VANISHING ACTS . . . First we hear no Halloween plans for Lahaina and now A Taste of Lahaina and Best of Island Music will not be held mid September as previously planned. However, the island's largest food and music event will reportedly resurface next year. John Brunold, the president of LahainaTown Action Committee, says the vendors and the sponsors were uncertain they could support Taste properly because of the economic slowdown.
But for those foodies who have $140 to purchase advance tickets before the Aug. 10 deadline and $150 after, A Taste of Lahaina's sister event will be held Sept. 5 and move to the The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua.
Called Maui Chefs Present, its theme will be Culinary Olympics: Road to the Ritz. Attendees may taste gourmet foods by 12 top chefs along with fine wines, and it all benefits Maui Culinary Academy. "We had a choice of whether to postpone one or both events until next year and we chose to retain the chef's event because it's far less complicated and less costly to produce to the high standard we have set for both events," says Brunold. "We didn't want to diminish the quality of either."
Magician Kenn Serrano pulls out his bag of tricks aboard the Spirit of Lahaina for visitor Unica Lawson. His show is several afternoons a week and you get pupu, drinks and dinner.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Then to hear the massive, oceanfront, North Beach Grille at Kaanapali Beach Club closed its doors last week - wow laulau - and rumors are flying it will morph into time-share sales offices.
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ABBRA CADABRA . . . During the next few weeks, everything will be Zippy's Kahului. It will be the latest of 25 outlets and the first on Maui.
While Zippy's won't officially celebrate its grand opening until Aug. 18, it will host senior sign ups Aug. 5 and 6 for those 65 and older.
"It will enable seniors to get 10 percent off," says Jeanine Mamiya-Kalahiki, marketing manager. "We won't be open yet, but we'll have tables set up outside from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to issue temporary cards."
Magician Kenn Serrano is the man about town these days, town being West Maui. He and his bag of tricks will lead off Comedy Night, which will reopen this Friday at Giovani's Tomato Pie Ristorante at the main entrance to Kaanapali. Three funnymen and live music are included in the ticket price of $10 per person.
Seating is at 8 p.m., the show starts at 9 p.m., and if you want to eat, simply order off of Giovani's Italian menu. Pupu includes roasted garlic bulbs served with basil-tomato bread, sausage-stuffed mushrooms, and Caprese salad with owner Jon Applegate's own Olowalu Nui vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.
Entrees range from New York steak in Pomodoro sauce to opakapaka parmesan with rich sauce, finished with quattro formaggio cheese over pasta.
"I recommend coming early to eat, because sometimes people laugh so hard they end up choking on their food," jokes Serrano, who also wows with his magic performance aboard the Spirit of Lahaina several afternoons per week. The food is fabulous with shrimp skewered on sugarcane sticks, and steak and chicken all grilled onboard. Mulligan's on the Wharf makes the yummy potato salad and tosses the greens. Desserts are freshly baked.
Lahaina Store Grille & Oyster Bar is still kicking up its heels with the Texas-style barbecue Sundays and this time around, the Gina Martinelli Band will heat things up along with the secret sauce.
Maui Coffee Roasters has expanded to Japan to the trendy Shibuya ward of Tokyo, where young, hip people sip coffee and buy high fashion.
This new store replicates the Maui original with unique tables, funky art and the menu - from basmati sandwiches to loco moco, according to founder Nicky Beans Matichyn, an international trendsetter.
Merriman's Kapalua just opened for lunch service last week and it set up a bar and a cozy fire pit out on the lava point for sunset cocktails.