Japengo’s Grand Opening at Hyatt Maui Resort

Posted: February 13th, 2011 | Comments Off

Japengo Dining Room

The Hyatt Maui’s highly anticipated sushi restaurant, Japengo, was officially blessed and given a huge “E Komo Mai” by the community on January 21, 2011. It’s difficult to say which was most beautiful; the décor, the food, or the guests who gleefully took it all in, but one thing is certain – it was probably the best grand opening party I’ve ever attended on Maui.

The evening began as Maui’s movers and shakers gathered at the resort’s Terrace overlook bar while the sun was yet to tuck behind Lanai in the distance. Luscious libations and tropical cocktails went down easy during the frolicking meet and greet, and tasty morsels passed thru the smiling crowd on silver trays served merely to whet the appetite for the main event.

Before I’d even had time to say Aloha to all the familiar faces in attendance, entertainment kicked off on the adjacent lawn. Hula dancers swayed to the rhythm of the breeze through the palms and as soon as the last note played on this portion of the evening’s program, the conch shell blew to beckon us to the star of the show – Japengo.

Fire Dancer Warms the Crowd

Painted faced geisha girls, feigning haughtiness, greeted guests at the entrance to the newly refurbished resto as smoke from strategically positioned dry ice whirled about their colorful kimono’s, adding significantly to the to the evening’s mystique. We were told to gather at the back of the open air-dining room where stunning decor gives way to views of the ocean. Two costumed samarai sat at the ready for their upcoming encounter while drums drove home the significance of the big moment. Over the loudspeaker, the mythological tale of the birth of Japengo was retold to the crowd’s amusement as the sun set just in time for the fire dancers to light the torches that dramatically blazed the name Japengo in a showy fire long to be remembered.

Then there was food!

Various hot and cold serving stations were positioned throughout the restaurant but the highlight was the sushi bar where attentive chefs took special orders as guests filed through cafeteria style. Sashimi, sushi, roles such as tekka, kappa, mahmay and tootsie, quickly overtook my plate before I’d even asked what was on the menu.

At the hot station we tried China Town Chow Funn and miso glazed fish – both delicious. I couldn’t find the Japengo Fried Rice and Singaporean Chili Crab that night, but having tried them on an earlier visit, deemed them worthy of a repeat sampling.

Japengo has an extensive menu of sushi, rolles and sides, along with exotic starters that include Kobe Carpaccio, thai quail satay, and steamed manila clams. For meat lovers there’s Kalbi Beef short rib, Kurobuta pork cooked Vietnamese style, and surf and turf consisting of Angus filet and New Caledonia prawns.

Dining at Japengo is pricey, with entrees ranging from $36 – $46, although sushi rolls are $5 – $20, about what you’d expect for top grade raw fish. Try the lobster Dyno-mite if you’re in a celebratory mood, for at $32 it’s not an everyday side dish but it is decadent. Toro Tartare is another standout though at $28 for what is truly a single serving side, don’t offer to share with anyone who doesn’t fully appreciate the Toro’s buttery succulence. Poached young abalone, a rare find these days, is a better value at $12, if you just want to try something different.

On our holiday visit we also sampled desserts, and left that evening loving the mocha ice cream and green tea panna cotta the most. All in all, Japengo is a welcome addition to the dining scene in West Maui with a menu offering the familiar sushi fare along with a superior selection of creative and exotic dishes.

Japengo on Urbanspoon

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Japengo’s Grand Opening at Hyatt Maui Resort

Posted: February 13th, 2011 | Comments Off

Japengo Dining Room

The Hyatt Maui’s highly anticipated sushi restaurant, Japengo, was officially blessed and given a huge “E Komo Mai” by the community on January 21, 2011. It’s difficult to say which was most beautiful; the décor, the food, or the guests who gleefully took it all in, but one thing is certain – it was probably the best grand opening party I’ve ever attended on Maui.

The evening began as Maui’s movers and shakers gathered at the resort’s Terrace overlook bar while the sun was yet to tuck behind Lanai in the distance. Luscious libations and tropical cocktails went down easy during the frolicking meet and greet, and tasty morsels passed thru the smiling crowd on silver trays served merely to whet the appetite for the main event.

Before I’d even had time to say Aloha to all the familiar faces in attendance, entertainment kicked off on the adjacent lawn. Hula dancers swayed to the rhythm of the breeze through the palms and as soon as the last note played on this portion of the evening’s program, the conch shell blew to beckon us to the star of the show – Japengo.

