Happy Mother’s Day! Can you feel the electricity in the air? More cars are out and about, more restaurants are opening or reopening for takeout, and the weather is picture-perfect in paradise. And diners can find tempting last-minute takeout options to satisfy Maui moms.
Remember, 60 is the new 40, and fish is the new meat, since coronavirus cases are affecting most meat-processing plants on the mainland.
Isana in North Kihei is doing swimmingly well in the seafood category. Owner Johnny Arabatzis is an avid fisherman, and he’s been bringing in all manner of fish for both Isana and his other restaurant, Pita Paradise, in Wailea. Both Isana and Pita are open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily for curbside takeout.
“Johnny’s been very diligent about fishing,” said his wife and business partner, Christine Arabatzis. “He’s catching bottom fish like opakapaka and lehi, and we’re doing fish plates and fish katsu curry, which is really popular. At Pita Paradise, of course, everyone loves the Mediterranean fish salad, the fish pita sandwich with slaw and roasted red bell peppers and the fish kabobs, which comes with sauteed veggies, rice pilaf, pita bread and tzatziki sauce. We’ll have something really special for Mother’s Day along with all the sushi.”
In the same Wailea Gateway mall as Pita Paradise, Fabiani’s Italian Restaurant is offering curbside takeout dinners from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Savor wood-fired pizzas, house-made lasagnas, crisp Caesar salads and Mamma Mia’s dessert of the day. Owner Mike O’Dwyer said that for every four entree orders, mothers will eat for free and get a complimentary dessert of salted caramel macaroon. Call the Wailea location at 874-0888. Call Fabiani’s Kihei at 874-1234.
Mulligans on the Blue in Wailea will open its easy-as-pie drive-thru from 4 to 7 p.m. today, serving simple comfort foods of Ireland. Order Harp beer-battered fish and chips, Irish potato or fish tacos and burgers. With Mulligans’ really cool drive-thru app, you can order and pay for your food without leaving the safety of your car or truck.
MORE OPTIONS FOR MOM
The popular A Saigon Cafe in Wailuku, which closed March 16 due to — well, you know — and for a much-needed kitchen renovation, is kick-starting operations for Mother’s Day weekend only. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., but you may call before 11 a.m. today to place orders.
“This holiday is bittersweet for me,” said owner Jennifer Nguyen. “Mother’s Day is usually my busiest day of the year. I’m opening up for this weekend only to serve the people, but at the same time I want to protect my staff.”
A Saigon Cafe’s most popular items are garden-party shrimp, rice in the clay pot and Vietnamese burritos. To order, call 243-9560.
While Thailand Cuisine at the Maui Mall in Kahului is normally closed Sundays, it will open today especially for Mother’s Day from 10:30 a.m. straight through to 6 or 7 p.m., said a staffer. Popular dishes include tom yum soup, pad Thai noodles, Evil Prince stir-fry and panang curry. (Its sister restaurant in Kihei is closed today.) To order, call 873-0225.
On the north shore, Kuau Store right off Hana Highway is chock full of local gifts and food items for Mother’s Day, from house-made poke to panini sandwiches to gourmet coffee and organic salads. Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. You might just find mom some much-coveted hand sanitizers and face masks in colorful designs. Pose for a family selfie in front of the surfboard fence and then perhaps cruise to newly reopened Hookipa Beach Park for a fun excursion.
“Get a free latte just if you bring in a photo of you with your child/children,” said owner Kathy O’Malley. “You can also show us a picture of you with your offspring on your cellphone!”
“It is all of our employees alongside the community that make the Kuau Store what it is,” said Ed O’Malley, Kathy’s husband and store owner-operator, who turned this old mom-and-pop location into a fun destination. Call 579-8844.
WHAT’S ‘NEW NORMAL’?
While things are inching ever so closer to a “new normal,” I wonder whether Maui’s crowd-appealing, all-you-can-eat brunches and luau shows will reemerge onto the scene.
