Side Orders • January 10, 2019

Massimo Trombini, a native of Rome, has been on Maui for 22 years. He sells Verdleaf juice from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays at Whole Foods in Kahului. CARLA TRACY photo

FOOD FOR THOUGHT . . . Those attending the New Year’s Eve rock-star concert at Wailea Beach Resort — Marriott Maui bid at auction and “strummed up” money for Maui Food Bank and the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, both worthy island causes.

“Howie Mandel was auctioneer,” says Shep Gordon, the concert’s promoter. “One guitar signed by the artists [Alice Cooper and Steven Tyler, etc.] went for $25,000. We have one left, if anyone wants to buy it.” Interested? Email

Maui Brewing Co. opened its fourth restaurant in Hawaii last weekend at the Lau Hala Shops in Kailua, Oahu. MBC is Hawaii’s largest craft brewery with a production brewery, full-service restaurant and tasting room in Kihei, as well as restaurants in Kahana and Waikiki.

Word has it that MBC Brewer Matt Ponch moved to Hana and commutes to Kihei. The company recently bought a ton of starfruit from Ono Organic Farms in Kipahulu to craft a Kolsch style of ale.

“It’s been well received so far,” says Chuck Boerner of Ono. “The Kolsch has only a very, very faint taste of starfruit. It’s on tap at a couple of restaurants and should be available at more places soon.”

Tickets are now on sale for Carnival de Venice annual Mascheranda Grand Ball benefit for Imua Family Services, to be held March 30 at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali.

Carnival began as a sinful excess leading up to Lent with indulgent eating, drinking, music and dancing. Masks were worn to conceal partygoers. The story is the same for the Maui gala –but don’t feel guilty about buying in. This year’s event spotlights Down syndrome. One in 700 babies is born with it. For tickets, call 244-7467.

The Maui Okinawan Cultural Center in Wailuku will host its annual Food Bazaar from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday. There will be andagi donuts, nantu sticky rice, pig’s feet soup and chow fun, according to organizer Kenjin Kai.

Oprah Winfrey was on island for the holidays. Tiffany Derry cooked at the media mogul’s house in Kula. Derry divulged the scoop at Lineage in Wailea recently. Both she and Lineage owner Sheldon Simeon have rocked on “Top Chef” as well as at the Celebrity Chefs on Tour event held at Grand Wailea in recent years.

A Saigon Cafe just celebrated 24 years in its current spot, rising from the ashes where the old Naokee’s in Wailuku burned down. Owner Jennifer Nguyen will uncork a wine tasting on Jan. 17 featuring some Fort Ross varietals. For reservations, call 243-9560.

The Maui chapter of Chaine des Rotisseurs, the oldest culinary club in the world, will host its post-holiday formal event starting at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at Sugar Beach Events in Kihei. Want to join? Call 244-5531.

Last but not least, Mala Ocean Tavern in Lahaina is doing swimmingly well under new ownership. The partners of Down to Hatch took it over in November from founder and famous chef Mark Ellman.

“We’re really excited to purchase it and keep the legacy of Mark Ellman going,” says Ashley Davis, who is partners in Mala with Javier Barberi, Julian Bonfarden and David Fincher.

New GM and Lead Sommelier is Caleb Hopkins. Mala now has more wines, daily brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., happy hour from 2 to 4:30 p.m., later evening hours and is keeping the vibe of “practice aloha” alive.

* Got restaurant/dining-event scoop? Call Dining Editor Carla Tracy at 242-6342; or email