CRUISIN' AND BOOZIN' . . . Funny how the first time I interviewed rocker Sammy Hagar, it was at the Kahului Airport, and we talked about his Cabo Wabo Tequila. Wednesday, he and his family were there again for the grand opening of Sammy's Beach Bar & Grill at the top of the escalator.
"We're going to put this place on the map!" Sammy said as we walked through the security checkpoint. Upstairs, he told the crowd, "I'm better at singing than talking," but he was gracious, indeed, the food and drink were fab and all of his profits go to local charities.
One man approached him and said he had been to his bar in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. "But you can't party as hard here at the airport!" says Sammy, adding that previously, "Some of the worst meals in my life have been when I was traveling through airports."
Bartender Doreen Pai learns how Sammy Hagar likes his Wabo ‘Rita drink to taste. “Basically, he told me to add more tequila!” says Doreen.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
HMS Host Corporate Chef Rick Wolf of Bethesda, Md., met with Sammy in Sacramento to develop the recipes and he says it's "fun Mexican food." There is everything from ceviche to nachos to flan. We'll have more on the menu and the ambience next week. By the way, "Cruisin' and Boozin'" is a Sammy song.
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HOW SWEET IT IS . . . There won't be a crying eye in the crowd, when the 19th annual Maui Onion Festival slices its way into Kaanapali Aug. 23 at Whalers Village Fine Shops & Restaurants.
In fact, starting Friday, you may enjoy several pre-event promotions from discounted rooms across Kaanapali Resort to deals and meals at the mall. "Kaanapali Beach Resort's hotel and condominium partners are offering packages that are perfect for residents and Neighbor Islanders wanting to spend a couple of days in Kaanapali for the festival," says Lisa Donlon. For instance, Westin Maui Resort & Spa and Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas will do discounted rooms and value-added programs such as Kids Eat Free; Stay One, Dine All; and more.
Hula Grill will also present a four-course dinner Aug. 22, featuring the participating chefs in the Maui Onion Festival. Dishes will include, of course, the Maui Onion, and Maui Brewing Co. beers will flow.
"The dinner will kick off for the Maui Onion Festival," says Hula Grill partner Orrin Cross. "We have joined forces with Garret from the Maui Brew Co. We want to do a fun and tasty dinner with some of the featured chefs from the festival. We realize that with the current economical times that we are experiencing, people need a good value and an excuse to go out and have some fun. This will be an event not to miss."
SPEED DATING A HOOT . . . There will be free pole dancing, sexy pupu such as fried oysters, kava bar, and Ocean Vodka drinks. We're talking about the Gay Speed Dating night for men and women, which will debut at 8 p.m. Aug. 25 and run every Monday at Wow-Wee Maui Kava Bar & Grill in Kahului.
Straight Speed Dating runs Tuesdays, and some of my aged readers keep asking when the Senior Speed Dating will commence. For now, you may get your mojo working with California roll, spicy tuna, shoyu poke and fried calamari from Ren's Sushi Bar in Wow-Wee. Drink specials run from Ocean Bombs to Lemon Drops. Owner Mike Capuano says he also just debuted a Wow-Wee candy bar with Maui Kitch'n Cook'd potato chips.
An educational course on Wine for Cheesemongers will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Miss Bunny's in Dolphin Plaza in Kihei. It will focus on sauvignon blancs and other white wines. Seating is limited.
So sad to hear about the closing of Auntie Pasto's in the Queen Ka'ahamanu Center Monday. Over 40 employees were affected. They were just gearing up to host their first anniversary bash this weekend when they got the news from corporate offices.
"We just didn't do a very good job," says owner Ed Wary. "Our opening was delayed and, to be honest, we just never recovered from the setback we had from those initial months. I do have hope of partnering with a local operator and perhaps putting in a new and exciting concept in that location. We will certainly keep Maui informed as soon as it's decided."
Ditto for John Paul Fine Foods in the Pukalani Square on Makawao Avenue. It closed about three weeks ago and we will miss the soups and cheeses.
* Carla Tracy is the dining editor of the Maui Scene.