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May 1, 2008
By CARLA TRACY, Dining Editor
BACK IN THE SADDLE . . No, I haven’t been lollygagging around these past weeks, eating bonbons. Rather, I chose to munch tasty, little peanut butter rice krispie treats, hand-made on Maui from Paukukalo Store, as I recuperated from knee surgery due to a snow-skiing accident.

But enough about me, YOU readers are what “rock this rock!”

Take for instance, wine guy Alan Jahns of JMD Beverages. He just returned from Napa Valley, where he helped winemaker Dan Duckhorn celebrate his 70th. All guests gamely dressed in duck-hunting attire. . . Chef Beverly Gannon jetted off to dine at the White House for the Small Business Persons Awards banquet . . . Jennifer?Nguyen of A Saigon Cafe just celebrated her birthday with pals, sake and sushi, the latter fresh off the boats from Paradise Sushi in Kihei . . . And Maui’s greatest jazz drummer, Mike Buono, is now in the restaurant biz as one of the owners of Cafe Marc Aurel. . . Chris Speere says his latest Chaine des Rotisseurs dinner was held Sunday at the new Cucina Bella kitchen store in Kahului. Speere also heads Maui Culinary Academy, which will benefit from a wine dinner Wednesday at the Son’z at Swan Court in the Hyatt Regency Resort Hotel & Spa. Courses range from prime rib short ribs to Japanese hamachi to Hawaiian pineapple-mango upside-down cake topped with almond cream.

Speaking of things Hyatt, the Kaanapali resort has broken ground on an $8 million poolside restaurant, which will be unveiled as ‘Umalu this summer.

Lots of noodle slurping going on at the new WokStar in Kihei. Oceans Bar and Grill in Kihei is a monster of a restaurant with 275 seats and a dance floor. Word has it Lulu’s will take over E&O in Lahaina . . . We’re still waiting for the nightclub at Charley’s in Paia to open after that unfortunate fire . . . But Ono Gelato is cooling things down nearby in that great food town . . . You heard it here first — something BIG is coming to the Fairmont Kea Lani Resort soon. . . Former Manana Garage owner Alan Ireland is running with Acme Burgers in Utah.

Hard Rock Cafe in Lahaina is getting into the franchise’s “save the planet” motto with kids meal. Instead of giving them plastic toys that will thrown away and forgotten, they get tree seed packets that encourage lil’ rockers to plant and preserve. . . And Hard Rock will celebrate Cinco de Mayo throughout the month of May with Mas Tequila and a host specialty drinks.

Rosa’s Cantina opened last month in the old Molina’s on Market Street in Wailuku. Rosa Garcia, who hails from Toluca, Mexico, ran the former El Corita and now runs the front of the house. Chips and salsa are made fresh everyday and so are the tamales and chile rellenos. “We’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Right now, its BYOB,” says owner Carrie Cameron.

For Wailuku’s monthly First Friday event tomorrow, Rosa’s will feature live music and $1 tacos. But they are still planning what to do for Cinco de Mayo.

Mulligan’s on the Blue in Wailea boasts it’s the “Irish-Hawaiian-Mexican hot spot” for Cinco de Mayo. Doors open at 4 p.m. and there will be a food tent, beer specials and free shuttles from the Dog and Duck in Kihei. The first 50 people get free T-shirts. Mick Fleetwood spotted eating not one but two burgers at Mully’s and he was back the next day for fish and chips. . . Hmm, maybe his band will play there.

Celebrating its 40th birthday this year is Chez Paul in Olowalu. In fact, it’s the oldest French restaurant in the Pacific, according to owner Patrick Callarec, who’s offering “buy one entree, get one free” to all kamaaina in the month of May . . . McDonald’s celebrates 40 years in Hawaii and newly renovated McDonald’s Pukalani opened its doors April 19, sporting murals of horses and silversword plants along with family booths and trendy quick-bite stools with high counters. There are 85 outlets with more than 4,000 employees across the state.

Lahaina Grill is once again featuring its kamaaina specials every Tuesday through May. You get 50 percent off all entrees with proper ID . . . Who Cut The Cheese store in Kihei will celebrate its fifth anniversary Wednesday with sips, snacks, party favors and prizes . . . Today at the MACC in Kahului, Penne Pasta Cafe will cater the Jason Mraz show with chicken parmesan and fresh mahimahi piccatta.

Maui’s restaurant scene appears to be happening. No lollygagging allowed.

Carla Tracy is the dining editor of Maui Scene. You may call her at 242-6342 or email

Article Photos

“For our chile rellenos, we buy big wheels of queso fresco cheese and use fresh peppers,” says Rosa’s Cantina owner Carrie Cameron.

The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo



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