Fire Dancer Warms the Crowd

Painted faced geisha girls, feigning haughtiness, greeted guests at the entrance to the newly refurbished resto as smoke from strategically positioned dry ice whirled about their colorful kimono’s, adding significantly to the to the evening’s mystique. We were told to gather at the back of the open air-dining room where stunning decor gives way to views of the ocean. Two costumed samarai sat at the ready for their upcoming encounter while drums drove home the significance of the big moment. Over the loudspeaker, the mythological tale of the birth of Japengo was retold to the crowd’s amusement as the sun set just in time for the fire dancers to light the torches that dramatically blazed the name Japengo in a showy fire long to be remembered.

Then there was food!

Various hot and cold serving stations were positioned throughout the restaurant but the highlight was the sushi bar where attentive chefs took special orders as guests filed through cafeteria style. Sashimi, sushi, roles such as tekka, kappa, mahmay and tootsie, quickly overtook my plate before I’d even asked what was on the menu.

At the hot station we tried China Town Chow Funn and miso glazed fish – both delicious. I couldn’t find the Japengo Fried Rice and Singaporean Chili Crab that night, but having tried them on an earlier visit, deemed them worthy of a repeat sampling.

Japengo has an extensive menu of sushi, rolles and sides, along with exotic starters that include Kobe Carpaccio, thai quail satay, and steamed manila clams. For meat lovers there’s Kalbi Beef short rib, Kurobuta pork cooked Vietnamese style, and surf and turf consisting of Angus filet and New Caledonia prawns.

Dining at Japengo is pricey, with entrees ranging from $36 – $46, although sushi rolls are $5 – $20, about what you’d expect for top grade raw fish. Try the lobster Dyno-mite if you’re in a celebratory mood, for at $32 it’s not an everyday side dish but it is decadent. Toro Tartare is another standout though at $28 for what is truly a single serving side, don’t offer to share with anyone who doesn’t fully appreciate the Toro’s buttery succulence. Poached young abalone, a rare find these days, is a better value at $12, if you just want to try something different.

On our holiday visit we also sampled desserts, and left that evening loving the mocha ice cream and green tea panna cotta the most. All in all, Japengo is a welcome addition to the dining scene in West Maui with a menu offering the familiar sushi fare along with a superior selection of creative and exotic dishes.

Japengo on Urbanspoon

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Pulehu + Grgich Hills = Best Aipono Award Wine Dinner

Posted: February 8th, 2011 | Comments Off

Pulehu, An Italian Grill

Pulehu, An Italian Grill, Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villa’s award-winning dining venue, recently hosted the latest Aipono Award Wine Dinner, which also turned out to be the most successful in the history of the series sponsored by Maui No Ka Oi Magazine. Three factors made this particular dinner so exceptional – food, wine, and the Westin’s famed hospitality.

Le Food

Chef Francois Millet and his sous chef, Saipin Kumlor, created a luscious four course menu that included a deft combination of both familiar and unexpected ingredients. Rather than attempting to parade every new flavor trend on a single plate, the chef revealed restraint mixed with the ideal dash of creativity.

Starting with the grilled fennel dusted prawns, served atop a basil canellini bean emulsion, the textures were highly satisfying. The surprise was the jerky-like prosciutto garnish. Although I prefer prosciutto simply sured and raw, it was eye-opening to find the Parma delicacy can also offer significant smoky crunch when baked.

Monchong, Crostini and Croquette

Next up was Parmesean crusted monchong, a mouth watering, tender fish garnished with a garlic crostini and Olowalu tomatoes, dished up with the most fabulous grana padano potato croquettes laced with a surprising dose of spiced honey. The final surprise ingredient subtly magnified the potato’s sweetness and was such a hit that even my carb-averse friend couldn’t resist downing every last morsel.

After those two hearty courses diners were allowed time to interact and digest a bit while enjoying what seemed to be an unlimited supply of out of this world Grgich Hills vintages (more on that later).

For the third course, Chef prepared an ultra-tender Maui Cattle beef medallion atop creamy polenta with shaved carrots and grilled asparagus. To my great delight, Chef Millet didn’t over do it with the porcini demi glace, but wisely used the sauce at its highest calling – to enhance but not overpower the superior earthy flavor of the locally raised, grass fed beef.

Chocolate, Raspberry Heaven

Since nothing pairs better with beef than chocolate, the meal’s finale, Waialua chocolate raspberry tart, was as close to perfection as dessert can be. The ganache filled tart was layered in white chocolate mousse then set atop a delicate cookie crust accented with fresh raspberries and lilikoi couli drawn appropriately as little hearts dancing across the plate.

The Wine

Along the route to complete dining satisfaction, guests were treated to copious amounts and varieties of Grgich Hills’ wonderful vintages. Our shrimp course was paired with 2008 Fume Blanc, and the Monchong served with one of my favorite whites, the 2007 Chardonnay. Red wine lovers came to life when the 2007 Zinfandel showed up alongside the beef tenderloin and not coincidentally, that’s also when the party really kicked into high gear. Spirits (no pun) were higher than ever by the time the 2005 Merlot was poured to accompany the chocolate dessert course.

