FARM FRESH IS "IN" . . . It's 2012, and Maui farmers continue to be the rock stars of the island's dining scene. In fact, Outstanding in the Field, the California-based traveling farm dinner series, will break in the new year with its first visit to Hawaii, partnering with local chefs for four elaborately fresh feasts at four farms on four islands.
On Maui, the award-winning Kupa'a Coffee Plantation in Kula will be the farm host Jan. 17 with guest chef Justin Pardo of Market Fresh Bistro.
When I call farmers "rock stars," I mean they can fetch rock-star prices. This dinner for up to 150 people situated on farm land between coffee trees and trellises with pink and white flowers starts at 3 p.m. and costs $190 per person. Dress is farm chic.
Chef Justin Pardo of Market Fresh Bistro in Makawao drives a tractor with Gerry Ross of Kupa‘a Coffee Plantation riding on the back.
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The farm will present an outdoor feast cooked by Pardo on Jan. 17.
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"We're growing a whole lot of food, just for this event," says Kupa'a owner Gerry Ross. "Everything will be served family style. It's a unique opportunity for people to take a tour and see our land."
Speaking of rock stars, surprise guest Steven Tyler of Aerosmith joined the all-star lineup New Year's Eve at Mala Wailea and so did actor Mike Meyers, who pulled a "Wayne's World." We also spotted Clint Eastwood and the Busch family of Budweiser fame in the room. Restaurant partner Shep Gordon sure knows how to throw a party, and Chef-partner Mark Ellman sure can cook. (In fact, Ellman actually had a catering company in L.A. called "Can't Rock 'n' Roll, But Sure Can Cook.")
And, continuing along the lines of farm fresh, Joy's Place in Kihei is making smoothies with GREENS!
"We're making delicious and nutritious green-powered smoothies with locally grown and minerally-packed collard greens," says Chef Tyua Sereda.
"We feature minty green drinks with fresh local pineapple, green power with cucumber and avocado and berry green protein power with hemp seeds."
BITS AND PIECES . . . UH Maui College in Kahului will reopen its Campus Cafe for the semester Monday, serving the morning meal from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. You can get eggs to order with Spam or Portuguese sausage, and rice or potatoes; or breakfast burritos with sausage, eggs, rice and cheese - costing under $6 each.
Situated right in the middle of the PGA's 2012 Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, which tees off today through Monday, is Plantation House Restaurant. For the Pro-Am today, it's serving as hospitality central, so it's closed during the day. But it's open for dinner throughout the event, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
"And for tournament ticket-holders during the event, the restaurant will be also be open for daytime dining from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday to Monday." says Chef-partner Alex Stanislaw, who cooks the tastiest and most unique eggs Benedict options on the island. "This includes a great place to watch the players with views overlooking the first and 18th holes right from the restaurant."
There are also some great breakfasts to be had at the Pineapple Grill in Kapalua, also served all day long just like at Plantation House. Savor huevos rancheros, biscuits and gravy, veggie scramble, Bikini Blond-braised corned beef, and triple-bogey Bloody Marys.
Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Kapalua, and neighboring The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua will also be perfect spots to people watch the "rock stars of golf" during the Hyundai tourney. Grab a bite, sip a drink and take in the star-studded parade.
The Ritz is also puttin' on the royalty for guests with its plans to launch the King's Table.
It's a sit-down, luau-like affair that takes you back to the Hawaiian royalty days, when King David Kalakaua, aka the "Merrie Monarch," threw elaborate feasts at Iolani Palace on Oahu for celebrity guests such as "Treasure Island" author Robert Louis Stevenson.
Kalakaua even had his King's Cottage at what is now the Maui's Winery Tasting Room at Ulupalakua Ranch. Now you may take an excursion there.
The Ritz's Cultural Adviser Clifford Nae'ole "talks story" about these days of old, and hula dancers and musicians add fluid storytelling. This will be a monthly affair. Cost of $155 for the King's Table includes dinner, entertainment, drinks and commemorative gift. For more details, call Lani Calarion at 665-7230.
Of course, this being Maui, the island continues to "party on, Garth!" Wailuku's First Friday monthly town party kicks off this week and food and music will flow from Cafe O'Lei to Giannotto's Pizza.