FLIRTY AT THIRTY? . . . Waaay back when, I was single, svelte and flirty at age 30. Now, as 2011 rolls in, I realize this May I will have 30 years at The Maui News crammed under my belt. Ouch! (Of course, I must have started working here at age 3.)
Reflecting back, I remember comedian Sam Kinison once joked food writers are all just "pigs with adjectives." This was after numerous years on the job and how I squealed over that one. But I maintain I really do have a great body underneath all of these decades of restaurant meals. Yes, it's true! Maybe I am still flirty, after all.
Or maybe I'm just "wordy at 30" (years at the paper). As luck would have it, Maui continues to provide something fun and new to write about. For instance, the "fun" part was the New Year's Eve bash at Mala Wailea, where last-minute guest Michael McDonald showed up in addition to a super hot lineup that included the legendary rock 'n' roll musicians James Hetfield of Metallica, Alice Cooper, Mike Kroeger of Nickelback, Pat Simmons of the Doobie Brothers and the ubiquitous Mick Fleetwood.
Pat Simmons of Doobie Brothers jams with Alice Cooper at the New Year’s Eve bash at Mala Wailea that benefitted Maui Food Bank as well as Maui Arts & Cultural Center.
Photo courtesy Mala Wailea
The "new" part of my job informs me by island rumors that Fleetwood hopes to open a restaurant and music club in the former Planet Hollywood on Front Street in Lahaina sometime later this year.
In addition, we hear Mala Wailea will start a kamaaina special Saturdays and Sundays for $22.95 per person. Those with a valid Hawaii driver's license may enjoy this price for the all-you-can-eat champagne breakfast buffet that includes pancakes and maple syrup, made-to-order omelets, Uncle Louie's sausages and more.
ON THE HORIZON . . . The 6,100-square-foot Monkeypod Kitchen is targeted to open Feb. 6 in Wailea Gateway Center (where Pita Paradise Bistro is currently making a splash).
"We'll focus on locally sourced, handcrafted food, using only socially conscious ingredients such as range-fed Maui beef, sustainably caught fish and no bottled products, except for wine," says owner Peter Merriman.
We hear 36 handcrafted beers beers will be served on tap, and the kiawe wood-burning oven will fire up hand-tossed pizzas and breads.
Chef Rob Dalzell was recruited from the Avalon Co. on Catalina Island, and Beverage Manager Jason Vendrell jumped from Merriman's Kapalua. "We'll emphasize local first, organic second and sustainable - always," Merriman maintains.
Another highly anticipated restaurant, Ruby Tuesday, is targeted to open the second quarter of this year in the old Roy's Kihei location.
First a song written by the Rolling Stones back in 1966 (I'm barely old enough to know this!), Ruby Tuesday is now a chain of over 900 restaurants. It was founded in Knoxville, Tenn., in 1972.
"We're completely gutting the whole place," says partner Rick Nakashima. "It will be American casual with a really excellent salad bar and fork-tender ribs. But we'll be diverse with fish, lobster and pasta. We'll have 240 seats and be open for breakfast lunch and dinner."
Last but not least, here's a New Year's wish that all Maui chefs implement more healthful dishes into their menus and at least one true vegan or vegetarian menu item. I also wish for chefs to use more local, sustainable products, like the visionary Chef Merriman, above.
It would be great to be rid of benzene-emitting styrofoam containers, too. But first, we all must get used to bringing our reusable bags for takeout as the law banning plastic bags goes into play Tuesday. Hmm . . . "reusable," "healthful," "vegetarian" and "sustainable." How do these adjectives grab you in 2011? They should, if you, like me, want to be around 30 more years from now.
* You may reach Dining Editor Carla Tracy at 242-6342.