AT THE OFFICE. . . Some of you may think all I do is dine out. But a typical day goes like this: Open a letter from "a fan," and read, "I enjoy your Thursday Side Orders very much, but suggest you get a more flattering photo without the fork."
Hmm. . . it's a spoon. The phone rings, and it's the owner of Maui Ocean Vodka on the other end. He invites me to clean up garbage near the dump at Omaopio, not at all what I was hoping he'd say! I politely decline, and he sends in the details later.
"We picked up over 150 large garbage bags of trash along the road - enough to fill a 20-foot, roll-off dumpster," says Shay Smith. "It was extremely successful in reducing the plastic on its way to the ocean. We plan on doing it again at the end of September."
Bocalino Bistro & Bar’s partner Guido Hauwaerts (left), toasts to his grand opening Friday in Kihei with Sushi Chef Timothy Sawamura, who runs Koi Sushi Bar there.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Then, Radhanath Swami calls. The author and spiritual leader in India is visiting Maui, making appearances this week to sign copies of his new book "The Journey Home: Autobiography of an American Swami."
I ask him what he eats. "I drink brown-rice water in the morning," he says. "I eat sanctified, pure, vegetarian food in the afternoon."
After we hang up, I reach for a banana dessert dropped off by Uppity Cups, topped with chocolate-covered bacon. Swami might not approve. I use my spoon. Maybe I should pick up garbage for exercise. After all, I did recently indulge in the nine-course (count 'em!) bacon dinner at Star Noodle in Lahaina the other night.
Another package arrives. It's the book, "Practice Aloha: Secrets to Living Life Hawaiian Style." Chef Mark Ellman compiled the book with Barbara Santos, and he'll kick it off Sept. 30 at his Mala Wailea. Bring your $5 Festivals of Aloha ribbon and enjoy a free poke tasting by Ellman and three other top chefs.
More news continues to trickle in. I sip purified Kangen water with super-high pH levels, graciously provided by my co-worker. I read that Home Grown Hawaii is the theme for a free event at Maui Mall in Kahului from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Friday. Again, you need to purchase $5 Festivals of Aloha ribbons to enjoy the local-style food demo and tasting by Whole Foods Chef Andres Palmer.
Dozens more e-mails pop up onscreen. I'm invited to the Hawaii and Pacific Regional Assemblage of the Chaine Des Rotisseurs event at Makena Beach & Golf Resort. I know the food will be over the top for this society of Epicureans. But I decline, thinking about . . . bacon!
The resort's new Executive Chef Rey Baysa will wow the Chaine gang with whole wok-fried Hawaiian snapper with Thai curry; slow-roasted island suckling pig with Maui Gold pineapple sauce and more. Maybe I should trade in my spoon for a spatula to better cover my double chin. I stand up and try a Swami-type yoga stretch.
Another invite comes in. It's for Bocalino Bistro & Bar and Koi Sushi Bar in the former Gian Don's in Kihei. It's South Maui's coolest new restaurant concept with lots of live music, happy hours, creative sushi and Mediterranean tapas, too.
"We're open full time now," says Guido Hauwaerts, who owns Bocalino with son, Manager Marc Dehandschutter. "Sundays we're closed. But it's a nice place to book your wedding. It can be a buyout."
For now, happy hour runs from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. with $3 beer, wine and well drinks. Tapas range the globe from baked oysters Provencale to calamari fritti to New York steak pupu along with salads, pastas and catch of the day. Koi Sushi Bar chef-partner is Timothy Sawamura, who was on a roll at Sansei and Jacques.
I read that the only Maui chef to be inducted into Hawaii Restaurant Association's Hall of Fame on Monday will be Scott McGill of Hula Grill. It will be held at the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki. "Congrats," Scott!
Then I hear the last chances to savor the prime rib and king crab buffet at Maui Beach Hotel in Kahului will be tonight and next Thursday night. After that, the hotel will run a three-course menu Sunday to Thursday. It's just another day in the life of a food writer. But my bacon-muddled mind wonders, should I ditch the spoon picture?
* You may reach Dining Editor Carla Tracy at 242-6342; or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.