with your family and community,” says Dania Katz, event host and publisher of edible Hawaiian Islands. Tickets are $95. Buy online at www.hanapoisupper.eventbrite.com.

Hula Grill Ka’anapali is jumping with First Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m. with live music and food. Lahaina Coolers nods to the First Friday of each month with three glasses of wine and three food pairings for $60. And Martinis & Jazz smokes with a cigar area Mondays at King Kamehameha Golf Club in Waikapu. Sigmund Freud said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” But I say, “Sometimes Maui is just too much fun, with a new Cuban food cart, to boot.”