Aloha

As for the third enchanting ingredient, everything seemed in sync to create an remarkably welcoming atmosphere of Aloha. Enhanced by excellent mood lighting, gorgeous room design (with open air views of elegant koi ponds and gardens), and lively conversationalists, I bore gleeful witness as hotel guests, part-time visitors, full-time residents and passersby interacted and shared the warmth of the evening. New friendships were struck, romance blossomed, and I suspect even hurt feelings were mended. The staff was over indulgent in allowing the evening to progress organically, until diners became so relaxed we felt as comfortable as in the home of dear friends.

Such an evening can be attributed to fine food, noble wine, and enjoyable companions, but above all the credit goes to Westin’s staff and management. They are consummate pros at creating an ambiance that exemplifies exceptional hospitality.

Aipono Awards - What's Good to Eat

The Aipono Awards, hosted by Maui No Ka Oi Magazine, are presented annually to food related individuals and businesses in Maui. Selected without prejudice by Maui No Ka Oi readers, these coveted awards represent the honest and uncensored opinions of actual diners who determine what’s best in the Maui food scene. Aipono Award-winning restaurants also host Aipono Wine Dinners, with exclusively created menus and wine pairings from various vineyards. Proceeds from these dinners benefit the Maui Culinary Academy Programs and give students another valuable opportunity to work side-by-side with top chefs, further enhancing their educational experience.

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read the full article »

Pulehu + Grgich Hills = Best Aipono Award Wine Dinner

Posted: February 8th, 2011 | Comments Off

Pulehu, An Italian Grill

Pulehu, An Italian Grill, Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villa’s award-winning dining venue, recently hosted the latest Aipono Award Wine Dinner, which also turned out to be the most successful in the history of the series sponsored by Maui No Ka Oi Magazine. Three factors made this particular dinner so exceptional – food, wine, and the Westin’s famed hospitality.

Le Food

Chef Francois Millet and his sous chef, Saipin Kumlor, created a luscious four course menu that included a deft combination of both familiar and unexpected ingredients. Rather than attempting to parade every new flavor trend on a single plate, the chef revealed restraint mixed with the ideal dash of creativity.

Starting with the grilled fennel dusted prawns, served atop a basil canellini bean emulsion, the textures were highly satisfying. The surprise was the jerky-like prosciutto garnish. Although I prefer prosciutto simply sured and raw, it was eye-opening to find the Parma delicacy can also offer significant smoky crunch when baked.

Monchong, Crostini and Croquette

Next up was Parmesean crusted monchong, a mouth watering, tender fish garnished with a garlic crostini and Olowalu tomatoes, dished up with the most fabulous grana padano potato croquettes laced with a surprising dose of spiced honey. The final surprise ingredient subtly magnified the potato’s sweetness and was such a hit that even my carb-averse friend couldn’t resist downing every last morsel.

After those two hearty courses diners were allowed time to interact and digest a bit while enjoying what seemed to be an unlimited supply of out of this world Grgich Hills vintages (more on that later).

For the third course, Chef prepared an ultra-tender Maui Cattle beef medallion atop creamy polenta with shaved carrots and grilled asparagus. To my great delight, Chef Millet didn’t over do it with the porcini demi glace, but wisely used the sauce at its highest calling – to enhance but not overpower the superior earthy flavor of the locally raised, grass fed beef.

Chocolate, Raspberry Heaven

Since nothing pairs better with beef than chocolate, the meal’s finale, Waialua chocolate raspberry tart, was as close to perfection as dessert can be. The ganache filled tart was layered in white chocolate mousse then set atop a delicate cookie crust accented with fresh raspberries and lilikoi couli drawn appropriately as little hearts dancing across the plate.

The Wine

Along the route to complete dining satisfaction, guests were treated to copious amounts and varieties of Grgich Hills’ wonderful vintages. Our shrimp course was paired with 2008 Fume Blanc, and the Monchong served with one of my favorite whites, the 2007 Chardonnay. Red wine lovers came to life when the 2007 Zinfandel showed up alongside the beef tenderloin and not coincidentally, that’s also when the party really kicked into high gear. Spirits (no pun) were higher than ever by the time the 2005 Merlot was poured to accompany the chocolate dessert course.

Aloha

As for the third enchanting ingredient, everything seemed in sync to create an remarkably welcoming atmosphere of Aloha. Enhanced by excellent mood lighting, gorgeous room design (with open air views of elegant koi ponds and gardens), and lively conversationalists, I bore gleeful witness as hotel guests, part-time visitors, full-time residents and passersby interacted and shared the warmth of the evening. New friendships were struck, romance blossomed, and I suspect even hurt feelings were mended. The staff was over indulgent in allowing the evening to progress organically, until diners became so relaxed we felt as comfortable as in the home of dear friends.

