AROUND THE TOWN . . . Sad to hear about the Lahaina Store Grille & Oyster Bar closing in Lahaina. The owners offer their gratitude to all of the diners who have patronized their famous rooftop area as well as the inside room.
In addition, they suggest we now head to the Mai Tai Lounge nearby on Front Street, which offers the only other rooftop dining experience on Maui. For added effect, it hangs wa-a-y over the water.
These are tough economic times for all of us. "No doubt about it," says Alan Jahns of JMD Beverages. "But I don't expect everybody to stop drinking wine! So this semester, I'm trying to bring people's attention to the regions and wines that I feel offer people the greatest bang for their bucks!"
Green Banana Cafe photo
Owner Dean Wong (left) of the new Green Banana Cafe in Paia and employees Shawn Boeckman and Shari Williams prepare flavorful fusion foods that are all the rage along with specialty coffee drinks.
Jahns first one-night class, South of the Border: Wines from Argentina and Chile, will be held Feb. 3 in the Laulima Building at Maui Community College in Kahului. The second one-night class is Thunder from Down Under: Wines from Australia and New Zealand Feb. 10.
But the question that is foremost on my mind is - will male Chippendale dancers be present? NOT!
"I would also like to remind employers and employees in food and beverage that the State of Hawaii Workforce Development will, at least partially, reimburse those taking my wine courses," says Jahns. "You may call 984-2091."
Who Cut The Cheese in Kihei will host Cheddars & Beers (five beers paired with five cheeses) from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Stella Blues Cafe.
The stars were out last week, dining at Merriman's Kapalua. Spotted were Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, son Oliver Hudson and family. We hear Greg Kinnear liked Merriman's so much, he came in twice with his wife, once for dinner and the next night for cocktails and pupu out on the point, which by the way, sets a stunning stage for its full-moon wine tastings.
The Hotel Hana-Maui & Honua Spa is under new management. Arden Grove Hospitality has invited food writers like me out for a luncheon to see what changes are on the restaurant front. Dining Scene will feature lots more in an upcoming issue. . . Rumors are flying around town about who will take over Manana Garage. My lips are sealed for the moment, but it's exciting news, indeed, for Central Maui.
Are you craving some Scottish haggis with neeps and tatties? The national dish of Scotland will be served at Robert Burns Night Saturday at Mulligan's on the Blue in Wailea. Or you may opt for a three-course dinner for $29. Entree choices are corned beef and cabbage or oven-roasted salmon in a lemon-caper sauce with scalloped potatoes and sauteed spinach.
Burns, by the way, was Scotland's most famous poet. He penned Auld Lang Syne among others. The Celtic Tigers and the Scottish Pipers will be there and it should be quite the party. Fine single malt scotches and Irish whiskies will flow.
Green Banana Cafe, pegged "an organic eco-Internet" enterprise, just opened in Paia. It's the perfect pit-stop for athletic surfers who crave smoothies and it's also a last stop for a cuppa for tourists who make the trek to Hana each day. The second floor houses the computer stations.
The owner is Dean Wong, who many know as the gracious house manager of the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Wong says he named it Green Banana because he wants to emphasize the "green factor" and bananas are a local favorite.
Dean's father immigrated to Hawaii in 1911 and was a chef in Chinatown, so he grew up in the biz.
"I love coffee culture - it's trendy, cool, funky and edgy and it allows me complete creativity," says Dean. "Things sure have changed since my father ran a food business, but the principles are very much the same. The only thing that mattered to my father and now me is quality."
* Reach Carla Tracy at email@example.com.