A DAY IN THE LIFE . . . On Monday morning, I got a phone call from a reader telling me our online Best of Maui ballot site had been hacked! Sure enough, an ominous warlock appeared on the screen, instead of the ballots, thwarting our efforts in the short term. FYI: we fixed it.
Moving along, Juanita's Mexican Drive-Thru has just opened in the old KFC spot in Kihei, across the parking lot from Rodeo General Store. Kahului will also soon have its own new Mexican eatery.
Lovers of Korean kalbi, bulgogi teri burgers and chicken cutlets are raving about the new Maui BBQ that just opened in the back of Dolphin Plaza. You may also get kim chee, seaweed, corn, tofu and salted cabbage at its convenient salad bar across from Kamaole I.
Stewart Pinsky says Stewart’s Burgers is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
While Stewart's Burgers opened over the holidays, it's still gaining momentum at Kukui Mall for its 100-percent Angus, Hawaii Ranchers Beef. A top seller is the Kihei with barbecued onion rings, cheddar cheese and bacon. The buns are baked fresh daily.
"I've got a walkup window and outside seating is shared with Starbucks, and I've got air-conditioned seating inside. We're applying for our liquor license and hope to have it in a few months," says owner Stewart Pinksy, who devised the menu after a three-island burger tour of Maui, Oahu and the Big Island.
I've been pondering something lately. Is Kupu Maui the new Chaine des Rotisseurs?
Got restaurant / dining-event scoop? Call Dining Editor Carla Tracy at 242-6342; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dania Katz of Edible Hawaiian Islands magazine has been doing a bang-up job of presenting pop-up dinners on Maui at farms and elsewhere. Under the name, Kupu Maui, events are posted online and sell out in a nano second. Now we hear she'll bring in Chef Andrew Le of Pig & the Lady, named "2012 Rising Star Chef" on Oahu.
"On Saturday, June 15, Chef Le will be at the Upcountry Farmers Market from 7 to 10 a.m. and menu items are $5 to $12," says Katz about her most casual affair to date. "Then on Sunday, June 16, which is Father's Day, Le will present a five-course pop-up meal at Leoda's Kitchen & Pie Shop in Olowalu. Cost is $80 per person."
Leoda's menu sounds ono. Beets will be cooked in goat's milk and served with goat-cheese ice, carbonated lychee and spiced almonds. Another course is venison with fermented black onion, Maui onion streusel, artichoke cream, poha berry and red sorrel. Wow!
UNCORKING FUN. . . Now, here's something fun and affordable for food and wine lovers through the month of June at 5 Palms in Kihei.
Enjoy the three-course sunset special of mixed greens, choice of oven-roasted prime rib, macadamia-nut crusted fresh catch or chicken Paillard along with lilikoi cheesecake for $34.95, plus tax and tip.
"Bring your own bottle of wine and we'll only charge a $5 corkage fee, with proceeds benefitting Maui Food Bank," says General Manager Moki Chong Kee. Call 879-2607.
Diners at Mama's Fish House in Kuau are always given a comment card, and, "Some people can be pretty creative," says owner Floyd Christenson.
"I want to complain about the fact that I have nothing to complain about!" writes Shawn LaCasco of Redwood City, Calif. "How dare you be perfect I love complaining and you robbed me of that joy."
"The meal was a patriot's dream," say Michael and Erika Foster of Springfield, Va. "A bald eagle cries somewhere beyond the waves."
Ruth's Chris Steak House in Wailea will present a five course dinner honoring 100 years of Robert Mondavi on Thursday, June 13.
BITS AND PIECES . . .We just got word that June is "Man Month" at Travaasa Hana. Among the many things the hotel is doing for male guests are free beer tastings from 4 to 4:45 p.m. on Saturdays this month.
"Maui Brewing Co. representatives will be sharing their passion for beer at Travaasa Hana, leading guests through the many components of beer tasting and brewing. Don't miss this fun and educational experience!" says Director of Food & Beverage Manny Arriaga.
June also marks the first anniversary of Alan Wong's Amasia at Grand Wailea. In celebration, it will extend its special $49 three-course pre-fixed menu throughout the month of June.
Start the meal with the fabulous Asian pear salad by Sous Chef Deeann Tsurumaki; followed by the entree quartet of soy-braised short ribs, seafood won ton, shoyu-duck bao bun, and ahi meatball with angry sauce. Dessert is lilikoi malasadas or chocolate pudding.
Other deals abound at Pioneer Inn in Lahaina, where you may get 25 percent off of you meal from 6 to 9 p.m. and it serves fresh catch just brought into harbor. Honu Seafood & Pizza and Mala Ocean Tavern are running a 10 percent off for kamaaina seven days a week.