AROUND THE TOWN . . . With about 450 people in attendance on Saturday night, the grand opening of Ko at Fairmont Kea Lani Maui in Wailea was a HUGE success. What a spread with lobster tails, sushi and much more -?on fun and eco-friendly plates. Check out its $5.1 million renovation and taste ethnic foods from Maui's plantation era, all with a gourmet and contemporary twist, for both lunch and dinner.
In addition, if you love farm-fresh foods, go to Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday for the Maui County Agricultural Festival. It's free and open to the public.
Coming all the way from remote East Maui will be Hana Fresh Farm, serving fresh salads, wraps and sandwiches packed with organic produce. Their fruit, aromatic herbs, kale, tomatoes, chard and other veggies will be for sale in the Grown on Maui tent.
Eggplant from Ho‘opono Farms will be crafted into Parmigiana di Malanzane by Sous Chef Wes Holder of Pulehu Saturday in Maui County ag fest’s Taste Education area.
Westin Maui Resort & Spa photo
"Along with our Nutrition Center, Hana Fresh Farm is our cornerstone for preventive healthcare," says Executive Director Cheryl Vasconcellos.
"We have no doubt that poor nutrition and inactivity are risk factors for cardiovascular as well as chronic respiratory diseases, cancer, and diabetes."
Bring your shopping sacks to the ag feast to buy sunrise papayas and strawberries from Kumu Farms; herbs, veggies and coffee from O'o Farm; Goldenglow mangos from Yee's Orchard and much more.
Buy desserts from Paradise Tropical Ice, Uppity Cup and Patticakes Bakery; sip freshly squeezed Hawaiian sugar cane juice by Maui Nui Botanical Gardens and buy rare banana varieties.
At the ag fest's Taste Education area, where you have to pay to get in, watch Chef James McDonald of I'o and Pacific'o restaurants make sweet-potato gnocchi with heirloom tomato in partnership with Lynn and Russell DeCoite of L&R Farms in Molokai. He'll use the Mokuau purple sweet potato developed by Lynn's grandmother, Becky Mokuau, in 1978.
Those who pay to get into the Taste Education area will be treated to foods by 12 chef-farmer teams, such as Sous Chef Wes Holder of Pulehu, an Italian Grill at Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas, and eggplant grower David Horsman of Ho'opono Farms.
"To use produce grown on the west side of Maui in creating Italian specials at our award-winning restaurant is a dream come true, says Holder, who will wow the crowds with eggplant parmigiana.
BITS AND PIECES . . . There's nothing like dining in a mansion to make you feel, well, special. The Kaluanui Estate in Makawao will set the stage for an exclusive dinner and wine pairing Saturday, April 14.
Starting at 6 p.m., the four-course dinner will be catered by Chef de Cuisine Jennifer Evetushick of Tropica at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa. Jim Powlan of Chambers & Chambers Wine Merchants will provide the wines. Limited tickets are available at $200 per person.
The decorations and the flowers will be done by Sandra Florence and Judy Bisgard. The event will be hosted by Tim Garcia and the Hui Angels.
It's also a fundraiser in support of Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center's fifth annual Wailea Food & Wine Celebration that will be held in November.
Celebrating Passover Seder Friday? Spago Maui at the Four Seasons Resort Maui in Wailea will present a special dinner by Israeli Chef Peleg Miron.
A Seder service begins at 6 p.m. in the Serenity Room, followed by gefilte fish, traditional chopped chicken liver, Spago chicken and vegetable soup with matzo balls, and your choice of pan-roasted mahimahi with ginger-carrot puree or braised beef short-rib Flanken. For dessert, top it off with your pick of Spago favorites.
Lilikoi Restaurant & Wine Bar in Haiku is jumping with different musicians Thursday through Saturday as well as every other Sunday. Come listen, have a bite and sip cocktails such as the Crater Crush, with organic American Harvest Vodka, fresh-squeezed juices and fruit garnishes and a seasonal flower of your choice.
Wailuku's First Friday this week will have a beer garden on Market Street as usual. It will also debut Maui County's "Be A Jerk" campaign, which aims to prevent the consumption of alcohol by minors.
You may also indulge in healthful treats as you watch Bollywood dancers at at Body Alive Yoga. Kids may enjoy an Easter egg hunt as well.