Aug 2017

Maui Grindz: Savory, Sweet & Ono to Eat


We ran away to Maui for a week this past July. It was truly the family vacation of my dreams—seven straight days of relaxed, sun-soaked togetherness. In between mornings spent at the pool and beach, midday naps, and leisurely evenings, we shared meals that highlighted local flavors. Here’s a sampling of all the grindz we ate on Maui…

Geste Shrimp Truck – Kahului

Geste Shrimp Truck - Maui

The Geste Shrimp Truck is a must-stop for anyone flying in to Kahului Airport. In the fashion of the shrimp trucks scattered along Oahu’s North Shore, the specialty here is shrimp prepared with Hawaiian flare. We ordered a serving of the garlicky Hawaiian Scampi, as well as the Spicy Pineapple, each served with a scoop of white rice and crab salad ($13 each). Both dishes were stellar.

Sweet Aloha Baking Company – Lahaina

Sweet Aloha Baking Company - Maui

An outlet of the Sweet Aloha Baking Company was located a few steps away from our hotel room. Warmed up to order, “The Local Girl” ($4) cinnamon roll with macadamia nuts delivered on all sweet and rich fronts.

Fish Market Maui – Lahaina

Fish Market Maui - Maui

There’s always a good-sized crowd at Fish Market Maui. The house-special Seared Ahi Steak Sandwich ($14.99) served on an onion roll was certainly good, but our favorite dish was the slightly sweet Coconut Shrimp and Chips ($12.99). Both were fried to crisp, golden perfection. The Crab Cake ($14.99) was passable but not exceptional.

Gazebo Restaurant – Lahaina

Gazebo Restaurant - Maui

Gazebo Restaurant gets the honor of being the most frequented restaurant during our week-long stay. We must have eaten here at least three or four times because it was conveniently located at the resort where we were staying.

The specialty pancakes were as exceptionally fluffy as promised. We enjoyed them topped with macadamia nuts, pineapple, coconut, and plenty of whipped cream. The French toast with Molokai-made sweet bread was solid, as was the fried rice. Pro tip: call in your order and enjoy your food poolside to avoid the restaurant’s famously long lines.

Joey’s Kitchen – Lahaina

Joey's Kitchen - Maui

Joey’s Kitchen serves up Pinoy cuisine in a fast-casual setting. We ate here twice due to proximity, even though the menu was a bit of a landmine. The strongest dishes were the pork adobo and the kalamansi tart for dessert.

Coconut Caboose – Lahaina

Coconut Caboose - Maui

The organic coconut water shave ice from Coconut Caboose ($7) wasn’t exceptional—the syrups tasted artificial and watered down—but the view of Honolua Bay across the way certainly was. The best thing had to be the coconut gelato that tasted like frozen coconut cream. Mmm!


Tamura’s Fine Wine – Lahaina

Tamura's Fine Wine - Maui

We visited Tamura’s Fine Wine on Oahu during our last Hawaiian getaway and were happy to return again for their terrific poke. I couldn’t resist the fresh ahi prepared two ways—“Island Shoyu” (soy sauce, ginger, sesame seeds, scallions) and “Hawaiian Style” with limu seaweed.

Tamura's Fine Wine - Maui

The Astronomer and June enjoyed a plate lunch of sorts featuring classic Hawaiian dishes: kalua pork, lomi salmon, poi, and laulau.

Ono Kau Kau – Lahaina

Ono Kau Kau - Maui

Ono Kau Kau is where American Chinese fare meets Hawaiian plate lunch. My combo platter featuring General Tso’s chicken and galbi short ribs with two scoops of rice and macaroni salad was a wonderfully delicious made-in-America mashup. The Astronomer’s garlicky shrimp and ono fish platter was good, but not the grand slam mine was.

Barefruit Bar – Lahaina

Barefruit Bar - Maui

The best part about my passion fruit and li hing mui shaved ice from Barefruit Bar was the Roselani coconut ice cream underneath. Otherwise, the texture of the ice and flavor of the syrups were pretty standard.

Sam Sato – Wailuku

Sam Sato - Maui

We went on a mini food tour of Wailuku when my Hawaiian friend Liana flew in from Oahu to spend the day with us. Our first stop was at Sam Soto to try their tsukemen (dry noodles), beef skewers, saimen, and manju. I felt like I was tasting a collision of Japanese food and Hawaiian sensibilities in every bite.

Home Maid Bakery – Wailuku

Handmaid Bakery - Maui

The malasada count was disappointingly low on this trip, but I did manage to eat a mediocre one at Home Maid Bakery. The cream filling reminded me of a Twinkie, which was admittedly kind of a bummer.

Maui Specialty Chocolates – Kahului

Maui Specialty Chocolates - Maui

My one regret from the trip was not buying more of the fantastic mochi from Maui Specialty Chocolates. The chocolate-peanut butter filled ones were dreamy AF. Pardon the millennial-speak.

Shorebreak Grindz – Kahului

Shorebreak Grindz - Maui

We were hoping to return for more island-style shrimp at Geste for the final meal of the trip, but didn’t realized it didn’t operate seven days a week. In a pinch, we grabbed some garlic noodles and grilled chicken from Shorebreak Grindz, and we couldn’t have been more pleased. In fact, we wouldn’t hesitate to dine here in the future even if the Geste were around.

Tasaka Guri Guri – Kahului

Tasaka Guri Guri - Maui

And last but not least, two scoops of guri guri—a kind of ice cream-sorbet hybrid. While the cherry flavor tasted like cough medicine, the pineapple was refreshing and appealing. The prices couldn’t be beat.

Thanks for feeding us well, Maui. We can’t wait to return.

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