Foodie Field Trip: Everything We Ate on Maui, Part 2
A pizza-perfect lunch, an al fresco wine pairing and a DIY pancake breakfast highlight a second foodie trip to the Valley Isle.
Food has been calling us to the neighbor islands lately, and often. So after eating our way across Maui a few weeks ago, we hopped back in search of still more new spots, lingering curiosities and neighborhood favorites. In 36 hours on the Valley Isle, these five eateries emerged as our Part 2 favorites. A special shoutout goes to our stretchy pants—island-hopping for grinds is a lifestyle.
We skip breakfast and head Upcountry for a carb-fest at this aesthetic wood-fired pizza cafe. Poised to indulge, we start with two blood-orange Italian sodas topped with whipped cream ($6)—because what says treat-yo-self more than this? After drooling over the menu we go for a white pie topped with burrata, cherry tomatoes, coppa and arugula ($27). Nor can we resist the cast-iron-crisped potato gnocchi in parmesan cream sauce ($32), especially with the house Italian sausage added on ($6). The pizza is bright with fresh lemon balancing out the peppery baby arugula, and the porky coppa’s crispy texture plays beautifully with the creamy burata. The gnocchi are both light and satiating, with thin slices of zucchini lending a sweetness against the spiced sausage. If you’re looking to splurge a bit for a thoughtfully prepared meal layered with tasty details, stop here.
Thai Mee Up
The last time we were on Maui, I was picking up food at one of the food trailer parks near the airport when an arm appeared from the Thai Mee Up truck offering me a fried pork rib. That rib was so memorable I almost turned the car around to go back for more. Luckily, there are multiple locations, so when we spied the truck again we ordered the fried pork ribs ($14.48) without the jasmine rice and papaya salad they normally come with, and had zero regrets. The boneless ribs are tender and juicy, glazed with a careful balance of umami fish sauce and tangy citrus and sweetness. Pieces of rendered fat are luscious with crisp edges, making these babies literally finger-licking good.
Multiple locations, @thai_mee_up
Kiawe Outdoor Under the Branches at Royal Lāhainā Resort
This second romp over to the Valley Isle was inspired by an invite to check out the seaside resort and its new al fresco dinner offering. Under a century-old rubber tree is a candlelit dinner with dishes cooked over a kiawe fire, with impeccable wine pairings by master sommelier Yeshua Goodman. We whet our palate with delicious small plates of smoked meat made with local boar, poi mochi bites, fire-baked sourdough with mango butter, and spoons holding smoked ‘ono. Dinner includes roasted rainbow carrots, mahi mahi in sinigang broth with pearl barley, hand-cut pasta, roasted lamb and a dessert of liliko‘i and plucots. Reservations for the $395 dinner are online at the Royal Lāhainā Resort website; kama‘āina get a 35% discount.
We’re in search of an easy breakfast when we remember that this make-your-own pancake spot is nearby. We’re sold on the seasonal pancake batter flavor, banana oatmeal ($10 for an 8-ounce bottle), and add sides of chocolate chips ($3) and whipped cream ($3), plus an order of loaded potatoes ($8) and extra crispy bacon ($6). The cheesy home-fry-style potatoes are flavorful and covered in melted cheese, roasted peppers and onions, sour cream and baby chives—yum! Bonus points for the bacon being actually thin and crispy, but you guys—the pancakes! I happily revert to childhood, making heart-shaped pancakes and dotting them with chocolate chips. Griddles set into every table cook the cakes evenly, and the from-scratch batter is fluffy and not too sweet. This place hits the comfort-food breakfast spot on the dot. While we didn’t expect to love this chain from Portland, Oregon so much, this has been our favorite Part 2 meal: 10/10 would sponsor a Slappy Cakes on O‘ahu.
3350 Lower Honoapi‘ilani Road #701, Lāhainā, @slappycakesmaui
Shikeda Bento Patisserie
What if I told you that a shop on Wailuku Main Street serves up both ‘ono bentos and divine patisserie? Well, the jig is up: This hybrid eatery almost always has a line of locals holding stacks of bentos, eagerly approaching the patisserie case. The first time I visited, the oven was down; since then I’ve made it a point to visit every time I’m on Maui. Bentos include local favorites like miso pork belly, broiled saba, mochiko chicken, croquettes and shrimp tempura with a bomb tartar sauce. Patisserie options feature some shop classics but are different every day. Pro tip: The next day’s menu is usually on Shikeda’s website by 6 p.m. the night before, and ordering ahead is key if you’ve got your heart set on something. Stay tuned for a full post on what we tried, soon.
We wish we could fit in a few more spots, but we also need to fit into our seats for our flight back home. Between high-five inducing bites, we realize we’ve only scratched the surface. We appreciate you, Maui! We’ll be back for more “research” before you can say no ka ‘oi!