'Tis the season - and the MACC?is like a big buffet piled high with one tempting show after another.
In fact, the state-of-the-art venue, also known as Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului, has so many tasty options on its front burner it's hard to choose, from Chris Isaak tonight to rock legends Steve Miller and Dave Mason on Dec. 11 all the way to comedian Bill Maher of HBO fame on New Year's Day.
"We encourage people to come early and experience a nice meal here at the MACC, rather than just rush in to see the show," says Food and Beverage Manager Lisa Haole, who shares the title with her good friend and co-worker, Luana Argel.
“We took over the desserts and so now we purchase from Cake Bakery and Stillwell’s and plate them all ourselves,” say the MACC’s food and beverage managers Luana Argel (left) and Lisa Haole.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
"Most shows in Castle Theater start at 7:30 p.m., and our food and beverage service starts at 5:30 p.m., so you have plenty of time to eat and sip a cocktail and catch up with your friends."
Cooking several different entrees for the Chris Isaak show today will be partners Lee McBride and Michelle Martinez of Aloha Events Catering.
"They both came from Spago at the Four Seasons and they do a phenomenal job," says Haole. "They do great presentations. People really love their food."
Food and beverage starts at 5:30 p.m. (except where noted):
Chris Isaak (tonight): Aloha Events Catering will make pasta arrabiata and grilled flatiron steak - with green salad ($10 to $12).
Other culinary highlights: Willie Wonderland Saturday with kalua pork and cabbage, teriyaki chicken, Caesar salad ($9 to $13). Holiday Pops! and Amy Hanaiali'i Sunday. Food starts at 2 p.m. with vegetarian, roasted turkey, and brown-sugar ham plates ($10 to $16). Both events are by Maui Flavors Catering.
Steve Miller/Dave Mason: Dec. 11. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Scrip buys food, drink at booths. Caterers are Rodeo General Store, Three's Bar & Grill, Star Anise Indian Cuisine; Zia Maria's Gelato; Flatbread Co., Maui Kazowie Kettlecorn.
For more details: Call 242-7469 or visit www.mauiarts.org.
One of their entrees is grilled flatiron steak with roasted Yukon Gold sweet potatoes and garlic, scallions and mushrooms in burgundy sauce. Another entree is spicy pasta arrabiata with roasted vegetables and your choice of roasted chicken or grilled Italian sweet sausage toppings.
Tonight's drink special is Wicked Game, named after one of Isaak's hits, and it's made with bourbon and lemonade.
"Whenever we have a big artist in Castle Theater, Lisa and Lu will create a special drink with a fun name," says the MACC's Marketing Director Karee Carlucci. "Like for REO Speedwagon last week, Lu created the REOK?"
Ever since the $13 million Yokouchi Pavilion & Courtyard opened in February, the lines move faster and the whole food and beverage set up is more convenient than in the past. "We serve more people at a faster pace and offer way more options," says Haole.
"We've got six points of sale for liquor, one walk-up counter for meals, and one for desserts and for coffee drinks," says Argel, whose husband, Gene Argel, often plays in the courtyard postshows."
Speaking of the postshows, the walk-up counters stay open about an hour after the curtain closes for coffee drinks, desserts and perhaps a cocktail.
"Sometimes there is a DJ or someone live plays," says Haole. "There are plenty of people who don't like waiting in the parking lot, or fighting the traffic. They're jazzed up from the show, and they can relax and enjoy the scene longer now."
Patron of the arts Lisa Cappe says the last time she and her friend dined at the MACC, they had an awesome time.
"In the old days, I would make sure to eat elsewhere. But now, I always plan to spend my whole evening there," says Cappe, who was head-over-heels about the meal cooked by acclaimed Chef Beverly Gannon, owner of Celebrations Catering.
"I had the most mouthwatering seafood canneloni. It was a perfect-size portion with an amazing salad. There were all of these big eight- and 10-top tables. We sat down with a lovely couple and their adult children. We had a nice conversation and all got to know each other. I would highly recommend the experience."
Gannon will also cater Boyz II Men on Dec. 10 and Bill Maher on New Year's Day. "The food options just get better and better and better," Gannon says.
Food service for "Holiday Pops!" with Amy Hanaiali'i starts at 2 p.m. Sunday; and keiki are invited to a milk-and-cookies reception with Santa after the show.
When Steve Miller and Dave Mason take the stage Dec. 11, the fans will be outside in the A&B Amphitheater and the food will be served at six booths. Beer, wine, sodas and water will be sold.
But those who purchase table seating may use the restrooms behind the stage and get up and bring food and beverages to their seats, which are right up front.
"It will be set up like Elton John with food served on the Events Lawn," says Argel. "Each scrip is worth $1. The most expensive items cost $15. Come check us out. We're really positioning to be a one-stop shop for everything from food and beverage to the best shows around."