Side Orders • January 18, 2018

Owner John Henry of Maui Coffee Attic in Wailuku counseled diners as he’s also a prison chaplain. • The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo

FUTURE IS BRIGHT . . . On Saturday after the missile-alert mistake “all-clear,” I headed to Lowe’s to buy plants and ran into Eric Gilliom.

He was in the garden area, too, a sign that we both had hope for the future. He headlines the Island Rhythms Sunset Cocktail Cruise on Fridays departing out of Maalaea Harbor and Saturdays from Lahaina Harbor, presented by the Pacific Whale Foundation. Gilliom takes over for Marty Dread (who did a bang-up job for for a long time).

It includes whale-watching, live music, dancing, appetizers, refreshing drinks and likely sightings of humpback whales. For tickets, visit or call (808) 202-2895.

Afterwards, I went to a joint birthday bash for Marc Antosch and Nico Arihood in Paukukalo. “Waimanalo Blues” and other lovely Hawaiian songs were performed by the band, Kuikawa, as talk of the “missile mistake” circulated.

Neighbor Mary Kekona said that her son decided that the best place to take cover was in the family’s imu pit. So the underground oven is where Karlson Kealoha took a tarp and rain gear and hunkered down until the false-alarm alert went out. He was lucky no roast pork was slow cooking on hot rocks at the time. Auwe!

Maui’s solid-as-a-rock resorts fared much better. At Ka’anapali Beach Hotel, diners at the beautiful courtyard Tiki Terrace restaurant were NOT taken to the imu, but directed inside for cover.

“We relocated all guests to the Kanahele Room,” says Executive Sous Chef Chris Napoleon. “My guys never left and I made sure there was no panic in the kitchen until the all-clear.”

At the Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea, diners at DUO and elsewhere were invited to the ballroom.

“We calmly escorted everybody, guests, employees and people off the beach up to our resort ballroom,” explains Director of Public Relations Crissa Hiranaga. “The resort has routine drills in accordance with our property’s emergency preparedness plan, so employees guided guests to safety in the ‘invacuation.’ There were about 1,000 people in all.”

What’s cooking at Four Seasons now? At the new Beachwalk Cafe, sip champagne and fine wines by the glass and eat freshly shucked oysters weekly.

At Tasty Crust on Saturday morning, the sea of local diners decided to stick it out over pancakes and loco moco.

“We had the Maui Police officers in here eating breakfast at the time and they told everyone to stay calm,” said Supervisor Sharee Pagan. “So pretty much, everyone did listen.”

In cool and cushy Marco’s Grill & Deli in Kahului, diners finished their breakfasts of eggs Benedict and omelettes. It just goes to show that food is comforting in times of even a mistaken crisis.

“One of the first things I did was go on the civil-defense website. It seemed peculiar that nothing was there,” says Manager Dan Egnatchik.

At Maui Coffee Attic in Wailuku, the owner told everyone, ” If you have faith in God, there are no concerns.’ So they just hung out. I never thought about the tactical aspect,” says owner John Henry, chaplain at the prison here.

Maui Coffee Attic will be mesmerizing with hypnotist Joshua Blue from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

“The hypnosis show is PG-13 and all-age appropriate,” he says. “Our restaurant will be open that night with pizzas, nice wraps and avocado toast. People say that it’s the best around.”

On Sunday, I savored the new brunch at Humuhumunukunukuapua’a at the Grand Wailea. It was business as usual at Maui’s preeminent paradise playground. Brunch on the Reef is off the charts in ambience and taste and the introductory price of $49 includes champagne. I’d jump on that like there’s no tomorrow. The regular price will be $75 with fun upgrades starting Feb. 4. The Sunday brunch replaces the one in the Grand Dining Room, which continues its daily breakfast buffets. For reservations, call 875-1234.

Coming is the Taste of School Gardens benefit March 10 by Grow Some Good at Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu to entice keiki to nurture the aina. The event makes me look forward to the future on this beautiful island and to planting the Meyer lemon tree from Lowe’s.

* Got restaurant/dining-event scoop?

Call Dining Editor Carla Tracy at 242-6342; or email