The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua will once again be a sea of Hawaiians Saturday just like it is every spring at its annual Celebration of the Arts festival.
This time, the hotel will pay tribute to the late Charles Ka'upu, who was "kumu" or "teacher" to its own cultural adviser on staff, Clifford Nae'ole. Ka'upu passed away July 13 at his Maui home.
"Family and friends of Charles are invited to the Aloha Pavilion Saturday for a tribute and celebration of his life," says Nae'ole. "Doors will open at 5 p.m. and we expect it to end no later then 9 p.m."
Kumu Charles Ka‘upu
Luau food will be served at the alcohol-free event after the family arrives and the ashes are scattered nearby.
"Throughout the evening, there will be impromptu entertainment by those who knew and loved him, and we'll have a special awa bar, of course."
Nae'ole goes on to say that Ka'upu "was grounded in the culture as far as chanting, hula and spirituality go. He and Hokulani Holt guided me on culture and the arts and other relevant topics in the Hawaiian hospitality industry. He was well-respected and he is greatly missed."
Celebration of Life: Family and friends will honor Charles Ka'upu Saturday in the resort's Aloha Pavilion. Gates open at 5 p.m. Luau food and awa will be served after the scattering of his ashes nearby.
Alaloa Lounge hours: Lunch is served from noon to 4 p.m.; light fare and appetizers from 4 to 10 p.m.; and cocktails from noon to closing.
Music: Jazz saxophonist David Choy and friends perform Friday in the lounge, and Crazy Fingers will do contemporary tunes Saturday. Both bands scheduled play times are from 6 to 10 p.m.
The Banyan Tree: The signature restaurant of the resort offers 50 percent off selected bottles of wine on Wednesdays. In addition, Pisoni Winery is featured in a four-course dinner all month with pairings for $125 per person.
Kau Kau Tuesdays: Enjoy a plated Hawaiian dinner at the Beach House Restaurant from 5 to 8 p.m. each week for $35, adults; and $15, keiki 12 and younger.
For more details: Call the hotel at 669-6200.
The resort's Alaloa Lounge will spill over with people who arrive early or stay late; and Crazy Fingers will perform contemporary tunes from 6 to 10 p.m.
As for the food at Alaloa available for purchase, Executive Chef John Zaner is happy to report many of the items come straight from the organic garden right on property.
"We have a Swiss chard and Hamakua mushroom gratin that is great," says the chef. "The chard comes from our garden. We do a wonderful hummus, too, with Asian pesto and Surfing Goat Dairy cheese from Kula with roasted garlic -all the fresh herbs are from here. The mint in our mojitos does not get any fresher either."
Since Alaloa Lounge is situated across the lobby from Kai Sushi Bar, the two outlets have a reciprocal agreement that you may order food from both, no matter where you are sitting.
"We serve specialty rolls and tuna tataki from Kai Sushi Bar in our lounge. They are the most popular items," says Zaner.
The tuna tataki features the freshest ahi, prepared by Tokyo native and expert sushi chef Tadashi Yoshino, and fresh daikon, Maui onion, wakame seaweed, tobiko caviar and ponzu sauce.
"From Thursday to Monday, when we are open at Kai, we feature a kamaaina special of 50 percent off all food and sushi from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.," says Richard Butler, who manages Kai and Alaloa. "We have spicy tuna roll with sambal chili, California roll with snow crab meat and avocado, and sake by the bottle, plum wine and a selection of nice, cold beers."
More Alaloa appetizers include the artisan cheese plate, mu shu chicken on buns, and hot and crunchy shrimp and asparagus tempura with dipping sauce.
Or bite into a Caesar salad, savor smoked tomato bisque or pound down a meaty grilled sirloin burger with house-made pickles (the best!) with fried onions and white cheddar cheese.
Desserts are over the top in taste and do the Ritz-Carlton name justice. Pastry Chef Ashley Nakano will dazzle you with lilikoi brulee served with fresh blackberries and chocolate biscotti; banana-macadamia-nut torte with honey ice cream and caramel sauce; and strawberry shortcake on coconut scone with mascarpone cream.
But many can't resist the warm chocolate cake with cool vanilla ice cream.