AROUND THE TOWN . . . The stars are out on Maui in recent days and they seem to be of the rock star genre.
Frank Infante, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and guitarist for Blondie and the New York Dolls, savored dinner with award-winning rock photographer Dawn Laureen in Kihei at Sarento's on the Beach Sunday evening. Infante said how much he loved the food at the oceanfront restaurant as well as the friendly people on Maui.
Of course, everyone loves Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, who was spotted at Mama's Fish House recently. He was on island exhibiting his giant skull-and-teeth artwork at Celebrities Gallery in Wailea.
Mama’s Fish House server Glenda Chong brings out the new crispy papio habenar spring rolls topped with fresh Kula pea shoots. The variety of fish inside the crunchy filo dough varies daily.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
"Steve Tyler, he loves our poi," beams Executive Chef Perry Bateman. "He will eat it two-finger style, just like the locals. I think he's even more famous now that he's a judge on 'American Idol.' "
Other new food items that are flying out of the restaurant are ahi kama, or "collar," something one just never sees in a fish house in Hawaii.
"It's a really wild, exotic thing," says Chef Bateman. "People are calling in ahead and asking if I can save them one because it's so rare to get. We serve it with shoyu sauce and chopped vegetables salad."
Oh yes, Table 606 is the top pick as the most romantic table at Mama's. So if you want to pop the question, or hold hands while celebrating your anniversary, ask for the "two top" with the scenic views.
BITS AND PIECES . . . From 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, every department in Whole Foods Market in Kahului will offer free samples of holiday favorites such as cranberry chutney on brie, and roast turkey and ham.
In Kahului, Down to Earth will feature weekly cooking classes from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and no registration is required. Next week, learn how to make healthy "classics" such as veggie burgers, vegan ranch dressing and chocolate milk shakes by vegetarian Chef Jessica Oshier. Dec. 20 she will teach Pizza with Pizzas, and Dec. 27 it will be Mexican Fiesta time.
Tuesday, Life's a Beach in Kihei will let your taste buds go south of the border with its "almost annual" Taco Eating Contest. "Entrants will compete to eat as many tacos as they can in 30 minutes," says owner Howie Grunes. It costs $5 to enter and the winner will receive a $50 gift card and recognition after it's over."
"Reigning champion, Chef James Furnish of Five Palms Restaurant, ate 27 tacos and won the last contest. He'll be back this year attending and competing. We'll also have $1 tacos available for everyone along with $3 Mexican beers and Cuervo shots."
In addition, Life's a Beach will feature the band Island Soulz on Saturday.
Stella Blues Cafe at Azeka shopping center in Kihei will be celebrating its 20th anniversary Friday with a big lineup of musicians starting at 8:30 p.m. and as a thank-you to Maui it's only a $5 cover charge.
Friday night's anniversary specials will be priced right at $20 each and include jambalaya, free-range chicken, grilled pork chop, and coconut shrimp. Wines by the bottle specials are also priced at $20 and include Ravenswood zinfandel and Stella pinot grigio.
Make sure to bring your appetites to the Steve Miller and Dave Mason concert at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului Sunday. "Gates open at 5:30 p.m., so come early, and enjoy the many choices for ono grinds before the show starts at 7 p.m.," says Food and Beverage Manager Lisa Haole.
Three's Bar & Grill will serve panko-crusted ahi rolls and barbecue kalua pork nachos; Star Anise Indian Cuisine will do vegan samosas and paprika coconut fish plates; and Rodeo General Store will entice you with Maul Cattle Co. chili and smoked dip pupu. Other vendors are Flatbread Company, Zia Maria's Gelato, and Maui Kazowie Kettlecorn. Bring your ID if you wish to partake in the wine and beer selections.
Coconut Grill at the Maui Seaside Hotel in Kahului is sizzling with combo ribs and hibachi chicken dinners for $19.95, and slow-roasted prime rib (10-ounce cut) with stuffed potato and vegetable for the same price. Banquet rooms are still available.
Looking for a hostess gift that is always welcome? Home Maid Bakery & Deli in Wailuku sells local favorites such as hot malasadas and manapua.