Such an evening can be attributed to fine food, noble wine, and enjoyable companions, but above all the credit goes to Westin’s staff and management. They are consummate pros at creating an ambiance that exemplifies exceptional hospitality.

Aipono Awards - What's Good to Eat

The Aipono Awards, hosted by Maui No Ka Oi Magazine, are presented annually to food related individuals and businesses in Maui. Selected without prejudice by Maui No Ka Oi readers, these coveted awards represent the honest and uncensored opinions of actual diners who determine what’s best in the Maui food scene. Aipono Award-winning restaurants also host Aipono Wine Dinners, with exclusively created menus and wine pairings from various vineyards. Proceeds from these dinners benefit the Maui Culinary Academy Programs and give students another valuable opportunity to work side-by-side with top chefs, further enhancing their educational experience.

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read the full article »

Pulehu + Grgich Hills = Best Aipono Award Wine Dinner

Posted: February 8th, 2011 | Comments Off

Pulehu, An Italian Grill

Pulehu, An Italian Grill, Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villa’s award-winning dining venue, recently hosted the latest Aipono Award Wine Dinner, which also turned out to be the most successful in the history of the series sponsored by Maui No Ka Oi Magazine. Three factors made this particular dinner so exceptional – food, wine, and the Westin’s famed hospitality.

Le Food

Chef Francois Millet and his sous chef, Saipin Kumlor, created a luscious four course menu that included a deft combination of both familiar and unexpected ingredients. Rather than attempting to parade every new flavor trend on a single plate, the chef revealed restraint mixed with the ideal dash of creativity.

Starting with the grilled fennel dusted prawns, served atop a basil canellini bean emulsion, the textures were highly satisfying. The surprise was the jerky-like prosciutto garnish. Although I prefer prosciutto simply sured and raw, it was eye-opening to find the Parma delicacy can also offer significant smoky crunch when baked.

Monchong, Crostini and Croquette

Next up was Parmesean crusted monchong, a mouth watering, tender fish garnished with a garlic crostini and Olowalu tomatoes, dished up with the most fabulous grana padano potato croquettes laced with a surprising dose of spiced honey. The final surprise ingredient subtly magnified the potato’s sweetness and was such a hit that even my carb-averse friend couldn’t resist downing every last morsel.

After those two hearty courses diners were allowed time to interact and digest a bit while enjoying what seemed to be an unlimited supply of out of this world Grgich Hills vintages (more on that later).

For the third course, Chef prepared an ultra-tender Maui Cattle beef medallion atop creamy polenta with shaved carrots and grilled asparagus. To my great delight, Chef Millet didn’t over do it with the porcini demi glace, but wisely used the sauce at its highest calling – to enhance but not overpower the superior earthy flavor of the locally raised, grass fed beef.

Chocolate, Raspberry Heaven

Since nothing pairs better with beef than chocolate, the meal’s finale, Waialua chocolate raspberry tart, was as close to perfection as dessert can be. The ganache filled tart was layered in white chocolate mousse then set atop a delicate cookie crust accented with fresh raspberries and lilikoi couli drawn appropriately as little hearts dancing across the plate.

The Wine

Along the route to complete dining satisfaction, guests were treated to copious amounts and varieties of Grgich Hills’ wonderful vintages. Our shrimp course was paired with 2008 Fume Blanc, and the Monchong served with one of my favorite whites, the 2007 Chardonnay. Red wine lovers came to life when the 2007 Zinfandel showed up alongside the beef tenderloin and not coincidentally, that’s also when the party really kicked into high gear. Spirits (no pun) were higher than ever by the time the 2005 Merlot was poured to accompany the chocolate dessert course.

Aloha

As for the third enchanting ingredient, everything seemed in sync to create an remarkably welcoming atmosphere of Aloha. Enhanced by excellent mood lighting, gorgeous room design (with open air views of elegant koi ponds and gardens), and lively conversationalists, I bore gleeful witness as hotel guests, part-time visitors, full-time residents and passersby interacted and shared the warmth of the evening. New friendships were struck, romance blossomed, and I suspect even hurt feelings were mended. The staff was over indulgent in allowing the evening to progress organically, until diners became so relaxed we felt as comfortable as in the home of dear friends.

Such an evening can be attributed to fine food, noble wine, and enjoyable companions, but above all the credit goes to Westin’s staff and management. They are consummate pros at creating an ambiance that exemplifies exceptional hospitality.

