Side Orders

SloDown Winemaker Brandon Allen (left) and Alan Jahns of Paradise Beverage’s wine division clown around in Wailuku recently. Photo courtesy Alan Jahns

As I waited for my haircut at Lori’s Hair Shack in Wailuku the other day, a Hawaii cover of the June Food & Wine issue with “Aloha, Summer” as the headline jumped out at me.

I picked it up and discovered that the huli-huli chicken cover photo was a dish by Maui superstar Chef Sheldon Simeon. He and his Lineage restaurant at The Shops at Wailea had a multi-page spread. On Instagram, movie stars Sofia Vergara and hubby Joe Manganiello posted family photos with actor pal Paul Rudd dining at Lineage during the recent Maui Film Fest, garnering about 50,000 “likes.” That can’t hurt business at all.

At the oceanside end of The Shops at Wailea, Longhi’s Wailea hosted a filmmaker’s brunch during the fest. It was fun to meet the producers of “WeRiseUP” and “Climate Change” there. GM Michael Rose is doing a fabulous job with breakfast items such as French toast with a touch of Grand Marnier, lobster Benedict, just-baked cinnamon rolls and lunch and dinner. Owner Peter Longhi is back from a foodie trip to Sardinia, too.

My Big Apple pal James Monahan phoned me that a winemaker client was here for a dinner at The Pint & Cork in The Shops. He is SloDown Wine’s Brandon Allen from San Luis Obispo, Calif.

His most famous wine, Sexual Chocolate, was featured in an ad that was nominated for a Cannes film fest award, it’s displayed at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in the “How Wines Became Modern” show and distributed throughout Cal Poly dormitories.

Brandon jokes that Sexual Chocolate goes with pretty much anything — including cowboys, horticulture, racy romance, work retreats and much more.

Maui wine rep Alan Jahns of Paradise Beverages says that Brandon first “made wine that helped him pick up chicks, citing Thomas Jefferson as an example,” and that he is “a post-Robert-Parker millennial who’s not interested in stuffy wine traditions, yet he’s garnered numerous 90-plus scores” in spite of it.

SloDown Wines are available at The Pint & Cork, both Maui Ruth’s Chris Steak House locations, What Ales You in the Kihei Kalama Village, Tamura’s Fine Wines in Lahaina and Travaasa Hana in East Maui.

More fun is brewing at a shopping mall in Lahaina.

“At Outlets of Maui, food is the new fashion on Front Street,” says GM Brian K. Yano. “Later this year we will celebrate the highly-anticipated grand opening of Waikiki Brewing Company — a venue which illustrates our vision to reimagine the center’s offerings. What’s more, we expect to announce the names of additional food and beverage tenants that will soon call Outlets of Maui home in the months to come. Stay tuned!”

While Yano didn’t divulge “who” yet, a Tommy Bahama spokesperson says that they plan to open a restaurant with a Marlin Bar and retail shop in the Outlets’ former Hard Rock Cafe location later this year.

At Napili Plaza mall, the new Fond, A Neighborhood Eatery is up and running with daily brunch cuisine. The owner is Chef Jojo Vasquez, formerly with Plantation House and, most recently, Maui Brewing Co. Watch for more details soon . . . Thai Paradise is an exotic new option at the Harbor Shops’ old Cafe del Vino spot in Maalaea. It just celebrated its grand opening June 7.