ISLAND HAPPENINGS . . . Looking for something fun to do on Saturday?
Then come to Kahului at 5 p.m. and get some laughs with emcee Andy Bumatai, listen to music by Amy Hanaiali'i and Uncle Richard Ho'opi'i and dine on ono grinds at the Maui Walk of Heroes event.
It's a fund raiser for AKAKU Community Television and it will be held outdoors at its Akaku Center shopping mall on Dairy Road. While it's free and open to the public, you may support it by bidding at silent auction, giving donations or by calling the live telethon.
Baker Dan Southmayd and Chef John Webb (from left), of the Vineyard Food Co. in Wailuku are offering pop up dinners Fridays and Saturdays in July.
Photo courtesy VINEYARD FOOD CO.
Ono grinds for the event are being prepared by Akaku Center restaurants Wowee Maui Kava Bar & Grill, Ren's Sushi, and Amigo's authentic Mexican food. All three will offer event specials outdoors, with their full menus available inside the restaurants.
For dessert, cool off with Ululani's Hawaiian Shave Ice, also right there in Akaku Center.
Vineyard Food Co. in Wailuku is a popular place to pick up lunches. Now, it will offer family-friendly pop up dinners on Fridays and upscale gourmet dinners on Saturdays for the rest of July.
"Each themed menu is created by Chef John Webb, who recently returned to Maui after graduating with a master's from the Cornell School of Hotel Management and Hospitality in Ithaca, New York," says publicist Susan Halas. "The pop-up concept is an experiment to bring high-style dining to Wailuku. If the July offerings prove successful, more will follow throughout the summer."
The Friday meals cost $15 per adult, and $8 for kids; and Saturday, the multi-course meal costs $50 per person. You may BYOB of wine or beer only. This Saturday, it will be a Born on the Bayou menu. Call 243-3663.
Coming up at Humuhumunukunukuapua'a at Grand Wailea on Friday, July 20 will be next in the Toast! series of dinners. The best part is Chef de Cuisine Mike Lofaro is back in the kitchen there and he's one of my most favorite chefs on Maui. A protege of superstar chef Michael Mina, he'll wow guests with a five course menu paired with Gems of the Pacific Northwest wines by Alan Jahns, partner in JMD Beverages. Call 875-1234.
BITS AND PIECES . . . Launching a new walking tour of Lahaina is Local Tastes of Maui, in which you visit up to 11 food establishments, each offering signature tastes to sample.
"Hear stories from the Lahaina royalty days, the wild whaling years and Front Street's plantation life," says owner Cindi Weldon. "Taste the fudge in an old poi factory and the macadamia pancakes in a historic inn. Meet local merchants and discover local favorites!"
The two-hour Lahaina tours start at 9:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays. Call 446-1190.
Chris Speere, the external coordinator for the UH Maui College's Maui Culinary Academy, just got back from being well, external, traveling outside American boundaries to foreign soil in China.
"The food was unbelievable," he says. "China is a 'food forward' nation as it seems every moment and every action revolves around eating."
The purpose of Speere's visit was to build collaboration and to plan with the Shanghai Institute of Tourism for both student and faculty exchange. "It has some very exciting potential," he says.
Chinese street food is "fresh, inexpensive and abundant, with numerous specialties around every corner," says Speere, who savored simple country fresh baby bamboo with pork, his favorite from Huangshan region of China, and twice-cooked flounder with fermented rice. "Every chef owes themselves a visit to China."
We hear Lilikoi Grill in Haiku is now open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., serving two slices of pizza, salad and a beer for under $10.
Don't forget that Gerard's in Lahaina is celebrating the French national holiday of Bastille Day on Saturday with 50 percent off entrees for all kamaaina. . . Hana Hou Cafe in Haiku will also celebrate Bastille Day but on Friday with a prix-fixe menu.
Three's Bar & Grill is catering the food for the Na Hoku Hou Award Winners concert at The MACC on Saturday. Come early at 5:30 p.m. to savor Hawaiian-style ribs with guava-chipotle sauce, furikake and mac-nut crusted chicken breast with sweet and sour beurre blanc and coconut-whipped Molokai sweet potatoes, and more.