“That’s a hard question,” said executive chef Tom Muromoto of Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel, currently closed for food service but famous for its award-winning Sunday Champagne brunches.
“I don’t think I’ll have an answer for that until later on in the year. We don’t have any set plans because nobody knows what the future has in store for us. We’re going from month to month. Even our Father’s Day brunch is canceled, as far as I know.
“Meanwhile, construction is now going strong on Huihui, which will become our new signature restaurant.”
Because its own store locations have been closed, Honolulu Cookie Co. partnered with Foodland stores statewide to sell its signature, pineapple-shaped shortbread cookies that are hand-dipped in chocolate. Seasonal lemon cookies and snack packs of minibites also are available.
“To show our support, we will continue to do what we can to share aloha by donating cookies to first responders and those in need with the hope that it serves as a sweet reminder of better days to come,” said Ryan Sung, Cookie Co. general manager.
Visit honolulucookie.com or call 866-333-5800.
Four Seasons Resort Lanai is making quarantine dreams of a quick getaway to the neighbor island a bit easier with the “Lanai at Home,” a new series of fun and instructional live broadcasts, videos and posts on the resort’s social media channels through May.
On Instagram, view tips on “How to Entertain at Home” on Monday with Caroline Montondon, wedding and social sales manager. On Wednesday, sip at home and savor “Virtual Wine Tasting” with sommelier Sean Fonte, while the “Shaken, Not Stirred” cocktail demo debuts May 18.
On Facebook, get ready to glow watching “How to Make the Ultimate Homemade Body Scrub” on Monday with Rita Moon, lead esthetician of Hawanawana Spa. Bring out your “Inner Baker” Friday with dessert demos by executive pastry chef Hafiz Razali.
The postponed Maui Brewers Festival at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center will carry on in the virtual realm with Brewfest@Home from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday on the MACC’s social media platforms. (See the front-page story for further details.)
Also at the MACC, Henry Kapono’s next Artist 2 Artist concert, set for Thursday, was again postponed. But the famous artist is staying busy. His Henry Kapono Foundation has raised $100,000 for musicians in the state, and the recording artist has been handing out $100 Foodland gift cards to those in need who ask. For further uplift, check out his daily Positive World online virtue readings, which touch on topics such as orderliness, honesty and consideration, before he shares a song. Visit henrykapono.com.
No word yet on whether Kapono will join the gathering of performers contributing videos to the new MACC@Home concert series on social media. So far, John Cruz and Barry Flanagan have signed up. Visit the MACC’s YouTube channel for more.
WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR!
With a “heavy heart,” Seabury Hall planners canceled the school’s 41st annual Craft Fair, which was set for this weekend. You’ll have to wait until May 8, 2021, for the next one in beautiful Upcountry … May’s Restaurant Week Wailea featuring discounted menus at more than 20 establishments has been postponed … And Kapalua Wine & Food Festival won’t be uncorking its 40th annual event this year. It’s now set for June 10-13, 2021.
“The impact to the travel industry, our small island community and more specifically Kapalua Resort has been significant,” said event director Karin Sagar. “We know that our winery and restaurant partners are also experiencing unprecedented hardships and uncertainties.”
The event supports local nonprofits such as the University of Hawaii Maui College Culinary Arts Program and Pu‘u Kukui Watershed Preserve.
Speaking of the UHMC Culinary Arts Program, it’s just been rated No. 1 on the 2020 gradreports survey of the 25 best Associate in Culinary Arts programs in the U.S. based on median starting salaries for graduates after their first year of college.
“It’s an incredible and humbling honor,” said program coordinator Teresa Shurilla in a news release.
“It’s a tribute to our faculty, staff, administration and students. Even in this challenging time with our kitchens and classrooms closed, we are forging ahead making use of every available technology. And it underlines the importance of all us supporting our food and beverage community. We want our all our graduates to thrive in industry when it’s safe out there once again.”
Want to sign up for the fall 2020 semester? Visit maui.hawaii.edu/culinary.