AROUND THE ISLAND . . . July Fourth weekend is almost upon us, and food and fun will be exploding all over the island. From Po'okela Church's annual bazaar Saturday with its Chinese pretzels and plate lunches to Makawao Hongwanji Mission's bazaar Sunday with sushi, bentos and pickled peaches, there will surely be something for everyone.
Historic Wailuku will be jumping with its monthly First Friday this week, and restaurants there such as Main Street Bistro and Cafe O'Lei Wailuku will be in the thick of it with music and specials.
The latter restaurant's sister outlet, Cafe O'Lei Kihei, is now open seven days a week, adding Mondays to its lineup. Hours of operation are 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for lunch and 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. for dinner.
Adele Rugg holds coffee beans at O‘o Farm in Kula, where she was inducted into the Chaine des Rotisseurs on Sunday as bailli of Maui.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
"To celebrate Fourth of July on Monday, we will feature all- American specials with barbecue chicken, potato salad, beans and baby-back ribs," says owner Dana Pastula. "We will have fruit cobbler and vanilla ice cream for dessert along with our regular menu."
Umalu restaurant, poolside at Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa in Kaanapali, will host a dance party with Night Shift from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Monday.
"Night Shift from Citrus College will be performing Top 40 and R&B favorites and we'll feature island-inspired drink and food specials to celebrate the red, white and blue festivities," says Umalu Manager Gordon Chow. "We'll have $9 buffalo wings, $12 nachos grande - tortilla chips piled high with al pastor chicken or steak, avocado, salsa, pico de gallo, and sour cream - and $5 bottles of 16-ounce Buds and Bud Lights."
In Kaanapali, Duke's Beach House will be in the swing of things with a CD release party for Henry Kapono at 5 p.m. Friday. And Duke's locally caught island fish and shrimp steamed in banana leaf with sake-ginger sauce and sizzling sesame oil is out of this world.
MAALAEA AND MORE . . . Major improvements are now under way at Maalaea Harbor, and it's hard to miss the blocked exits and entrances, along with all the heavy machinery such as dirt-digging and rock-moving vehicles. All of the restaurants are impacted, including Buzz's Wharf, a landmark for decades.
"Our loyal customers and potential clientele are confused by the blocked highway ramps," says Buzz's marketing assistant Emily Koenig. "Therefore, now more than ever, it is important for us to reach out to ensure that people know that we are still here, we are open and ready to provide a great dining experience as always."
How to get in? Turn into Maalaea at the stop light near Carl's Jr. Once at Maalaea Harbor, you may also hop aboard one of Pacific Whale Foundation's 4th of July Fireworks Cruises, departing at 6, 6:30, 6:45 (no alcohol) and 7 p.m. Or opt for the Lahaina Harbor departures at 7 and 7:30 p.m. Enjoy tasty appetizers and ice-cold refreshments, including Maui Brewing Co. beer, wine and mai tais for adults with valid ID. Call 249-8811 ext. 1.
Also in Maalaea, rumors are still swirling the Waterfront has closed for good. "We just renewed our liquor license and we are actively looking to renovate," says owner Gary Smith. "We've got the prime location and oceanfront views. We just need to upgrade the kitchen and make the dining room snappier and more trendy."
If anything, it's a good time to renovate. Smith also says they plan to start serving lunch as well as the popular dinners after the remodel. Stay tuned.
Last but not least, the Maui chapter of La Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs, a fancy name for the oldest culinary organization in the world, just appointed a new bailli to head up our island.
"I'm calling myself the 'chick in charge,' " says new bailli Adele Rugg, who is only the second woman in this position since Hawaii joined the club in 1973. "I love fine food, fine wine and fun."
Rugg was inducted into the Chaine on Sunday at O'o Farm in Kula, where a fabulous al fresco feast was served. Look for more details on the Chaine as well as O'o Farm tours soon in my blog, As Maui Dines.
* You may reach Dining Editor Carla Tracy at 242-6342.