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The ultimate, romantic beachfront dining experience in West Maui

Avocado kimchee toast at Pacific’O is colorful and beautifully plated. AYA GANZ photo

Pacific’O is a beautifully styled beachfront restaurant in Lahaina. Pink and black marble floors and elegant French doors frame the island of Lanai and the Pacific Ocean as it laps the sand just a few yards away. You may even see whales making their way around our idyllic island.

I went to brunch on Sunday. The classic menu, with an eclectic island twist, was exquisitely presented. Pacific’O is the ultimate romantic beachfront dining experience.

Chef Decio DaCosta sat down with me to talk all things food and what it’s like being a foodie transplant from another island. He is originally from New York City, like yours truly and is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. He has been on Maui for seven years.

Chef DaCosta gets fish fresh from Maui fishermen. For farm produce, Pacific’O restaurant is a sister to O’o Farms. This Upcountry farm is the exclusive grower of all the produce that DaCosta incorporates into his seasonal menu. DaCosta is presented with a rainbow palette of fruits and vegetables to “paint with,” keeping the menu evolving with the seasons.

Gathering at a table to take in sustenance is a profound tradition, and DaCosta takes his position as a chef seriously. He states, “Peace has been made at a table. As a family and as a species, I think we all can relate to that.”

For brunch I was presented an exciting array from the menu.

First, I tried the pork belly organic eggs benedict. A fantastic spin on the brunch classic: a delicately poached egg on top of a house-made English muffin, fried pork belly that is cured in-house, rich creamy hollandaise sauce, chives, basil and colorful edible flower petals. It was perfectly crunchy and savory.

Next, I had the avocado kimchee toast. Thinly sliced, perfectly ripened avocado and rainbow radishes are served on a nine- grain bread, house-made kimchee and sesame seeds. Very colorful and beautifully plated.

I had to try their French toast, done with a crunch. Fantastic cornflake battered bread, fresh berries, and starfruit are served with agave maple syrup.

Reservations recommended for this not-to-be missed Lahaina treasure.

* Pacific’O, 505 Front St., Lahaina.

*****

What to do for a fabulous non-alcoholic drink in the midday heat of the west side? Add to that: brilliant salads, seafood, and sourdough paninis. Maybe you are vegetarian or enjoy fancy vegan fair? There is something for all of us here. Don’t miss Alchemy Maui.

Tucked away and still a new-comer to the Lahaina food scene, Alchemy Maui kombucha bar and cafe opened three years ago. Partnering with Valley Isle Kombucha and Maui Artisan Sourdough, together they create a vision of probiotic love and fresh, local, non-GMO food. Kombucha is an effervescent fermented tea. Long considered a health tonic, it is produced by fermenting sugared tea using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Valley Isle adds herbs, like spearmint, that have special antioxidant qualities. Then, lucky for us, Island Valley mixologists hand select exotic local flavor combinations. Alchemy has more than 14 kombuchas on tap. Seven are core flavors you will always find and the other seven change seasonally, moving through fruit harvests.

Alchemy is a tasting room, so after sampling a few, I decided on the vanilla lavender which is floral complimented with the warmth of vanilla, also sweet and tangy in the classic style known to kombucha fans. I have tried kombucha brewed around the country. Their flavors are unique and remarkable. Not too sweet and just a bit sour.

For lunch I had the bahn mi; lemongrass grilled chicken with pickled carrot slaw served over brown rice, purple and white cabbage, cilantro and spiraled ribbons of sliced cucumber. I adored it.

Then I tried the mushroom stuffed kabocha squash; a madras curry marinated squash stuffed with shiitake mushrooms, enoki and oyster mushrooms, bok choy, red bell pepper, lemon and arugula. This was such a beautiful dish. I can’t wait to go back and try more of this menu.

* Alchemy Maui, 157 Kupuohi St., Lahaina.