Once you attend a progressive dinner, it's love at first bite. The experience is like a fun pub crawl of the culinary kind, a moveable feast of a party.
Coming up from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 31, the first Progressive Ka'anapali will allow you to get a taste of this type of enjoyable event. It also happens to be the launch affair for the three-day Ka'anapali Fresh festival, chock full of food, music, mixology and more.
"Enjoy the sunset as you move from a reception to dinner tastings and, finally, to delectable desserts," says Shelley Kekuna, the executive director of Ka'anapali Beach Resort Association.
Maui Resort & Spa will launch the three-day Ka‘anapali Fresh festival at its Napili Gardens with the first leg of a progressive dinner. Guests will savor sushi, sake and champagne and then stroll or shuttle to the Westin for the main course and the Sheraton for dessert. Japengo Chef Gevin Utrillo (left) and its Sushi Chef Jay Ledee (right) flank Cindy Dugan of the sales team as they get ready to rock ‘n’ roll.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
"This event promptly starts at 6 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa's Napili Gardens. You can stroll from venue to venue via the beachfront walkway or opt for our exclusive event shuttles."
At the Hyatt's Napili Gardens, you'll find the theme Sushi, Sake, Seafood & Champagne luring you in with foods from the hotel's Japengo and Umalu restaurants along with some dishes from Hula Grill.
"Napili Gardens is the best oceanside venue in Ka'anapali for this style of function," says the Hyatt's Director of Food & Beverage Peter Donnelly. "It's going to be a tough ticket to get, closer to the event."
Progressive Ka'anapali: Tickets are going fast for this three-course meal that will start at the Hyatt with appetizers, then head to the Westin for entrees, and the Sheraton for desserts and coffee drinks. Cost is $69 per person.
Ka'anapali Fresh highlights: This inaugural three-day event will also feature a Grown on Maui Farmers Market, Coffee Tour, and Food & Wine Festival (with Spryro Gyra and Makana) on Sept.1; Sunday brunch, mixology class; and Concert Under the Ka'anapali Moonlight with Third Eye Blind Sept. 2.
For tickets: Visit www.kaanapalifresh.com
Still the reigning "Best Resort Restaurant" in The Maui News Best of Maui contest, Japengo will offer an assortment of award-winning nigiri and maki sushi, sashimi and sake by Yuku no Bosha of the Akita prefecture.
You may also dive into an array of fresh jumbo shrimp, shucked oysters, snow crab claws and Korean-style seafood pancakes.
"It's going to be fun," says Executive Chef Chris Schobel of Hula Grill. "We're providing foods we normally do here at the restaurant, such as our popular poke tacos, poisson crus, and lobster-scallion pot stickers. All go well with sake and Moet & Chandon champagne."
Guests then have 15 minutes to get a move on to the Westin Maui Resort & Spa for a Taste of Wailele - Flavors and Fire of Maui. The hotels's executive chef Garret Fujieda will team with executive chef Francois Milliet of the Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas for a contemporary twist on traditional luau offerings.
"We're doing entrees on small plates, so you may walk around to various booths, kind of like Maui Calls, and check out our newly redesigned Aloha Pavilion and watch Maui's only extreme fire-knife performance."
Old Lahaina Rum Mai Tais will flow. Savor crisp kalua pork and poi with lomi Kula tomato; local steamed snapper; seared beef and Hamakua-mushroom poke with ulu crisps; deconstructed Hawaii-island kampachi laulau, pan-fried Molokai prawn taco, and Grilled Colorado natural lamb loin chops with sweet-ginger glaze.
Last, but certainly not least, will be Plantation Nights at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa's Ocean Lawn with views of famous Black Rock.
Newly named Executive Chef Greg Gaspar will invite guests to gather around fire pits and gaze at the stars as they take a journey through time.
"Filled with the history of plantation nights, Ka'anapali once served West Maui's sugar cane industry and it now neighbors coffee orchards and other farms," Kekuna says. "Put a spin to your night with a Keoki Coffee or bring some excitement with an espresso shot. Then get ready for the rest of the festival Sept. 1 and 2."