SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED . . . We were planning to hop on a 10:45 a.m. flight Saturday to Oahu, but the civil defense sirens changed our minds. No fine dining in the Big City or using my husband's hotel coupons to stay at The Royal Hawaiian.
Instead, helicopters whirred above our tree tops in a North Shore tsunami zone, people urging on megaphones for us to evacuate, as we scrambled to move our tractor and other assets to higher ground.
In West Maui, Bill Burton reports he had to close two of his businesses for the day Saturday, Sir Wilfred's kiosk at the Whalers Village Shopping Center, and his brand new Sir Wilfred's on Front Street in Lahaina.
It was the second time Burton had to close the latter, even though it just opened in January. The first time was for the filming of a fake, computer-generated tsunami for Clint Eastwood's upcoming movie, "Hereafter."
"We got paid very nicely for the fake one. But this time, we just used common sense to close on Front Street," says Burton. "By 3 o'clock, we reopened both our outlets and we were very busy."
Sir Wilfred's kiosk now sells Zia Maria's Gelatos in fun Maui flavors such as lychee, lilikoi, strawberry guava, peach mango and Maui Gold pineapple. As for Sir Wilfred's on Front Street, it's a destination store with Hawaii coffees, pipes, cigars, tobaccos and even an artisan glass blower in the front window.
Saturday morning, many people chose to head up the hill to Plantation House in Kapalua. The parking lot was full by 5 a.m. although it opens at 8 a.m.
"People were very appreciative to be on higher ground," says Chef-partner Alex Stanislaw. "We had 150 people lined up to get in. We did the best we could under the crazy circumstances. A lot of our staff couldn't get here, so the diners poured their own coffee, my wife played hostess and our marketing manager waitressed and her boyfriend bussed tables. It was really heartwarming to see how everyone came together through this." Now that things are back to normal, make sure to try the Plantation House's braised Wagyu beef short rib on farro risotto, finished with a rich oxtail demi glace and crumbles of gorgonzola.
"Farro is Italian wild wheat that is cooked in the style of risotto," says Alex. "Before Marco Polo and the introduction of rice, farro was the grain of choice in Italy. It once fueled the Italian army.
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BITS AND PIECES . . . The official Girls Day may have already passed (on Wednesday), but you may celebrate it with a brunch of local favorites from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at Ka'anapali Beach Hotel. Between bites of crisp tempura and savory yakitori, listen to taiko drums, view the Hinamatsuri dolls collection and watch calligraphy artists. You may even have your daughter pose in a picture wearing an antique kimono.
All of the "boys" at The Maui News treated the "girls" to a yummy buffet spread for Girls Day, and they deserve a "BIG MAHALO!" here. Jeff Ahue even took a vacation day - just to slave over a hot stove for us.
It will be easy to get a taste of Maui's North Shore at the Ha'iku Ho'olaulea & Flower Festival from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. Saturday at Haiku Community Center. Besides pony rides, flowers and music, you may enjoy foods by by the newly named Max World Bistro along with Cafe Des Amis, Flatbread Co., Ono Gelato, Penguini, North Shore Cafe and many more.
"As many of you know, we have a new chef and a whole new menu," says owner John Graziano of Max World Bistro. "His name is Curtis Hintz and his menu is awesome with comfort foods from around the world."
Pink martinis will be flowing and food from Mulligans on the Blue will be served before the Pink Martini concert starting at 5:30 this evening at the MACC in Kahului. Dig into Harp beer-battered fish and chips, chicken Cordon blue and seafood cocktails. . . . Mulligan's will also be kicking up its heels in Wailea St. Patty's Day.
Surfing Goat Dairy will be offering samples of its many award-winning cheeses from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Mana Foods in Paia. Surfing Goat will also host two-hour, hands- on Grand Dairy Tours Saturday and March 20 upcountry at its farm location and you may delight in many of its cheeses with olives, crackers and nuts.
Whole Foods Market continues with its grand opening series of festivities, including the Keiki in the Kitchen demo at 11 a.m. Saturday. Events are free and open to the public but class sizes are limited.
* You may reach Dining Editor Carla Tracy at 242-6342.