Aipono Awards - What's Good to Eat

The Aipono Awards, hosted by Maui No Ka Oi Magazine, are presented annually to food related individuals and businesses in Maui. Selected without prejudice by Maui No Ka Oi readers, these coveted awards represent the honest and uncensored opinions of actual diners who determine what’s best in the Maui food scene. Aipono Award-winning restaurants also host Aipono Wine Dinners, with exclusively created menus and wine pairings from various vineyards. Proceeds from these dinners benefit the Maui Culinary Academy Programs and give students another valuable opportunity to work side-by-side with top chefs, further enhancing their educational experience.

Share and Enjoy:
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read the full article »

Famous Dave’s Barbeque Opens in Lahaina

Posted: November 29th, 2010 | Comments Off
Famous Dave's on Front Street

Famous Dave's on Front Street

Famous Dave’s, a national restaurant franchise that originated in the midwest (Hayward, Wisconsin to be exact) has answered my prayers and opened a first class barbecue joint in Lahaina, Hawaii. Dave’s story reads like the classic American achievement tale, as summarized on the Famous Dave website:

Dave Anderson is the founder of Famous Dave’s of America, the legendary BBQ franchise, with over 170 restaurants and growing. Voted the “Hottest Restaurant Concept in America” by Nation’s Restaurant News, Famous Dave’s has received unprecedented recognition. Anderson has helped found several publicly traded companies on Wall Street and created over 20,000 new jobs. In Dave’s own life, he has experienced adversity, frustration, and bankruptcy as well as tremendous success. Dave’s life story is featured in two New York Timesbestsellers. He has served two Presidents and three governors in advisory positions. David has provided key testimony before Congress and the U.S. Senate. Always tackling the impossible, this bottom half of the class high school student has earned his Master’s Degree from Harvard University without an undergraduate degree! He has appeared on all major networks including: Regis and Kathy Lee, Oprah Winfrey, CNBC The Next Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, Crook & Chase, the Discovery Channel, the Food Network, National Public Radio and over 300 radio shows.

And further, according to the website:

The Passion for Barbeque Grows and the Restaurant Dream Begins.
Realizing that his dream was to one day open his own barbeque restaurant, Dave spent more than 25 years of his adult life searching all over the country for the best barbeque and feasting on a variety of smoked meats available from every barbeque joint he could find. His passion was almost religious in nature – his understanding of the holy trinity is “Smoke, Meat and Sauce”. His trips to these most famous bastions of barbeque were like “pilgrimages” to the most “hallowed shrines” of barbeque! And the heavenly aromas wafting from ribs fresh from the smoker, were like answered prayers. And once the ribs were slathered with barbeque sauce — they were “baptized!”‘ During his travels, Dave visited every barbeque restaurant he could find — literally thousands over 25 years. From the neighborhood storefront BBQ shacks in Memphis, Kansas City, and Chicago, to the backwoods smoke-houses found in the Southern foothills of Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee the Carolinas, and finally, to the huge mesquite pits of Texas.

You gotta love a guy like that who loves to cook and share his expertise with everyone. I might also assume he didn’t become “Famous” for being mediocre. So how about the food?

To find out, What’s Cooking Maui sent Divemaster Richard to the opening a few weeks back. Here is Richard’s report:

Honest to Goodness Barbecue at Famous Dave's

“I went and checked Famous Dave’s Thurs. night, having never been to one, they are in 37 states, so maybe you have tried them in your travels. The food was great, very tender Brisket, fall off the bone Ribs. We had the Feast for Two which has Brisket, Ribs Chicken, Corn,Corn Bread, Fries, and for our  sides we had Cole Slaw, and very tasty Chile Beans. Lots of left overs, with 2 diet sodas, everything was 50 bucks. We had no room for desert,but they have a great desert menu I need to go back and try. The staff was very friendly with lots of energy and well trained in the menu, sauces, etc. Looks like they have a full bar, and our server said they will have Kama`aina specials later. When you order one of their Feast plattersthe entire staff breaks into a chant of Feast,Feast,Feast! Pretty fun. I have a take out menu to share with readers.”

Hearing this, I’m pretty stoked to try out Famous Dave’s for myself. If Dave’s barbecue bears resemblance to the good stuff from my sweet home Chicago, I’ll personally send Dave a thank you note for landing this welcome addition to emy new hometown, Lahaina.

