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Coffee and lunch hot spots in Makawao

Joannah Bryan serves a customer at Cowgirl Coffee Maui in Makawao. AYA GANZ photo

Historic Makawao is the home of cowboys, cattle ranches, farms of all kinds and sweeping vistas. Cowgirl Coffee Maui fits right in with the town’s character.

Joannah Bryan opened up Cowgirl Coffee Maui two years ago. She grew up on Maui and wanted to return after working a corporate job on the Mainland for many years. She dreamed of a business that would connect with the community. Her adorable yellow trailer, Cowgirl Coffee, is tucked neatly in between local shops and the Stopwatch Sportsbar & Grill on Makawao Avenue.

Bryan’s goal in opening the business was to give daily commuters a cup of morning fuel on their way to work. She wanted to create a place for parents to come and sit for a moment. Being so close to the library, there wasn’t really a place to gather close by that had a friendly environment for children and parents.

There is no Wi-Fi at Cowgirl Coffee on purpose. “I wanted to provide a place for people to actually connect,” says Bryan.

Cowgirl Coffee serves Maui-grown beans in all their brews. The selection includes espresso drinks like cinnamon latte, honey latte and the mac nut mocha. They have there own beans for sale too.

The menu is the perfect accompaniment to the coffee. Fresh baked sourdough bread toasts include local avocado, fresh banana with almond butter and grilled cheese with tomato. Breakfast burritos are made fresh to order. I love the local eggs, portobello mushroom and sharp white cheddar cheese. Cowgirl Coffee also serves island banana bread by the slice or loaf. A great gift idea. This tiny treasure is serving up fantastic local coffee, heavenly food and a vibe that’s pure aloha.

* Cowgirl Coffee, 1135 Makawao Ave., Makawao.

The newest star on the Makawao food scene is another amazing food trailer called Satori. This is where elegant dining meets the street in a charming outdoor setting on Baldwin Avenue. It’s the concept of owner Morgan Miller. His dream has recently become reality with the debut of his first solo endeavor.

The word Satori, I came to find out, has a very deep and beautiful meaning. I was encouraged by Miller to read into its meaning for myself. The definition is a term for awakening, comprehension or understanding. Satori is said to be unexplainable, indescribable and unintelligible by reason and logic. Satori, in the Zen Buddhist tradition, refers to the experience of kensho or “seeing into one’s true nature.”

The magic of Satori comes alive in a farm to trailer kind of fashion.

The food here is as fresh, inspiring and as beautifully plated as those at a fine dining sushi restaurant. Miller tells me that he believes what really sets his food on a level of its own is that a lot if his fish is sustainably farmed. The fish comes from open water pens offshore of Kona where farmers are successfully raising and harvesting Hawaiian kampachi (Big Island yellowtail) sustainably. The premium, sashimi-grade Hawaiian kampachi is some of the highest grade fish you can find, with the lowest environmental impact. The fish carries little to zero mercury or parasites and is raised in this gentle way.

I was thrilled to explore the menu here. I began with the torched scallops. Thinly sliced and seared, the scallops are served on a elegant bed of local micro greens, black sesame, ponzu, cilantro and a touch of jalapeno. This delicate starter was as good as it looked — modernistic, delectable and subtle.

Next, I was brought the grilled Hamakua mushrooms. These local treasures were sublime. The mushrooms are grilled with a homemade teriyaki sauce that was soft and subdued and didn’t overpower the delicate flavor of these exquisite local mushrooms.

I followed with the absolutely stunning daily special roll. It was raw kampachi, cucumber topped with avocado and micro greens. It was plated with fantastically spiced raw tuna and seared ahi, lilikoi macadamia nut aolii, mac nuts and shiso. It had a crunchy bite and was feather light on the tongue. Served with fresh wasabi, it was a sushi-lovers dream. I look forward to coming back on a rainy day for the ramen. Mahalo nui Makawao. Come for the morning and a cup at Cowgirl Coffee and stay for lunch at Satori.

* Satori, Makawao Marketplace, 3654 Makawao Ave., Makawao.

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