ISLAND STYLE . . .Chase the setting sun, watch the whales play and toast to the day's end with a glass of champagne aboard the Ali'i Nui, Maui Dive Shop's prized vessel.
Boating doesn't get any better than this time of year and you may book a two-hour sunset sail Monday, Wednesday or Friday out of Maalaea.
"We really sail!" says Carol Contreras, the company's reservations manager. "And, we offer a plentiful buffet with something for everyone."
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Ali‘i Nui’s Captain Chris Howard and Group Sales and Reservations Manager Carol Contreras enjoy sunset views cruising near the pali.
The crowd-pleasing menu includes barbecued pulled pork on freshly baked rolls, shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad wraps, marinated sliced roasted chicken, roasted pepper and garlic hummus, crudites of island vegetables with spinach dip, cheeses, crackers and tropical fruits. My favorite pupu was the red-wine poached pear, served with spiced pecan and blue cheese on endive spears.
Mai tais, beer, wine and sparkling wine flow. Those with Hawaii ID will get 50 percent off the cruise. For reservations, call Carol at 875-0333.
AROUND THE TOWN . . . Come and meet Alex Franco, the managing partner of the hui of ranches that make up Maui Cattle Co., this Saturday at the new Whole Foods Market in Kahului. Ranchers will be on site, cooking up steak bites with Maui Cattle Co.'s newest addition, Becky Speere.
She was recently hired as corporate chef responsible for research and development of new value-added products. Many of us already know Becky as the original owner of the former Pauwela Cafe. Her husband, Chris Speere, is the well-known go-to guy for research and development at Maui Culinary Academy.
Saturday, you may sip the elegant wines of Mission Hill Winery at Pineapple Grill in Kapalua at a special dinner with the winery's owner.
Celebrate Mardis Gras and Carnival from 6 to 9 p.m. this Friday or Saturday at Brigit & Bernard's Garden Cafe in the Kahului Industrial Area.
"We'll feature the High Sea's Dixieland Band and an all-you-can-eat buffet with carnival dishes from around the world," says owner Bernard Weber. "We'll have gumbo, jambalaya, seafood etuffee, curry casimir, creole shrimps and apple beignets.
Guest chef is Drew Watson from New Orleans. There will also be Bernard's favorite Euro foods such as baked sauerkraut and wurst casserole.
"Bring your masks, costumes, beads and bras!" says Bernard. "The best costume wins lunch for two. Cost is $35, buffet, $5 cover. Call 877-6000.
The Saints will also come marching in Saturday at the Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center in Makawao with the Bourbon Street Ball. Carnival masks, beads, Southern fare by Beverly Gannon's Celebrations Catering, premium bar, live Dixieland jazz and auctions will make this an evening to kick up your heels.
Heck, there will even be Cajun fish plates and Cajun fish tacos starting at 5:30 p.m. Saturday for the Makana concert at the MACC in Kahului. The Southern-style foods will be catered by Alexander's Famous Fish and there will also be seafood wontons and cheesecake.
In addition, the Rotary Club of Wailuku will host its first Crawfish and Kona Lobster Boil from 2 to 5 p.m., Sunday March 7 at the Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu. There will be Dixieland music and bibs will be provided so you may go for the gusto.
FOR LADIES ONLY . . . This Sunday, bring your gal pals to beautiful Upcountry for the Ladies Day Out at Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm. The $10 price includes aromatic lavender tea, lavender scone, a walking tour of the scenic grounds and 10 percent off all bath and body purchases throughout the day.
For $15 and a can of food for Maui Food Bank, you may gain admission to the Girl's Day Escape at Spa Helani, at Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali. It will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday.
Complimentary light pupu and a cash liquor bar will get you in the groove to enjoy two free mini enhancements such as make-up and a chair massage, and there will be a fashion show, prizes and live music.
* You may reach Dining Editor Carla Tracy at 242-6342.