Lahaina – NOW OPEN!Map this location

736 Front Street

Lahaina, HI 96761

808-661-1125

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Famous Dave’s Barbeque Opens in Lahaina

Posted: November 29th, 2010 | Comments Off
Famous Dave's on Front Street

Famous Dave's on Front Street

Famous Dave’s, a national restaurant franchise that originated in the midwest (Hayward, Wisconsin to be exact) has answered my prayers and opened a first class barbecue joint in Lahaina, Hawaii. Dave’s story reads like the classic American achievement tale, as summarized on the Famous Dave website:

Dave Anderson is the founder of Famous Dave’s of America, the legendary BBQ franchise, with over 170 restaurants and growing. Voted the “Hottest Restaurant Concept in America” by Nation’s Restaurant News, Famous Dave’s has received unprecedented recognition. Anderson has helped found several publicly traded companies on Wall Street and created over 20,000 new jobs. In Dave’s own life, he has experienced adversity, frustration, and bankruptcy as well as tremendous success. Dave’s life story is featured in two New York Timesbestsellers. He has served two Presidents and three governors in advisory positions. David has provided key testimony before Congress and the U.S. Senate. Always tackling the impossible, this bottom half of the class high school student has earned his Master’s Degree from Harvard University without an undergraduate degree! He has appeared on all major networks including: Regis and Kathy Lee, Oprah Winfrey, CNBC The Next Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, Crook & Chase, the Discovery Channel, the Food Network, National Public Radio and over 300 radio shows.

And further, according to the website:

The Passion for Barbeque Grows and the Restaurant Dream Begins.
Realizing that his dream was to one day open his own barbeque restaurant, Dave spent more than 25 years of his adult life searching all over the country for the best barbeque and feasting on a variety of smoked meats available from every barbeque joint he could find. His passion was almost religious in nature – his understanding of the holy trinity is “Smoke, Meat and Sauce”. His trips to these most famous bastions of barbeque were like “pilgrimages” to the most “hallowed shrines” of barbeque! And the heavenly aromas wafting from ribs fresh from the smoker, were like answered prayers. And once the ribs were slathered with barbeque sauce — they were “baptized!”‘ During his travels, Dave visited every barbeque restaurant he could find — literally thousands over 25 years. From the neighborhood storefront BBQ shacks in Memphis, Kansas City, and Chicago, to the backwoods smoke-houses found in the Southern foothills of Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee the Carolinas, and finally, to the huge mesquite pits of Texas.

You gotta love a guy like that who loves to cook and share his expertise with everyone. I might also assume he didn’t become “Famous” for being mediocre. So how about the food?

To find out, What’s Cooking Maui sent Divemaster Richard to the opening a few weeks back. Here is Richard’s report:

Honest to Goodness Barbecue at Famous Dave's

“I went and checked Famous Dave’s Thurs. night, having never been to one, they are in 37 states, so maybe you have tried them in your travels. The food was great, very tender Brisket, fall off the bone Ribs. We had the Feast for Two which has Brisket, Ribs Chicken, Corn,Corn Bread, Fries, and for our  sides we had Cole Slaw, and very tasty Chile Beans. Lots of left overs, with 2 diet sodas, everything was 50 bucks. We had no room for desert,but they have a great desert menu I need to go back and try. The staff was very friendly with lots of energy and well trained in the menu, sauces, etc. Looks like they have a full bar, and our server said they will have Kama`aina specials later. When you order one of their Feast plattersthe entire staff breaks into a chant of Feast,Feast,Feast! Pretty fun. I have a take out menu to share with readers.”

Hearing this, I’m pretty stoked to try out Famous Dave’s for myself. If Dave’s barbecue bears resemblance to the good stuff from my sweet home Chicago, I’ll personally send Dave a thank you note for landing this welcome addition to emy new hometown, Lahaina.

Lahaina – NOW OPEN!Map this location

736 Front Street

Lahaina, HI 96761

808-661-1125

Share and Enjoy:
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read the full article »

Famous Dave’s Barbeque Opens in Lahaina

Posted: November 29th, 2010 | Comments Off
Famous Dave's on Front Street

Famous Dave's on Front Street

Famous Dave’s, a national restaurant franchise that originated in the midwest (Hayward, Wisconsin to be exact) has answered my prayers and opened a first class barbecue joint in Lahaina, Hawaii. Dave’s story reads like the classic American achievement tale, as summarized on the Famous Dave website:

Dave Anderson is the founder of Famous Dave’s of America, the legendary BBQ franchise, with over 170 restaurants and growing. Voted the “Hottest Restaurant Concept in America” by Nation’s Restaurant News, Famous Dave’s has received unprecedented recognition. Anderson has helped found several publicly traded companies on Wall Street and created over 20,000 new jobs. In Dave’s own life, he has experienced adversity, frustration, and bankruptcy as well as tremendous success. Dave’s life story is featured in two New York Timesbestsellers. He has served two Presidents and three governors in advisory positions. David has provided key testimony before Congress and the U.S. Senate. Always tackling the impossible, this bottom half of the class high school student has earned his Master’s Degree from Harvard University without an undergraduate degree! He has appeared on all major networks including: Regis and Kathy Lee, Oprah Winfrey, CNBC The Next Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, Crook & Chase, the Discovery Channel, the Food Network, National Public Radio and over 300 radio shows.

