AROUND THE TOWN. . . Wailea sure was jumping last weekend. A giant group filled the hotels to capacity and Carol King and Bon Jovi could be heard from the beach walk on separate evenings. We were in Wailea to check out the new robatayaki restaurant, Kai Wailea, and it was awesome.
I'll be writing a story about it in an upcoming issue. But for now, lunch-goers should note Kai recently debuted box lunches from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Saturday that you can "grab and go."
Ranging from $10 to $12, the box lunches or "bentos," include garlic New York steak or teriyaki organic chicken with wasabi rice and green salad, real crab meat California and veggie rolls with salad, and crab-avo-bacon sandwich on freshly baked buns. Kai is in The Shops at Wailea and the phone number is 875-1955.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Chef Todd Carlos of the new Duke’s Beach House will pull out all of the stops during happy hour Friday, when Henry Kapono performs.
We also savored every last bite at Ko in the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui, where kamaaina get 25 percent off their food and drink tab during lunch and dinner.
On the other side of the island, Henry Kapono will start a series of free afternoon performances at Duke's Beach House at Honua Kai Resort. Kicking off from 4 to 6 p.m. this Friday, his shows will run weekly through March 19 and there's no cover.
"We'll be serving our full bar menu and go heavy on the pupu," says Chef Todd Carlos. "When Henry played at our grand opening in January, 650 people packed the house and it was a zoo."
Crowd pleasers include the raw ahi poke rolls with Maui onions, seared in rice paper with a fabulous sauce; kalua pork nachos, and ahi sashimi with edamame and cucumber salad with shiso that is out of this world. Carlos, a former "Best Chef on Maui," really knows how to cook. You'll also find mango barbecue ribs, certified Angus cheeseburgers, and Maui onion soup.
Carlos says he always knew he'd end up at a place like Duke's that epitomizes the islands as he wrote in his Ohio high school yearbook, "Hawaii bound." When people asked him who he knew here, he said, "nobody." But Carlos is here in the thick of things now and Friday, he'll start dinner service early to accommodate diners.
Some of you may prefer to hear Kapono on Lanai and the Four Seasons Resort Lana'i at Manele Bay will offer room- and-concert packages for kamaaina, starting at $299 for two people. The resort's Hulopo'e Court restaurant will also present a pre-concert, three-course feast for $39 per person that includes tax and tip.
BITS AND PIECES. . .There will be a whale of a menu at the 30th annual Whale Day Celebration from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Kalama Park in Kihei. Maui Oma Coffee Roasters will pour iced and blended coffees, Beach Bums will serve barbecue pulled-pork sandwiches and Shaka Pizza will sell by the slice.
There are too many vendors to list all, but they include Spago, Longboards, Alexander's Fish n Chips, Taqueria Cruz, Maui Masala Indian restaurant, Sam Sushi, Orchid Thai Catering, Kahului Ale House and Maui Brewing Co. with its three-beer chili. Dessert lovers will find Zia Maria's Gelato in strawberry guava, sorbet from Paradise Tropical Ice and sundaes from Cold Stone Creamery - and you can listen to a free outdoor concert by, who else, Kapono! (with Cecelio Rodrigues).
The Diva Night series continues at David Paul's Island Grill from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday as a benefit for Women Helping Women. Those who drop off a small gift, such as a box of chocolates or perfume for these unfortunate women, may enter to win a drawing for a dinner for two in the kitchen with the chef.
* Carla Tracy is dining editor of Maui Scene. You may call her at 242-6342 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.