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Side Orders • April 25, 2019

The Banyan Tree’s Chef de Cuisine Bella Toland impressed a group of isle and Mainland journalists at Celebration of the Arts last weekend at the Ritz in Kapalua. CARLA TRACY photo

FOOD FOR THOUGHT . . . Kapalua was jumping last weekend with the 27th annual Celebration of the Arts. As usual, The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua’s Hawaiian Cultural Advisor Clifford Nae’ole outdid himself with booking top entertainment and educators. Move over Merrie Monarch — hula halau enchanted, too.

New Ritz General Manager Andrew Rogers was gracious and oh-so welcoming. Director of Food & Beverage Daniel Schmidt impressed the media with food and drink at the Anuenue Room from new Chef de Cuisine Bella Toland. She will tantalize at The Banyan Tree when it opens soon with Kona Maine lobster lumpia, ribeye in butter lettuce cups and more. Mixologist Daryl Smith crafted cocktails such as the Kilauea Mist and the Pulelehua. Stay tuned for exact date of opening.

The Rose by the Bay pop-up continues at the Cliff House that fronts Montage Kapalua Bay from 4 to 7:30 p.m. today through Sunday.

My husband and I celebrated our pre-wedding feast in the historic building back in the day. I returned last weekend to watch the sunset, sip Whispering Angel by Caves D’Esclans of Provence and munch small bites such as marinated olives in lemon zest with chorizo and herbs, and shaved prosciutto salad with pears. Walk-ins only. You must be 21 and older to indulge.

Dining there was a delightful couple, Brett and Linda Marchi. They own Seein’ Spots Farm near Santa Barbara, raising rescue donkeys. The Marchis said they just sold five donkeys to Larry Ellison on Lanai. Word has it that Lanai at Koele (formerly Lodge at Koele, under construction as a Four Seasons wellness retreat) will have a Nobu Matsuhisa element blending in with the Sensei company that produces aquaponics on island.

After a several month reprieve, the popular monthly wine tasting dinners are back at Lahaina Coolers. Buy a pupu or three courses as a package, with or without wine. It’s the most reasonably priced offering around and tasty, too. The appetizer is fresh ono ceviche with tropical mango-papaya salsa and taro chips paired with Meiomi sparkling wine. The second course is seared ahi bruschetta with heirloom tomato and Noble Vines rose; and the entree is filet mignon in green peppercorn demi glace with crab-stuffed mushrooms. For more details, call 661-7082.

Hoi Hoi Hawaiian Bakery sends out tantalizing aromas from its Wailuku spot at Maui Lani shopping center between Jersey Mike’s Subs and Dominos Pizza.

“My two sisters work here,” says family owner Jong-Rak Kim. “My brother’s in the back baking. My dad’s in and out and my mom’s packaging.”

The Kims moved here from Virginia 20 years ago. They ran the old Rockin’ Sushi in Kihei (where Prince paraded in one time), and Makawao Sushi & Deli.

“It took us three years to get this open,” says Jong-Rak. “The only kitchen setup like ours is probably the culinary school. People love our French pastries, butter-cream cakes and adzuki-bean doughnuts.”

On the savory side, Hoi Hoi has croissants filled with cheese and/or Redondo hot dogs and croquettes with beef curry, veggie or pork fillings. Spam crusubi is like musubi only with bread and furikake.

“We have really good Japanese milk bread for the white loaf and if you want it sliced we have a bread slicer. We do custom cakes, too.”

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