And further, according to the website:

The Passion for Barbeque Grows and the Restaurant Dream Begins.
Realizing that his dream was to one day open his own barbeque restaurant, Dave spent more than 25 years of his adult life searching all over the country for the best barbeque and feasting on a variety of smoked meats available from every barbeque joint he could find. His passion was almost religious in nature – his understanding of the holy trinity is “Smoke, Meat and Sauce”. His trips to these most famous bastions of barbeque were like “pilgrimages” to the most “hallowed shrines” of barbeque! And the heavenly aromas wafting from ribs fresh from the smoker, were like answered prayers. And once the ribs were slathered with barbeque sauce — they were “baptized!”‘ During his travels, Dave visited every barbeque restaurant he could find — literally thousands over 25 years. From the neighborhood storefront BBQ shacks in Memphis, Kansas City, and Chicago, to the backwoods smoke-houses found in the Southern foothills of Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee the Carolinas, and finally, to the huge mesquite pits of Texas.

You gotta love a guy like that who loves to cook and share his expertise with everyone. I might also assume he didn’t become “Famous” for being mediocre. So how about the food?

To find out, What’s Cooking Maui sent Divemaster Richard to the opening a few weeks back. Here is Richard’s report:

Honest to Goodness Barbecue at Famous Dave's

“I went and checked Famous Dave’s Thurs. night, having never been to one, they are in 37 states, so maybe you have tried them in your travels. The food was great, very tender Brisket, fall off the bone Ribs. We had the Feast for Two which has Brisket, Ribs Chicken, Corn,Corn Bread, Fries, and for our  sides we had Cole Slaw, and very tasty Chile Beans. Lots of left overs, with 2 diet sodas, everything was 50 bucks. We had no room for desert,but they have a great desert menu I need to go back and try. The staff was very friendly with lots of energy and well trained in the menu, sauces, etc. Looks like they have a full bar, and our server said they will have Kama`aina specials later. When you order one of their Feast plattersthe entire staff breaks into a chant of Feast,Feast,Feast! Pretty fun. I have a take out menu to share with readers.”

Hearing this, I’m pretty stoked to try out Famous Dave’s for myself. If Dave’s barbecue bears resemblance to the good stuff from my sweet home Chicago, I’ll personally send Dave a thank you note for landing this welcome addition to emy new hometown, Lahaina.

Lahaina – NOW OPEN!Map this location

736 Front Street

Lahaina, HI 96761

808-661-1125

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Mala Ocean Tavern, Lahaina

Posted: November 4th, 2010 | Comments Off

Mala Ocean Tavern Prime Views

Every town has that perfect spot for weekend lunch; in Lahaina, that place is Mala Ocean Tavern. Opened in 2005, by Mark and Judy Ellman, right off the bat Mala’s was the undisputed best place to linger with friends on a long afternoon while sipping a refreshing drink.

Sharing a table on the open-air lanai is best; from there you can watch the sea turtles engage in their underwater paddling contests, moving close to shore, then back out to sea with the waxing and waning surf.  Order a custom muddled mojito, one of Mala’s specialties, and soon you’ll also be going with the flow, which is what dining with friends should be about. Also highly recommended is the Spanish style sangria, crafted of red wine, soda, fresh fruits and a secret ingredient as invigorating as it is delicious.

Appetizer Medley at Mala's

Start with something for everyone (you wouldn’t want to rush) such as the stir-fry Brussels sprouts, edamame guacamole or the Mediterranean Quartet (a platter of feta cheese, hummus, olives, and babaganoush served with the island’s tastiest grilled pita). Although you’ll be tempted by a fantastic selection of healthy, vegetarian, and unique flavor options (such as lamb raita or gado gado salad) don’t overlook the standard burger and fries. At Mala the burger is delicacy in a bun, a hand formed Kobe beef graced with caramelized onions and your choice of cheese. The accompanying fries are sprinkled with fairy dust in the form of truffle oil and taste-bud stimulating spices. Aloha Friday never tasted so good!

Appetizer Medley at Mala's

Weekends are for catching up, so if you’re still in the mood for breakfast, even though it’s long past lunch hour, the beauty of Mala’s, (besides the oceanfront setting on a crystal clear morning) is that Saturdays and Sunday brunch is served from 9 am clear through to 3 pm. Choose from the Great Start Breakfast ( a departure from the standard with meat choices of lamb sausage or prosciutto), the cult favorite, Mala Benny (with fresh fish or mushrooms replacing the standard Canadian bacon under the hollandaise), or Teddy’s Loco Moco, (that artery busting local delight elevated to nearly healthful status with the use of Organic Rice and Kobe Beef under the mushroom gravy. )

Overall, Mala offers a particularly enticing menu in an utterly soothing setting. Casual, yet hip, the chef creates tasty preparations that surprise and delight, using local ingredients whenever possible and served with a healthy dose of Aloha.

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean, Seafood, Pan-Asian
  • Neighborhood: Lahaina
  • Cross Street: Kapunakea
  • MenuView menu on restaurant’s website
  • Price: $31 to $50
  • Websitehttp://www.malaoceantavern.com/
  • Emaileatmaui@maui.net
  • Phone: (808) 667-9394
  • Hours of Operation:
  • Brunch: Saturday – Sunday: 9:00am – 3:00pm
  • Lunch: Monday – Friday: 11:00am – 3:00pm
  • Dinner: Monday – Saturday: 4:30pm – 10:00pm, Sunday: 4:30pm – 9:00pm
  • Happy Hour: Daily: 3:00pm – 4:30pm
  • Payment Options:
    AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Executive Chef: Mark Ellman
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Beer, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: Parking stalls next to the restaurant and next to Local Motion and also you may park on the street and across the street at Safeway or Longs Drugs at the Lahaina Cannery mall.
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Mala Ocean Tavern, Lahaina

Posted: November 4th, 2010 | Comments Off

Mala Ocean Tavern Prime Views

Every town has that perfect spot for weekend lunch; in Lahaina, that place is Mala Ocean Tavern. Opened in 2005, by Mark and Judy Ellman, right off the bat Mala’s was the undisputed best place to linger with friends on a long afternoon while sipping a refreshing drink.

Sharing a table on the open-air lanai is best; from there you can watch the sea turtles engage in their underwater paddling contests, moving close to shore, then back out to sea with the waxing and waning surf.  Order a custom muddled mojito, one of Mala’s specialties, and soon you’ll also be going with the flow, which is what dining with friends should be about. Also highly recommended is the Spanish style sangria, crafted of red wine, soda, fresh fruits and a secret ingredient as invigorating as it is delicious.

Appetizer Medley at Mala's

Start with something for everyone (you wouldn’t want to rush) such as the stir-fry Brussels sprouts, edamame guacamole or the Mediterranean Quartet (a platter of feta cheese, hummus, olives, and babaganoush served with the island’s tastiest grilled pita). Although you’ll be tempted by a fantastic selection of healthy, vegetarian, and unique flavor options (such as lamb raita or gado gado salad) don’t overlook the standard burger and fries. At Mala the burger is delicacy in a bun, a hand formed Kobe beef graced with caramelized onions and your choice of cheese. The accompanying fries are sprinkled with fairy dust in the form of truffle oil and taste-bud stimulating spices. Aloha Friday never tasted so good!

Appetizer Medley at Mala's

Weekends are for catching up, so if you’re still in the mood for breakfast, even though it’s long past lunch hour, the beauty of Mala’s, (besides the oceanfront setting on a crystal clear morning) is that Saturdays and Sunday brunch is served from 9 am clear through to 3 pm. Choose from the Great Start Breakfast ( a departure from the standard with meat choices of lamb sausage or prosciutto), the cult favorite, Mala Benny (with fresh fish or mushrooms replacing the standard Canadian bacon under the hollandaise), or Teddy’s Loco Moco, (that artery busting local delight elevated to nearly healthful status with the use of Organic Rice and Kobe Beef under the mushroom gravy. )

Overall, Mala offers a particularly enticing menu in an utterly soothing setting. Casual, yet hip, the chef creates tasty preparations that surprise and delight, using local ingredients whenever possible and served with a healthy dose of Aloha.

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean, Seafood, Pan-Asian
  • Neighborhood: Lahaina
  • Cross Street: Kapunakea
  • MenuView menu on restaurant’s website
  • Price: $31 to $50
  • Websitehttp://www.malaoceantavern.com/
  • Emaileatmaui@maui.net
  • Phone: (808) 667-9394
  • Hours of Operation:
  • Brunch: Saturday – Sunday: 9:00am – 3:00pm
  • Lunch: Monday – Friday: 11:00am – 3:00pm
  • Dinner: Monday – Saturday: 4:30pm – 10:00pm, Sunday: 4:30pm – 9:00pm
  • Happy Hour: Daily: 3:00pm – 4:30pm
  • Payment Options:
    AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Executive Chef: Mark Ellman
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Beer, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, View, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: Parking stalls next to the restaurant and next to Local Motion and also you may park on the street and across the street at Safeway or Longs Drugs at the Lahaina Cannery mall.
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